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Thread: Hinduism in Indonesia

  1. #1
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    Hinduism in Indonesia

    Namaste,

    Often we hear about Bali being a Hindu majority island and all Indonesians being familiar with the Hindu scriptures. Recently, I had a chance to fact check these issues personally and here is what I observed:

    Hinduism does thrive on the island of Bali with Hindus comprising about 80% of the population. They chant some of the mantras in Sanskrit, and as could be expected, their hymns are in their local language. Every house has a small alter and every Balinese Hindu prays three times a day. Their temples and alters however imitate the ancient Hindu tradition of having no deities or pictures thereof to worship. So, the alter is empty and one puts a small tray made out of bamboo, and filled with some flowers, food and incense, as an offering. Vedas are considered the holy book and Ramayana and Mahabharta are of lesser significance. Although Ramayana ballet is performed in some cities for tourists, there are no religious observances to coincide with Diwali or Shri Ram Navami, or Shri Krishan Janamashatami, or any of the other traditional Hindu holy days. The only thing that they do observe is Shivratri and it is not a day off, since it is observed at midnight. People are very humble and seem to be genuinely pleased to meet 'real Hindus' from India. The Chinese influence shows in their depictions all over. For instance in a large statue of Bhim at the center of an intersection, he is shown fighting a dragon, and not a demon. Similarly in some of the old temples, some deities clearly have the face and facial hair of a Chinese person. They define their culture as being an amalgamation of Indian, Chinese and Japanese influences.

    And now the sad news. On other islands of the nation, there is no mercy shown to non-muslims. Hindus declare themselves to be muslims on their ID cards and must hide their Hinduness in order to survive. The Saudis have been hosting and training their religious leaders in the Wahabi sect of intolerant islam. Any Hindus living openly as Hindus, may and are in fact, subject to killings without any consequences for the perpetrators. Many have converted to islam under economic or safety pressures. No Hindu temples are allowed to be built on other islands.

    On the island of Bali iteself, Hindus feel safe, but they recognize that they are living in a muslim majority nation and are at their mercy. There are some old decaying temples, but no new(er) ones. In contrast, one can find new masjids in town. Since they have lost contact with the place of origin of their faith, they don't get any moral support from the Indian Hindus and visiting holy Hindu places in India is not part of their agenda. In contrast, there is an increasing shift in the muslim attitudes because of their pilgrimages to Mecca. For now, Hinduism is alive and well in Bali, although in a totally different format than what we are familiar with; but who knows what the future will bring. The landscape might be radically different in few hundred years.

    Pranam.

  2. #2
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    Re: Hinduism in Indonesia

    Namaste Believer,

    This topic is of definite interest to me because I have an online friend I hold dear that lives in Indonesia. She is a Christian, which is interesting considering how, as you say, Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country. I personally haven't asked her if she has suffered any discrimination as a result of her religion, but I figure it probably isn't best to bring up that topic, as it's an unsavory one, for obvious reasons.

    Personally I would love to visit Bali one day. I'd certainly love to visit my Indonesian friend too, but she recommends I visit Bali first. But it seems to me, at any rate, that Muslims in Indonesia are (generally) more tolerant than their Middle Eastern counterparts (no offense intended); as an example, when anti-USA sentiment spikes in the Middle East, Indonesia seems to be much calmer about it, and attacks on non-Muslims there are viewed more harshly by the populace (an example being the bombing of the nightclub in Bali that happened years back - certainly no one I know of in Indonesia supported that).

    I personally think it makes sense that the Muslims of Indonesia are more tolerant, given some facts - if terrorist organizations that happen to be led by Muslims order their followers to kill Americans indiscriminately in the name of Islam, then the vast majority of Muslims in Indonesia certainly don't take part. If they did, then considering how they're the most populous Muslim nation in the world, there most certainly wouldn't be American tourists there today!

    This is all conjecture on my part, though; I'm not trying to present what I'm saying as pure fact, but rather I'm saying that certain things should be considered when it comes to Indonesia. While I can't say for sure what goes on over there, not having been there personally, certain things should be apparent when talking about it.

  3. #3
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    Re: Hinduism in Indonesia

    Namaste,

    Off-topic, but valid inputs.

    Pranam.

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    Re: Hinduism in Indonesia

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    On other islands of the nation, there is no mercy shown to non-muslims.
    Hello Believer,

    Surprising as it may seem, our greatest ally in the war against Islam, is Old Mo himself. The genius said that only one sect of Momins would enter Jannat. The rest 72 would burn in (here we go again) eternal hellfire.

    So, Indonesian Muslims end up killing one another jostling to be the "one true sect" that will enter Jannat. But I wonder why they want to kill each other here. I mean, what is the point of killing? They all are anyway going to be resurrected come the day of judgement, right?

    Here is a great video of one Indonesian Muslim urging killing of another Indonesian Muslim.

    From the video: "Kill Ahmadiya Brother and Sister, Wherever they are. Allahu Akbar...Allahu Akbar"


  5. #5
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    Re: Hinduism in Indonesia

    Namaste,

    A current take on the state of affairs in Indonesia,
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35055487

    Pranam.

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