H O M E     B A P A K     T A L K S     S U B U D
Colombo, Sri Lanka - March 3, 1967
Talk to men and women

Brothers and sisters, before saying goodbye – as Bapak will leave Ceylon [Sri Lanka] tomorrow at noon to go to Madras and from there to Calcutta – Bapak still needs to say or explain some things to you, some instructions that are meant for the helpers, and also for the members about doing the latihan.

Bapak wants every helper to have a helper’s card, so that it will be clear who has been appointed to be a helper and so that you can ensure that when you have a helpers’ meeting, only helpers attend the meeting. If you do not have a helper’s card you should write to England, to London, for one, and they will send the card to Jakarta for Bapak to sign. Bapak has to sign every helper’s card personally; we cannot use a stamp for that.

You just need to let them know whom Bapak has approved as a helper and give the following details: name, date and place of birth, nationality, religion, occupation and current address. You should send two passport photos for each person. If you send this list to England they will prepare the cards there and stick the photos on the cards before sending them to Jakarta for Bapak to sign.

After each of you gets your helper’s card you should be in no further doubt, it will be clear: if you have a helper’s card it means that you have been appointed to be a helper. There should be no more problems of helpers not coming to helpers’ meetings because of members being there too.

Each candidate helper must be proposed by the group helpers. Before making a recommendation, the group helpers should first test to see whether that candidate is suitable to be a helper, is capable of doing helper’s work, and is willing to do the work. Do not let it happen that after someone is appointed as a helper it turns out that they cannot do the work, they do not want to open people or attend helpers’ meetings. Do not let that happen.

That is what Bapak wanted to tell the helpers, please pay attention to it. Now I want to ask you, do all the helpers here have helper’s cards?

Voice from the audience: No!

Bapak: Not yet? [Bapak laughs.] The helpers in all the other places have cards, and you live closer (to Indonesia).

Brothers and sisters, to continue: Bapak will now give a message to the members. When you do the latihan you must really follow what your soul wants you to do. Your latihan is really important for you. This is because the benefit or the result of getting to know your soul is that you will know what kind of work you should do and how you should worship God. At the very least you will know how to lead your life. This is because your soul is the ruler of your being.

Why Bapak says that your soul rules you is because, before the other parts of you were formed, your soul already existed. Your soul existed before any other part of you did. As a consequence, your heart, your mind and all your senses and feelings are controlled, are driven, by the soul.

So, if your soul is the wrong kind, if it is not in keeping with your outer form, if you have the shape of a human being but not a human soul, you will suffer all your life. You suffer because you are controlled, you are driven, by a soul that is not human.

Fortunately for you, luckily for you, by doing the latihan the power of God manifests inside you. It is the power of God manifesting inside you that can repair your content, your soul, with the result that your soul – your human soul – will grow by itself. For to change or repair a soul that is inside you means eliminating the soul that is there and creating another, that is not there yet. To do that means you have to die. So, if it were not for God it could not happen.

But with God’s help, through the working of God’s power, even though your bad soul, your low soul, is killed or eliminated and is replaced by a good soul that is in keeping with your external form, you stay alive. You stay alive; you do not die [in the process].

It would be a different story if you tried to abuse yourself to achieve this without God’s help. That is why so many people who set out to find perfection in their lives never achieve it; on the contrary, they damage themselves and many die in the process.

If you were to ask, ‘If someone does not receive the latihan, if they are not opened, does that mean that they do not have the power of God inside them, that the power of God does not envelop them?’ It is there, brothers and sisters.

But even though they too have the power, if they are not opened, if they do not do latihan, the contact is never made. The reason for this is that a person who has not been opened and who does not do latihan is completely filled by the pressure of their desires,5 and it is the desires inside them that reject God’s gift, that reject this contact with God’s power. That is the difference between you and them.

This is why Bapak told you earlier that you, and all the other members who have received this contact with the power of God and do latihan, are a group of people who have received a gift from God. You have been graced and blessed by God and therefore Bapak urges you not to waste this chance to receive God’s help.

Ultimately, once you can receive properly and your soul and inner feeling know each other, when your soul and inner feeling are acquainted, you will certainly say, ‘Why only now? Why wasn’t this active before now?’ That is how you will feel, and that is why Bapak urges you: do not wait until it is too late.

