What’s romance, my love?
Is roses stay in the branch
With no disturbance.
They’re unpicked until falling
Gracefully kissing the earth.


Yogyakarta is one of the most romantic cities on earth, where life is automatically slowing down and love can be felt sweeter, simpler and longer; my friends said “the most romantic or the cheapest?” i said cheerfully “i love cheap things that make me happy including cheap friends, people with high maintenance cost please go away” 😄

one serene night in Stasiun Tugu

Pearls in A Strand of Friendship

How’s life, dear pearls of friendship?
Your shadow flashed in the tips of these eyes
All of a sudden.
I wish you all good heart
That shines
Through the orbits
Of all friendly comets
That travel the universe
Bringing verses
About love and friendship
That last forever
With the expanding universe.
You are truly loved
And missed….


Brisbane 2017 with Mbak Wien, my friend back in uni the only person able to make me sit in a club for almost 5 hours in a riverbank of a Brisbane river (not sure what river it was though), yet she was not successful to make me drink but jugs of orange juice

a loving daughter and sister, a wife of a kind man, a mother of 2 brilliant boys, a rather crazy friend

when will i see you again? maybe some day when i’m back to down under

God bless you 💝 and all my dear friends 💝

Batik Grompol (Javanese Culture)

There are star clusters
Glowing in the horizon
Sending messages.


From Yogyakarta I brought home a pair of batik grompol sheets which I ordered 6 months ago. Happy I must be!

Grompol is a Yogyakartan special classical batik pattern. No other regions can claim otherwise.

Let’s talk about batik grompol today.

Disclaimer: 1) while the primary interpretation is based on what I learnt from the masters; many of it is my own thought based on what I understand on symbols and signs of Javanese, Islam and Hinduism that intertwined in my upbringing. So please be critical. 2) too much information, too little time for me to summarise. Please expect disconnected ideas, connect them by yourselves.

Grompol batik pattern is a sub-category of ceplok pattern in which one geometry pattern is clustered (squares, triangle, circle, lines, etc). In Javanese language ceplok literally means clustering, grouping, gathering based on the same characteristics or criteria (size, colour, shape, pattern, lines, etc). So hypothetically ceplok pattern is always about gathering, uniting, getting together.

Grompol pattern is characterised through the clustering of of 4-petal flower, a flower pistil in the middle, a seed with 4 couples of 3-ceceg and 5-ceceg (ceceg is a terminology used to describe dots in batik pattern) and “wrapped” by a square with 8 points that almost looks like octagram. 


4-petal flower is a symbol of fertile or healthy life. The 4 petals of the flower can be related to four points of the compass: east, west, north and south.

Flower pistil symbolises the centre of life, potential growth in human being. It can also represent the sun, the soul, the heart as centres of discourses to be applied based on contexts.

Flower which is the beauty before fruition is representing an expectation that human being should optimise their state of beauty which in Javanese almost always refers to the developed wisdom in human being manifested as kindness to fellow creature on earth before one dies.


A round seed surrounded by 4 couples of 3-ceceg and 5-ceceg symbolises seed of life that should be well protected from all directions.

The seed can be interpreted the same as the flower pistil in the middle of a flower. It is generated from the pistil fertilised by the pollens. It is the centre of life, potential growth in human being. It can also represent the sun, the soul, the heart as centres of discourses to be applied based on contexts.

The round shape of the seed indicates the completeness, thoroughness, integration, centredness, perfection, full cycle.

Ceceg is one type of isen (ornament in empty spaces among primary patterns of batik) in batik. Isen is more popular in Central Java than other regions, isen can be in the form of dots or lines or the combination of both repeatedly put in the intended empty spaces without changing the primary pattern, even there is an intension for isen to highlight the primary patterns.

3-ceceg can be interpreted as Trimurti, the three balancing power of Brahma, Wisnu and Siwa (Siva) which are the 3 powerful powers of creation of the universe, preservation of the universe and destruction of the universe.

