MARTIAL ARTS AND ORTHODOX FAITH (II)

Ninzitsou is another technique that was invented in the IVth century by the Chinese general Sun Tzu. The disciples of this technique were instructed to kill silently. They also teach how to control breath and use meditation in order to stay submerged in water for a long time and control their heartbeats for passing unnoticed.

          Tae Kwon Do originates in Korea with a history of many centuries. Tae means “I hit or crush with my leg”, Kwon means “I punch” and Do means “method”.

          Effects and Risks

 

          In Greece, the martial arts teachers advertise them as being harmless techniques used only for self-protection. Yet it is surely not so. The instruction in these techniques implies serious risks for health like traumatisms during practice and irreversible injuries to knees, waist and other parts of body. Mortal accidents are not a seldom fact. Such types of facts are usually assigned to inexperienced teachers and those who have nothing to do with the things they teach. Nevertheless, they do occur because this field is completely unchecked, as a Greek teacher declared: “The state will give anyone the possibility to open a school even if one was a pilot.” Thus, each teacher is given the possibility to create a myth around himself, apparently for his “titles” and “capacities” he attained while he might have very well achieved them only from videos. There were recorded cases of teachers whose diplomas were fake while the teachers who failed their “examination”, came more times even the very next day and they returned having a “black belt” or even the second and third Dan (M. Dimitriadu, The Truth about the Martial Arts, Athens 1998). Even the Greek Federation for Karate, considered as valid, is not able to control everything therefore the consequence is that these dangerous techniques are consigned to the hands of semi-professional teachers who keep them going in a speculative and exploiting circle for the naïve victims.

          Another myth created around the martial arts is the fact that you can use them for self-defence. However this argument serves only the advertising purposes. A Greek teacher admits that “it will take you around 10 years to be able to use very well those you learn. Do not listen to those who talk about rapid systems for if they said how long it would take to acquire well the knowledge, no one would show up to learn.” (M Dimitriadu, the afore cited book, p. 224). However, as a matter of course, the martial arts cannot protect you at all by shotguns. They would have been appropriate for self-defence before the guns were discovered. Nowadays, though, the easiest way for someone who has intentions to harm is to get a gun.

          However, the aforementioned risks are only referring to the physical part. There is though even a higher risk, the spiritual one, we will discuss about in what follows.

          Its religious base

 

          As we earlier mentioned, almost all the entrepreneurs of martial arts were monks or ascetics who rather learned a religious tradition than a method of war or self-defence. The training, exercises, moves and usually all their techniques involve and express this religious tradition and faith as such that it is impossible to separate each from the other. Thus, one who is initiated in the martial arts (because we can truly speak about an initiation) will be initiated in its faith as well that is totally different from Christianity.

          Which faith do we talk about? We deal with the fundamental conception of oriental religions that claims that there is no personal God (for instance there is no Father, Son and Holy Spirit of Christianity) but there is an impersonal divine energy or vital force that flows in the universe and penetrates all things. This vital universal force, called Chi in China and Ki in Japan, with different names in other parts, is everywhere, even in the contrary match of yin and yang that continuously interact. According to the adepts of oriental religions, one will control this force when he unites his mind with his body using physical moves, breathing control and meditation practice. Here is why the martial arts involve such type of exercises and techniques. Their focus is on handling this so-called energy by introducing it inside one’s self and one’s union with it. Usually, the union with the vital energy is called “enlightenment” and one who attained this stage is called “enlightened”. However, the term “Buddha”, means exactly “enlightened”, Thus, in martial arts the connection between the instructor and disciple is like one between someone who has a complete set of knowledge and someone who has not but is something more: it represents the connection between the “spiritual” father and his “spiritual” son or in other words, the connection between the “enlightened” who pursues on leading his disciples to “enlightenment”.

          But let’s study a real example: Morihei Uyesheba (1886-1969), the founder of Aikido technique, was intensely focusing on searching for “budo”, the inner essence of martial arts. During the middle of his life, he has a mystical experience: while he was sitting under a tree, the universe was shaken and out of the earth a golden spirit jumped and covered his body in veils and transformed him in gold. Then his mind and body became light and he could understand the birds and the “divine law”. Since then he had developed a technique focused on the disciple’s acknowledgement of his inner power achieved through channeling the flow of vital force Ki in different parts of his body. When the body was filled with that force, it would become strong. Uyeshiba showed often the way he controlled Ki energy: he could “root” himself on the soil such as no one could lift him up, to throw his opponents using simple moves and walk over tea cups without breaking them. The magazine edited by the “Greek Association Aikido Aikikai” that appeared in Tripoli (March 2012) informs us: “The word Aikido is composed from three Japanese words: Ai means harmony, Ki means spirit, mind or energy of universe and Do means “path”. Aikido means literally speaking “The path of harmony with the energy of universe”. We quote from the same magazine, sentences that clearly prove the concrete religious base of this technique: “The power of Aikido comes from the spiritual energy that will be released when one unifies his mind with his body and becomes one with the nature and universe.” “Aikido is not just a fighting method but a way of one’s nurture and betterment.” “Aikido is shugyo meaning an intense physical and spiritual exercise for improving one’s character and progress in real wisdom. Therefore it is obvious the meaning of a dojo as a space where we exercise in a spirit of collaboration and reciprocal help in the technique of harmony. Dojo is not just a simple place for training but for “enlightenment”.

          We have to clarify the fact that for oriental religions, the “salvation” or rather the highest grade of freedom is the dissolution of human person within the cosmic energy or vital force. The correct meaning of the aforementioned sentence is: “The person becomes one with the nature and universe.” Ki is usually adjusted in martial arts through breathing. The body moves involve special techniques of inspiration and expiration. The breath is for many times accompanied by a scream that apparently helps the release of Ki toward the opponent and thusly to unbalance him. In other cases, their screams are invocations of some deities. Although the oriental religions do not accept the existence of a personal God, they worship though as known, plenty of deities. These are deified people or deified beings, meaning beings that united on the highest scale with the vital force and attained divine characteristics.

