The academy, then, was an attempt to carry out the deity’s plan. To it came doctors, lawyers and engineers to give talks on the “area where science touches metaphysics.”17 About a hundred students attended the lectures over a period of three months. Few paid the course fees, however, and the lecturers refused to continue without pay. The Academy folded. The second attempt to build a modern institutional base for the philosophy of the prophets and avatars of Indonesia had failed. One of the students named Sutedja–an aristocratic boy of twenty-two–followed Hardjanto back to Nusupan. He became the first apprentice and is still serving Hardjanto today.
Hardjanto’s reputation continued to grow. More and more visitors came to the island, hoping for help from the ascetic. They listened to his teachings, carried out the tapas that he suggested, and took home vials of water and articles thought to be endowed with powers by Hardjanto’s spirit intimates.18 Wonderful things were told about the pertapaan of Nusupan: when the ascetic was there, the island never flooded, though it had flooded every year previous to his coming; though the wells of the surrounding village were frequently dry, his was always filled; gales never moved his fragile bamboo shack.
The excitement over Hardjanto’s powers climaxed in 1958 when a “fire ball” (wahyu) was seen to descend upon Hardjanto.19 Miraculously, the wahyu appeared the same size–“as big as a coconut”– far and near.20 A certain couple living in Jatinegara reported seeing such a light descend from the heavens in the direction of Surakarta at the same day and hour as the incident in Nusupan (at eleven in the evening of the Javanese day Kemis Kliwon, May 1958).21 A Jakarta man made a similar sighting.22 In Hardjanto’s vision the wahyu was the spirit of “Embah (Grandfather) Jugo” accompanied by Tohjoyo and the Chinese generals. The news spread: “Embah Jugo” had moved to Nusupan.23
From that time the graves of Nusupan were mobbed, “it was like the Jakarta Fair!” recalled a Muslim witness to the crowds at Nusupan.24 Visitors were urged to schedule their visits outside peak hours (certain nights when the spirit world is generally thought to be most accessible): “For your own satisfaction, come in rotation. Requests can be made every day, day and night. It is impossible to serve thousands of people who all come at the same time.”25 The curious and the hunters of talismans were implored, “Please, have a little pity! Don’t rip up our bamboo walls to get a peek at us… we must wait till the next harvest before our benefactor can replace them.”26
Pilgrims were told that they had only to meet with the spirits of Nusupan for their requests to be granted. Visitors who wanted to contact the spirits were assigned three kinds of tapas: eating only unsalted white rice and plain water for fourteen days (mutih); midnight emersion in the Solo River for fourteen days (kungkum) or refraining from sleep, night and day for four days (tirakatan). A committee was drawn up, largely from the roster of the former Metaphysical Academy, to help Hardjanto service the multitudes. The “Information” and “Occult-Mystic” sections were carried over from the Metaphysical Academy en bloc. “Advisors” (Penasehat) from the Information Section staffed an instruction service. Hardjanto himself carried on as much of the instruction as he could and acted as liason (perantara) between the supplicants and the spirits.
A guidebook printed by the Metaphysical Academy Information Staff told the legends of the Nusupan graveyard and printed an address by Hardjanto which stressed the unique methods used to deliver the services of the spirit world:
If you make a pilgrimage to most holy places, [it] is based solely on faith, while those who come to Nusupan tread a Path that is Experimentally Scientific (Hardjanto, “Embah Jugo Sebagai Anggota Barisan Pelaksana Jangka Kesejahteraan Dunia,” in Ziarah ke Nusupan, 1958:7).