5-ceceg can be interpreted as 5 types of self regulation: knowing one’s own identity and personality, connecting to inner self, managing the humane desires, living through good sources of life (no corruption, sharing to the needy) and self reflection through traveling or pilgrimage. A human being is expected to continuously strive for perfection of these five without expecting the perfection to happen.

Points of the Compass

Octagram represents 8. Number 8 in Javanese wisdom is about welfare and authority. Number 8 also represents 8 gods guarding the 4 points of the compass in which 1 direction is guarded by 2 gods of specific authority. The compass itself has 9 points – 1 the centre, 8 the directing points.

The 1 point in the middle is sat by Siwa. 8 points are sat by other gods based on what they manage in the natural realm. Those 9 (1+8) are called Dewata Nawa Sanga (nine guardian gods) in Balinese and Javanese culture. Those 8 are wellknown as Asta Dikplaka (eight gods of 8 directions).

  • North (Uttara): Wisnu or Kuwera guarding the north, Sambhu or Isana guarding east north – gods of rain
  • East (Purwa): Iswara or Indra guarding east, Mahesora or Agni guarding south east – gods of music
  • South (Dakhsina): Brahma or Yama guarding the south, Rudra or Nritti guarding south west – gods of winds and growth
  • West (Pascima): Mahadewa or Baruna guarding west, Sangkara or Bayu guarding north west.

Number 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9

Like in other cultures, Javanese gives significant role to numbers in their game of meaning.

  • 1 – siji, setunggal, tunggal, ika, eka: It can mean uniting, integrating, the first, the earth, the sun, the moon, queen, king, country or any other thing perceived as singular or superior.
  • 3 – telu, tiga, tri: It can refer to 3 life (spirit life, physical life, life after life), attitude/behaviour/work, celebration/luxury/merriness
  • 4 – papat, sekawan, catur: Number 4 in Javanese culture signifies creativity and intelligence, endurance, perseverance and victory. The 4 points of the compass also represent something about those 4 directions. The power of sun in the east, the power of mountain in the north. The power of luck in the west. The power of maximum ability in everything in the south.
  • 5 – lima, gangsal, panca: self integration, self regulation, supernatural powers
  • 8 – wolu, asta: Number 8 signifies high rank, respected people, physical forms, dragon as symbol of authority


That it is a ceplok type signifies the clustering, gathering, integrating of certain characters. So this batik is message and prayer for uniting of between or among family members. It is also a message and prayer of integration of human being internal wisdom – a state of maturity. Batik grompol is often worn by bride and groom in their wedding day due to its very sacred meaning of ultimate protection and potential growth through a gathering.

The uniting or integration should be based on clarity of wisdom and protection. It is the wisdom personally and culturally harvested and nurtured. The beholder, owner, wearer of batik grompol is expected to realise that this pattern is a message and a prayer that they are well protected at the same time expected to extend the given protection to all directions as the gods of all points of compass spread their protection to the universe.

The pistil of the flower as the potential growth in human being put as a compass centre in human being life can be interpreted that human being integrated wisdom has as strong power as Siwa who is sitting at the centre of the compass/chakra. Although described as destroying god, Siwa is actually symbol of re-creating, re-cycling. His being sat in the centre of a chakra (wheel, cycle) is significantly describing him as recreation/recycling agent who then distributes the re-created/re-cycled material to different function around him to be re-governed wisely by “different gods” (remember the 8 gods of all directions).

A human being should be able to learn, re-learn and un-learn one’s own life experience and lessons then to better redo or re-process the way one solves problems or to simply treat other creatures.

The round seed means a centred human being who has achieved the understanding of integrity, full cycle of life. It doesn’t mean the human being is flawless; it means the human being is aware of one’s flawedness yet accepting the state of imperfection of being human. And through the acceptance the human being keeps bettering one’s self in treating one’s self, fellow creatures and the nature. This is an everlasting interaction and intertwining between micro cosmos (jagat alit in Javanese language which represents human being) and macro cosmos (jagat gedhe, the universe).

