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Откровенные рассказы странника духовному своему отцу Otkrovennye rasskazy strannika dukhovnomu svoemu ottsu The Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way, AnonymousThe Way of a Pilgrim, or The Pilgrim s Tale Russian , is the English title of a 19th century Russian work, recounting the narrator s journey as a mendicant pilgrim across Russia while practising the Jesus Prayer It is unknown if the book is literally an account of a single pilgrim, or if it uses a fictional pilgrim s journey as a vehicle to teach the practice of ceaseless inner prayer and communion with God The Russian original, or a copy of it, was present at a Mount Athos monastery in Greece in the 19th century, and was first published in Kazan in 1884, under the Russian title that translates as Candid Narratives of a Pilgrim to His Spiritual Father 2010 1387 163 9789645764119 19 1856 1861 Found this years ago through my reading of Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger Franny is obsessed with the book, and it sort of makes you want to see what all the hoopla is about Funny story about that sometime I re read this during a book purge, and I think ultimately it is a wonderful little book approachable from both a literary or a religious viewpoint.Basically it is this, an anonymous journal biography of a young man s search for God through the Jesus prayer This is set in 1860 s Russia, when it is apparently common that when life does not go well, that people often give up everything they know and hit the road ie searching for meaning or purpose in the religious relics or establishments of the day This pilgrim knows that he can ask for bread or even shelter from anyone on his journeys and get assistance as he travels He walks across Russia with his knapsack and trusts that God will provide for him From the beginning he has one question How does one pray without ceasing He is given the answer by one aged cleric that he meets, and practices the exercise faithfully until he succeeds on a certain level, and is able to encourage and share it with others He mentions other helpful religious works of the time At the end of the book, you understand that he has been narrating this to someone else, and is off to Israel,where he has secured passage on a ship for free.The journey and glimpses of the life in 1850s Russia is my favorite part of this, and yet the point is also about the average everyday person and the quest for truth Also there is a definite draw here for people who are interested in our western versions of meditation..some of the descriptions of how difficult it is to clear your mind and be mindful of practice, reminds me of similar writings of Buddhist meditation Today s Christian who has no experience of liturgical religious practices may find the views on prayer really confining and outdated, but the main character s earnest desire to be closer to Jesus is also very modern. I m fairly sure that I stumbled upon this while studying Dostoevsky for my final year dissertation at university.The first text, The Way of a Pilgrim, has a timeless feel The pilgrim wanders across Russia from one place of pilgrimage to another The pilgrim holds to the practise of continual prayer, first praying Christ have mercy on me , building up to Christ have mercy upon me, a sinner and finally reaching Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me, a sinner The pilgrim walks The words of the prayer fall in place to the pattern of the pilgrim s heartbeat The praying is continuous The non believer suspects that the altered breathing pattern has an effect on the brain It s a solid spiritual text The author was unknown and I don t recall any details that hinted at the time or place of composition There are no details or even hints about the pilgrim s life before pilgrimage and continuous prayer But for the development of the prayer the pilgrim s way could be eternal or at least the continuous work of a life of pilgrimage.The sequel, The Pilgrim Continues His Way is entirely different and unintentionally funny It is firmly placed in the late nineteenth century An odd group of characters, including a university professor, meet and discuss their religious experiences which frequently seem to include the devil appearing to personally tempt them as in Ivan s fevered vision in The Brothers Karamazov but without Dostoevsky s literary gravitas All of these characters are of higher social status, possibly to add social authority to their conversion stories or then again it could be a wish fulfilment fantasy on the part of the anonymous author of the social elite sharing the spiritual outlook of people for whom the appearance of the Devil in everyday life was a believable phenomena It s hard to imagine anybody but a hardened believer finding these stories remotely plausible, unless they were also fond of adding too much vodka to their afternoon beer As spiritual reading I could only recommend the first part, I m sure it has an appeal to non Orthodox Christians as well and indeed non Christians too as it is an account of