stutterheim hinduism

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´In Southeast Asia Hinduism has alwa ys ´In Southeast Asia Hinduism has alwa ys been and still is the cultur e of the upper been and still is the cultur e of the upper classes but never become complete that classes but never become complete that of masses«µ discuss this statement of of masses«µ discuss this statement of W.F. W.F. Stutterheim Stutterheim based on the based on the development of Hinduism in Southeast development of Hinduism in Southeast Asia from 1 Asia from 1 st st to 13 to 13 th th century. century.

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´In Southeast Asia Hinduism has always´In Southeast Asia Hinduism has alwaysbeen and still is the culture of the upperbeen and still is the culture of the upper

classes but never become complete thatclasses but never become complete that

of masses«µ discuss this statement of of masses«µ discuss this statement of W.F.W.F. StutterheimStutterheim based on thebased on the

development of Hinduism in Southeastdevelopment of Hinduism in Southeast

Asia from 1Asia from 1stst to 13to 13thth century.century.

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IntroductionIntroduction´The Indianization process witnessed the adoption of concepts andideologies by the indigenous elite in sustaining and expanding theirpower over lands and peoples.µ

- Ooi Keat Gin

Stutterheim·s statement actually referred to the contemporary Bali,but it is often argued that, Hinduism practiced in Southeast Asiaduring its Indianized period was more often restricted to the rulingclass, the nobility and the elites, while the lower class, especially thepeasants were less affected by the ideals and thinking of the Hinduworld.

To understand the religious situation of both the upper class and themasses, one needs to consult local epigraphic and archeologicalevidence, as well as foreign (especially Chinese) records.

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Defining HinduismDefining Hinduism

- The term ¶Hindu· and ¶Hinduism· arerelatively modern inventions, there is nosuch word as ¶Hindu· in the entire Vedicliterature.

- The modern word ¶Hinduism· includes anumbers of different beliefs.

- For the sake of convenience, the term¶Hinduism· will be defined as ¶traditions(especially Saiva and Vaisnava), myths,religio-political institutions, rituals andideas originated in Indian soil, minusthose of Jainism and Buddhism·.

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IndianizationIndianization of Southeast Asiaof Southeast Asia- Earlier scholars like R.C. Majumdar proposed Indian colonization of 

Southeast Asia, where Indians, either Brahmin or Ksatriya were chief elements of the spreading Indian religions on the local population.This theory is now not accepted by most of the scholars.

- Paul Michel Munoz summarized the two main possibilities for the

diffusions of Indian culture in SoutheastAsia:

i) Austronesian sailors and traders had been in contact with Indiasince mid-1st millenium B.C.E, these merchants brought back bothIndian products and religions.

ii) Indian traders, monks and Brahmins migrated individually or insmall groups to Southeast Asia until 7th century C.E., someintermarried with the locals, further spreading Indian religions in theregion.

- It is likely that the local chiefs of Southeast Asia, or Men of Prowess

as called by Wolters, adopted Indian customs and religions

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- Funan was an Indianized kingdom existedbetween the 3rd to 7th centuries C.E., centeredon the lower Mekong delta.

- According to Chinese records, a foreigner by

the name of Huntian, usually identified as theSanskrit name Kaundinya who defeated theFunanese queen Liu Ye, and was supposedlyresponsible for spreading Hinduism in Funan.

- However, recently Michael Vickery disputedthis and suspected Huntian might not be atranscription of the Sanskrit name Kaundinya,but of an unknown Austranesian name. Inanother word, Huntian might came from Malaypeninsular as suggested by Cdès.

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- Chinese records mentioned that in the 5th

century there was a king, who was originally anIndian Brahmin named Kaundinya Jayavarman,imposed Indian laws for the first time. The

Funanese diplomat, a Buddhist monk namedNagasena, told the Chinese that the main deityof Funan was Mahesvara, proving that at least theroyal household was Saivite, with strongMahayana Buddhist influence. In fact, Mandra, aFunanese Buddhist monk, translated Buddhistscriptures from Sanskrit to Chinese.

- However, Chinese text also mentioned that ´It istheir custom to worship the heavenly gods. Thestatues of the gods are made from bronze, withtwo faces and four arms, or four faces and eightarms. Each hand is holding something - a child, ora bird or beast, or a sun or moon (

)µ. Thestatues here were mostly those of Siva, Visnu orHarihara. The Chinese word means somethingthat is customary and common, this mightindicate that while the royalty and the nobilitypatronized Sivaite cult or Mahayana Buddhism,the masses might be involved in the worship of the Hindu gods as well.

