Friday, November 30, 2018

The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios (untranslated chapters - 4 of 4)

The Influence of Yoga on the Body and the Mind

An untranslated chapter from the book "The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios" pp. 381-393.

By Dionysios Farasiotis

In our age, the system of Yoga is proposed as a panacea to nearly all the problems that humanity encounters. We hear advertising slogans such as: "Do Yoga for health and beauty."

Since we have been engaged in Yoga for years, some of us had also become teachers of Yoga, and we want to convey to you one experience and problem with this.

In the beginning, one truly feels a healthiness, well-being and revitalization. However, it is suggested to attribute this improvement to certain "hidden powers" and a certain "secret wisdom" that exist hidden within the Yoga exercises (stances).

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios (untranslated chapters - 3 of 4)

...continued from part two.

Karma Yoga: A Method of Enslaving People

An untranslated chapter from the book "The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios"

By Dionysios Farasiotis

An ancient Christian ascetic writer says, “Man is first conquered in the mind.” That is, if he believes some lie as the truth, then the mind is conquered and the man is deceived. Intellectual deception is not something we suffer without consequences. When we try to adopt these fake beliefs in our life, then we will start to pay. Our way of life, our behavior, and our reaction to life's irritations have an immediate and close relation with our thoughts and beliefs.

The rulers of all the ages knew this basic truth. They knew that in order to rule the masses, they would have to impose their thoughts and beliefs upon them first. Thus, they proposed a basic worldview that helped them to rule over and prohibit with the death penalty every other religious/philosophical worldviews that come into opposition to their own. Thus for example, the Persian kings, Egyptian pharaohs and the Roman emperors declared themselves "gods" in order to justify their dictatorship/despotism.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios (untranslated chapters - 2 of 4)

...continued from part one.

Yoga: A Science or a Religion?

An untranslated chapter from the book "The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios" (pages 364-370 in the original Greek).

By Dionysios Farasiotis

There was a time that my thoughts and my mind’s ability to reason had become “paralyzed”. And this had occurred, in spite of the fact that I had studied the positive sciences and had been trained to think.

I was always mysteriously drawn to exotic philosophies and oriental super-humans. I would enthusiastically and thoughtlessly swallow any theory that was given to me. After all, they were the experts!! No one had ever thought of doubting them.

It was pain that awakened my mind.

I had suffered many things on their account. I had been exposed to danger, pain, fear, and that was why I was forced to start thinking. I had to rid myself of a certain “psychological suggestion” the existence of which I had not been aware of at the time. I had to struggle hard to face reality. I needed to analyze, to examine actions, words, intentions - I had to reach conclusions about people.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios (untranslated chapters - 1 of 4)


In 2001, a book was published in Greece which sold like wildfire: Οι Γκουρού ο νέος και ο Γέροντας Παΐσιος (The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios) by an author known under the pseudonym of Dionysios Farasiotis, who we now know to be Athanasios Rakovalis, a professor of physics. The book made a deep impression on many a spiritual father and it was highly recommended in Orthodox bookstores, especially for people confused or mixed up with the New Age, Hinduism and Yoga.

Friday, August 31, 2018

When St. Gabriel the Fool Visited a Synagogue, a Mosque and a Baptist Church

Fr. Gabriel often visited people who had different religious views. He tried to share grace with everyone and lead them to the true faith. He says himself:

"Once, dressed as I was in my monastic schema, I went to the Synagogue. At the entrance hung a large portrait of Moses. I venerated it. The attendees liked this. Moses was a great prophet and I gave him his due respect. I had entered as they were reading from the Bible. Few were there and they looked at me with surprise. I began to preach, and when they heard about Christ they called for their High Priest. He came out but he did not stop me. Afterwards he invited me into his office. He listened with great interest and attention to what I said about Christ. Finally, he thanked me and we bid farewell.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Why A Chinese Buddhist Became an Orthodox Athonite Monk

By Fr. Libyos

On my last trip to Mount Athos I visited the Monastery of Simonopetra. It is a majestic monastery and the sky was fully blue. There I met a graceful novice monk from China. In truth, he surprised me by his presence. An Orthodox cassock on a Chinese man? I was moved somewhat. I had never seen this before up close, only in pictures of missions. An inheritor of a great cultural tradition and for him to embrace Christianity? My friends and I got curious to ask him about this.

"Brother, how did you, a Chinese man, embrace Orthodox Christian monasticism coming from such a great cultural tradition? Were you a Buddhist?"

"Yes, of course, I was a Buddhist."

"What won you over to Christianity?"

"Divine companionship!"

"Excuse me?"

"Yes, yes, Father, hahahahaha!", he laughed, since out of every three words the Chinese seem to laugh at two. "In Buddhism, my Father, you are very very much alone. There is no God. Your entire struggle is with yourself. You are alone with yourself, with your ego. You are totally alone in this path. Great loneliness, Father. But here you have an assistant, a companion and a fellow-traveler in God. You are not alone. You have someone who loves you, who cares about you. He cares even if you don't understand Him. You speak with Him. You tell Him how you feel, what you would have hoped for - there is a relationship. You are not alone in the difficult struggles of life and spiritual perfection.

I realized things in those days. A severe fever bound me to bed. No doctor could find anything wrong with me. The clinical picture wasn't clear, at least the doctors couldn't see anything. The pain was unbearable and there was absolutely no pain killer that could stop it. I changed three different pain killers and still the pain was not alleviated.

At this time I got the news that the brother of my father, whose name I bear, had an advanced form of cancer in the vocal cords and larynx. He had a largyngectomy. It was the result of chronic alcohol consumption and smoking. Generally he lived a bad life, without any quality.

