Search Results : shantanand

Dr F.C. Roles and H.H. Shantananda Saraswati


These books are available from the Study Society at or email

A Lasting Freedom22 A Lasting Freedom - Cover

Two New York lectures given by Francis Roles as an introduction to meditation and non-duality. These two lectures provide an introduction to the system of meditation and the non-dual teaching of Shantananda 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.



Voyage of Discovery23 Voyage of Discovery - Cover

Sayings and teachings of Francis Roles. These extracts from papers and meetings given by Francis Roles offer a remarkable anthology of the spiritual journey that he made and how the fundamental ideas of P.D. Ouspensky’s Fourth Way system became transformed in the light of the non-dual teaching of H.H. Shantananda Saraswati.



The Orange Book – A Method of Self-RealizationOrange Book cover

H.H. Shantananda Saraswati explains the way of Bhakti — a complete and practical method of Self-realisation. In a unique series of talks and answers to questions H.H. Shantananda Saraswati explains the transformative practice of Bhakti, the emotional realisation of Unity in the midst of life.



Good CompanyGood Company - cover

An anthology of the wisdom of His Holiness Shantananda Saraswati. The aim of this anthology – drawn from audiences with His Holiness Shantananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math – is to provide refreshment, clarity of heart and mind, and the recollection of important ideas.
“Unless one has rest in love and happiness one cannot survive, just as the body cannot survive without sleep. Meditation is to provide rest. To take people to bliss is simply to give them rest – rest with the Self – so that they may have new and fresh mornings of life”.


Good Company IIGood Company II - Cover

A further anthology of sayings, stories and answers to questions by H.H. Shantananda Saraswati. The aim of this further anthology – drawn from audiences with His Holiness Shantananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math – is to provide refreshment, clarity of heart and mind, and the recollection of important ideas.
“With ordinary knowledge we identify ourselves with things or events and so experience pleasure or pain. But behind the structure of such knowledge flows the true Knowledge which does not bind one. This is Spiritual Knowledge which helps us to rise above the results of pleasure and pain and enjoy bliss whilst in the midst of actions.”


The Man Who Wanted to Meet God02 The Man Who Wanted to Meet God - Cover

Stories and commentaries taken from talks by His Holiness Shantananda Saraswati. A unique collection of stories, myths and illustrations used by H.H. Shantananda Saraswati to leaven the knowledge of Unity and help make it a practical reality.
“These stories – simple, lucid, and enlivening – are like the purest water, drawn from the inexhaustible spring of Vedic wisdom, of which His Holiness is one of the very few authorised custodians. The fruit of this wisdom is nothing less than God – realization – a life of unlimited love and happiness beyond all description” – Alistair Shearer


The Bridge 14 – Dr F.C. Roles

This special edition of The Bridge celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr Francis Roles with contributions from many of the people who worked with him under the tutelage of both P.D. Ouspensky and H.H. Shantananda Saraswati.

 Posted by on 30th July 2013 at 16:34

The Record of Shankaracharya Audiences – History


History of the Record of Audiences & Correspondence
with His Holiness Shantananda Saraswati
Shankaracharya of Jyotish Peeth

The Record of Audiences & Correspondence with HH Shantananda Saraswati is the verbatim account of the journey towards Self-realisation undertaken by Dr Francis Roles and a small group of his followers based in London. From 1961 to 1993 their guide on this journey was the Shankaracharya of Jyotish Peeth, Swami Shantananda Saraswati, one of the four heads of the Advaita school of philosophy, extensively reformed by Adi Shankara around 800 AD, but which had existed as far back as 1500-3000 BC.

Francis Roles, a Consultant Paediatrician at Barts Hospital, London, was a leading pupil of the Russian philosopher P D Ouspensky who had evolved an eclectic system of profoundly practical self knowledge aimed at discovering the truth — a single fundamental truth that will fully answer the perennial questions, ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What is the world?’

Ouspensky believed and demonstrated that real answers to such questions could only be found and understood by those who had learnt, in practice, to increase their level of being and consciousness. He was convinced that the original source of his system and the practical methods to ensure its success were to be found in the Indian Vedic tradition. Following Ouspensky’s death in 1947 and after thirteen years of searching for a living exponent of such a tradition, Francis Roles met the Shankaracharya in 1961.

