Sue Responsibility of Authorship of Sutardji Calzoum Bachri (III)

Written by Nurel Javissyarqi
Translated by Agus B. Harianto


The name of Sutardji Calzoum Bachri is familiar in Indonesian literature for his Poetry Credo. Below I quote some part of it:

Kata-kata harus bebas dari penjajahan pengertian, dari beban idea. Kata-kata harus bebas menentukan dirinya sendiri.

“The words must be free from colonialism of understanding, from the burden of ideas. The words should be free to decide themselves.”

“Dalam puisi saya, saya bebaskan kata-kata dari tradisi lapuk yang membelenggunya seperti kamus dan penjajahan-penjajahan lain seperti moral kata yang dibebankan masyarakat pada kata tertentu dengan dianggap kotor (obscene) serta penjajahan gramatika.”…

“In my poetry, I set the words free from the confinement of obsolete traditions such as dictionaries and other colonization as morally of the words charged by the community into particular words that are considered dirty (obscene) and the grammatical rule .”…

“Dan kata pertama adalah mantera. Maka menulis puisi bagi saya adalah mengembalikan kata kepada mantera.” (Bandung, 30 Maret 1973).

“And the first word is mantra. Thus, to me, writing a poem is to return the words to the incantation. “(Bandung, March 30, 1973).


Briefly, he is the figure of originator of the concept, wants to liberate the regime of the words from colonialism of understanding, from the burden of ideas such as dictionaries, the moral of the words inflicted by society to meet the origin function, “mantra”. And many have already interpreted his poetry, his short stories, and his essays from the criticist, the fellow poet, and also his younger has subsequently appeared in newspapers and reprinted in the books.

But, I thought no one has interpreted his concept deeper (from within), which is the character of his intellect “quackery”, his mantra, from the roots of the locality, so manifest into his works. Lately, I heard that he is becoming Sufi, it certainly by dint of his toughness in his principle.

However, what if it turns out Tardji has his school: “Extremely we may say the poet can not be asked the responsibility of his creation, of his poetry,” whereas from I know, the mantra (especially in the Java) is very meaningful, because of its meaning, the power of aura break through all the desired dose to the limits and unknowable.


On the book of collected articles of international seminar and Tardji’s essays, entitle Raja Mantra Presiden Penyair, published by Yayasan Panggung Melayu, 2007, the title looks as if it must be frightening, gorgeous, wonderful, intoxicating, and unmatched. That’s prestige of Tardji around the people he knew from far and near. The predicate as President is not enough, and then he became a king. And I with the angels in the clouds, looked slightly amused.

From criticist Abdul Hadi W.M., Ahmad Kamal Abdullah-Kemala, Koh. Young Hun, Harry Aveling, Maman S. Mahayana, Suminto A. Sayuti, Donny Gahral Adian, until the poet Amien Wangsitalaja, they were just mesmerized. But there are some seemed to cover or have no heart to interpret the center of mantra, and then anything appeared was enchantment. It seemed that Tardji was also hypnotized and unconsciously. He did not learn further into the essence of mantra and merely transformed into the cluster of ideas of reason that are simply destined only by his works.

Actually, there were some ways of correction and reminding from friends to Tardji in the matter of the responsibility, probably he did those. But this writing was begun of his speech which I think it has a lot of inaccuracies. Perhaps the rush made him so or he is endowed by very strong belief, no need to dizzy of revision to the view, where he presumed it is the task of the criticists.

Such as he performed the Arabi’s school as his oration, whereas the Arabi’s works could be said that it placed the spaces of silent, the solemn rooms. Unlike with the work of Al-Hallaj or even Rabi’ah Al-Adawiyah, which some part could break through the crowded of market. Definitely we know that the criticists are no more than a reflection of his knowledge from the previous critics, thus Tardji should be happy that he is known by Indonesian and Asia literary bagawan as the place of loudspeaker to make voices.


Because this writing is talking about mantra, thus I asked for help from the spirits of entire universe to follow me. I pulled them from the darkness; perhaps they came from the age of Before Century or even before. So, please forgive me, if my language would be talking from the point, because thus I understood.

When the book of time was sent, spaces have been figured out, gave pillars of civilization, along with the wind blew enliven anything touched by the tree of believe. Which its hanging fruits are planets surround the galaxy, blossoming bud renewed similar amazement, its witnesses on the water of lake of the life. And leaves of precarious, the spirits predestined to understand the causality.

Another tale said, the tree of believe was blazing at certain distance to create the shadow of life. There were dew or maybe drizzle ripen its falling leaves, pure grains transformed to living creature, incarnated to be the form as the place it fell.

Most opinion said, since from the height of steam of eternity touched the layers of light. At there is the grade of creation. Some other said that the beginning of holy spirit was blown by the strength of power, formed the entire visible life and also the invisible.

Some else think that the beauty of this life is a pair of greater world, whether nirvana, heaven, or other names, an amounts of realization grades understanding his localities. Thus the sacred tale of myth, the books of old literature became determiner to its time, from generation to generation its tenet studied, for the sake of revealing the true mystery.

The souls try to understand the consciousness of illusion which is far felt close, and the nearest really doesn’t know. In other composition echoed, the light formed the power of command voice, implementation with the whole witnessing tremble of life and death, the mystery of destiny to be in pair or to be enemy. At the first didn’t know exactly, whether the word, color, scratching, blowing, everything now exist is merely following habitude of superficial laws.

In the other group told, the matter of circle of the universe, a flash of lightning among the cloud compressing the patterns, a scene to another scene of black cloud, thousands of hijab (mistakes) magnetized eyes and ears. The heavy sense of center of the faith was similar to the sun pouring tears, flying among the solidities and the soft, crowded in circle and heightening to penetrate the power, and human being got it as tornado (typhoon), earth quake, volcanic eruption, lava, severe flood.

About going beyond, the man bowed to admit weakness of the soul, outside and at the time it will be more echoed, awareness came, foresight to pay cues, and even avalanches tree trunks, animals suddenly died, or screamed uncontrollably. The living creature was terrorized by fears, attacked by anxious. By the pattern unknown before, created sad shrill onto the hills and valleys, doing meditation, pray, whom had not have character of cursed of rebellion.

The bodies inhabited by the spirit of great turmoil have cold sweat, beach of lips hissing, chattering teeth, and finally the belief in to the supernatural found. Endeavored to follow the unnatural symptoms, then dances created, music echoed, followed by gently whispers in every happening, incarnated to the consciousness of dhikr, wird, on the other hand, the existence of mantra to the Almighty.

On the other peninsula, the spirit of the death people occupied the hills, mountains, valleys, small islands, in the depths of the earth, possessed animals and have well manner of his brothers, and these are in the same time. And in spare time of transition, they were really aware of upheaval, truly remembered for the sake of telling to their children.

To anything shouldn’t to be exceeded, viewed sharply, and thought so hardly, except through the reflection of his fate. At that time the equation was considered, reshuffle was reviewed, adjustment drifted down to the point of the pace of journey, held struggle of true love equally ocean waves, surrounding the earth of consciousness hugged in affection, as much the power of gravity of knowledge.

The other rule based on the certain standpoint, drowsiness slept, forgot the incident, hypnotized by inhabiting the warm of space-time to pass all subject erased, replaced by new pillars caused of air pressure, the degree was blown by the certainty of future. Absolute power reorganized the understanding similar the color mixed to form new character, the man confused by uncertainty and always curious, looking for more strength, unattainable power, the nature of propensity occupied its mental.

The time moves on, every occurrence of destiny matures itself and teaches the stage of resting, the cave of possibility, and remembrance of mind to the reading to the natural rotation, the changes of day and night. Disaster, joy suddenly came, all studied, observing which plants are useful, animals are threat, beside to entertain and to make fullness of stomach.

Among those, there was solemn solitude, listened to nature and researched, classified so deep, interpreted so long, thus the Supreme Mercy blessed the love of enlightenment, the grace increased the view be brighter. Then the hijab (mistakes) revealed, the grace of ayahs awakens to the change occurred, the shaky of receiver was no more sense of awe to the Almighty, but at that space the doubt increased to scatterbrained. Then flowers grew between the right and wrong, forwarded or dependent, along with the anxious in the head.

In those backgrounds, the names pinned, the pure destiny was believed on the reflection of character, male-female are mate, the basic rule set, the laws of nature follows the level of knowledge that inhabits in people think. Listening to the sound, glimpse of shadow observed, waiting for the possibility in pulsating or pleasure, the peace came; the comfort shaded kepundens of the soul.

And eventually, a sense of dissatisfaction driven by curious born aberrations, twin pattern was discussed, distortion became the new rules. In turn the damage occurred again. The nature betrayed the creature living on it, the manner of suspicion spread; distrust each other aggravating circumstance, the holy verses cheated on, finally pulled up by the power. While in the spare time, they’re neither analyzing, nor pulsating abiogenesis, grown back so life get to the last circle.

The messengers, the blessed people, inhabit precarious location. Only the people of faith saved from major disaster, the flying stones attacked from eruption, lava and severe floods, deadly pyroclastic flow, hurricanes, all become the lessons stories of the day later. It all was written in memory, leaves and the skins of animals, stones, wood carving, to the time of intellectuals, but it always under attacked by forgetfulness.

Only the one allowed by the Almighty could living on sustainable land, everlasting such as sagas, ancient myth of books of the old literature, and without forgetting to keep the results of contemplation to interpret the words, objects, spirits ranged around his life, in buried boxes, the secret of the coming of landslide disaster, etc. But the Merciful never weary to keep expands the knowledge. To anyone cares to reflect the happening, preferred the results for heritage for the sake of continuity of the breaths of civilization.

And the mantra, one of the results of human penance and contemplation, enliven to remote location in order to block unwelcome, as well as to pass his willing desirably outside of the deed of reasonableness. Inside its tunes are possessed the power of great faith, beside there are some knowledgeable, try out the verses of Holy Book, also from fragments of stories in old literature, recited again and again with firm faith in fulfilling his willing.

It would be deepened through avoiding some abstinence, the pattern conflicting or contrary to his intentions, in order to increase his ability or his willing would not fail. At first, it recited with devoutness facing the kiblah of his conviction. Gradually the knowledge having progresses, the reciting of mantras are written with sure strokes levels at specified times, and then it calls ajimat (amulet).

In half part of the world, amulets worn around the body, the places considered important and even critical. There is also in the wind propeller, so wind to hit it. And the gusts of wind waves considered substitute for speech of a shaman as talisman giver, like the muttering of spelling mantra.

Amulet or written mantra, precisely it calls rajah. Sometimes rajah is in the form of summary of mantra sentences, and also type of formula that has the same strength, some written completely and the truth is it must be recited. The procedure of writing also has the rules, a special ritual to parallels latitude circulation and also the night of pasaran (the name of day for Javanese which has 5 days in a week; such as kliwon, pahing, etc) if he is in Java. And he must avoid abstinence or anything could thwart at the desired time he is writing the rajah, beside he has to hold self-purification before his dealing with it.

All that is done by the people have powerful magic; at least he has a strong belief, that someday anything he ritualized truly manifest to be efficacy. This deed has to be done with high caution. Ink to write must be blended with particular perfume which has also a certain characteristic of it fragrance on the intentions.

Here lies the exchange of experience to meet, among perfume experts, the maker of mantra, etc. Media of perfume could be replaced by fragrance of fragrant flowers soaked. But behind those, there are several rajahs less its power prestige if the procedures and the tools of ritual were not complete. Normally, rajah makers know the grade of its power, so before he gave to anyone ordered it, he told some advices, which later it will be required by the rajah, for the sake of remained the same usefulness without decreasing a bit.

Back to the mantra, usually the term came from a foreign word or the old words of indigenous considered brings good luck; it is considered sacred. If it’s not old and familiar, surely mantra departed from the dealing firm belief. Here the confidence becomes principal, the center of origination of the happening, the strong heart of faith point capable to possess the sense of self and those around him.

Broadly speaking, the mantra grouped into two parts, the first, it’s the results of a Waskito researches, waskito is the person that always teach his human-body and his inner, support the invisible world and particularly researches the balance of outward-looking, and his soul always aware. Sometimes the mantra utterance were found through the magical promptings of meditating moments, and also it came through the world between the dream and awake, and so were in the dream.

Spaces of the dormition of the body are the soul chances to wander anything running behind the daily life. The people in everyday life sharpen the double senses, to get pure findings he willed. To the artists, it can be said that they witnessed the window of inspiration wide opened on the seriousness of working.

The second, the mantra was found from the verses of Holy Book also old books, a kind of literary works of the ancestors which are believed it has occult spirituality, rather than workmanship of ordinary people. Those books trusted that it has hidden sanctity (magic) and it could be practiced.

Taking a few sentences of mantra appropriated to the problems encountered, to recited, to read again and again, to be in fasting withstand thirst and hunger or such, does for the kind of intention will be achieved. If the holy sentences or those verses used as rajah, then he should take some of the most important words and letters from it or written a whole.

Before we interpret so far and understand meticulously thorough the essence of the mantra, which I would cross-check with Tardji’s concept of mantra. In this part I said thanks to the late Professor. Dr. Koentjaraningrat (June 15, 1923-March 23, 1999) of his book: “Beberapa Pokok Antropologi Sosial” (“Some Principles of Social Anthropology”) published by PT Dian Rakyat, fifth reprinted, 1981. And also remembrance of my readings before and after, such as the book “Daqooiqul Akhbar” Menyingkap Asal Mula Kejadian Makhluk, the work of Al Imam Abdurrohim Bin Ahmad Qodhi, published by Husaini Bandung, February 1992, translated by Abdul Ghoni Asykur, Shoib and Slamet Ilyas, beside “Kitab Para Malaikat (The Book the Angels), “published by PUstaka puJAngga, 2007, my own work.

Because it is discussing about the mantra, hence the principle of all is about conviction, and the proof of faith is supernatural power apparition. It should be pleased to be proven, if it really works of spiritual owner as the level of mantra.

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