Monday, December 10, 2012

Upacara Serah Diri

In an earlier post we examined the protocol from student to Master with regards to being accepted as a disciple under said Master.  Here is another example from the lineage of our esteemed Ustaz Shifu:

Showing proper respect, utmost gratitude and exceptional commitment are essential in qualifying oneself to be accepted as a disciple. For a beginning, pesilat (practitioner) or “anak bongsu” have to prepare 3 out of 5 'syarat' (requirements) items that will be requested according to the Master’s terms and conditions.

The efforts in fulfilling all the 'syarat' symbolize the willingness in being an obedience student. Usually these are among the required items (or equivalent):

1.  Kefir lime/citrus hystrix (limau purut)
2.  A needle or a piece of cloth
3.  RM7 in cash
4.  Incense complete with burning coal
5.  3 complete set of bitter leaves

Most of this 'syarat' items must be obtained individually, but some must be shared among other Pesilat. The Master will give relevant instruction on fulfilling the 'syarat' according to his understanding which is very deep and symbolic. In the old days - the ancient time - our ancestors had to follow so many strict rules in executing all the 'syarat' which is called 'upacara serah diri' which means ceremony in volunteering self to be a true disciple.

A white traditional Malay (Melayu) Silat shirt or “Baju Melayu” with black trousers will be the official apparel for Pesilat. Generally, any suitable apparel can be used, as long as it is appropriate and comfortable. The best is wearing the official apparel which can be symbolically translated as uniformity. Uniformed in apparel with the Master, and uniformed in discipline with the Bongsu style.

There are no specific restrictions in daily life practice whilst learning this style. However, striving to be a good and righteous individual must be practiced at all time. In being a true "righteous" disciple, no doubt that they must always practice and understand the true teachings of Religion. Learning this style must be based on trying to be an exceptional individual with great wisdom.

All requirements, terms or conditions (syarat) are to educate individuals into giving their full focus and commitment. At all times, everyone must develop high discipline and always show respect towards all creation. This art is not only for Malays (Melayu) Muslims. In fact anyone can learn and practice it as long as they can give a sincere commitment.

Before advancing to the next level, one must master the current level. A period of a month and up to a year will be required to finish some of the levels. At least a year or 3 will be the best period of time to becoming a true pesilat. In 'tutup gelanggang' or closing ceremony, a yellow glutinous rice and a roasted whole chicken is to be serve to the master as a sign of honoring him by providing a delicious feast. This will be held after the completion of the first level which is Seni Silat Bongsu.

After the full completion of the next level, an initiation called 'putus silat' or 'Conclusion of Silat' will be held for qualified 'anak bongsu'. A plank of wood with special requirements will be used during this initiation. In more advanced levels, 'jurus keputusan' will be taught at the end of every level, if the pesilat proves worthy of learning it. A keris with an odd number of curves or equivalent type of weapon will be presented to the master during this initiation.

Specialization and maturation is involved in the more advance levels. The right to instruct or teach will only be given with very strict rules and tight regulations. A songkok and serban (turban) is needed during the initiation when being given the right to instruct or teach or 'upacara ijazah'.


Anonymous said...

Always good to know


Anonymous said...

Guro, could you explain some of the meanings behind the items (1-5) of the syarat?

Thank you,


guro jeff davidson said...

Certainly Matt. Several people have asked about it so we will address in the next post.

Anonymous said...

All praise only for & solely to Allah The Al-Mighty