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The Talks of Muhammad Subuh

Talk to Men and Women During

the Preparation Period

The Teachings of the Prophets and

the Action of Subud

Preface to Susila Budhi Dharma

The Talks of Muhammad Subuh

he reason the talks of Muhammad Subuh

(Bapak*) are called talks is because they are
not lectures or speeches or teachings. They
were never prepared in advance nor was their purpose
to persuade. Bapak often said that all the great teaching
had already been given in the teachings of the prophets
and other religious texts. What was needed, particularly
at this moment in time, was a way or a technique (he
used the Dutch word, teknik, which translates as
technique, in the sense of a means of achieving ones
purpose, rather than in the more commonly used sense
of a learned process to put these teachings into practice.
That perhaps this was the reason for the coming of the
Speeches and lectures are directed towards an
audiences thinking mind and feelings. Bapaks talks
were nothing like that. They were directed towards some
place deeper. Rather than teach, their purpose was to
open up a space within so that a persons inner self could
acquire its own teaching.
An outward manifestation of this difference was that
during the talks, many people fell into a quiet sleep
something quite strange to observe. In addition, few
members remembered what Bapak said after a talk,
though they felt quiet and satised. This explains in part
why Bapaks talks are generally not made available to the
general public. Someone not in Subud could easily be
opened unintentionally by reading or listening to them,
which would be quite confusing or even disturbing.
They were always about the latihan and given to people
who had been opened.
Bapaks function, as he described it, was like that of
a school servant who sets out the books, opens the door,
cleans the class room, and arranges the desks and chairs
for you to sit on. When you are all there, sitting down
and facing the front, facing the blackboard, the teacher
will come and give the lesson; and the teacher is God,
not Bapak. This is why there is no teaching in Subud
execpt the teaching that comes directly to us.
Bapak was often surprised by what he said. He
commented he learned a lot by listening to them.
Someitmes he would suddently stop in the middle of a

talk and not continue, saying simply, the instrument has

Bapak emphasized that whatever he said in these talks
should not be believed or accepted on face value. That
members should get their own proof or evidence of
the reality of what he said. At the same time members
have found that listening, reading, or watching the talks
on video (of which there are only a few), are of great
benet. Especially after someone has done the latihan
for a time. The talks clear the mind which seems to be
always searching for intellectual answers to questions,
enabling members to understand their own receiving
from a deeper place.
During his lifetime, Bapak gave many talks of which
over 1,400 were recorded. The talks were given to
different members in Subud centers during some 20
world journeys. Each time he gave a talk, while the content
always concerned the nature of the latihan, the talk would
change according to the time and place, and the needs or
capacity of the particular audience. Members ocked to
these talks and the group latihans that were held during
these visits because in Bapaks presence they were able to
feel their own latihan more deeply. Moreover, after the
talks, while they didnt remember anything in particular
that Bapak had said, they felt more secure in themselves
and their own receiving.
The effect today is much the same. One can say that
listeninga to and reading these talks, while not in any
way required, is an inseparable and vital part of the
Subud experience.
Most of the talks were recorded. Bapak gave his
talks in his native, Indonesian language or sometimes
Javanese. In the early days many were translated into
English and then into French, German, Spanish, and
other lanuages. Many of these early English translations
were rough or inaccurate as they did not capture many of
the nuances in Bapaks usage. Currently all of the talks
are being re-translated by a professional man and wife
team in England, Sharif and Tuti Horthy. Sharif was
Bapaks secretary and interpreter for many years, and his
wife, Tuti, was Bapaks grand-daughter. With funding by
individual grants and the donations of Subud members,

*The word Bapak in Indonesian means father and is used both as father and as a title of respect as in Mr. or Sir. The
female equivalent is Ibu.