The Shankaracharya described his tradition as a beacon light which was kept always alive to guide all genuine seekers after truth, regardless of race or creed. Every Shankaracharya has demonstrably to be a master of all six systems of Indian philosophy (Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta) in order to be able to answer any question in terms  that the questioner can best understand. These six systems encompass all human means of understanding, intellectual, emotional and physical, and any genuine living exponent will manifest as a human being who has learnt to allow a universal consciousness to  permanently transcend their own limitations. This teaching allows any sincere aspirant to build and establish an effective daily practice perfectly suited to their individual needs and talents.

When Francis Roles met the Shankaracharya in 1961 he had already spent many years establishing the disciplines recommended by Ouspensky: impartial self-observation (self- remembering), consciously directed attention, the abandonment of negative emotions and a constant practice of inner prayer. Added to these was the ancient Raja yoga method of meditation he had more recently learnt from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. But, he said, his efforts had not yet taken him all the way and it was only when he was able to practice meditation under the Shankaracharya’s personal guidance that he began to experience the full benefit of all these methods.

At that visit, his first extended experience of full samadhi, lasting ten hours or so, marked a threshold in his spiritual development that allowed the relationship with the Shankaracharya to develop and prosper for the next twenty years. Not only did it become the lifeblood of his London school, enabling many others to follow on the same practical path, but the knowledge he acquired formed the foundation of a unique synthesis of Eastern and Western understanding. In this synthesis, philosophy and science, medicine and magic, religion and secular culture, become harmoniously aligned and rejoined to reveal their common source as one, single, universal consciousness — in a reunification of the whole human endowment that has not prevailed in western culture since early Greek civilisation.

Visiting the Shankaracharya almost every year, Francis Roles was accompanied by members of the school, firstly Robert Allan (later to become Lord Allan of Kilmahew) and his wife, Maureen, and then by William Whiting, head of the School of Meditation and by Dr David Connell. In later years, Professor Richard and Elizabeth Guyatt, Dr Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick and Roy and Heather Jacob made visits. Members of the school in New Zealand, notably Nolan and Bridget Howitt and Michael and Gillian Harris, made several visits of their own. All these people brought not only their own questions but those from members of the school at home as well.

The Record, consisting of more than a thousand pages, contains the accounts of 28 separate visits to the Shankaracharya, most by Francis Roles accompanied by members of his school, several by representatives of the School of Meditation and several by the New Zealand school, and also a few visits by individuals authorised by Francis Roles. Initially, each visit would last about a fortnight with audiences being given once or twice a day. Over the years the visits became shorter.

The questions and answers cover all aspects of the path of Advaita undertaken by those who may individually need to start their approach by the paths of Jnana, Bhakti, Karma or Yoga. Every page shines with insight into the essential unity of the universe and the individual, of cosmology and psychology, revealing in simple and always practical terms the inner nature and complex mechanism of the human mind and soul and how it may best surmount the personal obstacles that always arise in any genuine search for truth.

The rarity and unique value of the Shankaracharya and his words cannot be adequately conveyed except by becoming familiar with his knowledge and advice and by then applying it to our individual existence. Lord Allan, on first meeting the Shankaracharya, wrote:

Looking at him to-day I suddenly saw that God became Man in Christ.  This was the whole point. There is no object in expecting to find a God amongst men, but one can find a man with the qualities of God, and all men have the qualities of God in varying degrees.

In London, Francis Roles maintained a ‘school of the Fourth Way’ as had Ouspensky before him. In a post-war England, esoteric philosophy and practical spiritual endeavour were still generally regarded with a mixture of suspicion and derision. The Study Society was originally conceived as an unassuming physical footprint in the material world set up to service the mundane requirements of a group of people who wished to come together free of unwanted publicity and interference. It took the form of a Friendly Society, a simple shell, dedicated only to serving the school and the needs of its members, its object simply to pay the bills associated with maintaining a meeting house and to deal with worldly bureaucracy. The inner school and the outward Society were clearly distinguished separate entities in much the same way as the ‘registered office’ of a trading company may have only a specific and limited role in the company’s actual work.

After Francis Roles’s death in 1982 and in response to changing attitudes in the outside world the Society began to develop a new, open and embracing approach. Activities gradually diversified into semi-autonomous streams — classical Advaita in the form of the Shankaracharya’s teaching, Neo-advaita, Francis Roles’s synthesis of the Fourth Way, the Mevlevi Whirling Dervishes, Qi Gong, Yoga and Bharatanatyam — all of which now shelter under the widened umbrella of the Study Society.

