From Beata Alexander: (download as pdf)
Some of the members of the Orgiva group in southern Spain who are intending to follow the fast of Ramadan this year, would like to invite members from elsewhere to come and join them for some or all of this 30 day fast. The fast this year begins on May 5 and ends on June 4 – a lovely time of the year here before it becomes too hot.
Bapak always encouraged Subud members to fast once a year and indeed advised us that this is the only thing we can do to advance our inner growth, apart from the latihan. Traditionally many Subud members who are not Muslims have followed the Ramadan fast because this is what Bapak practised and as a result have experienced for themselves the benefits. For followers of other religions, then other types of fasting would also be suitable [in a letter to a member Bapak said that the fast that Christ did, and Abraham before him, was the same as the one that Muhammad practised].
The group here has recently completed a new Subud centre with two large latihan halls and social area, kitchen, terraces etc. and we can provide a certain amount of accommodation within easy walking distance of the Centre. We have a large and friendly group here of many nationalities – which also reflects the nature of the surrounding area.
This part of Andalusia, on the southern slopes of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada, about 40 kms. South of Granada, is very beautiful and there is a quality here which makes it easier to become quiet and in touch with our inner feeling which is very much in tune with the aims of the fast. It is because of this atmosphere that other spiritual groups have been attracted here including an important Tibetan Buddhist centre [in the mountains above the town] and our Sufi neighbours just across the valley, who are always very welcoming. The town is about a 30 minute walk uphill from the Subud centre [and some of the accommodation] which is worth bearing in mind if you don’t have a car.
We are only 30 mins. drive from the coast and there are beautiful walks in the area and the surrounding mountains – the flowers at this time of year are stunning – and there will of course be opportunities to spend time together, to break fast, share experiences, latihans and Bapak’s talks [especially during the final 10 days ] etc. We can provide the accommodation, space and willingness to help meet the needs and wishes of our visitors and together we can decide how we would like to arrange our time here together.
Bapak Talk Extract – London Aug.2 1983 [provisional translation]
Take for example the Muslim fast: you only have to do without food and drink during the day. It is very simple and not a burden, compared with what ascetics do.
The object of this fast is to test, and weaken the influence of the nafsu [passions], and render it more visible. But we don’t just have to avoid food and drink during the day, but all feelings of dislike and anger and resentment towards other people. This is very difficult with someone we feel enmity towards. Nevertheless, getting angry automatically breaks our fast.
Very few people succeed in getting it right, but the result that is promised for carrying out the fast seriously and genuinely for 20 days is the Lailatul Qadar, which will manifest itself in the person. It is not something that falls from the sky, nor do you have to be in a special place to receive it. No screen or wall can prevent it penetrating into the being of someone who is worthy of it: whether it is in the middle of the night or the brightest day it will enter him.
The effect is that the person will have a spontaneous feeling of love towards his fellow beings, and great peace within his own being. This is difficult to understand for someone who has not experienced it. Most of you have not been able to receive this yet. This concept of fasting is contained in every religion, such as those of Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad all of whom taught that it is God’s will for man that he should come to a correction of his inner being and the reality of his worship of God in a way that is straightforward, very modest and doable in the midst of life.