Vaisya Theory – In some areas there are historical relics with Hindu-Buddhist style. The
existence of these remains proves that Hindu-Buddhism was once the majority religion in its time.
Based on historical records, Hinduism entered Indonesia around the 4th century. The arrival of
Hinduism in Indonesia can be proven by the presence of Hindu-style kingdoms, such as the Kutai kingdom, the
Tarumanegara kingdom, and the Majapahit kingdom. In addition, the entry of Hinduism gave rise
to new cultures among the people of the archipelago. The existence of these new cultures made
the land of the Archipelago more colorful.
Meanwhile, Buddhist religion and culture entered the archipelago around the 5th century AD.
The entry of Buddhist religion and culture was marked by the presence of kingdoms, such as the
ancient Mataram kingdom, the Sri Bangun kingdom, to the Sriwijaya kingdom.
The entry of Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture into the archipelago began with traders looking for new
places to trade. The large number of traders who entered the land of the archipelago made the
people of the archipelago slowly begin to recognize Hindu religion and culture.
Even though it had entered Indonesia’s homeland, the Indonesian people at that time did not immediately
embrace Hindu beliefs. This was because at that time the Indonesian people still adhered to
animism and dynamism, so it took time to convert to Hindu beliefs.
Basically, there are many theories that explain the entry of Hinduism into Indonesia. One
theory says that Hinduism entered Indonesia through trade routes. At that time, trade routes
could not only go by sea. The theory of the entry of Hinduism through trade routes is the
“Waisya theory”. Sinaumed’s, want to know more about “Waisya theory”? Check out this
article until it’s finished.
At that time, Hinduism always distinguished others based on the role they had. Each of these
roles has a level, a person who has the highest level will be respected by many people. Usually
someone who is at the highest level has an important position or role in his area.
Each level is known as caste. The term caste is also listed in the Big Indonesian Dictionary
(KBBI), caste is a class (level or degree) of humans in Hindu religious society. The existence
of the notion of caste in the KBBI strengthens the fact that Hindu society at that time did differentiate
society through levels.
The caste itself is divided into five levels, namely Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras.
Vaisya is the third caste in Hinduism where this group consists of farmers, traders and
Even though they are in the third caste in Hinduism, the Vaisya caste plays a very important role in
maintaining the prosperity of society. Without this caste, it would be difficult for people to
get food, goods to sell, to build a house or a room.
Therefore, it is not uncommon for the Waisya caste to have abilities, such as being full of calculations when
doing something, being very diligent, being able to manage assets well, not being extravagant or being able to
save expenses, and having skills in building things.
Thus, it can be said that the Waisya caste has a very important role in carrying out economic and business
activities through trade. It is this talent for trading that makes the Waisya caste able to
carry out the process of distributing and redistributing goods, so that they will get income to make ends
meet. The needs of life that are fulfilled make the community prosperous and become more
prosperous, so that the values of the state and humanity can be realized.
The Vaisya theory is one theory that states the entry of Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture into
Indonesia. This theory was discovered by an archaeologist and researcher of the history of
traditional Indonesian cultures that have existed for a long time. The archaeologist and
historical researcher is Nicolaas Johannes Krom or commonly known as NJ Krom.
Based on the Vaisya theory expressed by NJ Krom, the entry of Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture was
brought by traders originally from India. The merchants not only brought their merchandise, but
also brought their country’s customs and habits.
Not only that, NJ Krom also said that traders come to Indonesia according to the monsoons. In
other words, if the monsoon shows or shows that the condition is not good, then the traders will not come to
Indonesia. They waited another six months to trade. Therefore, it can be said that
traders who come to the archipelago are very dependent on the direction of the sea breeze.
Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture are growing as traders settle in Indonesia. They usually
stay around six months to carry out trade transactions. It was during his stay that the
Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture began to spread to the people of the archipelago.
Increasingly, the people of the Archipelago are getting used to the Hindu-Buddhist religion and
culture, so that the development of this religion and culture is accelerating.
According to NJ Krom, they didn’t just stay, the traders also married native Indonesian women.
With this marriage, Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture developed quite rapidly.
What’s more, children born from marriages between traders and Indonesian women will continue the
development of Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture or can be said to be the generation of Hindu-Buddhist
religion and culture.
NJ Krom said that traders belonging to the Vaisya caste were the caste that played the most role in the
spread of Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture in Indonesia. The Waisya caste is a society that
plays a role in promoting the prosperity of the people, such as farmers, traders, and the like.
Inventor of Vaisya Theory
The founder of the Vaisya theory was named Nicolaas Johannes Krom, he was born on September 5, 1883 and was
a Dutchman who was an expert in classical literature. He received his Doctoral degree in 1908.
Two years after obtaining his Doctoral degree, NJ Krom obtained a position at the Commissie in
Nederlandsch Indie voor Oudheidkundige Onderzoek op Java en Madoera, located in the Dutch East
Indies (Java). He gained the position of chairman after replacing JLA Brandes who had
After becoming chairman of the commission, NJ Krom realized that archaeological problems in the Dutch East
Indies were not easily handled by just one commission or it could be said that archaeological problems could
only be resolved by an official government agency. His struggle to solve the problem of
antiquity was not in vain because he managed to form a government institution in the form of an
In 1910-1915, NJ Krom spent his time on the island of Java to become chairman of the commission and head of
the Antiquities Service. During his stay on the island of Java, he often met Hindu Buddhists,
so he learned various things about Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture. In fact, because of his
interest in the ancient world, NJ Krom tried to get more information about Hindu-Buddhism by visiting the
holy places of this religion in Java.