they have undertaken the task of completing new

translations and original translations of all of Bapaks
recorded talks by the end of their lifetimes.
The question might be asked that if Bapaks talks
were not a teaching, then why are they so important for
Subud members? Why is such an effort being make to
translate all of them properly? The answer is that because
members experience of the laithan is limited and their
thinking usually lled with questions about the nature
of the latihan, the talks are a kind of practical tool to
simply clear out a space inside, so that when we come to
receive the latihan, we are not bringing any ideas of our
own, but are as empty as possible.
Another way to put it is that in all the religions, there
has always been a human agency. A Budha, a Christ, a
Moses, a Muhammad, etc. It was through that person
that his followers came to understand what that person
had received for them or for humankind. The same
could be said for Bapak, while noting that no claims are
being made as to who Bapak is or was. Only that since he
was the one who rst received the latihan in its present
form, it would naturally follow that the practical value of
his talks are important for anyone doing the latihan. It
also relates to another phenonomenan of the talks that
many members remark on. That though they may have
read a talk many times, its meaning changes signifcantly
over time. These changes accord with their experience
and growth in the latihan. Equally they report they are
surprised by learning Bapak said such and such a thing
because they have no memory of it, despite having read
it many times. This is another example of how the nature
of the talks are different and unlike a lecture or speech.
Bapak did not write any books except his autobigraphy.
He gave talks, wrote letters and a few articles for Subud
publications, and received one long poem which is
published in the form of a book called, Susila Budhi
Dharma. This poem was received in 1925 in high Javanese
or Kawi. It contains an explanation of the essence of the
latihan kedjiwaan of Subud and the nature of life. Bapak
wrote down what he received, but many of the signicant
words and expressions could not be translated into
Indonesian because Indonesian does not contain their
equvalients. To compensate for this, Bapak wrote what
he called a commentary on the original in Indonesian.
This, in turn, was newly translated itno English by
the above translation team in the year 2000, the 100th
anniversary of Bapaks birth. If you decide to receive the
latihan and become a member, it is recommended that
at some poiint you get this book as Bapak mentioned
quite often that all there is in Subud is contained in it.
The preface to Susila Budhi Dharma, written by Bapak,
is contained in this information kit.

Ibu Rahayu
Ibu Rahayu* is Bapaks eldest daughter. Like many of
Bapaks family, she often traveled with him on his world
journeys assisting members and helping in the translation
of Bapaks talks. In the early 1990s, after Bapaks death
in 1987, many members asked if she would talk about
Subud more often, as she had done so on rare occasions
in the past. She did not think she had anything to say
but said she would try. She found that when she was in
front of members, words more often than not did come
out, though sometimes they were very few. Over the next
several years she began to talk more and more and by
the end of 2006 had given many talks at congressses and
other meetings arranged by members in many parts of
the world. In all of this she regularly reminded members
that she was not a replacement for Bapak but in fact
was saying the same things Bapak had said only not as
deep, reminding members to read or listen to Bapaks
talks if they wanted the source. Now, as she is in her
80s, she gives talks less frequently. Her talks have been
collected in several volumes and published by the Subud
publishing arm, Subud Publications International (SPI)
and are available for Subud members in both book form
and on the web.

Talk to Men and Women During

the Preparation Period
This talk, recorded in Singapore in the late 1950s, was given to a group of people interested in
learning about Subud. Its the only recorded talk by Muhammad Subuh which was particularly
addressed to non-members during the preparation period.

adies and Gentlemen, Subud is an abbreviation

of the words Susila, Budhi, Dharma. Subud is not
a new religion, nor a sect of any religion, nor is
it a teaching. It is only a symbol for the possibility for
human beings to follow the right way of living.
Susila means to be able to live according to the Will
of God as really true human beings.
Budhi indicates that in every creation, in every creature of God, including man, there is a divine power
which works within him as well as outside him.
Dharma means the possibility for every creature,
including man, to surrender completely to the Will of
God, of whom man is only a creation and has therefore,
inevitably, to submit to the Will of his Creator.
Susila Budhi Dharma means to follow the Will of
God with the help of the Divine Power that works both
within us and without, by surrendering oneself to the
Will of Almighty God. Susila Budhi Dharma is the symbol of what we are practicing in the spiritual training of
Subud; it means that whatever happens in the spiritual
training of Subud is entirely the Will of God and comes
to us because God wills it for us.
This is exactly according to what has been said in the
Holy Books The Bible, Quran, and others that may
exist: that if God is close to man or if man has come
close to God, then God can give man the things man
needs, and that man can receive the things that God
intends him to have.
What is it that we have to surrender to God? It is
not our wealth, the ones we love, nor whatever else we
possess, because God has no need of those things. What
we have to surrender is our minds, our hearts, and our
desires, because those are the instruments that form an
obstacle to our coming closer to God.
This is what Jesus Christ meant when he said that
God will always be with us if we can surrender ourselves

to Him and if we can love Him more than anything else,

more than ourselves. This means that the love that we
have with our hearts and with our feelings is an obstacle
that prevents us from coming to the true love of God,
because this outer love is only love of things we like to
believe we love. But the love that we must have of God
must be greater than this.
To the prophet Muhammad was given the revelation
that God existed before anything else existed, and that
God will be after everything is destroyed. God is farther
away than the farthest things are. He is deeper within
than anything else, which means that God has created
really everything and because He created everything,
He will also take care of everything.
It is also said that God has no form, no speech, no
country, no color, because if He would, for instance,
have a country, there would be more than one God
because for every country there would be one God. And
if He would have a color, there would also be more than
one God because every color needs a God. And this is
what is meant by the saying, God is One and Master
of all.
Also, God created without tools and materials. If
man wants to make something, for instance, a table, he
needs wood, he needs nails, a hammer and other tools;
and to be able to make the atom bomb man needs more
tools to break down the material into atoms. But with
God it is wholly different. God works without materials
or tools. It follows that for man to understand and to
know what is in the mind and heart of God, the only
thing to do is to surrender himself entirely; because,
with our own mind and our own heart and our own
desires we will never be able to find God. Only by surrendering ourselves completely to God, not making use
of mind, heart or desire, is it possible for man to come
into contact with the power of God.

