Special Message to All Members from Bapak

On Monday, January 15, 1973, Bapak fell ill with a heart attack at
his home at Wisma Subud in Cilandak, Indonesia. The next morning
Varindra Vittachi, Subud’s WSA chair, arrived at Wisma Subud on
a previously arranged visit and heard the news.  When after Bapak
recovered a few days later, he and others met with him. He said he
had a special message for all Subud members. Subsequently
Varindra visited as many groups as possible to deliver the message.
Here is a transcript of Varindra’s report of one of these
occasions, this one given in the USA at a Subud East Coast
Congress in Front Royal, Virginia as it was recorded. A few days
earlier he gave the same report to the group in New York City. Six
months later Bapak amplified on parts of the message in a talk he
gave to some 750 members at Cilandak (73 CDK 2).
Stuart Cooke

Varindra Vittachi
“What I would like to do is to say a very few words on this occasion, and perhaps at another suitable time, maybe after night falls — that is the time when I come into my own — we could perhaps share some time telling stories and having a laugh. Right now, I want to say that I bring to you greetings from our spiritual guide, Bapak Muhammad Subuh.
I talked to Bapak a few days ago and mentioned to him that this congress was due to be held, and he asked me to convey his good wishes and the blessings of Almighty God for the success of this meeting. He has ordered me to speak to Subud members in the most emphatic terms about listening to what Bapak has been saying to us, especially in recent times, about the way in which we should be conducting our lives. I will try to say something of that to you.
In the course of speaking with him, I found Bapak frail but well, after his experience last January [a heart attack]. And Bapak feels that many of you will have questions in your mind, particularly about Bapak’s state and the future of Subud, and he has asked me to explain whatever is necessary. And I’m ready to
answer whatever questions you wish to ask.
I think it would be best if I were to read to you some notes that were taken down from what Bapak has said, which would perhaps give you a framework in which you can feel about how the situation is. And afterwards, perhaps I will say a few words about the special message Bapak gives. Bapak felt that there were many people in Subud who had rather a strange question to ask, well not strange perhaps, but a question to ask. Many members, for instance, have asked the question about who will be Bapak’s successor. I have heard this question asked before, but now Bapak feels that he should, although he has spoken about it before, tell us about his receiving since
his illness. So if you forgive me, I will read this to you. Forgive me for being a little solemn. I am not usually solemn, but I try to speak it with the feelings I have in me: Bapak
As Bapak has often explained before, the latihan of Subud which Bapak has received and passed on to us, is in its nature a wahyu, a grace or revelation received from Almighty God. Therefore Subud is not derived from something that Bapak had received from a teacher. It is true that Bapak once had a teacher when he was young. But in what Bapak gives to us Subud members there is no trace of the teachings that Bapak heard from his teacher. For Subud is a grace or a revelation received from God, freed from the teachings of tariq [Islamic spiritual techniques and teachings].
At present all decisions of the Subud Brotherhood, both spiritual and
material, are ultimately referred to Bapak. But after Bapak dies they will be dealt with by a dewan kejiwaan — a kejiwaan council. A council by nature has a chairman, but a chairman in this case does not make
independent decisions. His decisions have to take into account what is put forward and discussed by members of the council.
It was the same with Jesus and Muhammad who had received
revelations from God. Once they left this world they were not succeeded by another prophet.
Thus, the dewan who will continue after Bapak leaves this world
will have as a guideline the talks of Bapak while he was here with us,
which will be like the hadith, that is the traditions in Islam [stories
written about Muhammad by his contemporaries]. They would have
freedom to interpret the words of Bapak but will not be able to deviate from the guidelines for Subud which Bapak has laid down.
Bapak doesn’t ever say that after Bapak there won’t be anyone else
to receive the wahyu, but in the meantime, while we are waiting for such a person, the highest authority in Subud will be the kejiwaan council.
However, the committee or council which deals with the worldly side
also joins in making decisions. In fact, this council is an off-shoot of the kejiwaan council — necessary because Subud exists in this world and therefore its actions cannot be exclusively determined from the point of view of the kejiwaan, but also have to take into account the conditions in this world. It is the duty of this council to harmonise the actions with the conditions of this world. At present both these functions are carried out by Bapak, which is why, for instance, Bapak has pursued the establishment of the Bank.
Normally in this world a man is succeeded by his children. So, in the
case of Bapak this would be Mas Haryono, but what Bapak has received is the wahyu; and Bapak cannot say that Pak Haryono will receive the wahyu or not — Bapak doesn’t say that Pak Haryono will not receive it, simply that he is not sure. But in any case, as Bapak’s son, Mas Haryono is the elder among helpers, and will sit on the dewan kejiwaan — though not necessarily as chairman, since the chairman is chosen by all the members in the dewan according to what is received in the latihan.
Of course, it is not sure that Bapak will die before Mas Haryono.
Logically it might seem so, as by normal standards, but Bapak has lived a sufficiently long life and Bapak is ready and prepared to go any time that God wills. Furthermore, Bapak is at this time not completely healthy. Nevertheless, Bapak has received that he will live at least 40 or 50 years more and will die either at the age of 116 or if not then, at 126.
Still, Bapak cannot say for sure that this will happen, for God may
decide at any time that Bapak is more needed elsewhere and that the situation here can be left as it is. Then, Bapak would be ready to
surrender it to God’s will.
Among Bapak’s children so far, the one that has been able to receive
the wahyu is actually Rahayu, Siti Rahayu who was taken to the place
where Bapak has been. The difference is that when she got there, she
was not given the task. For when Bapak reached that place and he found that the one he was seeking was the same as the one who was seeking — he then received a task to perform; but in the case of Rahayu she was taken there to be shown there, there is another Bapak, different from this Bapak.”
Those are notes of what Bapak said about the question of his
successor and the future. But Bapak has asked me to convey is to stress, as he has been doing, particularly in the last few years, that his special message to this world, this Subud world, is that there is no difference between our material lives in this world and our spiritual lives, that there is no distinction, that our spiritual life must guide our material life because the life on this earth is a material life. There have been, time and time again, due to our past upbringing and our past education, and the ideas we have inherited from our traditions, that somehow the spiritual life must be separated from our lives in this world.
But Bapak says, and he’s asked me to say this as often as I can, and
with all the understanding that I can muster, that it is impossible in this world to live a life that is a double life, with one side a spiritual life and the other a material life. Our very existence in this world as individuals, as human beings, begins from the fact that we have materialized in this world, that everything in our life that we call ourselves is material until our Jiwa [soul] was opened. And this grace of God that we have received in the latihan is what would guide us from within to live our material life. And Bapak says that the latihan that we do is a manifestation of the content of this material body, the material content that comprises each one of us. Our movements in the latihan are manifestations of the state of our material selves, the forces within us. And it is this movement, it is the latihan, it is through this process, that will purify this material existence so that the inner, the Jiwa that we have received the contact with, have received the contact in, will grow and grow so that it can pervade our material existence. And in order to do this, we must help it from outside, that if we are afflicted, if we are oppressed all the time, as so many of us are, by the material forces in this world, how can we surrender to the grace of God and let it work within us, to help us in this way. Bapak has often asked me, and he asked me this time, “How can you bear it Varindra that your brothers and sisters should be suffering from this material life? That they have no jobs, that they have no sense of security in this world, that their children have no hope. How can you bear it?” And he said, “Bapak has appointed many helpers, you and many others, so help me,” Bapak said. “Bapak is not well now, so help me,” he said. “Helpers should be able to explain to members, to everybody who asks, that this is our business in this world. That Bapak when he talks about enterprises, he is not just indulging a fancy of Bapak’s, what does Bapak need from our enterprises?