Anticipating such diversification, Francis Roles was determined to ensure as far as he was able that the Shankaracharya Record, until then a genuinely esoteric text, should remain freely available in its original form to anyone who wished to benefit from it. He was adamant that no individual or body of people could or should claim to own this source of wisdom. The Shankaracharya’s words came directly from the Absolute and were for the benefit of the whole of humanity. The necessary attitude for maintaining the integrity of the text and its free availability was one of minimal, effective guardianship, not ownership. Consequently, as well as leaving copies of his Record for the use of the Society, he also made copies available to a number of individuals.

In the 80s and 90s the Society produced several digests and compilations from the Record. These include Good Company 1 & 2, The Man Who Wanted to Meet God (a collection of the Shankaracharya’s teaching stories), The Orange Book — A Method of Self-realisation (the teaching on Param-Atman, collected by the New Zealand school) and compilations on the subjects of Life and Death and Prayer. William Anderson, the poet, Dr James Witchalls, Dr Wendy Roles, Alan Caiger-Smith, the potter, and other members collaborated to produce what have proved to be perennially popular publications. During the same period a great deal of work on rationalising and indexing the original texts in order to produce material for the Society’s study groups was carried out by Lady Maureen Allan and other members working under her direction.

In 2000, the first complete collection of the original unedited texts of Audiences and Correspondence comprising a set of four volumes was published in a small limited edition for ‘members, associates and friends of the Society’ by Anthony Kedros and Gerald Beckwith under their imprint of Starnine Media. The Society also produced the first digital version of the majority of the audiences in database form on a CD.

In 2009 Richard and Jenny Beal implemented the first online version of the Record based on the work of Maureen Allan. This was made available to members and associates of the Society on the Society’s website. In 2010, audiences which had been omitted from the Allan version were added from the Starnine Media version.

In 2016 the complete Starnine Media urtext edition was implemented by Richard Beal as an easily accessible digital archive for the Ouspensky Today website, which represents the continuation of Francis Roles’s stream of the Fourth Way teaching. Jenny Beal then carried out a major project to create a new set of comprehensive indexes, making it easy for anyone to find the particular inspiration and guidance they may seek. For the first time special indexes for different spiritual paths – Ouspensky’s Fourth Way, Devotion, Non-duality, Action – provide direction to the relevant aspects of the Shankaracharya’s teaching.

This 2016 urtext edition of the Record, now under the joint guardianship of the Study Society and Starnine Media, is publicly available on and will soon be available on the Society’s website

Return to The Record of Shankaracharya Audiences.

 Posted by on 23rd November 2016 at 13:53

The Record of Shankaracharya Audiences

The Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, His Holiness Shantanand Saraswati

The Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math,
His Holiness Shantanand Saraswati

1960 – 1993

All Rights Reserved

Indexes: © Jenny Beal 2016

What is the Record of Shankaracharya Audiences? Read the history.

Index: Complete word list
Alphabetical index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Special indexes: Stories ~ Ouspensky ~ Devotion ~ Non-duality ~ Action

Use the indexes above or see below to go directly to the part you wish to read.
Click on the page number to open the PDF document. With most browsers it will open in a new tab at the exact page.
The indexes are continually improved. If you find any errors in the indexes please let us know:

i-xivNotes. Facsimile page. Table of Contents. Dr Francis Roles.
1-8Return to the Source, 1960. June 1961
9-28Correspondence June 1961 - September 1962
29-37Audiences in Allahabad October 1962, 2 October - 7 October
38-47Audiences in Allahabad October 1962, 9 October - 12 October
48-59Audiences in Allahabad October 1962, 14 October - 17 October
60-69Audiences in Allahabad October 1962, 18 October - 22 October
70-78Audiences in Allahabad October 1962, 23 October - 25 October
79-92Correspondence November 1962 - November 1963
93-98Audience in Mathura November 1963, 29 November
99-106Correspondence September 1963 - June 1964
107-117Audiences in Lucknow August - September 1964, 8 August - 10 August
118-125Audiences in Lucknow August - September 1964, 11 August - 12 August
126-132Audiences in Lucknow August - September 1964, 13 August - 14 August
133-142Audiences in Lucknow August - September 1964, 14 August - 17 August
143-150Audiences in Lucknow August - September 1964, 18 August - 20 August
151-161Audiences in Lucknow August - September 1964, 22 August - 26 August
162-171Audiences in Lucknow August - September 1964, 27 August - 29 August
172-184Audiences in Lucknow August - September 1964, 30 August - 2 September
185-194Audiences in Lucknow August - September 1964, 3 September - 5 September
195-203Audiences in Lucknow August - September 1964, 7 September - 8 September
204-216Correspondence September 1964 - September 1965
217-225Audiences in Allahabad October 1965, 11 October - 13 October
226-236Audiences in Allahabad October 1965, 14 October - 16 October
237-248Audiences in Allahabad October 1965, 18 October - 21 October
249-258Audiences in Allahabad October 1965, 21 October - 23 October
259-269Audiences in Allahabad October 1965, 23 October - 26 October
270-280Audiences in Allahabad October 1965, 26 October - 28 October
281-287Audiences in Allahabad October 1965, 29 October - 31 October
288-296Correspondence November 1965 - April 1967
297-309Audiences in Allahabad October - November 1967, 29 October - 31 October
310-323Audiences in Allahabad October - November 1967, 31 October - 3 November
324-334Audiences in Allahabad October - November 1967, 4 November - 5 November
335-346Audiences in Allahabad September 1968, 13 September - 16 September
347-357Audiences in Allahabad September 1968, 17 September - 20 September
358-372Audiences in Allahabad September 1968, 23 September - 25 September. Appendix
373-386Correspondence January - November 1969. Audience in Allahabad January 1970
387-398Audiences in Allahabad January 1970, 20 January - 23 January
399-403Audiences in Allahabad January - February 1970, 23 January
404-414Audiences in Allahabad January - February 1970, 24 January - 26 January
415-423Audiences in Allahabad January - February 1970, 27 January - 28 January
424-431Audiences in Allahabad January - February 1970, 29 January - 30 January
432-444Audiences in Allahabad January - February 1970, 31 January - 1 February. Correspondence February 1970
445-452Audiences in Allahabad March 1970, 7 March - 8 March
453-465Audiences in Allahabad March 1970, 9 March - 10 March
466-480Correspondence April 1970 - January 1971
481-487Audiences in Allahabad January - February 1971, 28 January - 29 January
488-500Audiences in Allahabad January - February 1971, 30 January - 3 February
501-506Audiences in Allahabad January - February 1971, 4 February - 6 February
507-513Audiences in Allahabad January - February 1971, 8 February - 9 February
514-524Correspondence February 1971 - June 1971
525-531Correspondence June 1971 - January 1972. New Year Programme 1972
532-544Correspondence January 1972 - May 1972
545-554Correspondence April 1972 - September 1972
555-564Audiences in Allahabad October 1972, 3 October - 5 October
565-575Conversations with Dandi Swami, 6 October - 7 October
576-585Conversations with Dandi Swami, 8 October - 10 October
586-598Conversations with Dandi Swami, 11 October - 13 October. Correspondence
599-610Correspondence November 1972 - February 1973
611-620Correspondence February 1973 - November 1973
621-626Audience in Allahabad November 1973, 9 November
627-638Audiences at Allahabad January 1974, 16 January - 18 January
639-652Audiences at Allahabad January 1974, 19 January - 21 January
653-662Audiences at Allahabad January 1974, 22 January - 24 January
663-676Correspondence February - September 1974
677-687Audiences in Allahabad September 1974, 20 September - 24 September
688-694Audiences in Allahabad September 1974, 26 September - 28 September
695-706Correspondence October 1974 - September 1975
707-718Audiences in Allahabad September 1975, 21 September - 23 September
719-729Audiences in Allahabad September 1975, 24 September - 26 September
730-737Audiences in Allahabad September 1975, 27 September - 29 September
738-740Correspondence October 1975 - January 1976
741-751Audiences in Allahabad January 1976, 18 January - 20 January
752-763Audiences in Allahabad January 1976, 21 January - 23 January
764-778Audiences in Allahabad January 1976, 28 January - 30 January. Paper from the Shankaracharya
779-792Correspondence January 1976 - September 1976
793-803Audiences in Allahabad October - November 1977, 25 October - 27 October
804-813Audiences in Allahabad October - November 1977, 28 October - 31 October
814-820Audiences in Allahabad October - November 1977, 1 November - 2 November
821-834Audiences in Allahabad January 1978, 6 January - 9 January
835-843Audiences in Allahabad January 1978, 9 January - 10 January
844-857Audiences in Allahabad January 1978, 11 January - 12 January
858-866Audiences in Allahabad January 1978, 13 January. Correspondence
867-873Audiences in Allahabad August 1979, 20 August - 21 August
874-886Audiences in Allahabad August 1979, 22 August - 25 August
887-900Audiences in Allahabad August - September 1979, 27 August - 29 August
901-910Audiences in Allahabad August - September 1979, 30 August - 31 August
911-920Audiences in Allahabad August - September 1979, 1 September - 2 September
921-926Audiences in Allahabad August - September 1979, 3 September
927-938Audiences in Allahabad December 1979 - January 1980, 21 December - 28 December
939-950Audiences in Allahabad December 1979 - January 1980, 29 December - 30 December
951-962Audiences in Allahabad December 1979 - January 1980, 31 December - 1 January
963-974Audiences in Allahabad January 1980, 20 January - 23 January
975-982Audiences in Allahabad January 1980, 24 January - 25 January
983-998Audiences in Allahabad February 1982, 9 February - 10 February
999-1014Audiences in Allahabad February 1985, 24 February - 26 February
1015-1026Audiences in Allahabad April 1988, 16 April - 18 April
1027-1040Audiences in Allahabad October 1989, 21 October - 23 October
1041-1054Audiences in Allahabad October 1989, 23 October - 25 October
1055-1068Audiences in New Delhi January 1991, 8 January - 10 January
1069-1078Audiences in New Delhi December 1992 - January 1993, 31 December - 1 January
1079-1088Audiences in New Delhi December 1992 - January 1993, 2 January - 3 January. The Hindu, December 7, 1997: Obituary