spiritual practise not a statement of revelation or theology As a whole both books could be useful for a reader looking for some insight in to pre Revolutionary Russian religious thinking for ordinary believers This is part of the spiritual outlook of the minor characters of dozens of Russian and early Soviet novels. The manuscript for this wonderful little book was found in the hands of a monk by the Abbot of St Michael s Monastery at Kazan in Russia Since then this book has been contributed to two writers The first author is believed to have been Archimandrite Mikhail Kozlov who lived between 1826 and 1884 He converted to the Orthodox religion and then became a missionary The second writer is believed to be Arsenii Troepolskii who was born in 1809 and lived until 1870 Like the pilgrim, he traveled between monasteries The first manuscript is thought to be written by Kozlov, and then it was rewritten by Troepolskii How they came to believe this, I do not know, but what is important about the book is its message, and the life of this sweet pilgrim.This book first came to be published in 1884 in Russia, and in the U.S., it was first published in 1930 It fell into my own hands in the late 1990s when I was in a yoga religion, as this was a book that was prized but not practiced by them They didn t use the Jesus Prayer in this book instead they had their own mantra The results are the same The first chapter of this book begins By the grace of God I am a Christian man, by my actions a great sinner, and by calling a homeless wanderer of the humblest birth who roams from place to place My worldly goods are a knapsack with some dried bread in it on my back, and in my breast pocked a Bible and that is all When in church one day the little pilgrim heard a scripture from the Bible that said to pray without ceasing He began to wonder how one could do this and so began asking questions at different churches No one could give him what he felt was the right answer, so he began traveling around the country to different monasteries After one year or he was walking down a road and an old man who looked like a cleric overtook him They began talking, and he ended up at his monastery where he was taught the interior Jesus prayer, Lord Jesus have mercy on me This prayer was to be repeated all day long to oneself, but at first you had to begin slowly increasing the number of times you repeated this prayer He began with 2,000 times a day until this silent prayer became a part of him completely The pilgrim decides to stay and learn from this cleric, so he finds a house in exchange for gardening and stays the summer Near the end of the summer his teacher dies, and his job has ended He moves on, teaching others along the way.He says this about the results of his praying without ceasing I have become a sort of half conscious person I have no cares and no interests The fussy business of the world I would not give a glance to The one thing I wish for is to be alone, and all by myself to pray, to pray without ceasing and doing this, I am filled with joy And he also said, If I happened to meet anyone, all men without exception were as dear to me as if they had been my nearest relations But I did not concern myself with them much Later on in his travels he meets a priest who tells him, Why do you want to be alone Common prayer is pleasanter God did not create man to think of himself only, but that men should help each other and lead each other along the path to salvation The pilgrim, not listening to his advice, goes on his way.As I moved from Hinduism to Buddhism, I asked my Buddhist teacher why it was that those who meditated did not socialize I learned from him that meditation does indeed cause one to withdraw from the world It never affected me in that way Anyway, this Buddhist teacher tried to prevent this lack of socializing in the monks by sending them out into the public, such as to the grocery store I do not believe really works When my husband and I moved to another part of the country, there were no Buddhist or Hindu groups I continued to find meditation to be peaceful, but then I let it go One day I sat and contemplated on what I really believed, and it was this All that is necessary in life is caring for all life, which includes the earth Nothing else is needed. By the grace of God I am a Christian man, by my actions a great sinner, and by calling a homeless wanderer of the humblest birth who roams from place to place My worldly goods are a knapsack and some dried bread in it, and a Bible in my breast pocket And that is all.So begins this russian pilgrim his tale of spiritual search He walks from place to place seeking advice on mysticism and the prayer life He acquires The Philokalia, a collection of writings by eastern orthodox church fathers, and in it he finds a lot of wisdom on prayer But the charm of the book is his account of the people he meets who also tell their story He finds shelter and friends but also some people who exploit him He s always searching for a place where he can meditate in silence and solitude but the outer world seem always to interrupt