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What’s Happening with World Congress?

Well here we are, at just one year (January 4-18, 2010) from to come for the full two weeks. We have worked together to
our great meeting together in Christchurch, New Zealand. reach a registration fee that is close to the fee paid in Innsbruck.
This will be a busy and challenging year, but the whole con- As usual, there are lower fees for youth and families, plus dis-
gress organizing team, both local and international, has counts on fees for early payment of registrations, which makes
now become more structured and coherent and ready to the planning much easier. Payment can be made by credit
host all of you. card or by electronic transfer. Members can register, and
then pay later, as long as they are within the specific time
In 2008 the Congress Organizing Team and the WSA deadlines in order to get the discounted registration fee.
Executive and Council worked together to establish the foun-
dations for the congress. This includes setting up a legal struc- World Congresses are large scale events which require suit-
ture in New Zealand to provide a local vehicle to organize the able facilities to provide for the needs of the members and
congress, working to finalize the budget and the registration their programs. It also includes helping as many as possible to
fee, and starting to look at come including those from
the congress content and countries with lower average
direction that we hope to incomes.
take during the congress.
It is largely thanks to the
Gradually the team has extensive volunteer work
gelled into a close knit work- done by many, that registra-
ing group. It works in a dem- tion fees can be kept down
ocratic and harmonious low. We are counting on
manner, supported by local everyone’s generosity to help
and international helpers, make the congress a success,
the Christchurch group and so please add a donation to
the national committee of your registration fee if possi-
Subud New Zealand. ble. Donations to support
members to attend the con-
It is a great experience, gress, by those not attending
Amongst its many other delights, the World Congress in Christchurch is
helped by the extensive use the congress, can also be
promising “tramping” with Arif Matthee in New Zealand’s spectacular scenery.
of the internet and Skype made on the website.
See story Page 2.
conference calling. One
highlight happened in May, when Stewart Horthy in the UK Accommodation
‘hacked into’ Arif Matthee’s computer in The accommodation project leader has worked
Christchurch, to give the international team
present an on-line demonstration of the func-
tioning of the website and registration form.

The World Congress website and registration

form can be accessed at www.subudworld-

We hope that
many will come
hard finding the best accommodation and
negotiating the best prices, which are low by
international standards.

We have found a good range of accommoda-

tion for you close to the main venues, including and through links on the to express their hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, backpack-
major Subud websites. ers, and camping options.
ideas and
Two Options When you register you can book meals (lunch
After discussions back and forth, the final deci- visions for the
“ and dinner) at the convention centre, or simply
sion was made by the World Subud Council at choose, once in Christchurch, from the numer-
their meeting in Amanecer, Colombia, that future… ous choices of restaurants and cafes available
there would be two registration fee options: one nearby. Another important feature on the web-
for the full two weeks, the other a daily option for site is the extensive information concerning visas.
members who may only be able to come for a few days.
Samara Schionning from Australia is now living in Christchurch
The major costs incurred by World Congress for the full 2 and has become secretary to the congress team, and
weeks: venue rentals, country delegate support (approx. 30 Marianne Kay has been working since November 1 as
countries will need help), Ibu Rahayu's attendance, support Congress Co-Ordinator.
for working staff and volunteers. Smaller costs include, techni-
cal translation equipment, security and medical support Hammond Peek has volunteered to become the local web-
requirements, and other such needs. site editor and is working with Stewart Horthy who is develop-
ing the website for the congress. The Congress Organizing
As most members will come from far away, we hope they will plan Team will appear on the website.. cont on P2 >
The team needs others from around the world to help fill all the Several of us will be attending the Australian Congress to
roles involved. For example, Marston Gregory from the US is update members and to provide them with an opportu-
working with Stephen Woodruff from NZ coordinating a num- nity to get involved as there are still many responsibilities
ber of cultural events. that need to be filled on site such as registration, catering,
welcoming, translations etc… We hope many of the vol-
There will be an on-site volunteering program, which will func- unteers will come from our neighboring countries, as well
tion similar to the Innsbruck Congress. The intention is that as from further afield.
working hours will be of a reasonable length so that all mem-
bers may participate in the activities of the congress. I am attempting to organize a significantly reduced price
tramping (read walking) trip to the Milford Track before or
To finish, please remember that this is a World Congress of all after the congress. The Milford Track is considered to be
Subud members. We hope and trust that many will come to one of the most famous tracks in the world, so this will be
Christchurch, to join in the latihans, as well as express their a tremendous opportunity for members to appreciate the
ideas and visions for the future, through workshops, forums magnificent scenery New Zealand, the home of middle
and dialogue. Middle Earth, is blessed with.

We are investigating the possibility and costs of streaming cer- Many Excursions
tain parts of the Congress onto the web, thus creating a virtu- Of course there will be many excursions and trips during
al on-line congress for those who are unable to come to NZ. the congress that the members in Christchurch are
Thanks to the support of Harlan Cockburn, Congress TV will preparing for you all to experience and enjoy. These
again be a major feature, allowing events to be shared at might include watching the whales or dolphins in
congress and around the world. Kaikoura, visiting the Thermal Reserve in Hamner Springs
and others.
Most importantly, Ibu Rahayu has confirmed her hope to
come to congress in New Zealand. Any talks she gives will be

As Christchurch is a modest sized city, the impact of our
filmed and become available as soon as possible. congress on our home city will be considerable. Our con-
gress is exceptional because of its length. Most confer-

Christchurch Group – ences of up to 2,500 people held in Christchurch usually

only last for about three days – thus at two weeks long,
ours is extraordinary.
the Local Hosts of the We understand that it will actually be the largest event to

World Congress be held at the convention centre, so we need to show

ourselves at our best! January will be a busy time with
many tourists and events like the World Buskers Festival
Arif Mathee writes… which is always very well attended, beginning directly
after the end of our congress. Street performers who
The members of the Christchurch group, who bought a would like to apply to participate in this festival can find
hectare of land where the current Subud house and lati- the information at
han hall are now built, had great foresight and courage
when they got this off the ground. We hope you can make it here. At the end of the day
If you are not able to achieve it, we hope that you will
The large Subud hall was built on this land. Later on a still find a way to participate in this four-yearly Subud
further block adjoining this was bought by individual event. Streaming of the congress is being looked into
Subud members , who recently separated off part of and hopefully congress TV will be as successful as it was
this land, subdividing it into a number of residential last time. We do not want anyone to feel they missed
blocks, many of which were bought by out, rather we want you all to feel that
Subud members who now live there in
their own houses.

The Christchurch Subud group has about

70 – 80 members which is large for a city of
We do not “ you are part of it.

Could you please consider making a dona-

tion in addition to your registration fee? The
NZ dollar remains weak against most major
380,000 people. We are very lucky to have
our own premises, and because of our
want anyone currencies and this makes it very attractive
for overseas members to attend congress.
financial security we are not obliged to Your generosity will support members from
rent them to cover costs. to feel they countries with lower average incomes to

This means that we can use our premises

at any time for our own purposes. This is missed out
“ attend. Many members volunteer much of
their time towards the congress. Your dona-
tions will allow them to also participate in
truly a blessing which not many other our congress. Thank you very much for your
Subud groups in the world enjoy. Our generosity in advance.
group is in the process of building a second hall, with
construction due to begin once a council building Although we are still more than a year away from the
permit has been issued. congress, we are all looking forward to welcoming you.
. We hope there will be a lot more attendees than the
The Congress organizing team is looking to set up an 1,200 we are using for our break even budget figures.
office at the Subud House. There may also be accom-
modation possibilities for members at the Christchurch

From Arif Matthee (you guessed it right, I am looking after
Subud Property. the financial side AND I am a keen tramper)


among so many brothers and sisters flowering everywhere,
The External Relations tells me I must be on to something. I have written verse over
the years and a favourite of mine is –

"With harmony, comes light. / With love, there's life. / And,
We welcome Amalia with each other, / A world, / That can be right."
Rasheed in the new
position of WSA External
Relations Coordinator.
The First Latihan
We are happy that Anthony Bright-Paul, UK, writes…
there was a good
response from well qual- This letter from John Godolphin Bennett may be of interest
ified members to our to you, since it establishes the date of the first latihan in the
recent letter seeking dining room at Coombe Springs on Monday 10th June.
someone for this role.
This position has been This was the first big latihan, or series of latihans as they
evolving for several went on all evening, 15 people at a time. Those who had
years, and Amalia has far to travel were in the first one. Of course some people
been involved, for the most had been opened earlier, like Bob Prestie, who was
part, all along the way. opened up at Rofe's flat together with some of the
Amalia Rasheed – WSA External Relations Gurdjieff and Ouspensky old guard.
Coordinator Amalia facilitated Peace
Workshops at the Bali World Congress and more recently I have scanned a number of very old letters and sent
has served on the External Relations Committee along them to Ben Bennett, who has reciprocated
with Victor Margolin, Rohana Laing, and Taufik Waage by sending me an irate letter
with Samuel Simonsson and Frederic Richard as co-chairs. from Rofe to JGB!
Amalia and Rohana Laing wrote a newsletter on the
activities of the committee and it was widely distrib-
uted in the Subud community.