 Posted by on 23rd March 2016 at 13:55

Ouspensky’s Fourth Way – The new book: more information


Ouspensky's Fourth Way by Gerald Beckwith

Ouspensky’s Fourth Way – The new book: more information

This book is the first published account of the further development of P D Ouspensky’s work during the second half of the 20th century by Dr Francis Roles. The material presented draws deeply on Dr Roles’s papers and correspondence and the teaching of the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, HH Shantananda Saraswati. The practical synthesis of Eastern and Western knowledge that Francis Roles created was illuminated and confirmed at every step by his deep understanding of the Enneagram.

Although Ouspensky has long been recognised as a pioneering genius in the fields of philosophy and psychological self-development, the end of his life has until now remained something of a mystery and for lack of eyewitness accounts has generally been represented by biographers only as a sad decline into ill-health.

For the first time, unpublished accounts of his final years by some of his closest associates demonstrate that, in fact, the last months of Ouspensky’s life were a triumph and a vindication of all the exigencies he had withstood and overcome in his lifelong search for truth. It was an ultimately joyful and transcendent drama that confirmed his brilliant advocacy of the miraculous possibilities of human evolution.

This book tells the story of how Francis Roles established his own school of the Fourth Way in London during the 1950s with the primary aim of finding and re-establishing, according to Ouspensky’s determination, a new, living connection with the ‘inner circle’ – the original source of Gurdjieff’s ‘fragments of an unknown teaching’ that had come to form the basis of Ouspensky’s practical philosophy.

In 1960 he met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and quickly realised that the Maharishi’s new form of transcendental meditation was a real answer to Ouspensky’s requirement for a simple, natural method of ‘Self-remembering’. Soon after, at a training camp in the Himalayas, he was introduced to the Shankaracharya of North India, Maharaj Shantananda Saraswati, in whose person he at last recognised all the criteria Ouspensky had described that would mark out a fully realised man of the inner circle.

For the next twenty years Francis Roles maintained this inspirational relationship and went on to develop a unique, practical synthesis of both eastern and western approaches to self-development – always confirming and relating the knowledge and methods he taught to the framework and ongoing discoveries of 20th century science and medicine.

At the end of his life Ouspensky succeeded not only in attaining his own full Self-realisation but in laying the foundations for a complete reconstruction of his system of knowledge and practice as a method of self-development uniquely fit for the western world in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Additional review

Setting the record straight, by Christopher Allen

No man is without fault but, that said, anyone who has studied the canon of literature concerning the lives of two of the greatest truth seekers of the 20th century—namely G. I. Gurdjieff and P.D. Ouspensky—might be forgiven for thinking that the latter had more than his fair share. Over the years, this Russian writer, philosopher and teacher has been accused of just about everything from being an ineffectual dreamer and a weakling, an overly intellectual upstart who lived off the crumbs of his mentor’s table, having deserted him for no good reason, to ending up as a sad old drunk who lost his way spiritually … Dubious credentials indeed! Even the celebrated writer: Colin Wilson, whilst conceding that Ouspensky was a genius, berates the man’s shortcomings, oddly by drawing on the Russian’s semi-autobiographical first novel by way of justification. Consult Refs [1] and [3] for further details.

