My father died when I was 13. I loved and respected him, but he seldom appeared in my dreams. When I was opened, I was told that the latihan would improve the spiritual states of our parents and ancestors, so I occasionally wondered about my father’s life in the hereafter.?
Several years later, I was sitting alone in my house, when out of the blue I felt my father’s presence. I knew clearly that my inner was connected with him. I didn’t see his figure, but could feel that he was worshipping God. A calm and pure atmosphere surrounded him. He seemed to be so absorbed in his worship that he was not aware of me. This experience lasted for only a few seconds, but was strong enough for me to be convinced of the reality of what I had felt.
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Varindra Vittachi (for years Chair of the Subud World Council, now deceased) once returned from Indonesia and was quite excited to share this story. He had got off the aircraft at Jakarta International and for some reason looked back at the aeroplane (in those days there was a ramp pushed up to the aircraft), and he was surprised to see some Ceylonese (Sri Lankans) getting of the plane. He was sure he had not seen any Ceylonese on the plane when he boarded at Singapore! He caught a taxi and travelled to Cilandak, where he rushed to meet Bapak and tell him about the strange Ceylonese getting of the aircraft. Bapak laughed and told Varindra, "It’s your ancestors, and they are following you around because you are the one who has to purify them and raise them to Heaven through your latihan.”
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Mas Sudarto once told me that if you have a dream at a time when the lower forces are at rest - between 1 a.m. and 4.30 a.m.) it could have a spiritual significance. My father passed away in the mid-eighties after a long illness. I was living abroad at this time, so I did occasional latihan and the usual Salematan's (celebrations/social observances). Having two sons of my own, I was aware of the close spiritual connection that exists in a family, and I always wondered how his inner was doing.
However, I completely forgot the one thousand day salematan and one morning around 4.30 a.m., during this time period, I had a dream which was quite out of the ordinary in that I seemed to remember everything in detail. Although I did not understand it at the time, I was aware of feeling a great happiness throughout. My father was a horse lover and we always had a horse at home from the earliest I could remember, even during the World War II years. My dad knew a lot about horses, and among his friends he was the expert when it came to anything to do with horses.
In my dream, my Dad came riding a white stallion which I recognized and with two other horses on a string. Due to a back injury, my father had quit riding in his late fifties and yet in the dream he was much older. He rode right up to me and said, "Son, I need to get these horses shod.” At that moment, my Subud brother Sebastian appeared, the only Subud person I was aware of who knew how to shoe a horse.
Naturally, I asked him whether he could help my Dad, which he was more than willing to do. After Sebastian had taken care of the horses, my Dad thanked him, turned to me before leaving and said, "I am on my way."
For a long time I wondered about this dream and received no real
answer. I even visited Sebastian a year later but no light came my way. I even speculated that maybe my father was burdened with the horses because of his attachment to them.
Then, one day out of the blue, the answer came: my father now had all that he needed to return to the Happy Hunting Ground.
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I remember Bapak telling us how, during the Month of the Ancestors, – the month immediately preceding the fast of Ramadan – it was to be expected that our forebears would come to us to ask us to observe the fast. Sure enough, for several years following the deaths of my parents, they would both appear together in a dream during the last week before the fast and not at any other time of the year. My father had died several years before my mother, and in the last dream of this kind, I noticed that he was carrying a small suitcase, which I understood to signify that, this time, he had come from further afield; either that, or perhaps it meant that he was about to go on a longer journey than had been possible for him in the past. In any event, it was the last time he appeared to me in this context.
In fact, it has been many years since either of my parents have visited me in this way, from which I infer that they are now well and truly on their way. I still pray for them of course.
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When my son decided to be opened, the local helpers including myself got together to test who should do the opening. It seemed that it was right for me to be the one, but more accurately the receiving was that for some reason I was being allowed to conduct the opening as long as I was totally detached from the fact that it was my own son. I became very much aware of the importance, as Bapak outlined, of not taking any credit for the opening but just being a channel for Gods work. But also how difficult this could be when opening your own children.
The night before the opening, I had a very disturbed sleep. Over and over just as I was dropping off I kept being awakened by what sounded like a party going on, and I silently cursed the neighbours. This went on for quite a time, and then suddenly I was aware of people in the bedroom, and not only that, a couple were up close and seemingly trying to tell me something in a rather boisterous manner. Then the understanding kicked in . . . this was a party for my ancestors who were extremely pleased that my son was being opened, and were queuing up to thank and congratulate me. WOW.... what a graphic demonstration of how our latihan benefits the ancestors.
The opening the next day was wonderful for me. After saying the opening words, I witnessed a surge of energy from above descend and enter my son. I opened my eyes to see what effect it had had on him and HE HAD DISAPPEARED ! Well, not quite true; he had received immediately and strongly, and gone off skipping and dancing round the room. I asked him afterwards how it had been for him, and, surprisingly, he expressed a certain disappointment. He said all he had experienced was this happy joyful feeling and the impulse to express this with movement and dance. What he had hoped for was some sort of revelation or vision of angels or something. These youngsters .......... wow.
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My mother died at 86. She joined Subud when she was in her fifties and attended the group latihan several times. However, due to unfortunate circumstances, she was obliged to stop practicing the latihan and to keep her distance from Subud for many years.
It was when she was over 80 and living in a nursing home in the countryside that she became free to do latihan. Since she was not able to do latihan alone, my wife and I visited her from time to time, so that she could do latihan with my wife. However, it was apparent that my mother needed more latihans and when she died, I felt guilty that my wife and I had not visited her more often.
When I went to the group latihan after her death, I was surprised by the considerable change in my latihan, which became strong and vigorous. Moreover, to my surprise, I became aware of my mother’s presence within myself; her soul seemed to be in my chest and was doing latihan together with me.
This experience continued for a few months. Whenever I practiced latihan, my mother’s soul was always there, as if she were dwelling in my chest in order to do latihan with me. I wondered how long it would last. Then it seemed that the time had come to my mother to depart for the destination that was given by God to her, and my latihan returned to normal. I was grateful to God that my mother was allowed to make up for the previous insufficiency of her latihans in this way.
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I had yet another experience at the death of my oldest brother. A successful journalist and president of a radio broadcasting company when he died, he had a good character and was liked by people. He did not join Subud, but was sympathetic to my devotion to it; he regarded me as an idealist.
He lived in the northern island of Japan, and I flew there the day after his death. When I arrived at his house, his corpse was still there and I sat before the body to say goodbye to him.
Then, quite unexpectedly, I felt clearly that his soul had been sleeping from the shock of death, and at the same time, I started to have a strong vibration. I felt a strong urge coming up to my throat and in the next instant I found myself saying to him ‘Awake!’ I was very surprised by this unexpected outcome, but felt relief because it seemed that my voice was inaudible to those who were there. And I clearly felt that his soul awoke from the sleep as if opened, and that a peaceful and joyful atmosphere started to prevail.
I did not tell either his wife or his children about this experience because they were not in Subud, and I was sure that they would not understand.
However, my daughter, who is a Subud helper, arrived the next day and, before I shared my experience with her, told me that she had felt an unusually calm and peaceful atmosphere when she entered the room, which she had never experienced at the funeral of non-Subud people.
As a child I suffered with asthma but gradually improved as I grew older though never being completely free of it.
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There was a period in the late 1980s when it suddenly came back quite severely. The unusual element this time was that it used to develop in the evening, became quite severe during the night but then eased off as it got light. I would say that this lasted for a period of about four weeks and I was getting little sleep. However I felt very clearly that this was a purification illness and that I shouldn’t seek medical help. This was also confirmed by the fact that as the asthma got worse with the darkening day, inwardly I experienced a corresponding feeling of elation or joy which was present all the time I was suffering with the asthma. This was also a proof for me that this was a very beneficial process that was happening.
On this particular night I had been asleep and woke up in bed in the early hours. I was completely unable to breathe at all, my lungs were unable to function because of the very severe asthma and I knew that I was going to die. I felt completely calm and relaxed about this – actually I was totally indifferent! Whether I lived or died at that point seemed to me to be completely and utterly inconsequential – of no importance one way or the other.
The next thing I experienced was being in a vast space surrounded by golden light and I was in the centre of a circle of people. I knew that these were people whom I was close to, although I could not make out individual faces or people. I experienced what I can only describe as a ‘wave of love’ emanating from everyone which was carrying and supporting me – it was the most wonderful sensation!
The next that I knew was wakening up in the morning from a deep and restful sleep. I understand from later experiences that these people were actually my relatives who had passed on. This experience has left me with a profound gratitude towards these ancestors who have shaped my life in this world and we should remember that our forebears have passed on blessings to us as well as burdens!!
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There is a follow-up story that occurred many years later in 2009.
Shortly after my father’s death I contracted a severe lung infection which turned into pneumonia. At this point I should say that I had always been of the opinion that my lung weakness had been inherited from my paternal grandfather who had contracted lung cancer [and indeed only had one lung during the period I knew him].
One night during this illness [before it had developed into pneumonia] I was sitting quietly and became aware of a presence. I understood that this was my mother’s father whom I had never known, he having died when my mother was a young girl. I understood that he was very pleased to be with me and there was a very loving feeling from him. At this point I inwardly heard my mother telling me that her father had died of pneumonia – something that I had completely forgotten about - and I understood at this point that my lung weakness was actually a purification of her side of the family.
I then had a long ‘conversation’ with my grandfather. He told me that he had met me once before and I recalled the incident described above with the bad asthma when I nearly died. He told me that he had been there in that golden space. He also gave me an insight into the nature of the ‘illness’ or purification that I was undergoing and in particular the emotional and psychological patterns or tendencies associated with it - because illness actually manifests at all levels of being but often we’re only aware of the physical. I was shown certain tendencies in my nature or character associated with this illness and which needed to be cleaned. This was very helpful and I really understood for the first time that our inner development has to include all our forebears as well. He also gave me some practical instructions about posture and breathing.
This sounds strange but during the experience it actually felt very normal. I should also add that I was aware that he had a very profound feeling of gratitude for the grace of the latihan.
One evening I was doing a latihan at home with a very close Subud brother – it was actually very late and during the period known as the ‘Month of the Ancestors,’ the month preceding Ramadan.
This particular Latihan was very deep and powerful and at a certain point I knew I had reached a place which I call the boundary of this world and the next. I was then told from within, ‘Now you can pray for your ancestors.’
From this I understood that for our prayers to be relevant or true it was necessary to be at this point or state of surrender inwardly.
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My mother died shortly after my 16th birthday. I missed her a lot, but also knew I had to get on with life, and I prayed for her. When I was 28 yrs old (12 years later) I was opened in Subud. I had only been doing the latihan for a few months when I had an interesting experience. I was at home and my husband, two children, and the dog were getting into the car for a trip to see my father in my old family home. My father had decided to sell up and live with his sister, and the whole of my family (I have three brothers) were getting together to share out the knick knacks and unwanted furniture from the house. It was an important family occasion as we were also saying goodbye to the house in which we had all been brought up. As I was getting in the car I realised that I had forgotten something and dashed back into the house to fetch it from the upstairs bedroom while everyone else waited in the car. When I came out to the upstairs landing, my mother was suddenly and unexpectedly “there,” about six feet off the ground. It was a wonderful shock, because I had never felt her presence since she died. I “spoke” to her and explained what I was doing. I then heard myself say “It’s alright, I’ll take over from here”. I had no idea what I meant(!!), but I knew it was something important about unfinished business, and I guessed it was about reconciling her relationship with my father, which had been very poor when she was alive. Later I was recounting this to one of the group helpers, and she asked how old my mother would have been had she lived. I said 63 years old. I didn’t know at the time that Bapak had said that at 63, much of your “nafsu” is passed on to your offspring ….. everything fell into place then, and I carried the burden with joy knowing I was helping my mother as well as myself.
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