The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios is a spiritual memoir by Dionysios Farasiotis, chronicling the author’s flirtations with the occult and later conversion to the Orthodox Church through the eldership of then Elder—but now Saint—Paisios. The author captures the most notable spiritual episodes of his own life on his path to repentance. The best parts of the book are the appearances of Saint Paisios.

The vanity of the secular world

I realized that every morning you get up early to go to work at a usually joyless occupation that drains you of all your energy. Afterwards, you return home for some food, take a short afternoon nap, and for relaxation watch a soccer match or a mindless television show, which is followed by the evening news, during which you are told what is interesting and what opinions you should form on various minor issues. After some sleep, the cycle repeats itself. Of course, from time to time, you might see some friends and go to a restaurant to exchange some pleasantries, but who has the energy or the intellectual stamina to entertain serious questions? “Come on, pal, we just want some small talk, so we can have a good time to get us comfortably through the day.” And, ultimately, this is how you pass your entire life.

Like the author, I also recognized the futility of secular conformity. I decided to seek the truth using my fallen mind, and what did it decide on? That the “truth” was to pursue all my passions and worldly desires. From that wrong path, I did catch glimpses of objective truths, but not the ultimate truth, because I was so attached to the pleasures of the world.

Natural love is flimsy, transactional, and temporary

In this world, I hadn’t found any genuine love, or anyone who really loved me for who I was. Everyone had a motive for loving me. Girls would love men for an attractive face, a handsome body, and beautiful eyes. But if I had been in an accident resulting in the loss of a limb or the disfigurement of my face, no woman would have cared to stay at my side, even though I would still have been the same person. No woman really loved me, or was even interested in the deeper core of my being; rather, they were only concerned with the appearance of my body. And the guys who were my friends loved me for my mind, my ideas, my knowledge, and my wit; but if I hadn’t been educated, I would still have been the same person. Were I to have suffered a wound to the head and become a little slower on the uptake, the deeper core of my being, my soul, would still have been the same, yet no one would have still loved me. Even the natural love of my parents was not free from utilitarian motives. It was colored by certain expectations and desires for compensation in the future. They loved me because I was intelligent, because I was a good student, and because I would take care of them in their old age. No one loved me without guile, without self-interest, or without the expectation of something in return. My real self existed beneath the surface, apart from my being smart or stupid, handsome or ugly, good or bad. I longed for this core of my being to be loved without any reason or societal justification, but just because I existed.

Not until I came to God did I realize how true is the phrase “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” It turns out that all the places of this world are wrong! Unconditional love cannot be found on the earth, because such love comes only from God. The highest form of natural love you can achieve, usually with your spouse or child, will still be a form of creaturely love, and lower than what you can experience directly from God.

The man who lives far from God

When man despises the immortal soul, the higher part of his being, and becomes deeply attached to his body, he becomes utterly carnal and condemns himself to a life that is degrading. And so “man, being in honor, did not understand; he is compared to mindless cattle, and is become like unto them.” (Psalm 48)

How does God dispense miracles to individuals?

I once asked Father Paisios about something I found quite perplexing: “Elder, why have all these miracles happened to me?”

“Because,” he replied, “starting from when you were a child, you didn’t get the help you needed. And not only that—you were actually being pushed towards evil. So you deserved some divine help, and God gave it to you all at once.”

Warfare with Satan

“Look,” [Father Athanasios] said, “the devil doesn’t want people to know that he exists, because it’s easier for him to fight them if they’re unaware of his existence. You don’t protect yourself from an enemy unless you realize he exists. But once you’ve detected him, there’s no reason for him to hide, so he then fights you out in the open.”

[…]

[Saint Paisios] used to say, “The devil isn’t able to hide in a sack for long, since some horn will always show through the sack. But if you ask him, ‘What’s that sticking out?’ he’ll answer, ‘Oh, that’s not a horn; it’s an eggplant.'” In other words, if evil showed itself for what it really was, everyone would flee from it for fear of being harmed. It has to be camouflaged and appear to be beautiful and good, so that people will accept it; and, in the same way, people enraged in evil have to act as though they are virtuous, so that they won’t alienate others. This is why Christ openly rebuked the Pharisees, the supposedly virtuous men of biblical times, saying, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

[…]

I told [Saint Paisios] about [a strong demonic attack]. In fear, I asked him, ‘Elder, does the devil really have such power?” And he answered, “We are the ones who give him that power, by our sins.” Indeed, most Christians never have—or are even aware of—such experiences with the powers of evil, because they have not given the devil authority over them by immoral living or witchcraft, yoga, and related activities.

