BERAS KENCUR

 Beras Kencur 

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This popular drink is made essentially from rice-powder and kencur (galangal root) . The combination of the two offers proven health benefits. According to Javanese belief Kencur philosophically has a power named mancur here, which strengthens stamina (“it shines by emitting radiant energy in the body”).

Beras Kencur is known to have following properties: increasing appetite, helps eliminating aches and fatigue, helps eliminating heartburn and cough. Additionally it is believed to enhance male vitality when mixed with honey. Cosmetically the mix is often used in skin care, for example to whiten and tighten the skin as well as strengthening and polishing the hair.

Kencur (galangal root) itself, known all over Southeast Asia, has a strong presence in Javanese traditional medicine culture and thus has always been extensively grown for this health purpose, finding its way also in Javanese culinary, phyto-pharmacy and major Jamu industrial products.

This traditional beverage, if blended with a variety of other natural ingredients apparently has appetite stimulating properties. Javanese moms know the benefits of this drink for children who do not want to eat. It moreover benefits children who appear lethargic and listless. Conditions where appetite-loss occurs are quite common in tropical regions, whereby sometimes a habit can be formed of avoiding nutritious foods which is unfortunately not a trivial thing amongst the population here. Obviously the body will then lack substances that are actually needed to move and grow. If neglected, this problem can seriously affect the development and growth of the brain and body. As a traditional doctor I know the benefits of Beras kencur to reverse such habits.

Additional benefits of Beras Kencur are: prevents colds, prevent ulcers, helps eliminate fatigue, improves menstrual cycle, removes phlegm (expectorant properties), relieves dizziness, nausea and abdominal bloating.

Recipe for a typical Beras Kencur drink (7-8 cups):

• Rice powder 200 grams

• Kencur powder 50 grams

• Ginger powder 50 grams

• 2 pieces of pandan leaves

• fenugreek 1/2 teaspoon

• 10 pieces crushed Cardamom

• Cubeb pepper 1/2 teaspoon

• Palm Sugar 300 grams

• Water 1500 ml

• Salt to taste

Blend to a puree and boil with water.

In order to help your Qi emit a radiant look, let’s now try to make the recipe Beras Kencur and enjoy this delicious brew… !

By Pak Moko Pramusanto

Director of SEPTIM Institute of Javanese Traditional Healing

KALIBIRU

jogjamag nov 2013

RAWE-RAWE RANTAS, MALANG-MALANG PUTUNG

“Hindrances will be resolved, Obstacles will be wiped out”

The Menoreh rang of hills west of Yogyakarta separate the Province of the DIY and the district of Purworejo which is the easternmost region of what is known as the ‘Bagelen’. These hills have been the silent witnesses of many historical events since at least the 6th century when a Kingdom of Galuh had its capital there. Galuh gave rise to the later Saivite Sanjaya and Mahayana Cailendra dynasties of the old Mataram Empire known for its legacy of Prambanan and Borobudur monuments and dozens of other temples in the area. The Menoreh hills thus contain many ancient mysterious and sacred sites which up to the present provide spiritual inclined Javanese with places to practice the indigenous kebatinan teachings related to a unique Tantric connection with venerated ancestors and the Universe.

Kalibiru Hill in the southern Kokap sub-regency is one of these old sacred spots, beautifully covered by a large community-managed forest and overlooking the scenic Sermo reservoir. Visitors here will surely enjoy the peaceful refreshing surroundings and the multitude of hiking trails lacing around hilltops and into lush green forests, whilst dining on grilled free-ranging Nila fish. Small traditional villages are perched all around and the Javanese farmers unassumingly work their agro-forestry plots of land, mainly producing the main spices and herbs used in traditional Javanese cooking and herbal remedies (jamu). From the Kalibiru highest peak one can enjoy a wide panorama including the south coast of the Java Sea, with other famous sacred sites lined up all around such as Glagah beach, Gunung Lanang ritual sanctuary and to the west the dark pyramid-shape of Gunung Kelir.

