Saptå Sêsanti – The Seven Precepts

In Javanese mysticism, there are seven precepts which man should practice in order to prosper and to attain the highest spiritual goal in life. These seven precepts are called ‘Saptå Sêsanti’; ‘sapta’ means seven in both Sanskrit and Javanese, and ‘sesanti’ is Javanese for exclamation, i.e. a commandment by means of revelation (also santya), but since the Kejawen is not a religion, a better translation of this word would be ‘precepts’.

Saptå Sêsanti: The Seven Precepts

The concept of seven precepts forms the basis of Javanese spiritual thought. For instance, in contemporary Javanese mysticism, or Kebatinan, this root principle has evolved into the establisment of spiritual movements such as Sapta Darma. Though recent modifications of the sevenfold practice seem almost inseparable from Sufism or Islamic mysticism, yet the general understanding of this ancient teaching remains the same.

1. Mêmangun rêsêp tiyasing sasomo 
One ought* to always be kind towards others.

2. Wènèhånå têkên marang wong kang wutå, wènèhånå mangan marang wong kang luwe, wènèhånå busånå marang wong kang wudå, wènèhånå ngiyup marang wongkang kodanan 
One ought to teach the knowledge of goodness to those who are capable of comprehending its meaning, to feed those who are in hunger, to provide clothing for those whose body needs protection from the environment, and to provide shelter for those who search for a safe place to stay.

3. Jroning sukå kudu eling lan waspådå 
One ought to dwell in a mental state of bliss (sukå), and maintain concentration (eling) and develop wisdom (waspådå).

4. Laksitaning subroto tan nyiptå marang pringgå bayaning lampah 
One ought to strive to attain the noble goal (‘hamemayu hayuning bawånå’) without being concerned about worldly hindrances.

5. Mèpèr hardaning påncådriyå 
One ought to strive to subdue one’s sensual desires (påncådriyå).

6. Hênêng – Hêning – Hênung 
One ought to establish a level of mental serenity (‘hêning’ i.e. samadhi) so as to be able to attain enlightenment.

7. Laku samadhi, olah råså, pangruwating håwå nêpsu marang kasucèn
One ought to practice samadhi, to calm down one’s emotions (olah råså) and sensual desires (håwå nêpsu) in order to attain purity (kasucèn).

*: It should be made clear that, in Javanese thought, there is no such concept as ‘being pushed, forced or commanded’ to act in a certain way, but instead it is considered advisable to act out of spontaneity.

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