Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
By Hieromonk Isaac
The Hindu Leader
The Elder helped a lot of people who had gotten mixed up with yoga and Eastern religions. A Greek man who had once been a leading representative of the Hare Krishna movement recalls his experience with the Elder: “I first heard of Elder Paisios when I was in Italy. The leaders of our organization from all the European countries had gathered for a meeting, and it was there that I heard about Father Paisios. They portrayed him as a yogi who had turned up in Greece, so I decided to go and meet him.
“After coming to Greece and meeting the Elder, I began to realize my error. When I told the leaders that I wanted to leave the group, they fought me intensely. Although I had been in charge of the whole organization and traveled all over Europe, I was now afraid just to get on the local bus. Even the most trivial tasks seemed to be incredibly difficult. My soul felt paralyzed by pain and fear. I had given the devil a lot of authority(236) in my life, but the Elder helped me to escape. If it hadn’t been for him sheltering me with his prayers, I wouldn’t ever have been able to break away from their satanic hold over me.”
Later, the young man made a public confession of faith in a church in Athens and was received back into the bosom of the Orthodox Church by the mystery of chrismation.
A Disciple of Maharaji
Once, the Elder was visited by a rich man, who, along with his entire family, followed the Hindu guru Maharaji.(237) He had been initiated by the guru, in the argot of the movement, “he had received the Knowledge” – and they had traveled to Europe’s major cities at great expense to see him.
Using his gift of clairvoyance, the Elder related various facts about the man’s own life to him, and he advised him to get a job, even if he didn’t need one, saying that work would do him good.
Impressed by the Elder’s spiritual gifts, the man asked him about meditation and other spiritual techniques. “Look, my child,” the Elder kindly interrupted him, “techniques don’t matter at all. You’re trying, but where you’re digging, there’s no gold; there’s just the devil. The gold is Christ.”
236. Literally, “rights”; that is to say, through his participation in demonic activity, the man had brought upon himself the interference of the devil in his life…. –ed.
237. Variously known as Balyogeswar Shri Sant Ji Maharaj, Guru Maharaj Ji, Maharaji, and Prem Rawat, the guru inherited in childhood the title of “Perfect Master,” the latest in a series of figures claimed to include Krishna, Buddha, and Jesus Christ. Though his public image in the West became increasingly secular in the late Seventies, he was originally openly hailed as “The Lord of the Universe” – ed.