Varindra Vittachi
I know from personal knowledge and contact with Bapak at very many, very intimate occasions, that Bapak has no wish to live in this world. Many, many years ago already he told me that he had no wish to live in this world. And you can see from these notes that he has still no wish to live in this world either, but this, Bapak considers it his duty. Fifteen years ago, in 1957 actually, the end of ‘57 he told us in London that his mission in this world would be fifteen years.
And when it became the end of 1972, those of us who heard this message were expecting something to happen, and we were not surprised when Bapak fell ill. I was in Hong Kong that morning, that previous night, and I was traveling to Jakarta, and I arrived in the morning, and I heard that Bapak had fallen ill that morning. But obviously he has to live, although Bapak says he has no wish to
live as an old man in this world. He has to live because we are not ready, and we are not ready because we have not listened to what Bapak says, are not listening to what Bapak says. Bapak says that this is the time, now is the time, if we don’t want our children’s world also to be wrecked in the way that we have wrecked our world, that we must do something about it, with the guidance that Bapak has given to us. And so he wants us all to take to heart, really to heart, this message about the necessity for enterprises. I will speak more about that aspect of it tomorrow morning, perhaps if you invite me to join
in your enterprise sessions. Now I say that it is my understanding and let me tell you brothers and sisters I never keep anything from you, anytime I always share my experience. It was very difficult for me and rather glorious also at the same time to be with Bapak for two hours and all the time he was saying, “Varindra, why don’t you listen to Bapak? Bapak always is speaking to you.” He doesn’t mean me, he
means all of you. And he said, “About you I know you listen to Bapak, that is this Bapak, of course you listen to this Bapak, you always come to this Bapak and listen this Bapak, but the other Bapak is always speaking to you… listen, Varindra, listen,” he said, “You have experience of receiving guidance from this Bapak in your work and in your life, have you not? You have listened to Bapak and heard Bapak speak to you on certain occasions, but even this hasn’t been enough proof for you to listen all the time. So, listen.”
Brothers and sisters, I have passed this on to you, and I suggest that we all listen.

*Varindra (Tarzie) Vittachi was chair of the World Subud Association from 1963 until 1993. His work as a United Nations official and international journalist required him to spend much of his
time traveling around the world. He visited Bapak at the Subud complex in Jakarta every two or three months. After a visit he made it a point to pass on what Bapak told him.