The guidebook also printed the Roster of Officers of the Nusupan Grave, together with a list of resident spirits and the kind of requests which each serviced. The spirits’ services ranged from “general” staffed by Tohjoyo; “trading and medicine,” serviced by the Chinese generals; to “intelligence,” “wealth,” “safety,” “family justice,” etc., staffed by a host of other spirits. The attention that Nusupan began to attract was not all favorable however. Staunch Muslims could hardly look with favor upon a non-Muslim adept, the more so when thousands of “believers” flocked to him. To the pious the bustling crowds were a seedbed of iniquity and the tapas a mere pretext for sin. One Muslim observer wrote:
There arose public disturbances, ‘free-sex,’ and indisposition to work because [the pilgrims] hoped for the blessings of ‘Embah Jugo’ and the Chinese generals. Day and night men and women sought out quiet places and slept there. (Panji Masyarakat, 15 Dec. 1971:16)
Recalling the scene in 1971 the observer divined the role of Communists in the “disturbance.”27 Certain leftist authorities were rumored to suspect nationalist Chinese subversion. Their suspicion was aroused by the many visitors of Chinese ancestry who came to Nusupan to contact the Chinese generals. A variation that played on both Muslim and leftist fears was that the ascetic of Nusupan was really a subversive used by Buddhists from Taiwan to undermine the devotion of the faithful.
By this time the guru was not without contacts in high places. He prevailed upon them to counter the rumors and he claims they tried to help, but to no avail. A mass movement outside the control of established community institutions provoked anxiety on all sides. The police closed the graves to the public. Hardjanto withdrew to the slopes of Mt. Merapi to a place he had first visited to thank the spirit Sabdo Palon for helping him to resist his guru’s attack. The place was Indrakila.
It was there that Ardjuna was thought to have performed feats of asceticism told in the Arjuna Wiwaha (a popular wayang story) and to have earned the weapon “Pasupati” which enabled him to win the Bharatayuda War.
Hardjanto’s followers came after him. He resumed his teaching. By 1960 new faces appeared among them: secular-party youth eager for training in invulnerability. As rivalries among the parties intensified a sense of foreboding had spread. Another massive conflict loomed in the near future and young men sought out kiyais who could prepare them.28 The young men built a “dormitory,” a rudimentary group shelter. As it happened, most of the young men were members of a secular party youth organization, and Hardjanto was forced to flee his pertapaan once more when a band of youths from a rival party organization raided the dormitory.29
So in 1961 Hardjanto again returned to Baluarti. Sutedja followed along, together with another young man, Subroto, who also, still serves Hardjanto as an apprentice today.
Again Hardjanto searched for a forum in which to present his teachings to the world. He scanned the papers and local scene for sympathetic international contacts. The comment of some East Indian witnesses to an Indonesian Ramayana dance, reported in the October 16, 1961 Indonesian Observer, sparked his hope of finding an interested public. A line in the Observer article read: “The Indians were eager to know how far the Indonesian people were versed (in) the Ramayana…” This gave Hardjanto the opportunity to respond as follows:
I tried for several days to suppress the urge to write something about Ramayana-Philosophy… Since keeping silent should amount to leaving the traditional Indonesian mentality in the dark,.. . I have decided to write an introductory note, meeting the expectations of the Indians in particular and of the world in general. (The Ramayana” 1961)
Hardjanto’s response expanded into a tract of a dozen or more pages entitled The Ramayana According to the Madya-Langka Tradition, in which he asserted that the Indic tradition was once the common heritage of Indonesia and India when joined as a single continent, “Lemuria.” 30 He identified “the common use of the Third Eye” (supernatural vision) as the distinguishing characteristic of that tradition, and he reported that the stranded Insular peoples still cherished the following prophecies: a. Bathara Ismaya and Bathara Vishnu as Kalki-Avatar will, be reincarnated, simultaneously with the eruption of Mt Merapi. b. . . . Spiritual Science.. .[will be developed by] Bathara Vishnu as World-Teacher, capable of preserving World-Peace, by way of His All-Pervading Unitary Power.
c. In this way, the own identity of the Madhya-Langka people [will be] rediscovered: Buddhi (the spiritual faculty of man) enables man to know the existence of the Omnipotent God, who can be reflected by man, His Image. God will live through the Unitary Man……. This amounts to burying the dead God of faith, revitalizing existing, impotent religions and the emerg(ence) of a third, unitary, divine power in world-politics.”