The organization that has been fighting for is called Oudheidkundige Dienst or in Indonesian means
the Antiquities Service. The Antiquities Service was formed in 1913 and thanks to his
persistence in creating the Antiquities Service, NJ Krom was appointed head of the Antiquities Service
by the Dutch Colonial government. The mandated chairman position lasted until 1915. After
finishing his term as Head of the Antiquities Service, NJ Krom returned to his homeland, the
After returning to the Netherlands, NJ Krom began to diligently write about the world of archeology in the
Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). He made his writings about archeology into a manuscript and
placed the manuscript at Brandes Oud Javaansche Oorkonden (OJO). His writing
skills can be said to be very good and good because every work he writes can make the reader
One of NJ Krom’s phenomenal works is his monograph on the Borobudur temple. In fact, the
thickness of the monograph is very thick or around 800 pages. Not only writing, but he also
attached photographs and pictures of the reliefs in the Borobudur temple which are as big as a
Not only did he write about the Borobudur temple, but he also wrote works on Javanese Hindu art and
Javanese Hindu history. The book was first published or printed in 1919 under the title
Inleiding tot de Hindoe-Javaansche Kunst . This book was a phenomenal piece of
writing, so it was reprinted in 1923. Meanwhile, the second book was written under the title
Hindoe-Javaansche Geschiedenis, which was first printed in 1926. This book, which
contains the history of Javanese Hinduism, was very popular with many readers, so it was reprinted in in
Until now, the two works are still very phenomenal, so they are still used as a basis or reference for someone
who wants to study or explore Indonesian ancient history, Indonesian archeology, and Indonesian ancient objects.
NJ Krom can be said to be one of the experts on Indonesian history as well as an archaeologist who often
examines ancient objects in Indonesia. Thanks to his writings, we all know about the history of
Hindu Java and ancient objects, especially those on the island of Java.
Factors Strengthening Vaisya Theory
This Waisya theory can be even stronger due to several factors, namely the interaction of the Waisya caste,
Indonesia’s natural resources, and the existence of the keling village.
1. Waishya Caste Interaction
At that time, many traders who came from India brought the teachings of Hinduism and the cultures of the
Hindu community. They began to interact with fellow traders (read: traders from India) and the
local community to sell their wares. Interactions that go well can make merchandise sell
With this interaction, people began to know more about the teachings of Hinduism and cultures than Hindus
usually do. Slowly but surely, many people are starting to know about Hindu religion and
culture, so that the teachings of Hindu religion and culture in Indonesia are getting stronger.
Over time, traders also introduced the teachings of Buddhism and culture that are usually practiced by Buddhists.
2. Indonesian Natural Resources
It is no stranger to the fact that Indonesia’s natural resources are very abundant. These
abundant natural resources attracted traders or the Vaisya group to trade in Indonesia. Traders
see that natural resources are something that can be used as something profitable or can generate
The traders, the majority of whom came from India, began to visit Indonesia to trade. However,
over time, these traders began to settle in several areas in Indonesia. Since then, the
teachings of Hindu-Buddhism and Hindu-Buddhist culture began to spread among Indonesian people or local
3. There is a Rivet Village
At that time, when the majority of traders from India wanted to return to their homeland, they had to wait
for the right sea breeze. Therefore, not a few traders prefer to stay temporarily or
permanently in Indonesia. Well, it was during their stay that they founded a village.
The village is called Kampung Keling.
Kampung Keling is located in several regions in Indonesia, some are in Jepara, Medan, Malacca and Aceh.
At that time, all areas that had kampung kelingnya could be said to be strategic areas.
With this village, the spread of Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture is getting stronger.
4. The existence of marriages with traders
For traders who have started to settle in Indonesia, be it temporarily or permanently, there are some
traders who marry Indonesian women. It was from this marriage that the teachings of
Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture began to spread into the family, so that they were blessed with
Those descendants will continue the teachings of Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture.
Therefore, the more descendants, the faster the spread of Hindu-Buddhist religion and
Weakening Factors of Vaisya Theory
On the other hand, the Vaisya theory also has flaws or weaknesses, so it is difficult for the Vaisya caste
to understand this theory. The following are the weaknesses of the Vaisya theory.
1. Sanskrit and Pallawa script
Hindu Buddhist teachings are written in Sanskrit and Pallawa script, so it requires special expertise to
read them. To get this special skill, a Hindu-Buddhist person must be in the Brahmin
Therefore, the Vaisya caste will find it difficult to learn the teachings of Hindu Buddhism.
In a level of Hinduism, traders belong to the level of Vaisya. Thus, traders were
unable to master Sanskrit and Pallawa script, making it difficult to understand Vaisya theory.
2. Traders Only Focus on Trading
The traders who come to Indonesia aim to trade, so it will be difficult to spread Hindu-Buddhist teachings.
In one day their time has been spent only for trading. Then the next day, they have to
go back to work to earn an income in order to survive.
If Hindu-Buddhist teachings are difficult to spread, then few will know the teachings of the two religions.
Therefore, at that time a Keling village was created so that the teachings of Hindu-Buddhism could
3. Merchants Only Have Vaishya Caste
The traders belonging to the Vaisya caste made it difficult for them to learn the teachings of Hindu
Buddhism. At that time, the caste that could study Hindu-Buddhist teachings was the Brahmin
caste. Thus, it can be said that the Vaisya caste cannot do much in an effort to learn
This Vaisya theory is one of the theories put forward by experts which contains the entry of Hindu-Buddhism
into Indonesia. In Vaisya theory, Hindu-Buddhist religion and culture entered through traders
or the Vaisya caste. NJ Krom is the founder of Vaisya theory and he has written phenomenal
books. His books are still used by historical researchers and archaeologists.
Source: From various sources