How to understand Kejawen
I. Let's quote a Javanese classical Tembang (song) :
I finish my talk
This Javanese classical song represents an advice from an old wise man (priyayi sepuh) to those who are interested to learn Kebatinan or Kejawen.
As it has been written in preceding chapters that the real goal of Kejawen is to gain a true spiritual knowledge to reach true life and harmonious relation between servant and God (jumbuhing kawulo Gusti).
This spiritual condition could be achieved by every believer in God, having good morality and sincerity. Some ways of behaving (laku), have to be practiced with utmost consciousness and determination.
The seekers of true knowledge and those who have gained true knowledge are obliged to do somethings for the benefit of all people thru their minds and deeds. Cipta (forefront of feeling), rasa (feeling), karsa (wish) and karya (deed) must be good, correct and holy and solely focussed to 'mamayu hayuning bawono' to preserve the beauty of the world with all its contents for the welfare of all living-beings and the safety of the universe. 'Ati suci jumbuhing kawulo Gusti' holy heart is the harmonious relation between servant and God. No doubt that Kejawen is an asset of traditional Javanese with universal value. The Kejawen outlook could contribute to the world peace and prosperity.
Do it relaxly
Some readers find the scrutinized explanation of Kejawen, consisting of:
Kejawen is a flexible knowledge. First, you are required to understand it. Do not force yourself. As a believer, it is not hard for you to be honest. As a moral and life guidance, you are obliged to be grateful to Gusti, God the Almighty that you have been given a chance to live in this world.
As a responsible human you have obligations:
By conducting the above obligations, it is easier for you to contribute to the society i.e. to others, to the country and to the world.
Relation with God
Usually people say that relation with God is a personal matter. That's right, only you-yourself know, how is your relation with God. Whether it's usual or deep or sincere. Might be you don't know or might be you try to understand God or you don't care, the most important thing that you believe of the existence of God.
Is it enough to say that you believe in God? The wise people should reply: "No, it's not enough"! In your heart you glorify His name, and the best you worship God. You may call God in your own native language or as taught by your faith or religion you confess, in order to feel closer to God.
People have different experience, some always praise God since childhood, some remember God when they are in trouble, sick or facing delicate problems. As a general rule, you may pray to God, anytime, anywhere, in any situation. But to be closer to God, you are required to make a special time to devote God.
Prepare yourself, clean physically and soul, in a clean and tranquil place. It could be in your room, outside the house or in a holy place. Say your pray and good wishes to 'Gusti kang paring nugraha' to all-loving God who gives comfort, with all your good wishes and deeds, God should give you a comfortable life for you and your family.
The Kejawen people do their pray, preferably at night before going to bed. During the day time, they work as a duty to fulfill the need of the family. Prepare yourself, be alone in the room. Relax your body, have a peaceful mind. You may sit cross leg on the floor or sit relaxly on a chair, with the permit of God, say your pray solemnly, say your requests clearly and whole heartedly. Do not be ashame to ask forgiveness from God, if you feel you have made mistakes, promise not to make mistakes again.
If you are not tired, you may do spiritual exercises with your mind concentrated to God. Listen to your breath attentively, inhale, exhale slowly for about 10 minutes. Then with a peaceful mind you go to bed, tomorrow you wake up early with fit body and clean mind, ready to work.
You do it regularly until you feel that it's not a burden for you. It's a duty, you do with pleasure. You may add the duration of your breathing exercises to 15 or 20 minutes or more but never force the ability of your body.
When you have time and you are not physically tired, go outside the house, stand directly under the night sky for about 5 minutes to breath clean air. But if the circumstance does not allow you to go outside, for instance due to bad weather etc, just open your window for a while or stay in the balcony if you have any. It's good to calm your mind.
If possible do it regularly when you are healthy. That's why, it is prime important to keep your health. Consume good quality of food with less of meat, do regularly physical exercises, work well, have enough time to rest, have several minutes to pray and spiritual exercises. Thus, you should have a balance of life. You have your normal life and at the same time, you are closer to God.
A good and healthy person
Practicing this way of life, you are healthy, physically and mentally, in a better shape. In your job, you become more productive. If you have family you become a better family man, you live happily. You are a wiser human who has heart to help the needy. Normally, breathing exercises is good for your health. It makes your heart stronger and your body is in better condition.