In 2007 the committee fulfilled its objectives and

summed up their activities in a report to the World
Subud Council that summer.

In this new phase with a coordinator for external rela-

tions, Amalia has accepted a four-year volunteer consul-
tancy and coordinating role as part of the WSA executive
function. She will build and coordinate a team to com-
plete the various aspects of this work.

This includes such things as WSA's participation in inter-spiritu-

al activities, the WSA 'forum,' the UN and related activities
along with SDIA and she will serve in an advisory capacity
regarding the public image of

been evolving for
several years, and
Subud, including in respect to peo-
This position has ple who are interested in Subud and
our attitudes to some of the above.

Amalia brings depth, understand-

An historic letter
from John Bennett

ing, and experience to this position.

Amalia has been
“ We send a big thank you and
hearty welcome to her, as well as
News from the Top of
involved all along
the way
much appreciation for her past
efforts! We also extend warm thanks the Hill
to the former members of the ERC Abdullah Pope writes from Perth, Western Australia…

for their efforts and successes.
Garrett, Maya, Samuel, and Julia In October, three of our Australian National Helpers came
to visit us in Perth. They spent the night of Saturday 11th
New International Helper at Hilltop, our SICA project, a small conference and
retreat centre 60 kms from downtown Perth, in the rolling
Welcome to Dahlan Simpson!, hills and pastoral country of Western Australia.
new Area 1 International Helper. (Mason Cook has resigned
– and so we wish him well and thank him for his dedication The rest of the time they spent staying with various mem-
and service.) Dahlan lives in Sydney with his wife Mardiah bers of the Perth group, and seeing the city and its
and their 2 children. He writes… beaches, as well as attending latihans at the hall in town
I owe my life to Subud and the latihan. Thank you Bapak! I On the Saturday, thirty members came for latihan and test-
remember when just 6 years old wondering (worrying, actu- ing in the dome throughout the day, and were joined by a
ally) when I would know about God and heaven. What has gaggle of children in the evening for a barbeque on the big
become a flood of laughter and joyful tears in Subud, terrace, many people staying overnight. cont on p4 >
Hilltop has also been busy recently funds to be sent. As well we are making vigorous effects

will be the
with a spiritual, a church, a family
or school group visiting every
weekend in September and
October. This has been quite a
strain for Salamah and me, as we
to source the balance of the $1 million.

- To preserve cash, we have ceased all work on on our

Jelai property and retrenched 100+ permanent and
casual staff. Should we get the $1 million we will recom-
are now 75 and 80, but our prayers mence a limited work program at Jelai because, of
development have been answered and Bereny
Hadley, until recently the Chair of
recent months, drilling results have been outstanding.

pattern of the
“ the Subud Sunshine Coast group in - As previously advised we have acquired an option over
Queensland, has just arrived in a near-production coal area in East Kal and are in discus-
future Perth to take over as our new sion with potential partners/off-takers (companies that
Manager! contract to purchase the coal).

She plans to expand the business to include more busi- - Close to securing a deal on a producing mine, for which
ness groups, especially mid-week, and also to work with we would seek funding from Macquarie Bank.
Salim Ismail (one of the four medical doctors in our group)
to set up a natural health clinic for weekend, or week-long This will be my last note to this listserver as it is evident and
retreats. Salim has a large and successful alternative understandable that many people don't want their mail
health clinic in Perth, and his staff will, we hope, be able boxes filled with discussion on KGC. Therefore, any of you
to manage and run these retreats for their clients. that wish to receive updates from the Subud team work-
ing in the project, please advise me by return email and I
This will give Salamah more time to do her lectures and will also include you on our press release email list.
workshops on Bapak’s ideas, presenting her book “The
Pattern of the World” with its holistic cosmology, and me Suggestions for an Advisory Board of Subud members won't
more time to follow up on our original plans to develop a work in the context of a public company, but we acknowl-
Subud community of 7 or 8 houses in a cluster around the edge that some vehicle for communication, feedback,
conference centre. suggestions, support etc to the Subud team in the project
might have validity. Therefore I suggest that those of you
I also want to market the third and final edition of my with a specific interest in the matter form yourselves into a
memoir, “Reminiscences of Bapak”. I have added 40 discussion group outside of this listserver to develop your
pages of text since the first edition, and 16 since the sec- ideas, and let's see where we go from there.
ond edition was published.
Rahman Connelly’s email is
It now contains a section on self-sustaining communities, The KGC web site where press releases may be read is
which I believe will be the development pattern of the
future, and which, like Hilltop here, and Gunnabah over

in the East of Australia, are already appearing in the
Subud world. Making a Profit with KGC
Michael Rosa writes of his experience with KGC…

Kalimantan Gold This story is a call of help for Kalimantan Gold Corporation
to support Bapak’s vision for the world. I will try and make
As most of you will know, there was something of a crisis it as short as possible with out leaving any thing out.
with Kalimantan Gold Corporation in November 2008
when CEO, Rahman Connelly, announced that the com- The story begins with the Widjojo Building which I of course
pany might have to suspend operations as a Private invested in, I only ever received two dividends which I
Placement seeking US$1 million had been undersub- invested in what is now known as KGC. Some years later I
scribed because equity markets had dried up due to the invested more money giving me a few thousand shares
global financial downturn. at a higher price than they are now.

The positive in this was that many Subud members were And then I forgot about them for some years. Much later
re-inspired to support the venture and a significant when the company had by this time developed into the
amount was forthcoming into the Private Placement from name of KGC, I was informed that Widjojo had been sold
“small” Subud investors all around the world. It was like and that I would be receiving a money wire for over
the financial crisis re-awoke concern for KGC and £2000 and where would I like to invest it?
renewed the project’s connection to its roots in Subud
members. So I decided it had to go to KGC, I was told to contact
Rahman Connelly who in turn advised me at the time that
As we go to press, the most recent communication we there was no Placement available and that I should
have from Rahman Connelly about the situation is this invest in Aim or the Canadian Stock market.
message posted on the SES INTERNATIONAL listserver.
Rahman writes… I contacted my broker who got me a good deal and pur-
chased another 34.000 shares on Aim. Since that time a new
Further to my note of 15 November: placement has arrived and I believe it will be at a fair price.
- The fundraising stands at around $450,000 with some
people yet to send the funds committed. We have My investment was beginning to mount up, I then had a
extended the Placement closing date till 15 Dec for those strong feeling I should buy more, once again cont on p5 >


I decided to buy a further 40.000 at a very reasonable with street children and in Indonesia at an American high
price purchased by my broker at 4p, bringing my total school and in Denmark with all kinds of musical education
investment to 90.000. and with various bands.

While doing my latihan a day later I received a strong From 2001 to 2003 I was in Jakarta Indonesia where I felt
urge to buy more. The next day the price had gone up so happy. Someone not so happy assaulted me and my reti-
I decided to give it a miss. I should also mention that my na fell off the left eye. The next almost five years I was in
two sons have a small part of this investment. My eldest and out of eye surgery in Denmark and in the end the eye
son, who is the most cautious member of our family, doctors and the Danish health system gave up on me
came to my house and during our conversation asked and told me I would have to live with the lack of vision.
me how our investment was doing. There was nothing they could do.

