Lord Loves Bali ?

Posted: 16/10/2012 in In my words - zenith

Hinduism in Indonesia is practised by 1.79% of the total population
(down from 1.81% in 1990), with 88.05% in Bali (down from 93.18% in 1990)
and 5.89% in Central Kalimantan (down from 15.75% in 1990) as of the 2000 census.
Every Indonesian citizen is required to be a registered member of one of the acknowledged religious communities
(Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism or Confucianism).

Hindu influences reached the Indonesian Archipelago as early as first century.
There are several theories as to how Hinduism reached Indonesia.
The Vaishya idea is that intermarriage occurred between Indian traders/merchants and Indonesian natives.
Another theory (Kshatriya) believes that defeated soldiers from India found solace in Indonesia.
Third, the Brahmana take a more traditional point of view that missionaries spread Hinduism to the islands.
Lastly, the nationalist (Bhumiputra) theory is that Indonesians chose the culture themselves after having traveled to India.
In 4th century, the kingdom of Kutai in East Kalimantan, Tarumanagara in West Java, and Holing (Kalingga) in Central Java,
were among the early Hindu states established in the region. Several notable ancient Indonesian Hindu kingdoms are Mataram,
famous for the construction of the majestic Prambanan temple, followed by Kediri and Singhasari.
Since then Hinduism along with Buddhism spread across the archipelago and reached the peak of its influence in the 14th century.
The last and largest among Hindu-Buddhist Javanese empires, Majapahit, influenced the Indonesian archipelago.

Practitioners of Agama Hindu Dharma share many common beliefs, which include:

A belief in one supreme being called ‘Ida Sanghyang Widi Wasa’, ‘Sang Hyang Tunggal’, or ‘Sang Hyang Acintya’. God Almighty in the Torajanese culture of Central Sulawesi is known as “Puang Matua” in Aluk to dolo belief.
A belief that all of the gods are manifestations of this supreme being. This belief is the same as the belief of Smartism, which also holds that the different forms of God, Vishnu, Siva are different aspects of the same Supreme Being. Lord Shiva is also worshipped in other forms such as “Batara Guru” and “Maharaja Dewa” (Mahadeva) are closely identified with the Sun in local forms of Hinduism or Kebatinan, and even in the genie lore of Muslims.
A belief in the Trimurti, consisting of:
1) Brahma, the creator
2) Wisnu or Vishnu, the preserver
3) Çiwa or Shiva, the destroyer
A belief in all of the other Hindu gods and goddesses (Hyang, Dewata and Batara-Batari)
The sacred texts found in Agama Hindu Dharma are the Vedas. They are the basis of Balinese Hinduism. Other sources of religious information include the Puranas and the Itihasa (mainly Ramayana and the Mahabharata).

One of Hinduism’s primary ethical concerns is the concept of ritual purity. Another important distinguishing feature, which traditionally helps maintain ritual purity, is the division of society into the traditional occupational groups, or varna of Hinduism: Brahmins (priests, brahmana in Indonesian), Kshatriya (ruler-warriors, satriya or “Deva” in Indonesian), Vaishya (merchants-farmers, waisya in Indonesian), and Shudra (commoners-servants, sudra in Indonesian). Like Islam and Buddhism, Hinduism was greatly modified when adapted to Indonesian society.

The caste system, although present in form, was never rigidly applied. The epics Mahabharata (Great Battle of the Descendants of Bharata) and Ramayana (The Travels of Rama), became enduring traditions among Indonesian believers, expressed in shadow puppet (wayang) and dance performances.

The Indonesian government has recognized Hinduism as one of the country’s six officially sanctioned monotheistic religions, along with Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism and Confucianism. However the government do not recognize indigenous tribal belief systems as official religion. As a result, followers of various native animistic religions such as Dayak Kaharingan have identified themselves as Hindu in order to avoid pressure to convert to Islam or Christianity. Several native tribal beliefs such as Sundanese Sunda Wiwitan, Torajan Aluk To Dolo, and Batak Malim — although different than Indian influenced Balinese Hinduism — might sought affiliations with Hinduism in order to survive, while in the same time also tried preserving their distinction to mainstream Indonesian Hinduism dominated by Balinese. Furthermore, Indonesian nationalists have laid great stress on the achievements of the Majapahit Empire – a Hindu state – which has helped attract certain Indonesians to Hinduism. These factors have led to a certain resurgence of Hinduism outside of its Balinese stronghold.

