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The Levels in Kejawen Spiritual Knowledge

As is already stated that Kejawen besides consists of Javanese Spiritual Teaching also includes other aspects of Javanese culture such as :

  1. Tradition and Rituals
  2. Etiquette and morality
  3. Principals of life based on Budi Pekerti – Good moral conduct and behaviour.
  4. Knowledge and Practices related to Supernaturality such as magic, occultism, paranormal, alternative healings etc.
  5. Spirituality,the highest level of Kejawen.

The traditional Javanese people who are born and bread and educated traditionally in the land of Java since their early age follows the principal of life cultivated by their parents, ancestors and society to always hold good moral conduct and behaviour, respect  the parents and elderly people and above all praise to Gusti, God, The Creator of Life.

The Spiritual Knowledge of Perfectness

The Spiritual knowledge of Perfectness or Ngelmu Kasampurnan in Javanese language is Spirituality or The true knowldge or in other words Ngelmu Sejati.

Those who learn spirituality are matured adult people who already has consious mind. One who enjoy only worldly material wealth, seeking worldly power and authority, is not( yet) interested  in spiritual knowledge.

Someone will usually start to have interest in spirituality after they have a calmer mind, have a balanced life attitude. They are already aware that life has two different aspects i.e. earthly life which must be carried out decently as well as correct spiritual path and they also aware that life  does not last long. It is the time to be wise and start to embrace spirituality which is a true divine path blessed by Gusti, God.

The levels of Knowledge below spirituality

In the traditional Javanese society, there are some people who are called Wong Tuwo or Priyayi Sepuh , “Old Man” or” Old Woman” or Guru Kebatinan or Guru Ngelmu – spiritual guru  who teach spiritual knowledge to his followers. Except teaching spirituality, an “Old Man” or” Old Woman” is oftenly asked to help by many people to solve any problems they encountered in life. The service is provided voluntarily, free of charge. That is the difference between a spiritual guru with paranormal or psychic who charge their clients for their service.

For some people, before they learn spiritual knowledge, they first has to learn “supernatural knowledge” which is considered as the lower levels of spiritual knowledge. The levels are as follow :


Kanoman from the word nom, enom, anom which means young. Kanoman is considered as young “supernatural knowledge” for the youngsters; spirituality is an” old knowledge” for the elder people.

In the past, between the year 1955 – 1960, when the writer was a young boy, there were youngsters who learned Kanoman.The majority of the youth had good mind and behaviour. All pupils from kindergarten to Highschool  were taught Budi Pekerti -  Good Morality. They sincerely believe to the ultimate power of Gusti, God The Almighty.

The traditional society  which was closely attached to Nature, make them a more sensitive feeling people.

They could feel  some invisible things, some supernatural force in this world.They believed  there were other dimensions of life that exist in this world, besides  visible human dimension.They also wished deeply that life went on smoothly with no evil deed and bad people. But the life was not as expected, there were good and bad behaviour since  time begun.

There were people who were greedy, looking for wealth and pleasure only for themselves. Many kinds  of cowardice, falseness, crimes could be met in this life.

Basically youngsters wish to do good and right things, fighting for the truth. Learning from the wayang stories and ancient legends, we have learned that since the ancient time there always struggles between the good against the bad and at the end the good win. In order to gain victory,the fighters have to work hard, they must  be diligent to practise  decent things and  improve their quality of mind and knowledge of self-defence.

In the ancient time, the youngsters had to learn in a traditional boarding school  ( padhepokan in Javanese language) led by a wise and skilful guru. The guru taught them Budi Pekerti –good conduct and morality, general knowledge, Kanuragan and the basic of spirituality.

In principe, guru will only receive students with good moral conduct and seriously intend to deepen their knowledge. Guru would only accept students who had the sense of responsibility, honest, brave , love to others,respect to guru  and who were willing to uphold the good name of the padhepokan.

At the same time students were obliged to do routine things to support the life of the padhepokan, such as working in the farm, gardening,cleaning the house  and   practising various kinds of knowledge including

self-defence and kanuragan. Guru taught the students practical knowledge  useful to earn their living. Kanuragan was the important subject taught by guru.


In kanuragan, the body is undergoing exercises and training, so that the man who learn kanuragan will be strong and becomes sakti ( Javanese for invulnerable). He will the be strong to receive blows, kicks, invulnerable to sharp weapons, bullet shoot etc.It is the youngsters who usually have interest to learn kanuragan. When they see with their own eyes the tremendous result of kanuragan, some of them are inclined to learn more supernatural knowledge and also spirituality.

( In  the 1950s, the youngsters did not learn Kanoman and Kanuragan
in the padhepokan like in the ancient time,instead they learned to a guru and the guru would train them two or three times a week regularly).

Kanuragan is for self-defense and also used  to attack enemies. In kanuragan, guru will give various mantras and aji-aji, spells for safety, for protection from any physical and non-physical attacks.

When some one is growing older and  thinks smarter, he becomes more patient and can refrain  easier, naturally he/she will prefer to practise the mantras or the spells of safety –karahayon than the mantras of kanuragan.

Vivid example : A young security guard  is very proud of himself because he becomes bullet proof, the bullet fired to him by the robbers can not penetrate his body, he is not even wounded. Obviously he is proud of himself because his friends respect him and the criminals are afraid of him. An elder guard who is wiser, he prefers to spell another mantra , so the gun aimed to him by the gangsters can not function well.He is safe. The eldest guard prefers to use another mantra i.e. when he is on duty all criminals are afraid  and  run away from him. 


Another level  is Kadonyan, in this stage normally people are looking to live in safety , prosperity and earthly happiness. (Kadonyan is from the word donya which means “world”). Kadonyan is for people who have families and wish to earn a good living with  enough income to support the need of the family. The traditional Javanese people like other people in the world, they need to have enough food,clothes, house and of course other essential needs, such as expenses for their children education, health care, a certain amount of saving etc. A family man must support the good life for the family, he needs to have a good job or a good profitable business, so that he can live well together with the family. In order to be able to have such  life, the head of the family needs to have professional abilities. Besides working hard and diligently, he must request the blessing from The Loving God in his daily prayer. Sometimes, some people will use relevant mantras to back up their prayers to be granted by Gusti, God. The mantras used are related with earthly life – The mantras of Kadonyan,  in order to have  drajat, pangkat, semat (in Javanese languange), which means  having  esteem rank in the society, high position in the office and a lot of material wealth. 

Usually,one will build a family after he has completed his study and  has a good job or business at the age of around  25 to 30 years old.

The normal family life in which he has duty to support the needs of the family by among other raising his children, send them to colleges until they became independent, it takes around 25 to 30 years of time. During that period, there are ups and downs in life, sometimes happy and other time are sad. That is life on earth.

Someone ‘s involvement in worldly life takes a long time,  a man spend more of his life time to be engaged with worldly business life. Some other people until his old age,  intentionally involved in the worldly life, even until his death. (This kind of life attitude is avoided by  a spiritualist).
In the stage of active worldly life , you have to be careful to always hold the good principles of life blessed by God by avoiding  any kind of evil temptations.


Kasepuhan comes from the world sepuh which means “ old”. Normally an old guy can refrain  emotion much easier. He/she has experienced a lot of things during the journey of life, some are sweet,some are bad. All are life ingredients.

Some of us are having interest to learn kasepuhan knowledge- Ngelmu Kasepuhan .  The elder people are usually interested  to kasepuhan knowledge, but there are also younger people who learn kasepuhan knowledge.

In the Kejawen, kasepuhan consist of:  Alternative healing, to heal  mentally or phisically sick people;  Help people who suffer from trouble, to give protection for safety among other to be freed from evil attack, black magic etc.; Help business to run smooth,  have a good job, proper position in the office etc.

NGELMU SEJATI – The true knowledge

Ngelmu Sejati or The true Knowledge is the highest level of Kejawen Spirituality. The spiritual knowledge reveals the reality of life.

A wise man, a spiritualist who has gained True Knowledge sees and experiences the reality of true life, where everything is revealed,  no more secrets in this life.


For more detailed information on Kanoman and Kanuragan, please click Chapter : Miscellanies.

Suryo S.Negoro
Edited by Arie Suryo

Suryo S. Negoro