Then I felt something a former Buddhist and now a Christian monk on Mount Athos told me, that you need to have a God you can talk to; to perceive and to feel someone besides yourself Who hears you.

I don't know if it's wrong or right. I only know it is a deep need of man. This is evidenced by life itself. Even these Buddhists, who are from a non-theistic religion, created various deities. Even in dream language and worlds. But they have a need to refer to someone, to something, someone beyond and outside themselves, even if it's dreamy. Besides, reality and truth is something very relevant and will always remain so. It is an enigma, a mystery."

With this I remembered the words of Saint Gregory the Theologian, who had a sensitive and melancholic nature, when he said: "When you are not well, or not feeling so, speak. Speak even if it is to the wind."

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Christianity Not A Religion, But A Revelation

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

If someone loses his faith in God, he is recompensed with stupidity. Of all stupidities, it is difficult to say whether there is a greater one than this: that someone who calls himself a Christian and then proceeds to gather pathetic proofs for God and eternal life from other beliefs and philosophies. He who does not find gold among the wealthy; how will he find it among the poor? The revelation of eternal life, of facts, of proofs, of signs, and of actual visions of the spiritual world - all of these not only constitute the foundation of the Christian faith, but constitute its walls, floors, ornaments, all the furnishings, the roof and the domes of the majestic building of the Christian faith. A single ray from the spiritual world glistens through every word of the Gospels, not to mention the miraculous events, both in Evangelical and Post-Evangelical times as well as throughout the entire history of the Church for two-thousand years. Christianity has thrown open wide the gates of that world in so great a measure, that it should not be necessary to call it a religion, in order not to confuse it with other faiths and religions. It is a revelation! God's revelation!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Elder Paisios on Religion and Societal Problems

Elder Paisios the Athonite said the following in June of 1985, shortly before the fall of Balkan and Soviet communism:

They were going to abolish religion, because they thought religion creates problems. Now they slowly see that humans, when they don't have a faith, they don't have boundaries and they become beastly; they have nothing to stand on without ideals.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Author of the Book "The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios"

There is a popular Orthodox book in English titled "The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios" by someone who does not want to reveal his identity and gives himself the pseudonym "Dionysios Farasiotis". But in a lecture back in 2011, a noted author in Greece who has written other serious books about Elder Paisios revealed that he was indeed the author of the book "The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios". His name is Athanasios Rakovalis, a professor of Physics. Below is a brief outline of what he said in the lecture, and the video can be seen below the text.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Pew Study Shows Atheism is Dying While Islam Projected to Dominate by the Turn of the Century

We often hear from atheists how religion is dying out as mankind comes to see the clear light of reason.

Atheist “intellectuals” speak disparagingly about religion and predict that mankind is on the cusp of a new age in which religion will simply disappear as science, technology and reason are in the ascendant.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

What Is Religious Fanaticism?

By Fr. Dimitri Dudko

Religious fanaticism is a narrowness of vision, a blind confidence that you're right, an unwillingness to listen to someone else's opinion, impatience with others. If we don't fight religious fanaticism, it will grow into such a defect that it becomes a delusion, and this is a terrible thing. At the base of delusion lies inordinate pride, and (as we know), God opposes those who are proud (Jam. 4:6). Deliverance from delusion requires means which not all people possess. We must fight religious fanaticism, and our battle will be successful only when we depend not only on our own powers, but turn to humility and to the help of God. This will put us on guard against delusion.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Ascension of Christ in Islam

By Gordon Nickel

In Islamic teaching, Jesus ascended to heaven – but not after his death and resurrection as is reported in the Gospel. Rather, most Muslims believe that Jesus ascended without dying.

The Quranic prompt for this teaching is S 4:157–58: “ … they did not slay him, neither crucified him … Rather, God raised him up (rafa'ahu) to him … ” Muslim exegetes have traditionally explained these verses to mean that God raised Jesus alive and projected Jesus’ “likeness” onto another person, whom the Jews then crucified.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Disputation Between Saint Cyril the Philosopher and the Muslims

In chapter six of the Life of Constantine-Cyril, the author speaks of an invitation being sent by the Arabs to Constantinople to hold a religious disputation, with particular reference to the Holy Trinity and belief in one God. The emperor thereupon is said to have convoked the Senate in order to deliberate as to what should be done. He asked Constantine, known in the text as the Philosopher, at that time only twenty-four years old, to go to the Arabs, probably in Samarra near Baghdad which was the residence of the Caliph, and to take part in the religious discussion. The year this reportedly took place was in 851.

Life of Constantine

(Ch. 6)

Afterward the Hagarites, who were called Saracens, blasphemed the single Deity of the Holy Trinity, saying: “How is it, O Christians, that you, while holding that God is one, further divide Him into three, saying He is Father, Son, and Spirit? If you can explain clearly, send us men who can speak of this and convince us.”

Thursday, May 10, 2018

On Coexisting With People of Other Religions (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

We all want God to give unity of faith to the world. But you are confusing things.

The reconciliation of people is one thing, while the reconciliation of religions is another. Christianity requires all of us to love everyone with all our hearts, whatever faith they may have.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Book Recommendation: "In the Beginning God: A Fresh Look at the Case for Original Monotheism"

By Winfried Corduan (Ph.D.)

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: B&H Academic (September 15, 2013)

About the Book:

Christians believe that religion began when God created human beings and revealed himself to them. But is there scholarly evidence for this belief?

In the nineteenth century academic world a stormy debate took shape over the origin of religion. Scholars explored the ancient languages of mythology and then considered evolutionary anthropology. A dominant view emerged that religion began with animism -- the reverent honoring of spirits -- and from there evolved into higher forms, from polytheism on to monotheism.