Hinduism in Southeast Asia

From Academic Kids

Hinduism in Southeast Asia influenced the Champa kingdom in Vietnam, the Srivijayan kingdom on Sumatra, the Singhasari kingdom and the Majapahit Empire based in Java, Bali, and a number of the islands of the Philippine archipelago. The civilization of India influenced the languages, scripts, calendars, and artistic aspects of these peoples and nations. To quote from the Wikipedia article on India, the civilizing influence of "abstract qualities such as hospitality, family values, acceptance and toleration of differences, resilience and co-existence" somewhat moderates other aspects of the human condition.

Contents

Earliest known times

Indian scholars wrote about the Dvipantara or Jawa Dwipa Hindu kingdom in Java and Sumatra around 200 BC. Southeast Asia was frequented by traders from eastern India, particularly Magadha, as well as from the Tamil kingdoms of South India.

The Taruma kingdom occupied West Jawa around 400. There was a marked Buddhist influence starting about 425.

Dvaravati period

Other Indic influences, such as Theravada Buddhism, held sway during the Dvaravati period (6th to 11th century), which survive in Sri Lanka, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Cambodia, and Thailand.

Seafaring Peoples

These peoples engaged in extensive trade, which attracted the attention of the Mongols, Chinese and Japanese, as well as Islamic traders, who reached the Aceh area of Sumatra in the 1100s.

Java

Main article: Hinduism in Java

The Singhasari kingdom fell to Kediri. The last Singhasari's king's son in law, Wijaya took over the kingdom by allied him self with Mongols 1293 and created Majapahit kingdom. The Majapahit then turned on the Kublai Khan's forces and drove them out. This established Majapahit hegemony over Java. There remain Hindu communities in Java. Today, the Tenggerese, some Osings, and to some extent the Baduis are still Hindus.

Sumatra and Malaya

Main article: Hinduism in Malaysia

The last prince of the Srivijayan kingdom of Sumatra, after the loss to the Majapahit, converted to Islam in 1414, and founded the Sultanate of Malacca on the Straits of Malacca between Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula. As the Portuguese came to trade for spices, they began to ally with the Islamic powers, which did not help the Majapahit. One third of the Bataks, particularly the Toba and Karo Bataks.

Hinduism were deeply ingrained into the customs of local people in the form of local adat, or norms of customary law and conflict resolution. Although with the advent of Islam many practices were changed, but these adat were not abolished.

Bali

Main article: Agama Hindu Dharma

The last Hindu court eventually retreated from Java to Bali about 1500. The original hinduism in Bali itself is still prevail in Trunyan village.

The resurgence of Hinduism in Indonesia is led by Balinese Hindus.

Borneo and Sulawesi

Main article: Hinduism in Sulawesi

The Dayaks, the original inhabitants of Borneo, follow the Kaharingan variety of Hinduism even now. The Dayak Hinduism is allied to the Balinese Hinduism.

The Philippines

Until the arrival of an Arab trader to Sulu 1450 and Ferdinand Magellan, who sailed in behalf of Spain 1521, the chiefs of many Philippine islands were called Rajahs, and the script was derived from Brahmi. Even today, the Tagalog (Filipino) word for teacher is guru.

In the archipelago that was to become the Philippines, the statues of the Hindu gods were hidden to prevent their destruction by a religion which destroyed all idols. One statue, a 4-pound gold statue of a Indo-Malayan goddess was found in Mindanao in 1917, which now sits in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and is dated from the period 1200s to early 1300s. Another gold artifact of Garuda, the phoenix who is the mount of Vishnu was found on Palawan.

Hinduism in modern-day Southeast Asia

Vibrant Hindu communities remain in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia (as in Java, Bali, Sulawesi and Kalimantan) (for details, see Agama Hindu Dharma). One notably Southeast Asian aspect of Hinduism is the festival of Thaipusam.

The resurgence of Hinduism in Indonesia is occurring in all parts of the country. In the early seventies, the Toraja people of Sulawesi were the first to be identified under the umbrella of 'Hinduism', followed by the Karo Batak of Sumatra in 1977 and the Ngaju Dayak of Kalimantan in 1980.

The growth of Hinduism has been driven also by the famous Javanese prophesies of Sabdapalon and Jayabaya.

Many recent converts to Hinduism had been members of the families of Sukarno's PNI, and now support Megawati Sukarnoputri. This return return to the 'religion of Majapahit' (Hinduism) is a matter of nationalist pride.

The new Hindu communities in Java tend to be concentrated around recently built temples (pura) or around archaeological temple sites (candi) which are being reclaimed as places of Hindu worship. An important new Hindu temple in eastern Java is Pura Mandaragiri Sumeru Agung, located on the slope of Mt Sumeru, Java's highest mountain. Mass conversions have also occurred in the region around Pura Agung Blambangan, another new temple, built on a site with minor archaeological remnants attributed to the kingdom of Blambangan, the last Hindu polity on Java, and Pura Loka Moksa Jayabaya (in the village of Menang near Kediri), where the Hindu king and prophet Jayabaya is said to have achieved spiritual liberation (moksa). Another site is the new Pura Pucak Raung in East Java, which is mentioned in Balinese literature as the place from where Maharishi Markandeya took Hinduism to Bali in the fifth century AD.

An example of resurgence around major archaeological remains of ancient Hindu temple sites was observed in Trowulan near Mojokerto,the capital of the legendary Hindu empire Majapahit. A local Hindu movement is struggling to gain control of a newly excavated temple building which they wish to see restored as a site of active Hindu worship. The temple is to be dedicated to Gajah Mada, the man attributed with transforming the small Hindu kingdom of Majapahit into an empire. Although there has been a more pronounced history of resistance to Islamization in East Java, Hindu communities are also expanding in Central Java near the ancient Hindu monuments of Prambanan.

The current estimates of Hinduism in Indonesia range from 4 to 8 percent.

External links

Topics in Hinduism
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Denominations: List of Hindu denominations
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