The breathing exercises or more seriously called 'meditation' or in Kejawen spiritually called 'samadi' is good for your mind too. It should make you to be more patient and you should be able to control your desires easier. You are on the right track, if you feel as stated above. You are a good and healthy person. You are precious asset to your family and society. Its perfect, carry on with enthusiasm.
You live in a good and correct path, blessed by All-loving God. You are healthy, you have a good logical thinking and clear mind. You consistently do your praying and meditation. You wish to deeper your knowledge of spiritualism, to be closer to God, to know the secret of life.
Now, you are ready to develop your roso (feeling). It won't be difficult. You have to go on with your meditation. With the same position (patrap), the most convenient position for you, you should improve the quality of breathing exercises. Previously it was 'to inhale' and 'to exhale', now: :
Focus your sight to the peak of your nose. Listen attentively to your breathing, it is a way to help you not to think of something else. Try to concentrate your mind to supreme God. Do it in a relax way for 10 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes if you are not tired and you have free time. Do it gradually and never force your physical ability.
This exercises should develop your roso step by step. Together with developing roso/feeling, you should develop also your Cipta/forefront of feeling-mind. With the same position, only you focus your sight to a black spot in front of you. (see 'Cipta Tunggal' point5). When your Cipta becomes more powerful, your good wishes could be realized. Meanwhile the roso should gradually becomes true roso (roso sejati). This true roso, is a divine gift, you have it, but you have to develop it. Spiritually 'True Roso' could receive messages (Sasmita) and instructions (Dawuh) which are always correct from your true life. For these exercises, you may do sometimes exercises for Cipta and the other time for roso. Once again, do it relaxly and do not force yourself, after that go outside the house to breathe fresh air as explained previously. It is an effective way to help to develop your roso.
The spiritual sisters and brothers
Please refer to sub-article 'Cipta Tunggal' point 16 to know who they are. They are always with you, guard you wherever you are. Might be you are not aware that they help you in all your activities. They would be glad if you know their existance. So it is wise to ask them to participate in every activities you are doing such as drinking, eating, studying, working, driving, taking a bath etc.
In your heart you call them, for instance:
You won't ask them to participate when you are going to sleep, instead you would say:
By knowing them that's mean you care of them, and in return they should take care of you too. If you don't pay any attention to them, they would do nothing to help you, they wish you to go back to where you belong soonest. They wish to be released soonest from their duties to accompany you. When you go back to eternity, they would go too and they hope to be given a chance by God the Almighty to be born as human, with soul and body in their new life in earth.
Weton, is a special Javanese traditional birthday occurred every 35 days. As it has been explained, except the 7 international days (Monday-Sunday), there are 5 pasaran days Legi, Paing, Pon, Wage, Kliwon. From Monday Legi to Monday Legi again is 35 days. From Friday Kliwon to Friday Kliwon again is 35 days.
So for a traditional Javanese it is important to know her/his weton birthday. Every one has a weton birthday which has to be remembered. By knowing your date, month and year of your birth, it can be calculated what is your weton.
A traditional Javanese in the weton birthday usually should do:
By always asking your spiritual sisters and brothers to participate in all your activities that's mean you are active lahir (outer side) and batin (inner side) (see 'Exposing the Universe' point 48)
The one who does something is not only I (Aku in Javanese) but Ingsun, i.e. Aku the outer side (lahir, jobo), joined by aku the inner side (batin, jero). That's why, a Javanese wishing to do something important, he/she would say "Niat Ingsun" niat-wish, Ingsun as explained above most probably the word 'Ingsun' is a new vocabulary to you.
By doing those spiritual deeds, they usually hope to have a safety and well-being in their life or for the seeker of true knowledge to feel closer to true life or reality (kasunyatan).
The Danyang Smarabumi is good danyang, a guardian-spirit of a village or a certain place. In her/his life as a human, he/she was sakti, (had supernatural power), but his/her knowledge was not perfect. He/she could not pass the requirement of 'Sangkan Paraning Dumadi' lit. means 'Where you come from and where you go', spiritually understood you come from holiness, in this earth you have to live in holiness and you go back to where you belong the holiness. (see "The Experience of R.M. Binaji The World of Spirits Danyang Smarabumi)
He/she is assigned by divine power to be a Danyang Smarabumi and he/she has to do her/his job with responsibily. You, as a good human a believer in God, is entitled by divine power to instruct her/him to protect you, your family, your house, your office etc to be in safety, not to be bothered by evil spirits.