This was just a few days ago and I told him that we had I made a CD called “Songs from the Heart” to try to earn
cleared off all the payment for the shares and were money enough to find a place abroad where especially
£440 in profit. My son could not believe it. He said, my left eye could be repaired somewhat. It was a long
“Everything is going through the floor through the cred- and slow process till Reynold Feldman, retired professor
it crunch, and we are making profit!” He then implored from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu came along and
me to buy more. started fundraising for an operation among his friends
and among Subud members around the world.
At this stage I thought the price too high at 7p but he
insisted and I finally gave in. We purchased another Subud is a spiritual organization where people from all reli-
14.000 giving me a total over100.400. The next day the gions (and many countries) worship God together and try
price had moved up slightly I and we were more than to become better people and also to act in a socially
£800 in profit, I decided this was as far as I wanted to go. and “communitarial” responsible way. I have been in
Subud since 2000.
Last night I could not sleep. I got up and started doing an
exercise during which it came to me that some years ago Reynold Feldman’s dear wife Simone passed away in
a psychic had told me that I would invest in a gold mine September 2006, and this was the reason he decided to trav-
and indicated I would make a lot of money from this el around the world and chose his first destination as Denmark.
A Surprising Happening
I had completely forgotten this, and I also felt strongly I While he was there the surprising thing happened that
should write an article about these incidents. one day a mail came from Hawaii of all places! An eye
surgeon responded to Reynold’s call for helping me find
The point I am trying to make is that I feel strongly through someone who could operate on my eyes.
my experience that our enterprise is ready to take off and
for a lot of people the price will be out of their reach. Dr. Mike Bennett from The Retina Institute of Hawaii,
Honolulu, wrote to me that he would do the operation for
But of course this will not apply to the people with money free if only I would wait till the Mobile Eye Clinic had been
so this could be the last chance for many members. constituted and that PROJECT VISION would be working
Rahman Connelly has asked for our support to fuel in the fall of 2008. This is now and I am here, miracle of mir-
Bapak’s vision for Kalimantan, I feel he is the right man acles, in this beautiful place called Hawaii. From one
with the team to lead our enterprise into success. So I island in the Pacific (Java) to another (Oahu).
hope we will all come up with some money to support this
enterprise. And the greatest miracle is that by now my two eyes
have been operated successfully and I can see things

People wishing to contact Rahman Connelly, CEO of which I have not seen in years. The first operation hap-
KGC, can do so at pened on September 24 and the second one ten days
later. This is the reason for this celebration of happiness
A Celebration of Restored Vision and joy and new life and new eyes.

We have carried several articles about Aisha Holm in There is only little I can give back to the people who
Subud voice. Her story has been a breakable one of saved my eyes. And at the time being that is my music.
struggle, courage and persistence following an incident
that severely damaged her vision. I apologize beforehand for mistakes I might make on the
piano because I have not really seen it for the last five years.
We also told how she produced a CD of her own music
under the most difficult conditions. Now we bring a new I am grateful and extremely happy to play for you this
and happy chapter. On November 2nd 2008 Aisha per- afternoon and to be part of this celebration. And I pray
formed a concert in Hawaii celebrating the substantial that Project Vision may have great success and help
restoration of her vision. At the concert she said… many people in Hawaii and around the world. I thank you
all for the awesome help I have received.
The music I play comes from my heart and from all the
places I have lived throughout my life. I don’t know what For the love for the sweetness and for the professional skill
to call it and it does not matter. Music is music and peo- of Michael Bennett and his whole staff. For the fundraising
ple are the same all over the world. I am Danish and took and help that Reynold Feldman gave me. And for the
a Music Conservatory education in Copenhagen love and friendship I have found in Hawaii. This is a won-
derful place on Earth. I wish the aloha spirit will spread all

Denmark. But I played with people from many cultures
and worked in Paris with Berber people and in Nicaragua over the world. Mahalo, Aisha


Why Don’t Young People has seen Subud change and the direction in which he
sees it going (big question!). One of my concerns is why
young people, unless they grew up in Subud, are not
Come into Subud? coming to Subud?

Usually we have a talk by Bapak or Ibu Rahayu in this part Answer: I am glad you asked that. It is a big question, as
of Subud Voice but we thought we would vary it for once you said. So let me take a little time answering it. I have
by publishing this very interesting talk by Varindra Vittachi five children. Four of them do the latihan. Two of them
which addresses a “problem” in Subud. Why aren’t more never go to a group. They loathe going to a group. And
young people coming in? yet they practise the latihan. And I have seen that Subud
has made them really mellow at a very young age –
The talk was given by Varindra Vittachi to young Subud mature, but not precocious.
members at a Zone 7 gathering. Varindra was the
Chairman of the World Subud Association, a job he held One of my children evolved into a groupie. He is now a
for thirty years, from l963 to l993. budding journalist. He likes congregation. In fact, at one
stage while he was at school, he wanted to become a
The gathering, hosted by Subud Montreal, was held in the Christian minister. I know of no one, no priest, no clergy-
first week of July 1992 at a convention centre just outside man, who knows the Bible better than he does. He is
Montreal, Canada. (Editor's note: Because of sound prob- inclined that way; he understands the meaning, the
lems in the tape, small portions of Varindra's talk proved value of congregation.
inaudible and have been left out of this transcription.)
Many of us are not joiners. It takes a special kind of expe-
Benefits of the Latihan rience and a kind of need, I guess, for people to want to
A young member asked Varindra what benefits are belong to a group. That is the way Subud grows. But the
brought about by doing the latihan. question you are really asking is, I think, why more young
people don't come to Subud?
In reply, Varindra said the following:
After years of doing latihan, when the latihan starts bear- One of the simplest reasons is that many Subud young
ing fruit, then you ask yourself, for example: "What has people don't come to Subud – children of Subud mem-
happened to me within the last three years? Has the lati- bers don't come to Subud. One of my five children, my
han been beneficial to me or not?" While it may take a son, he stays out. He is a very sincere young man – 37
long time for a person to be sure that the latihan has years of age.
been beneficial, you recognize that clearly something
has happened to you. He tells me things that indicate to me why he stays out. I
don't probe, but sometimes he tells me why he stays
I will give you an example of that. I used to be terrified of away from his local group. He thinks that his mother's
public speaking. Now, I don't mind talking to friends, some of them, are a bit balmy. All

10,000 or 20,000 people. But before that, their dogmatic talk; they are absolutely sure
before I came to Subud, I really was terrified of the dimensions of God, and that God talks
of public speaking. As a newspaper reporter,
I clearly had to do something about that. So I We have to them every day. Of course, any young
man would consider this absolute rubbish.
used to write my speech down, word for
word, and then learn it by heart. no authority, And why do two of my other children who

Then one evening, not too long after I came but we have do the latihan, why don't they go to groups?
My daughter, who is of the younger set in
to Subud, I was putting on my necktie
preparatory to making a speech, the most a great
“ Subud, was in really bad trouble with her first
husband. He used to bash her around, you
important speech I had yet made in my life –
I was giving the Prize Day speech at my col- responsibility know, really maul her; she was in really des-
perate trouble. She didn't tell me this.
lege. I had been expelled from that college,
but events over the years had turned me into Instead, she went to the group helpers who
a Distinguished Old Boy of the college. gave her this stuff, you know – you must submit to your
husband. That kind of stuff. As a result, she walked out
Just before entering the hall, my wife said, "You haven't and never came back [to the group]. She does the lati-
prepared your speech, have you?" han [on her own]. "God gave the latihan to me," she said.
"I do the latihan [rest inaudible]."
"No, I haven't, have I!"
These are the reasons why lots of people do not come to
When the time came to make the speech, I made the Subud. We can't generalize: many helpers are very good.
best speech in my life because the great burden of want-
ing to be good, wanting to stand first, had fallen off my Subud is not a Hierarchy
shoulders. I no longer cared if people liked what I said or I would really like to see all of us who call ourselves helpers
not; I didn't have to be admired. That's a fantastic to remember, to realize that Subud, as Bapak saw it, is not
release, you know – never getting stage fright, or any- a hierarchy, meaning a vertical hierarchy, with
thing like that. That was the first actual proof I had that the International Helpers, followed by National Helpers, then
latihan had benefited me. That Kind of Stuff Regional Helpers, and finally group helpers. It is not at all
Is there any other question you would like to put forward? like that.

Question: I would like to ask Varindra about the ways he Rather it is a matter of scale; it is a horizontal cont on p7 >


scale of responsibilities, with the local helper as a kind of People believe in themselves more than they believe in
general practitioner, the home doctor, who actually God. And so the further along we go, the more logic
associates with people [inaudible]. It is absurd to think in comes into it, and less the supernatural or a higher being.
terms of vertical hierarchies [inaudible]. And so I wonder [inaudible] if the older generation had a
need for spiritual guidance, a need which seems to have
The group helpers are the most important of the helpers been lost in our generation."
because they actually deal directly with individuals rather
than institutions. Varindra: I see we are now into theology. Let's see if we can
handle this one. You see it is very easy to set up a straw man
Authority and Responsibility and then knock him down. That is what so
The point is that none of us in Subud, and this
is a point you young guys should perhaps
appreciate, none of us in Subud has any
authority whatever.

Most of the
many so-called scientists do. They set up an
old gentleman with a white beard in the sky,
and then they knock him down.

