Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Prophecies of Jayabhaya and Sabdapalon

I have always been intrigued by the Indian cultural influence in south-east Asia. I have heard of the popularity of Ramayana in those parts, of the Angkor Wat temple, the Bali Hinduism and the considerable presence of Sanskrit words in the languages (Megawati Sukarnoputri, Bahasa Indonesia, Putrajaya). But I know little more and don't remember reading much in our history books either.

Scoble's (mistaken) mention of Indochina whetted my curiosity, and I turned to the treasure-trove that is the Wikipedia to find out more. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed.

India "influenced the Champa kingdom in Vietnam, the Srivijayan kingdom on Sumatra, the Singhasari kingdom, and the Majapahit Empire [and their descendants, the Tenggerese] based in Java, Bali and a number of the islands of the Phillippine archipelago. The civilization of India influenced the languages, scripts, calendars, and artistic aspects of these peoples and nations." And it all started way back in 200 BC with the Hindu kingdom in Javadvipa.

And in 1942, when Japan took Java from the Dutch, "Indonesians danced in the streets, welcoming the Japanese army as the fulfillment of a prophecy ascribed to Joyoboyo [जयाभय?], who foretold the day when white men would one day establish their rule on Java and tyrannize the people for many years – but they would be driven out by the arrival of yellow men from the north. These yellow men, Joyoboyo predicted, would remain for one crop cycle, and after that Java would be freed from foreign domination. To most of the Javanese, Japan was a liberator: the prophecy had been fulfilled."

More recently, since 1977, "followers of various tribal and animistic religions have identified themselves as Hindu in order to avoid harassment or pressure to convert to Islam or Christianity."

This is what, it seems, Sabdapalon prophesied in 1478.
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Also, check out the Sanskrit (and Tamil) loan-words in Bahasa Indonesia.

If all this is new to you (as it was to me), please follow all the links!

8 comments :

Sunil said...

Indonesia's national airline is called Garuda, which amongst other things is the only airline named after a bird (you would expect more, wouldn't you?), and the airline of a muslim nation named after a hindu deity.

Indonesians have (until recently) largely followed a rather tolerant form of Islam...

RamV said...

i was going to blog about the very same thing. and you beat me to it by a whisker. and you beat me to the references too. i was looking at the very same pages on wiki. funny coincidences.

my stimulus, though, was a waiter at a thai restaurant that i went to yesterday.

now u've save me the effort of recounting all the tech-speak. i'll jus link to you ;)

Srikanth said...

Sunil: Right, and well-named too - It flies, and it is a vahana! I never knew much about Indonesian Hinduism or Islam, till yesterday! God bless Wikipedia. :)

Ramprasad: Saar, I am really happy about the coincidence! We are linked at some telepathic abstraction, there is no doubt. :) At the same time, I am sorry I deprived you of a post...

I loved going through all those pages, and till then, I was thinking their connection with India was all due to Buddhist missionaries and Tamil voyagers... And the reason Hinduism survived there is because this religion (with all its celebrated catholicity) let the people practise their original (animalistic) traditions too. What's more, people are now flocking back to the faith. That should teach something to Hindu fundamentalists in India...

PONDHEEPANKAR said...

SIR,
Indonesians and all the south east asian countries will convert to Hinduism within 2020

PONDHEEPANKAR said...

Sir,
There are Thai Brahmin priests who still sing Tiruppavai and Thiruvampavai and perform Pattabhisekam.There are still Hindus in Vietnam called Balamon(Brahman).Please search for these in Yahoo.

PONDHEEPANKAR said...

OR MAIL TO PONDHEEPANKAR@YAHOO.COM

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Putu Hendra Yudhana, similar to Indra Yudha (probably). I am Indonesian and Hindu, as well as other Balinese. Indonesia will be back to Hinduism soon, don't worry :)

Nice blog anyway !

Anonymous said...

Putu Hendra Yudhana,

I wish I was as confident. I am Javanese but became an atheist, so I dont believe in prophecy.
Still the true soul of Java in not in any middle east bigot nonsense, like christian and islam. It is found in Borobudur. The Ramayana and Dewa Ruci. and the arab worshipers want to kill it.