Bhinneka Tunggal Ika: The Meaning, Significance, Principles and Examples of Their Experience

History of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika – The Indonesian Nation and its diversity in terms of religion, skin color, ethnicity, language, which then makes it a plural and sovereign nation. This can be seen from the moments leading up to independence, almost all of the nation’s children who were members of various tribes also fought for independence.

The national leaders themselves then realized the challenges they had to face because of this diversity. This diversity then becomes a reality that cannot be avoided. Diversity as an essence of reality that already exists in the nation, while Singleness is a national ideal.

A. The Meaning and Meaning of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika

Literally the word Bhinneka Tunggal Ika comes from Old Javanese. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika has different meanings but still one. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is the national motto of Indonesia and is written in the Garuda Pancasila symbol.

The concept of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika itself is taken from the book Sutasoma written by Mpu Tantular , who lived during the Majapahit Kingdom around the 14th century AD.

Etymologically, the words Bhinneka Tunggal Ika come from Old Javanese which, if divided into Bhinneka , means variety or variety, Tunggal is one, and Ika is that.

So that the meaning of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is different but still one. It means, with the soul and spirit of the Indonesian people, they acknowledge the reality of a pluralistic nation (ethnicity, language, religion, race, class, etc.) but still upholds unity.

I Nyoman Pursika (2009) in the journal Analytic Study of the motto “Unity in Diversity ” states that Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is a reflection of the balance between the reflections of the balance between the elements of difference which characterize diversity and the element of similarity which characterizes unity .

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika firmly defines harmony between diversity and singleness, between diversity and uniqueness, between diversity and unity, between many things and one thing, or between pluralism and monism.

Initially Bhinneka Tunggal Ika was used to express the spirit of religious tolerance between Hinduism and Buddhism. After being made the motto of the Indonesian nation, the context of “Bhinneka” or its differences has become wider, not only different religions but also ethnicity, language, race, class, culture, customs can even be drawn into differences in a smaller scope such as differences of opinion, thoughts /ideas, likes, hobbies.

Bhineka Tunggal Ika is one of the four pillars of nationalism, apart from Pancasila. The 1945 Constitution, NKRI is a value that must be instilled in every Indonesian citizen which is discussed in the Pancasila book.

So, if there are differences in support for football clubs, don’t fight, OK?

B. A Brief History of Unity in Diversity

In the beginning, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika was a motto that showed the spirit of religious tolerance, especially
between Hinduism and Buddhism.

The term “Unity in Diversity” was taken from the Book of Sutasoma by Mpu Tantular during the Majapahit kingdom around the 14th century. The term is contained in stanza 5 chapter 139. This stanza in full is as follows:

Rwāneka dhātu winuwus Buddha Wiswa,
Bhinnêki rakwa ring apan hit parwanosen,
Mangka ng Jinatwa kalawan Śiwatatwa single,
Bhinnêka Tunggal Ika tan hana dharma mangrwa.


It is said that Buddha and Shiva are two
different substances.
They are indeed different, but how
can they be identified?
Because the truth of Jina (Buddha) and Shiva is

According to the journal of Lt. Col. Czi Dr. Syafril Hidayat, psc, M.Sc regarding Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, in the book Bung Hatta Answering (1979), Mohammad Hatta wrote that after independence, this motto was imprinted with a symbol made by Sultan Abdul Hamid (in Pontianak) and its use was inaugurated by the RIS Cabinet on February 11, 1950 as the motto of the national symbol.

Through this motto, Indonesia later became the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). Bhinneka Tunggal Ika itself was first examined by Prof. H. Kern (1888). This motto itself was originally printed on a papyrus stored in the Leiden City Library (Purusadasanta or Sutasoma).

This motto was then re-examined by Muhammad Yamin in the following years and then he wrote in his book 6000 years of the Red and White in 1954.

The history of the motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika has gone through a process of evolution and crystallization starting before independence, the national movement in 1928 until the founding of the Republic of Indonesia in 1945.