          Martial Arts and Orthodox Faith

 

          It is proved that martial arts represent a gradual and imperceptible but sure procedure to apostate from the Christian Faith and fall into another “spiritual” category, namely of oriental religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Zen, Shintoism, etc. The pursuit on them starts usually like a game, gymnastics or field events that will eventually lead him who carries on with them to occultism and acceptance of conceptions of oriental religions. Often even the instructors of martial arts (at least in Greece) did not consciously apostatized from Christ but as long as they are under the influence of a full ignorance of the Christian faith they consider that they deal with some compatible experiences and that the Christian God identifies with the impersonal vital force of oriental religions, occultism and New Age. Yet they all end up in the same point: the renouncement to the teaching about Holy Trinity that represents the base of Christian Faith, as well as to the belief that Jesus Christ is our only true God, Savior and Redeemer, the fall from the Grace of God and eventually the fall from salvation that comes through Christ. It is this that represents the biggest danger for man: his fall from salvation.

          Many people are enthusiastic about the capacities of some who practice the martial arts, capacities that indeed, in some cases, surpass the natural human powers and therefore they leave behind a strong impression. They ask themselves: If these are not performed by the human power then what is the power they use to perform those by? Is it possible to perform them by a different power than Christ’s? Is it out of question that Christ might be involved in these cases? To give an answer to these, we go to the teaching and acts of Christ as the Gospel presents them. There we see that Christ has never taught about the self-defence, the repay of evil but about love, the forgiveness and sacrifice because “when He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered He did not threaten” (I Peter 2, 23). The Gospel reveals to us also the one who acts behind the “supernatural” acts of martial arts. It boldly says: “For all the gods of the nations are demons” (Psalm 95, 5), namely the religions including those that represents the base of martial arts are not just some innocent occurrences as they might seem because behind them the devil is concealed so that he performs impressive “acts” and makes the people worship him.

          Fragment from “Orthodoxy and heresies” brochure of Holy Mitropoly of Mantinia and Kinuria, no 79, April-June 2012

 

Αντιαιρετικόν Εγκόλπιον www.egolpion.com

MARTIAL ARTS AND ORTHODOX FAITH (I)

“The Trojan Horse” of the New Age

 

          One of the phenomena that prevails in the contemporary Greek society is the increasing spread of the martial arts (Karate, Kung Fu, Judo, Aikido etc.) originating in the Eastern countries like China and Japan. Many people consider this movement harmless ignoring apparently that it represents a vehicle of initiation into a different religious tradition like the Buddhism and the oriental religions and therefore leads to the denial of the Orthodox faith. Moreover, many ignore the fact that the spread of the martial arts is part of a systematic active plan of the New Age, a well-known occult and religious movement that intends to change the Christian consciousness and in general to abolish Christian faith.

          Indeed, the propagandist advertisement of this movement invades our houses daily through TV movies and shows and offers us as well a) access to mass media through special broadcasts, b) specialized brochures and magazines; c) special dedications in newspapers and magazines of all kinds; d) direct support from the New Age press (magazines as The Third Eye, Searches, The Unexplainable, The Path, etc.) educating schools for these techniques almost in each neighborhood of the cities from our country) collaborations with different new-ageist organizations, as well as with private schools or institutions for superior education. The most concerning fact is that the teachers of martial arts impel these often through the public schools to the prejudice of Helen taxpayers together with all the implications associated with those.

          The connection with the New Age movement is relevant also from the publication of articles on a regular base by the Greek teachers of martial arts in new-ageist brochures. Their former adepts confess about the connection of their schools with occult organizations like: Harmonious life of Robert Najemi, disciple of guru Sai Baba, Gnostics, Sunlight organization of Panaghiotis Toulatou, The Church of Unification of Korean fake messiah SanMyousMoon, as well as the implication of their teachers in black arts. Organizations like Nea Akropolis, Osiris-Isis, Armoniki Zoi (Harmony Life) etc. offer lessons of martial arts while their teachers do not hesitate to make public their connections with occultism. The Athletic and Cultural Association SAGITARRIUS, accredited by the General Secretary of Athletic Sport, organizes yearly a seminary on subjects like: Hatha and Raja, Meditation, Positive Thinking etc. where the customary bibliography comprises books of the so-called “Christ of New Age”(!), of Guru Sai Baba and his disciple Robert Najemi, of Ron Hubbard, the messiah of Scientology, of New Acropolis and other new-ageist organizations.

          This proves that the martial arts are the toils of the New Age that catch “fresh” fish daily, without any loss. Moreover, all these prove that the heresies from our country act like communicating vessels and their connection are by no mean competitive. Yet, what actually are the martial arts, what is their origin and “spiritual” base?

          The Apparition and evolution of the martial arts

 

          The techniques of the weaponless war were very well known to the nations of Far East from ancient times. Over the time they were performed, multiplied and thus formed different schools. They were always connected to a religious philosophy and thereby they were part of a religious system.

          In China, the forefather of martial arts was the Kung Fu. Around year 520 AD a Buddhist monk who wandered in India, Bodhidharma or Da Mo crossed Himalaya and reached the Shaolin Monastery from China where he taught the monks from there, the techniques of war united with the Buddhist principles. The monks used those techniques at the very beginning to eradicate the thieves and pirates and later on they developed them so that their monastery became the cultivation center of the so-called “hard” Kung Fu based on strong hits and kicks. There is among them also the so-called “touch of death” (from poppy) a technique known only by a few teachers whereby if a body is hit on a certain spot, way and hour then it will slowly, inevitably die. In the same time, during the XIII century a “light” or “inner” form of Kung Fu was developed by the Taoist monk Jang Sung-Fe that does not use hits but is focused on the maximization of “inner energy” by calming down.

          Karate appeared in Okinawa island of Japan in the XVIIth century and it was officially introduced in Japan at the beginning of the XXth century. It translated through “empty hand” (weaponless) and is based on hits using the hands, legs, head and knees combined with Kung Fu techniques.

          In Japan the far forefather of martial arts is the Jiu Jitsu. It most probably appeared around the year 23 AD and became a standard during the Shogun Tokugawa (1606-1868) dynasty when the fight without weapons was emphasized and the use of swords was forbidden. The technique is related to Zen Buddhism and is characterized by hits in the vital parts of body using the legs strangles and blocks of joints.