The haunted Kelir Mountain and surrounding hilly region gained fame amongst the Dutch Colonial troops during their war against the rebel forces led by Prince Diponegara in the 1820’s. Impenetrable forests and dotted with large underground caves, the Menoreh hills provided the rebels with strategic bases to prepare stealth attacks and ambush the Dutch during this famous ‘Java Uprising War’. Two elements I want to highlight here concerning life and struggle in the Menoreh Hills are the prodigious amounts of water sources and the other more invisible sources known to kejawen and kebatinan followers, those related to ‘kasekten energy’. It is clear to the people living and surviving here that without the continuously flowing underground streams, spring-fed pools (sendang) and other natural freshwater sources which are seemingly impervious to dry-season droughts, life on the slopes here could not be sustained. As a crucial part of a complex natural chain, along with animals, plants, humans and spirits, water sustains the harmonious cycle of life. It is therefore not surprising to find an indigenous belief of a sacred relationship between all parts of the cycle, and consequent practices by humans to manage a proper caretaker function within this cycle. An example is the sacred nature of large old trees and their direct symbiosis with water-springs nearby. Experience has proven that cutting down these trees will provoke a drying up or disappearance of the spring. This can also happen if the tree is felled by strong winds. In Kalibiru one can ask about such an occurrence which recently happened in 2011, whereby a banyan tree crashed across a village path due to a storm and remained there for 6 months before the community was forced to saw it and evacuate as the government planned on paving the road with asphalt. As the roots were cut first before the actual trunk, the banyan unexpectedly raised itself and came back to its original position near the sendang below. It survived upright for another 6 months before it died out naturally. The local people say that while the tree was down and after its death the spring-fed sendang receded to a mere pool. They made sure to replant a young shoot of the old banyan tree near the spring, which flows again today and where villagers take their bath and use the water for consumption.

Another aspect of this anecdote is the kebatinan approach of the people. Although officially Muslim of religion, the locals know that a spiritual dimension needs to be managed well in order for the crucial life-cycle to be sustained here. Old trees and water-springs are also residences of several types of spirit beings (lelembut), and in traditional Java humans should cooperate with these spirits to care for their natural life-giving environment. Certain mystical criteria and agreements are always necessary for this, and thus the above-mentioned spring received annual offerings and the performance of a Tayub dance every second year. In return the gendruwo families residing in the trees and also using the spring-water helped maintain an acceptable level of harmony for the villagers and their cattle. This belief in spirits is not the exclusivity of isolated villagers in the hills; it is shared by the nobility of the Yogyakarta Kraton families and a vast number of spiritual mystics across Java. The Menoreh hills have attracted many of these because through practices of spiritual connection with the spirit dimensions, one is believed to find solutions to one’s life struggles and problems. Higher categories of spirits are represented by illustrious ancestors and divine beings, and these are more trustworthy than the lelembut spirits described above. These higher beings are sought for enlightening advice (petunjuk), guidance (wisikan) or supernatural powers (kasekten).

A famous freedom fighter named Nyi Ageng Serang who joined Prince Diponegara in his anti-colonial uprising against the Dutch and who is buried not far from Kalibiru, exemplifies perfectly this type of kebatinan relationship with the Universe. She became therefore a highly respected ancestor, leading an army from North Central Java crouched on a portable bed at 73 years of age. Her perseverance and spiritual wisdom got her the name of Djayeng Sekar, an honorific nickname for women who inherit the properties of warriors. Her popularized kebatinan motto was “Rawe Rawe Rantas, Malang Malang Putung”, meaning “Hindrances will be resolved, Obstacles will be wiped out”. This type of saying obviously gives Javanese the spirit to fight towards an important target. Spiritually interpreted it relates to the value known as “Suro Diro Joyo Jayaningrat, Lebur Dening Pangastuti” translated as “Evil will always be crushed by Truth”.