Most of the arguments about God's existence

Bapak was a great political scientist; he was or non-existence is a setting up of a straw man
a radical political scientist. One of the things about God's and then knocking him down. Bapak once
he said was that Subud is not a teaching, said to us that we look for God in the clouds,
that all the teachings that are needed have existence is a we look for God on mountaintops, in caves, in
been given by the great prophets. As I temples, in mosques, and in churches.
understood it from him, Subud is not a teach- setting up of a
ing; rather, it is a great learning. We are so busy looking for God that when
straw man God knocks on our door, we are not at the
What I learned from Bapak and his explana- door to receive Him. Think about that one.
tions is really that we have no authority, but and then Bapak also said that God is nearer to each of
we have a great responsibility. us than the vein in our neck.
knocking him
During my thirty years in Subud [as WSA
Chair], I have never had any authority what-
ever. I can't fire anybody, I can't demote
“ I was talking at a meeting at Oxford
University a couple of years ago. On the
same panel as me was Carl Sagan, the
anyone, I can't fine somebody. There is no astronomer. He switched seats with the guy
authority in my position [as WSA Chair]. It is next to me, and he said, "I have never heard
the same with the helpers. None of them has any author- a journalist speak like that. Where does it come from?"
ity. And if they claim authority, they are misclaiming it.
And I said, "Subud". He said, "Is it a spiritual movement?";
I have said two things there. I have said that the helpers and I said, "Yes". He said, "I have not heard of it". I replied,
have no authority, but they do have responsibility. I think "It is the smallest international spiritual group in the world".
that when responsibility is carried out well, really carried
out well, it has an authority of its own. Responsibility that is He went on to say, "That was very interesting, that talk;
carried out well gives that person credibility. you can't be a theist, you can't be a God-believer."

Now, for instance, I am a journalist. When I was a very I replied, "I know you are an atheist, and that you are sure
young journalist, I talked often about the freedom of the of your position as an atheist, but I am not sure about any-
press, about my right – the freedom of a journalist. It was thing, I always question everything. I thought that was the
only after a while that I realized I also have obligations. I scientific attitude, not to be sure but to question."
have the responsibilities accrued to being a journalist,
and that unless I carry out those responsibilities, I have no He saw the logic of that because I was talking at the level
right to that freedom. of his logic. So he asked me if I would speak to his class at
Ithaca, which I did, and he was very surprised to find that
If there is a helper who does not appear to be carrying many of his students were asking questions just like you
out his responsibilities, he will be in a lot of trouble [the audience] are; that they are now more open to the
because he is claiming an authority that he may actually possibility of another kind of world, another kind of reality,
have spoiled. In Subud we really should have no occa- than my generation, which claimed to know the answers
sions like that. to everything. And look at the mess we have made of our
world by these absolute certitudes of ours.
We can talk about it, we can test about it, we have ways
to resolve problems between members and helpers and The Nature of Forces
between helpers and helpers without resorting to all kinds Once Bapak told me that when the universe was first cre-
of [inaudible]. There are ways to do these things in a way ated, there was nothing except emptiness. You don't
that does not hurt anybody. Why should we hurt people? know what this emptiness is, he said, because you have
never experienced it. He said that in this emptiness there
Man of Straw was no light because there was no darkness.
Question: You were talking about your son, that his intelli-
gence made him skeptical about Subud. You asked how There was this emptiness and God. He said that you will
have we changed. I think it was that the era in which never be able to understand how there can be nothing –
most of our parents joined Subud was a lot freer, and that and something.
there has been a lot more logic in today's generation. I
mean the more human beings figure out the answers to God created the light and designed it as a vibration. This
mysteries, the harder it is to believe in God. is the primary vibration that we receive in the cont on p8 >


latihan. Now this vibrating light creates material things, It would be so much easier for all of us." (I was always ask-
vegetable things, animal things, and human things. And ing stupid questions like that.)
these secondary vibrations have their own vibrations.
And Bapak replied, "Ja, except that it would be second-
As we progress in the latihan, we should be able to distin- hand." He received in his language, and he did not want
guish in us this primary vibration that I describe to myself any obstacles to that receiving.
as 'butterfly wings' – very, very gentle.
We used some Indonesian words at that time because
And since we are composed of material things, straight they proved useful. For instance, the word ‘latihan’, which
out of the earth, these outer vibrations are rel- simply means training. I remember once pick-
atively much closer; and those are the vibra-
tions that lead to anger, jealousy, all those pas-
sions in us… [But] we need these lower forces,
because without these material forces we can-
not move, we cannot think, we cannot any-
thing. We cannot make a table, etc.

For me,
living in the
ing up some English people at the Jakarta air-
port to drive them to Bapak's house. On the
way there they saw a large building with the
notice that said Sekolah Latihan Polisi. "My
God", they said, "In Indonesia the police also
do latihan!"
age of
All that is being done by the latihan is to Mr. Bennett (or Mr. B as we used to call him)
arrange and re-arrange these forces so that Bapak was was a brilliant linguist. He picked up Russian
they serve human beings, rather than over- in two weeks, and shortly after began speak-
whelm human beings and use human beings. like living in ing to his teacher in Russian. He also picked
up Indonesian in two weeks, and shortly after
So that is why I explain to people that you can- the land of began translating for Bapak when Bapak
not help the latihan by other things you do. gave talks.
Jesus, or
I think it is very important to realize that recent- He made many mistakes. You can become
ly – two months ago – some astrophysicists living in adept in a language in two weeks, but you also
gave a story that British newspapers really are very liable to make mistakes. For example,
understood the importance of. Indeed, the Mecca with the word Bapak used for helper was berlatihan
Independent, probably the greatest English perantin – which means assistant, or servant if
newspaper in the world, gave their whole the Prophet you like, a service person.
page one to this story.

The story is that the astrophysicists had discov-

Muhammad This word was translated into English as helper,
which linguistically is not wrong, because of
ered the 'ripples', as they called it, that is, the course an assistant helps. But the word has all
vibrations that followed what they called the kinds of connotations: a person needs help,
'Big Bang'. and you help. The stronger helps the weaker. You can
help someone beneath you. All of these kinds of conno-
Astrophysicists had been looking for these 'ripples' or tations. So this is where the hierarchical ideas came in sur-
vibrations all the time. This is the same story that Bapak rounding the word.
told, which is now being discovered by scientists. The
astrophysicists actually went on to describe how these Or take the word "testing". In its Indonesian sense this word
'ripples' created materiality. So now it appears that sci- has nothing to do with the English word "testing". When
ence and spiritual truth are coming together. Bapak used to test with us, he used the word "terima",
which means "receive". The phrase "Thank you" is "terima
Question: My question is about the word nafsu. Some kasih", which literally means "receive my thanks". Pretty
people say that they don't like to use this word, to talk soon, "testing" with all its connotations of "examining"
about this word. [Rest of the question inaudible] came into being. Testing someone's performance, for
Nafsu means lower forces. You guys, chaps of your age,
are coming into a really different Subud world than the All of these misunderstandings came about because of
one we inherited. You must remember that we lived in the wrong translation. And we have used these wrong trans-
age of Bapak, the age of Pak Subuh, the human being. lations constantly for two generations. I am not suggest-
We were very lucky in many ways. Maybe you are lucky ing that we should change these words; just understand
in many other ways. what they really mean. [Varindra turns to the person who
raised the problem of using the word "nafsu" and tells him
For us Bapak was a reality, a live reality that we used to con- that his good friend Fritz von Kahler had his own word for
stantly meet. Let me say something that for me is true, which "nafsu" – "snafu"! ‘Situation normal, all fouled up’]
is that I used always to wonder why a guy like me who by no
means is any kind of saint or a holy man of any kind lived in I Was Brash
the age of Pak Subuh. For me, it was like living in the land of In my very early days in Subud, I was very brash with
Jesus, in the Palestine of Jesus, or living in Mecca with the Bapak – man-to-man, you know. So insensitive you can't
Prophet Muhammad. It was like that for me. imagine! I would sit beside Bapak night after night, smok-
ing one cigarette after another. But then, after a while, I
Problems of Translation began to notice everyone sitting well behind Bapak, and
Now remember that Bapak was an Indonesian and he I began to guess what Bapak might be.
received in his language. It was a problem for me in the
beginning, I must admit. I once had the effrontery to sug- I once asked him, "Bapak, I understood you have said that
gest to Bapak, "Bapak, why don't you learn some English? drinking is bad. What's wrong with drinking?"
cont on
cont on p9
p9 >>


(I used to be a soak. I am a journalist, and over-drinking is an issue of Subud Voice.Thanks to Subud USA from whom we
occupational disease. A quarter of a bottle of whiskey a day got this talk. They suggested…
was standard form; and being a good, well-trained British ‘While you read this 1992 talk given by our brother
colonial, I knew how to carry one's liquor as a gentleman.) Varindra Vittachi to young Subud members, feel free to
go to Benjamin Drazen's website and listen to some jazz!
And Bapak said, "Do you drink?" I replied, "Sure". He said,
"What do you drink?"