After being used as the motto of the Indonesian nation, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika has become a statement by the Indonesian nation that recognizes the reality of a plural nation but still upholds unity.

C. The Principle of Unity in Diversity

Why tolerance? Because tolerance can dilute differences so that there are no more divisions or conflicts. Therefore diversity must be interpreted by society through an understanding of multiculturalism based on the power of spirituality. Ethnic, religious and ideological differences.

The following are the principles of Unity in Diversity that you need to know:

1. Common Denominators

There are 5 religions in Indonesia, but in accordance with the first principle of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, differences in religious matters must be sought for a common denominator, or in other words find similarities in differences so that all Indonesian people can live in harmony side by side.

Likewise with various other aspects with all the differences in Indonesia, such as customs and culture in each region. All of this diversity of customs and culture is still recognized for its validity with all the differences that remain united in the unitary state of the republic of Indonesia.

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2. Not sectarian and inclusive

Not sectarian and exclusive, meaning that in the life of the nation and state, every Indonesian person is not justified in considering himself or his group to be the most righteous compared to other people or groups.

Sectarian and exclusive views must be eliminated, because when sectarian and exclusive attitudes have been formed, there will be many conflicts that occur due to jealousy, suspicion, excessive attitudes and lack of consideration for the existence of other groups or individuals.

3. Not Formalistic

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is universal and comprehensive. This is based on a sense of love, respect, mutual trust, and harmony with one another. In this way diversity can then be united in an Indonesian frame.

4. Is Convergent

Being Convergent means that all diversity is not to be exaggerated, but a meeting point must be found that can make all interests meet in the middle. This can be achieved if there is an attitude of tolerance, mutual trust, harmony, non-sectarianism, and inclusiveness among the people.

5. Pluralistic and Multicultural Principles

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika contains values ​​including: tolerance, inclusiveness, peace and togetherness, and equality. These values ​​do not require closed or exclusive nature so that it is possible to accommodate the nation’s cultural diversity and face the currents of globalization.

Mutual respect between religions, ethnic groups, respecting the work of others, working together to build the nation regardless of differences in ethnicity, culture and religion, not discriminating against one another or even insulting one another because this can lead to conflict and become the initial source of breaking the unity and integrity of the nation.

6. The Spirit of Mutual Cooperation

The spirit of gotong-royong is not only about working together to clean up the environment, or keeping the environment around your home safe. But also in the spirit of mutual cooperation in fighting hoaxes or fake news which are now being spread everywhere in the name of clickbait.

Make it a habit to verify the data or news received and want to spread. Because digital footprints are very difficult to get rid of, the reason is, every day, there are thousands of hoaxes that spread and are ready to destroy the generation and diversity of this country.

In strengthening the mutual cooperation that we have and the national, democratic, legal, and multicultural spirit in supporting the realization of citizens who are aware of their rights and obligations, the book Strengthening the Spirit and Spirit of Nationalism is an appropriate reference for Sinaumed’s.

D. Interesting Facts about Bhinneka Tunggal Ika

In a shared life, where various interests will meet, and not all interests are in line, it will certainly result in friction and even social conflicts. In such a situation, the boundaries between the rights and powers of each party must be clearly, decisively and proportionately determined.

Every citizen is then free to claim their rights, but at the same time they are also obliged to respect the rights of others. Fair itself has the meaning of being impartial, not closed, and in groups. On the other hand, be fair or require an open attitude that always provides “space” for the presence of other people.