It’s one thing to practice sin in ignorance or weakness, but it’s another to deliberately open demonic doors through the occult practices of tarot, witchcraft, psychedelics, and the like. If you explicitly seek out the demons, you essentially grant them rights over your soul, and they will not want to leave even if you change your mind.

Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Demons may use humor to lower your spiritual guard

Then my [demonic] visitor, up to that point manifest in a terrifying form, seeming as though it could squash me like a bug, suddenly changed into a fat dwarf with a cap on his head. It started joking around, gradually approaching me as though it were playing a game. I was so taken back that I almost laughed, but as soon as it came close to me I could feel in my heart its evil and threatening malice. Again I resorted to the Jesus Prayer, and again it fled to me.

Love your neighbor

Saint Paisios: “Man is worthy of being loved just because he’s in the image of God. It doesn’t matter at all if he’s good or bad, moral or sinful. Man is worthy of being loved for what he is. Christ loved and sacrificed Himself for sinful, corrupt people. “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” We should be the same way: we should love everyone without making any distinctions. Just like the sun rises on everyone, intelligent and unintelligent, good and evil, beautiful and ugly, our love should be like the love of God—love that’s like the sun and shines on His whole creation without making distinctions.”

The extent of demonic power

…when a person has become open to demonic influence, the devil can indeed grant him, or rather exercise through him, the considerable power the devil naturally possesses as a spirit. Thus, such a man might gain great physical capabilities, such as were possessed by the man who had an unclean spirit in the country of the Gadarenes, who was able to break his chains into pieces. He might be able to alter his appearance, to speak with peculiar voices, to cause himself to levitate, or to make lights or different objects appear. He may seem to be able to foretell events, and he may be able to reveal a person’s hidden sins, amazing and frightening his hearers with his knowledge of the past. Moreover, acting through the demons, such a man can exploit others’ imaginations in order to form images and sounds in their minds, and can also bring about striking physical effects, such as cracking a mammoth tree or shattering a large boulder. I knew these phenomena well.

[…]

“The most insignificant demon has such power that he could make the entire earth collapse with a stroke of his tail, but God does not allow it.” On another occasion he said, “Suppose the president were speaking on the balcony before a crowd of thousands watching him from below. If God permitted the devil to spear on that balcony for just one moment, they would all drop dead from fear.”

[…]

Father Paisios: “When someone has a close relationship with another person and a lot of love, the soul can know [private details] from far away. But many times the devil gets involved and makes a mess out of everything. He’ll whisper to a boy and a girl about going someplace, and they go there and run into each other. Then he does the same thing with another place, and he keeps it up until they say, ‘Hey, there’s something special about what’s happening to us,’ so he can throw them into sin in the end. The tempter’s a great movie director. That’s why you shouldn’t pay attention to coincidences likes that, because otherwise you might get tricked. If it’s from God, He’ll find another way to let you know, one that’s even more clear.

The essence of spiritual life

No matter how great a man’s ascetic labors may appear before the eyes of men, his offerings are infinitesimal in contrast with what God offers. Man takes one step, and God responds with a thousand in order to bridge the gap. Nevertheless, man’s small and insignificant step in God’s direction is absolutely crucial, because it reveals man’s intention and good disposition, giving God the “right” to approach him, without infringing his spiritual freedom. Unlike the hate-filled, tyrannical devil, God deeply respects human freedom and never violates it, because He loves man. He desires a relationship of love with man, and love can exist only when people are free.

This book has some problems. First, since it is not chronological, it spins you around the timeline of the author’s life. I did not know if what I was reading came before or after what recently happened. Second, it’s repetitive. This cycle of narrative repeats numerous times in the book: Saint Paisios showed the author God’s love, he ran off to seek an Indian guru, he felt bad, he returned to Saint Paisios and felt God’s love again. As a reader, it was frustrating to see him repeatedly going back to the gurus after seeing miracles I could only dream of, but it’s important to understand that repentance is messy and takes time. Sympathy and patience should be given to those who were deep into the occult. Third, the author gave me more of an education on Hinduism and demonic practices than I wanted, to the point where it intruded upon my imagination and thoughts.