I replied, "Scotch whiskey".


"Do you like?' Bapak queried.

"Yes, very much."

Inner Voice welcomes stories and letters. Please send to Ilaina
And Bapak on hearing me say this did not slap his head Ilaina (Ilaine for the e-mail) can be contacted at her new
and say, What a terrible fellow – out of Subud, and so on. address: 8 Sissinghurst Grove, Up Hatherley, Cheltenham, Glos.
He was interested in this character – me. GL51 3FA UK.

"Do you drink a lot?" Bapak asked. “THE ARROW THAT PIERCED MY
I said, "Sure". HEART...”
Rozak Tatebe continues his memoirs of spiritual experience...
He said, "Good Scotch whiskey also given by God. But
you must be sure that you are drinking the Scotch, and There are events in people’s lives that even though rare,
that the Scotch is not drinking you." It was then I realized, can radically transform a person’s destiny in an instant.
My God, it's not just a case of the Scotch just drinking me The event I am about to relate to you now was one of
– it is pickling me. those. It was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience in
that it literally changed my life’s direction from that
This nafsu you were asking about. We are supposed to be moment on.
human; we are supposed to be in charge of these forces.
But, actually, the whole thing is up-ended. So it is a case That morning was a normal summer’s day for me. I had
of having to turn it around. That is what the latihan is sup- gone to the office as usual and started my work. At ten
posed to do. It's rather like the receptionist in your office o’clock, I finished the first lot of work and paused to smoke
taking all the calls and giving all the answers to your a cigarette.
clients. It's absurd."
It was just when I was about to start on my next task that, com-
When Women Come Into Subud… pletely without warning, the right side of my chest was pierced
Question: "Is it true that a woman has to ask a man to be by an arrow from the spiritual world that came straight towards
in Subud. Why?" me. It penetrated my heart, exited from the left side of my
chest, and then disappeared into empty space.
You assume my answer to the question is going to be
"Yes". Well, now, let me tell you that in Indonesia the It was over in an instant. I felt a sharp pain in my heart and
woman's role is very much one of obedience to the man. at the same time, the wound poured not blood, but a liq-
The man runs the show, he makes the decisions. I believe uid that was filled with a sweetness that permeated my
that this situation also exists in parts of modern Europe. entire body. My consciousness was filled with a sudden,
instinctive understanding. This too lasted only an instant but
The men there make the decisions, even at home, while in this case it revealed to me the eternal purpose of my soul.
most of the work is done by the women. Over there,
women who came to Subud without their husband's per- I am not in the habit of keeping a diary. But because the
mission – why the men took a strong stand, even taking revelation that had filled my consciousness was so unex-
the matter to court on the grounds that Subud was pected, I wrote it down in English in a memo. (The reason
seducing people away from the normal order. I wrote it in English is because the content seemed so far
removed from reality that I did not want anyone who
That was how it came about that women had to ask their came across it to understand it.) It was in the form of a
husband's permission in order to join Subud. But we don't prose poem that expressed the shock and emotion that I
need to do this any longer. had experienced. It went something like this:

There is no reason to do that stuff any longer. I am telling Finally I understand! From the very beginning, my soul has
you guys, insist that you be put on the Canadian and U.S. been continually searching for its supreme goal.
delegations to Congress. [Applause from the audience.]
We want Subud to expand. Your voice must be heard. This supreme goal will remain unchanged whether it is in this
You just cannot protest, throw bombs and the like! I chal- world or the next. For as long as God allows my existence to
lenge you. Please be on the next delegation. continue, this goal will remain unchanged until the end of time.

You know, at previous Congresses young members were Now, it is revealed to me: I am to become the lowly – lowli-
given a big house far away from the centre of things, a est – servant of God.
wonderful ghetto… [inaudible].
Until then, the thought of aspiring to be God’s servant had
We intend to publish the remainder of this talk in the next never entered my head. To my mind, the cont on p10>


concept was strongly related to Christianity and always present when one is given a glimpse of
the thoughts of a priest or minister – not something
that had a connection to me personally. Not only
that, but the method of this revelation had
been so extraordinary: the thought of an invisi-
ble arrow reminded me of the Greek legend of

It lasted only an
instant but it
revealed to me
God’s existence.

This feeling is like a litmus test that lets you know

if you have actually had an experience of God,
or not. If you do not feel that emotion, I think it
Cupid whose arrows cause their targets to fall in can be said that you have not had a true expe-
love. That is a legend of course; but I came to the eternal rience of Him.
realize that there was such a spiritual reality,
that it did exist and that it was no mere fancy. It
was clear from the pain I had felt in my heart

purpose of my
Several months later, I discovered that on the
day I had that experience, the 9th July 1963, the
and the liquid sweetness that had filled my second World Congress of Subud had opened
body, that this was not a delusion. in Briarcliff, a suburb of New York.

Later, I found out that St. Theresa of Avila in the 16th centu- I had not been able to attend and so had forgotten all about
ry had described being pierced in the heart by an invisible it. But it was interesting to me that on the evening of the 8th
arrow and of entering a state of ecstasy; but I was not July, Bapak had given his first talk. I had received this experi-
aware of this at that time. It is not my intention to compare ence some time in the middle of his talk – despite the fact
my experience with hers’ but only to show that such an that he was thousands of miles away.
experience has a reality to it.
Of course, this could be dismissed as coincidence, but the
I was overwhelmed for a while. But then the pain in my experience had come to me like a bolt from the blue and
chest began to ease leaving only a feeling of bliss. This the fact that it happened at the same time as the World
lasted all day and on the following morning it still reverber- Congress suggested there was some significance in this.
ated faintly within me.

The understanding I had been given from this experience

had an immeasurable effect on me. I was shown with SUBUD – A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
absolute clarity, the reason for my existence. To become
the servant of God had been until then, an unfamiliar con- Rozak Tatebe’s complete story
cept but now it became the whole purpose of my life.
Those of you who subscribe to SUBUD VOICE, please
From then on, my chief preoccupation was how I could don't assume that the extracts in SV are all there is to
become God’s servant. This was because while I had Rozak's book, because you will miss a lot unless you
been shown my soul’s purpose, I had not been shown how read the full account. For proofreading purposes I had
to go about realising it. All I knew then was that it was no to check through the book five times, and each time
good just calling myself, ‘the servant of God.’ it held something fresh for me.

Also, while it is possible that without being aware of it This is because Rozak was a former chairman of ISC,
someone is used by God as an instrument for His purpose, and later an International Helper, and has written very
to be a servant of God should be different from such clearly about Subud itself, in a way that is easy for
cases. First, God Himself had to acknowledge me as such those not in Subud to understand.
and then if He did so, I had to be in such a state that I
could correctly receive His will and instruction. It is a book to give your friends, as well as to read for
yourself, because whilst he begins his life with consider-
Looking back now, I can see that I had absolutely no idea able doubts as to the existence of God, he still – like so
at the time just how nigh impossible a task this was. To many of us – had a very strong wish to find a way to
become a servant of God is the highest goal a human make contact with the Supreme Being.
being can pursue. While of course, I did not think that its
achievement was an easy task, I was secretly hoping for When he eventually finds Subud, he is then gradually
the next sign from God. But instead I had to wait a long, convinced from his own experience, that this Almighty
long time. Thirty years later, I finally had an experience Being really does exist.
related to this goal, which I will elaborate on later.
For those of you who have not until now read about his
Pertinent to the experience was the fact that the memo I experiences, you are in for a treat. In my opinion, this is
had written had not simply stated that my goal was to one of the best personal stories about life in Subud that
become a servant of God, but that I had to become the has yet been written. – Ilaina Lennard
lowliest servant of God – and this word ‘lowly’ was repeat-
ed in order to stress that to become the lowliest servant of The book will be available from SPI or AMAZON. For
God would be my supreme goal. those of you with access to the Internet, just type and give the title or author name.
I understood just how small I was before God and simulta- The book costs $14.00. Otherwise you can order from
neously, was painfully aware that no matter how much SPI @ sterling £10.00 plus p&p.
time passed, I would remain this microscopic existence for
all eternity. To order, e-mail or pay by UK
bank cheque or credit card to: SPI, Loudwater Farm,
This was a valuable realisation as it helped me to sup- Loudwater Lane, Rickmansworth, Herts. WD3 4HG, UK.
press any arrogance in my life. I also discovered that the
feeling of utter humility – as though one is nothing – is
Tel +44 (0)1727 762210

Contrariwise, the third thing I like about Subud is that you
What I Like About Subud can, if you feel so inclined, pick’n’mix from all of the
above (and more) cultural idiosyncrasies and make up
Marcus Bolt, UK, writes… your own belief system (but please, try not to foist yours
onto me – I have my own). And the fourth thing I like is
‘Throw yourself wholeheartedly into any spiritual group that, although there is tacit pressure to embrace a corporate
that appeals to you, whether you believe in it or not, and doctrine (fundamentalists are everywhere), no one can
hope that in your case a miracle may occur...” actually stop you doing the latihan, or even expel you, if
(Carl Jung in a letter of advice to Rowland H.) you don’t toe the party line.