To continue now on the subject of the soul. The soul is the part of you that rules you. Because your soul rules you, every part of you is controlled by your soul: your thinking, your heart, your inner feeling, your hearing, your vision, your sense of smell, your emotions – they are all controlled by your soul. So, if you have the wrong kind of soul – for instance, if you have an animal soul – that animal soul rules you. Because of that, even though your mind has been moulded and educated in the best way, at some point you will revert; you will give in to what your low soul desires.

This is why it is often the case that someone who is well educated and knows the difference between right and wrong, someone who knows that certain things are wrong, will still do those things. It is a fact; they know it is wrong. Such is the power of the soul that it makes a person forget the right path, forget what is right and what is wrong.

To support this with evidence, I heard something earlier from George, who is now called Laksman … Laksman means someone who will ascend. George now known as Laksman told me the history of Ceylon. At that time, 2,500 years ago – well, none of you were around then, you were still up there – a king came here. The story goes that this king was a lion. Now this king kidnapped a princess. [To Usman] Where? In India? From Tamil?

Usman: Yes, from Southern India.

Bapak: From South India. After he kidnapped the princess, the king brought her to Ceylon and they had a child. Then the child killed the father – the lion.

The truth is, it did not happen literally like that. A lion did not marry a princess – it is impossible. A lion is always a lion, and a tiger is always a tiger. Even 10,000 years ago tigers were still tigers, as they are today. So the king was not a tiger, but he had a tiger’s soul. At that time, this country was ruled by a king who behaved like a tiger – he was very violent. [The story goes that] he would eat people. That means he always wanted to get his way. If anybody opposed him, he killed them; if anyone objected, he killed them. So, this country was ruled by a cruel king who was like a tiger.

Then this king kidnapped the princess and brought her here, and their child – Bapak does not know whether it was the child of the lion, or a child the princess brought with her – killed his father. Now, fortunately this child was a true human being, so here ‘killing’ does not mean that the child killed his father, but that the child killed his father’s soul, so that finally the father could become a person with a human soul.

This shows that what Bapak has explained to you today was also described and talked about by people in olden times. In Indonesia we have a story like that. This is a little bit of history too. In a city called Purwadadi … purwa [Java.] means ‘ancient’, and dadi [Java.] means ‘came to be’; so, this city was founded a long time ago, around 2,000 years ago. No, more – 2,500 years ago, around the same time as your story. Now, this city too was ruled by a great giant with a huge mouth [Bapak demonstrates] like a lion.

The story goes that this king ate people. Every day he ate someone – well, if you had a king like that here in Ceylon, before long there would be no one left. So, every day he ate someone, one person after another, after another, after another. His people suffered greatly, because every day they had to take someone to the palace to be fried, to be made into satay, to be eaten in a curry.

Eventually, a knight called Aji Soko came to the city. Aji [Java.] means someone who is praised, someone who is extolled – this means he had a human soul. The knight came to the city and stayed in the house of a man whose turn it was to take his child to the palace to be eaten. The knight said to the man who owned the house, ‘Father, don’t send your child to the palace. You have taken me into your house and let me stay here, so tomorrow take me to the palace instead.’

The old man was overjoyed to get the knight’s offer but he said, ‘But what about you? Why do you want to take my child’s place, don’t you care about yourself?’

‘Well, of course, everybody loves themselves, but there is a limit and my time has come. I will take your child’s place. Don’t concern yourself, just let me go and your child will live.’

In the morning he was taken to the palace. Now, the knight had a good, strong unblemished body, and when the king saw him he was delighted and started laughing, ‘Ah ha! This is what I’ve been waiting for – someone fine and handsome like this. If I eat him, tomorrow I’ll be content.’

On that morning the knight was about to have his throat cut before being eaten when he said, ‘Sire, I am willing to be eaten, but there must be a price. You can eat me, but not for free.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘You must buy me!’

‘Buy you with what?’

‘You can eat me, you can kill me, but I want a piece of cloth from you.’

The king laughed. ‘A piece of cloth? Is that all?’

‘That’s all I want, but you must unfold the cloth yourself.’

He asked for the king’s turban, and asked the king to unwind the turban himself.

‘It’s a deal!’