Please do remember, you may ask for protection only. It's your right and it's the duty of a Danyang Smarabumi. Do not ask any other kind of help such as fortune, material wealth etc.
When, you do your praying and spiritual exercises, you are advised, to instruct this Danyang Smarabumi to protect you, so you won't be disturbed by evil spirits. Be confident, he/she would do accordingly. Of course you have to say it in a nice way. You refer him/her: Nini kaki Sang Danyang Smarabumi sing Baurekso. Nini-reference to an old woman, kaki-reference to an old man, Sang-reference of politiness. Sing-who is, Baurekso- authority, responsibility means: Nini kaki The Guardian spirit who is responsible.
You could say before praying:
Protect Ingsun (the I, lahir and batin; the complete I) while Ingsun doing my praying to God the Almighty, no one should disturb Ingsun, the family of Ingsun and the house of Ingsun. For your proper protection to fulfill the wish of Ingsun, I am grateful.
Yes, surely you must be grateful, the same if you ask a security guard to protect you, your family and your house. By giving instruction to Danyang Smarabumi, no unauthorized spirits should intrude your solemn communication with God.
The sincere worship
So, now you are aware of your spiritual sisters and brothers and Danyang Smarabumi. As a good and healthy person, you always worship sincerely to God, also doing spiritual excercises samadi, to be closer to God.
Prior to praying:
According to the experience of many wise men and women, the seekers of true knowledge and who have gained true knowledge, the best time to say your pray is at midnight. It is a favorable time where the situation is peaceful and tranquil and human mind is at the peak of sensitivity toward spiritualism.
If you wish to follow this practice, you should adjust your time of sleep. Some of you need 6 hours rest, others need 8 hours sleep per day. It depends to your own physical ability. For instance, you decide to pray and meditate between 11.30 p.m. to 00.30 a.m., then you should sleep in the evening, you wake up 5 minutes before your scheduled time to pray. You do your one-hour praying and meditation, then you go to bed again. Thus, you keep yourself healthy which is very important. The adjustment of time is entirely your own decision. Do it comfortably with enthusiastic determination.
Let's quote an old Javanese children song (tembang):
It's moonlight, it's very bright
The moon is calling us
Remind us not to sleep early in the evening
In the old time, when the island of Java was not too crowded like nowadays, they were many spacious yards in the villages. During moonlight, the village children played happily outside their houses. They sang and danced together, some of them played at hide and seek and so on. The parents looking on their children, sat on a mat put above the ground, they chatted on various topics of common interest. They were ordinary villagers, carried out their simple life, their income was enough to survive, but they were happy with their traditional peaceful and harmonious life.
In this simplicity, they felt very close to nature, inseparable with their beautiful and fertile surroundings. They felt secured and protected by Gusti, God, the Creator of the Universe.
During moonlight, the direct shine of moon and stars give a strong influential power to the back brain of human to develop spiritual strength. So moonlight is not only long awaited by the children but as well by the adults, especially 'adult' in their spiritual knowledge. To remain outside under the sky for several hours during moonlight are good for those who are seeking true knowledge.
A happy and successful life
By practicing voluntarily the above Kejawen way of life, you should have a happy and successful life as a result thereof. As Kejawen has universal value, this way of life is not only suitable for Javanese but for every member of the world community.
You are a creative person, a person of integrity with high morality and etiquette, implementing consciously only good and correct action. You are healthy physically and mentally. Your existence is not only useful for yourself but as well as to your family and society.
You should be able to realize your positive wishes without being harmful to others. On the contrary, you care for others because through your sincere mind, you are aware that other people and living beings are in fact same as you, creatures belong to the Creator of life.
The concept of 'mamayu hayuning bawono' (to preserve the beauty of the world with all its contents for the welfare of all living-beings and for the safety of the Universe) is obliged to be carried-out whole heartedly. Based upon this attitude, you love others and you care to environment, nature and the Universe.
From logical point of you, you have done the right thing. As a believer, you are in the correct path blessed by God. Spiritually, the regular devoted practice should develop your roso (feeling) to roso sejati (true feeling), opening the way toward secret of life.
