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.

Due to the strong influence of the New Age and Hinduism in the Western Hemisphere, there was a hope that it would one day be translated into the English language. Anyone who made pilgrimages to the Holy Mountain in the mid-2000's heard about the pending translation into English being delayed due to the devil’s huge warfare against the monk translating it.

The first English edition was published in 2008 by the Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. However, the translation is credited to Hieromonk Alexis Trader of Karakallou Monastery; not the original Athonite monk or monastery which initiated the English translation.

Furthermore, there appears to be large portions of the book missing from the English edition. Interestingly, many of these portions are Dionysios’ criticism, opinions and analyses of cultish practices, brainwashing techniques, and how gurus manipulate their victims. One could surmise that since many of these missing portions are very similar to teachings and expectations on blind obedience and submission, as well as resemble many aspects of contemporary Greek-American monasticism, they were eliminated in order not to confuse the “simple” lay people. After all, Karakallou is one of Elder Ephraim’s monasteries, and by extension, Fr. Alexis Trader is a spiritual grandchild of Elder Ephraim via his obedience to the abbot, Elder Philotheos. There seems to be no other reasonable explanation for these chapters to be missing. The only other possible explanation is that Fr. Alexis decided not to translate these portions because he disagrees with them, for which reason he should not have translated the book in the first place.

Before the book was translated into English, Saint Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY, was handing out photocopies of translated chapters which were also distributed on various Orthodox websites and forums. These were excerpts that don’t appear to be in the Saint Herman’s Brotherhood edition. Among the missing chapters not translated into English are the following:

Yoga: A Science or a Religion?

Karma Yoga: A Method of Enslaving People

The Influence of Yoga on the Body and the Mind

These missing chapters can be found on pages 369 to 393 in the original Greek edition. They will be offered in subsequent posts, edited by John Sanidopoulos.