Struggle leaders such as Nyi Ageng Serang not only fought on the physical side so that this country could become independent, but also maintained the great values of Java, encapsulated in the saying “Jiwo kang Kajawi lan Jawi ingkang Kajiwo” or “A conscious mind grows from outer experience and the Outer attends to the deep Self”. This essential Javanese value guarantees a consciousness directed at finding harmony in four core aspects of life:

1 . Memayu Hayuning Pribadi (maintaining and upholding a ‘realized’ self-identity)

2 . Memayu Hayuning Jalmi (improving human dignity)

3 . Memayu Hayuning Negari (maintaining the security and prosperity of the country and Nations)

4 . Memayu Hayuning Bawono (caring for the welfare of others and preservation of the Universe)

For the Javanese people a person’s development passes through the acquisition of Consciousness and Wisdom in order to reach Jumeneng Sepuh or the State of the Elders, which is said to give someone the ability to answer all dynamics of life by striving for harmonization, expressed in Indonesian language by “Serasi, Selaras dan Seimbang” (Suitable, Compatible and Balanced).

By Patrick Vanhoebrouck & Moko Pramusanto

KELOR

K E L O R ( Moringa oleifera ) Kelor is the Javanese name for a common growing plant found all over Indonesia. There are several local designations for this plant. In bahasa it is known as Moringa. This plant can be considered to be a bit of a ‘wonder’ plant as its medicinal qualities are multiple and farmers love its potential for fertilization and as a natural pesticide.

kelor

In Java Moringa plants are used traditionally for fences. The leaves are often used in the cooking as vegetables. However, its most widespread use is in traditional medication especially the bitter tasting parts of the plant. According to several sources, the Moringa plant can indeed be used as medicine as it contains a potent essential oil. Oily seeds contain myrosine , emulsine , non-toxic bitter alkaloids and vitamins A , B1 , B2 and C. Pharmacologically speaking the chemical constituents of the Moringa tree has anti – inflammatory , anti – pyretic and anti- scurvy properties.  Holistically kelor is a a source of YIN (cooling) energy. Traditionally treatments use the roots, leaves and seeds of Moringa in local concoctions, considered effective for some types of diseases including: 1. Herpes and purulent skin wounds. Treatment: Mash Moringa leaf with lime and then apply on eczema or injury. 2. Loss of appetite, epilepsy, hysteria , ulcers , difficulty urinating , weakness , jaundice , rheumatism and muscle pains . Treatment: Boil moringa roots as much as 1 finger with 2 cups of water until reduces to a remaining 1 cup, then strain this liquid. Drink ½ cup twice each day. 3. Beriberi vitamin B1 deficiency. Treatment: Mix crushed Moringa root , papaya roots , and mace pulp or cloves each 1 finger . Add water, wring it out, and strain.  Drink filtered water 2 times a day. 4. Urticarial and allergies. Treatment: Boil 3 Moringa leaf stalk, 1 red onion, add fennel and pulasari  to taste in 3 cups of water, boil until remaining 2 cups . Filter and drink boiled water twice a day. 5. Crushed Moringa seeds have traditionally been used to purify drinking water from germs and impurities. Sources mention that in traditional societies Moringa roots are very good for the treatment of malaria, reduce pain, lowering high blood pressure etc. Leaves are used for lowering high blood pressure, diarrhea, diabetes mellitus (diabetes ). Moringa crop cultivation is not too difficult, because of the nature of these plants they do not need much fertilizer, are natural pest resistant (by insects) and disease resistant (by microbes) . In fact, they are often grown by farmers along with other crops especially legumes (green beans, soy, long beans) for their fertilizing and resistant properties. Kelor also has tremendous mystical efficacy among Javanese practitioners of kejawen. Moringa trees are believed to have natural properties to neutralize witchcraft magic and various negative auras, and so they are often grown in backyards at the four cardinal corners around the house. Leaves are said to be effective neutralizers of magical amulets’ power worn by some people. In combination with the betelnut tree they are used to avert sorcery or spirit attacks. Moringa is linked to the North (Lor) astrologically, which means death or bad luck; essentially this translates in a use as a sedative or YIN energy source appropriate for problems of insomnia and hypertension. Truly a multi-purpose plant of the already rich Javanese “natural drugstore”! By Moko Pramusanto SEPTIM Institute of Traditional Healing

