A spiritual movement that has grown up around the Indonesian
mystic Muhammad Subuh, known as ‘‘Bapak’’ (spiritual
father). Beginning in Java, it spread to Europe and elsewhere,
after winning support from the Gurdjieff disciples at Coombe
Springs, England, led by J. G. Bennett. Gurdjieff himself had
predicted that there would be an Indonesian teacher to bring
emotional warmth to his system. Subud gained public recognition
in 1959 when the movement held an international congress
in England. Soon afterward, the Hungarian actress Eva
Bartok was initiated and claimed to be healed from childbirth
The basis of the Subud movement is the latihan, an initiation
ceremony for newcomers and a spiritual exercise for those
already initiated. A ‘‘helper’’ prepares the initiate for ‘‘opening’’
or receptivity to the descent of spiritual energy. This often
causes pronounced convulsions, similar to the ‘‘shakes’’ or
‘‘jerks’’ elicited by nineteenth century evangelists at camp
meetings, or the onset of kundalini energy in traditional
Hindu mysticism.
This energy is seen as having a purifying function and reportedly
brings intense feelings of peace when there is submission
to divine will. Subud has no creed, dogma, rules, or regulations
but makes available the experience of the latihan to
initiates. Subud groups meet regularly in members’ homes or
in rented halls. The movement does not advertise or proselytize.
More than 70 North American cities have Subud centers,
and there are many in the United Kingdom. Address in North
America Subud USA, 13701 Bel-Red Rd., Ste. B, Bellevue, WA
Subud Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
98005. Address in Great Britain Subud, 342 Cricklewood Ln.,
London, NW2 2QH.
Barter, J. P. Towards Subud. London, 1967.
Bennett, John G. Concerning Subud. New Hyde Park, N.Y.
University Books, 1959.
Rofe, Husein. The Path of Subud. London Rider, 1959.
Van Hien, G. What is Subud London Rider, 1963.