Balinese Hinduism is deeply interwoven with art and ritual, and is less closely preoccupied with scripture, law, and belief than Islam in Indonesia.
Balinese Hinduism lacks the traditional Hindu emphasis on cycles of rebirth and reincarnation, but instead is concerned with a myriad of hyangs,
the local and ancestral spirits. As with kebatinan, these deities are thought to be capable of good or harm.
Balinese place great emphasis on dramatic and aesthetically satisfying acts of ritual propitiation of these spirits at temple sites scattered throughout
villages and in the countryside.
The Balinese temple is called Pura, and unlike the common towering Indian Hindu Temple with interior space,
the Balinese temple is designed as an open air worship place within enclosed walls, connected with series of intricately decorated gates to reach its compounds.
Each of these temples has a more or less fixed membership; every Balinese belongs to a temple by virtue of descent, residence, or some mystical revelation of affiliation.
Some temples are associated with the family house compound (also called banjar in Bali), others are associated with rice fields, and still others with key geographic sites.
Ritualized states of self-control (or lack thereof) are a notable feature of religious expression among the people,
who for this reason have become famous for their graceful and decorous behavior. One key ceremony at a village temple, for instance, features a special performance of a dance-drama, a battle between the mythical characters Rangda the witch (representing adharma, something like disorder) and Barong the protective predator (mostly like a lion) (representing dharma), in which performers fall into a trance and attempt to stab themselves with sharp knives. The dramas regularly end apparently undecided, neither side winning, because the primary purpose is to restore balance.
Rituals of the life cycle are also important occasions for religious expression and artistic display.
Ceremonies at puberty, marriage, and, most notably, cremation at death provide opportunities for Balinese to communicate their ideas about community,
status, and the afterlife. (The tourist industry has not only supported spectacular cremation ceremonies among Balinese of modest means, but also has created a greater demand for them.)
A priest is not affiliated with any temple, but acts as a spiritual leader and adviser to individual families in various villages scattered over the island.
These priests are consulted when ceremonies requiring holy water are conducted.On other occasions, folk healers or curers may be hired.
Balinese Hinduism also includes the religious belief of Tabuh Rah, a religious cockfight where a rooster is used in religious custom by allowing him to fight against
another rooster in the religious cockfight of the Balinese Hinduism spiritual appeasement exercise of Tabuh Rah, a form of animal sacrifice.
The spilling of blood, Tabuh Rah is necessary as purification to appease the evil spirits bhuta and kala, and to insure a good harvest.
Ritual fights usually take place outside the temple and follow an ancient and complex ritual as set out in the sacred lontar manuscripts.

Officially identifying their religion as Hinduism was not a legal possibility for Indonesians until 1962, when it became the fifth state-recognized religion.
This recognition was initially sought by Balinese religious organizations and granted for the sake of Bali, where the majority were Hindu.
The largest of these organizations, Parisada Hindu Dharma Bali, changed its name to P.H.D. Indonesia (PHDI) in 1964,
reflecting subsequent efforts to define Hinduism as a national rather than just a Balinese concern (Ramstedt 1998).
Religious identity became a life and death issue for many Indonesians around the same time as Hinduism gained recognition,
in the wake of the violent anti-Communist purge of 1965-66 (Beatty 1999).
Persons lacking affiliation with a state recognized-religion tended to be classed as atheists and hence suspected as communists.
Despite the inherent disadvantages of joining a national religious minority,
a deep concern for the preservation of their traditional ancestor religions made Hinduism a more palatable option than Islam for several ethnic groups in the outer islands.
In the early seventies, the Toraja people of Sulawesi were the first to realize this opportunity by seeking shelter for their indigenous ancestor religion under the
broad umbrella of ‘Hinduism’, followed by the Karo Batak of Sumatra in 1977 (Bakker 1995).
In central and southern Kalimantan, a large Hindu movement has grown among the local indigenous Dayak population which lead to
a mass declaration of ‘Hinduism’ on this island in 1980. However, this was different to the Javanese case, in that conversions followed a clear ethnic division. Indigenous Dayak were confronted with a mostly Muslim population of government-sponsored (and predominantly Madurese) migrants and officials, and deeply resentful at the dispossession of their land and its natural resources.
Compared to their counterparts among Javanese Hindus, many Dayak leaders were also more deeply concerned about
Balinese efforts to standardize Hindu ritual practice nationally; fearing a decline of their own unique ‘Hindu Kaharingan’ traditions and renewed external domination.
By contrast, most Javanese were slow to consider Hinduism at the time, lacking a distinct organization along ethnic lines and
fearing retribution from locally powerful Islamic organizations like the Nahdatul Ulama (NU).
The youth wing of the NU had been active in the persecution not only of communists but of ‘Javanist’ or ‘anti-Islamic’ elements within Sukarno’s
Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI) during the early phase of the killings (Hefner 1987).
Practitioners of ‘Javanist’ mystical traditions thus felt compelled to declare themselves Muslims out of a growing concern for their safety.
[edit] Under Suharto’s Rule
The initial assessment of having to abandon ‘Javanist’ traditions in order to survive in an imminent Islamic state proved incorrect.
President Sukarno’s eventual successor, Suharto, adopted a distinctly nonsectarian approach in his so-called ‘new order’ (orde baru) regime.
Old fears resurfaced, however, with Suharto’s ‘Islamic turn’ in the 1990s. Initially a resolute defender of Javanist values,
Suharto began to make overtures to Islam at that time, in response to wavering public and military support for his government.
A powerful signal was his authorization and personal support of the new ‘Association of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals’ (ICMI),
an organization whose members openly promoted the Islamization of Indonesian state and society (Hefner 1997).
Concerns grew as ICMI became the dominant civilian faction in the national bureaucracy, and initiated massive programs of Islamic education and
mosque-building through the Ministry of Religion (departemen agama), once again targeting Javanist strongholds. Around the same time,
there were a series of mob killings by Muslim extremists of people they suspected to have been practising traditional Javanese methods of healing by magical means.
In terms of their political affiliation, many contemporary Javanists and recent converts to Hinduism had been members of the old PNI,
and have now joined the new nationalist party of Megawati Sukarnoputri. Informants from among this group portrayed their return to the ‘religion of Majapahit’
(Hinduism) as a matter of nationalist pride, and displayed a new sense political self-confidence

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