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Monday, February 23, 2009

History and spiritualism of Nusantara (1)

Vaishnavism in Indonesia was centuries aged. But its pure form only practiced by aristocratic or Brahmin families. The Vedic theological conception, spiritual thoughts, and way of life was deeply rooted in most Indonesians native customs, but the clearly visible form of Vedic civilization or Hinduism today found only in Bali or some parts of Java. Other denominations such as Saivism, Sakta, Ganapatya, Saura, etc also have their existence since the early rising of Hindu-Buddhist Kingdom of Java, Bali, and Sumatra.

The earliest recorded history was about the famous Mulavarman of Kutai in Kalimantan. He donated thousands of cows to agnihotri Brahmins and performed the biggest yajna throughout the history of Nusantara. The Ramayan and also some Sanskrit works, called the present day Kalimantan as Barhina-dvipa, which became Borneo. At the time of Mulavarman, the Indian supposed to include Nusantara as a part of Greater Kalinga. So by Mulavarman’s virtuous performance of grand sacrificial ceremony, his kingdom could be designated as Kalingottamam, the word perhaps changed to present day Kalimantan. According to some historian, the word Vaprakeshwar found in Mulavarman inscriptions has some connection with Lord Siva, and then they concluded that Mulavarman and his subjects were Saivas. But the form of his yajna performance was Vedic. It didn’t seem involve the Agamic or Tantric elements of any sort. The lack of archaeological remains of temple worship from the time of Mulavarman supposed to prove this probability.

Then we have Purnavarman of West Java. He left inscription on stone with image of Vishnupada sculpted on it. His kingdom’s name Tarumanagara reminds us with Lord Vishnu. Taruma is another name of Tulasi, the holy basil, beloved of Vishnu. Some Agamic form of worship and Pauranic styled Vaishnavism gain their glory. After the tremendous growth of Buddhism in Sumatra, Tarumanagara’s influence and Vaishnavism was diminishing. In India, especially at the Southern regions, the growth of Buddhism as public religion rivaled by the increasing growth of Agamic schools of Vaishnavism and Saivism. Buddhism itself became so Tantric in appearance. Kalinga and other South Indian kingdoms such as Pallava and Chola with all these form of Vaishnavism, Saivism, and Buddhism gave their influence to spiritual life of Nusantara.

The Sailendra of Sumatra (Srivijaya) and central Java were Tantric-Mahayanic Buddhist. These Sailendra kings supposed to the same Buddhist Sailodbhavas of Kalinga, marginalized by emerging power of Saivite Bhaumakaras. The Sanjayas of Central Java might be descendant of earlier Tarumanagara aristocracy. There was unsaid competition of the two ruling dynasties of Sailendra and Sanjaya, both in spiritual and political ground. The two dynasties were each patronizing Mahayana-Vajrayana Buddhism and South Indian form of Vaishnavism and Saivism. After the marriage between the prince Pikatan of Sanjaya and princess Pramodavardhani of Sailendra, these religions have harmonious relationship. At this period Saivism gain more popularity in people’s religious life. Vaishnavism itself remain as the religion of aristocracy and priestly-class. Then the two find their place in Trinatha worship, a unique faith, Kalinga by nature, similar with Jagannath-dharma of Orissa. At this time, Buddhism was Kalinga-influenced Tantrism or Vajrayana, with its Tara worship at Kalasha temple (Kalasan), Manjushri at Manjushri-griha temple (Sewu), Mahavairochana at Mendut, and Vajradhatu-mandala of world famous Borobudur. Similarly, Hinduism also has same reformed, with its Trinatha worship of Parambrahman Temple (Prambanan), clearly Kalinga in nature and origin. This is the time of Nusantara’s pristine glory.

There’s no time in Nusantara, that non-theistic concept ever seriously accepted. So even Nusantara’s Buddhism hardly showed non-theistic belief of Theravada. The whole spiritual belief of Indonesian at that time was accepting One Supreme Deity, called by different names, comprehended by various theological and philosophical views. This concept only found in Jagannath-dharma of present day Orissa. The religious believes of Indonesian, once again was Kalinga in nature.

The worship of Trinatha as manifested form of Parabrahman found it most perfect form in the cult of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra. Here Jagannath representing Vishnu, Balabhadra-Siva, and Subhadra-Brahma. This belief of Subhadra as Brahma in disguised form was described by the devotee-poet of the Lord, Sri Yasobanta das. He has presented in this connection in his Premabhakti Brahma Gita that when Brahma was making out a divine plan to create the universe, Mother Earth, the potential force of Yogamaya Shakti, wished to have divine union with him for the above purpose and accordingly approached Brahma with a fervent appeal on this score. Brahma was dismayed at the appeal of Mother Earth. He curtly turned down her offer. After all, Goddess Earth, being the replica of Yogamaya Shakti, had the status of divine mother in relation to Brahma. How could he accept such an unusual proposal? The very thinking of a phenomenon like the above was a pernicious sin. However Goddess Earth was cross with Brahma for his avowed denial. She cursed Brahma saying "Oh, the creator of the universe! By disagreeing to a sacred divine cause, you have displayed utmost disrespect to the women-class in general. So, as a consequence of your unwanted action, you will descend in the universe in the form of a woman.

Brahma was stupendously flabbergasted, never expecting such a catastrophe to befall him for a rightful action on his part. Lord Vishnu however appeared before him at this stage to say that his appearance on earth is tethered to a divine purpose. Vishnu said, 'in Kali Yuga, when I would appear in the form of Jagannath, you would be worshipped by my side as Subhadra. People won't know that you are Brahma in the form of Subhadra.' This is the secret about the divine appearance of Subhadra as Brahma on the Ratnavedi of the Grand Temple.

The three denominations of Vaishnava, Saiva, and Sakta also found their harmony in this Trimurti form as Jagannath is the Supreme God of Vaishnavas, Balabhadra is of Saiva, and Subhadra is of Sakta. Then the Vajrayana Buddhist, historically originated from Indrabhuti of Sambhala (Sambalpur) in Orissa, considered the Trimurti as their Tri Ratna, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. The Jnanasiddhi of Indrabhuti clearly showed that Jagannath is the Original (Adi) Buddha worshipped by Vajrayana sect of Buddhism. This Adi Buddha concept found in Mantrayana-Vajrayana is focused on Jagannath-Buddha. Then the Jagannath-Buddha of Orissan Vajrayana found His way to Nusantara as the cult of Mahavairochana, before it reach China, Korea, and finally Japan. The Mahavairochana-sutra and iconographic treatise of Sarvatathagatasara-samgraha were Orissa in origin. Nusantara highly influenced by this form of Buddhism. The Mahakarunagarbhodbhava-mandala and Vajradhatu-mandala which centred on Jagannath-Buddha-Mahavairochana was manifested as the great Borobudur Temple of Indonesia. The syncretism concept of The Supreme Buddha (Jagannath) and its connection with Trinatha Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, was found for the first time in Central Java. Then this concept further formulated in the period of early East Javanese Kingdom of Ishanavansa in the form of Tutur Sang Hyang Kamahayanikan, a classic Javanese Buddhist catechism.

So Indonesian Vaishnavism, Saivism, and Buddhism found their way to common people in the form of Trinatha worship, since Vaishnavism hold Narayana as the source of Trinatha, Saivism hold Paramasiva as their source, and Buddhism hold The Adi Buddha. Narayana, Paramasiva, and Adi Buddha are actually one in identity with Lord Jagannath of Orissa. The great temple called Parambrahman (Prambanan) in Central Java was manifesting this theological concept of Nusantara.

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