          The evolution of Jiu Jitsu is Judo that represents a sportive version of the aforementioned technique and focuses on sprains.

          Moreover the Jiu Jitsu is the forerunner of Aikido, a contemporary technique invented in 1922 by Jiu Jitsu teacher Morihei Uyeshiba and focuses on the harmonization with the moves of the opponent. Recently, a school of this technique has appeared in Tripoli.

CONTROVERSIES REGARDING THE UPCOMING HOLY GREAT PAN-ORTHODOX COUNCIL: THE RESULTS WERE CONCEALED FROM US!

          The Greek press agency Romfea published a detailed input related to the project of documents of the upcoming Great Pan-orthodox Synod, entitled: “The relations of the Orthodox Churches with the rest of the Christian world”. The comment in question comes this time from a clergy member of the Saint Nicholas Church from Patras, theologian and priest Anastasios Gkotsopulous. We deal with an ample comment where the author tries to offer an objective evaluation of the adopted documents from the 5th Pan-orthodox Pre-synodal Session (Synaxis) and introduced in the agenda of the upcoming Holy Great Pan-orthodox Synod from June 2016 (see archives of Lăcaşuri Ortodoxe®) informs in premiere Lăcaşuri Ortodoxe® News Agency.

          The comment points out that “each Holy Council so far of the Orthodox Church, starting with the Apostolic to the Ecumenical and local ones, were above all focused on proclaiming the Truth in Christ and in the same time on condemning the heresies and schisms in the Body of Christ. The synodal texts were always distinguished by their particular precision on detail, regarding the experience of the Church in Holy Spirit…”

          Regarding the document project of the 5th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Synodal Synaxis, entitled “The relations of the Orthodox Churches with the rest of the Christian world” it proved to be impossible to identify those specific characteristics. The rest entitled “The relations of the Orthodox Churches with the rest of Christian world” was formulated during the 5th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Synodal Synaxis (see archives of Lăcaşuri Ortodoxe® from 2015) when it was decided to combine the texts “The relations of the Orthodox Churches with the rest of Christian world” with the “Orthodox Church and ecumenical movement” adopted during the 3rd Pan-Orthodox Pre-synodal Synaxis (from 1986).

          According to Fr Anastasios’ opinion, the main directives of the text adopted in 2015 are fundamentally the same with the directives and proposals of the 3rd Pan-Orthodox Pre-synodal Synaxis. There is though an important difference in the document project “The relations of the Orthodox Churches with the rest of Christian world”, namely that this does not include any analytical or critical evaluation of any from the bilateral theological dialogues with Christian communities, mentioned in the text of the 3rd Pan-Orthodox Pre-synodal Synaxis. Eventually, these dialogues both official and unofficial took altogether between 35 and 50 years, or even more.

          In his comment, the priest observes the concealment of these theological debates that did not lead to a positive fruition although the dogmatic texts adopted as a result of these theological dialogues should have been objectively evaluated for the Holy Great Pan-Orthodox Synod.

          “Is it that the Synod is not interested anymore in the results of the dialogues or in whether they are in a successful progress? Or maybe some are afraid that, if the Holy Great Pan-Orthodox Synod takes over the discussions related to the progress of the bilateral theological dialogues – that any Primate of the Local Orthodox Churches knows better but has no sufficient courage to expose them – will it be obvious then that all the dialogues are at a dead end?” – wonders the author of the commentary.

          “Most dialogues failed actually, but our ecclesiastic leaders did not inform us about that. Why? Because, obviously confessing openly and publically the failure of dialogues would mean a renouncement to the ecumenical movement!”

          Later, the author goes from a general analysis of the text to a more detailed aspect of the text. According to his opinion, the first four articles of the text deserve only positive commentaries, especially those which proclaim flatly the dogma that the Orthodox Church is “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic”.

          But later, are presented more ambiguities, questionable wordings and theological contradiction, writes Fr Anastasios, in fully agreement with those who have already taken action against this document project: Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, Metropolitan Simeon of Noua Smirna, Bulgarian clergy, Hieromonk Dimitrie from Zografou Monastery, Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus and Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos (see archives of Lăcaşuri Ortodoxe®).

          “Referring, in addition to the previous commenters, to the intention of inviting “observers” to the upcoming Holy Great Pan-Orthodox Council, Fr Anastasios fears that “the presence of heretics as observers will lead to serious, catastrophic consequences: will cause dissensions between the believers and instead of contributing to the unity of our Church, will compromise it by giving serious reasons for creating and consolidating schisms!”

          Source: lonews.ro

THE SECTS UNDER THE DOMINATION OF EVIL: THE CONFESSION OF A FORMER PENTECOSTAL

             I was born in Crete in the year 1975 and I came in 1989 with all my family in Athens where we also settled. I belong to a pious Orthodox Christian family and I was baptized since I was still in my cradle times. I always affectionately remember those wonderful years of my childhood spent in the bosom of the Orthodox Church with holy services on Sundays and on big feast days.

          I estranged myself of the right faith, in 2005, in a private school in Athens, where I used to teach (I am a teacher). In that school, I made the acquaintance of a pupil of mine, Anna, four years younger than me who was and continue to be a member of the “Free Pentecostal Apostolic Church” (as they like to call themselves) in Athens. To come to the point, Anna, after I got rapidly a New Testament from her, approached me openly and started to talk to me about the Christ “from the beginning” and later about her Pentecostal church.

          She came almost daily to visit me and my mother did not suspect anything especially that once we had a Sacrament of Holy Unction ministered in our house and Anna came to me as always and she partook in the service – so that no one understood what faith she belonged to. In the course of time, she started to reveal her true“identity” slowly but surely. Initially I showed some interest in this new “church” that she described as being apparently the first apostolic church. And of course, the brainwash followed! She changed completely my beliefs about Theotokos, icons, cross, priests – afterwards I started to be concerned about the path I was following.

          – Maria, did you go to the Pentecostal Houses of Prayer?