This is what we do in the spiritual training we surrender ourselves completely; we do not make use of our
mind, heart or desires but we only accept and receive
whatever God sends. So you will understand that Subud
is only a symbol of that way of living for man in which he
can fulfill the Will of God and carry out the Will of God
for himself in this world and the world to come.
Therefore, in the spiritual training of Subud we do
not have a teaching, there is nothing we have to learn
or do, because all that is required of us is complete surrender. A person who claims to know the way to God is
really one who is anticipating Gods gifts without having
received them.
The only thing we do is surrender ourselves completely and only accept and receive whatever God sends
or wants us to have. This is indeed what every prophet
has said: Surrender yourself entirely, submit completely
to God, and then God will take care of you and give you
guidance. During this spiritual training, we do not make
for ourselves any image, but we only receive whatever
God may send us.
So this divine power, which works in us during the
training, will bring to each person what is already in
himself. For instance, if a person has a loud and strong
voice, he will utter sounds that are very loud and strong.
But a person who does not have such a loud voice will
utter a softer sound. This goes for every part of our
body, for every part of our being. Therefore the training
or latihan* of two people can never be the same, because
everyone is different from everyone else. Therefore it is
clear that there cannot be a theory or a spiritual teaching
in Subud because each person is different from another.
Whatever is needed and whatever is received will be
different from what somebody else needs and receives.
This is why we cannot give any rule or prescription of
how to behave when you are in the latihan, because this
is something personal for everyone.
Every person will find the right way towards God
for himself, and what may be the right way for one may
be completely wrong for another. Therefore you must
not suppose that you have to follow or become like
Bapak.**You must become your own self and you must
develop your inner self if you want to find the way to
God. You must not follow or imitate anyone else, because
you must find your own way to God. Usually if there is
a teacher he teaches his followers to do exactly the same
as he does in order to reach what he has reached. But
this is really wrong, because not only between a teacher
and his followers but even between two brothers of the
same parents there is already a big difference; not only
in outward appearances but also in their character and
in their whole being. So surely you can understand now

that what is the right way for a certain teacher to find

God is not necessarily the right way for his pupils.
Therefore, Bapak says, it is God who will lead you
toward Himself and what really happens in the spiritual
training is that you will be introduced to your real inner
self to the real I. You must not be afraid and you must
not be worried because whatever comes to you in your
latihan is only what is in you and it comes from your
inner self. It is the real you that arises in the latihan, so
you do not have to be worried or afraid.
In Subud, there is no discrimination between the
different religions because what comes to a person is
really what is already there within him. So if a person is
a Christian he will meet the real Christ within him, and
if a person is a Buddhist, he will meet the real Buddha
in him. The same if he is a Muslim, he will meet the
real Muhammad within himself. And then, if you really
know your inner self, then in everything you do, you will
be guided by the divine power because the divine power
works in you through yourself, and whether you work in
your office or drive a car or do anything else, you will
be guided by the power of God, which is always working
within you, and also outside of you,
When you are about to undertake something you
should say, By the name of God, the gracious and merciful. This means that you follow Gods guidance and
you will only do whatever God brings you to do, and
that you will not be in haste to do something and only
afterwards remember God and regret what you have
done. When God is always before something you are
doing, then it must be the right thing to do. And this
is also the real meaning of what is done by Christians
when they pray before they eat or before they go to sleep.
And this also means that you should not do anything
without God guiding you, because if you forget God
in something you do there will be no help from God
if anything goes wrong, The power we see is only to
convince us that the Almighty Power of God works not
only within us but also in all creation, and even outside
of all creation.
That is why in the spiritual training we will not harm
our religion, because what we think and what we carry
out is only the Will of God, and we only carry out what
is already within us. So a person who has a religion will
experience in the latihan only according to what is in his
religion and according to what is within him.
Some among you may ask where Bapak got all this
from and Bapak answers: he received this when he was
in the same situation as you are. He was working, he
was still doing his job in the office and whatever else
he had to do, and even liking it. All of a sudden everything stopped. His mind stopped working and his heart

*In Indonesia it is impolite when giving a talk or a speech to refer to oneself in the rst person. This is why in Bapaks talks (and
in his daughter, Ibu Rahayus talks) he and she refer to themselves in the third person, as in Bapak and Ibu.

stopped working and his desires stopped working and

then he received as everybody receives in the latihan.
He was not looking for wisdom, he did not have a guru,
a teacher. He just received it, and that is what is called
a gift from God. This comes to a person only while
that person is not looking for it, and when he is ready
for such a gift, then God will bestow that gift on that
Further, Bapak leaves it to you to decide whether or
not you want to come to this spiritual training, because
in the worship of God there is nothing compulsory.
Everyone must be free. But whenever one asks, it will be
Thank you.

