Hinduism In Indonesia, Outside Bali

Study Reveals the Existence of Hinduism outside Bali

By Ni Putu Tirka Widanti (Ibu Ika), President of Yayasan Kul Kul 

It was gained information that the Medang Kamulan Temple in Mondoluku Village, Gresik, existed since 1968. At that time, there were 75 Hindus families. By this time, the number has been decreasing to be remaining 7 families.

Apprehensively, the Hindus people there intend to preserve Medang Kamulan Temple which begins to be porous by age. They establish pengempon of the temple (internal management) which covers the area of Gresik. Pengempon of the temple with only consisting of 7 families is not possible to do a renovation. Therefore, five temples in East Java and Tapan Bangun Wargo Wening Temple, Krembung, Sidoarjo, are united to establish the committee of Medang Kamulan Temple renovation in Gresik.

Considering this condition, it can be seen that the rise of Hindus people in Indonesia outside Bali is continuing. Actually, this phenomenon emerged in the late of 1968 or at the beginning of the 1970s.

It felt more prominent after the collapsed of New Ordo by reformation. There were two points of triggers. First, there was an awareness of the local Hindus people to arise which was led by their neighborhood figure. Second, it was caused by the residing and developing Balinese people outside Bali. Many things have shown that Hindus do not only exist in Bali Island. It is not only developing in Bali but also developing outside Bali as a universal religion. However, Hindus people outside Bali are still the minority. Actually, this cultural blending can create a beauty and harmony in the implementation, not becoming Bali-centric.

The tradition of Hindus outside Bali has been influenced by local customs and tradition, so the image of Balinese cultural which is usually considered dominating Hindus is not widely found. Further, Hindus people outside Bali keep trying to find their authentic origin, in order to find their ancestors’ tradition and culture, in form of physical building identity or other ceremony authorities. This physical identity is required as solidifier, unifier, and trigger of Hinduism identity proud for those who are outside Bali. It is because they are still in a low condition of social, economic and human resources. Most of them are having a problem economically, so their education is below standard. Even many of them are out of school because of financial problem.

It is not wrong when Hindus people outside Bali intend to learn about Balinese tradition and culture based on their awareness. Similar it happens when they practice their own tradition and culture in the temple outside Bali. Frequently, we set aside local culture. Actually, there have been Hindus with their own characteristic. Should everything be done in Balinese Hindus? It is considered not necessary to build temple outside Bali by using imported material and architecture from Bali as well as the ceremonial equipment, offerings, and the priests.

One of the cultural acculturation of Balinese tradition with Javanese tradition is in the wedding ceremony. The native inhabitants of Javanese practice tradition as a Javanese such as siraman, without removing their identity as Hindus. It may be caused by the lack of facilities to support Hindus education in Java.

However, in the process, there is a big question arising from the Balinese themselves. Many of them question about their Hinduism status. Do they have to be Hindus by following Balinese tradition or can they use another way?

Sociologic-collectively, the practice of Hindus ritual covered by local tradition and customs should not be underestimated. However, it should not be used as the final stop or permanent stop point. Perhaps, firstly to discuss this condition, we should release our chain from the thought of “nak mulo keto” (it has been like that). Take off our “Balinese Hindus” and see Hindu globally. Let’s find the guidance of Hindus rituals directly from the authentic sources, i.e. the Veda itself.

In Bhagavad Gita 9.26 it is stated that; “patraḿ puṣpaḿ phalaḿ toyaḿyo me bhaktyā prayacchati tad ahaḿ bhakty-upahṛtam aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ”, which means if someone gives me leave, flower, fruit or water with love devotion, I will accept it. From this phrase, it can be seen that basically to worship the God is not difficult. The first thing that we need is a sincere love to devote to the God and with media of offerings in form of leave, flower, fruit or water which will be definitely accepted by Him. Therefore, should we offer fancy and expensive offerings?

Hence, Balinese Hindus should be opened with the local tradition and customs. Basically, the character of Hindus is dynamic and adaptive to the environment in which it exists. Appropriately, we as Balinese could position ourselves as a companion until finally, they are ready to be released to the local Hindus people. We also consider, when all people realize that Hindus do not only exist in Bali but also in other regions in Indonesia, finally Parisada Hindu Bali changed their name into Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia as we acknowledged today. It is expected will be beneficial to open our thought as Hindus people who maybe have a limited sight for further enlightenment. Let’s enlighten Hindus anywhere we live in.

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