These two lectures provide an introduction to the system of meditation and the non-dual teaching of Shantanand Saraswati which Francis Roles discovered to be the source and completion of the Fourth Way teaching he inherited from P.D. Ouspensky. With extensive notes, references and commentary.
(Paperback, 86 pages)
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(Scroll down to see review below.)
A Lasting Freedom was first published by the Study Society in 1972. It has recently been reprinted and is just as relevant today for people interested in meditation as it was then. Its author, Dr Francis Roles, was a consultant physician in the NHS with a special interest in neurology. He was also a student of the Russian philosopher, PD Ouspensky, who was working on a method of Self realisation, and a system of Eastern philosophy, largely gathered from extensive travels in the East by his one-time teacher Gurdjieff. Ouspensky had a large following in London, and before his death he chose Dr Roles from among his students to carry on his work, instructing him to seek what seemed to him to be a missing link on the way towards Self realisation. After Ouspensky's death Dr Roles founded the Society for the Study of Normal Psychology, now known as the Study Society, in 1951, in order to continue with Ouspensky's work. He remained its leader until his death in 1982.
In 1960 Dr Roles met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who introduced him to a method of mantra meditation which had been specifically tailored to meet the needs of Western society. He immediately recognised it as the “missing link” that Ouspensky had urged him to find. This led him to meet the then Shankaracharya of Northern India, Swami Shantanand Saraswati, head of the Advaita (non-dual) Vedanta tradition, who guided him and all of the Study Society in this method of Self-realisation and its attendant philosophy. The meditation met with great success in producing happiness, efficiency and understanding in the people who practised it.
In 1972 Dr Roles visited the Study Society’s New York sister organisation, The Society for the Study of Human Being inc., and delivered two lectures there on the benefits of this method of Meditation. These talks were such a success that he was asked to transcribe them, and the result was this very readable book, A Lasting Freedom, the title being a quotation from a sonnet by Sir Philip Sidney. One is struck by the clarity of the writing and of the answers to the questions that were put to him at the end of both lectures. There are extensive and extremely helpful notes clarifying the many subjects touched upon, at the back of the book.
For anyone seeking a method of Self discovery and realisation, I cannot recommend this slim volume too highly.
E M | London | May 2013