and make demands of him Some spiritual classics are too heavy on mysticism for my liking but this was different because it was a biography A soul on a spiritual journey but along the way a lot of wisdom is found. tonight s my night for reviews about books that nearly drove me crazy.this is one of those books i had loved franny and zooey but i didn t think that the little book that nearly drove fanny crazy was anything than a plot device and then one day i walked into a bookstore i d never been in before, and there it was franny s special book, the one that changed everything it was real i d been struggling to maintain some kind of faith at that point i wanted very badly to believe, and that need had been deeply ingrained and so i took the book home i read it and then as franny did, i began to put it into practice i tried to pray without ceasing i believe i succeeded and i got to a strange place in my mind that way and finally i felt as i did about the ouija board as a child, that i was toying with things that were as big as they were simple, and i was frightened i saw that my praying without ceasing made it impossible for me to live in the world and so i put the book away and i stopped praying period maybe i will start again someday but certainly not today. Of course I first came across this book in Franny and Zooey I later found it at a place called Urban Ore I love how virtuosic the pilgrim is with his humility, how open he is to learning secrets from everyone he meets along the road, and how clearly he describes attaining unceasing internal prayer as an experiment of the imagination to picture your heart beating in your chest and to slowly travel inwards with your creative intellect until you reach it, to sit silently in the spaces between heartbeats, and then feel the love, baby He also did a good job of reminding me how to stay faithful to teachers who have passed through the portal of dreams and sometimes make us feel abandoned and alone That s when a book can come to the rescue I felt like whenever I put this book down I could not help but breathe deep and clear and walk along the sunny side of reality a balm against those cut off, suffocating parts of my judgemental mind.The Pilgrim Continues His Way wasn t as good in my opinion. This Enduring Work Of Russian Spirituality Has Charmed Countless People With Its Tale Of A Nineteenth Century Peasant S Quest For The Secret Of Prayer Readers Follow This Anonymous Pilgrim As He Treks Over The Steppes In Search Of The Answer To The One Compelling Question How Does One Pray Constantly Through His Journeys, And Under The Tutelage Of A Spiritual Father, He Becomes Gradually Open To The Promptings Of God, And Sees Joy And Plenty Wherever He Goes Ultimately, He Discovers The Different Meanings And Methods Of Prayer As He Travels To His Ultimate Destination, Jerusalem The Way Of A Pilgrim Is A Humble Story Ripe For Renewed Appreciation Today The Recent Changes In Russia Have Revealed The Great Religious Traditions Of That Land, And This Work, Freshly Translated For Modern Times, Is Among The Finest Examples Of Those Centuries Old Traditions Another book I encountered when stugying Christian Mysticism and Eastern Orthodox practices Like The Cloud of Unknowing it makes use of the Jesus Prayer The Jesus Prayer Greek or The Prayer Evkhee, Greek the Wish is a short, formulaic prayer esteemed and advocated within the Eastern Orthodox church Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner The prayer has been widely taught and discussed throughout the history of the Eastern Churches It is often repeated continually as a part of personal ascetic practice, its use being an integral part of the eremitic tradition of prayer known as Hesychasm Greek , hesychazo, to keep stillness The prayer is particularly esteemed by the spiritual fathers of this tradition see Philokalia as a method of opening up the heart kardia and bringing about the Prayer of the Heart The Prayer of The Heart is considered to be the Unceasing Prayer that the apostle Paul advocates in the New Testament Remember Paul was the Apostle who went to the Eastern Church while Peter went to Rome and the west St Theophan the Recluse regarded the Jesus Prayer stronger than all other prayers by virtue of the power of the Holy Name of Jesus. I can see why I was so taken with this book the first time I read it Then it opened doors into prayer which I never knew were possible Now, years later, it seems less profound but still sweet and full of wonderful little vignettes about the possiblities that a life of constant prayer can offer.Read this MANY years ago shortly after my daughters were born Don t know if it was the book itself, my spiritual immaturity at the time, Grace or a combination of all three, but this was a life changing experience for me Although there are not many spiritual mystics, we are all called in Holy Scripture to a life of contemplative prayer The anonymous pilgrim in this Way offers his insights and experiences for our benefit.God willing, I hope to re read this soon


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