Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hinduism in South East Asia

South East (Hindu) Asia


1) President Sukarno’s father used to read Koran on Fridays and Ramayan and Mahabharat the other days of the week. He liked Karna most because of his chivalry, courage and charity. He wanted his son to be as great as Karna but also he wanted his son to be on the side of dharma and so named him Sukarno.

2) When President Sukarno was blessed with a daughter, the weather was cloudy and so she was named Meghawati. Sukarno Putri Megawati is the present President of Indonesia.

3) When Sukarno was fighting for the freedom of his country against the Dutch regime, he was arrested and kept in solitary confinement in a remote island. When he lost all hopes of continuing the struggle, he read the powerful writings of Swami Vivekanand in Dutch language. That inspired him to continue the fight and he finally succeeded in liberating his country.

4) Once when Indonesia was plagued with internal problems and Sukarno could not find solutions and spent sleepless nights, he sent his Air Force plane to his Indian friend Bhagwandas ji in Surabaya to get a few inspiring books of Swami Vivekananda.

5) Many Indonesians bear Indian and Sanskrit names. Eg. Veera Hari Mohammed was a former Vice President, Karthikeya Mohammed is a Member of Parliament and one of the cousin brothers of President Magawati.

6) Many cities bear Sanskrit names, eg. The capital city is called Jayakarta the city of Victory, Yogya Karta, Sumatra, Bali, Madura,

7) Hindu empire Majapahit Samrajya and Buddhist empire Sri Vijay ruled Indonesia and parts of South East Asia for several centuries.

8) Ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples, destroyed by volcanic eruptions are being repaired and restored by present Indonesian government.

9) Nearly 3,000 students study different aspects of Hinduism in Bali Hindu University. This is the world’s largest Hindu university.

10) Bali Island has a population of 30 lakhs – 96% of them are Hindus. There are another 30 lakh Hindus in Java and other islands of Indonesia.

11) In Bali Hindus can change their casts by changing their profession. Thus in the same house on brother who teaches in the school is a Brahmin and another brother who runs a shop becomes a Vaishya. (In Bhagwad Gita in Chap IV Lord Krishna says – I have created the four casts based on ones work and attitude.)

12) Only a shudra can enter the inner Sanctum of a Hindu temple and clean that area. Hence many Hindus from other casts vie with each other to change their cast and do this holy job.

13) Bali Hindus fought bravely for 300 years to keep the Dutch and Islamic invaders away from their soil. This also is a unique chapter in Hindu history anywhere.

14) Bali Hindus celebrate the Hindu New Year on 14 April every year by observing complete silence and fast from sunrise to sun set. The entire island observes this ritual religiously. Many foreigners arrive in Bali around this period to watch this scene of mass meditation. (April 14 is the new year day in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab, Bengal and Thailand also)

15) World’s largest Bronze statue of Lord Vishnu seated on a Flying Garuda is being prepared in Bali. This will be larger than the statue of Liberty in USA. Several super markets and hotels will be built in the space below the wings of Garuda.

16) Dutch who ruled Indonesia for 150 years have noted that there was not a single theft in the entire Bali island which has a population of over 30 lakhs – all of them were then Hindus. This because they firmly believe in the Hindu concept of Karma theory of cause and effect. Thus the police, Judiciary and Jail departments have very little work.

17) Most houses in Bali do not have latches, since theft is unheard of.

18) Many Hindu shastras like Vedas, Bhagwat Gita, Manu Dharma Shastra have been translated into Bahasa Indonesia.

19) Indonesia National air lines is called Garuda. Many unversites are named like Saraswati, Udayan, Gajah Mada (Ganesha in Indonesian language).

20) Bank of Indonesia when faced with acute financial crisis in 1998 printed new 20,000 Rupiah notes that had an image of Lord Ganesh.

21) In the predominantly Muslim province of Java, most villages stage dances and dramas based on Ramayana and Mahabharata during weekend entertainments. Girls from high society compete with each other to play the roles of Sita Devi and Draupadi.

22) Indonesia once organized an International Conference on Ramayan. Many countries from around the world sent their Ramayana cultural troupes. Nehru government in India declined to send any artist in the name of secularism.

23) Indonesian Muslims are immensely proud of their Hindu heritage. When criticized by other Muslim nations, they defend their Hindu practices by proudly saying that we have changed our religion but not our ancestors.

24) Many of the aborigines in Sumetra Island have eating habits similar to South Indians. They use kadi patta and Tamarind which are the principle ingredients of Sambar. They also carry sir names like Pandian, Malabar etc.

25) There are about 50,000 Tamil Hindus in Medan, in North Sumetra. They were brought by the Dutch and British rulers about 150 years ago. They are mostly farmers and laborers. There are about 7,000 Indians mostly Sindhis in other cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, Samarang and Merdeka. They are very successful businessmen. Texmaco Group of Industries owned by Indian Srinivasan is one of the biggest industrial groups in Indonesia. Srinivasan is the son of Sri Mari Muthu, a daily wage earning laborer.


1) The original name of Thailand is Siam Desh, the land of Lord Vishnu. People are 95% Buddhists now and were once Hindus. Thailand is culturally closest to Bharat.

2) Thai language is based on Devnagari script. Same can be said of the scripts in Laos, Cambodia and one of the scripts of Japan.

3) The present rulers of Thailand belong to CHAKRI Dynasty. (from Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Vishnu)

4) The Chakri rulers are all addressed a s Rama. The present king is Rama IX and his name is His Royal Highness Atulya Tej, Rama IX.