The Teachings of the Prophets and

the Action of Subud
This is the first of four talks from the book, The Meaning of Subud, published by Subud
Publications International. The talks were given by Muhammad Subuh during the first
Subud International Congress at Coombe Springs, just outside of London in 1959. Most
of the members listening had recently been opened and Bapak allowed that this and the
other three talks contained in this collection would be suitable for people to read during the
preparaton period.

efore Bapak* begins to give explanations about some

spiritual matters, he would like rst to welcome all
who are present at this meeting, and also to ask your
forgiveness, should anything offend you in what he has
to say.
First of all, Bapak wishes to make clear the principles
and purpose of the spiritual training of Subud which you
have received and are following. This spiritual training is
in truth worship of man towards God, awakened in us by
the Power of God at the moment this same power arrests
the interference of our thinking minds, our hearts and our
desires. This means that the spiritual training, which we
have received, has been awakened in us only by the Will of
the One Almighty God of our worship. Since the training
comes from God and by the Will of God, it follows that
this, of itself, will lead us towards God Who wills it to be
so. And since all this comes by the Will of God, we can
be certain that the principles of the spiritual training are
in accordance with what is intended by God for Mankind
as a whole.
The qualities needed by man in order to receive the gift of
God in the right way are symbolized, in our Brotherhood,
by the words Susila Budhi Dharma.
Susila denotes those qualities which give rise to a
character, conduct and actions which are truly human,
and in accordance with the Will of God.
Budhi means that in all creatures, including man, there
dwells an inner force to draw us towards our proper path,
the path that leads to God.
Dharma signies sincerity, surrender and submission
to God, which are awakened in man by the Will of God

These are the qualities of a man who is able to receive

the commandments of God and the gifts of God, both for
the needs of his life on this earth and also for his life after
death. They are the very qualities bestowed by God upon
man in order that he may be able fully to receive all that
God has ordained concerning human life upon earth.
These principles and aims of Subud can be summed up
by saying that it is Gods Will that we should dwell upon
earth, worship God and return to God. This corresponds
to the teaching of the prophets, that all creation comes
from God and all returns to God again.
There is no need for anxiety, fear or doubt concerning
the principles and aims of Subud; since it is clear that what
we have received does not spring from our own minds or
desires, but from the Will of God dwelling within our
You ask why it is that Subud has only now come upon
the earth, and not before. The reason for this is known
to God. It has come now because now is the right time
for man to receive it, since all mankind is now under very
heavy pressure from worldly inuences and cannot resist
them. This pressure of the world upon man, and its hold
over him, are so dreadful that he has, by his own actions,
thrown the world situation into a state of chaos. This is the
reason why Subud has only now come upon the earth, for
God knows when the time is ripe for man to receive His
gift in the right way.
If we look back to what has happened in the past, we
can see that always, when conditions of life on earth have
reached a peak of terror, God has sent help to man, to
direct him and guide his feet upon the true path. The
stories of the prophets depict men before Abraham

*In Indonesia it is impolite when giving a talk or a speech to refer to oneself in the rst person. This is why in Bapaks talks (and
in his daughter, Ibu Rahayus talks) he and she refer to themselves in the third person, as in Bapak and Ibu.

received his revelation, living like savages, without any

rules of conduct worthy of their status as human beings.
Before that time, mankind had not become aware of the
meaning of human nature, nor of the way in which human
life differs from the life of animals.
When Abraham received his revelation from God,
then of necessity a certain order entered into the life of
man upon earth. This order is what is called religion; the
first religion came to mankind through the prophet it
Tradition associates Abraham with the colour red, which
symbolizes the fact that it was by virtue of his sincere
worship and unshakeable faith that he received revelations
and gifts from God for the benet of mankind. The faith
of Abraham was tested when God commanded him to kill
his young son Ishmael with his own hands. This test was to
prove that the obedience of Abraham to God was stronger
than the claims of his own heart and happiness. Abraham
was ready to do as he was commanded, in patience and
complete submission to the Will of God, Whom he loved
above all else.
The sacrifices demanded at that time of a man who
sought to live the perfect life, both in this world and in
the hereafter, were not easy. How much harder would they
seem to the man of today, who cannot make the effort
to attend his latihan because it is raining. This attitude,
prevalent in contemporary man, is utterly different from
that demonstrated by Abraham in the days of old. It could
be said of him that here was a prophet whose love of God
truly exceeded his love for his own esh and blood, body
and soul.
But God, Who knows the heart of man, the false and the
true, did not in the end require that Abraham should kill
his son, but sent His Messenger, an angel, to intervene, so
that when the sacrice was completed Abraham saw that
what lay upon the altar was a ram, and not his son Ishmael.
Thus no man who worships with sincerity and complete
submission to God will be led thereby into misery; but, on
the contrary, he will be raised to his rightful place.
At the time when Abraham lived, mankind was capable
of putting what he taught into practice, and many people
followed his teaching, by which means they were enabled
to reach the level of the perfected human being. But
man always remains man, and human nature is weak,
succumbing easily to inuences from every side. As time
went on, human conduct, which had been in accordance
with the teaching of Abraham, gradually deteriorated, until
increasing numbers turned away from the true worship of
God, worshipping instead material objects in which they
imagined His Power to dwell. By this, the whole world
suffered, for good and evil in this world arise from the
actions of man.