Intuitively, I did exactly that forty years ago, and a miracle The fifth thing I like about Subud is that members of all reli-
did occur – I am now sane. gions, as well as agnostics and atheists, can and do latihan
together without ripping each other’s heads off. This also
During my forty years' Subud membership, I have often goes for all races, all ages, all sexual orientations, rich and
been exasperated by the belief systems and poor, clever and stupid. (And, as a bonus, I

attitudes of many members, as well as being like the fact that men and women don’t do it
frustrated – even hurt – by the organisation’s together – inter-gender relationships are
actions, almost to the point of handing in my difficult enough, thanks.)
membership card. But I have never ever once
considered stopping practising the latihan. In The sixth thing I like about Subud is its social
fact, I plan to be doing it on my deathbed –
come what may.
miracle life. At any gathering of any size that I have
attended over the last forty years, the

And that’s the first and the main thing I like did occur absence of heavy alcohol consumption
means there’s far less aggression and sexual
about Subud – the latihan and its process. predation than at, say, my local golf club’s

As an example, last Monday there were just

– I am social evenings.

two of us at latihan in a rather large, rented

hall. For the first fifteen minutes I sashayed
around the floor, doing the most remarkable
now sane “ More importantly, I treasure the endearing
friendships I’ve made, deeply enjoy the
warmth generated in close-knit groups and
ballroom dance movements. love (and need) the sense of belonging –
while being aware none of these things are
'Wahey! Not bad for a 66-year old dude,' I observed to unique to Subud.
myself, as the day’s stresses were sloughed off.
The final thing I like about Subud is its internationality.
Now, the moves may not have looked much to a profes- Subud has given me the opportunity and the motivation
sional dancer, but inwardly they felt authentic and to travel all over the world – not bad for someone who
graceful – quite the light fantastic. Then my latihan has never lived more than thirty miles from his birthplace.
changed as my mind began to be ‘creatively worked’ –
a whole chapter of the book I’m rewriting smoothly And these are the reasons why I've stuck with Subud, its
downloading, solving many of the structural problems I’d warts and all, for forty years.

encountered earlier in the day.
This article first appeared on
For the last five minutes, I stood thoughtless at the centre
of a huge inner space, grateful to be sentient and alive.
Then I sat down feeling refreshed and satisfied, had a
Celebrating the Mastery
chat with my co-exerciser and went home. Whatever it is,
wherever it comes from, however the latihan works, “I’ll
of Paint
have what she’s having.” ‘Restorative Dragons’, works by Riduan Tomkins at SoFA
Gallery, Arts Centre, reviewed by Jamie Hanton.
Apart from more creative, the latihan process has made
me, over time, more open-minded, more compassionate Dragons are not often referred to as restorative; in fact, in
– even a little wiser – and definitely saner. Of course, a the vast majority of European cultures and mythologies,
cynic may say all that’s merely the side effects of growing dragons were seen as nefarious monsters with violent ten-
up. But I’m not so sure when I think back to the place of dencies and were ultimately regarded as enemies of
drug-induced anxiety-depression I started from. humankind. In Western art history, too, dragons are given
a bad rap.
The second thing I like about Subud is how simple it is
to do the latihan. You don't have to prepare for it However, skip continents and an entirely different por-
before you join, or pass any exams after. In fact, the trayal abounds. Asian cultures venerate the dragon as
latihan process doesn’t depend on anything, be that a benevolent and wise beast, more likely to lead
belonging to a group, becoming a helper, or reading humans to enlightenment and wellbeing than unleash
Bapak's talks; neither do you need to study Indonesian, fiery destruction.
have a religion, change your name, get circumcised,
visit Bapak's grave, do charity work, run an enterprise, The dragons in Riduan Tomkins’ recent paintings are definite-
or worry about your ancestors, for the latihan to work. ly Eastern in nature and represent the significant meeting
All you have to do is practise it regularly, follow where point between Western artistic tradition and the ethereal In
it leads and, en route, ‘do unto others as you would be his work. Tomkins employs painterly abstraction and meas-
done by’. ured space to convey deep visual harmony. cont on p12>


Although Tomkins has been
painting for the last four
The exhibition alludes decades, it is in his current work
that hints of spirituality are most
to how we often wrongly noticeable. Tomkins began his
and hastily dismiss that painting career in London,
where he gained his MA from

which we cannot
the Royal College of Arts.

After studying, Tomkins began

a successful career as a prac-
tising and exhibiting artist, showing in a wide range of coun-
tries and galleries. In 1984 he was selected as the Canadian
entry for An International Survey of Recent Painting and Working at Loudwater Farm 40 years ago
Sculpture at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. outwardly) to the members of Loudwater.

A year later Tomkins arrived in New Zealand to take up Please go to the website and click the button at
the position of senior lecturer in painting at the University the bottom of the home page "Become a Friend of
of Canterbury, a term that lasted 10 years. Loudwater Farm." Please pass this on.

Because he is an environmentally dynamic artist, one

might expect to see a number of drastic trajectory
changes over the course of Tomkins’ career, but instead
he has maintained a core practice that has developed
God willing we will be able to enjoy it for another 40 years.

Finding the Right Path

subtly and purposefully. During the recent National Congress in Wolverhampton, I
was one of several oldies who were invited to a meeting
The emphatic geometric framing within the pictorial for the benefit of young people, in which we were asked
space has remained, as have the Lilliputian figures, seem- to say how we arrived at our present occupations. It
ingly swamped by the world around them. Yet there is no became clear that we had all wandered about, trying
despair in those that populate Tomkins’ paintings. Rather this and that until we found occupations that were suit-
than dwell on their place in the world, the figures seem to able for us. This prompted me to mention my acronym
have taken the other option, the peaceful and tranquil SMOCK:
acceptance of life’s hugeness.
S – start anywhere
Together with the unerringly bright palette of golden sum- M – move in any direction
mer yellows and rhythmic layering, Tomkins’ work could O – observe the consequences
almost be a mantra for the viewer. It is here that the C – change start point and/or direction
Restorative Dragons assume their full relevance as heralds K – keep going until a pattern emerges
of serendipity, hovering in the horizon where highly
stylised clouds float, sensual curves and spirals declaring This inspired one woman immediately to use SMOCK to
their weightlessness. help her to find her right path.

Cloud of Unknowing is a particular joy: Tomkins uses During the next two days I was involved in kejiwaan ses-
translucent layers of colour to spin and almost gossamer sions with other people who were uncertain about their
weave across the surface of the paitning as rays of light direction in life. Without boasting, they felt that they had
break behind a central cloud. the talent to go in any of several directions. My answer
was that they should SMOCK, which gave them the
This piece and the exhibition, allude to how we often wrong- courage to try it for themselves.
ly and hastily dismiss that which we cannot understand.
Restorative Dragons celebrates both a mastery of paint by You too can SMOCK!
an exceptional artists and the willingness to believe in the
uplifting space between knowledge and faith.

Friends of Loudwater Farm

• Finding the Right Work
(Hear ye, hear ye, let it be known that the acronym
SMOCK was first coined by Samuel Lesley in 1986.)