PILISAN

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PILIS

Mothers in post-partum stage often experience vague complaints of the eyes accompanied by feelings of dizziness. This is a normal symptom, as the activity of birth labor requires extraordinary levels of physical and mental energy. Javanese history proves that our ancestors were able to help solve a variety of post-partum complaints for new mothers by using an herbal paste named pilis. One does this by applying the pilis paste on the forehead above the eyebrows and allow it to stick there for some time. Pilis is made ​​of potent herbs which contain active components able to penetrate the layers of the skin to enter the body’s energy pathways adjacent to the head and eyes. As a result, the area around the eyes is relieved from pain and eventual blurriness of vision disappears. Similarly dizziness, headaches and migraines can be eased with this ancient method.

From Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we know that the area above the eyes contains several acupressure/acupuncture points which if stimulated may result in strengthening vision, helping the eyes to see clearly and brightly. One of these trigger points is named Gallbladder 14 (Chinese Yangbai or “White Yang”).

PILIS

Pilis use is widespread in Java, especially amongst women and more specifically by mothers after birth giving, even though the practice has lost of its attraction amongst younger mothers these days. Try to observe the use by the elder saleswomen at your next visit to the pasar or traditional market!

Pilis is a grounded paste which commonly contains the following herbs:

  •  5 rhizomes of temu giring (Curcuma heyneana Val.)
  • 1 rhizome of bangle (Zingiber cassumunar Roxb.)
  • 2 fingers of krangean (Litsea cuba Pers)
  • 1 rind of the lime called jeruk purut (Citrus hystrix DC.)
  • 5 pieces of clove cengkeh (Eugenia aromatica / Syzygium aromaticum L.)
  • 5 leave-strands of daun kemukus (Piper cubeba L.)
  • Minyak Atsiri or Tawon oil

In short, the Javanese consider pilis paste applied on the forehead as an effective treatment to diffuse headaches and feelings of dizziness, blurred vision and easing the flow of blood around the cranial area. Often women here apply it after their evening bath and leave it on the forehead for an hour or more.

Do you want your eyes to see clearer and sharper? Try the ancient method of pilis paste made with 100% natural ingredients and enjoy life the Javanese way!

Selasa Wage, 12 Agustus 2013

                                             EDUCATIVE COURSES OF EASTERN ART OF HEALING

                                                       SEPTIM (SENI PENGOBATAN TIMUR)

                                                                   A. MOKO  PRAMUSANTO

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PASISIR UTARA

SOSRO

“DADIYA GURU YA MURIDE PRIBADI, DADIYA MURID YA GURUNE

Find the Guide within yourself and become its best pupil

After Ambarawa, the road leading to the Karimun Islands descends from the central volcanic range and through to the Javanese northern coastal districts, passing beautiful tropical landscapes strewn with several hills and old volcanoes. It eventually ends at either the harbors of Semarang or Jepara cities. Before or after their stay in Karimun, visitors can spend several days in the old coastal cities of Semarang, Kudus, Demak or Jepara, delving in the history of this part of Java and explore the lush outlying areas and natural wonders around Gunung Muria with its dense forests and cascading waterfalls. Besides Dutch colonial buildings and harbors, one can also find the oldest mosques in Java dating from the early 16th century, the first one being the Masjid Agung in Demak. Local culinary delights await the gastronomical explorer who might readily taste the difference with Yogyakarta’s sweeter fare and southern Javanese cuisine.