But God in His Wisdom knows the needs of mankind,

and in His Love towards His creatures He sent a new
revelation, which is Gods Grace bestowed upon man,
without which Grace he is not able to understand and
be aware of the nature and meaning of his life. This new
revelation came by the prophet Moses.
The colour white is associated with Moses, signifying
that here was a man whose heart and feelings were sincere
and pure, so that he could distinguish between right and
wrong. The story of Moses dividing the waters is also a
symbol of his power to separate right from wrong in the
hearts of men. The book in which was recorded that which
he had received was called the Torah, and it served as a
light to the feet of men, that they might follow in the steps
of Moses. This was the gift that Moses brought toBefore
mankind, and in time his teaching spread and ourished
and many who followed it were enabled to worship God
in purity of heart and feeling.
But still, as was said before, man remains man, and
he is easily swayed by the forces of this world, pressing
upon him on every hand, and so, in the course of time,
the followers of the Laws of Moses grew weak in their
faith and ceased to worship God in spirit and in truth,
turning again to material forms and putting their faith in
these. And again God sent a revelation to man, that the
chaos prevailing upon the earth might be redeemed. This
revelation came by Him Who is called Jesus. He received
the new revelation from God which is contained in the
scripture known as the Gospels.
Tradition associates Jesus with the colour green, which
signifies that the powers of this world could not touch
His essence, so that He was in truth the Beloved of God.
Green, as you may know, symbolizes the state of childlike
innocence, still free from all desire, and in particular from
sexual desire and the desire for the things of this world
that have come to be coveted by men.
It is told of Jesus that He had power to heal the sick and
raise the dead, also that He walked upon the waters. By
the Will of God He suffered death upon the cross.
To heal the sick and to raise the dead mean, the rst, to
rectify the faults and weaknesses in man, and the second,
to awaken his soul, which is as though dead within him.
To walk upon the water means to overcome and purify
human emotions. This is essentially the same as that which
you have received in the spiritual training of Susila Budhi
Dharma or Subud. You are being puried in this training,
and your faults and weaknessessuch as diseased
conditions of body or mindare being corrected; your
souls are being awakened, which from birth to the present
time have been imprisoned by your emotions, thoughts
and desires.
It no longer seems strange to you that, after a latihan,
*Quran37, v.101-113

you should feel the stirring of a new life within you that
was not there before. This stirring of life means that the
soul is awakening and being liberated from its bondage to
the power of worldly inuences. In this, Subud in no way
departs from that which was revealed to those prophets of
former days of whom Bapak has been speaking.
Death by crucifixion symbolizes that the role of the
Perfect Man is to bridge the gulf between Heaven and
earth. That is why tradition tells that Jesus remained the
same after He had passed through death; the meaning
of this is that the soul is willed by God to protect the
consciousness of individuality, causing it to fill and
encompass the whole physical body. Thus Jesus, in His
life after death, had lost nothing which had become a part
of His individuality; He could still see, hear, smell, speak,
perceive, and all His other powers continued to function.
This agrees with our experience in the spiritual training,
in which all our organs and members are brought to life,
one by one, so that even after death our seeing and hearing
and all our other senses will remain intact. This does not
mean that our physical bodies will continue to exist after
death: what we shall bring with us, and what will have
become part of our individuality, will be not our eyes
but our power of seeing; not our ears, but our power of
hearing; not our tongue, but our power of speech; not our
nose, but our power of smelling; not our blood, but our
feelings; not our brain, but our understanding; not our
heart, but the power of reection; and our inner self.
This indeed is what we have longed for and for which
we have prayed to Almighty God: to become such as it is
the Will of God that man should become. But yet man still
remains man; despite all advice and guidance, however
inspired, his nature remains weak and vacillating, easily
impressed by outward progress, and by the development
and achievements of his own mind. In consequence,
and without realizing it, most people are drawn into
the net woven by their own thinking minds, and their
own thoughts bar the way to understanding of the true
meaning of life.
Lest man fall still more grievously into error and plunge
yet deeper into the abyss of confusion, revelation came
yet again to mankind, this time through a man named
Mohammed. And the book of the revelation of Mohammed
is called the Quran. Alquran means The Word of God,
the Commandments of God to man, given in order that
man should be able to live his life without departing from
the commandments contained in the words of God.
Mohammed is not spoken of as the Son of God or
the Beloved of God, but as His Regent upon earth. This
signies that he was an instrument of the Power of God,
sent to proclaim to mankind the commandments he had
received from God.