Hardjanto had access to the public on a few other occasions. He read an address to the Second Conference of Mystical Groups (Badan Kongres Kebatinan Indonesia BKKI) in 1956. 31 His brother also invited him to lecture his class at Gaja Mada University in 1959. But Hardjanto did not manage to keep alive a regular channel of communication with the public.32 So in the early sixties he tried a new tack. He opened a tea shop (warung) in one of his parents houses on Surakarta’s main thoroughfare where he sold- – along with tea- – incense and incense wrappers. On the incense wrappers was printed the liturgy of an “Apocalyptic Ceremony” and the steps of Hardjanto’s three-part “Trimarga” yoga method.
Those interested in the contents of the incense wrapper, the tired and the thirsty sat about and drank tea. The enterprise did not provoke alarm. Hardjanto was able to continue his practice of yoga and reach the immediately surrounding public with his message. He called his tea house the “Warung Teko ‘Chakra Bhavana.”‘ Cakra in Old Javanese means, literally, “wheel,” and in combination with bhuvana (Old Javanese, bhuwana, “world”) it is the “world wheel”: which glows before the cakravartin, the savior-pacifier as he sets out to unify the whole world (Zimmer 1951: 129).33 In the Warung Teko “Chakra Bhavana” the interested learned how to set in motion the microcosmic “wheels,” the “cakras” which are the “esoteric centers of the body,” through which, he explained, “the elan vital is made to rise” and awaken powers of the macrocosm lying dormant within us. It was there in the Warung Teko “Chakra Bhavana” that he was besieged with inquiries about Hinduism in 1967. COMMENTARY
From the first Hardjanto’s efforts to use his knowledge for the welfare of society departed from the ways of his teachers before him. Rather than addressing a few students known from long association to be worthy of receiving the higher truths, he immediately addressed society in general, and not only Javanese or Indonesian society, but the world, the family of nations, through the most universal coordinating body known to him, the United Nations. Rather than speaking in cryptic formulas which convey in distilled form the unitary consciousness, he wrote an analytic summary of his “philosophy”. He used, in other words, the style of communication understood by the modernizing sector of his own society and employed by the nations of the world in international exchanges.
Hardjanto turned to an international institution, for his duty—like that of yogis who had experienced divine consciousness before him–was to bring the world into correspondence with the divine order. In the twentieth century the “world” was no longer merely the traditional kingdom but a world of nation states, so the scope of the yogi’s plan for the world order had to expand to include the international community.
Hardjanto turned to an organization international in scope because he wished to reach a broader audience than that which the sequestered yogi or kiyai in his pesantren attracted by traditional means. In order to reach out to the Western-educated public he needed sponsorship: financial support and an endorsement from an authority respected by that public. With sponsorship the yogi could staff an organization that would multiply and supplement his abilities to present his message to the public.
He correctly identified an international body which deals with the public and correctly assessed the institutional means required to reach a Westernized audience. However, his petition failed because it was misdirected. He did not know enough about the functions of the United Nations agencies to address his proposal to the institution’s goals. He was unaware of more appropriate philanthropic organizations, and unfamiliar with styles of addressing them. He knew much of the world but his knowledge grew from experience in a provincial capital and from books. He had no experience with international agencies nor did he have any associates who did. A self-educated man, his book learning was extensive, but very much tailored to his preconceptions. The Metaphysical Academy was Hardjanto’s first experiment in organization building. It represented a reversal of his previous strategy. Rather than gaining world attention and thence the support to materialize his vision, he constructed a local organization which might subsequently attract wider notice.