          – Yes, of course I did. Anna took me with her to listen the “preach of Gospel”. I went there early so I could partake in the praying hours as well. When I entered their central “church” from Athens, I felt so weird that I could start screaming for what I saw there! I did not only disliked it but I found those things I saw so inappropriate – especially two “prophetesses” who were screaming so loud. Those around them believed in those moments that they spoke foreign languages! But their yells could only make me feel disgusted – sorry that I say it so boldly! I do not want to offend anyone but I felt like I was in a synagogue of Satanists Jews. That day was for me a black day – Anna started to convince me that apparently that’s how I felt on my first day in the apostolic church! I spent my days listening to the sermons of Pentecostal pastors on CDs, confessions of people who “met Christ” and reading the Bible. Day by day I started also to kneel to the prayers and ask for the “rebirth”, as they said. Something was not quite well in all those. I could not concentrate at my work, lost hours of sleep to listen to the CDs and I started to ask myself why did I get like that. Anna was continuously telling me that I had to weep and receive Christ as my personal Savior. I told her that I received Christ at my baptism and I acknowledged Him in my consciousness since I was a child. I had never denied Him, but she was continuously stressing that I had not had yet the chance to meet Him as I should have had.

          One day in November 2006, Anna proposed to take me to the “church”, kneel on a pillow in front of the pulpit and ask Christ to reveal Himself to Me, confess my sins, weep – and the “brothers” would pray for my rebirth. There, Oh My Lord Jesus Christ, could not have been worse! I completely forgot the way they behaved, I felt compulsion and disgust towards their “services” and wild roars that they pretended to be the “speaking in tongues”. I lost my mind. Then their pastor came and laid his hands on the scarf they gave to me to wear on my head and he started to scream something in a language that seemed to me to be Greek with Arabic accent and terminations. I was feeling awful, distempered and nervous and I was praying to Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary to deliver me from that disgusting experience. I wanted to make the sign of the cross, but I was afraid of not being kicked out. The pastor continued praying “in tongues” and suddenly a woman started to yell as if she was possessed. Tremendous moments! She was yelling, repeating the same words, some words in English that sounded like “my God” and those around me translated what they thought that God was yelling for me through her mouth: “My daughter, I guided you to My House, stay with Me, the end is coming! I will protect you!” I panicked since I realized that I became the victim of some charlatans who were sneering at me and were legally brainwashing me. Did you ever! God was speaking to me through the mouth of that madwoman! Lord, have mercy! Although I was very frightened, I found the strength to quickly stand up and run to the restroom. There I started to cry of fear. A “sister” who was standing next to me told me that in that moment she had a revelation… that I was about to reborn soon after that. O my Christ, what revelations and visions! I got scared again, stood up and run immediately from that crowd of brainless people…

          The next day, Anna called me and I told her that I became very frightened. She tried to calm me down telling me that she would pray for me in her room and ask God to take the fear away from me. That night I had such real and intense nightmares that I woke up very sweaty and sobbing. It was then the first time after so many months that I made the sign of the Holy Cross! Next morning I told everything to my mother and brother. They advised me to have nothing to do with those people and my mother lit the candle and I saw her praying for me in secret. In that moment my heart melted, I started again to weep and run into the arms of my father who told me that he had noticed a major change in my behavior since I had fallen under the charm of the Pentecostals. He caressed me and assured me that he would not let anyone harm me. That afternoon Anna called me and told me she had had a vision with me the night before, when I had those terrible nightmares, and saw how Christ was holding me and brought me in the “Church” of Pentecostals. In that moment I realized that I was dealing with some maniac, dangerous people who were capable of anything. I told her that I did not want to see her again, hung up the phone – and since then I had never met her again.

          I was saved due to the fact that I was not “baptized” by those insane people and that I did not deepen in their absurd belief. They think they embrace Christianity. Yet, what kind of Christianity? I learned on the hard way that what I saw at the Pentecostals has nothing to do with the notion of Church nor has something divine in it. Their behavior is so amiss and their words so senseless and their yells give you the impression that you are partaking a meeting between Muslims or Judeo-Arabians. They make friends only with people belonging to their group and all the others are considered to be lost. They are convinced that only they will be saved. I feel pity and pray for them so they might understand their rovings. I saw many websites or blogs related to this movement therefore I decided to confess my small but tremendous experience.

  • Maria, there are some who consider such type of confessions like yours as being fabrications…
  • They can say whatever they want. If a former neo-protestant, especially Pentecostal wants to give a statement that the things are like this and that I do not fabricate my stories, may he tell his story and have no fear! If he fears, then let him confess anonymously and give a statement about their roving, so that others will be protected from this organization that pretends to be a ch

          Familia Ortodoxa, no 42 January-March 2010.

YOGA: A NEW METHOD OF DESTROYING THE IDENTITY OF MAN

Leon Brangk, PhD in Theology

          The word yoga etymologically derives from the Indo-European etymon yug, Joch in German, ζεύγ in Greek and it means accompaniment, yoking, meaning the communion between the individual ego and the divine element. According to the way of understanding the divine element, either as one of the countless divinities of Hinduism the number of which, according to some estimations, reaches up to 300 millions (!), or by way of an impersonal form there is not only one type of yoga, but a lot. Yet we can add here those forms of yoga where the deeds of people are highlighted. Yet, the final purpose of all these forms is the same, the release of the inner man from the endless cycle of reincarnations that in essence represents the end of existence. Meaning that yoga has a pure religious content or rather an idolatrous one because the Hindu pantheon, as well as the impersonal acceptance of the divine essence are clearly based on the human fantasy and absolutely oppose the common human mind and the worldly reality we live in.

          We will mention the following characteristics about the Hindu Pantheon: The huge number of idol-gods (some with human shape – with four arms and legs – others half people half animals, other with an animal shape) gives everyone an unlimited possibility to choose the god that better fits his passions. Within the fundamental trinity of Hindu gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are presented as follows: the first as creator, the second as conservative and the third as destroyer of what the first creates and the second preserves. Sometimes only Shiva that by excellence identifies with the yoga ideal is presented together with the three characteristics.

          In Bhagavad Gita (a text “inspired by God”, a sort of “gospel” of the contemporary Hinduism) we see god Krishna teaching people different types of yoga, meaning the ascetic forms that lead to the communion with God. In parallel in the Hindu tradition is illustrated that Krishna cheated 16.000 married shepherdesses who gave him 180.000 sons. Ganges river is considered as a divinity in Hinduism and therefore taking a bath in the river, especially in Benares city (the present Varanasi), the holy city of Shiva, is considered to be a purification of sins for the one who does this . We would especially like to mention that the river water in this city has an incredible contamination level as a result of the urban and industrial wastes, as well as of the remains originating from the burning of dead (the percent of bacteria in this point of Ganges exceeds for 10.000 times more the allowed limit.)