With Mohammed a new possibility was added for man

to worship God; for the union of Mohammed and his
wife became in truth an act of worship towards God
the union of man and woman was ordained by God to
be a true act of worship. This is shown in the marriage
ceremony performed according to the religion of Islam,
in which the man and woman, in order to proclaim and
confirm that they will become truly husband and wife,
must recite the declaration of faith: that there is no other
God but God and Mohammed is His Prophet. By this
act, the couple acknowledge that they owe their existence
to God and that they are His witnesses. In this way, the
teaching of Mohammed was put into practice, and many
were those among his followers whose inner purity made
the union of husband and wife a true
act of worship towards God.
But still man is man, and in spite of so wonderful and
blissful an act of worship, he fell back into forgetfulness
of the danger that in his enjoyment he could remain
subject to the pressure and inltration of the lower forces
of his worldly environment, with their natural tendency
to prevent man from attaining his sacred aims. And so
it happened that the union of man and wife became
once more a gratification of their passions rather than
an act of worshipalthough its actual nature is that of
recapitulation, so that through it they should be able to be
aware of their own condition before and at the moment
when they entered into existence. In this same way, you
too, brothers and sisters, should have been able to become
aware of this condition, for in this respect you can be
likened to a road along which a car is passing, but the
road does not know whence it comes and whither it goes.
It is indeed to be deplored before Almighty God that man
cannot catch a glimpse of this truth.
You must then realize that you do not know where your
child comes from or where it will go, although you yourself
are the channel through which it has entered existence.
But when you do become conscious of this, it will mean
that you are also conscious of how you were before you
came into existence, of what you are now, and of where
you will go hereafter.
All that is necessary is contained in the excellence of the
Commandments received by the Prophets from Abraham
to Mohammed; but, in spite of all, man remains man and
is easily swayed by the forces of the world around him.
Without being aware of what is happening he comes, as
time goes on, to attach ever more importance to his wishes
and desires, and follows their dictates ever more readily,
and he relies more and more upon the powers inherent in
his thoughts and feelings.
Ever since the days of the prophets, man has obviously
been given more than enough teaching; but, although this

good counsel is available to him, he still lacks the strength

to put it into practice. Everything that has come down
to him has become, and remains for him, only material
for thought. He merely thinks about what is needed for
this life. He depends entirely upon thoughts and with his
thoughts he assimilates everything. Since all teaching thus
stops short in his mind and never gets any further, he is
unable to put it into practice, unable to make it real. There
are many who occupy their whole minds with theological
speculations; they ponder them for years and years, and
in the end both their minds and their feelings are lost in
Now, with the coming of Subud and that which by the
Grace of God we have received in Subud, it is His Will
that the way should be opened for mankind, through the
practice of the spiritual training, to live in a manner that
accords with all that has been taught by the prophets.
None of us, including Bapak, should make too denite
statements about Subud; still, the evidence of our own
experience and the state in which we nd ourselves when
receiving, prove to us that Subud is a way of receiving
which does not depend upon our desire, our self-will or
our thinking mind, but rather that this way opens for us
when everything within us has been stilled, and comes by
the Will of God, which is above and beyond our human
understanding. That it is so means that it is God Himself
Who works on the being of man, since man no longer
responds to teaching received from without and since it is
quite impossible for him to change the content of his own
nature, unless he is helped by a Power innitely greater
than his own.
Therefore no theory is to be found in Subud, but only
a fact which works and grows and goes on by itself. We
receive and experience this working; our hearts change,
our characters change, our physical health changes, and
what was wrong in us is put rightall this is the working
in us of a powerful force of Life, which cannot be known
by our ordinary instruments and organs of perception.
The work of this Life Force within usthe elimination
of our faults and the development of what is good and
true and realrequires no assistance from our thinking
minds, our hearts or our desires, for the mind and heart
and desires of man have no power to work any change in
his nature. To make straight the soul and the nature of
man is not in the power of his mind and heart and desires,
but belongs to Almighty God alone, Who wields a force
immeasurably beyond the grasp of man.
Bapak will now briefly describe the way in which a
soul is incarnated in a new vessel, which develops and is
completed as a new human being.
The cosmic order, by the Decree of Almighty God,
comprises different levels. Each level is a sphere or world

