This is the spiritual movement that evolved around the Indonesian mystic Muhammed Subuh, known as “Bapak” or spiritual father. The movement originated in Java, and spread to Europe and elsewhere after gaining the support of the disciples of G. I. Gurdjieff led by J. G. Bennett, at Coombe Springs, England. Gurdjieff himself had predicted that an Indonesian teacher would bring emotional warmth to his system.
Subud gained publicity in 1959 when the movement held its International Convention in England. Shortly afterwards, the Hungarian actress Eva Bartok was initiated and said she was healed from childbirth complications.
The Bapak, essentially, is a charismatic figure who generates a contagious spiritual energy, which is reminiscent of the traditional shaktipat of such Hindu gurus as Swami Muktananda.
The Latihan is the basis of the Subud movement. This is an initiation for newcomers as well as a spiritual exercise for those already initiated. A “helper” prepares the initiate for the “opening” or receptivity to the descent of spiritual energy. The initiates may experience convulsions as a sign of their reception of kundalini energy, which is traditional in Hindu mysticism.
This energy has a purificatory function, bestows intense feelings of peace when there is a submission to divine will. Subud is unlike established religions or cults as it has no creed, dogma, rules or regulations. Its primary objective is to make the Latihan experience available to the initiates.
Members of Subud groups meet in each other’s homes or rented halls. The movement does not advertise or proselytize. Subud centers are in over seventy cities of the United States, and a phone call will elicit the time and place of the Latihan. Also, Subud groups are in most of the larger cities of Britain. A.G.H.
Source: 9, 1630-1631.