          The basic purpose of yoga, that we previously mentioned, is better understood within its oldest formulation in a Hindu holy text called Upanishads (800-500 BC) In this text prevails the belief that the world we live in and our life itself are something negative. The only good thing that exists is a shapeless absolute divine element that cannot be determined and exists at the base and in the depths of the earthly reality and that is called Brahman. A part of this Brahman exists in the depths of every being, and there it is called Atman. It is compared with the shapeless air from a bottle that nobody sees, while the bottle that can be seen and has a shape is compared with the physical body, with the outward form of man. Between the physical body and the divine element is placed – according to this conception – the mind, that has the characteristic to necessarily be attached to something and therefore this attachment results in forming the identity of man. Thus the mind, according to the position it has, can be focused either on the divine element or on the material element in its various forms. The more the mind stays attached to corporeal things, the more the individual existence, due to the absolute power of Karma law, stays as prisoner within the cycles of reincarnation. When it returns and unites with the divine element, it will be set free from this cycle.

          For Hinduism, life itself – due to the endless cycles of reincarnations – is extremely painful without any perspective, it is something that anyone should be disgusted of. Man as a being values nothing, had no uniqueness as long as each individual existence is continuously in an unstable situation, in a state of transition to other forms of existence. Moreover the probabilities that someone could be reborn as a human in his next reincarnation would be extremely low if he did not make any essential progress in yoga. But which is that element of existence that goes through the hundreds of thousands forms of reincarnation cycle? Here it is clearly obvious the impossibility of a rational explanation. They call it “sensible essence”, “ethereal body” without being aware of what it is or what they are talking about, as it is clearly obvious. On what grounds could this undefined element that does not even have the awareness of its own existence be led to a “perfection” of existence within the karma law? No matter how things stand, for a Hindu the idea of salvation, of completeness, of perfecting the man within his connection with God and human fellows is unconceivable. Hinduism knows only the notion of setting free, release from the endless reincarnation cycle, escape from life itself. The ideal of Hinduism is the end of the individual existence that can only be achieved through yoga. Therefore, yoga is the method that leads to final death or, to express it through the words of the holy writings from Hinduism, to destroy the individual existence within the absolute divine element, Brahman, as a drop of water lost in the ocean. This situation is described in the ideal of Brahman yogis that, within the last stage of Yoga, come to the point when they do not eat anymore or communicate with their environment, they stop being aware of their own body and eventually die in this absolute isolation state, they experience the conscience of their freedom, meaning that the torture of life will stop and therefore they will not reincarnate anymore.

          Therefore the human relationships are not comprised in the ideal of Yoga. Only in the initial stage they are somehow applied and even then not in the real meaning of a communion, of the real interest for the other, but only for the sake of a reward. By doing good deeds you can have a better reincarnation. The individual ego is the center of it. The highest manifestation of this lack of communication are the authentic expressions of yoga, the guru masters.

          The word guru means “the one who dispels the darkness”. They are very advanced in yoga and they are spiritual guiders of the others. Their adepts – I am very aware of my choice for the word “adept” as we will further see – consider that through the physical body of the guru divine energies are manifested and that they transmit the divine sparkle. The gurus admit about themselves that they are enlightened souls, very rare in the history of humanity. They go after and pleasantly and naturally accept worship acts addressed to them as if they were divine existences. Long years of practicing meditation, that work like an autosuggestion, created them this unaltered belief and certitude. Such types of worships for their person are, for instance, the ovations of the crowd of their adepts and the bow of their adepts by laying on the ground in front of themselves and offering them gifts, as well as the impressive practice (within the Maharathi or Hare Krishna movement) when enthroning a guru they wash his feet with yoghurt and afterwards this yoghurt is drunk by his partaker adepts. Within this conception of the world and of their own, within this tomfoolery of their self-worship they consider very natural any kind of exploitation of the beings below them, as the members of their movement.

          As for the adepts, the absolute communion with the guru is based on their belief that he is the absolute center of their lives and therefore they live and work only for the guru. They accept that the guru applies the so-called “resection of their ego” so that they become absolute doers of his will, meaning faithful slaves for him, hoping that they will once become loyal copies of arrogance on a heady level, “personalities” of the guru.

          In 1995, in Japan, carrying out blindly the orders of the Asahara guru, his adepts committed a terrorist attack in the metro from Tokyo with Sarin poisoning gas. Its result was 12 deaths and 5500 wounded people amongst that mostly became invalids for the rest of their lives. An unalienable element of the adepts is represented by the so-called “divine tribute”, meaning to lay all their goods at the feet of the guru. Through this act they are indebted and grateful to their guru because he did not reject but accepted them and released them from this difficulty that represents a stumbling stone and struggle for the adepts. The crown of this enslavement to the guru is illustrated in the following unbelievable situation as well: In case it is proved that the adepts were victims of a charlatan guru, they have to stay faithful to him and continue to serve him because he is what they deserved. By staying faithful to him they will surely have a “better” guru in their future reincarnation.

          Lots of our Greeks who practice yoga will surely sustain that the yoga they practice has nothing to do with this religious form of Hindu Yoga. Yet it would be good to be aware that lots of yoga teachers with “European” prescription studied and were instructed, for instance, in Satyananda Ashram, that holds a very well developed network of yoga-ashram centers (here in Greece as well) and whose belief is exactly the same with the aforementioned one.

          Generally speaking, the same things apply for the Silva Mind Control that although does not appear under the veil of yoga, still uses oriental techniques as well as “HUMAN center” of Sri Chinmoy guru and similar movements from world wide networks. There is nothing worse than this. What does the “law” of karma has to do with the belief in reincarnation, in an impersonal fantastic divine element or in Hindu deities? Even there where yoga presents itself as a simple gymnastics, it does not have anything to offer. As the experts claim, the basic problem of the contemporary man is his lack of physical activity both at his workplace and in his free time. And yoga, instead of supporting movement, it limits it even more through its sedentary exercises.