And all in all, a human being shall pray to his God or make one’s self sure that to any direction one is heading to, one is safe and peaceful. Religious human being will live through guidance and protection from God. Spiritual human being will find inner centre in one’s self whatever one calls it and focus on what one is doing in honesty and sincerity. Free thinker will boost one’s self confidence and focus on what one is aiming with integrity.

So batik grompol has helped me understand that all my fellow human beings are essentially doing the same things as what I am doing in my life, just explained through different perspectives; and we are only of different pace and timing.

What a beautiful batik pattern. What a beautiful meaning.

my beautiful grompol batik cloths were born through the golden hands and soul blessed to this beautiful lady, Ibu Tien Wartienah

Free Weekend Class

I started teaching this morning. Overall I’ll be teaching English, soft skills, art and hopefully someday Japanese. I partner with my best friend to establish a free weekend class for the kids and youth in her small library in south area of Yogyakarta. It is a community support that we humbly provide for a better leadership and communication skills of our young generation.

We have very very very limited budget but we commit to help the community not only to welcome but also to design bright future.

Pray for us. 

May all beings be happy.

children class this morning — very very basic communication skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking — what a sweet fun session! 💝

these two girls were the youngest students today 💝

Dawn and Day in Jogja

It’s colours of peace
And humbleness
That I breathe.
It’s the attar of joy
And cheer
That I gaze upon.


dim light, sleep tight

like sleeping in a Dutch era house

i love this armchair

watching in the dark

old chair, old table, old mirror

bathroom traditionally concepted

loro blonyo symbolising Dewi Sri (goddess of earth) and Raden Sadono

disclaimer in all rooms, i love village noise though so i don’t need earplugs

About Warwick Purser

a pool of lotus and water lily

look at the buddy! 🥰

orchids everywhere

mushroom, messenger of the earth at the path to “Omah Demang”, where I stay this time


There’s a calming vibe
Surrounding a place called home.
A short getaway—


Mt Merapi and Mr Merbabu from up the sky

my first landing in Yogyakarta International Airport, the new airport

calming home for the next 3 nights

greeting from beauty coming out of the mud

The Path

Passed the crossroad;
Grasses are greener,
Flowers are prettier,
Breeze is thinner,
Morning is fresher,
Day is busier,
Night is calmer,
Birds are happier,
Cicadas are louder,
Fireflies are brighter,
No snake, no crocodile, no tiger.
Passers-by smile at each other
With neither pride nor prejudice.
End is farther,
It doesn’t matter.

It’s a low key path
After a detour from a glowing avenue.

She is humming the softest beauty with light breathing while celebrating the richness of abundant blessings.

No other ways are nicer.


Campuhan Ridge Walk 🥰

Jatuh Suka (Tulus)

Looking forward to singing along with my favourite singers in Jazz Gunung Bromo soon!

Can’t wait! Can’t wait!


not easy to fall in love, will not give love up easily either — life is too precious to hate even those who hate or disrespect me 💝 yet i do it my way


Dear, oh
You came from
Destroying my scores!

No wonder the soundtrack of my stories
Became messy.

Go eat fish,
My sheets won’t suffice your belly.

Cat has no logic,
Only fun.


i used to live with a rescue cat, i named him Bob; he was more interested in tearing my paper apart or sitting on my laptop to playing with his toy or sleeping on my bed 💝

Bob in his dream of being my boss 😁 back in 2010

may all beings be happy 🙏🏼

Love Traveling Through Time

Within a radius
Love is felt.
There’s a radius
Made of meters.
She knows a radius
Made of years
That still pulsates
In the heart of this lover
Longing for rendezvous
That will have arrived
Right after the waves shorten.

Your fragrant name is
Blooming every second
In all lovers’ hearts.

Dear, all bezels of wisdom.
I blow kisses for you.