Dahlan Fraval writes… Leonard Wells, UK, writes...
I am reading a book which should be issued to all new
Just sending a quick email to let you know about members. It is called Finding Your Perfect Work by Paul &
the Loudwater Farm support website: Sarah Edwards (ISBN 0-87477-795-X)
It simply HAS to be the definitive guide to doing your own
After a recent visit from a member of Loudwater Farm I was thing – it is masterly and I wish I had read it back in 1963
reminded of my childhood memories of the farm. Hearing when I was opened. It is published in the USA but easily
about the strong possibility of losing the farm and the effort purchased through Amazon online. I have no shares in
that has gone into trying to prevent this from happening Amazon.
made me want to get involved and show support.
Leonard Wells, 8 Rudd Street, HASLINGDEN, Lancs.,

I wanted to pass on this website to give people BB4 5DG UK – Tel: +44 (0) 1706 396455 – Fax: +44 (0) 161
the opportunity to show their support (inwardly or 662 7268 – Mob: +44 (0) 07963 224617


‘Loving’ Rachmat Fisher
February 2, 1947 to September 27, 2008
Truths about sex no one ever told you Rachmat was born Edward
Keith Fisher in Stockton,
Ilaine Lennard, UK, reviews a book about love and sex… Newcastle, NSW, on 2nd
February 1947. He was
This book is a gem for any young people who are open to opened on 2nd April 1970
guidance about their sexual relationships. in Ottawa. He graduated
from Carlton with a Ph.D. in
The author, Emmanuel Williams, grew up in the heady atmos- Pure Mathematics in 1972
phere of the 1960’s, and in his own young days enjoyed many at the age of 23.
sexual relationships. It was only when he joined Subud, and
then spent seven years in Cilandak, that things started to Rachmat’s sense of
change. A long period of purification began, as he gradually humor was wide-rang-
became aware that his old life and habits were being peeled ing, subtle through
away, much as a snake skin peels off a snake. absurdist, with a pen-
chant for the finest of
During this time of purification he did very little except spend details, and curiously
many hours sitting outside his ‘hot little room, where there was he could be relied upon
an open veranda and a white wall with scarlet bougainvillea.’ Rachmat Fisher to provide information
Someone he knew had advised: “Sit. Just sit. Don’t even read.” surrounding every conceivable topic.

And then one day he took a pen and made a list of all his past Those closest to Rachmat were in no doubt that he was a
loves, and started to realise, deeply and profoundly, just what genius. The closest friends of “Captain Midnight” from early
an effect they had had on him: “I could feel them all in me, days in Subud were Evan and Rohiid Gamblin and Michael
like presences ..I could feel how sex had loaded their feelings Widdicombe in his self-proclaimed fraternity known as the
into me, how full my being was with their energies.’ “Venerable Degenerates”.

With this understanding came a turning point. He writes: ‘in my After a few years in Ottawa and the Subud World Congress in
soul, in my guts, in my mind and my heart, in my toenails and Indonesia in August 1971, Vancouver, Australia and then
in the lobes of my ears this truth: sex harms me if I abuse it.’ He Jakarta, Rachmat became a Muslim in Jakarta in 1974.
gives many vivid examples from others who wrote to him, con-
firming his own realisation through their personal experiences. There followed a move to Vancouver in 1975, Australia in
September 76 where he changed his name by legal deed to
For those who have read Susila Budhi Dharma, Emmanuel’s Rachmat Keith Fisher. In the late 70's he worked for the
book will be no revelation; quite simply, he is just putting some Australian and New Zealand Association for the
of the truths that Bapak received into a teenagers’ idiom, Advancement of Science (ANZAAS) in Sydney, running their
together with many graphic, real life stories from others. But this huge annual conferences for them.
is where the book is so valuable. Many parents will have won-
dered how in today’s world, they can explain to their children Rachmat married Mieke Sudarsono in Jakarta on 27th August
or grandchildren, the truths about sex that they have 1980. They moved to Jogja and back again to Jakarta in
absorbed and tried to follow, through SBD. January 1982, when Ami Rachmi Martini was a couple of
weeks old, and lived outside Wisma Subud. In 1985 they
There is almost no mention of Subud in ‘Loving’, and none at returned to Wisma Subud, and Richard Evan Roosdy Fisher was
all as to what Bapak actually received about sexual relation- born on 7th October.
ships, but nevertheless Susila Budhi Dharma’s powerful and
amazing message is all there. The chapter on Abortion, and Salamah Pope remembers getting to know Rachmat properly
the one on Celibacy are particularly moving and helpful. about 1996, when he and his family moved down to Perth, to
acclimatize/acculturate the children.
‘Loving’ would not be appropriate for all cultures, as its style
and idiom is primarily for American teenagers, but it could still They lived in a small apartment in Subiaco, a nice, busy, hum-
be a milestone for young people in any other country with a ming, central suburb of Perth, with several excellent book-
Western culture. shops. His children went to Perth Modern (the tops of the Govt.
schools in Perth) although it was a time when Rachmat found
Emmanuel shows great humanity, honesty and courage as he it difficult to find a job.
shares his own past, and in doing so, he becomes both confi-
dant and friend. He never preaches. but as you make your Many know that Rachmat, deeply committed to the latihan,
own journey, you feel he’s right there beside you, all the time. was an absolutely dedicated father and husband with a great

The book is available from

• love, acceptance and appreciation of all people.

The water bearer – an aquarius – sometimes moody (rather

than depressive) Rachmat was an extremely sensitive, peace-
ful and gentle person.
03.00 GMT ON THE 4th He was also a naturally serious, hugely inquisitive, sometimes
childish, independent thinker who was engaged over the past
FEBRUARY 01 10 years or so of his life in writing a magnum opus – a history of
10.00 GMT the world from the non-euro-american point of view.

To find the corresponding time in your part of the world go to Rachmat was also extremely humble, yet with an astonishing, breath-taking grasp of knowledge systems, theoretical tenets
cont on p14>


over translator and performing artist for

“ “
and philosophies which wound through
several disciplines in great depth – physics, another decade. She nearly became a film

His history chemistry, biology, languages, sociology,

anthropology, politics, theology, meta-
actress in Hollywood, but detoured after
meeting Ludwig, to marry and help him in his
Michele was a
can be physics, you name it – far beyond his campaign to re-build the churches of lady of fine
years. Europe. She was an early and clever
character and
considered adopter of computer technology, an opera
and classical music enthusiast and an ani- “
His history, not quite finished at time of his an example to
a “Great
“ passing, covered development and
impact of civilizations, migrations, leaders
mal lover through and through.
us all
Work!” and continents in sweep – over centuries!
It is what can be considered “A Great
Michele’s uncle introduced her to Subud
and she joined during Bapak’s first visit to the
Work”. West – in Munich on January 3rd, 1958,
opened by Ibu Siti Sumari with Ibu Rahayu, Ibu Ismana and Eva
In its style of chronicle or letters it is similar to some of the works Bartok present. Her husband, Ludwig, was opened 2 days later.
of Galeano and other literary giants,. He was able to illuminate
historical characters, dynasties, kingships and eras through After her parents died in ’66 and ’67, she left Europe and lived in the
incisive and accurate research, dealing with ideas, theories United States, with her husband Ludwig, in Hawaii where they had
and world views as though they were playthings. an Anthurium plantation business. After he died of cancer in 1981,
she visited Australia and came here to live permanently in 1984.
For a while much of his work was available on the internet for
purposes of attracting a publisher, but I imagine that as it was She was always a devoted worker for Subud, including stints as a
not a priority of his to manage it, eventually he let it go. local, regional and international helper, during her 50 years as a
member. She often said, ‘Subud is my life.” She was an ideal ambas-
Rachmat?s friends received many short notes from Rachmat sador for Subud – and a wonderful sister to so many around the
over the years. Here are only a very few one liners: “My world world.
doesn’t have things like news and newspapers in it.”
The families that she counted as her own in the northern suburbs of
“The nature of a human being is worship and quest. When you Sydney, were also encouraged by Michele to establish an addition-
figure out that eating is not all there is to life, then you are dis- al Subud group in the area in 2007, in an harmonious growth of
satisfied.” Subud in the region… another Subud accomplishment.

“The saying of the Buddha, ‘With our thoughts we make the In later years, Michele saw the content and immediacy of Ibu
world’ is a literal truth.” Rahayu’s words as something that she could help distribute to many
members. She kept up this self-less act of typing translations and
“Of all the predators dangerous to man, I like women emailing them to about 800 people globally for several years. Many
best.” of us are grateful to her for this thoughtful service.

“Before you criticize anyone, walk a mile in their shoes...That You know, Michele once had a near death experience, during a car
way, when you start to criticize them, you've got a mile head- accident as a young woman. She found it to be most beautiful and
start – and you've got their shoes!” wondrous. At the time she felt she ‘had’ to come back for her
beloved parents – to whom she was always dedicated and dutiful.
Written by friends of Rachmat’s from Subud Ottawa and But she would have loved to stay.
Salamah Pope. A fuller account of Rachmat’s life can be
obtained from Rasunah Marsden. Email: Well now, with God’s Grace & Guidance, Michele can go on to this
wondrous place, and start her new life in God’s hands.

Michele von Royk-Lewinski

Rasunah also has a collection of writing about Mas Adji.
May God always bless you, Michele.