of its own; beginning with the lowest, there are the world
of the material life-forces, the world of the vegetable life
forces, the world of the animal life-forces, the world of the
human life-force and the world of the life-force of beings
superior to the human beings of this world. These are only
the rst ve levels, but it is not necessary to take them any
On its own level each of these life-forces constitutes a
world of its own; for example, the material world contains
millions of souls analogous to the souls of human beings
in this world. The souls of each of these worlds tend to
be drawn towards and enter ter certain focal points of
attraction wherever these are available. Such focal points
come into existence through the union of male and female.
The vehicle, which acts as a magnet to draw a soul towards
it, is produced by the union of husband and wife; although
it appears merely as a uid, this may well be called the
water of life, able to retain the life-force which causes it to
move, function and develop to completion.
Since the vehicle has come into existence through the
union of husband and wife it is derived from the essences
of these two beings of opposite sex. It acts as a kind of lens
to focus the approaching soul which will enter it. And if
the thoughts of this couple have been constantly occupied,
before and during the union, with the affairs and pleasures
of this world, then the drop of uid can serve only to focus
material forces and nothing higher, so that if a new being
comes into existence it will be capable of containing only
material forces and the soul of this child will be a material
This new vehicle, this mere drop of uid which is lled
by a material soul, will gradually grow and develop in its
mothers womb until it is completely formed as a human
being and ready to be born into this world. Whatever the
soul within the child, its outward form will be human; his
body, organs and limbs will be human and therefore he
will think human thoughts and entertain human desires.
He will hold things in his hands and walk upright as
human beings do; in short, all his manifestations will be
those of a human being.
This can be compared to the striking of a gong; whether
it be struck by a child or a learned man or a beautiful
woman, the metal still produces the same sound. Whoever
may strike it, the nature of the metal remains the same,
and it will always produce the same sound. It is the same
with souls; whether the inner content of a man, which
governs his whole being, may be a material, vegetable or
animal soul, nevertheless his outward manifestations will
be those of a human being.
Little by little the new-born child becomes aware of the
contents of the world around him, and later he begins to
respond to it emotionally and to think about it. At the

same time his contact with his spiritual environment

is weakened by comparison with what it was before he
fell under the influence of his worldly environment. In
the end everything in himhis body, brain, heart and
feelingsbecomes entirely lled with the things of this
world, and when later, as a grown man, he begins to think
and wonder about conditions beyond the world, and try
to picture what Heaven is like or to visualize God and
His Power, he is only able to do so in terms of his worldly
environment, which has come to be the sole content of his
inner self
It is not to be wondered at if such a one, trying to visualize
God, pictures some impressive human gure, seated on a
throne, dwelling in a palace of gold and precious stones.
He knows that God is above all and so he will take the
elements of his experience of this world, exalted to the
highest degree, and from this material he will build up his
picture of God.
To think about God can lead to no protable results; it
is not even possible for the human intellect to comprehend
the nature of the soul or the inner state of man; for the
intellect and the brain, the emotions, the heart and the
desires have all come into existence only after the entry
of the soul into that as yet uid and formless vessel whose
state cannot be known by man. And therefore there is no
other way for us, if our inner state is to be brought into
order and our soul restored, except the way which has
arisen by the Will of God. By this, His Grace is bestowed
upon us in our receiving, freed from thoughts, self-will,
emotions and imagination concerning the things of this
This is why what you receive in the latihan often seems
strange to you; for it is a simple fact that all that happens
in the training is beyond our power to understand: it is
only comprehensible to the Wisdom of God. God can
accomplish that of which man can never know, for man is
no more than His creature, who exists only because God
has created him. And it is impossible for man to know
his Creator, just as it is impossible for a table to know the
carpenter who made it. If you make a table, you know if it
is round or square, whether it is yellow, white, red or any
other colour, but the table itself does not know its shape
or whether it has been painted yellow or black; it merely
accepts whatever may be the will of man towards it.
However strongly you hold to the desires of your heart
and mind, your experience must teach how small is their
power. You certainly do not wish your hair to turn white,
your teeth to fall out or your strength to decline. You
would certainly prefer to live a hundred, or even two
hundred years, and still keep all these things unchanged.
Yet you cannot retain any of them by force, for only God
has power over them, and He has decreed the inherent

limitations of man.
This is like the situation when a car is built; it is given
a guarantee, in which are indicated the times at which
various replacements should be made and various parts
overhauled. Therefore we must have complete faith in the
Omniscience and Wisdom of God and realize that His
work is beyond our knowledge and understanding.
Although this work is done by the Power of God and
not by our own, yet on our part we should not relax our
vigilance. Do not just allow things to happen or become
careless and feel unconcerned, but try rather to be aware
of what is going on, so that little by little you yourselves
become able to discern and see that formerly you were
governed in one way and now you are governed in another.
Thus you will also become aware of a change in that which
directs and guides your inner feelings, and you will see
this change manifested in your conduct from day to day.
Finally, you will become able to see, to feel and to be
aware of, the variety of forces acting within you, and of
the various souls forming the content of your inner self.
Then you will become aware of the real master in you; that
is, the true human soul.
This is the end of Bapaks explanations on spiritual
matters for this evening. He hopes you will forgive him if
anything he has said has offended you.

