Sunday, January 27, 2008

Life: Mystics See Spirits’ Power

SOLO, Indonesia — As former President Suharto hovers on the edge of death, some people here say it is not doctors and machines that have kept him alive, but an unseen cosmos of mystical forces.The diagnosis among believers here in Solo, the heart of Javanese culture, is that powerful occult forces in his body will not let him go, that certain rituals that would cleanse his spirit have not yet been performed or that nature has not yet signaled that it is ready to receive him.“The power of spirits inside his body is keeping him alive,” said Darsono, 34, a spiritualist here who is said to be able to perform magic, expressing one common view. “Suharto’s life is supported by a mystical power,” added Mr. Darsono, who, like many Indonesians, goes by one name.Over the years, according to his aides, he has made frequent visits to sacred places, including mountains, caves, tombs and ruins, and he has taken ritual baths in the ocean and in rivers at places that were believed to hold special powers. He is said to have collected hundreds of sacred artifacts to absorb their magical power.Among them, according to local press reports, is a red stone called a mirah delima, which psychics say can protect its owner from swords and bullets and guard against illness.
Nature, for example, seems to be giving mixed signals.
It’s not mysticism,” he insisted, as if trying to break through a language barrier. “It’s reality".

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