Memayu-Hayu Bagya Bawana: the History of Sapta Darma Movement in Indonesia 1952-2006

Title : Memayu-Hayu Bagya Bawana: the History of Sapta Darma Movement in Indonesia 1952-2006
Author : Chandra Utama (CRCS, 2007)
Keywords : Sapta Darma, history, revelation, occult power neutralizing practice, healing practice, anti-occultist movement, polytheism, discrimination
Abstract :
Sapta Darma is one of the largest Javanese spiritual movements in Indonesia with hundreds of thousands of followers. Sapta Darma is scattered in a large part of the country and has been beyond the national boundary. From its early period of growth in the 1950’s to the latest development of the movement there have been several phases. Since the subject of aliran kebatinan (Javanese spiritual movement) is still a very sensitive issue in the country, discussion on the movement will be significant to give more understanding of the movement in the Indonesian context of religiousity, especially about the antagonistic relation between two competing powers, Islam and Kebatinan. Moreover, there is no study which specifically observes the historical phase and dynamic aspect of the movement.This thesis aims at exploring the historical dimension of the Sapta Darma movement, beginning from the founder’s revelatory experiences [Hardjosapuro or Sri Gutama] in Pare in 1952 up to the present time. It will show how such experiences became the basis for its spiritual praxis in the next phase of its development and highlight the process of promulgation both via mechanism of peruwatan (occult power neutralizing practice) and pangusadan (healing practice). Both practices characterize Sapta Darma as an anti-occultist and healing movement. That is to say, the Sapta Darma movement has won fame as a healing practice which strictly opposes the spirit of polytheism.

The thesis also focuses on the interwoven relationship between character, chronology and the action matrix of the Sapta Darma movement in connection with the realm of spiritual consciousness, culture, society, and state. Dealing with contemporary developments, the exploration goes to the socio-political and cultural aspects (for instance, forms of discrimination, either done by state or “certain” [Moslem] communities) which have already suffered under movement. The expected contribution of this thesis is to create better understanding on the ways in which a Javanese spiritual movement can survive and develop in the changing sociopolitical and cultural context within Indonesian history.

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