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As daughter of first Indonesian president converts to Hinduism, read how a Hindu priest had prophesised that glory of Hinduism will return to the country

After King Brawijaya V of the Majapahit Empire in present-day Indonesia converted to Islam in 1478, Hindu priest Sabdapalon had cursed him and said that he will come back after 500 years to restore the glory of Hinduism

On October 26th this year, Sukmawati Sukarnoputri will formally convert to Hinduism from Islam in Singaraja city of Bali in Indonesia. Sukarnoputri is the daughter of Indonesia’s founding president Sukarno and his third wife Fatmawati. She is also the sister of the 5th President of Indonesia Megawati Soekarnoputri. This makes Sukmawati one of the high-profile people in the country who is set to disavow her allegiance to Islam and embrace Hinduism.

Her decision to convert to Hinduism is influenced by her grandmother Ida Ayu Nyoman Rai Srimben, who hailed from Bali. Sukarnoputri had earlier attended several Hindu ceremonies and held talks with religious heads in Hinduism. Her decision to convert found the support of 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 have accepted her decision.

Notification by Sukarno Centre in Bali announcing the conversion

Today, Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority country in the world. At one time, Hinduism held a strong influence on the island nation. It spread to the islands of Java and Sumatra at the start of the 1st century AD and prospered until the 15th century. However, Hinduism diminished after the arrival of Islam, making Hindus a minority in the country which soon became Muslim-dominated. Today, the Hindus of Indonesia continue to believe in the prophecies of their ancestors, particularly, King Jayabaya and priest Sabdapalon.

The Propehcies of the Hindu priest Sabdapalon

Sabdapalon was a mystic priest in the Court of King Brawijaya V of the Majapahit Empire, the most powerful empire of Indonesia. When the kingdom fell to Islamic influences and Brawijaya V converted to Islam in 1478, Sabdapalon cursed the King. He vowed 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.

As per Kalpavrisha, Sabdapalon had said, “I am the servant of the Queen and all of the Dang Hyang (devas and spirits) in the land of Java. Starting from the first ancestor of your majesty, the Wiku Manumanasa, Sakutrem and Bambang Sakri, from generation to generation until today, a servant of the Javanese kings. For 2,000 years until now, nothing had changed in their religion. I was here to serve the descendants of the Javanese kings. This is where we part. I am returning to my origins. However, please our king be reminded, that after 500 years I will restore the Buda religion to all of Java.”

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.

The Prophecies of King Jayabhaya

Jayabhaya was the ruler of the Kindom of Kediri from 1135 to 1157 CE and brought immense prosperity to the East java kingdom. A prophetic Hindu king, Jayabhaya was regarded as ‘ratu adil’ (just king). He maintained social order on the island at a time when it was going through a period of conflict. His predictions hold cultural significance even today in modern-day Indonesia. Jayabhaya also supported Hindu literature and patronised poets as Empu Panuluh and Empu Sedah.

During his reign, people in Java believed that the Hindu ruler was a reincarnation of God Vishnu. Jayabhaya also tried to legitimise the claims that he descended from one of the Hindu gods. According to various historical texts, the Hindu king was hailed as the great-great-grandson of God Brahma. Jayabhaya wrote ‘prophetic stanzas’, which came to be known as ‘Serat Jayabhaya.’ It was passed on generations through the oral recitations and the oldest written copy was finally translated in 1835.

One of his famous predictions was the colonisation of Javanese people by white people for a long time. Interestingly, Java was occupied by the Dutch in 1595, about 400 years after his death. Jayabhaya had also prophesied that ‘yellow-skinned men’ would take control of the archipelago from the white-skinned men. It turned out to be true when the Japanese invaded Indonesia during the 2nd World War and ended the colonisation of the Dutch. The Hindu ruler had predicted that the yellow men would rule them shorter than the lifespan of a corn stalk. Although this prophecy turned out to be false, the other two, coupled with the belief that he is a reincarnation of God Vishnu cemented the legacy of Jayabhaya forever.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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