Anyway, what are we to make of all this? Well, an interesting new book—as may be gleaned from its title—attempts to set the record straight. Skilfully written by Gerald de Symons Beckwith, beautifully illustrated and supported with useful colour photographs, it is the extraordinary story of the further development and completion of P. D. Ouspensky’s work by Dr Francis Roles of the Study Society in London, providing compelling evidence for a re-appraisal.

The author’s impressive background puts him in perhaps a unique position to throw new light on both the Fourth Way and the iconic Enneagram by drawing on previously unpublished work. As he explains in the Foreword to his book, in his early twenties, Gerald Beckwith joined Dr Francis Roles’ School, re-organised after the death of Ouspensky in 1947, and studied for some 35 years under the tutelage of several of the Russian’s most devoted followers. The author was entrusted to ensure that the essentials of their completion of Ouspensky’s work—for which the foundation was laid during the last years of his life—should be preserved for future generations. And, as becomes evident from its content, Mr Beckwith has succeeded in demonstrating a complete reconstruction of a living system of knowledge tailored to the needs of the Western World in the 20th and 21st centuries—truly a timely new psychology for man’s possible evolution.

Following the Foreword, Ouspensky’s Fourth Way is divided into two main sections, each of nine chapters:
Part 1 – The Making of a School
Part 2 – The Synthesis of a Teaching

In Part 1, the author opens the batting by explaining that the Fourth Way is an ancient Non –dual philosophical teaching—similar to Advaita Vedanta and Eastern in origin—that was NOT invented by George Gurdjieff as is generally supposed and how it was introduced to the West by the latter’s foremost student PD Ouspensky.

The author proceeds to describe in detail what constitutes a School of the Fourth Way and recounts how Ouspensky set up his in the UK in the early 1930s using properties such as Colet House in London and Lyne Place in Surrey, having broken with Gurdjieff in 1924. Ouspensky attracted an inner circle of devoted followers, most notably Dr Roles.

The story gathers in pace as the author details how Ouspensky overcame great personal difficulties to succeed in his lifelong spiritual quest in dramatic fashion shortly before his death at Lyne Place in 1947. In this connection, there is fascinating material on Time and Recurrence—Ouspensky’s obsessional interests since childhood.

In addition to the importance of re-connecting with the source of the teaching, Ouspensky was aware that something—a simple and natural process—was missing from the Fourth Way, points he stressed to his inner circle and that Dr Roles never forgot.

In 1951, by registering the Study Society, Dr Roles set up his own School of the Fourth Way to continue the work. His organisation expanded over the next ten years and he became involved with such formidable characters as Leon MacLaren and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi whose mantra based form of meditation, Roles identified as the missing ingredient. According to Gerald Beckwith, relationships between these highly influential figures were far less cordial than is generally supposed. Some readers may be offended by some of the shocking revelations. Nevertheless, the author appears to be even handed in his judgment and truthful throughout his narrative.

Part 1 concludes by relating how—through the Maharishi—Dr Roles succeeded in finding the source of the Fourth Way by meeting Shankaracharya Shantananda Saraswati in India with whom he formed a twenty year relationship.

The author also stresses the importance of meditation and explains the approach in detail.

Part 2 consists of a detailed exposition of Ouspensky’s re-constructed and completed work. It is necessarily more technical than Part 1 but is nonetheless equally as interesting and in Chapter 9–Towards an Enneagram Psychology—contains material that this reviewer has never previously encountered.

The controversy surrounding the conflict between Gurdjieff and his foremost student will, no doubt, continue unabated as is well illustrated in Ref [2]. Nevertheless, this book has some nuggets which offer interesting new perspectives on Ouspensky’s true character and the nature of his work.

When asked by Dr Roles whether a detailed exposition of Ouspensky’s Fourth Way was identical to Advaita Vedanta, the then Shankaracharya of Northern India replied: “Yes, there couldn’t possibly be any difference.”

The doorman of the New York restaurant who commented: “I can’t understand his books but Mister Ouspensky is the only really kind man I ever met.”

The fact that, following their breakup, Ouspensky was never heard to make disparaging remarks about his mentor whilst Gurdjieff did not reciprocate in kind … very far from it.

