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Ritual to express gratitude to God

One who receives a gift from God, he/she should be grateful to God, for instance someone who got a promotion in his/her job a.o. promoted to become director, head of department, regent, governor,minister, president or got a significant salary raise.As in accordance to tradition, a small rite to express gratitude to God – selamatan or syukuran in Javanese terminology should be performed.

Usually selamatan or syukuran rite is attended by close families, friends, colleagues, some neighbours . The most important thing in this kind of rite is the prayer, expressing gratitude to Gusti, The Loving God, who has granted a gift to His/Her creature. In general the prayer is as follow :

One thanks to God for the gift granted to him/her, the gift portrays that one is entrusted by God to have a higher position, bigger responsibilities and ( no need to say) receives a much bigger amount of salary. He/she requests  God to always receive divine guidance in carrying- out his/her duties in the best responsible manner. He/she also requests for himself/ herself ,  his/her families, as well as his/her office and institution to be protected from any temptation and obstacles, freed from calamities. May God help her/him.

With the blessing of God , he/she with the cooperation of his/her colleagues shall dedicate his ideas and works for the progress, success and prosperity of the institution or( company, regency, ministry, presidential office) where he/she is assigned.

After the prayer, followed by the cutting of rice cone- nasi tumpeng in Javanese, the host and the guests dine together – kembul bujana in Javanese terminology and chat to each other in intimate and friendly atmosphere.

According to  the tradition,the selamatan ceremony is performed as follow :

Everybody  sits  cross-legged on a mat encircling the rice cone and other dishes plus the offering. To day , for practical reason, the rice cone, other dishes and the offering ( if any) are put on the table. The host and the invitees pray by standing around the table. If the table is small, the offering( if any) is put separately in another table.

What is an offering – sesaji in Javanese.

The offering in a ritual means to empower the energy of the prayer. In fact the variety of the offerings also represent a prayer. The essence of offering is also to express gratitude to Gusti, God and with the blessing of God, all duties and responsibilities can be performed correctly, safely.  The work will certainly bring better result and well-being. A rice cone with the dishes are also an offering and represent a prayer to God.




Expressing gratitude after being freed from calamity

People also make selamatan after being freed from any calamity a.o. after being recovered from a long serious illness or after one has been freed from heavy suffering. By performing a rite, hopely from now on he/she will live with God’s blessing i.e. safe, healthy,happy, wealthy in the worldly as well as in the spiritual life.

Always be grateful to Gusti, God

Every human is obliged to thank God for his/her existency to live in this world. With the permit of Gusti, God, through the wish and love relation between a mother and a father, a spirit with Gusti's permit, comes down from his domain, a place of the beginning to live in the earth, through a process of 9 months of pregnancy in the mother’s womb.The spirit wears a physical and subtle bodies, born as a baby, a new human who will live temporarily in the world.

The spirits’ brothers and sisters

The traditional Javanese people believes that every human has several spirits’brothers and sisters – sedulur alus- subtle brothers and sisters in the form of spirits who always accompany him/her wherever he/she is. They do not have physical bodies, as spirits they are in the form of light.

Their assignments are to accompany, protect, and help their human brother or sister. So , the human brother or sister can live in safety, healthy and prosperity during her/his stay in the planet earth.These assigments are from Gusti, God.

The traditional Javanese call them Sedulur papat kalimo pancer – The four brothers/sisters, the fifth is pancer – the physical body/appearance, consist of :

Kakang kawah   - Elder brother Kawah, he was delivered from mother’s womb, before the baby has been born. His place is in the east, his color is clear white.

Adi ari-ari - Younger brother/sister ari-ari. He/she was delivered from mother’s womb ,after the baby has been born.Her/his place is in the west, her/his color is clean yellow.

Getih  - The blood which came out from mother’s womb when the mother was delivering the baby.The color is clear red.

Puser - The navel, it was cutted after the baby was born. The color is clear black.

Pancer  - Pancer is the physical body, the appearance of the human, he/she is always in the center of all spirits’ brothers and sisters.

Besides the above spirits’brothers and sisters, there are others, such as :

Mar Marti

They are elder than elder brother kawah, their existence in the world were not through mother’s womb.

Mar , he is the energy who helps mother to deliver the baby safely. Marti, she is the energy who keep the mother strong and healthy, during and after the baby’s delivery.

Mar and Marti are considered as high ranking spirits portrayed as king and queen. Their mystical light bodies are white and clear yellow.

Mar Marti’s duties are to help the human they guide only in a very important case, not for ordinary day to day matters. One is allowed to ask assistance from Mar Marti when one has conducted deeply spiritual doings – tapa brata in Javanese spiritual terminology.

Kabeh kadang ingsun kang metu saka marga ino lan kang metu ora saka marga ino
All my spirits’brothers and sisters who exist and have been born by mother and those who exist not through mother’s womb

Kabeh kadang ingsun kang ora katon miwah kang ora karawatan.
All my spirits’brothers and sisters who are not visible and have  been neglected.

Every human being has a lot of spirits’ brothers and sisters, they are also called – sedulur sinarawedi – intimate brothers and sisters, because their existence and presence are inseparable with the human, as long as the human still lives in this world.

All the spirits’brothers and sisters- sedulur alus- subtle brothers and sisters in the form of spirit, do faithfully the assignments stipulated by Gusti, God.They only care to protect and help their human brother or sister who wears physical and subtle bodies.

In general, as long as the physical body and all its components are still intact and function normally, the human may continue her/his temporarily existence in the planet earth.If the body or some of its bodily components do not function well, due to illness or old age, and can not be treated anymore, the spirit will return to where it belongs, to the origin of life, back to Gusti, God.

The duties of the spirits’brothers and sisters

Mar Marti – To help the human for very important matters.

Sedulur papat kalima pancer- To protect and help the human for daily matters.

It should be wise to always remember that all spirits’brothers and sisters are always together with the human they guide. They are always with each of us, wether we are aware or not aware of their presence. They always give protection and help.

Many of us are not aware that our spirits’brothers and sisters are happy if we know of their existence and presence. They would be happier if we pay attention to them. When we are attentive to them, they will help us better and more eager They are happy if we ask them to participate in all our activities, such as : drink, eat, learn, work, take a bath, etc. We invite their participation by simply saying  : All my spirits’brothers and sisters – kabeh sedulur alusku ( in Javanese), I want to eat,help me, it means we will eat safely and the food is also ok .

“ All my spirits’ brothers and sisters help me to drive the car so that I will arrive safely in the office”. It means : you drive safely to the office, no accident, everything is fine.

“ All my spirits brothers and sisters help me in my work, so that I work smoothly and correctly”’

Protection during sleep

Before you go to bed every night, you do not ask a help from your spirits’ brothers and sisters. If you ask them to help than they will joint you to sleep. They never need to sleep, sleep is not their custom. Before you  sleep, just say in your heart : “ All my spirits’ brothers and sisters, I am going to sleep, protect me while I am sleeping. If there is any disturbance or something endanger me, overcome or expel them or wake me up if necessary”

Laying yourself in bed, before closing your eyes, put your right palm of hand on the chest, above your heart, say by heart : “ I am alive”’

Following the above advice, usually you should sleep well, safely and you wake up fresh in the morning.


It is a traditional Javanese birthday every 35 days. For a traditional Javanese , it is important to know her/his weton. By knowing the date, month and year of the birth according to international calendar, the weton can be known. One has a weton every 35 days, it is a combination between the seven days of international calender from Monday to Sunday with the Javanese five days of Legi, Paing, Pon, Wage, Kliwon. One who was born in Monday, it could be Monday Legi, Monday Paing, Monday Pon, Monday Wage, Monday Kliwon . The same with one who was born in Tuesday or any other day, it could be Tuesday Legi etc, Friday Legi etc.

At your weton day for instance Friday Kliwon or Saturday Legi, it is a good time for you to build a closer relationship with your spirits’brothers and sisters. At the weton day, after 06.00 pm, the beginning of the day/date as Javanese Calendar follows the moon system, the one who has weton will give a small offering – bancakan in Javanese for her/his spirits’ brothers and sisters It means you acknowledge the existence of your spirits’brothers and sisters.

Usually one make a bancakan offering consist of a plate of rice with vegetable dishes – sego gudhangan in Javanese or a saucer of red and white rice porridge and a glass of warm drinking water.

The red and white rice porridge and the warm water are offered – diujubke in Javanese to the spirits’ brothers and sisters. Put the offering on a table and say by heart : This offering is for my spirits’ brothers and sisters. I always remember all of you, so take good care of me and always help me.

The offering of red and white porridge plus a glass of warm water is the simplest offering, although simple it is correct and efficient. It is meant to remember and appreciate all the spirits’ brothers and sisters ; to always respect mother and father and ancestors and the most important thing is to worship and be grateful to Gusti, God, The Creator of Life and The Universe.

Sometimes in the weton evening, one invite several close relatives and friends to commemorate one’s weton. For such kind of event, the offering are more complete, including rice cone with several kind of dishes such as vegetables, eggs, fishes, meat, tempeh, tofu, fruits, betel leaves and some beverage such as tea, coffee etc. After praying together to Gusti, God, they will dine together – kembul bujana in Javanese.

A harmonious relationship

For a traditional Javanese, it is important to get used or have a harmonious relationship with the spirits’ brothers and sisters. It is easy, the best way is just invite them to joint you, ask them to protect or help you.

Before having a close relationship with them, every time you do something ask them to joint you, call them one by one to help you. But when you already know them well, every time you need them just say by heart : Kabeh sedulur alusku- all my subtle brothers and sisters, help me or protect me. Say them clearly and consicely.

But when we do something important or sacred such as meditation, samadi , we should mention their names one by one, all of them will help and protect.

According to the experience of some senior spiritualists, the role of kakang kawah-brother kawah and adi ari-ari- younger brother or sister ari-ari in helping you is very significant.

Kakang kawah has natural charasteristics to help you to materialize all your wishes and to reach your goal. Adi ari-ari supports you and help you raise your morale and make you happy.

Some people, in his/her weton day, for 24 hours doing spiritual activities, such as fasting,stay awake or sleep only after midnight until before the sunrise, he/she is doing a lot of samadi to  spiritually surrender completely to Gusti, God.

This is to remind a human that life is not only eating and sleeping a lot, to fulfill only one’s ego with worldly material needs. A human being has to be aware of his noble duties to preserve, to take care the world, the nature with all its contents including human beings – Memayu Hayuning sesama lan buwono  in Javanese terminology.

Let us build a correct and better life, respect each other with conscious cooperation to save the world and the life of all beings, where jobs, prosperity, peace, happiness are guaranteed for every one.

May God bless us.

Suryo S. Negoro