These districts dotting the northern coast of Java are known collectively as the “Pasisir Utara” and have since the 16th century been instrumental in the development of the entire Central and East Javanese cultural sphere. Two major factors above all determined the forthcoming fate and history of Java forever: Foreign trade and Islam. The first foreigners who arrived and came into contact with the Javanese people and the Kingdoms of the Majapahit Empire were mostly religious pilgrims or traders. As the trade with Java and outlying islands intensified between Portuguese, Dutch, English, Indian and Arab merchants at the end of the 15th century, the northern harbors increased gradually in importance. It is there that much of Nusantara’s spices, minerals, wood and fabric were stored, bought and then traded for export. The Arab, Chinese and Indian Muslim traders founded the first Islamic compounds or ‘kaum’, each with their own Mosques and this was initially authorized by the Hindu-Buddhist emperor at the time, namely Prabu Brawijaya V. It could be said that Islam and economic trade came hand in hand, slowly gaining in importance over the next centuries. Demak, Jepara and Semarang harbors later became the gateways to the heartland ruled by the Mataram Kingdoms.

The strategic position of these ports on the main Asian naval trading routes and their relative distance from the stronghold powers of first Majapahit and later the Mataram empire made them targets for conquest by successively Middle-Eastern and Gujarati Muslim preachers, the Dutch colonially minded VOC and even the English colonial imperialists under Sir Stamford Raffles during his invasion of Java in 1811. It is obvious that for the Dutch or the English, Semarang and the other harbors were essential in isolating the powerful Sultans from Mataram in their kraton in Solo and Yogyakarta as well as their numerous vassal kingdoms in Central and East Java. The colonial expansion and the huge plantation production or looting it entailed needed centrally located ports for shipping goods back to Europe. Yet before the domination of the Europeans, the entry points through Demak and Jepara saw the start of a massive subsequent conversion to Islam of an initially animistic and Hindu-Buddhist Javanese population. This conversion was instrumented both peacefully and by force through the efforts of the charismatic 9 Muslim Saints known as the Wali Songo.

It has to be said that the Nine Saints employed persuasive methods to bring about the Muslim conversion of Java, and the closeness of mystical Sufism to Tantric practices beforehand was undoubtedly a key for the acceptance of the new religion from Mekkah in Javanese land. Amongst them, two Pasisir natives named Sunan Kalijaga and Syeh Siti Jenar knew how to advance Islamic ideas into pre-existing cultural worldviews by utilizing popular traditional forms of art and performances (such as the Wayang repertoire). Soon Kings and spiritual gurus learned to accommodate the secret teachings of Sufism and integrated these in a syncretic form of spirituality known until today as Kejawen, incorporating Hindu and Buddhist values as well as Islam methods yet still respecting the cult of ancestors. Muslim purists often argue as a result that Islam in Java is an imperfect corruption of the original religion taught in Mekkah and that the present 21th century efforts to reform Javanese Islam are therefore legitimate.

However it may be, the perspectives of westernized and Muslim modes of thinking and production seem to have had a huge impact on intellectual and educational developments in Java over the last centuries and here again the Pasisir areas produced some renowned figures. One man in particular which needs mention is the late Raden Mas Panji  Sosrokartono, born in Jepara  and buried in Kudus. This personage is widely considered to be one of the genius founding fathers of the Republic of Indonesia as he was extremely influential to President Soekarno, the first president and charismatic leader of the anti-colonial Revolutionary struggle after World War II. A gifted child with clairvoyance capabilities, Sosrokartono studied and worked as a young man in the Netherlands. As a polyglot mastering 24 international languages and 10 local ones, he worked across the board from New York to Geneva via Paris and Den Haag. After successful career as interpreter at the UN he decided to study his passion of Medical doctor. Yet here he was disappointed with the limits of medical knowledge, decided to move back to Java and reverted back to his own Javanese culture to discover secrets on mental and physical health. Through the process he learned of the old Sufi and Javanese mystic ways of reaching universal balance from old texts and inspirational gurus. His writings on the topic of mysticism are to this day some of the most popular and widely quoted lines of Javanese wisdom. One of his most famous quotes, pertaining also to this text which deals with recurrent foreign knowledge and worldviews imported on indigenous subjects, says the following:

Dadiyo Guru, ya muride pribadi, Dadiyo murid ya gurune pribadi.

Piwulangane sengsarane sesamii.

Ganjarane ayu – Aruming sesame

Translation: “Become the teacher for your own self’s student; Become the student of your own self’s teacher. The teaching is about mankind’s suffering. The result will lead to finding the key to goodness and happiness”. Obviously this admonition is as relevant for today’s world as it was 5 centuries ago.