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ZhenlaZhenla ((ChenlaChenla))- Zhenla state of Cambodia was first

mentioned in the Book of Sui as anIndianized kingdom, in the 6th cenutywhere the kings patronized Saivite cultand worshipped Bhadresvara (an aspectof Siva) in a mountain called Lingaparvata

and practiced human sacrifice. Thisseems to indicate the pre-angkorianCambodia royalty already practiced aform of Tantric Saivism. O.W. Walternoted that by the 7th century, based oninscriptions found, Saivite devotionalism

was wide spread among the élites. Lingasand Saivite statues were erected., andasceticism was valued. This devotionalismwas greatly tied with politics, where theruler·s soul (atman) was seen as havingthe closest relationship with Siva.

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y The inscriptions from pre-Angkorian Cambodia

show that while many royalties and élites hadelaborate Sanskrit names, thus possiblestronger influences, the names of the slavesusually were in Khmer and had ratherpejorative meanings, like the name of a femaleslave was ´she-who-eats-penisµ. The non-Sanskritic names might imply lesser degree of 

Hindu influence among the lower classes.

y However, the Book of Sui implied there wasstill certain degree of Hinduism on the peopleof  Zhenla. They honoured both Buddhistmonks, and ¶priests·, presumably Saivitepriests. It is also mentioned that the peoplechanted mantras and prayers while cleaningtheir teeth. It was also recorded that in afuneral, both Buddhists monks and ¶priests·were presence. In a temple, one could see bothstatues of the Buddha and the Hindu gods.

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AngkorianAngkorian CambodiaCambodia- The kingdom of Angkor was founded by Jayavarman II,who according to the Sdok Kak Thom inscription, came

from Java to the city of Indrapura in Cambodia.

- Jayavarman II was a Sivaite, and initiated the devaraja cult,the worship of a Sivaite image, which gave him thelegitimacy to be independent of Java and rule as a

Cakravartin, the Universal Lord. The Sdok Kak Thominscriptions mentioned several Sivagamasastras, hintedthat the devaraja cult was Tantric in nature.

- The spread of Saivism in Cambodia might be closelyrelated to that of the Hindu currents in India. Forinstance, Shankara, the great 8th century Advaita

philosopher, was mentioned in an inscription found inCambodia. Hermann Kulke suspects that the activitiesof the Vaisnavite reformer Ramanuja might be directly orindirectly influenced the decline of Saivism in Cambodiaduring the 12th centuries, where Suryavarman II adoptedVaisnavism as the official religion, and later Jayavarman VIIbecame a Mahayana Buddhist.

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- Hinduism practiced in Angkorian Cambodiawas closely tied with politics. It is true thatHinduism had a very strong influence inupper classes, but little is known about the

religion of the masses.

- Reports of the 13th century Chinesediplomat Zhou Daguan mentioned thatamong the religious clerics, there were

Pandita, Chao Kru (Thai title for Buddhistmonk) and the Tapasvin who worshippedthe lingas. Zhou noted that Panditabelonged to the upper classes, while theBuddhism seemed to be very commonamong the masses. Zhou also mentionedthat the Sivaite Tapasvins were much lesser

in numbers, and their temples were smallerthan the Buddhist ones, this possiblyreflecting stronger Hindu influence on theélites, while under Thai influence thecommoners adopted Theravada Buddhism,as well as the decline of Saivism in 13th

century Cambodia.

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LinyiLinyi- Chinese sources mentioned that Linyi, a

precursor of Champa neighboring toFunan already used Indic writing systemin the 3rd century, indicating thepresence of Indianization. Later Chineseannals mentioned that the kings of Linyi

ordered statues of gold and silver to becrafted, perhaps statues of Hindu gods.Brahmins were highly regarded in Linyi,and every marriage in Linyi wasconducted by a Brahmin.

- Chinese records mentioned that thepeople of Linyi worshipped the Buddha,but it is unclear if the people were reallyBuddhists, or the Chinese mistook thestatues of Hindu gods as the statues of Buddha.

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ChampaChampa- The name ¶Champa· appeared in the 7th century in

Cham and Khmer inscriptions. Champa reached itspeak from 7th to 10th centuries.

- Various inscriptions show that the main religion of the kings of Champa was Saivism, where MahesvaraBhadresvara was worshipped. Some survivingSanskrit inscriptions, contain some brief descriptions

of Hindu theology, for instance the My Son StelaeInscription of Vikrantavarman mentioned the bhaktidevotion to Siva, and Glai Lamov Stelae inscriptionof Indravarman I describes the deeds of the godSankara-Narayana. Esoteric Buddhism was alsoadopted by some kings of Champa, as indicated inthe An Thai Stelae Inscription. The Po-NagarInscription of Indravarman III stated thatIndravarman III was familiar with ´six systems of philosophyµ, including Mimamsa and Buddhistphilosophy and Sanskrit grammar. All theseinscriptions show that the people responsible of theinscriptions, i.e. the kings, were indeed heavilyinfluence by Hinduism.

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- But did Hinduism only influenced the upper classes and

not the lower classes? Chinese sources mentioned very

little about religions in Champa. Sanskrit and Cham

inscriptions rarely mentioned the religion of the lowerclasses. In the 15th century, Fei Xin, a Muslim Chinese

translator of  Zheng He (Cheng Ho). mentioned that

Chams in Panduranga practiced animal sacrifice in

temples to prevent being harassed by evil spirits, but

did not mention the presence of any Hindu elements.