The academy’s structure was well suited to his plan. He wanted to address the Western-educated and to convince them of the scientific basis of supernatural experience, so he collaborated with scholars in scientific and technical fields who shared his cultural background and interest in mysticism. The prestige which the professionals lent to the operation helped attract the public. The lecturers’ professional qualifications lent authority to his approach. The formal organization of the academy utilized the skills of the participants to best advantage. The collaborators assumed functionally specific tasks suited to their capabilities. Their obligations and expectations were denoted in a written chapter: they became officers of the academy or contracted with the academy to lecture. It was Hardjanto’s show, but he did not monopolize the stage. Others came forward to contribute their particular talents. The formal structure of the academy also expedited the admission of students. Students did not have to incur diffuse personal obligations with the teachers; they knew exactly what they were getting in for and for how long. The academy provided for students of mysticism many of the advantages which the madrasahs provided reformist Muslim students: education through contractual agreement and subject matter addressed to modern concerns.
The undoing of the academy was reticence over financial contracts–a carry-over from traditional patterns of tutelary associations. The academy officers had the idea of contractual education, but they had trouble putting it into practice when it came to demanding payment on bills.
Hardjanto’s greatest success came in a thoroughly traditional manner: the sighting of the wahyu. Hardjanto did his best to impose his scientific method on the swarm of supplicants, though probably few of them were sufficiently cosmopolitan to care about anything except the results of their supplications. The organization of the Nusupan grave suddenly sprung to life out of the old academy in order to cope with the tremendous demand for services. A yogi and his apprentices might serve such a multitude, but the organization certainly did it more efficiently. The staff was able to cover the operation full time, advertise it, plan and divert the flow of clients, and administer Hardjanto’s distinctive techniques to a large and varied population.
In Hardjanto’s early, pre-Hindu associations, then, he used formal organization because that type of structure provided access to a wider, Western-educated public and organized his clientele, whatever its actual composition, more efficiently. After Hardjanto’s operations were twice closed because of their very success and anxiety which large assemblies provoked in the volitile political climate of the times, he came to need formal organization for another reason: for legitimacy and the protection from harassment which legitimate incorporation and affiliation could bring. Hindu identity and incorporation within the Parisada filled this need and again put Hardjanto in contact with a broad clientele.
- Hardjanto’s neighbors on Nusupan corroborated this part of the story, as did members of his family.
- The address was written in Indonesian and entitled “Hyang Kalengki-Watara Melaksanakan Janka Buana.”
- Some of the lectures by Doctor R. Paryana Suryadipura, Director of the Semarang General Hospital, were published
subsequently under the titles: “Olah Raga dan Yoga” (1955) (“Sport and Yoga”) and “Daya Upaya Memperoleh Kesampurnaan” (1956) (The Attempt to Achieve Perfection). His earlier published pamphlets, “Pengaruh Nafsu2 Atas Kegiatan dan Kebudayaan Suatu Bangsa” (1954) (“The Influence of Desires on the Activities and Culture of a People”) and “Bukti Adanya Tuhan” (“Proof of the Existence of God”) (1954) were used for lectures in the Metaphysical Academy.
- The pamphlet “Ziarah Ke Nusupan” (op. cit.) and the Republic, 8 July 1958, article on Nusupan describe the scene.