By Patrick Vanhoebrouck & Moko Pramusanto

KOP

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KOP (CUPPING)

Symptoms of the body feeling simultaneously hot and cold, the stomach feeling full (abdominal distention) and accompanied by dizziness or nausea…all these indicate a condition which is known familiarly as masuk angin by Javanese communities. Literally “intrusion of the wind”. Usualy, masuk angin is experienced after sudden or long exposure to rain, traveling in strong windy conditions, excessive usage of a fan or AC, especially on an empty stomach or while the body already is experiencing a fatigue. If it is not immediately remedied, this ‘wind’ may attack more powerful systems and cause a disturbance to  bodily organ functions, such as angina pectoris in the lungs, recurrent dizziness and indigestion accompanied by fever.

The Javanese retain several methods of traditional treatments to resolve such complaints, most commonly by applying kerokan (scraping with a coin). Another common method we wish to introduce here is the cupping therapy which is certainly famous all across Southeast Asia. In java cupping is popularly known a kop, stemming from the Dutch word for cup. Essentially it consists of applying a suctioning cup on a large flat part of the body and is specifically destined to ‘chase away the bad disease-causing winds in the body’ through a phenomenon of diffusion. Want to know how? It is very easy and simple!

First prepare the necessary ‘tools’, namely:

1 small clear glass , 1 large-size coin , a little coconut oil, 1 sheet of dry paper (not too wide) and a lighter.

Then do the following:

1. Lay out the sheet of paper and place the coin in the middle. Fold the paper around it and twist the top into a cone shape.

2. Dab the top of the paper cone with a little coconut oil, as well as at the bottom below the coin.

3. Light the top of the cone on fire, wait until it burns about halfway down. Place this burning cone on top of either the upper stomach area (above the bellybutton while patient is lying on their back) or other large flat painful parts such as on the upper or lower back (the patient lying face down).

4. Subsequently cover the glass over the burning cone and press firmly onto the skin so as not to remain loose. The burning should stop almost immediately. Release your hand softly, you will see the skin-part under the glass bulging up. This is expected so do not worry.

5. Leave for about 15 to 20 minutes then remove the glass and the cone. The area previously under the glass might look a bit reddish or pink. This is a normal phenomenon as the inner wind has been diffused. Ask the patient how he feels, great chance they might already experience a sensation of freshness in the body and a relief of anterior pains.

Enough for an introduction to ‘Kop’ now please take advantage of your glasses and coins and try out the treatment. You will be free from pain and the body will feel healthy again. Rahayu.

By Moko Pramusanto

SEPTIM Institute of EasternTraditional Healing

Jogonalan Lor, Kasihan, Bantul DIY

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CAVE MEDITATION

gua lawang

LEYEP LAYAP LIYEPING ALUYUT

MOVING FROM OUTER TO INNER SELF TO REACH WISDOM

In Javanese Kejawen spiritual worldview a recurrent concept states that the human body and mind can be seen as a microcosmos (jagad cilik) of the Universal macrocosmos (jagad gédé). For practitioners of this cosmic view of life it means being connected with the environment and the world around us. As a result of spiritual beliefs, many traditional communities indeed throughout the world have given a special status to natural sites such as mountains, rivers, lakes, caves, forest groves, coastal waters and entire islands. Many of these have been set aside as sacred places. The reasons for their sacredness are diverse. They may be perceived as abodes of deities and ancestral spirits; as sources of healing water and plants; places of contact with the spiritual, or communication with the ‘more than human’ reality; and sites of revelation and transformation. Spirituality is born of this view and conception by which all beings that exist in and with Mother Nature possess life and are interrelated. Spirituality is linked to the sense of community, where beings are interconnected and interdependent in their existence.

In Java too many of the rituals and ceremonies are conducted in natural sites. In fact astral bodies above such as the Moon, the Sun and the stars also part of the sacred site. Javanese spirituals therefore worship water sources, rivers, seas and lakes, mountains, Ibu Pertiwi (Mother Earth), not only because they are the means for our survival, but also because they are a part of ourselves, of our identity as people. Environments are treated as community members, and in many cases, mountains and water resources are sacred for Javanese: they represent their ancestors, they are sources of force, spirituality and their soul. Stewardship of these sites is often of crucial importance to nearby local communities, and consequently, protected area managers need to recognize the importance of shared responsibility for management.

Sacred natural sites often epitomize such cultural and biological diversity and importance due to their dual character in reflecting cultural worldviews and environmental significance. Sacred natural sites are areas where nature, the divine and remembrances come together in special combinations that are particularly meaningful to a community, society or people. Across the DIY Province in particular they are sometimes temple sites (candi), the burial grounds or ascetic hermitages of ancestors (petilasan), places of pilgrimage (ziarah), or sites associated with special events. They can be the abode of deities, nature spirits and ancestors. They can be feared and secret places or they can be benign areas for ceremony, contemplation and meditation allowing communication with the transcendental. Common to most sacred natural sites is that they are areas removed from everyday access and resource use.

As a specific example, we can mention the significance and use of isolated caves for mystical purposes in the Javanese lore and literature which still serve as inspiration for present-day practitioners. The seclusion element of sacred natural sites is illustrated in caves, as they shut out the profane world. Caves can also be doors to an ‘underworld’ or mark the transition from a ‘here’ to a ‘there’. Throughout the Arjunawiwaha story Arjuna spends most of his time in a hermitage cave. In the Dewaruci story Werkudara (Bima) is asked by Durna the felon guru to search for the ‘Water of Life’ in a sacred cave guarded by two huge demons. In the Darmogandul text, being the first inhabitant of the region of Daha (Kediri), Kyai Daha the deceased minister of the King Joyoboyo became its patron; his residence is in the cave Sela Bale on Mount Klotok, an eastern spur of Mount Wilis. His younger brother resides in the volcano Kelut; he sees to it that during eruptions of the Kelut, the lava does not harm the villagers. For Islam Kejawen followers, the Serat Centini text provides guidance to existing caves where in the last phase of the book the hero Amongraga continued his journey visiting various sacred places and caves in East Java and the southern part of Central Java where Javanese ascetics used to live in meditation. Some of these caves located in the Prambanan, Gunungkidul and Parangtritis Beach areas were related to ascetic practices and are indeed very popular tapa (ascèse) spots today. This is obviously the case with the religious complex of Ratu Boko. The presence of meditation caves in the northern part of the compound already suggested that the place was used by hermits or ascetics. Fasting and meditating for forty-day periods, sometimes in caves or forests, are a common concept in this area. The purpose was (and still is) to acquire sakti, “life force” or “power”. A famous rebellious Prince of the Yogyakarta Kraton, Diponegoro who waged several battles against the Dutch Colonizers, acquired unusual spiritual power (kasekten) through meditation at isolated caves near the south coast and was reputed for his recurrent retreats in these natural hermitages.

Philosophically speaking, the cave is a silent place ideal for spiritual contemplation by anyone wishing to purify his mind. The atmosphere reminds one of being a fetus inside the mother’s womb. The mother cares and transfers life-force to her child in a genuine selfless manner, providing and stimulating the various early dynamic processes of the child’s life. The caves are considered as reenacting this process of pure life injection and re-birth, through the stages of calmness of mind (nyepi) and desires reaching an anticipated state of consciousness clarity (keheningan). Moving as such the more subtle astral bodies of the practitioner connect and meddle in the ghaib (metaphysical) realms where it is believed that higher realizations and knowledge can be attained. Here the deep Self ultimately apprehends a state of Universal Wisdom (Wijaksono adil Paramarta) and the new identity known as Sang Jumeneng Sepuh will provide answers, no longer questioning. This gradual process of elevated consciousness is named LEYEP LAYAP LIYEPING ALUYUT.

Moko Pramusanto & Patrick Vanhoebrouck

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