Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo
- Bapak redirects here. In Indonesian language, it is a generic term to address elderly man. Literally, it means father in Indonesian language.
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Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo (born 1901 in Java, Indonesia; died 1987) was an Indonesian spiritual leader who found the movement known as Subud. As a young man Muhammad Subuh received a series of intense experiences that he believed gave him contact with a spiritual energy from a higher power. By the 1930s, he believed that it was his task to transmit this energy - which he called latihan kejiwaan (Indonesian for "spiritual exercise") - to others, but that he was not to seek people out but simply to wait for those who asked for it.
In 1956, Pak Subuh, or "Bapak" as he was called by members of Subud (the word "Bapak" is Indonesian for male honorific, akin to Mr.), was invited to England by J. G. Bennett, where many Westerners joined Subud. He was then asked to go to other countries such as the United States and Australia. In this way, Subud spread rapidly around the world.
When he died in 1987 he left many talks on tape, video and in print, which Subud uses to guide the organization he founded.
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Ascension To The Highest Heaven
Muhammad Subuh wrote in his autobiography that, about the year 1932, he had a visionary visit to the highest heaven, the "Seventh Heaven".
By his account, one night he felt drowsy and went to lay down in bed. Instead of falling asleep, he felt himself "lengthen, widen and expand into a sphere" and then entered a great space. He saw a group of stars far away and was told that it was the universe he had left behind. He then traveled at great speed through a great expanse and beyond were "mountain-like cones of light, seven of them, one stacked upon another". He described how he entered the cones of light one after another until he entered the seventh, the last. Then he returned to earth and saw what looked like stars in the sky but later realized they were the lights of Semarang, the hometown where he lived. He even tarried a little over the rooftop of his own house trying to lift up some roof tiles with his fingers but instead found himself inside his own room. It was about the time of Subuh or dawn.
In his description Muhammad Subuh implied the seventh cone of light represents the highest heaven. It is likely because of this description of his ascension that Muhammad Subuh insisted that his autobiography be published only after his death though it was completed much earlier.
Following his visit to Britain in 1957, Muhammad Subuh is estimated to have travelled 594,320 miles outside Indonesia, visiting Subud groups which were formed around the world over the following 30 years until his death in 1987. On these trips he gave explanations about the nature of the Latihan spiritual exercise and the purpose and meaning of the spiritual association of Subud. Approximately 1,400 of these talks were recorded, with provisional translations to English made available at the time, and are in the process of being republished by Subud Publications International. As a result, there are now groups in over 70 countries, with a worldwide membership of about 10,000.
In Indonesia itself, very little literature is available on Subuh, and therefore, very few people have knowledge about the person or the movement he founded. One explanation for this phenomenon lies in the nature of state-sanctioned religion in Indonesia. The followers of Subuh are usually identified with a broader Javanese spirituality movement, Kejawen, instead.
- Brochure, "Bapak's Extraordinary Journey" (SPI 2007)
- Bapak's Talks, Volume 1 (SPI 1993), Publisher's Introduction
- Sumohadiwidjojo, Muhammad-Subuh (1990). Autobiography: The History of Bapak R.M.Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo, Founder of the Spiritual Association of Susila Budhi Dharma, or Subud. Subud Publications International. ISBN 1-869822-07-2.
- Sumohadiwidjojo, Muhammad-Subuh (1993). Bapak's Talks, Volume 1. Subud Publications International.
- Subud Publications International Organisation dedicated to translating and publishing talks by Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo
- Biography of "Bapak"
- Subud and Sufism