INDONESIA ( SERIES -15 )
BUDDHISM IN SUMATRA
Since the beginning , the HINDU kings ruled over SUMATRA . After SHAILENDRA DYNASTY , MALAYU DYNASTY came into power in SUMATRA . ADITYAVARMAN was one of the famous rulers of this Dynasty . But after the decline of the SHAILENDRA DYNASTY , the Empire of SUMATRA was divided into eight small states . The ITALIAN traveler , MARKO POLO, has described about this in his travel accounts in a very vivid manner . He has written that the people of these islands considered KUBLAI KHAN , THE MONGOL EMPEROR as their Emperor . And since that time ISLAM had started spreading in SUMATRA . By the middle of thirteenth century the HINDU Kingdom , thus , came to an end . However , it is clear from the copper plate found in NALANDA , BIHAR (INDIA) of the period of DEVPALA of the PALA DYNASTY of BENGAL (INDIA) that SHAILENDRA Emperors were the followers of MAHAYANA Sects of BUDDHISM . From Inscriptions found in JAVA , it becomes clear that a Prince from KASHMIR (INDIA) visited JAVA and propagated BUDDHISM there . However , no such evidence is found about SUMATRA which could show how BUDDHISM spread over there . But historians on the subject are of the opinion that BUDDHISM came to SUMATRA from JAVA only . A BUDDHIST scholar from TIBET states that a BUDDHIST MONK known as DIPANKAR (ATISHA) (980- 1053 AD) came to SUMATRA and propagated BUDDHISM by destroying native TANTRIC religion as such . An INDIAN scholar known as SHARAT CHANDA DAS in his book in HINDI language TIBET ME BHARTIYA PANDIT has stated that BUDDHIST MONK DIPANKAR stayed there in SUVARNADVIPA (SUMATRA) for twelve years and not only propagated BUDDHISM there but also he learned many things about BUDDHISM from another great BUDDHIST MONK called DHARMAKIRTY . And he came back to INDIA through SRI LANKA . A king of SHAILENDRA DYNASTY is said to have built a grand temple of the Goddess TARA . According to a DUTCH scholar like Dr. STATARHIM , since the time of marriage of a king of the SHAILENDRA DYNASTY with the daughter of DHARAMPALA of the PALA DYNASTY of BENGAL (INDIA) , MAHAYANA BUDDHISM spread in SUMATRA . To him , DHARAMPALA was both— the father-in-law and the GURU ( PREACHER ) of the King of SHAILENDRA DYNASTY . So , historians unanimously accept this fact that the MAHAYANA BUDDHISM and TANTRIC RELIGION both spread in SUMATRA from BENGAL . They also believe that VAJRAYAN sect of BUDDHISM had been present in SUMATRA since 684 AD . And the world famous BUDDHIST STUPA in BOROBADUR was built by cutting a big rock by the Rulers of the SHAILENDRA DYNASTY .
TANTRIC RELIGION IN SUMATRA
As we all know that after SHAILENDRA DYNASTY , MALAYU DYNASTY ruled over SUMATRA . ADITYAVARMAN one of the famous kings of MALAYU DYNASTY , who ruled from 1347 AD to 1375 AD over SUMATRA , was the follower of the TANTRIC BUDDHIST religion . Four famous Inscriptions found during the period of King ADITYAVARMAN give invaluable information regarding his rule in SUMATRA . The first Inscription behind the deity of MANJUSRI gives information that though he followed the TANTRIC sect of BUDDHISM , yet he was not a very rigid follower as such . MANJUSHRI is a BODHISATTVA associated with PRAJNA ( WISDOM ) in MAHAYANA Sect of BUDDHISM . It is said that a Saint from the BHAIRAVA SECT had propagated the worship of the deity of MANJUSRI . In the second Inscription , there are deities of MATANGI NISSA and TARA . MATANGI and TARA are the Goddesses who are also worshiped by both— the HINDUS and MAHAYANA BUDDHISTS . In the third Inscription , the consecration of the King has been described . And in the fourth Inscription of KUVUR state , there is description about the funeral rites of the King ADITYAVARMAN . In this Inscription he has been called as LOKESHWARA . In the development of the TANTRIC (sect) religion in SUMATRA , one can see both — BUDDHIST and SHAIV were intermingled . Historians unanimously believe that TANTRIC SECT OF BUDDHISM had come to SUMATRA from BENGAL (INDIA) only .
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE PEOPLE’S OF SUMATRA
ARAB Marchants in their travel accounts have written that the society in SUMATRA was quite similar to that of INDIA . The name of the most important mountain of SUMATRA was INDRAPURA . Like the name of INDIAN city , there was an island known as MADURA near SUMATRA . The name of the kings of SHAILENDRA DYNASTY were quite similar to that of names prevailing in INDIA . Like in the court of INDIAN Kings , there used to be officials like SACHIV (SECRETARY) , SENAPATI ( COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF ) and RAJGURU (KING’S GURU) . Like in INDIA , the HINDU Calander known as SHAKA SAMVAT was also prevailing in SUMATRA . Like HINDU months , there prevailed similar name of months , days and LAGNA ( A DIVISION OF THE INDIAN MONTHS ) in SUMATRA . INDIAN astrology was known to the people of SUMATRA . As the kings of SHAILENDRA DYNASTY were the followers of MAHAYANA BUDDHISM , their greatest priglimage place was GAYA , BIHAR (INDIA) where LORD BUDDHA got enlightenment as such . TANTRIC religion including SHAVISM were also prevailing before BUDDHISM in SUMATRA . Before PORTUGUESE came to SUMATRA , in some parts of SUMATRA there were some small HINDU Kingdoms as we see uses of SANSKRIT language on the Inscriptions of KUVUR STATE of SUMATRA . However they were not correctly used as they were used under the influence of the old languages of SUMATRA . Similarly , influences of SOUTH INDIAN languages could also be seen on such Inscriptions found in the Island of SUMATRA . Moreover, at many places uses of MALAYAN language could also be seen . But on the Inscription of PASIR PANJAG three lines were clearly written in the DEVENAGARI SCRIPTS ( SCRIPTS OF HINDI LANGUAGE ) out of which two were quite clear and they were as follows : 1. MAHAYANIK ; and 2. GAUTAM SRIPADA . The influence of the INDIAN EPICS like RAMAYANA and MAHABHARATAS on the society of SUMATRA was total . Perhaps they reached there from JAVA . Similarly , like ARYAN traditions , husband and wife— both used to take part in the religious ceremony . So , these similarities show how close were these two Ancient Civilizations . Culturally, SUMATRA had been quite closer to that of INDIA since long .
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NOTE : THE SOURCES OF THE BLOG ARE TEXT BOOKS AND OTHER WRITTEN MATERIALS ON THE SUBJECT .
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8 thoughts on “THE WORLD CIVILIZATIONS AND INDIA , PART-82”
Very informative and eye-opening. My regards
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Fascinating civilizations ! Thank you for the information. Have a nice Sunday !
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Another fascinating post about religion and civilization in Sumatra❣️
Thank you, as always, for sharing such a well researched article
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Thanks for your efforts.
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