The fact that Gurdjieff shamelessly plagiarised ideas from Ouspensky’s early work, embodied them into his version of the Fourth Way and claimed them as his own … some crumbs … some table … providing evidence that Gurdjieff, for all his of charisma, had lost his way by 1924 and, more importantly, contact with the source of the esoteric teaching.

And finally, according to eye witness testimony, Ouspensky attained full realisation of the Self at Lyne Place shortly before his death. In plain English, in spite of immense difficulties, he got the job done. Can the same be said of Gurdjieff?

Potentially a game changer in the genre, this fascinating book is not cheap and requires concentration but it is worth both the effort and the cost. It is bound to upset some people, yet it provides tantalising clues towards the solution of long standing puzzles. I strongly recommend that it is read with an open mind and the fullness of attention … twice.


  1. Colin Wilson: The Strange Life of P.D. Ouspensky originally published in 1993
  2. William Patrick Patterson: Struggle of the Magicians first printed in 1998 Published by Arete Communications Fairfax California
  3. P. D Ouspensky: Strange Life of Ivan Osokin. London: Faber & Faber, 1948 – available from Amazon.

About the Reviewer:
Chris Allen is a Hypnotherapist, Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1

 Posted by on 22nd November 2015 at 17:28

Traditional and Direct Paths


Ouspensky said: ‘What is important to understand is that the Way does not begin on the ordinary level of life; it begins on a higher level.’ He went on to describe ‘a staircase with a number of steps which have to be climbed before the Way can be reached. The Way does not begin at the bottom, but only after the last step has been climbed.’ Ouspensky’s teaching provides a system of knowledge and practical methods for ascending the staircase, but he suggests that guidance is needed from what he called the ‘inner circle’ of humanity (Man number 5, 6, or 7) in order to proceed further on the Way towards Self-realisation.

Under the guidance of the Shankaracharya Shantananda Saraswati, Francis Roles followed a traditional path towards an understanding of Advaita (non-duality) and Self-realisation. In the course of this journey, he developed a comprehensive synthesis of the Shankaracharya’s teaching with Ouspensky’s Fourth Way. This has been further refined by his successors. Traditional paths start with a process of purification in which the (apparent) obstacles to realisation of our true nature are gradually dissolved through meditation and other disciplines. This can take many years. Once an aspirant has achieved a certain level of purification, he is led to realisation of his true nature through the guidance and living example of a realised teacher.

The Direct Path is the name given to the teaching of Atmananda Krishnamenon and Ramana Maharshi which was brought to the West by Jean Klein. Present-day Direct Path teachers include Francis Lucille, Greg Goode and Rupert Spira. The Direct Path works quite differently from traditional paths as it starts right away with a simple process of self-enquiry that leads directly to the experiential understanding of our true nature as unlimited, unlocated and ever-present Awareness. This initial step (sometimes known as enlightenment) is followed by a much longer stabilisation process in which this understanding gradually permeates the way we think, feel, sense the body, perceive the world and relate to others (who are no longer seen as ‘others’). Nowadays the Direct Path is regarded by many as a more efficient route to Self-realisation than the traditional paths and one that fits well with a 21st century culture and lifestyle.

Is the staircase really necessary, or would it be possible to follow the Direct Path without any previous spiritual knowledge or practice? There is nothing in the Direct Path teaching that suggests that any preparation is essential although it seems that most of those who come to the Direct Path have previously followed a traditional path or spiritual practices of some kind. While Ouspensky’s Fourth Way system has many of the features of a traditional path, it is unusual in that it always demands refinement and reconstruction of the teaching by each new generation of teachers and students. The Cotswold Experimental Group provides a bridge to the Direct Path as taught by Rupert Spira. It is particularly suitable for those who have followed a traditional path such as Ouspensky’s Fourth Way or the Shankaracharya’s teaching and are now looking for something more.

Return to Cotswold Non-Duality Group.

Return to Cotswold Non-Duality Group Papers.

 Posted by on 27th April 2015 at 14:03

Cotswold Non-Duality Group


The original aim of this group was to continue the experiment of refining and reformulating Ouspensky’s Fourth Way system to see whether and how it can provide a natural preparation for the Direct Path for those drawn to Ouspensky’s teaching. Its main focus now is on the Direct Path teaching of Rupert Spira, using ideas from Ouspensky’s and the Shankaracharya’s teaching when appropriate and helpful.