And Ibu Rahayu writes…

All of us in Subud, including myself, feel a great loss now that Michele
Helena Casbolt writes… von Royk Lewinski has left us forever. Michele was a lady of fine char-
acter and an example to us all, because she carried out her duties
On October 31, 2008, at about in this life with a sense of acceptance, love, and faith in the great-
4pm, Michele von Royk-Lewinski ness of Almighty God.
passed away in Sydney, peace-
fully, after a long illness. I set out below some words for Michele, whom I was close to as we
often worked for Subud together.
Michele led an extraordinary life.
She was born in Germany in 1928, Dear Michelle, I still recall and feel the close relationship we enjoyed
an only child. She was a for fifty years, especially when we worked and worshipped together
Baroness, a title she rarely used. as we travelled with Bapak when Bapak spread Subud to people
Her young life was severely dis- who needed it all over the world..
rupted by the Second World War
when she and her family had to To accept life’s trials in Subud is never easy, but thanks to your strong
flee the advancing Russians. sense of self and nobility, you faced them with surrender and
Michele von Royk-Lewinski They eventually settled in more acceptance.
modest circumstances in Munich.
And now, after being born and living your life in this world, the time
Michele had many talents & interests - past and present. She was a has come when you have been called to go back to God. To
gifted violinist as a young woman, studying to become a concert accompany you on your journey, we send our prayers so that your
professional - until derailed by an automobile accident. journey will be filled with light and guidance from Almighty God.

She was an actress, on the stage for 4 years in Germany and a voice- And we sincerely pray that your soul will receive cont on p15>


God’s grace, and be given a fine and peaceful place in keeping
with your service and worship.


Eulogy for Istimah Week

Istimah Week passed away on Thursday 13th November
in the early afternoon. Raymond van Sommers deliv-
ered this eulogy for Istimah at her funeral on 17
November 2008…

David, Erica, Sandra and friends of Istimah,

I’d like to recall with you some of the major events in Istimah’s
long and rich life which we are here today to commemorate.

Istimah was born in Chile into a Catholic family and from

her earliest years was devoted to the Church. She was
educated in an English-speaking school and later at a
Spanish language college where her bilingual skill
launched her into a successful career.
Istimah Week with Bapak and Ibu
She became private secretary to one of the most important
businessmen in the country. This led to her travel to New York twenty cities in many countries often of different reli-
where she met and married Erling, known now to us as Mark. gions. Everywhere members of Subud were joyfully
In the summer of 1958, Istimah received a letter from her celebrating their worship of God through the latihan
brother Latif with the news from John Bennett in England: and showered their hospitality on the touring party.
‘Something new in the spiritual search has come. It is a
direct experience of the power of God, available When the group returned to Jakarta Istimah, whose birth
through a man from the East.’ name was Irma, was given her new name: ‘Istimah’.
Bapak explained that it meant ‘Always obedient to the
Istimah said that she felt immediately the truth of this and commandments of God’. In Javanese, he said, ‘it
this was the most important moment of her life. The expe- acknowledged her gracefulness.’
rience Bennett referred to was the latihan, the spiritual
exercise of Subud. Mark and Istimah became members of Istimah – as we all knew her – was quick to smile, and
Subud soon afterwards. always ready with a humorous or wise Chilean saying
appropriate to the moment. She had a beautiful singing
When Bapak, the founder of Subud, came to the USA the voice, and a passion for music. Bapak often asked her to
following year he stayed with Mark and Istimah sing at celebrations in Indonesia.
at their home in Briarcliff, near New York. During
that stay he invited them and their two small
children, David and Erica, to join him and live in

Mark sold his business interests and in January

said that
one day
Her memory of all things, including the words of
numerous songs, was exceptionally good most
of her life, and she was meticulously accurate
about things she quoted. This made her writing
alive and interesting.
1965 the family moved to Jakarta. Living condi-
tions in Indonesia were primitive compared with Istimah’s In 1985 Istimah and her family moved to
upstate New York and life for Istimah often dra- Australia, where she became an active Subud
matic as she vividly describes in her book, ‘The
humanity helper, greatly loved and respected by the
members. Being a helper involved introducing
Man From The East’. Political turmoil added to would new people to Subud and accompanying oth-
the difficulties and only six months after arriving
they had to leave the country.

They chose to live in New Zealand and following

ers in the latihan. Bapak appointed her
Kejiwaan Councillor, representing Australian
women in Subud World affairs.
a year in Takapuna, where Sandra was born,
they moved to Church Bay Farm, on Waiheke In her later years in New Zealand Istimah’s life
Island. was taken up with her own spiritual process. Bapak said
that one day Istimah’s humanity would become saintly.
These were happy times for the family but when the situ- For those privileged to know her at this time, this was
ation in Indonesia had become safe they let their house plain to see.
and moved back to Jakarta.
In her own words, Istimah had this to say of life:
Istimah described the following seven years as a most Love and respect your body, it has carried you through your
wonderful time. The Subud community attracted mem- life and provided you with all the senses of this world.
bers from all over the world who wanted to live near
Love and respect your Self, it has taken you through
Bapak and participate in the rapid growth of the move-
many experiences and perceptions.
ment. Istimah became close to Ibu, Bapak’s wife, and
with her and other women took part in the many exotic Love and respect your Soul, it is your true goal and knows
cultural activities of Javanese life. everything, therefore trust it completely and utterly.
May Istimah’s beautiful soul continue in the peace and
In 1970 Bapak invited Istimah and David to accompa-
love of God.

ny him and Ibu on his fourth around-the-world jour-
ney. It took three months and included visits to over Amen


PRICES (Incl p&p) UK £13 • Europe £14
By Arthur Abdullah Pope.
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Send to Harris Smart, Editor Subud Voice,
preferably by email to
Dear Harris, or by post to:
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I’m writing to you in connection with the If you feel moved to contribute direct to VIC, 3172, Australia.
Appeal by Emmanuel Williams in a Emmanuel Williams, (and it doesn't have Tel: + 61 3 95118122
recent Subud Voice, for articles and sto- to be a lot!) please send a check ear-
ries – personal reminiscences of Bapak. marked "Bapak Stories Project" to: Subud
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As he says, as time goes by fewer and Bellevue, WA 98007. Donations are Dapto, NSW, 2530, Australia
fewer people will have met Bapak and accepted by credit card as well – Master Email:
this is an opportunity to remember not card, VISA or AmEx. Tel: +61 2 42615566
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Thailand’s Northern Skies

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THAILAND’S NORTHERN SKIES is the PAYMENTS: (Australian Dollars only)
I was talking to Ilaina Lennard, initiator of
brainchild of Hannah Tiano (opened preferably by Credit Card – please provide
Subud Voice and first Editor, about this,
May 2004), a Subud Member from
and she told me she had been given a your name, address, card number, card
Lampang, a small city in the North,
complete set (around 300 copies, a lot of expiry date and your signature
near Chiang Mai.
them 16 pages each) and she was going as on card and fax to the
through them for relevant stories and arti- Her Thai batiks carry a style unlike the subscription fax above. International Bank
cles, and typing them up to send to Indonesian. They are drawn from plants Drafts and Money Orders should be made
Emmanuel. and animals unique to Thailand as well
payable to SUBUD VOICE and sent to the
as from various Thai sub-cultures.
This is time consuming and as one of the subscription address above.
stories is mine – written a long time ago, I Hannah has been exploring graphic arts ADVERTISEMENTS: 50 cents a word.
said I would pay for her work in connec- since primary school. As a second grad- Minimum charge AUD$15.00.
tion with my story, I would like to encour- er, she transformed leaves and ferns into (Third World countries – no charge).
age others to do the same, whose valu- butterflies, mountain homes, and rice SUBMISSIONS MAY BE EDITED:
able stories might also find their way into farms. In her university days, multi-color
Submissions to Subud Voice may be
Emmanuel Williams’ book. Emmanuel bus tickets became birds, boats, fish,
edited for a variety of reasons including
too needs funding. For instance recently and frogs.
the need to shorten them or improve
he received 8 boxes of cassettes record- She puts pencil to paper and little miracles
ing the memories of people close to appear. expression. If you do not want your
Bapak; he has to listen to each tape and submission to be edited in any way,
decide what is relevant, and then get it Email her at and please mark it clearly NOT TO BE EDITED.
transcribed and edited. A huge task. she will email photos of her work to you.
Could we start a fund for this excellent She has done Subud symbol banners for
project? For instance a moneygram Switzerland and for Thailand. She could The opinions expressed in the various articles are the
sole responsibility of their authors and can not be seen as
could be sent c/o Subud USA office, to do one for your center and country. representing the opinion of the World Subud Association.
be divided between them. Consider Thailand’s Northern Skies for
The name Subud ® and the Seven Circles Symbol are

holiday gifts, housewarmings, birth-
registered marks of the World Subud Association.
Alicia Moss, UK. Tel. (44) (0)208 954 1919 days and so on.