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Indonesia: Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of former president, performs Sudhi Wadani ceremony, formally converts to Hinduism from Islam

The rituals had begun on Monday (October 25) itself and concluded on Tuesday morning. The ceremony coincided with her 70th birthday. Prior to her conversion, she sought the blessings of her sister Megawati Soekarnoputri.

On Tuesday (October 26), Sukmawati Sukarnoputri performed the ‘Sudhi Wadani’ ceremony and formally re-converted to Hinduism from Islam. The ceremony took place at 9:30 am at the Bali Agung Singaraja at the Buleleng Regency in Singaraja city of Bali, the ancestral land of the family.

Sukarnoputri is the daughter of Indonesia’s founding president Sukarno and the third wife Fatmawati. She is also the sister of the 5th President of Indonesia Megawati Soekarnoputri. She was married to Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Arya Mangkunegara IX but got divorced in 1984.

The rituals had begun on Monday (October 25) itself and concluded on Tuesday morning. The ceremony coincided with her 70th birthday. Prior to her conversion, she sought the blessings of her sister Megawati Soekarnoputri. Sukmawati Sukarnoputri informed that it was hard to reach Megawati and as such, she wrote a letter to her. Her decision was also approved by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) General Chair. She said that religion was a private matter and the criticism of people did not matter.

Jro Made Arsana, who headed the Sudhi Wadana, had informed that no outsiders were invited and it was a close family affair. He added that Sukmawati Sukarnoputri had studied Hinduism and her conversion had been a long-standing process. The head of the Sukarno Center in Bali, Arya Wedakarna, has been entrusted by Sukmawati Sukarnoputri herself for the smooth conduct of the event. “Mrs. Sukmawati returned to Hinduism based on ancestral instructions, and based on a spiritual process,” he added.

Sukmawati’s decision to convert to Hinduism was influenced by her grandmother Ida Ayu Nyoman Rai Srimben, who hailed from Bali. She was supported by her brothers, Guntur Soekarnoputra, and Guruh Soekarnoputra, and sister Megawati Soekarnoputri. Even her children, namely, Muhammad Putra Perwira Utama, Prince Haryo Paundrajarna Sumautra Jiwanegara, and Gusti Raden Ayu Putri Siniwati had accepted her decision.

What is Sudhi Wadani ceremony?

Reportedly, Sudhi Wadani is a ceremony during which an individual professes allegiance to Hinduism and performs self-purification. In order to partake in the ceremony, an individual must adhere to the religious tenets of Hinduism and complete legal obligations. The latter involves signing on a stamped paper, reiterating that the conversion was wilful and not coerced. letter to adhere to Hinduism without coercion which is signed on stamped paper.

Gates of the Sukarno Heritage Area, image via CNN Indonesia

Prior to that, those interested to embrace Hinduism must write an application to the local Parisadha Hindu Dharma Indonesia and submit a photo and a photocopy of their ID card. For the Sudhi Wadani ceremony, witnesses must be present at the time of the event. There is no set age limit for interested individuals, as it is believed to be a ceremony of inner and outer purification. On officially converting to Hinduism, such individuals are required to carry out all teachings.

Prophecy of end of Islam in Indonesia

Sukmawati is one of the high-profile people in the country who has disavowed her allegiance to Islam and embrace Hinduism. Many Hindus believe that it is the beginning of the prophecy made by mystic Hindu priest Sabdapalon in 1478. He had cursed King Brawijaya V for converting to Islam. He had owed to return after 500 years at the time of natural disaster and political corruption. The mystic priest predicted to free the archipelago from the clutches of Islam and restore the glory of the Hindu Javanese religion.

He had predicted, “My lord, you need to understand, if you turn to Islam, your offspring would be damned, and the Jawi (the persons who understand the Javanese kawruh) will leave Java (or losing his Javanese-ness) and the Javanese will have to follow other nations. But one day, the world will be led by a Javanese (Jawi) who understands.” Prior to parting, Sabdapalon warned, “After 500 years from now I will return and restore spirituality all around Java. Those who refuse will be diminished, they will be food for the demons, I won’t be satisfied until they are all shattered.”

While warning the people of Indonesia about his resurrection, he added, “When Mount Merapi erupts and its lava and ashes fall to the South-West with a terrible smell, that is the signal that I will be coming soon.” Interstingly, in 1978, the construction of modern Hindu temples were completed on the island nation. Many Muslims reconverted to Hinduism and at that time, Mt. Semeru had erupted too. The Hindus believed it to be the prophecies of Sabdapalon turning true.

 

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