The Songs of Ronimund von Bissing
A Video Homage
By Lawrence Pevec
A couple of months ago Daniela Moneta, our own WSA Archivist asked me to record a reading of Songs of Submission by Ronimund Hubert von Bissing. She had spoken about the project with Mr. von Bissing’s daughter, Safiah Dhada, who, unknown to me, resides in the San Diego area and has her father’s photos, notes and letters which are being prepared for inclusion in the WSA archive collection. Mr. Von Bissing’s unique principal works; four short books he called Songs of the Spirit, are not personal memoir but rather receiving’s about mankind’s relationship with his creator. (Password required to enter the WSA Archive.)
Bapak encouraged von Bissing to write and told him he would one day write a commentary on Susila Budhi Dharma and that he didn’t have to think about it, that he should just surrender and allow the words to come through him. This eventually began happening and according to von Bissing the writing wasn’t corrected or edited.
I agreed to produce a short video but was reluctant to use images obtained over a Zoom connection. The success or failure of a project like this depends a great deal on the whims of technology especially a stable internet connection and silent environments on both sides.
I liked the suggestion well enough to want to give it a try. At the very least I could discover more about the limitations of both internet technology and the legacy artform. These early contributions to our shared culture that influenced and enhanced member’s experience of the latihan are worth preserving and revisiting in projects like this.
As the project unfolded it became clear that it needed to be bigger than was originally suggested. I recalled how Mr. von Bissing’s books impressed me as a candidate member. And how his writing, in addition to several others, were instrumental in my being opened. Safiah wrote and shared her own memories of the events around Subud coming to England. She reads those and her father’s autobiographical writings related to that time. There is plenty of great material available.
So here is the result. True to form it was technically challenging but also a great deal of fun. Thank you, Safiah, Daniela, Hamilton, and Michael for your contributions and collaboration. Please let me know what you think of this effort. There is much more to the Mr. von Bissing’s story relevant to the spread of Subud in the United States, Canada and Europe. I hope you enjoy it.