Christian Science and ‘Subud’

The Christian Science Movement is yet another heterodox Western movement, but it differs from those that we have already noticed in its shift of emphasis. Though it implies a mystical base, yet in practice it is not very much concerned with it. It seeks to interpret Christ’s life in its own light, focusing its attention simply on the miracles performed by him. It argues that God, or the Truth, is good, and that all evil and disease are but a result of losing contact with this Inner power. He who can be put in touch with it can be cured of all disease, and Christian Science has tended to concentrate its attention on this end. The result has been that it has become more a study of health then one of spiritual evolution, and the line between healing through auto-suggestion and hypnotic suggestion, and healing (as Christian Science claims) through the power of Truth is not always easy to draw. Many have even questioned the nature of the motives of its founder, Mrs Mary Baker Eddy.

But of one thing one can be certain: that even if the cures effected by Christian Science spring from a spiritual source, the agents are not its conscious masters, are not in direct and conscious contact with the higher power, but act as its unconscious instruments.

Though it would be rash to class with Christian Science Subud or Soshiel Bodhi Dharm, founded by the Indonesian mystic teacher Pak Subeh, which has now become an international movement, yet one may with some justice notice a similar trend. The mystic base in the case of Subud is much more important than in that of Christian Science, yet is often directed toward the same end. It seeks, through following a certain course of exercises called Latihan1, to put its followers in touch with hidden psychic powers. It does not seem to enhance consciousness directly but enriches it indirectly through increasing one’s powers of intuition. Whether one looks at the experiences of Mohammad Raufe or those of John Bennett, one realizes that in the case of Subud, a person may serve as a medium for higher spiritual forces, curing people of diseases, without becoming a conscious co-worker. The result is that instead of progressing to higher and still higher planes of consciousness, until one merges with the Infinite, one tends to cultivate a passive receptivity to psychic powers which may not necessarily be of the higher kind. Many disciples during Latihan reproduce strange animal or bird experiences – a far cry from the Nirvikalp Samadhi or the Sehaj Samadhi spoken of by the greatest mystics.


Note by the editor: 1)  In the Nineties, the exercises were announced again under the name of 'Body Flow' by Michael Barnett, founder of the 'Wild Goose Company.'