Then the king said to his prime minister, ‘Have my turban brought here.’ They brought his turban, and the king started to unfold it and spread it out. But as he unfolded it, there was no end to it. As he unrolled the turban – like a sari, here – as he unfolded and spread it out, there was no end to it. The king kept on unrolling it, on and on and on, until he got to the sea. When the king got to the sea, Aji Soko pushed him into the water and the king turned into a white crocodile.

After the king was dead – because he turned into a white crocodile – Aji Soko went back to the palace. And the palace staff and the townspeople celebrated his return, because the danger was over and no one else would be eaten by the king. After that, the knight became king of Purwadadi. That’s the story. [Bapak laughs.]

Voice from the audience: Did he carry on the man-eating – the crocodile?

Usman: The story has told nothing about that. [Bapak laughs.]

Bapak: So, here and in Indonesia stories like these are symbolic, they are allegorical. The truth is that the king was not a giant who ate people every day. No. He was portrayed as a giant because of his greedy nature, because he killed people; he accused people wrongly, he treated people badly – his own people. In short, he was extremely cruel.

And when the story says he ate people every day, he did not consume them; he consumed their wealth and their peace of mind, so his people had neither. In short, no one was happy, no one had peace, everyone suffered and everyone was in difficulty, because of the behaviour of a king who was driven by greed.

Then along came the knight who removed the king, and after being removed the king turned into an animal. This signifies or symbolises that human beings have different types of soul. They may have an animal soul, or a vegetable soul, or a material one – a satanic soul. This is what Bapak explained to you earlier about the soul. You can corroborate what he has told you with fables that are recorded in storybooks.

This is why the latihan you receive brings to life your inner feeling and every part of your body; they are brought to life free from the pressure of your desires. [The latihan] is arranged so that the pressure from your [defective] soul – which constantly oppresses your heart, mind and inner feeling – stops. And once that pressure stops, you are filled by the power of God, by the will of God. God’s will and God’s power fill your whole being and, in that state, like it or not your defective soul is stopped, it is removed from its position [of control].

Bapak cannot tell whether you will achieve such a state – whether you will become a perfect human being. But, who knows? If it is God’s will it could happen. Because God has blessed you, because God has willed that you should receive this contact, it is possible for you to reach such a level and, even if you do not reach the highest level, at least you can return to God with a human soul.

As you have experienced yourself, you first feel [the latihan] in your physical body: your feet, your hands, your body, all move, and sometimes you make noises. It is as if these movements release you from what constantly oppresses you – your desires. Your desires always base themselves in, or use, certain parts of you as their stronghold; namely, your heart and mind.

Therefore, when you do the latihan, do not have any doubts, do not use your thinking or will, but completely let go and surrender to God; have complete faith in God, that God is Almighty. Even though you cannot see God, you cannot touch God, and you do not know where to find God or God’s power, it is sufficient for you to surrender to Almighty God with your heart and your inner feeling. For God knows your state; your state now and what your state will be later – that is, when you are no longer in this world.

Let’s try; I hope you are in a quiet state. Please stand up. You.

[There is some discussion about whom Bapak is asking to stand up.]


When you change your name, you should let everyone know by holding a celebration – a ceremonial meal. Then everyone will know. You can have one after I leave. There are many others, George too! [Laughter.]

Now receive. Is it true that God knows a person’s state?


Yes, yes! It’s right. The light. You can receive it for yourself. Sit down.

Some of you can receive the truth of this. Even though you do not know God, or where God is, with the latihan you can get the answer that God knows all about human beings. What human beings do not know, God does. Little by little you are beginning to have greater faith in God.

When Bapak asked you to test just now, it was completely free of desire, completely free of imagination and thought. You can ask the question yourself – do not imagine anything; be aware only of ‘what I need to receive’.

This is why it is so important in the latihan for you to get to know your soul as soon as possible, so that you can receive the power of God that will give you the guidance you need as quickly as possible, and will no longer be commanded or driven by a defective soul.

This is completely different from practices such as hypnotism, spiritism, occultism and many other kinds of spiritual practices. Those practices actually strengthen the power of the desires. Your desires – as Bapak told you yesterday – are tools that are constantly used, constantly manipulated, constantly stimulated, by the low forces, the life forces: the life forces of matter, of vegetation, of animals and of human beings.