          It is a certainty that in the western countries, yoga is an exceptional trap, very intelligently placed and attracts the Europeans and Americans to the Hindu civilization. The impact on them is carried out through religious music, Indian cuisine, discussions about reincarnation, karma, secret forces of man and so on. Through “mantras” – short phrases used during mediation that usually express the worship of a Hindu deity – the naïve Western people who are very enthusiastic of this world are initiated in the Hindu idolatry. And for those even more naïve the name of Christ is associated with Buddha, Krishna, Ramakrishna and so on as a personality on a separated spiritual plan, as one of the saviors of the world.

ABOUT THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION ON THE ORIGINS OF MAN

Admittedly, this theory (and it is deservedly called theory, hypothesis and not a demonstrated conclusion) has gone through a lot of revisions from its apparition till nowadays. What actually cannot be accepted is the fact that for many times, overcoming its limits – using not very scrupulous ways – it tried to win the title of “proved principle” and thus – what it is even worse – to become a way of exploitation and a weapon in the hands of atheists and materialists used to fight against the teachings of Bible. At the beginning of the 80’s with the occasion of some archeological discoveries and the anniversary of 100 years from the death of Charles Darwin (1882) its first supporter, this theory came back in the headlines. In Greece, unfortunately, the one who spread it was a cleric who started no less than to claim that man at his origins evolved from a monkey! In order to avoid the disapproval of his parishioners and his reprimand or even his condemnation by the Church, he tried through techniques of interpretation to reconcile his convinctions with the writings of the Old Testament. Blessed Paisios suffered a lot not only for his fall in error but also for the danger of deception whereat due to his position and his sophistic talent led the unarmed souls. The elder reacted by answering and fighting against those wrong interpretations and also by impelling the skilled ones – clerics and theologians – to take their stand and protect the believers from wanders. He gathered some fragments from the Holy Bible and from other patristic interpretations that referred to that matter. He multiplied them and spread them to the pilgrims in order to help them for not falling into error. When Father Paisios found out that the respective cleric did not repent, he then started to speak sharply against him and he prevented him that if he continued he would suffer the pedagogic intervention of God. In the following, we will write a few cases we preserved to better reveal the position of the elder.

 

  1. Once he went to a cell to celebrate, together with other fathers close to him, the Resurrection of the Lord that happened to be also the titular celebration name of that cell. Before reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the abbot insisted and firmly spoke about this subject that was very disputed in those times. Then he highlighted especially the following fragment from the book of Job, read during the Liturgy on Holy Thursday but that, despite its timely meaning, had passed unnoticed by all those who were present there:

”Or did you take clay of the ground and form a living creature and set it with the power of speech upon the earth?” (Job 38, 14). The abbot pointed out especially two things: “clay of the ground” and “living creature”. Hence it is very clear that the creation of the man was performed directly from the clay of the ground”.

  1. Another time, somebody used the following sophistic argument: – The origin of man from monkey does not oppose the story from Genesis, as long as we could understand from the verse: “And God formed the man out of dust from the ground” (Genesis 2,7) that the “dust from ground” God used to create the man was the monkey (!). Then the abbot, with holy indignation against it immediately answered with the following three arguments:
  2. God did not need “spare parts” to create the man.
  3. The way the man was created – “Then God said: Let us make man in Our image…” (Genesis 1, 26) and “and God formed man…”(Genesis 2,7) – differs a lot from the way the animals were created – “Then God said: Let the waters bring forth creatures having life, and let birds fly…let the earth bring forth the living creatures according to its kind the quadrupets…” (Genesis 1, 20-25) – and this difference proves God’s special care for his creation (man).
  4. The Word of God, when He incarnated, incarnated in a human body and not in a monkey!!!

 

Beyond these, the elder, foreseeing the disastrous consequences that could have been brought by the acceptance of that aforementioned wily syllogism, few days after that discussion, explained to two fathers the followings: “Now at the very beginning they say: ‘We don’t deny either God or the Bible. So as not to give the impression that we oppose the statements asserted by important scientists, we symbolically understand the dust and say that God used a monkey for the flesh and he blew over it breath of life.’ You will see that after many Christians will accept this, interpreting the things according to their mind, they will say: ‘Well, did He really blow on him breath of life? Do we discuss now about breath, about air? Let’s be serious! As long as the monkey was alive, it means it had breath of life… This is soul, this is life.’ And in  a few years, when “Christians” would accept this as well, they would say: ’Which God of Adam and Eve? Isn’t it everything made by itself? There is a superior power and that’s nature’ (!!!) Thus, eventually they will say that: ‘There is neither soul nor God!’

  1. A theologian, someone that the elder knew, entitled his book referring to man, ‘Deified animal’. The abbot saddened a lot and he expressed his contrariety. Of course, the two words come from a text of Saint Gregory the theologian, but they were used totally separated from the original context. Father Paisios explained that the two words, as they were taken from the text and then joined together, ‘can be exploited to support these theories for perdition, that some spread nowadays. Saint Gregory, if he had lived today, he would have differently expressed himself” (in order not to give the opportunity for misinterpretations).
  2. A young monk read some rational opinions referring to the biblical story about genesis that indirectly questioned the divine inspiration of that story. In other words, they claimed that Prophet Moses used different older oral traditions and the knowledge of those times to write the book. The monk was influenced by the fact that the author of that book was a cleric as well, famous for his generally Orthodox and traditionalistic opinions. During a discussion with Father Paisios he told him those opinions. Then the abbot manifestly saddened, answered: – Dear child! “Being covered by the divine grace, the stutterer…” I am surprised! You sing them yourselves (to be mentioned that during those days the feast of Pentecost was celebrated, when the aforementioned katavasia was sung) and you do not pay attention to what you sing!”
  3. Another time, cheerfully juggling but in a brilliant way, the respective theories about the creation of man through the automatic auto-evolution of organisms from the deficient ones to the more evolved ones, he said: ‘If eight says he’s nine, I will give him a ten (excellent)”, obviously highlighting the difference between the animals devoid of reason and the rational man. [Meaning that meanwhile number 8 – as all the mindless animals – from its creation by God till nowadays was not able in the least to progress and evolve (respectively number 8 to become 9), on the contrary the rational man was bestowed by God with the possibility to permanently progress and evolve].

