Inspired, in part, by a provocative painting produced by one of Indonesia’s leading Muslim clerics in response to a 2003 fatwa on the suggestive dance of an Indonesian superstar, this paper looks back at the play of desire in a form of Sufi practice described in the renowned nineteenth-century Javanese poem, the Centhini. Arguably the most important work of Javanese literature, the Centhini is a massive narrative text that was composed in the Surakartan Kadipatèn around 1815; it is a work that defies generic categorization. Forming a single canto in the final portion of this 722-canto work, the fragment paints an intricate poetic picture a single night of devotion performed by the narrative’s protagonists and their entourages, a collective that together forms a mixed group of men and women travelers along the Sufi path. Beginning with Quranic interpretation and recitation of Hadith, the night proceeds to the performance of Arabic praise songs and climaxes with the singing of Javanese Sufi poetry by a series of women and men who recite the allusive songs of mystical union as their bodies move in dance to the accompaniment of rebana(a kind of tambourine). This paper considers the roles of music, voice, movement, and poetry in the play of desire for worldly lovers and for God’s love that characterized this apparently now vanished form of Sufi practice.