A spiritual exercise that is a basic feature of the Subud
movement (the term is Indonesian). The object of the latihan
is worship of God. In a state of submission, contact is said to be
made with the divine life force, resulting in a process of regeneration.
In principle the latihan can be practiced individually, but
usually a number of individuals gather together for this purpose.
The preliminary stages of the latihan are characterized
by marked physical reactions. Urges to cry, weep, dance, or
speak in tongues occur, but these may be stopped if need be.
No particular stress is laid on such manifestations, but they are
said to cause a release of tension that culminates in a state of
inner quietude, in which communion with God takes place. All
this is believed to have a strong resemblance to what is supposed
to have occurred at the original Pentecostal scene.
In contrast to other spiritual movements and sects involving
Pentecostal phenomena, there are no anticipatory stimulating
speeches, music, ceremonies, or rituals; the ecstatic state
emerges spontaneously. The cathartic quality of the latihan is
said to manifest in a gradual integration of the entire being. In
conjunction with the latihan, the problems of members are
‘‘tested,’’ and answers are received in a state of inner receptivity.
The characteristic physical features of the latihan compare
with the spiritual exercises of earlier religious movements such
as the Shakers. The backwoods revivalists of Kentucky and Tennessee
in the early nineteenth century often acted out ‘‘the
jerks,’’ similar to the physical convulsions of the early Methodists
in Britain, who sometimes jumped and danced until they
became insensible. In Hindu yoga practice, the onset of kundalini,
or divine force, is also accompanied by jerking and
twitching in the body.
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Latihan
Van Hien, Gordon. What is Subud London Rider, 1963.
Revised, 1968.