You might ask, ‘Why did God place these low forces in human beings, when they tempt human beings and can cause the disintegration, the downfall, the descent, of someone to the point where that person can no longer occupy their original position?’ God did not make a mistake placing these forces in human beings. On the contrary, these forces are essential for a human being; but, we need to receive in order to manage these forces. For we can become complete human beings only if we are equipped with these forces. This means that the material forces, the vegetable forces, the animal forces and the human forces, are essential for human existence.

Without the [material] forces we would not know matter – we would not have clothes, we would not have all the artefacts and objects that we have, such as cars and offices to work in, etc. We would not have any of those things if we did not have the life forces of matter.

Likewise, we would not know plants: we would not need to eat plants, such as rice and so on, if we did not have the vegetable forces. But because we have been given the vegetable forces, we can know plants. In the same way [you may wonder], ‘Why have we been given the animal forces?’ It is so that we can know animals. And the same goes for the human forces.

So, God did not give us these forces just to create trouble for humans, so that we would always have problems in our lives. God wants us to manage these forces, because we need them to become a complete human being.

Take your own situation, for example. Suppose you have a family and you maintain a household: now, suppose you had to do everything yourself – to earn money, to cook, to build the house, to clean the house, to do all the things you have to do to run a household. In short, if you had to do it all yourself, you would not be able to.

Naturally, there is a division of labour. Someone earns money: namely, the head of the household, or the master of the house; someone spends the money: the housewife; someone cleans the house: the houseboy; someone goes to market to buy food and cooks it: the cook. You need them all for a complete life.

The same applies to human beings. Without the four life forces beneath them they would be like statues, with no desire to do anything. Clearly these forces, which are usually thought of as temptations, are vital for us, and that is why we have them as our companions in life.

The most important thing for you to learn is how to manage these forces. For instance, this part [gesture] gets money, not the whole of Bapak. This part looks for money, that part looks for that, and so on. But you cannot arrange this division of labour without help, without being blessed by God, because only God can arrange all this.

To demonstrate, Bapak will test with you again. Please quieten your thoughts and your emotions as if you are about to do latihan, so that to some extent you can get a taste, or feel the reality, of whether it is true that animal forces are present in the human soul.


Did your ears move? You felt it? Those are elephant’s ears that flap like that. Who could feel it? Who could receive it?

Usman: If you could receive this testing just now, could you put your hands up.

Bapak: That testing was to let you witness the truth – that what Bapak tells you is real; that what he tells you is not empty talk; that you can witness it. Bapak is pleased, because most of you could receive this to some extent. Not all of you, but some of you could.

Test again. Eyes, human vision: how do you see when an animal force such as a tiger or lion is present in your sight?


Finish. How was it? Yes?

That is why, when a married couple quarrel or fight, the wife sometimes bites the husband. [Laughter.] That shows that, at that moment, her mouth is filled by an animal force, the force of a tiger or a monkey.

This is to give you a little taste, so that you will be more motivated to worship God by doing the latihan. For once you have a human soul, at the very least you will know how to live properly. It will not happen that you cannot find the right way to live your life – because even when it comes to animals, God has decreed how they should live.

Take a caterpillar. Why has God decreed that caterpillars should live near to or on leaves? It is because leaves are their food. Similarly, God decreed that lions and tigers should live in the forest, because the forest is where lions and tigers can find food. Why has God decreed that goats should live, not in the forest but in the open, on plains with lots of grass and small bushes? It is because that is where a goat can lead its life. This even applies to worms. Why has God decreed that worms should live in the soil? Because that is the right place for them, that is where a worm can lead a happy life.

The same goes for people. God has decreed that people should live in this world in groups with other people, in human society; that is the place for them. If that is so, why do people suffer deprivation? Why do people live in despair? Why can’t they find happiness in their lives? It is because they have gone wrong. What is their mistake? Their mistake is that they have not been able to find the instructions that God placed within them. A few days ago, Bapak explained to you that [there are instructions] inscribed in everyone for how they should live, how they should earn a living, so that they can live happily here until the end of their lives.

Take the tiger – people say that the tiger is a wild beast. In fact it is not, that is just the way a tiger is. A tiger is supposed to get food by mauling and biting. The proof is that God has given the tiger claws to maul with, and God has given the tiger sharp teeth to bite with. Similarly, take cattle or cows: people say that the cow is a docile animal. That is true, because a cow’s teeth are flat and are no good for mauling, and neither are its hooves, because they do not have claws that are sharp and pointed like a tiger’s. That is God’s will.