Magical Days

Today I saw magic
Warmly greeted my throbbing head.
“How deep is your love?” Said she.
“To whom?” Asked I.
“Does it matter?” Said she.
And so I was magically charmed
By these heart beats
Chanting a repeated naive rhyme
About how nice I’ve been breathing.


only those who know the death is just an inch away can do this wholeheartedly 💝

Everlasting Again

I’ll live not only 1000 lives,
I’ve lived forever.
I love not only my whole life,
I love everlastingly.

How can I not love the life
Giving me chance to meet you

I won’t though beg for another again
If again will end the love
To the now and here.

See you again
In now and here,
Better one
I know not where.


the way you treat me will not change my feeling to you; yet will not shorten my distance from you either — love is only for love, never for hatred 💝

Between Two Times

Once upon a time
A seed turned to a fruit
In between two times.
It celebrated its confusion
Of losing itself in every phase.
Why am I soft, while
I was hard?
Why am I hanging, while
I was buried?
Why can’t I remember where
I came from?
How can I know which
Is the truest of me?
The fruit ripened in blue
Fell out weathered.
Seeds scattered
Grew taller.
Would the seed forget who she was again?

Once upon a time
A tree remembered who
Greeted the boughs
Harvested the best
Celebrated the flesh
Threw away the seeds who then
It was not an expression of “once again”
Not the same seed
Yet the seed
Of the same tree.
Still the same—

No mourning
Nothing is lost, yet
Nothing is forever.
Knowing is time travel or
A review of history or
A humble diary.
Just wait for one moment to see.
Life is just like that.


from Pinterest

Peeling Onion

How strong?
As strong as money
Which can buy travel vouchers for holiday
And it helps draw long list of visited sites;
A list that shows to the world
That experience comes with style.
Unfortunately some might be just albums of photos with forgotten moment and lost meaning.
Still travelers travel farther than homebody
Who stays in front of TV learning about all countries,
Yet more thoroughly and vibrantly
Even able to write vibrantly. Look at Karl May!
You mean to understand different places
Doesn’t need real traveling?
Might be?
So what’s the strength of money?
Aah! Not that strong in fact.
It is still strong.
Not the strongest though!
Is money a lethal weapon?
I know not, said I,
I know not.

How weak?
As weak as fibrous roots
Which can’t give trees strong anchorage
And they give little supplies of food to the deep interior.
Yet fibrous roots don’t destroy building foundation.
Fibrous roots are good for sloping area,
They help prevent soil erosion.
They are not weak.
At least not that weak!
Are fibrous roots the weakest anchor?
I know not, said I,
I know not.

Aah! Cry, cry
For losing the stance.
Let the tears dry.
Let each layer dry,
When it dries, it is becoming skin
Until all are.

It is just like that
Like peeling onion.


from Pinteres

No Cure (Ibn ‘Arabi)

Without him I die
and with him’s no better
With or without him
longing’s the same

I found him, finding
what I hadn’t foreseen,
the cure and disease
as equal fevers

His silhouette flares
as we draw near
each other and
burns more proud

The deeper the harmony
the sharper the pain
Measure for measure
as decreed


The above is poem excerpted from below book — one that well explains how love consumes good soul. By simply loving life has shown what joy and pain can be perceived as either happiness or unhappiness depending on how deep or how true love is given meaning or taken for granted.

It has taken me quite long journey to finally connect the dots among the manifestation of love, pain, joy, harmony. It takes whole life to refine love and it takes big love to refine life — a vicious circle that keeps the fire burns, light flares and smoke billows bringing hope up to the sky.

“Life is light. Life is true.”

May all beings be happy.


Tarjuman Al-ashwaq (The Translator of Desires)

Truly Light Life

How much am I true
To this self?
As true as
The pretty
And the ugly
In me
In front of mirrors
What they love to see.
Life is light.
Light is true.