II. What has been explained in point I is a guidance usually given by a spiritual Guru of Kejawen or Kebatinan in Java to those who wish to learn Kejawen wholeheartedly. Before practising it, they have to understand the basic principle of the knowledge (kawruh). The practise of worship to God, strengthened by meditation and the knowledge should go hand-in-hand. They are totally interrelated, inseparable!
This article has described concisely:
Kejawen is a flexible spiritual teaching. In the effort to master it, everyone might have different ways and experiences. It is clear because every one has her/his own background and personalities. Possibly it could be compared that the goal of life of people is to reach happiness materially and mentally. In order to realize the goal, they study in different schools, with different subjects. Then they work in different fields in accordance of their various expertise. To cater the need of their spiritual life, they confess different faiths or religions. But they have same goal-the happiness of life.
It makes sense, if Kejawen followers have different ways of behaving and experiences in their effort to gain their goal. Please remember that the goal of the seekers of true knowledge (kawruh sejati) is the harmonious relation between servant and God (jumbuhing kawulo Gusti) which is reality (Kasunyatan).
To reach the sacred goal, based upon good conduct, moral and deeds, honesty, sincerity, consciousness and a firm believe to Gusti, God the Almighty, they might use different vehicles, roads, dresses etc. the most important thing, they have only one and same goal the harmonious relation between servant and God.
As a result thereof, which is accepted as a fact, they would have different spiritual experience. In the process to gain true knowledge, some know the world of spirits, some have power to cure sick people or help others to solve delicate problems, some have a sharp alertness, some have power of clear sight or clairvoyant, able to predict, some are very wise etc.
Some are having 2 or3 kinds of above abilities or some have all the abilities. Once again it depends to the background and talent of every personality. And of course, permitted by Gusti/God. A seeker of true knowledge, should not be surprised upon witnessing a tremendous spiritual ability of someone.
He/she has the ability due to the blessing of Gusti/God. Because a seeker of true knowledge could have also spiritual abilities (hopefully one day) by doing spiritual exercises as written above and grasping the knowledge correctly.
One thing to be understood, the process of learning true knowledge of Kejawen, takes a long time. Because you are using your own power and ability. You develop them step by step until you are in the right track-clear thinking, true feeling (roso sejati), true life (urip sejati), harmonious relation between servant and God. (jumbuhing kawulo Gusti).
You won't get it by miracles or outside help for instance from spirit (s). The one who help you to gain this true knowledge is only you, yourself. You might say that you would be helped by your spiritual sisters and brothers. To some extent, yes, but they depend to you. They could help you to be in safety or to accomplish some wishes or jobs or help you to pray to God. But the one who has to act is you.
The comparison is like the process of study of a University student, from under graduate graduate Master Ph.D. it takes time. The longer you study, you know more knowledge, when you got your Ph.D. you still have to read and learn more by your own initiative. The same in Kejawen, the process of learning and practice never stop, although other people refer you as 'Clever man/woman' (wong pinter) or 'old wise man/woman' (piyayi sepuh).
The writer would suggest the esteemed readers, to read this article in your spare time. Hopefully the explanation is clear and could be understood. At least you know Kejawen directly from its genuine source. Perhaps you would use this Kejawen spiritual teaching from far away island of Java, Indonesia as a source of comparative study.
Probably, some of you agree with the flexible principle of Kejawen. Or might be, you would try to understand and further to practise Kejawen way to gain true knowledge, in order to be able to reach a harmonious relation with God, to have a perfect life (kasampurnan urip), where there is no more secret in this life. everything is opened i.e. Reality (kasunyatan). For these people, you are invited to read again this article, everytime you have a free time until you understand it completely. You may practise 'the package of worship' relaxly while you are healthy and have time. Do it step by step, gradually, do not force yourself.
The time is in the evening/night as stipulated above, you may start with 10 minutes for several days or weeks until you feel comfortably. If it is all right, you may go further to 20 minutes 30 minutes one hour.
If by practising it, you feel good and in a better shape, it is an indication that Kejawen way of worship and meditation are suitable for you. You continue with this spiritual exercises on regular time and in the same place i.e. in your house.
You go on with this kind of exercises for 6 months or a year. Anytime necessary, read again the knowledge and the knowledge found in the experiences of some people. Even the 'experts' or people who have gained true knowledge, from time to time, they read the knowledge to improve deeper and deeper their understanding of Kejawen to be closer to God.
