From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Religion and culture was proliferating to the various islands of South East Asia from the first century CE. Some of the kings of South India who were defeated by their rivals, migrated to the islands like Jāva and established their own kingdoms there. Jāva was known as Yavadvīpa. It existed probably from the 10th century CE. It was the home of well-known dynasties of kings like Śrīvijaya Rāja.

The work Ajiśaka states that during the 1st century CE, twenty thousand people migrated from Kaliṅga (Orissa, India) and settled in the island of Jāva. A very large number of scriptural works in Sanskrit, except the Vedas, written in the Kawi script have been discovered here.

Śaivism made its first appearance in Jāva around 4th century CE. The oldest idol of Gaṇeśa has been found on the Dieng plateau, but the idol found near Borobudur is considered to be the finest.

Scriptures Found in Jāva[edit]

Many scriptures are accounted to this region. The works recovered from there have been mentioned below.


Purāṇas are the mythological works. The purāṇas found there are:

  1. Brahmāndapurāṇa
  2. Viṣṇupurāna


Rituals and modes of worship have been mentioned in Mantraśāstra. The sections found here include :

  • Suryasevana - pujā of Siva and Āditya
  • Several mantras connected with ritualistic worship
  • Mṛtyuñjaya mantra
  • Gāyatrī mantra
  • Hymns like Visnustava


Nītiśāstra denotes the ethics subscribed for a person to lead life. Nītiśāstra found in Jāva include:


It deals with the social sciences. The versions found there include:

  • Śivaśāsana
  • Kutāra Mānavāgama
  • Devāgama
  • Svarajambu


Vyākaraṇa means the grammar. The modules found there include:

  • Ādisvara
  • Amaramālā
  • Vrttasañcaya


  • Apart from these there is the famous Rāmāyana Kakawin in old Javanese.
  • Works on medicines, astrology, stories, literary classics and history have also been found.
  • The Rāmakavaca of 22 verses in Sanskrit was recovered there and appears to be quite popular even now.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore