Saturday, 28 June 2014

Raymond Prescott takes over as Devon Events Co-ordinator for the Association of Open University Graduates and delivers an intriguing inaugural address - about the potential benefits of name-change Friday 27 June 2014

Raymond Prescott
Devon Events Co-ordinator

Farewell to
Ann Reed
Raymond Prescott took over from Ann Reed as Devon Events Co-ordinator for the Association of Open University Graduates on Friday 30 May 2014. One month later Raymond joined the graduates in the library at John Eaton-Terry's house to give his inaugural talk - on a very surprising topic: the significance of name choice to spiritual life and destiny.

Apparently Raymond’s name was originally Michael.

He gave a talk on the subject of his destiny, which he said is defined, or determined, by ‘vibrations’ in the matter from which his body and/or soul are composed.

Welcome to
Raymond Prescott
He told us that, at some point in the past, he had come to the realisation that the name Michael was not conducive to the realisation of his destiny, and that the name Raymond was correct for him.

He recounted the story of Raden Mas Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo the founder of the Subud cult in Indonesia, who is known as ‘Bapak’ (Father). At the time of Bapak’s birth, the title Raden Mas was used by the highest male Javanese nobility.

Muhammad Subuh
The surname Sumohadiwidjojo identifies him as a decendant of one of the ‘adipati’ (governers) appointed by the Sultan Agung (Magestic Sultan) Anyokrokusumo in Indonesia in the mid-seventeenth century. This elite group are called the Priyayi (robe nobility). The suffix widjojo is the Javanese form of the Sanskrit word ‘vijaya’ (victorious).

The official biography of Sumohadiwidjojo says that he was born on 22nd June 1901, and his grandfather, Raden Mas Sumowardoyo, named him Muhammad Sukarno. The name Su Karno refers to the character King Karna of Anga in the Mahabharata. (Concidentally Su Karno, the first president of Indonesia, who came to power in 1949, was born two weeks before Bapak on 6th June 1901.)

Sunan Kalijaga
The myth runs that Mohammud Sukarno failed to thrive until a mysterious visitor (sometimes identified as the spirit of Sunan Kalijaga – a fifteenth century Javanese Muslim saint, born Raden Mas Said) convinced the boy’s grandfather to change the name from Sukarno to Subuh (Dawn). The rationale was that, because the boy was born at dawn, changing his name to ‘dawn’ would in some way attune him with his destiny. According to the myth he recovered as a direct result of his name being changed.

Eva Bartok
Quoting once more from Bapak’s official biography, Raymond recounted the case of the actress Eva Bartok, who was born on 18 June 1927 in Budapest and christened Éva Ivanova Márta Szőke. (Szőke in Hungarian means "blonde".) Eva was coerced into marriage to a Hungarian army officer, Géza Kovács, during the war, when she was only thirteen years old. The marriage was declared illegal and annulled a year later. After the war Eva adopted the surname of the recently deceased Hungarian composer and pianist Béla Viktor János Bartók.

First Subud World Congress
Coombe Springs House
In the fifties, Eva met John Godolphin Bennett and attended courses on spirituality at the ‘DuVersity’ (The Institute for the Comparative Study of History, Philisophy and the Sciences Ltd. founded by Bennett in 1946) which was located in Coombe Springs House, Kingston upon Thames.

Curd Jürgens
In early 1957 Eva, who was thirty years old, and had recently divorced her fourth husband Curd Jürgenswas found to be pregnant at a medical consultation in London. 

According to Eva, while working in California in 1956, she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and came to a clinic in London where the diagnosis was confirmed, and it was at this point that she was also found to be pregnant.

John Godolphin Bennett
Emergency intervention was scheduled but, on the day before it was due to take place, Bennett returned from a lecture tour in Wales and told Eva that Bapak would shortly be arriving in London. Bennett argued that this coincidence was the work of providence, and that Bapak would ‘carry their work to the next level’. By flattery, Bennett was able to convince Eva to defer the planned intervention until 10th June 1957.

Sumari Sumohadiwidjojo
The story describes Eva as placing no trust in faith healers, and only reluctantly acceding to Bennett’s suggestion that she should consider Bapak’s intervention. In the event, Eva claimed that her health was too poor for her to travel to the airport when Bapak arrived. She was, however, visited by Bapak’s second wife Siti Sumari, who was known as Iba (Mother), whom Bapak had appointed as 'Subud Women's Spiritual Helper'. Iba questioned Eva about her religious beliefs and subjected Eva to a process which Eva was later told is referred to in the Subud cult as ‘latihan kejiwaan’ (spiritual exercise). Eva was also told that Bapak himself was not present because he would only attend latihan with men.

Husein Rofé
Later Eva, having shown signs of recovery, attended Bapak’s conferences, and latihan, at the flat, in Dartmouth Road Willesden Green, of Husein Rofé (a Jewish convert to Islam, collaborator with John Bennett in bringing Subud to the United Kingdom, and author of “Reflections on Subud”). At these meetings, Bapak took a personal interest in Eva, and even attended latihan with women in order to spend more time with her.

On the day before Eva’s deferred medical appointment, Bapak told her that the medical intervention was not necessary. Her appointment was postponed indefinitely, and Bapak began to take part in latihan with Eva personally. He renamed her Iliana - a change to which he attributed her new-found health and vitality. Eva bought a cottage in Kingston and her mother came from California to live with her. Eva now fully intended to have her baby, deriving confidence from Bapak’s assurances.

Deana Grazia Jürgens
Eva’s mother insisted she have a further medical assessment. Eva was found to have no sign of an ovarian tumour. She gave birth to a daughter prematurely on 7th October 1957. Speculation at the time was that the child might be that of her recently divorced husband, or her supposed lover David Mountbatten, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven. Eva called her daughter Deana Grazia Jürgens.

Eva returned to her film work. She retired to Java in 1964, age 37, with her mother and her six year old daughter. In 1971, the 44 year old Eva was ordered by Bapak to go back to Los Angeles as a Subud missionary, leaving the thirteen year old Deana with her grandmother in Indonesia. Eva worked in California as a missionary until August 1971, when she returned for the Subud World Congress in Jakarta.

Frank Sinatra
Eva then remained in Indonesia until 1974, when she moved to Hawaii with Deana to take up a television contract. She subsequently returned to California to start her own production company and Deana made the first of her two film appearances in 1983. Deana’s name had been changed to Roberta by Bapak, but she reverted to Deana as her stage name. Eva, meanwhile had been renamed again by Bapak. She was now Maria (meaning “totally surrendered to god”).

In May 1998 Eva’s daughter (now married and living in Australia as Deana Moore) demanded recognition as the daughter of Frank Sinatra, who had died a few days before in California. (Eva had made the same claim four years earlier, a claim which could possibly be true.) Eva died in August the same year.

Raymond did not explain what connection, if any, he has had with Subud. He did not mention Subud at all. He explained that he had worked as a musician, and that Michael (to whom he referred in the third person) had acted against his better judgement at some time in the past, alienating potential friends and colleagues in the process. Renamed Raymond, however, he has not been so headstrong – and is better attuned to his destiny.

Longcroft,       Subud is a Way of Life Subud Publications International 1990 ISBN: 9781869822064
Harlinah          History of Subud  Hollywood: Al-Baz Publishing Co Inc 1993 ISBN: 0957959605
Rofé, Husein   Reflections on Subud   Humanity Publishing Company   1960
Kadarijah Gardiner explains how Subud combines the concepts of Susila, Budhi & Dharma

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