The founder of Subud was called Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo and was often called Bapak (an Indonesian term for elder men). He held throughout his life (1901 - 1987) a number of talks about Subud for members. These talks were not meant as a doctrine, but rather an explanation that aimed to shed some light on some of the members' experiences. So Subud is no religion. In his first talk for members in the west in 1959 he said:
"Don't take this explanation of Bapak's as if it were a teaching or a theory, listen to it as a description of what goes on in the spiritual realm"
Talk # 15 From "Bapak's Talks Volume 3"; Subud Publications International (SPI), 1998
THE BASIS AND AIM OF SUBUD
A brief talk by Bapak Mhd. Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo [1901-1987]
"The Basis and Aim of Subud" p.3 ; Subud Publications International (SPI), 1969
Subud is the abbreviation of the words: Susila, Budhi and Dharma.
- Susila means: the good character of man in accordance with the Will of Almighty God.
- Budhi means: the force of the inner self within man.
- Dharma means: surrender, trust and sincerity towards Almighty God.
This is the symbol of a person who has a calm and peaceful inner feeling and who is able to receive the contact with the Great Holy Life Force.
As the spiritual training (latihan kejiwaan) of Subud is free from the influence of the passions, desires and thinking, and is truly awakened by the Power of Almighty God, the aim of Subud is naturally toward perfection of character according to the Will of the One Who awakens it, namely: Almighty God.
It is also necessary to explain that Subud is neither a kind of religion nor a teaching, but is a spiritual experience awakened by the Power of God leading to spiritual reality free from the influence of the passions, desires and thinking.
That is why in the spiritual training of Subud one really feels that one's inner self is no longer influenced by the passions, heart and mind, which means that in the latihan kejiwaan of Subud the inner feeling has truly been separated from their influence.
Why should the passions, heart and mind be separated from the inner feeling, when these are man's most important equipment for his life in this world, which can be used to increase and broaden his knowledge? It is because, unless the passions, desires and thinking are separated from the inner feeling, it will not be possible to be in a pure state in receiving the spiritual training, so that it will be impossible for the inner feeling to receive the contact from the Great Life Force which in fact has permeated it inwardly and outwardly.
This is the reason why the influence of the passions, desires and thinking must be separated from the inner feeling. In such a state the inner feeling will awaken and be able to recognize the existence of the various kinds of life forces which flow in and out and move it. Eventually it will be able to distinguish between the good and the bad, namely between the life force that originates from the true human self and the life forces that come from the subhuman forces, i.e. the material, vegetable and animal life forces and the life force of man.
In receiving the spiritual training of Subud the receiver is truly guided by the power of Almighty God towards the attainment of an ability to distinguish between the various kinds of life forces in man (chemistry in the spiritual realm) and this will eventually lead to the realization of his true self and elimination of the false one. In ordinary science such knowledge is very important, for with chemistry man can extract iron, tin, gold, silver and other materials from a lump of earth. The only difference is that the latter is man's work, done with his heart and mind; whereas the former, chemistry in the spiritual realm, is the work of God Whose Power reaches far beyond the power and ability of man.
Finally, in your worship of Almighty God, you need not worry about anything. God is All-Knowing and All-Wise in all things. God can make and create something from that which does not exist, and God can put right something that, from the mind's view, cannot possibly be put right.