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Subuh, Muhammed (1901- )


This is the Indonesian mystic (see Mysticism) whose spiritual mission was to form the movement of the Subud. In 1925, on his twenty-fourth birthday he had an initiatory experience that involved a sphere of light appearing in that night and seemed to enter his head, filing with vibrating energy and light.

After three years this strange energy source stopped abruptly, afterwards Subuh continued his ordinary life as a government official and married man while he passed through the equivalent of the Western mystical stage of the "night of the soul" (see Dark Night of the Soul). On his thirty-second birthday, he received an enlightenment that revealed to him his spiritual mission that he devoted his life to.

The name "Subud" is derived from am abbreviation of three words: Susila (Morality in line with Divine Will), Budhi (enlightenment in man), and Dhrama (attitude of submission and sincerity towards God).

Subuh's own name actually means "sunrise, but he is known to his followers as "Bapak," an affectionate Javanese term meaning "father," frequently applied to a spiritual teacher.

Since 1933 onwards, Subud was little known outside of India, but by 1956 it began attracting European attention. When Bapak visited the Gurdjieff headquarters of Coombe Springs in England he won over its director J. G. Bennett and followers with his emotional and spiritual vibrancy. During his lifetime G. I. Gurdjieff had made mysterious allusions to an Indonesian teacher, and it became evident that Bapak was that teacher. A.G.H.


Source: 9, 1631.