The habit of greeting others is a real form of manifesting a fair attitude. Greeting other people (anyone) is essentially the initial act of building a social network that will become a strength so that it is not easily divided and pitted against one another. Here are some facts about Bhinneka Tunggal Ika that you need to know:

1. Sourced from Lontar Sutasoma

The term Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is taken from Lontar Sutasoma by Mpu Tantular, a poet who lived in the 14th century in Majapahit and was still a royal relative during the reign of King Rajasanegara. The term Bhinneka Tunggal Ika itself is taken from a fragment of kakimpoi alias Syair Sutasoma. The following reads in Sanskrit, and is translated into Indonesian:

Rwāneka dhātu winuwus Buddha Wiswa, Bhinnêki rakwa ring apan hit parwanosen, Mangka ng Jinatwa kalawan Śiwatatwa single, Bhinnêka Tunggal Ika tan hana dharma mangrwa.

Meaning: Buddha and Shiva are two different substances but how can they be recognized? Because the truth of Jina (Buddha) and Shiva is one, it is divided, but it is also one. There is no confusion in the truth.

2. Not Bung Karno’s creation

In a book written by Mohammad Hatta entitled Bung Hatta Answering, it is written that it was Bung Karno who coined the term “Unity in Diversity”, meaning that Bung Karno did not invent it, but it was he who suggested adding the phrase to the ribbon gripped by the Garuda bird.

The Garuda bird itself was originally designed to grip the red and white flag but was later replaced with a ribbon that read Bhinneka Tunggal Ika which is used as the national motto, meaning it unites diversity.

Garuda bird itself uses a shield, as a form of building power in Indonesian civilization. The eagle from this mythology is closely related to the eagle. Birds are painted on several temples, including Dieng, Prambanan and Penataran.

3. Housed in the Leiden Library

With the close ties between the Archipelago and the Netherlands. The Sutasoma transcript later became one of the archives stored in the Leiden Library, with the verse containing the term Bhinneka Tunggal Ika located on the 120th sheet of Sutasoma’s papyrus.

4. Not Just About Tribal Unity

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is not only about ethnic and cultural differences that must be united, but also differences in thoughts. According to Sultan Hamid, Soekarno described Bhinneka Tunggal Ika as a union of federalist thoughts and unity in the United Republic of Indonesia (Indonesia’s name at that time).

E. Unity in Diversity and Nationalism

In order to fortify themselves from destruction due to the rapid development of technology and the various efforts made to divide the nation, the Indonesian people must return to the values ​​of Pancasila.

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Pancasila as the philosophy of the Indonesian nation, has developed naturally from a long history, contains the outlook on life, character and noble values ​​of the Indonesian people, including Bhinneka Tunggal Ika. The noble values ​​contained in Pancasila are the spirit of unity, respect for differences, willingness to sacrifice, never giving up, mutual cooperation, patriotism, nationalism, optimism, self-esteem, togetherness, and self-confidence.

In learning more about nationalism in a short, concise and clear way, Sinaumed’s can read the book Nationalism by Steven Gr which is below.

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is indirectly a picture of Indonesian nationalism. The meaning of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is the principle of Indonesian citizens to build nationalism. The following are some of the elements that make up nationalism:

1. Historical Unity

The Indonesian nation grew and developed from a historical process, namely since prehistoric times, the Srivijaya era, Majapahit then invaders came, sparked the 1928 Youth Pledge and finally proclaimed independence on August 17, 1945.

2. Unity of Fate

The Indonesian nation was formed because of a common fate, namely experiencing the suffering of colonialism for three and a half centuries, then fighting for independence together and finally getting joy in the form of independence.

3. Regional Unity

The Indonesian nation lives in the territory of Indonesia, its people are spread from Sabang to Merauke. The unity of the nation’s own spiritual principles as one of the ideals, philosophy and way of life rooted in the Pancasila view of life.

4. Cultural Unity

Even though the Indonesian nation has a diversity of cultures ranging from traditional houses, traditional clothing, traditional events, languages ​​and other diversity, the whole is one culture, namely the national culture of the unitary Republic of Indonesia.

E. Application of Unity in Diversity in Everyday Life

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is contained in Government Regulation Number 66/1951. Stipulated in Jakarta on October 17, 1951 by President Soekarno and Prime Minister, Sukiman Wirjosandjojo. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is contained in Article 5 which reads,

“Under the symbol written in Latin letters, a motto in Old Javanese reads: Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.