DARKNESS AND LIGHT

Hoping that my drama could be of a use to take someone out of the gutter, I will write in the following some things related to my past, when my life had not yet really started.

My father, the head of a drinking house, being somewhere between an atheist and an indifferent believer and raised fearing his father who beat him for his every swerve from his foolish rules, did not find in himself the power to stop the perpetuation of his bossy character and deprived me and my brother as much as possible from the debauchery that we had never thought it was not necessary to experience.

My mother, although she wanted to keep our family together, after she found out about my father’s weakness, she filed him a divorce when I was 10 years old. Although my mother was an active believer, there was no time for deepening among so many concerns that seemed to have priority; she kept on going so afterwards as well. The fortunes were sold and my mother, being naïve and making haste to finish everything, found herself without the biggest part of her money, a fact that made us stay with rent here and there. Our situation became more and more difficult and after two years my mother invited us to live together with her, yet after we moved together our financial situation did not show signs for better so our mother found herself in the situation to be under the necessity to immediately leave for Italy to work.

Starting from that point on, different kinds of temptations came upon us that we gave in and we came to the point to consider ourselves among the luckiest ones for not having someone around who could rebuke us.

Our first more serious addiction that we confronted ourselves with was the masturbation, then later the video games and sweets of all kinds that had replaced for years the healthy diet. We forgot about poverty and about the fact that my mother had to wash other people’s butt for my caprices, I forgot that I did not have my own house and I forgot about rules thinking that I could do whatever I wanted thinking that there would always be somebody who could take my side as long as I was still a kid. When I was 14, on one of my friend’s bait, I started to inhale glue from a bag, a vice that I hardly managed to get rid of.

I was a rocker and a bit out of ordinary and that contributed to start my sexual life, a thing that made me look important in the eyes of my friends. I started drinking alcohol almost every day, competing with my recently discovered so-called virility. Although I had quit inhaling glue after everybody from that city found out about the things I used to do yet the alcohol had continued to be part of my life for another 10 years. The cannabis was more rare and I periodically fell for without any hesitation. I started over the time to try out of curiosity some other things as well. During high school I started to smoke tobacco. One day, a friend showed me a website from where I could buy “legal weed” or etnobotanicals – by a click. There followed 8 months of a strong addiction with daily doses while I used to drive the car full of strange people and delivered hundreds of powdered cigarettes that I personally made. After I hardly understood that I was down and added a new line to my local CV, I decided to give up on my bad habits while I took the occasion to visit my mother in Italy.

No sooner said than done, yet partially. Once back from the trip I decided to go for the natural path of cannabis. I was comforted by the rumor that it did not give addiction, yet I later found out that it was not true after I had been going on like that for three months till I stopped although I hated the mood I had due to it. The weed was giving me a laziness that had been going on for years in an irascible superficiality though I would not have come out of it if a mule’s warning  hadn’t given me a good shaking that I was in the scrutiny of police and had to take a break. That good shaking had an instant effect and I gave up providing my clan with the “necessary” ones and therefore later I started to be avoided by them due to my uselessness.

 

Reiki, energies, illumination…

 

One day I was called by a friend to come and meet a person that I later started to idolize due to the fact that she was continuously talking about things that I had never heard before. In less than one day she took my head off with her “energies” and taught me seeing auras around people. From an atheist I started to fall in to an uncertain spiritual path because I was capable of many things. In only one week I left with my friend to her in Cluj to get initiated in Reiki.

Reiki is presented as a traditional Japanese technique of general self-healing and in a short period of time of healing others as well. It was transmitted through “laying the hands” on some parts of the body, there were given a certain number of symbols that you had to draw using your finger wherever according to the problem you encountered and then you were ready to practice. There were no restrictions to practice it although you had to have some vague pagan knowledge about chakras that you had to work with and “unblock” as well as the tip that absolutely everything was manipulating energy in a way or other. If you were not convinced by those “energies”, you would immediately be after a small initiation ritual for suddenly your mind started to wander and you felt your body permanently crossed by inward flows.

Once I had had the captivating ritual and after many experiences weirdly synchronized to weird people, I came back home carrying an ambition for a spiritual life that I had no idea about. I started to gain knowledge for my spiritual life from Internet and textbooks written from the communication with what-so-ever superior forces that made me more and more convinced that according to the same references those were the secrets that masons were afraid not to reach to people and of course by putting the question like I immediately fell for it. I did daily exercises of energizing, I used symbols, I saw auras, I had Hindu meditations, I tried to heal myself and my friends by laying my hands on and even secretly. Once I confronted myself with haemorrhoids and because the ointment was of no effect, I healed myself in a few days but after a few weeks it suddenly aggravated even more – and after a long time without any cure, Saint Ephraim the New had mercy on me and listened to my prayer. I was imbued with superstitions and different beliefs close to insanity that I accepted as for me the truth was something relative. Making haste on growing spiritually, I started combining everything I knew and in the strangest way possible and trying to practice simultaneously as many as possible. I wanted to have out-of-body experiences (“astral projection” in New Age language). One night when I had just finished to re-read some possible ways of doing it, the devil did not let me crave for it longer and paid me a visit and helped me worm my way through. I woke up captive in my own body and any attempt to move was horribly tiring me up exacerbating my claustrophobia. After a few absurd efforts of my imagination, my ears became clogged and I felt a strange pressure over me and another pressure that was going around as well as some different visions and sounds that were dominating me through their succession. After a few seconds I felt my head rising itself off the pillow, illustrating the movement in a very credible way and feeling gradually my drawing far from the body, being inspired somehow  not to oppose it by any gesture in order to enable my further proceeding. After 30 seconds, when I saw myself floating in the room, I hesitated and I suddenly woke up in the silence of my room apparently seeing the trajectory of my journey back in a second. I repeated the procedure for three times but over extended periods of times.

Nobody understood me but I did not care because I knew what was going on to me, things I saw and felt going under my skin. I became more energetic but also irascible in the same time comforting myself with the excuse that I did not strive myself enough. I was waiting for the famous day of 21st December 2012 thinking that I was on my way to be illuminated and that I would then go out and help the weak people find their way. That was the biggest foolishness I bought and the hardest to accept. It was hard to accept that I was a blockhead and that I had to admit that.