The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios is one of the few books that I can advise you to skip. The exception is if you fell hard for Eastern mysticism and actually went to India or bowed before the pagan idols. In that case, reading this story may help you understand that you alone were not deceived. Otherwise, the quotes I shared above are the best that it gets.

Learn More: The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios on Amazon

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Originally posted on RooshV.com

This book has some problems. First, since it is not chronological, it spins you around the timeline of the author’s life. I did not know if what I was reading came before or after what recently happened. Second, it’s repetitive. This cycle of narrative repeats numerous times in the book: Saint Paisios showed the author God’s love, he ran off to seek an Indian guru, he felt bad, he returned to Saint Paisios and felt God’s love again. As a reader, it was frustrating to see him repeatedly going back to the gurus after seeing miracles I could only dream of, but it’s important to understand that repentance is messy and takes time. Sympathy and patience should be given to those who were deep into the occult. Third, the author gave me more of an education on Hinduism and demonic practices than I wanted, to the point where it intruded upon my imagination and thoughts.

The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios is one of the few books that I can advise you to skip. The exception is if you fell hard for Eastern mysticism and actually went to India or bowed before the pagan idols. In that case, reading this story may help you understand that you alone were not deceived. Otherwise, the quotes I shared above are the best that it gets.

I actually quite liked this book, despite never having gone down a remotely similar path as the young man. Not longer after I read it, a Russian friend of mine tried to convince me to do yoga arguing it was purely physical exercise. I politely declined and encouraged her not to start doing it herself, even gifting her this very book. Unfortunately she didn't listen and now goes to Hindu temples and visits various gurus.

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I like the passage you included that suggests one doesn't pay too much attention to coincidences just in case you might be tricked as God will find a clearer way to let you know.
To say omen or serendipity or karma, I try hard to steer away from this speech. Its God's Providence, its God's will is much better to practice saying.

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I enjoyed The Guru, the Young Man & Elder Paisios a lot back when I was an inquirer. I had never bowed to pagan idols or accepted a guru, but I was a big reader of Alan Watts & the westernized Eastern mystic teachings (Fr. Seraphim Rose was another writer I found very important to read given this background).

The book helped me move from "there's definitely paranormal things going on in this world but I'm not sure what their nature is" to understanding supernatural phenomena better in an Orthodox context. Also the booked helped begin to open my eyes to the Jesus prayer and its importance, meaning & usage. As well as one of my first narrated glimpses into Mt. Athos.

So perhaps a book better suited for inquirers who have dabbled in Eastern pagan mysticism than practiced Orthodox readers.

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if evil showed itself for what it really was, everyone would flee from it for fear of being harmed. It has to be camouflaged and appear to be beautiful and good, so that people will accept it

This is pretty much the entirety of Western pop culture in a nutshell.

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Thank you for this review Roosh. I will skip this one and continue with my reading of other books about St. Paisios (Pain and Love for Mankind, Spiritual Awakening, etc.) I had wondered if the descriptions of the demonic activity etc. would be problematic and this review gave me that information exactly. Much appreciated!

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Originally posted on RooshV.com


The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios is a spiritual memoir by Dionysios Farasiotis, chronicling the author’s flirtations with the occult and later conversion to the Orthodox Church through the eldership of then Elder—but now Saint—Paisios. The author captures the most notable spiritual episodes of his own life on his path to repentance. The best parts of the book are the appearances of Saint Paisios.

The vanity of the secular world​

Like the author, I also recognized the futility of secular conformity. I decided to seek the truth using my fallen mind, and what did it decide on? That the “truth” was to pursue all my passions and worldly desires. From that wrong path, I did catch glimpses of objective truths, but not the ultimate truth, because I was so attached to the pleasures of the world.

Natural love is flimsy, transactional, and temporary​

Not until I came to God did I realize how true is the phrase “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” It turns out that all the places of this world are wrong! Unconditional love cannot be found on the earth, because such love comes only from God. The highest form of natural love you can achieve, usually with your spouse or child, will still be a form of creaturely love, and lower than what you can experience directly from God.

The man who lives far from God​

How does God dispense miracles to individuals?​

Warfare with Satan​

It’s one thing to practice sin in ignorance or weakness, but it’s another to deliberately open demonic doors through the occult practices of tarot, witchcraft, psychedelics, and the like. If you explicitly seek out the demons, you essentially grant them rights over your soul, and they will not want to leave even if you change your mind.


Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Demons may use humor to lower your spiritual guard​

Love your neighbor​

The extent of demonic power​

The essence of spiritual life​

This book has some problems. First, since it is not chronological, it spins you around the timeline of the author’s life. I did not know if what I was reading came before or after what recently happened. Second, it’s repetitive. This cycle of narrative repeats numerous times in the book: Saint Paisios showed the author God’s love, he ran off to seek an Indian guru, he felt bad, he returned to Saint Paisios and felt God’s love again. As a reader, it was frustrating to see him repeatedly going back to the gurus after seeing miracles I could only dream of, but it’s important to understand that repentance is messy and takes time. Sympathy and patience should be given to those who were deep into the occult. Third, the author gave me more of an education on Hinduism and demonic practices than I wanted, to the point where it intruded upon my imagination and thoughts.

The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios is one of the few books that I can advise you to skip. The exception is if you fell hard for Eastern mysticism and actually went to India or bowed before the pagan idols. In that case, reading this story may help you understand that you alone were not deceived. Otherwise, the quotes I shared above are the best that it gets.

Learn More: The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios on Amazon
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It sure isn't easy to leave! I've been under psychic attack since coming back to God and especially since doing the research into Orthodox Christianity and realising it's the place for me. I'm at a loss as to what I should be doing now as I have a very dark and sordid history. Do I have to get delivered and confess before I may be Baptised? I have called a few Churches but it's a lot to lay on someone so would be grateful for any advice as to how to broach it...or not!

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if evil showed itself for what it really was, everyone would flee from it for fear of being harmed. It has to be camouflaged and appear to be beautiful and good, so that people will accept it

This is pretty much the entirety of Western pop culture in a nutshell.

Good does not need to be sugarcoated, good is self evident. Only evil is sugarcoated to appear as good.

Let's think about some examples:

  • junk food (looks and tastes good but gives you chronic health problems)
  • video games (looks cool and fun but saps away your time and energy)
  • casinos (promises money, love, and fun, but it is actually a trap)
  • ads, they are everywhere, junk food ads, video games ads, casinos ads. This is an example of sugar coating.
  • gay parades (they use bright colors and outrageous costumes as a sugar coating)
  • all kinds of expensive merchandise and it's associated debt noose
  • any kind of propoganda

It can be figuratively likened to some kind of psychological witchcraft. People are brainwashed and entranced. The believe the propoganda and fall for evil. Good does not need any propoganda. People go to good things when they are ready for them. People buy good and useful products when they need them. That's why I think that advertisements are evil. Because they convince people to buy bad products or live sinful lifestyles. Without the propoganda, no one in the right mind would do it.

Spoiler content hidden.

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It may not be easy, but we are fearless and bold; also, these scriptures (below) are very powerful. Demons are parasites - don't forget this crucial fact. If you view it that way, then it makes the battle easier. (My expertise? I've seen a good measure of demons, real live demons in my life time.)

Revelations 20:10

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Matthew 16:23

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Jude 1:9

9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”[d]

And last but definitely not least ...

Psalms 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not [a]want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the [c]still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will [d]dwell in the house of the Lord
[e]Forever.

John 3:16

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Mike_key: Yes, deamons can be definetly viewed as parasites, so true. How would you "pin down" to get rid of them? I mean thanks for providing these powerfull Verses. Is the conclusion to let them starve to death or rather to be filled with the Spirit of GOD... so that they have no room to locate themselves within us... and have to flee, so to say?

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"You have many lovers, and yet I alone love you. Other men love themselves in your nearness. I alone love you in your self. Other men see beauty in you that will fade sooner their own years. But I see in you a beauty that shall not fade away, and in the autumn of your days that beauty shall not be afraid to gaze at itself in the mirror, and it shall not be offended. I alone love the unseen in you."

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It sure isn't easy to leave! I've been under psychic attack since coming back to God and especially since doing the research into Orthodox Christianity and realising it's the place for me. I'm at a loss as to what I should be doing now as I have a very dark and sordid history. Do I have to get delivered and confess before I may be Baptised?

The only sacrament open to non-orthodox is baptism. You will begin going to confession after you are baptized. Before you are baptized the priest will perform an exorcism, which is done for everyone when they are made a catechumen.

I have called a few Churches but it's a lot to lay on someone so would be grateful for any advice as to how to broach it...or not!

I probably wouldn't back up the dump truck and let it fall out all at once. Be discrete in what you say and to whom.

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Unconditional love cannot be found on the earth, because such love comes only from God.