- The picture that I have drawn of the event is assembled from stories Hardjanto and his devotees told me and from written material from “Ziarah Ke Nusupan” (op. cit.) and an article in Panji Masyarakat (Solo, 15 Dec. 1971:16), that records the author’s recollection of the event. Wahyu, which Pigeaud (cited in Moertono 1968:56) translates “godly spirit or force” and Anderson (1972:12) translates “divine radiance,” has been described most fully in connection with the legitimation of royalty. Its appearance in the vicinity of a claimant to the thrown is a sign of royalty. Moertono calls wahyu “perhaps the most convincing means of legitimation for the Javanese” (1968:56). It is visualized, he says, “in different shapes and forms–bright luminescence, a “star,” but most often it was seen as a dazzling blue, green or white ball of light (andaru, pulung) streaking through the night sky” (1968:56). In most accounts of wahyu in Javanese manuscripts cited by Schrieke (1957) and Moertono (1968), the wahyu serves to reaffirm the Continuity of the kingship when an up-start founds a new dynasty. Moertono (1968:56) gives an example from the Babad Tanah Jawi concerning the fall of Majapahit and the assumption of sovereignty by the rulers of Demak: “‘At the time of the disappearance of king Brawijaya, at that very moment, something like an andaru (sign of greatness) was seen emerging from the kraton of Majapahit, looking like a streak of lightning [accompanied by] the frightening sound of thunder, and it fell in Bintara.’ Bintara is the region where the later kingdom of Demak was located.” In this example, the “godly force” is not sent from nor received by a specific person, though in other accounts it is (see Schrieke 1957:8). Ordinarily a ruler possessed of power is described as glowing with a soft light (teja). When wahyu is cited moving from a specific person to another, the former becomes pale, losing the divine radiance ~ and the recipient of the wahyu becomes animated with the divine light (Moertono, citing an example from the Babad Tanah Jawi, 1968:57). On such occasions the mystical power (J. kesekten, I. kesaktian) which lights the countenance of the ruler flows from him to a new claimant to the throne. The teja and the wahyu, then, are both emanations of mystical power normally concentrated in an individual (see Anderson 1972a:15-17). An individual may attract this power away from another in whom it is concentrated or he may attract it from the universe and concentrate it within himself by feats of asceticism. Moertono illustrates this later possibility with an example from the wayang play Wahyu Cakraningrat: “. .the young ksatrias of the Pandawa and Kurawa clans and the crown prince of Drawawati. compete in ascetic practice and abstinance in order to attract the wahyu. In the lakon [play] the wahyu is pictured as a divine being. Thus the descendants of Adjuna’s son, Abimanyu, were assured Java’s throne for all time to come.” (1968:56-57) Note that it is usual for ascetics to perceive divine powers in the form of divinities. These godly manifestations, according to Hardjanto, are essentially aids to the realization and perception of supernatural forces. Although most examples of wahyu are drawn from stories of the transfer of sovereignty, the acquisition of power for purposes other than statecraft has also been pictured as the receipt of wahyu. Thus Moertono lists along with the wahyu of kingship (wahyu kedaton or cahaya nurbuwa), the wahyu of “literary genius” (wahyu kapujanggaan), of “knightly valor’ (wahyu kaprajuritan), of “wali-ship” and “bupati-ship”(1968:56). An elderly man from Seragen told me that an election in his village had been decided by the descent of wahyu: the candidates sat out all night and a light was seen to move first to one and then to another; the particular candidate upon whom the wahyu finally settled was chosen to be lurah the following day. Thus wahyu is a concentration of the powers which animate the universe visible in transit. Hardjanto explained wahyu as an “extract from the cosmos.” In the case of the wahyu which descended upon Hardjanto the power contained therein was that concentrated by “Grandfather Jugo”- -presumably a deceased ascetic– and that of the heroes buried at Nusupan. Thus Hardjanto perceived wahyu as the arrival of Embah Jugo in company with Hardjanto’ s heroic spirit familiars.
- “Ziarah Ke Nusupan,” (op. cit. :2).
- Ibid. :2.