To this self do I say:
Walk truly as true as white clouds hanging over green trees.
Walk lightly as light as foot steps on green grass.


i stole my photo from an Instagram story of someone who secretly took my photo before the Tapa Brata started — i am not a truly physically good photo model but i am a human being making effort to be true ♥️ i hope to see this photo owner again some day only heaven knows when and say thank you for showing my strong arms to the world 😂

The Ransom and the Ruin (by Aaron Cass)

Original link: The Ransom and The Ruin

The first time I read the Tarjuman was as a student at the Beshara School; it was part of the preparation for a solitary retreat; our studies were punctuated with meditation and devotional practices. I remember it seemed as if the sun never completely rose that week. There was an atmosphere of awe, of being in a dangerous place, an inexplicably challenging twilight. I understood nothing in spite of years of study of the Fusûs and other works, in spite of the lucid commentary. The second time was less mysterious. I was now assisting in the supervising of the course with the same aims and format as the one I had attended a year earlier. I was fortunate to be able to follow the insights of my colleague on the course who seemed at the time to have a miraculous way with the text.

The third time something else happened. It is as if the book opened. I do not know what this means but I have heard even physicists talk about this kind of thing; a sudden opening, in which more is given than all your preparation prepared you for. And this opening was not a revelation of its secrets but the awakening of the sentiment – a sense that this inspiration was real and present. The memory of that first reading , that long dark week, became more significant than it had seemed at the time, as if the veiledness was purposeful, disguising a more enduring, more and essential benefit.

The demand of the Tarjuman, the demand of the way that Ibn ‘Arabi prescribes, is like this – it is not the demand to understand so much as to identify as completely as possible with that spirit. I can imagine the sheikh reading these poems and in the reading there being an actual recalling of the condition which inspired them, for this condition is the greatest freedom, the taste of being in this world but really belonging to the next, at a doorway between existence and non-existence and this is where the Poet par excellence stands. What he expresses is not his view of the world or himself, not some private interiority which is merely a self-constructed sub-universe, but rather the play of divine images upon the Divine Mirror, subtle realities still hot from their birthplace.

For Ibn ‘Arabi poetry is the expression of an intensive and prolonged contemplation of God and nothing else. Ibn ‘Arabi is describing in the Tarjuman the manner proper to contemplation of Reality. The images are the images of primordial forms (not archetypes, which are the synthetic product of a collusion between a speculation that the world is real and the conjecture of a higher reality) the modes in which the divine wisdom clothes itself before its descent into the realm of thought. In this respect he is not inviting the reader to contemplate his iconography, but rather to follow the spirit whose footprints the images are. This order underlies the well attested fact that the power in poetry lies in how much is hidden. The less is exteriorised the more intense the exteriorisation. The images are not meant to be explained, they speak for themselves. The images of the visionary imagination are closer to reality than the knowledge derived from them, just as it is said that the child is closer to its Lord than the adult. And this is because the mystic poet aspires to be in the real proximity of the inspiration, the place from which he draws his breath and his primary motivation.

Yet the poetic sensibility is not only about the love of the succinct, the concentrated, the sheer meaning where the fewer the words the better – it is about the actuality of esoteric knowledge, a knowledge which is identical to being. The subject is the self, not by way of reflection, but because of the singleness of the Divine regard and the Divine action, the realisation in the person of the mystery of tawhid.

This taste for the primordial, the original, underlies Ibn ‘Arabi’s clear belief that what is most elevated is what is most real. Hence his confession that the things of the next world are more valuable to him than the things of this world. How many can say this? Without this commitment there is no possibility of the poetic sensibility being expressed as a mode of being. The issue is not the poetry as Jelaluddin Rumi implied when he said: ‘If the guest wants tripe , then give him tripe’, but rather the state of consciousness which it represents and this is a taste beyond theory and practice. The difference between Rumi and Ibn ‘Arabi lies in Ibn ‘Arabi’s formal intensity, the sense of the self-disclosure and self-veiling of reality. Rumi expounds, Ibn ‘Arabi exposes. He also assumes the spiritual integrity of the reader, assumes that misinterpretation is ultimately impossible, because that faculty which interprets according to its own limit will not penetrate the meaning. In this sense somehow the Tarjuman‘s images demand being seen from the inside, its weighty symbolism can only be approached from and in the country of their origin. Thus they appear obscure to the intellect, though curiously native to the heart.