The explanation from Article 5 is that the word Bhinneka is a combination of two words: bhinna and ika. The entire sentence can then be copied into ‘different but still one nevertheless’.

The following is the application of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika in the life of our nation and state:

1. Inclusive Behavior

The first implementation is that a person is required not to see himself as taking precedence over the interests of others. It is the same with groups, where common interests take precedence over personal or group interests.

2. Accommodate Pluralistic Nature

Judging from its diversity, it is fitting for Indonesia to become a nation with the largest pluralistic level in the world. This is also what makes the Indonesian nation respected by other nations. However, if it is not used wisely, there is a high possibility of disintegration within the nation. Race, Culture, Ethnicity, Language, Religion, and customs, the Indonesian nation.

By understanding more about the cultural diversity that exists in Indonesia through the book Guys, Indonesia is Bineka, Loh! Sinaumed’s will better understand the development of a very dynamic society and avoid misunderstandings and conflicts that occur due to differences.

3. Not Winning Alone

Differences of opinion are actually commonplace, especially in a democratic system. The system then demands that people are free to express their own opinions.

With this implementation of the principle of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, one is required to respect one opinion and another. Differences of opinion do not need to be exaggerated, but common ground must be sought that prioritizes common interests. Avoid diverging characteristics and apply convergent characteristics in the life of the nation and state.

Just like what happened in Indonesia where there was a conflict between Aceh and Papur which was successfully resolved with the shared values ​​conveyed by Gus Dur as a conflict resolution strategy which you can read in Gus Dur’s book: Islam Nusantara & Diverse Citizenship.

4. Deliberation for Consensus

As previously explained, with the motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika , if there are differences between groups or individuals, a solution must be sought jointly by deliberation.

As is the case with the common denominator principle or what is known as finding the core of similarity. This should then also be applied in conducting deliberations for consensus. With a variety of ideas, all of which are then summarized into one agreement. That way the agreement here aims to reach consensus on individuals and groups.

Indonesian society is basically indigenous peoples who sociologically have very strong ties in groups (ethnic or ethnic). However, in the Indonesian context, ties in the form of ethnic (origin) or religious sentiments can be reduced for the sake of building a sense of nationality.

The increasingly swift currents of globalization have brought with them new values ​​that cannot be fully accommodated or understood by the majority of Indonesian people. New values ​​tend to loosen national bonds, and worry for the future of national unity and territorial integrity of Indonesia.

Therefore, efforts are urgently needed to refresh the understanding of national values ​​which are a characteristic of the personality of the Indonesian people.

Strengthening the national values ​​contained in the motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, as moral teachings about tolerance, fairness and mutual cooperation is the right strategy to deal with new values ​​that tend to clash.

Examples of behavior that reflects “Unity in Diversity” :

  • No discrimination against anyone
  • Be fair to everyone (at school, home, community)
  • Avoid fights/disputes that can harm yourself and others
  • Respect each other despite different religions, ethnicities, races and cultures
  • Do not insult or demean others
  • Living in harmony in the family, school and community environment
  • etc

Thus the information about Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, I hope this is useful!

Also read articles related to  “The Meaning & Meaning of Unity in Diversity”  :

  • Dimensions of Pancasila as an Open Ideology
  • History of Pancasila
  • Understanding Pancasila as a Source of Value
  • The Meaning and Meaning of Pancasila as State Ideology
  • Understanding Pancasila Democracy
  • History of the Garuda Pancasila Coat of Arms
  • Understanding Archipelagic Insight
  • The Meaning of Pancasila as the Source of All Sources of Law
  • Meaning of the Youth Pledge
  • The Practice of Pancasila Values

If you want to dig more about  Pancasila  in a more comprehensive manner, have the book immediately at

1. Pancasila Education

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2. Pancasila Philosophy of National Islamic Epistemology

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3. Common Home Pancasila

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  • etc