So, it is incorrect to describe a tiger as a wild beast, because that is the nature of a tiger. If a tiger were not fierce, if it did not have claws, if it could not leap and maul, if it could not bite, it would die, because tigers do not eat grass. The same thing applies for cows: if a cow is not in pasture, if it is taken to the forest, it cannot live; it will surely die because it does not have claws like a tiger, it does not have teeth like a tiger.

It is the same for human beings; God has decreed that human beings should be the highest of all creatures. But why are humans at a disadvantage, why are they physically weak? Human beings cannot use their fingernails to maul with; they cannot use their teeth to bite with. Well, sometimes a husband gets bitten [by his wife], but humans cannot really bite – their teeth are too fragile.

However, because God has decreed that human beings should be the highest of all creatures, that is why – even though they lack dangerous external features – human beings have reason and resourcefulness. Of course, you know that reason means human thought, and resourcefulness or budhi is the content of a human being that Bapak describes in susila, budhi and dharma. Budhi is a power, a fantastic power that is present in every human being.

So, human beings have reason and budhi. Reason means their thinking mind, which can be filled or guided at any time by the power of God, with the result that human beings can create things that are far more dangerous than a tiger’s claws or teeth. Therefore, if someone is in despair, if they do not know which way to turn in their life, it is their own fault. Why do they not bring their mind closer to their budhi, to the power of God?

This is why you need the latihan. This is why your latihan starts with movements in your arms and legs and then spreads to the other parts of your body. Ultimately your latihan spreads to your inner feeling, to your inner peace, so that the whole of your inner feeling is filled with budhi, is filled with the power of God that manifests within all of you. This is the power that is your guide, that will lead you, that will show you the way to live in this world and how to live your life in the next world, after you die.

That is how to live your life. But [God’s guidance] also extends to all the details of your life. In the case of women: you will be guided by the latihan in how to put on your make-up, how to cook, how to raise children and how to run your household. God will not neglect to teach you those things. God will guide you in everything.

Do not imagine that God does not guide human beings. Do not imagine that God does not guide women. Eventually, if your latihan has developed and progressed, you will put on your make-up, and cook, in ways that truly please your husband. You will be able to run a house that your husband enjoys, and other people enjoy too. Indeed, those are women’s special responsibilities, their areas of expertise and skill.

Why are some women unable to get along with their husbands? Why do their husbands dislike them? Why do some husbands distrust their wives? The reason is that those women are unable as yet to receive guidance from within, guidance from God. However, with God’s help, the family life of every married couple, of every family, can become harmonious. The family will not just get along on the surface, but inwardly and outwardly.

Often the love between a married couple comes to an end; when they are old there is no love between them any more. Why is that? It is because the wife has not found the inner guidance that is available to her; the wife is not guided by the power of God that is inside her.

You do not realise that the way you cook affects your husband’s inner feeling; the way you put on your make-up affects him too; and the way you look after your children. Once you can receive your own inner guidance, the way you put on your make-up will delight your husband. The same goes for your cooking, it will be your husband’s favourite food. Moreover, once you reach that stage, your cooking will be like a tonic for your husband to keep him healthy.

Bapak has experienced this. On one occasion Bapak was sick and Ibu cooked some food; after eating her food he immediately got better.

These are the secrets hidden in women. Now Bapak is going to explain about the nature of men. He is not going to explain about women and leave the men alone. [Laughter.]

If we consider the human body, a man can be said to be like the inner feeling: he symbolises life. This is because a man – the human being with the male nature – is the one that brings life. Whereas a woman’s nature is like a factory – she raises that seed, even when it is still in the womb. Clearly, man’s nature is life that takes human form.

Because man is life, that means that he is the one that brings about life, so the man’s nature is alive. To be alive means [he is] the one who works, the one who is resourceful. So, if a man does not have a good wife – if she cannot cook, if she cannot do this or that, if she cannot make herself look good – that is not the woman’s fault, the fault lies with the man. If you are the man who is supposed to work and be clever, why are you not able to open the way for your wife? So, do not get married and send your wife out to work while you stay at home [and do nothing]. [Laughter.]

In the past, before there were factories, offices and so on, in a family it was the man’s responsibility to plant – to plant cotton, to plant rice, to plant bananas, papaya, mangos and so on. That was the man’s job. All that was a man’s work – meaning that it was the man who had to bring things to life for the life of his family – whereas the woman wove the cotton, cooked the rice, and so on. That is how it used to be.

So, it is clear that all problems in a family originate with the man. Do not get the idea that being a man is easy. It is the man who has to study, who has to learn, who has to look for this and that to meet his family’s needs. That is the man’s responsibility, not the woman’s.

Nowadays, both the man and the woman work. On the face of it they earn twice as much, but in reality their family life is in chaos. This is the situation.

So, we can take all this as evidence, as a model for us, to show that, in accordance with God’s will, men – all you men here – have the duty and responsibility to receive this contact from God’s power and develop it in the right manner. You must do this, so that once you can receive completely, or at least fairly well, you can show your wife the way. Then, you and your wife will get along not only in this world, you will also get along with her in the next world, after you have died.

Therefore the nature of a woman is that she is the principal and excellent helpmate of the man. In fact she can be described as the other half of his soul. That is why, in Java, a wife is called garwa, which comes from sigaraning nyawa; that is, one soul divided in half: one half is the woman, the other is the man. Therefore you must not consider a wife to be a toy, as if she were a material object that can be manipulated to fulfil the wishes of her husband. That is a great sin.

Such, brothers and sisters, is the use and benefit of the latihan. You are even more fortunate in that your wife receives the latihan too. Actually, she does not need to do it if her husband progresses spiritually. That of itself influences her soul, so that they become one, whether she wishes to or not.

Bapak needs to tell you something else, because not many of you here understand this. This is for the men. Whenever your wife gets pregnant, first of all, do not hate anyone; and, secondly, do not harm any living thing; for example, a goat, a cat, or things like that. If you do those things when your wife is pregnant your actions will cause the baby in the womb to change. In fact, if you hate someone, the unborn child will have the qualities of the person that you hate. That is the problem.

So, as far as you can, rather than wait until your wife is pregnant, it is better if you do not hate other people at all, so that if your wife is pregnant, the unborn child will be given a soul, will have a character, of the finest quality.

This has happened to members, and Bapak has experienced this himself. If you enjoy trapping or shooting birds or animals, never hunt when your wife is pregnant. It will cause the nature of the unborn child to change; the foetus in your wife’s womb, the mother’s womb, will be affected.

To corroborate this to some extent, many of the children born to members after they join Subud, after their parents receive the latihan, have a nature that is very different from the children who were born before they joined. Bapak has witnessed this in Subud members everywhere.

The reason for this is that after you receive the latihan, the desires that constantly oppress you and make you hate other people are, at least to some extent, reduced because of the latihan. That is why children born to you after you join Subud are very different from children that you had before you joined Subud.

That is all, brothers and sisters. Tonight’s talk was something extra, because tonight is the final night – it is Bapak’s last night here and tomorrow he will leave Ceylon. Bapak will not keep talking, as he can see that many of you are falling asleep [Bapak laughs]; so I will end this extra talk now.

Bapak will now say a few words of farewell because he is leaving Ceylon and all of you tomorrow to continue his journey. Bapak wants to thank all of you for your care, and for the preparations that you made for this visit. Bapak is very satisfied with your preparations and everything you have provided for him. He is truly thankful for everything you have done.

Bapak hopes and prays that Almighty God will bless all of you. Firstly, so that you will receive your latihan smoothly, so that as soon as possible you will get to know your soul, and that your soul will get to know you. Also, that guided by Almighty God you will then understand the secrets of life that have been buried in you all this time.

Now Bapak asks you to pray that this Subud latihan can develop smoothly and reach many people; that it will be received by many nations in countries everywhere, so that people’s lives in this world will be peaceful, and people will get along with each other – that there will be a family of humankind as is willed by Almighty God. Amen.


5. Desires: the word nafsu, which is usually translated as ‘desires’ or ‘passions’ depending on the context, refers to the motivations within a person that are influenced by the low life forces. The content of the desires is the wish to be capable, the wish to be good, the wish to receive more quickly, the wish to be cleverer than others, not wanting to give in, not wanting to be called stupid, and so on.

Bapak, Paris 1959. [Vol. 6, 59 PAR 3 p239]

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