Kejawen as a concept of spirituality arose out of ancient Javanese society. Many Western schol-ars have used the term ‘Javanese mysticism’ to refer to Kejawen teachings, which focus on inward rather than outward religious expression and feeling. Kejawen teaching offers an eso-teric understanding of religion and spirituality, one that seems to circulate mainly outside formal religious traditions. This paper demonstrates the significance of Kejawen teaching in spiritual, psychological, and social development in Indonesia, suggesting it has especial rele-vance to issues of peace and violence. Placing Kejawen in its context, this study shows how after independence, national development in Indonesia was influenced by the esoteric ideas of Kejawen, as portrayed in the national motto “unity in diversity”. This expression resembles the post-independence state ideology of Pancasila. Through analysis of key nationalist texts, themes linked to elements of Kejawen teachings, are identified and analysed in this study. This is done by analysing key texts, including Soekarno’s independence speech of July 1945, Pan-casila itself, and material from more recent social media. The reader will find out more about the need for comprehensive symbolic and resource-based recognition of Kejawen teachings in Indonesian society.

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Hintjens, Helen
Social Justice Perspectives (SJP)
International Institute of Social Studies

Wasisto, Muhammad Adiz. (2020, December 18). Reflecting on Kejawen: Javanese esoteric teachings in Indonesian national development. Social Justice Perspectives (SJP). Retrieved from