 

The shortcut

 

I started to pay more attention and to criticize more the things I read or heard. In the mean time I tried to take mushrooms and LSD once every few days. Taking those drugs I had my brainwashed in a record time without being necessary to spend hours meditating in uncomfortable positions offering me a shortcut to the different kinds and much desired visions. I felt a horrible fear but I thought it was because I did not know how to approach it. I was consuming and then I went out having my pupils dilated as if they were a cherry, dominating my friends, shocking them and making then not stand against me by any word and that not because they loved me but because I was frightening them. I had demonic experiences and I was telling them to my friends as if I were on a TV show. I was gradually realizing that I did not understand too much from the multitude of oddities occurring on my way and it seemed to me a tiring spirituality that did not have a precise direction.

After a frightening experience I had in the mirror when I saw the devil with my own eyes – as soon as I could pull myself together, I hitched and went out of the bathroom with something riding on me and with my hands in the air saying out and loud Our Father; I was weeping and periodically repeating Our Father to keep that beast away from me – I called my grandmother whom I trusted for her youth dedicated to qi-gong and I accepted to take in consideration also the Church. She was hiding her own opinions on spirituality in order not to draw me far from her and although she was orthodox, she tried to combine the things as such that I could do good things amongst others. She advised me to say Our Father while I made my sorceries, a thing that God helped me through draw far from those exercises and stay only with Our Father and the Psalter. Although I was not sure why but for the first time I felt that I seriously needed to talk to a priest. No sooner said than done. I anxiously left to talk to a priest who was close to my grandmother and whose words encouraged me to search for a confession priest where, under his guidance, I went shortly after.

 

The last way

 

It was Sunday in the spring of 2013. Everything was blooming around except me. Once arrived in the church yard of the Monastery Poiana Brasov and entered whereat I indifferently took part to the Holy Liturgy that was almost finished. While I started to become gradually excited and knowing that the moment of my discussion with the priest was coming, I completely forgot the courage I had when I entered there and I found myself with my feet and voice trembling in front of the priest who was calculated and tolerant and whom I asked to help me for it seemed that I was kind of indoctrinated with New Age and confused. I finally acknowledged my own weakness and I was happy and surprised that he was actually listening to me.

It proved that it was very good for me that I tried a different tack. Feeling my heart as if it were underground, through my confessor I could rapidly feel the traps I was caught in and wherefrom the Church proved to me that it was the only one capable of pulling me out and that I had finally found what I did not know where to find. The often confession and Communion I had made me understand their purpose by releasing me from the plenty demonic draff of my own production. I was tired and I was not in a mood to risk myself dying while arbitrarily searching my own path. I stopped all that baboonery I wanted to be loved so I could weep for my shame and joy. God knew how to show me that the stubbornness to draw near the demons is the common denominator for many of my unfortunate customs. Now I do not smoke weed or consume alcohol or any other analgesic anymore having the vigilance as my one and only guarantee that I am heading on one direction as the last path of my life.

Orthodoxy keeps me busy and makes me hit the books and tests my seriousness when I pretend that I want to love. It taught me not to ask questions whose answers are not helpful for the moment but to investigate for a deeper understanding. It asked me why I had so many in common with those that I was complaining of. The church is the family that I cannot condemn of degradation as I do not do my best to take care of. It taught me to earn from honoring the Holy Fathers and those whom they listened to and by whom God was made permanent in history and who could draw me near to Him. I am aware that our life here is not eternal but it is followed by one like that whether I like it or not. It encourages me  to be neither extremist nor indifferent, nor to kiss all the boots, but to be dignified. It taught me that there is no balance between good and evil but there is only the good established by Christ. It showed me that only through praying I could see the thin ice I had been walking on all time. It pulled me out of that abyss and gave me the instruction book, forgiving me for having ignored its hand for a long time. Each spiritual book completes me, gives me hope and courage but each Liturgy is practical for me. It makes me feel its use even when I am not successful. I can choose but I am happy when I am told what I have to do. Even if I cannot experience it yet, I can see and partially understand the harmony of the treasure left by God on earth. There I can find my purity and I do not want to separate myself from it.

So he who wants it may come and take it. I do not intend to die as a fool and I would lose everything if I had the impression that my great-grandfathers died for giving me the freedom to easily  suicide myself in a bar or cowardly comforting me that here everything is lost and that I have to make haste to benefit from the rest of my useless existence here. I will not die when I want so I would better justly rejoice the life in its only proper meaning, in Christ. Amin.

 

Radu Moga

 

Source: Words for youngsters Magazine, Putna Monastery, p. 38

A PARALLEL BETWEEN AN ECUMENIST AND A BIGOT

It is not difficult to distinguish between an ecumenist Orthodox and a “bigot” one. Here are some personal observations on how an ecumenist looks like:

  • superior”: although he simulates a humble behavior; he confesses his broad vision on aspects of faith, unlike the bigot who keeps to the Holy Fathers, thus being “frozen in his own templates”; Read more

WHY IS THE PHYLETISM A HERESY? (II)

Having in mind the manifestation aspect, the error of the phyletists consists in replacing the church Tradition with the popular or national tradition. The love for our nation (of beings) is wrongly emphasized and appears more important than the love for Christ as He told us: “The one who loves his father or mother more than Me isn’t worthy of Me, and the one who loves a son or daughter more than Me isn’t worthy of Me. The one who doesn’t take up his cross and follow me isn’t worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10, 37) The clergy who publically promote the phyletist wandering, especially those who have a theological education realize very well that they actually deny overall the Divinity. Read more

WHY IS THE PHYLETISM A HERESY? (I)

For a real Christian, Orthodoxy is the worship of God in Spirit and in Truth. The Spirit is the glory of Christians (John 7, 39). If the Spirit is not present so is the Orthodoxy and if Orthodoxy is not present so is the salvation. Saint Athanasius the Great, the Patriarch of Alexandria says that: “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he holds the catholic faith; Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” (The Symbol of Saint Athanasius the Great, the Patriarch of Alexandria, “Comments to Psalter”) Read more