Guru is teacher in Javanese and Indonesian. Guru could be a teacher in school or a teacher in spiritual teaching. The Javanese terminology for a spiritual teacher is Guru Laku (laku-way of behaving to spiritualism) or Guru Ngelmu (Ngelmu-spiritual knowledge). Some say that Gu-Ru is acronym of digugu (to be trusted) and ditiru (to be followed) means Guru is a person who can be trusted and be followed as good example in his words and deeds. A very hard requirement for ordinary people.
There are several people who have a good knowledge in Kebatinan or Kejawen. Many people visit them for consultation or help. People call them Wong Pinter (clever person), Wong Tuwo (old person) in refine language Piyayi Sepuh. But only very view of them who become Guru. Usually a Guru has only several 'students' of 4, 5 or 8 people. He accepts students very selectively, after he is confident that the would be students are serious and should be strong enough to understand and to receive spiritual knowledge. (see " Method of Learning Kejawen " Sastra Ceto)
In his/her own specific way, he/she should supervise closely the exercise, progress and achievements of the students. He/she would do his/her best, so the students should not practise mistakenly. A wrong way of practise and achievement in spiritualism could be dangerous. That's why almost all piyayi sepuh (old wise people) are of the opinion, to learn Kebatinan or true knowledge (of spiritualism) must be with a Guru. In that case you have to choose a wise Guru suitable for you. Guru is usually very polite and low profile. So sometimes, he/she does not want to be referred as Guru, he/she would say that he/she is only your senior in learning spiritual teaching.
There is no Guru who promote himself/herself by looking for students. The would be student is the one who apply to be accepted as student. There is a good comparison. A Guru is like a spring. Those who need water should come to the spring to fetch some water.
After a certain period of time, the Guru would say that he/she has given all the necessary knowledge to be able for the students to independently practise the spiritual knowledge by themselves. Their relation continues not as Guru students relation but as 'sedulur' or 'kadang' (brothers and sisters).
Only some of the 'graduates' should be active wise persons (piyayi sepuh) and only certain active piyayi sepuh are authorized by the Guru to spread the spiritual teaching by becoming an independent Guru herself/himself. It is called 'Mandireng', an independent spiritualist who can help others and at the same time becomes a Guru.
Usually the 'sedulur' (brothers and sisters in spiritualism) they have a common perception of true knowledge but it is not necessarily to having same opinion of various issues.
III. Now, you have a clearer picture of the silent but existing world of Kejawen. Kejawen is not a narrow-minded spiritual or philosophical outlook. Its flexibility could accommodate the spiritual need of people from different strata and background. Kejawen teaches us that every human is equal in front of God. Every human is given the same chance by All-loving God to perform her/his life at the best.
For those who decide to practise Kejawen spiritual teaching including 'the package of worship' to be closer to holy God the Almighty, you may go on. Kindly follow the stipulation as explained in point I. Be confident that you are on the correct path blessed by God. So you would be safe. Your spiritual sisters and brothers and Danyang Smarabumi should protect you from any evil spirit.
After praying, before doing samadi, say by heart:
Then, peacefully and confidently you do samadi. If possible, do the breathing through your stomach. Of course, you have to do exercise first, before practising it.
Breathing through stomach is good for your health, and it is effective for spiritual exercise.
If you have time, before you say the '6 eling', you might say:
Do it relaxly. Do not force yourself, you may do it step by step. Until you feel that it is not at all a burden. You would feel, if you don't do it, you don't feel comfortably.
You are going to be spiritually more sensitive and stronger. Some say you start to have the 6 sense. Don't worry, if you happened to have some mystical experience, your concentration is only to God the Almighty based upon true knowledge. You are a seeker of true knowledge! Hopefully, you got God's blessing.
IV. You have reached a high grade in Kejawen. You know the essence of the knowledge. When one day, you come to Java and you meet experts of Kejawen or Guru, you know already the most important ingredients of Kebatinan or Kejawen.
They will always repeat the Javanese terminology, you already know the meaning. If you wish to improve perfectly the true knowledge as taught in Kejawen, it is advisable to meet a Guru who should guide you. And if you have time, it's a good idea if you could visit some places in Mataram (Yogyakarta, Surakarta and surroundings) having strong spiritual power.
The friendly people of the region with breath-taking natural beauty and ancient precious cultural heritage should warmly welcome you, during your spiritual journey in the land of Mataram, Java, Indonesia.
Suryo S. Negoro