Hinduism in Modern Indonesia: Between Local, National, and Global Interests

Hinduism in Modern Indonesia: Between Local, National, and Global Interests

Hinduism in Modern Indonesia: Between Local, National, and Global Interests

Hinduism in Modern Indonesia: Between Local, National, and Global Interests


This book provides new data and perspectives on the development of 'world religion' in post-colonial societies through an analysis of the development of 'Hinduism' in various parts of Indonesia from the early twentieth century to the present. This development has been largely driven by the religious and cultural policy of the Indonesian central government, although the process began during the colonial period as an indigenous response to the introduction of modernity.


Ngurah Nala

From the time of the early Hinduized kingdoms in Bali, i.e. from the ninth century, until Bali's integration into the Indonesian Republic, there was no formal religious education for the common people. Instead, they were socialized in the practices and values of their religious tradition in a way that can best be described as a kind of informal education that consisted of learning by doing. Numerous rituals have structured the daily life of the Balinese and have been highly effective in instilling religious, moral, and ethical values in people. Formal education in the Hindu religion, on the other hand, implies regular, systematic and continuous instruction which takes place either in a pasraman, an ashram, a school, or any other formal institution. the modern informal religious education known in Bali as dharma wacana ('religious discourse' consisting of a sermon and a subsequent discussion), the Hindu equivalent to the Muslim or Christian Friday or Sunday sermons, did not exist prior to the 1960s. But even then, the Balinese were not poorer in terms of śraddha (confidence) and bhakti (devotion) than the adherents of other religions. Since religion in Bali was and still is largely considered to be a way of life, it is very difficult to differentiate between tradition, culture, and religion as they form a unity.

As elsewhere, the rapid development of scientific knowledge and technology has affected people's awareness of what are called religious phenomena in Bali. Religious teachings and practices in the modern age cannot be approached and understood from merely a normative theological or a traditional, pragmatic perspective. People nowadays tend to favour a multi-dimensional approach to religious education. When the religious expressions of the Balinese, which traditionally were spiritual and deeply esoteric, eventually came to be modified and transformed by religious institutions that have tended to be bureaucratic in nature, a formal religious education was introduced that was perceived as being in line with the general socio-cultural and economic transformation called 'modernity'.

Modern religious education does not stop with the explanation of the vertical relationship between humankind and God. It also involves an elucidation of the horizontal relations between human beings (sociology) as well as of the values and rules that are supposed to govern them (philosophy, ethics). Furthermore, it teaches how to achieve a firm character and peace of mind (psychology). It even includes ethical instructions on how to have a successful professional career, how to attain

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