- Ibid. :7. on “Embah Jugo” (Grandfather Jugo) see note 20 above. The famous dukun klenik (magician) Muljono Surodihardja of Nginggil. East Java, was also associated with a spirit referred to as “(E)mbah.” In Muljono’s case the spirit “mBah Suro” was said to inhabit Muljono and Muljono became known as “mBah Suro.” Hanna (1967) reports that the name “mBah Suro” was at first merely an adaptation of Muljono’s second name, Surodihardjo, and later was thought to indicate that he was a “reincarnation” of a hero of the Majapahit era named Suro (1967,III:5). According to Hardjanto Muljono was possessed by one Raden Suwondo’s spirit, known as mBah Suro. Raden Suwondo reportedly lived in Madiun during the Dutch colonial period and died at the close of that period. Hardjanto said that Raden Suwondo was the brother of Hardjanto’ s own guru Nur Busono and like Nur Busono was very powerful: it was told that he could make a whole gamelan orchestra appear and then, after everyone had enjoyed it, make it disappear again. The spirit of Raden Suwondo, Embah Suro, was the power responsible for the wonderful deeds with which Muljono was credited. Hardjanto, in contrast, has never been identified with a particular spirit as the source of his power. He cast himself as a liason between supplicants and the spirits. He also calls upon the powers of spirit allies to achieve his own objectives. Embah Jugo was thus a powerful new ally, a new source of power upon which Hardjanto could draw. “MBah Suro” was killed along with 79 others in a police operation against his pertapaan in 1967 (Hanna:l). The pertapaan was alleged to be a cover for Communist remnants. After mBah Suro’s death rumors spread that he was still alive. Hardjanto said that he himself was accused of being “mBah Suro” because he wears a black ikatan (head scarf), jacket and sarong like Suro and his followers. As if to clarify the proper status ranking Hardjanto recalled that Muljono came to Nusupan and slept on his step in hopes of spiritual advancement. Muljono and Hardjanto were nearly the same age–Muljono was in fact five years older; their public careers were nearly contemporaneous- -Muljono “set himself up openly” as a dukun in 1952 and was a “full-fledged guru” by 1959; the post-coup disturbances swelled the followings and transformed the operations of both leaders (Hanna 1967, III:5). Although Hardjanto and Muljono were contemporaries rising to prominence on similar patterns of expectations, the knowledge, character and creativity of Hardjanto, born in the center of Javanese society, contrast sharply with the capabilities of the bumpkin Muljono, who was clever enough to make the best of other’s hopeful perceptions of him.
- Panji Masyarakat (Solo, 15 Dec. 1971:16).
- “Ziarah Ke Nusupan” (op. cit.:2).
- Ibid. :2. The authors, who speak as “we” (kami), are the Metaphysical Academy staff. The benefactor is not, as might be supposed, Hardjanto, but one of the yogi’s clients who sees to his financial needs and thereby benefits the academy.
- Panji Masyarakat (Solo, 15 Dec. 1971:16).
- That is, the 1965 coup and its aftermath.
- I heard several accounts of young secular party activists like those who came to Hardjanto seeking out instruction in occult techniques of acquiring invulnerability prior to the 1965 holocaust. For example, a friend who was a Nationalist Party student group (GMNI) leader in Yogyakarta at Gajah Mada University just before the coup told of how he and his companions in the movement “tried out” techniques for acquiring invulnerability. They had heard that the Communist youth were also trying to arm themselves with occult weaponry. A rationalist, he went to a training session with an open mind, but much to his disappointment, he remarked wryly, he came out with nothing. Some of his companions, however, said they had “experiences.”
- The idea of a lost continent where Indonesian peoples practiced a wonderfully pure and elevated spiritualism is common to many mystics. This is remarked upon in Tempo 12 Feb. 1972:38.
- The address is entitled “Hyang Kalengki-Watara Melaksanakan Jangka Buana, Prasaran Pendidikan Jiwa dalam Kongres II K.K.I.” This is the address Hardjanto used to open his Metaphysical Academy.
- According to some reports, Hardjanto frequently lectured at Nationalist Party meetings in the early 1960s.
- According to Zimmer, the sacred wheel (cakra) denotes universality (1951: 130) in India, and “the cakravartin himself is the hub of the universe; towards him all things tend, like the spokes of a wheel.” Cakra is found in the 14th century Javanese chronicle, the Nagara-Kertagama, in the word cakrawartti, meaning “swaying the world” (Pigeaud 1960, vol. V:l49). Zimmer translates the Sanskrit cakram vartayati as “he sets the sacred wheel (of the worldpacifying monarchy) in motion” (1951:129). Hardjanto not infrequently referred me to Zimmer, though not to that particular passage.