Like every other 13 year old, I was bored during religion class. We were forced to endure a
one-hour lesson once-a-week inside the church sanctuary, where the priest would talk above our head about things that didn’t matter. Until one day, a very special priest invited us to fast. That’s right – to eat nothing. I don’t know what it was, but that one lesson caught my attention and turned me on to a practice that I would carry with me throughout my life.
It was the late 1960’s. The President had been shot a few years earlier. In one year both Civil Rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and then the President’s brother, Robert Kennedy were both shot dead. There was a war in Viet Nam and back in America there was distrust for the government. Shut-ins, walk-outs and sit-ins were the way people expressed their disappointment with the establishment, while drugs of the psychedelic variety were another type of experiment against the system. The Beatles had returned from India with Transcendental Meditation and groups like The Cream were defining the improvisational Rock & Roll. So to sit through a was religion class listening to stories about dead people was an opportunity to either snooze or goof-off with friends. But when this priest spoke, I was listening.
His name was Torkom Saraydarian. I was a student at the Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian Day School in Encino California, where he was the priest. I found his lessons fascinating because he was inviting. He engaged us – at least me – in a practical manner, in my faith. Of all the lessons, the one I remember specifically was the one on fasting. He stood before the altar and explained the joys of fasting – the experience of cleaning the body and the soul through this practice. He spoke of healing and at that young age I was actually understanding that body, soul and mind needed to function in harmony for a healthy life.
Many years later, after I was ordained a priest, I set out looking to find Torkom. He was teaching in Sadona, Arizona. I packed up our young family and we head out to the desert, only to be disappointed to learn the Teacher had passed away only a few months before we arrived. I was truly looking forward to meeting with him. I had followed only peripherally his teachings but knew that we were kindred spirits. A few years after our trip to Sedona I connected with his daughter Gita who was keeping Torkom’s legacy alive through the publication of his books and lessons in Ageless Wisdom.*
In his lifetime, Torkom had authored many books and touched many lives with his wisdom and teaching. One of his many volumes is titled “Healing.” I wish to share with you a few excerpts from the first chapter of the book, called “Striving Toward Perfection.”
The Ageless Wisdom teaches us that the major foundation of health is striving toward perfection… There are three stages of perfection. The first is called Transfiguration. The second is called Mastery. The third one is called Resurrection.
All branches of the Ageless Wisdom – religions, traditions, legends, myths, etc. – have one major goal: to bring to the people of the world all the laws, rules, principles, ideas and the teachings which will make them healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Of course health, in turn, brings happiness, prosperity and success.
To be healthy means to be healthy in all your personality vehicles – the physical, emotional, and mental bodies. Unless these bodies are healthy, you cannot be considered a healthy person. And these three bodies must unfold and develop simultaneously until they reach a high degree of integration in which they cooperate with maximum efficiency and without hindering each other’s growth.
I wish to leave you to contemplate these thoughts from Torkom Saraydarian on this 27th Day on the Road to Healing. Keep in mind that we stepped foot on this road only twenty seven days ago, but the true journey – the one filled with inquiries, answers, growth and completeness, is one we have been on all our life. I look forward to continuing with you tomorrow.
* For more on Ageless Wisdom and Torkom Saraydarian: http://www.tsgfoundation.org/