As we know that the influence of Indian culture caused a big change in Indonesian culture. With the writings, in Indonesia there began to be records of important events in a kingdom’s territory. Thus, since then the Indonesian nation has entered the era of history. The period of influence of Hindu culture is called the Indonesian Hindu period. The Indonesian Hindu period lasted from the appearance of the first written records until around 1500 AD when the fall of the Majapahit Kingdom was. The Indonesian Hindu period is also called the ancient era.
Hindu Buddhist religion and culture entered Indonesia through trade contacts. At first, the Indians were active in the trade. According to Claudius Ptolomeus (Greece), this was driven by Indonesia’s wealth of gold, silver, cloves, and pepper which attracted foreign traders. This trade relationship has been going on since around the 5th century AD.
Especially regarding the spread of Hinduism as a religion is explained through many theories.
- Brahmin theory This theory was put forward by Van Leur who argued that Hinduism was brought into Indonesia by priests. This theory has a weakness, namely, in India, there is a rule that Brahmins are not allowed to leave the country. So, it is impossible for them to broadcast religion to Indonesia.
- Knight theory This theory was put forward by Majumdar, Moekrji, and Nehru. They argue that Hinduism entered Indonesia brought by soldiers who carried out expansion. Therefore, this theory is often called the theory of colonization. The weakness of this theory is that there is no historical evidence showing that Indonesia was ever conquered by India.
- Vaisya theory This theory was put forward by Krom who said that Hinduism entered Indonesia brought by traders, considering that since 500 BC, the archipelago had become a trade route between India and China. It was during this trading journey that it was estimated that the Indian traders would stop in Indonesia and spread Hinduism.
- Sudra theory This theory was put forward by many people. The point is that Hinduism was brought by the Sudras who came to the archipelago to improve their fate
- National theory This theory was put forward by F.D.K. Bosch, who said that in the process of spreading Hinduism, the Indonesian people played a very active role. After being crowned as a Hindu, they then actively spread Hinduism and all its activities. This opinion is based on the findings of the existence of elements of Indian culture in Indonesian culture. According to him, at that time a group of scholars called “Clerks” had been formed. The acculturation process between Indonesian and Indian cultures is called the fertilization process. The things that the Brahmins in Indonesia did in the context of Hinduism, among others,
- Abhisheka, namely the coronation ceremony of the king,
- Vratyastoma, namely self-washing ceremony (giving caste),
- Kulapanjika, namely giving the genealogy of the king, and d. Castra, which is how to make spells.
- Backflow theory
According to this theory, the Indonesian people do not only receive religious knowledge from foreigners who come. They are also active in seeking religious knowledge in other countries and spreading it after returning to their hometowns. The theory regarding the development of Indian Hindu Buddhist culture in Asia, especially in the archipelago, is as follows.
- The kingdom of Kalinga in India in the 3rd century was conquered by King Ashoka of Arya so many of its citizens migrated to Indonesia.
- The invasion (control) of the Khusana tribe into Indonesia caused many of its citizens to migrate to Indonesia.
- Coedes argues that the contact of Hinduism to the Archipelago occurred because of the prohibition on seeking gold in Siberia by Emperor Vespasian. Therefore, Indian traders looking for gold to Swarnadwipa (Sumatra)
Evidence of the influence of Hindu Buddhist in Indonesia is as follows.
- There are Buddha statues in the style of Amaravati (South Indian style) in Sempaga, South Sulawesi, and Jember. The statue in Sempaga is the oldest. In addition, Gandhara-style statues (North India) were also found at Siguntang Hill (South Sumatra) and Kota Bangun, Kutai.
- There are inscriptions written in Pallava and in Sanskrit in Kutai and Tarumanegara.
- There are Hindus and Buddhists in Indonesia.
- The development of sculpture in Indonesia.
- The use of the term warman as a king’s name as in India.
- The emergence of Hindu Buddhist-style kingdoms.
- The use of Sanskrit and Pallawa writings in people’s lives.
- The existence of a monarchy system.
- The existence of Hindu-style literary books