Mysticism In Java

Mysticism In Java

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Most Javanese are Muslims, but there is a also a distinctive kejawen, "Javaneseness", incorporating elements of mysticism or kebatinan. In Mysticism in Java, Mulder describes both this and the ways in which it has influenced broader Indonesian ideologies.
While kebatinan draws on earlier strands (Hindu-Buddhist and Islamic), it is a product of the colonial encounter, and in particular of the courts in south-central Java in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The resurgence of Javanese mysticism has seen it given formal status by the state, but not accepted as full partner to the official religions. Accompanying this has been an increasing emphasis in kebatinan on monotheism and differentiation from klenik or black magic.

Underlying Javanese mysticism is a complex and elaborate metaphysics:

"... man actively and inevitably participates in the all-encompassing unity of material and spiritual existence. The spiritual aspect is superior, more true as it were. ... Harmony and unity with ultimate essence is the purpose of all life. ... Nature and supernature mutually influence each other, and causality is implied in their coordination."

Mulder illustrates this with a case study of lottery prediction in Yogyakarta. He goes on to look at the practice of kebatinan, at the paths to mystical union, the role of masters, the context of meetings, connections with shadow theatre, and so forth, and at its broader ethics and social philosophy.

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