Good thing to keep in mind. Do not expect unconditional love from your spouse. This is a terrible mistake to make.

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Do I have to get delivered and confess before I may be Baptised? I have called a few Churches but it's a lot to lay on someone so would be grateful for any advice as to how to broach it...or not!

I would make an appointment to meet privately with your priest, before being baptized, and ask him these things.

User Penitent talked about going to confession after baptism, but my experience was a little different. The rector at the parish where I was confirmed had all the catechumens and candidates go to confession before confirmation.

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I actually quite liked this book, despite never having gone down a remotely similar path as the young man. Not longer after I read it, a Russian friend of mine tried to convince me to do yoga arguing it was purely physical exercise. I politely declined and encouraged her not to start doing it herself, even gifting her this very book. Unfortunately she didn't listen and now goes to Hindu temples and visits various gurus.

If you cannot reach her yourself. Perhaps God will. So pray and ask others to pray for her. Then God will be far more likely to show up once demons attacks her.

Plead for her as Moses pleaded for sinful Israel and got God to forgive them.

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click to expand...

Good does not need to be sugarcoated, good is self evident. Only evil is sugarcoated to appear as good.

Let's think about some examples:

  • junk food (looks and tastes good but gives you chronic health problems)
  • video games (looks cool and fun but saps away your time and energy)
  • casinos (promises money, love, and fun, but it is actually a trap)
  • ads, they are everywhere, junk food ads, video games ads, casinos ads. This is an example of sugar coating.
  • gay parades (they use bright colors and outrageous costumes as a sugar coating)
  • all kinds of expensive merchandise and it's associated debt noose
  • any kind of propoganda

It can be figuratively likened to some kind of psychological witchcraft. People are brainwashed and entranced. The believe the propoganda and fall for evil. Good does not need any propoganda. People go to good things when they are ready for them. People buy good and useful products when they need them. That's why I think that advertisements are evil. Because they convince people to buy bad products or live sinful lifestyles. Without the propoganda, no one in the right mind would do it.

Spoiler content hidden.

The more those corrupt corporations is boycotted for their support of evil. The better.

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In other words, if evil showed itself for what it really was, everyone would flee from it for fear of being harmed. It has to be camouflaged and appear to be beautiful and good

In God: Truth,Goodness and Beauty are united as One. And so it is with all his creation. The stars, clean flowing water, the planets and all the best wildernesses all testify to this unity.

But sin severs such a unity. Hence the false beauty of Babylon made to conceal its inner rot. But the New Jerusalem is True Beauty and True Goodness.

Satan appearing as an Angel of Light to us also follows that pattern. Such is the nature of the corruption of sin.

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I would make an appointment to meet privately with your priest, before being baptized, and ask him these things.

User Penitent talked about going to confession after baptism, but my experience was a little different. The rector at the parish where I was confirmed had all the catechumens and candidates go to confession before confirmation.

Thank you for your advice. I will have to find somewhere first. There is a local Coptic Orthodox Church which is thriving so will be looking into this today insofar as it's compatibility...

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The only sacrament open to non-orthodox is baptism. You will begin going to confession after you are baptized. Before you are baptized the priest will perform an exorcism, which is done for everyone when they are made a catechumen.

I probably wouldn't back up the dump truck and let it fall out all at once. Be discrete in what you say and to whom.

Thank you. Exorcism? This is what I am concerned about. Is this a thing? Is this called deliverance in other denominations? Apologies for my ignorance but I am very new to THIS side of things! I feel that, given my history I would require someone who understands the hidden realms and current spiritual battle we are in.
Ha! "backing up the dump truck" is something I have a propensity to do so the tip is welcome and befitting. In fact I've just deleted a veritable Russian novel of turgid biographical details from this reply.

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Thank you. Exorcism? This is what I am concerned about. Is this a thing? Is this called deliverance in other denominations? Apologies for my ignorance but I am very new to THIS side of things! I feel that, given my history I would require someone who understands the hidden realms and current spiritual battle we are in.
Ha! "backing up the dump truck" is something I have a propensity to do so the tip is welcome and befitting. In fact I've just deleted a veritable Russian novel of turgid biographical details from this reply.

Have you tried attending a Divine Liturgy and talking to the priest afterwards? You may need to try a few churches until you find one that fits you. Here's a tool to help:

There is a local Coptic Orthodox Church which is thriving so will be looking into this today insofar as it's compatibility...

They are not in communion with the Eastern Orthodox.

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