It is likely that Hinduism was in decline even before thefall of Vijaya in 1471.Throughout the history of Champa

Hinduism had strong influence in the upper classes, but

much less influence in the lower classes.

- Hinduism is only remembered very vaguely after the fall

of Vijaya. The story of Ramayana survives in a taleknown as Pram Dit Pram Lak, and the Brahmanical

Indra is remembered as Yan In, but these stories

different vastly from the original India forms. The

goddess Po Nagar is still worshipped, but the legends of 

her Indianized counterpart Bhagavati has long been


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 Java Java- Java was mentioned in Ramayana as Yavadvipa, ´the Island

of Yavaµ, proving a very early contact between Java andIndia. It is likely that Hinduism was adopted by the localchiefs as a way to legitimize their rule. Kingdomsadopting Hinduism in the Indonesian archipelago startedfrom the kingdom of Kutei in Kalimantan in the 4th

century. From the 4th to 7th centuries, the Kingdom of Tarumanagara was established, in Java where Saivism was

adopted. From the 9th

century, the Hindu MataramKingdom based in Central Java became a dominant powerin the archipelago. Other Hindu kingdoms like Kediri andSinghasari existed from 11th to 13th centuries. From the13th to 16th centuries, the kingdom Majapahit becamedominant, building the largest empire in SoutheastAsia.

- Throughout the history of the island of Java, the Saiviteform of Hinduism was patronized by kings, but at timescertain kings or dynasties might adopted other religions,like esoteric Buddhism (by the Sailendra) and Vaisnavism(by King Airlangga in the 11th century) . Hindu arts andliteratures flourished throughout the Indianized period of  Java, monuments like the temples in the Dieng Plateau andthe Prambanan temple complex were built, and literary

works in Javanese like Arjunawiwaha were produced.

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- The worship of Siva and associated deities show fewdeviations from the Indian traditions. However,Stutterheim believes that the deceased kings were

worshipped as Hindu-Buddhist gods in the candis(temples), connecting Hindu-Buddhist cults withancestral worship. Elements of Austronesian beliefspersisted in the Hindu-Buddhist periods, for instancethe worship of crocodiles, mountains and rivers.Sometimes the deities of the indigenous gods mightbe Sanskritized, like the god Haricandana.

- Little is known about the religion of the masses, butsince Hinduism was strongly associated with kingshipin ancient Java, we can safely assume that althoughthe masses might be familiar with certain Hinduaspects, but their religion would probably beindigenous beliefs with Hindu elements. Scheltemastated that, ´The Sivaite rites play an important part

in the religious ceremony of the upper classes. Thecommon people have adopted a sort of pantheismwhich makes them sacrifice in the family circle tobenevolent and malevolent spirits of land and water,domiciled in the sea, rivers, hills, valleys, cemetries,etc.µ

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BaliBali- Bali might be Indianized in the 8th century.

Mahayana Buddhism and Saivism wereestablished in the island. Some of the kingsadopted Vaisnava, like Airlangga who becamethe ruler of both Java and Bali. The currentform of Hinduism in Bali was greatlyinfluenced by the Saivism practiced inMajapahit from the 14th to the 16th


- The situation of Hinduism practiced in Balimust be similar with that in Java statedpreviously, where the upper classespracticed a form of Saivism, and the lower

classes were (and still are) more involved innatural spirits worship. However, Hinduismhad been fused with this spirits worship,where major Hindu deities are associatedwith natural forces, for instance, Brahma isseen as the god of fire, Wisnu as the god of water, and Dewi Sri as the goddess of rice.

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- Most evidences like architecture and epigraphicremains were left by the élites, who knew how toread and write. This provides us a bias look at thehistory of classical Southeast Asia, for the commonpeople were mostly illiterate and did not leave us

much evidence of their religions.

- However, we can safely assume that Stutterheim·sstatement is correct, and could be applied to thereligious situation of Southeast Asia from the 1st to

the 13th centuries, based on little evidences that wehave, as well as comparing the situations of survivingHindu cultures in today·s Chams and Balinesecommunities.

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´The courts and the literati accepted agreat deal of ¶Indianization·, but probablyno more than they understood or believedlikely to be to their own advantage.¶Indianization· set them apart from thebulk of the population, and increased theirprestige and authority.´

- Charnvit Kasetsiri

- It cannot be deny the possibility that someof the upper classes adopted Hinduism forthe sake of legitimacy, while others mightgenuinely seek for spiritual salvation andliberation.

- For the masses, other than lack of necessity to adopt Hinduism like the upperclasses, but hindered by illiteracy and lack of the mean of communication, receivedless influences of Hinduism. However,Hinduism did left some impacts on themasses in the folk beliefs, arts and

literature,which are still visible today.