5) Thai Princess Sirindhorn is a scholar in Sanskrit and has composed many Sanskrit poems.

6) Thailand New Year day falls on 14 April.

7) Hindus ruled parts of Thailand with Sukothai as their capital. Many ancient Hindu temples and idols have been unearthed.

8) Thai capital city Bangkok is called Krung Thep, the city of Devas.

9) Many cities bear Sanskrit names like, Kanchana Puri, Chandra Puri, Ayuthaya, Lavpuri, Nagar Pratham, Vishnu Lok, etc. Many Thais have Indian names like Sida Devi, Kanchana, Anand, Asok, Pramot, Narain,

10) The Thai Royal Priests are Brahmins who were sought from Kanchipuram some 1200 years ago. They still perform the rituals in the Royal palace including the coronation ceremony in traditional Brahminical way,.

11) Many ideal Hindu customs which we have lost in Bharat are still preserved in Thailand, eg. Royal Ploughing ceremony, boat races, Bhumi Pujan, not pointing ones feet towards elders, offering seats to ladies and elders in a busy bus or train, giving money or books with utmost respect, speaking in a low voice before elders, not exchanging money on Fridays, students kneeling down with respect in front of the teacher before entering the class rooms, worshiping river water with decorated floats with lamps etc.

12) Buddhist monks are highly respected and people are seen kneeling down before them even on streets. Every day early morning, monks are offered specially prepared food by the people who wait for them on the streets of Bangkok and every other city and village. Monks are always offered seats in buses and trains.

13) Thais eat with their hands and cremate their dead like Hindus. Their traditional medical system is based on Ayurveda.

14) Hindu Gods like Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Ganesh, Indra are very popular and worshipped in large numbers by Thai Buddhists. There are over 100 temples and shrines for Lord Brahma in Bangkok alone. The Erawan Brahma Temple on Rajdamri road in Bangkok is the richest temple visited daily by many Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese devotees. Many charity works are being undertaken from the income of this temple.

15) World’s largest Ramayan wall Painting is in the Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok. Ramakirti, the story of Rama was composed around 300 years ago and is taught to students in schools. Many Thais believe that Rama was born in Thailand and the Indians have adopted it later.

16) Rivers are addressed as Mother. The river that flows from Himalays through parts of Burma, China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam is called Maa Ganga, pronounced wrongly by French rulers as Mae Kong.

17) Sanskrit is taught in many Thai universities.

18) Ramayana and Mahabharata TV serials were dubbed in Thai language and shown on the national TV channel. Thais watched these with devotion.

19) Uma Devi Temple (Maha Mariamman Temple) on Silom road attracts large number of Thai and Chinese followers everyday and more so on Friday prayers. Over 100,000 devotees join the Rath Yatra on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami which starts at 6 O’clock in the evening and passing through busy streets of the city, returns at about 4 O’ clock in the morning next day. Hardly 100 devotees in this would be of Indian origin. The rest are Thais and Chinese followers.

20) Every Hindu temple is visited by large Thai devotees.

21) Thailand has over 80,000 Indians – Sikh and non-Sikh Punjabis, Sindhis, UPites, Gujaratis, Marwaris and South Indians. Many of them are very very rich industrialists and businessmen.

22) Most of the tall skyscraper buildings on either side of Sukhumvit road for some 5 KMs belong to Indians. Indians are among the best tax payers in Thailand.


1) Cambodia was ruled by Hindu kings from the beginning of Christian era until the 15th century. They remained a bulwark and prevented the Chinese from occupying South East Asia.

2) The world’s largest temple complex is called Wat Angkor. Built between 8th and 10th century AD by the Hindu kingdom. It is being repaired and restored by Indian engineers with the help of local government and UN.

3) Cambodians were engaged in a long drawn civil war in the seventies and the eighties. But as soon as war ended the new government started the Ramayana Dances, dramas and puppet shows to educate the people on Cambodian art and culture.


1) Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia are very rich in Sanskrit vocabulary; eg. Husband is called Swami, words like Sahodara, Sahodari, Guru, Siswa, shakti, bhakti are very common.

2) Ministers including Prime Minister take oath of office in the name of Urusan Seri Paduka Baginda meaning there by that they will rule on behalf of Sri Rama’s Paduka (just as Bharata ruled Ayodhya during Rama’s Vanavas)

3) One of the 9 sultans become President by mutual consent. President takes oath as Urusan Seri Paduka Dhuli which means he will rule the country on behalf of the dust of Sri Rama’s Paduka. Real Rama Rajya is seen here.

4) Malaysia has its own version of Ramayan. Many artists stage dance dramas on Ramayan and Mahabharat and one can see how emotionally overcome, they weep while narrating the tragedy that befell Sita Devi when she was abducted by Ravana.

5) Sultans are addressed as Raja Parameswara and their wives are addressed as Raja Parameswari. The second son of a sultan is referred as Lakshmana.

6) Some City names sound Indian eg. Padalinga Jaya, Sri Ramban. Many modern buildings have names such as Chaya Suria,

7) At Singapore airport the greeting sign says “Welcome to the city of Lion, Singha”

8) Brunei capital is called “Bandar Seri Bhagwan”

9) With an Indian population of 19 lakhs Malaysia has the largest population of People of Indian Origin (PIO), outside the Indian sub continent. Most of them are Tamils who migrated in the 19th century as indentured laborers. Dato Seri Samy Vellu is a very popular cabinet minister of Tamil origin.

10) Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose conducted military training camps in Malaysia and Singapore. Many Bal Saniks are still active in many social organizations.