Preface to Susila Budhi Dharma

Susila Budhi Dharma is poem which was received by Muhammad Subuh in 1925 in high
Javanese or Kawi. It contains an explanation of the essence of the latihan kedjiwaan of Subud
and the nature of life. Muhammad Subuh wrote down what he received, but the nature of the
work could not be translated into Indonesian because Indonesian does not contain many of the
words or concepts contained in the poem . To compensate for this, Bapak wrote in Indonesian
what he called a commentary on the original. This, in turn, was translated into English and other
languages and published in all three languages as the book, Susila Budhi Dharma. This is the
preface Muhammad Subuh wrote for the book upon its rst publication as newly tranlated in
the year 2000 edition.

o explain the contents of this book it will be best if Bapak rst makes clear the conditions
under which human beings can receive a contact with the Great Life, whose source is in fact
the power of Almighty God.
In reality God has power, and far excels human beings in all things; for in very truth God is the
Creator of humankind and of the whole universe. So human beings as they really are, are just created
things, powerless before God.
This being their real nature, human beings cannot understand or reect on the nature and power
of God with their heart and mind. This is why, whenever people try to nd a way that may lead to
contact with the Great Life, many are stranded on the path or, if not, are impelled without their soul
being aware of it to stray in other directions, directions which in reality are mirages of the imagination, heart and mind.
Therefore, in seeking a kind of worship that can make contact with the Great Life, people need,
above all, to stop the welling up of their imagination and thinking. By doing that they really paralyse
their passions and surrender their human ability and wisdom; that is to say, as human beings they
obey and submit with complete sincerity to God who rules within them.
In fact this is nothing new, for in times long past human beings already followed such a path
and found a contact they could feel within them. Why, then, are there not many people in our own
time who still have that contact? The reason is simply that conditions on earth for humankind keep
changing as generation succeeds generation, and many people are easily affected by the inuence of
these ever-changing conditions that face them. This has especially been so since the human mind has
progressively developed its knowledge. This has, as it were, increasingly opened the way for the inner
feeling to plunge into the realm of thought rather than into the realm of inner peace. Over time, the
human self has come to be ruled more and more by thought, instead of by the quietness of the inner
feeling or the inner self; so in the end peoples hearts and brains are always busy and their inner feeling has almost no opportunity to be at peace.
Certainly human beings must think, because thought is an important tool with which they can
strive to full the needs of their life on earth and so make their existence here an orderly one. But
to become aware of the realm of the soul and make contact again with the Great Life, people do not
need to use their minds. On the contrary, they should stop the process of their thinking and imagin-

ing, for only by doing so can they receive something from beyond their imagination that eventually
brings about a vibration of energy felt within the self. Clearly then, the only way to make contact with
the Great Life or the power of God is for a person really to surrender and let go. And this surrender
must not be in word only, but must penetrate throughout their inner feeling until they truly feel they
believe in, praise and worship no one but the One Almighty God.
If they can really do this, then at that moment they will feel powerless, but complete and conscious.
That is to say, they will feel powerless because at that moment the strength of their passions, heart
and mind will have gone from them; they will feel complete because their inner feeling is lled with
something that comes from the Great Life; and nally, they will feel conscious because of the awakening of their human soul.
That is how it will be when a person can do this in the right way. But if in their efforts to do this
they keep using thought, because they regard it as the means or the tool that can overcome everything,
then they can hardly hope to make contact with the Great Life.
This truth was often expressed by those who were able to receive while living on earth in times
past. They said that the one and only way for a person to be able to draw near to the power of God is
for them to be willing to quieten their inner feeling with complete patience, trust and surrender.
This has been an absolute requirement, for in truth this gift from God can only be received by
human beings who have inner feelings lled with surrender, patience, acceptance and willingness to
let go before the greatness of God.
Such are Bapaks words to all who may wish to read this book. The explanations in the pages that
follow give shape to the path attained by the soul in receiving the latihan.
In conclusion, Bapak hopes that the inner feelings of those who read this book may be opened by
Almighty God, so that they can truly worship God. Bapak also hopes that readers may be very forgiving if anything Bapak has said is out of place. Amen.

Bapak Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo