Volume 41       November 2, 2018


By Professor Dr. Tan Man-Ho

(An excerpt from the original work, Real World Views, Book 4, by Professor Dr. Tan Man-Ho entitled "A Critique of Material Reflection, On the Modern Innovation to Old Materialism, The Emergence of Trioctave Materialism and Some Remarkable Individuals," September1975 - December 1975 Discourses, Chapter 6: "The Process Of Self-Perfecting ‑ Pak Subuh ‑ Materialist-Idealist Positioning For Bennett ‑ The Subudian Latihan ‑ Primal Essence ‑ Subud Terminologies Developed By Bennett," pp. 167 ~ 181)


Pak Subuh

Symbol Subuh

Pak Subuh and
J. G. Bennett

Pak Subuh and Fourth
Way seekers





1   "Subud” which originated from  “Susila Budhi Dharma” is a misspelled word for “subuh” which means ‘growth and fresh’ as an integrated concept.  The outcome must be self-perfection through Subud Latihan which means ‘exercise to growing fresh and perfect’.  This guru of “Subud” is Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo or better known as Pak Subuh or Bapak Subuh– a mystic Piscean-transforming spiritual man of South East Asia. His book – Susila Budhi Dharma (1975) – meant to be a supplementary guide for people already undertaking their own spiritual journey (to inaccessible places in the inner world for the inner circle of humanity).  This sociocosmic stopinder has also stopindered fast in the sociocosmos with many centers-of-gravities in the forming.  Our reflections thus ……......

Man is a most complex being who exists on several levels, each of which is governed by its own laws.  These laws though quite distinct in their operation, are connected with one another.  A simple example will show what is meant by the “laws of different levels.”  The activity of the human body is governed by mechanical laws (levers, heat engines, hydro-dynamic apparatus), by physico-chemical laws (digestion of food, oxygenation of blood, synthesis of special proteins and amino-acids, etc.), by biological laws (development, regeneration, reproduction) and by psycho-nervous laws (thought, feeling, instinct, etc.).  These laws belong to different levels yet they are interdependent and we cannot understand the activity of the organism unless we recognize both their distinctness and their interaction.  Besides these, there are also higher laws connected with the attention, with the power of choice and its exercise, with the will and the understanding, and the still higher realms of the soul and its powers.  Each and all of these laws is involved in the process of self-perfecting, and if a man seek to direct this process by his own will and understanding, he needs to know  ‑  if not the laws themselves  ‑  at least the critical phases of their operation.”

This is the most striking discovery of the dialectical qualitative content of organism in general.  Self-perfecting!

If we confine our attention to all ways of self-perfecting that are either wholly or predominantly working from without, we must conclude that:

1. A school and a teacher are always necessary.

2. Persistent austerities, physical, mental and emotional, are needed over long period in order to purify the lower nature.  (Most remarkable statement  ‑  holds true with me in 1971 – 1975)

3. It is at the present time hard to find conditions that make such work possible.


It can be successful only with comparatively rare people specially gifted for such a undertaking.”  (J.G Bennett, Subud, p.88-89)

The Gurdjieff’s system has gone further than Marxism – it reaffirms dialectical materialism or rather extended dialectics of nature or of everything by reinforcing the importance of trialectics (Law of Three) and the inclusion of the octave law (Law of Seven).


2   The reduction of man to material beings is not in contradiction to the ethics of man; the reduction of man to supernatural beings or god-protected beings is a lie to humanity and therefore cannot be genuinely ethical.

On the decay of religion we have this:

“One of the chief causes of the decay of religion lies precisely in the general rigidity of religious discipline.”  (J.G Bennett, Subud, p.87)


3   “I myself have no doubt that it is literally true ‑ as Pak Subuh says that through Subud a Christian will become a better more conscious, Christian with his faith more firmly grounded than ever before.  The deadly enemy of mankind is materialism, which really means belief in his visible world and rejection of other worlds and other possibilities.  Materialism is an invidious, satanic enemy, and the mind of man cannot follow all its maneuvers.  Subud is a most powerful weapon against materialism, for it enables people to see beyond it.  No earthly weapon can avail because the material forces do in fact dominate the earthly life, and those who see with earthly eyes only are fully justified in asserting that they can find no evidence of a world that is beyond matter.  Materialism cannot be combated, with its own weapons, nor upon its own terrain.  Like earth-born Antaeus, it thrives and is invincible so long as it can keep its feet upon this earth. When it is lifted above the earth, it weakens and finally succumbs.”  (J.G Bennett, Subud, p.183)

Very great indeed.  We should oppose such materialism which is based solely on perception as the only basis of truth.  The materialism described by Bennett is definitely different from the philosophical treatise of dialectical materialism. 

Dialectical Materialism should clean itself from religious materialism.  Atoms are material beings; they are also spirited beings.  Forms of matter and forms of spirit are fundamentally the same.  If all the “matter” in dialectical materialism is replaced by spirit, everything will be fine.  There is no violation of anything at all, except the manipulation of words.


4   “I have removed several paragraphs from the foreword.  As often happens, in trying to avoid offence I have tended to create confusion.”  (J. G Bennett, Subud, p.7)

“At another time, in 1949, he (Gurdjieff) gave a clear indication that his pupils should seek for links with the islands of the Malay Archipelago.”  (J.G Bennett,Subud, p.37)

“Is the complete man Subud?  Is it the end?  Does it arrest perpetual change and development?  Are there really miracles in Subud or miracles in mental activities?  Why does J.G Bennett constantly talk of Subud?  Has Subud acted as an eye-opener for religion?


5   Science has undisputedly discovered the creative progress of sensuous perception, but we cannot go into fantasies of venturing into a non-sensuous affirmation.  This is adventurism.  It is necessary no doubt, so long as I can be conscious that you can see higher spirit ‑ and so long as I am conscious that you can see and feel higher phantoms.  Surely I can see it so long as you do not talk, do not move, etc., because there are the sensuous indications which I will deduce.

How do these gentlemen know that sensuousness is alterable without nesting on their perception?  If the organic world of man evolves to a higher level of consciousness and even possesses a higher sensuous apparatus, can his religion be the same as the old ones?  By no means!


6   The last trace to be abolished in J.G Bennett’s thinking is this unintelligible “puzzling” over the abstract term “God”.

It is absurd to regard everything as having soul.  The stone cannot have a psyche.  There is absolutely no guarantee that Subud, the higher worship of God, can dominate the minds of humanity.  I do not share this confidence that the religious man is in the highest level of all consciousness.  Such pride I do not share here.  Atheism has every right to be higher than religion.  There are atheists with very high moral values.


7   The continuation of matter in its highest level is consciousness.  To destroy matter and to stress consciousness, spirit and holy power is to turn things upside down.


8   J.G. Bennett is by no means a materialist.  The subject matter of Subud is what the materialist calls it the conscious or psyche in the organism.  It can also be called the essence-personality.  Now this kind of “life force” prevails in the universe, but not in all portion of the universe being.  The organic world is one of the so-far known examples.  Its presence is reflected in the self-motion of the material world.  The living Earth is another example.

Now this has been J.G. Bennett’s intention.  But when he philosophized he immediately took to the side of religion, thus exposing himself as a supporter.  “Life force” can be understood from a materialistic standpoint, it has nothing to do with gods and divine spirits.

To revive relation is totally futile.  But religion is a conscious being that uses guns and money as it institutionalized.  J.G Bennett is one such victim, who has now and again give courage to religion, to subudize religion.

Indeed life force is so great in man that he, with the aid of this spirit, creates God.  This is the really “paper-tigering” of the Almighty of God.  Can the idea of God, arise without man or higher organism?


9   In order to understand J.G Bennett’s philosophical ideas (said the being sitting on “social approaches”), it is also important to study his relation to the productive forces, and to what extent he has favored various social classes.  Can Subud really help a beggar, a worker who works 12-16 hours a day?  For anarchist, revolution not Subud is the solution to human institutional misbehavior.  To a non-working class, where leisure prevails, Subud has some popularity indeed.  For the individual, (and therefore, the beggar), it enables his inner liberation through Subud.

When the greedy bourgeoisie enforces longer and more intensive working hours that could drain all your “life force”, and create a favorable demand by the workers for the Subudian Latihan Subud will be a good “religion” to offer a temporary spiritual release for the proletariat.

Have some Subud, gentleman?  If Subud is no urgent then inner revolution is even more urgent, because in order to have it, to have more time to restore your health, to restore your life force and to prevent it from being over-deposited into private property.


10   In Subud, Bennettism is idealism; in the Dramatic Universe, it is materialism.  He is offering the two in balance.  This is the Materialist-Idealist Positioning for Bennett’s philosophy.

Why must J.G Bennetts constantly spoke of, and quoted from the Bible?  Subudism’s various beings, spiritual beings and levels are only the various species of spirit of his own projection.  It is an ideal system that cannot be a subject matter in the mind for a long time because of is limitation.

From the standpoint of strategy and tactics, Subudism is useful.  But from the standpoint of truth, it has been magnified.  Subudism even helps revolutionary dialectics in the human soul.  Does it require religious purification of the souls if the capitalist Subudist enjoys the fruits of one’s labor?

A head is less religious when the body takes on productive activity for someone else benefits.  It will have no time for contemplation in the abstract.  When the body is deprived of contact with external nature, the spirit becomes debased; religion attacks the victim “mercilessly”.


11   The ghost, the conscious energy does not disappear into the highest sphere of existence, but has transformed into the lower mechanical motion of a dead body.  Consciousness is a form of existence of energy and transformable into other forms of motion.  This energy is due to a functioning brain; conscious energy disappears, therefore, the brain is no more working.  J.G. Bennett’s ideas on the ghost and conscious motion are reflected in this utterance about the ghost after dead:

“Far more rarely I have been aware that the ghost itself has dissolved and that a human soul had been set free to a higher sphere of existence.”

“What we know is that the ghost has gone to the higher sphere of existence in sexual reproduction.  Sexual reproduction (I meant for man) is the positing of souls into higher conscious levels.  Death annihilates the whole bodily system, the old system.  The reproduction of life is the path where conscious motion takes, and the higher conscious level does not emerge until the new organism has attained adulthood.  The negation of conscious levels lies in the process of production and reproduction of life.  It is not just man that perishes in death that conscious motion performs a dialectical leap to higher sphere of existence.  (J.G Bennett, Subud, p.156-157, My commentary)

“I can say for myself that not only has my Christian faith been strengthened, but I have found it possible to achieve much of what I had for many years striven for through Gurdjieff’s method.”  (J.G Bennett, Subud, p.51, My Commentary: Gurdjieffism is esoteric Christianity)


12   “The Primal Essence is also called the Great life Force that flows through everything from the highest to the lowest and from the lowest to the highest.  It is called by Gurdjieff the “common-cosmic ‑ Ansanbaluiazar,” which he defines by the formula “Everything issuing from everything and again returning into everything.”  (J.G Bennett, Subud, p.120)

The only way conscious motion, spiritual motion or psychic motion can be useful for us is in its transformation for greater consciousness for us.  Conscious motion is lost into the lower motion.  There is no flow of something; there is no flow of heat because in this movement there are no water flowing, no spirit flowing.  The law of conservation of the energy in the mind is true.  The idea of the indestructibility of conscious spirit is justified ‑ the non-transformability of conscious energy into lower motion cannot be accepted at all!

The connection of our consciousness and our physical body is that of the transformation of the energies of one into the other.  There is no such thing as a spirit that rise from the physical body into higher existence without lost of part of the physical into the higher realm.  What in fact is the case is the total disappearance of one form of energy into another during dead.  Conscious energy is the name given to an aspect of brain in function.  We say that other forms of energy have manifested in this spirited form as the brain works in such and such a manner.

The psyche-less objects ‑ radio, pen, cups etc. or hypodermic entities to use J.G Bennett’s own terms ‑ already reflects that the Common-Cosmic-Ansanbaluiazar is not at work there.  And why?  Because the condition for its existence is not there, and the conscious motion is therefore also conditioned by the dead objects.  The dead is equally powerful.  So far we know that conscious motion pertains only to the organic world  ‑  that the dead hypodermic entities may become living not by the flow of life force into it but rather when these entities have developed a high level of material motion, to creative motion of protein, that the leap into life force is really the next water-to-steam event.  And such a leap is not possible if the external temperature is a couple of hundred degrees Fahrenheit because by then all the motion of protein will descend (its motion) rather than elevating it.  This great spirit Common-Cosmic-Ansanbaluiazar is also conditioned by definite laws of lower natures.

It is totally absurd not to conceive consciousness in terms of levels of motion of matter.  These gentlemen are no better than Engels.  (See Engels, The Dialectics of Nature)


13   One of the causes of the slowing down and often disrupted octavizating of “Communism” is the censorship of the existing oppressing state, the different “teachings” from various groups and organizations both ideological and religious.  All kinds of Subud travel fast and some are pets of other social entities.  But in the realm of real problem solving, these people keep silence over as to how to solve human problems.  The original Subud goes for inner psychological and releases through its well-known latihan.

These people think that by awakening the interior of man through Subud, the belief in divine and god’s power will increase.  But there is actually no guarantee to this.  Man may become more curious and thus more politically awaken and more dangerous to one another.

Subud assists the development of higher dimensions of the spirit.


14   Concerning Subud, (p.114), J.G. Bennett wrote, “We cannot have a right attitude towards Subud unless we grasp one very simple truth.  The human mind cannot honour anything except what reaches it through the human senses: sight, touch, hearing and the rest.”


15   It does not, however, follow that there is no reality that our senses cannot perceive.”  Thus ants do indeed see differently from man.  The world of appearance to the ants is different from the world of appearance to man.  Thus Subudism, in a certain respect, studies and reaches conclusion very similar to Engels’ Dialectics of nature.

Subud reflects the dialectics of consciousness in man specifically, in the organic world and universe generally.  The dialectics of life and the dialectics consciousness are not easily distinguishable.  The dialectics of life reflects the motion of proteins, genic process, creation of species, where the dialectic of consciousness reflects the higher movement of life, of brain function, of consciousness, of “soul”, of thinking, etc.


16   The non-presence of idea-products, by relaxation, by transforming the idea-products into mere consciousness and a perpetual flow of it is a negation of idea-product, of imaging (thinking) and the mind elements and is an intention in the latihan"Latihan” is a Malay and also Indonesian word meaning “exercise” physical, mental and emotional.

Now this flow of conscious to consciousness needs not at all have to meet with God.  For religious man, it is true.  For materialists, it is not true.  And why?  Because he is conscious of matter, the only God.


17   The terminologies used in Subud as developed by Bennett include:

1.    Power of the Supreme Lord (p.115)

2.    Power of God (p.115)

3.    Highest level of perfection (p.115)

4.    Lower powers (p.115)

5.    Grace of God (p.115)

6.    Will of God (p. 115)

7.    Satanic power (p.116)

8.    Force of desire (p.117)

9.    Power of material objects (p.116)

10.  Grace from the Almighty (p.111)

11.  Primal Essence, Holy Essence, Holy Spirit (p.120)

12.  Great life Force (p.121)

13.  Cosmic Impulses (p.124)

14.  Life-giving energy (p.125)

15.  The hidden forces in man (p.130)

16.  Voice of conscience (p.135)

17.  The completion of man (p.139)

18.  The sacred impulse (p.139)

19.  In the hands of God (p.139)

20.  Hope in God (p.142)

21.  His purposes (p.143)

22.  Divine soul (p.144)

23.  Spirit of God (p.148)

24.  Human soul (p.157)

25.  The soul to the reality (p.176)

26.  Evil forces in human life (p.177)

27.  “The revolt is not directed against injustice and oppression, but against the stupidity.” (p.188)

28.  Power of God (p.189)

29.  The resurrection of the body… (p.127)

30.  Subud Emblem. (p. 119)

31.  i. The power of the Supreme Lord

       ii. The power of compassion

       iii. The power of the complete man

       iv. The human power

       v. The animal power

      vi. The vegetative power

       vii. The material power *

 * The material power in which is contained vegetative power can be classified in this manner:

         (a) Animal power

         (b) Human power

         (c) The power of complete man

         (d) The power of compassion

         (e) The power of the Supreme Lord

32.  What type of head thinks in this way?

“The satanic power also dominates the earth itself ‑ that is the material planet with its earth, water and air.” (p.117)  The question is to what extent this is true?

33.  … to find the way to the true worship of God (p.103)

34.  .... moment of baptism (p.103)

35.  He called these facts (p.38):

i.    That the reappearance of Christ is imminent

ii.   That the Christ, immanent in every human heart, can be evoked in recognition of His appearance

iii.  That the circumstances of His return are only symbolically related in the world. Scriptures; this may     produce vital change in the preconceived ideas of humanity


18   J.G Bennett’s approach to Subud is religion.  Subud does not have a rich content of its own and thus it is only a fragment of the Great Knowledge.  By our time, Subud bases can be traced from Indonesian to Singapore, Germany and Hong Kong.

Now this idea of eternal life or eternal consciousness is fantastic.  Here, it is thought that as your physical body perishes in death, your soul will leave this physical body and with an ‘I’ that will “cling” to another body to continue the long journey of the soul except that nothing has been mentioned about the soul having taken the menghepuo drink to remove any possibility of this soul to remember its past or previous life.  Thus Subud is a result of previous work related ‘I’s that could have prop out in the Far East.  This is an endless spiritual journey of our Evergreat Common Cosmic Ansanbaluiazar.  In this case, therefore, real ‘I’ really cannot die; ‘I’ constantly purify ‘I’-self when as dogs, as cats, as apes, as human and as higher beings.  Each time, and in each being there is no ‘I Am’.  And cannot be real.  Yet life must be real, only then when ‘I Am.’

We have no such confidence.  When we die, perishing of our own physical body, ‘I’ also disappears.  This ‘I’ does not prop out of the body into higher existence but rather perishes as the brain perishes or the functions of the body stop.  When the brain re-emerges in my children.  Certainly ‘I’ is no more the same ‘I’.  ‘I am’ only when there is a brain to produce ‘I am’. 

When a man perishes, “nature” goes dark and then everything will be “nothing”.  For an ordinary human being, there can be no sliding of the ‘I’ into a higher plane shred off from the old physical bodies.  Such is absolutely false and has been disconfirmed by science.  The sliding of ‘I’ only occurs in the sublated-conception of the production and reproduction process of life into the future generation, and even this ‘I’ and ‘I Am’ will never be the same.  And it is precisely this point which J.G Bennett has not considered (refer to Subud)


19   The motion of a uniformly moving spirit, peculiar to Subud and others, that flows itself from one region of space into another, from one organic life into another by the pure freedom of smooth jumping over without transformation, as of the movement of an ‘I’ in translation motion is a faulty view.  This will mean the vanishing of the reciprocal determination of forms, structures, functions and discontinuities. 


20   The Gurdjieff-Ouspensky teaching is mysteriously  diverted or perhaps intentionally distorted by J.G Bennett, but not Kenneth Walker.  Why?  The purpose remains to be answered.


21   Many has thousands of ‘I’s and the accompanying ‘its’.  These ‘I’s are not yet ‘I AM’.  When it is ‘I AM’ it is real life.  The last hour to death is the important part of this ‘I AM’, ‘I’s and ‘it’s life. The plural holistic being is about to disintegrate and delivers all its being psyche hydrogens to become the ‘I’ and ‘it’ of a new born being.  A portion of your ‘I’s become the ‘I’s of another type of being and another yet another type. Your one group of ‘I’ life can become the ‘I’ lives of a few beings but all have drunk the menghepuo drink!

There is a law of conservation of life ‘I’s that holds true for ‘I AM’s, ‘I’s and the accompanying ‘it’s in the universe.  The forms of lives are conserved in the universe as the life of the Great Universe, and our lives is a form to it.  The physical forms of the body is one thing, the life form of ‘I AM’s, ‘I’s and ‘it’s is another!  This life form is a psychic matter in the psymattergy!







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