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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Continuing Vedic Heritages of Indonesia

Indonesia once was part of The Greater India or Suvarnabhumi. The Hindus for centuries called her Dvipantara, “the islands between”, perhaps extended from Jambudvipa (modern Indian subcontinent) to Astralaya (Australia in archaic Javanese). The Indonesians, especially Javanese and Balinese Hindus, also use the name Nusantara for this magnificent archipelago, which has same meaning as Dvipantara in Kavi language (a Sanskritized Ancient Javanese language, may be seven out of ten words was Sanskrit).

Indonesia has a long history of Vedic civilization for more than 1500 years (according to archaeological findings). She continued as the greatest Hindu/ Vedic country in Southeast Asia until the fall of the last Hindu Empire of Bilvatikta (Majapahit) and emergences of Islamic kingdom and Sultanates on late 13th century. Today Indonesia is one of the biggest Moslem countries, with the Moslems majority more than 85%. But the deep rooted Vedic practices from centuries weren’t easily ceased and remain as traditional native’s customs scattered here and there throughout Indonesian Archipelago. One of such a condition we can find in Bali, a small island in the centre of Indonesia, where the Hindu-born peoples built the majority. After the fall of Bilvatikta, the Hindu nobilities and brahmanic priests of the said empire were fled and settled in Bali, to protects their Vedic traditions, spiritual practices, and the vast body of ancient Hindu scriptures. In spite of Balinese strong faith for Hinduism and Vedic traditions, there are also many Hindus, both the born and the converted ones, in all over Indonesia, including the major cities of Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Medan, etc. They are always trying very hard to keep their faith on Vedic traditions of their forefathers for centuries, and maintaining their religious practices among Moslems majority, often under mental and sometimes physical pressures from their neighbour and government.

I myself was come from such a family. Like the rest of other Balinese we are Hindus by birth, always protecting our ancestral religion for centuries. Our family lineage trace back to ancient East Javanese kingdom of Ishanavansha, when our ancestor first migrated from South Indian state of Tamilnadu. According to our preserved inscription on bronze plates and palm leaf manuscripts, our first ancestor came to Indonesia as a Brahmin who serves the Kadiri Kingdom for compiling the book of law and propagating Vedic knowledge in the reign of the famous king, Sri Jayabhaya (Sri Maharaja Jayabhaya Varmeshwara Madhusudanavataraanindita Sri Singhaparakramottungadeva). The legend said this Brahmin was an accomplished sadhaka, both in Vaishnavite and Vajrayana practices (that was common in India at that time because of rising influence of Buddhism), even He was called Rishi Vajrasattva. One of his descendants in his lineage was a celibate brahmachari and of course has no wife. The peoples used to call him “Our Venerable Childless Sage”. So how could we become his descendant? He was a mantra-siddha, an accomplished mystic yogi. We believe he was such a powerful sage and still living in subtle realm to this very day. He wasn’t died but simply vanished from mundane vision with his physical form centuries ago to protect his descendants of future time. So he made a certain homa, fire sacrifice, and obtained one cintamani, a wish-fulfilling gem, then by the power of that gem, he got a baby son. This celebrated son came to Bali and initiated into Vedic spiritual practices by the great serpent god Nagaraja Vasuki and married one girl from Balinese noble family. This is the beginning of our Balinese and Javanese family lineages. Do you belief this story? I know its look like too fanciful imagination. But here in Bali everyone, every family has such a legendary origin. So please hold your laugh…

For centuries we heard these words from our father, and his father, and his father…
This is our land my child… the land of our great ancestors. Protected by the loving gaze of our most venerable guardian. The greatest of all sages, Dapunta Hyang Kalashaja, our supreme Guru Agasthiya… and the Vipras…
This is our land my child… our loving mother. Same as our original mother in the land of Aryans. You are born in my family, by my own blood, the same blood as your noble ancestors from centuries ago. Here is our heart, tightly bound to the lotus feet of ancient Vedic Rishis.
Here we saw every river as sacred as Ganges, every mountain as great as Himalaya, every lake as holy as Pushkara, and every forest as glorious as Naimisharanya. This is Dvipantara, with thousand of her islands, the very land of great Kings and Brahmins, illuminated by the sun of Veda-dharma, fertilized by graceful rain of Lord Vishnu’s divine love. Every baby grow up with the story of our victorious Lord Rama and His beloved Hanuman… with protection of our most worshipable Lord Krishna and His dearmost Pandavas of Mahabharata… and with the taste of sweet milk of Puranas
Could you ever think to disgrace her? Could you ever think to leave our dharma? Could you ever think to worship any foreign god or following any foreign prophet? Whenever you could, please remember the greatness of our ancient sages and kings. Please remember how they make you become one of the best of human races. Should you abandon the very hand that gives you life? Should you deny the sources of your circulating blood? Should you pierce their heart?....

So if we do a descendant of Vedic Brahmin, we have to lead a life of real Brahmin. But this brahminical status wasn’t only about jati, mere birth right. We always think brahminical status or any noble position as a facility, a special right. But actually it wasn’t. It was an undeniable responsibility, great responsibility. Here we are, born in noble family lineage. We suppose not to lead an ordinary life, a normal life, or nothing special life without any meaning. We had born to perform our dharma, to protect our dharma, to be highly qualified spiritual being. That’s why I said there is nothing special with me. But we have to try to become special, every of us. This is the life of real nobility, and this is what I learn from Sriman Mahaprabhu Caitanyadeva’s teachings. Without my Mahaprabhu, I’m just unimportant creature. My wealth doesn’t make me special, nor my birth (jati). Without Mahaprabhu I’m just one Indonesian boy bringing only shame to my great ancestors. But now, by Sriman Mahaprabhu’s grace I shall learn to become precious…

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