This is the divine action inspired by its own ever transient self-revelation. Thus this other-worldly-ness expressed in the highly formal imagery brings the reader to that threshold between worlds, where what seems like the architecture of a mausoleum, a graveyard, a desert, is precisely the place where the inspiration is to be received. That it is a ruin, a desert, emphasises the transience of the images that appear in it, and their starkness, the power of their self-definition, the brightness of their colours, the very fact that they are of the order of self-revelation. Blake said: ‘Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy’.

Reading the Tarjuman for the first time is like arriving at the gates of a ruin; from the outside there is nothing happening, because it is all happening inside. You cannot see it from where you are. You are brought to your knees. You are invited to leave thought and take up contemplation.

I have to leave an in depth analysis of the language of the Tarjuman to another more versed in these matters, but one point can be drawn out even in principle because it seems essential when talking about poetry or any art. Anyone who prays knows that in prayer you are brought closer to yourself and to your origin, your Lord. The only craft in art or poetry is the stripping away of what does not belong to that origin – so poetry is the stripping of language to its song-like origins – as if the sounds themselves, like the sounds of a prayer, are the re-cognition of the very origins of speech. Again, the poet by nature is at the door between the worlds, all he does is witness the movement of the news that passes through – and what appears there is according to its original beauty, and the one who witnesses this is also completely himself, according to his original beauty. In this respect Ibn ‘Arabi’s greatness is not as a poet, but as a witness. And as a witness he joins the reader not at the reader’s level but as a guide to the reader’s potential. We are all in the same position in reality though not in the same degree. Ibn ‘arabi does not tell us how things are because he does not turn away from the object of his own journey. His poetry possesses the same integrity as all his writing and in this way the Tarjuman is nothing but the image of a door to be stood at and seen through.

Many of the images in the Tarjuman seem to be also in transition between worlds. It is a twilight world, of reddish-white camels, subtle beauties, treacherous because they are at the very brink of form, un-containable spirits, henna tipped fingers – a place where the soul in its ultimate mirroring reaches the throat, the very edge of departure. But it is at the edge of life that life begins.

The mystic pitches his tent in this place because this is the ground where the Real descends according to Its own descent, the private place, the land of the living, the dwelling place of the Uncontainable. And ‘she is wild’ because the Divine Love does not condition, does not love for its Self, it is given for loves sake, not for what can be derived from it. The ultimate interpretation of Ardent Desire is that it is the very spirit that brought us into being and is that same spirit that returns us.

In the pen-ultimate poem of the Tarjuman, Ibn ‘Arabi seems to address us for the first time. Until now it is as if we were looking at his back, or over his shoulder and now he makes explicit the invitation.

“Approach the dwelling place of the dear ones who have taken covenants –
may clouds of incessant rain pour upon it!
And breathe the scent of the wind over against their land, in desire that
the sweet airs may tell thee where they are.
I know that they encamped at the ban tree of Idam, where the arar plants
grow and the shih and the katam.”

Extracts from a talk by Aaron Cass, on the Tarjuman, given at the Ibn Arabi Symposium on Poetry in Oxford 1998.

Aaron Cass (this is him in around 90’s, when I met him in 2019 he looked even much wiser and more mature than this), one of my mentors in Beshara School — thanks for all the shared wisdom, Aaron; God bless you, chef, serious joker, boat maker, thorough thinker, artist and facilitator of thinking


To my humble abode.
May you sit,
There is chair to enjoy.
May you stand,
There is painting to enjoy.
This lobby,
A place for every guest
To enjoy the best spread
Of food and beverage.
My kitchen
Is not,

Welcome, fellow travelers.
Leave when your storm ends.


My best friends once reminded me of how I should be afraid of being misunderstood and my response to them was “I am ok to be misunderstood by those who don’t have enough knowledge and/or love to understand who I am and what I am doing.”

They still say the same thing in different ways. I answer the same way.

Thank you.