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Balinese Hinduism

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The population of the Indonesian islands is predominantly Muslim (about 85%). The island of Bali is an exception where 80% of its inhabitants identify with Hinduism (about 1.7% of the total Indonesian population). Upon its independence from Dutch colonial rule, the Indonesian Constitution of 1945 guaranteed freedom of religion to all its citizens. After the independence of Indonesia, efforts emerged to organize the religious life of its citizens, composed of various dimensions and beliefs, with a basic ideology called Pancasila (“Panca” means five, “Syila” means fundamental, of so that it can be interpreted as such. It means five basic ideologies for the country). In the first precept which says “Ketuhanan yang maha esa” it is explicitly about believing and worshiping one God/goddess. It was at the time a kind of controversy in the legalization of Balinese Hinduism as an official religion in Indonesia; at that time, Balinese Hinduism was considered only a sect of religion that was not yet a religion

In 1952, the Indonesian Ministry of Religion came under the control of Islamists who severely limited the acceptable definition of “religion”. To be acceptable as an official Indonesian religion, the ministry defined “religion” as a monotheistic religion, codified religious law and added a number of requirements.

But the Balinese didn’t want to give up, they continue to struggle to validate their faith and beliefs as the country’s recognized religion. After a long journey and all the hard struggles of religious leaders, cultural observers and various parties related to Balinese Hinduism, this Hinduism was finally established as one of the official religions of Indonesia in 1959. Furthermore, the Indonesia has denied citizenship rights, such as the right to vote, to anyone who does not belong to an officially recognized monotheistic religion. The Balinese Hindu minority adapted and declared their form of Hinduism to be monotheistic and presented it in a form that allowed them to politically claim “agama” status. Balinese Hinduism has been officially recognized by the Indonesian government as one of the official religions practiced in Bali

Balinese Hinduism is very closely related to Hinduism in Indian history. Their beliefs are then not only based on the Vedic bible, but also on ancient scriptures, philosophies and various ways of life based on many different mutually supportive theories. Hinduism is therefore not really a dogmatic religion, but rather the result of a spiritual way of life. The traditions that exist in Hinduism also continue to develop and change over time.

Hinduism came to Bali with the arrival of Indian traders. Long before Islam, Hinduism had penetrated the basic beliefs of the people using rituals, traditions and arts. It also resulted in spiritual ideas, myths and legends, as evidenced by the unique festivals and events associated with the spirits of ancestors and their gods. Temples in Bali also have similar designs and principles to Indian temples. The Balinese call their temples sacred (Pura), which is a holy place with enclosed walls. There are over 20,000 temples across the island; each is associated with a certain characteristic such as virtue of descent or geographical area.

The development of Hinduism in Bali is believed to have started around the 8th century with the discovery of numerous inscription fragments at Pejeng – one of them proving that Paksa (Sampradaya or Sekta) Siva Siddhanta grew up in Bali with the statue of Siva and the temple of Putra. Bhatara Desa in Bedahulu village, Gianyar. According to the Balinese people, the arrival of the people of the Majapahit kingdom marked the beginning of the spread of Hinduism in Bali.

However, several centuries before Majapahit, there was already a kingdom of Hindu culture in southern Bali, during the time of ancient Mataram, between 600 and 1000 AD. Pejeng and Bedulu as the center of the kingdom with the king of Warnadewa descendant. It is possible that this kingdom stems directly from the influence of Hindu traders, but it is also possible that this kingdom is due to the influence of Mataram.

Besides the arrival of Hinduism, there was also the discovery of relics showing the arrival of Mahayana Buddhism. It can be seen from clay stupas that have spread in southern Pejeng, Titiapi and Blahbatuh, Gianyar.

Although, in the end, Mahayana Buddhism was merged with Hinduism as it was inherited in Bali today. There are also sekta-sekta which developed in Bali around the 10th century which according to research are: iva Siddhanta, Pasupata, Bhairava, Vaisnava, Bodha (Soghata), Brahmana, Rsi, Sora (Surya) and Ganapatya.

However, some texts (lontar) found in Bali only mention 6 sekta, which includes Sambhu, Brahma, Indra, Bayu, Visnu and Kala.

From the 10th century to the 14th century, the development of Hinduism in Bali is very rapid, and the reign of King Astasura-ratnabhumibanten is conquered by the expedition of Majapahit under the leadership of Mahapatih Gajah Mada

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