The group has a two-hour meeting every three weeks during term-time. Meetings are currently held at 1pm on Thursdays but evening or weekend meetings are possible if there is sufficient demand. Meetings take place near Birdlip in Gloucestershire and are free of charge. A short paper is circulated before each meeting. (Previous papers are available from the Library section of this website.) Meetings generally consist of listening to a recording of a guided meditation from Rupert Spira, silent meditation, experiments and discussion mainly centred on gaining an experiential understanding of the material contained in the paper. Where appropriate, we include ideas from other spiritual traditions and from contemporary science. This is complemented by the use of music and poetry to help us discover the reality of ourselves and the world through the feeling-understanding that arises when the logical mind becomes quiet.

The group is suitable both for complete beginners and for those who have previously studied Ouspensky’s or Shantananda Saraswati’s teaching, or any other spiritual tradition. Joining is possible at any time. Group members are encouraged to also attend Rupert Spira’s meetings and retreats.

Those who do not live within travelling distance of Birdlip, Gloucestershire and would like to pursue this line of teaching are welcome to study the papers from the Library and ask questions by email. If you wish to ask questions, please first register by completing the application form below. We do not currently offer live internet-based sessions, but after some initial study of the material, you may wish to join some of Rupert Spira’s live webinars where you can ask a question and have a discussion with him on-line. These are excellent opportunities to obtain expert guidance on the Direct Path.

253 QFH Jenny.
The group is led by Jenny Beal. Jenny was a member of the Study Society for many years where she studied and practised the Fourth Way and learned the Mevlevi turning. More recently, when she met her teacher Rupert Spira, she recognised his Direct Path teaching as the Way for which she had been prepared and an effortless path to the happiness that is our real nature.

If you are interested in joining the Cotswold Experimental Group please fill in this form.
Application Form
* indicates required field

 Posted by on 27th April 2015 at 13:59

Ouspensky’s Fourth Way – The new book


Ouspensky's Fourth Way by Gerald Beckwith

Paperback edition.
408 Pages. 8 colour plates.
ISBN 978-0-9931776-0-6. Price £19.90
To see the contents pages and more click here (PDF).

Prices below include postage to your location: UK, Europe or Worldwide.

UK £22.90


Europe £26.90


World £30.40

To purchase more than one copy and for enquiries about volume and trade purchases, please email

New Light on the Fourth Way

This book is the first published account of the further development of P D Ouspensky’s work during the second half of the 20th century by Dr Francis Roles. The material presented draws deeply on Dr Roles’s papers and correspondence and the teaching of the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, HH Shantananda Saraswati. The practical  synthesis of Eastern and Western knowledge that Francis Roles created was illuminated and confirmed at every step by his deep understanding of the Enneagram.

Here, for the first time and detailed by first hand accounts, it is recorded how at the end of his life Ouspensky succeeded not only in attaining his own full Self-realisation but in laying the foundations for a complete reconstruction of his system of knowledge and practice as a method of self-development uniquely fit for the western world in the 20th and 21st centuries.

More information about the book and a comprehensive review is here.

Reviews and comments about the book are most welcome and can be displayed here. Please send your reviews to

This book is excellent! I’ve been waiting for this book.

Intuitively I knew something “big” happened at the end of P D Ouspensky’s life. The details of what happened at the end were withheld (with good reason) by those who were present. Intimations of what took place were given in James Webb’s book The Harmonious Circle (1987). The author of this new book, Gerald de Symons Beckwith personally knew a few of those who were present at the end of Ouspensky’s life.

This book confirms that P D Ouspensky experienced full Self-realization at the very end of his life. I have always felt that this was the case but to know for sure is very pleasing. The author also shines new light on traditional Fourth Way material. This book is obviously written with care by someone with deep understanding and has some wonderful records of those early times as well as a lot of material on the rebuilding of the “System” under the direction of Dr Francis Roles as well as later very important influences.

Wonderful! Thank you.
Rod Rickwood, Woodend, Victoria, Australia

The book is an excellent summary of The Fourth Way.

Perhaps of most interest to me is the description of Ouspensky’s last few months, previously undetailed for reasons unknown but now clearly described and providing good lessons for all of us. It was delightful and rewarding to read of Dr Roles insecurities and learn and draw lessons for the discussion on “Love thine Enemy” from O’s description and method of describing the enemy.
Robert Gluth, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia

This book relates the extraordinary history of some of the master teachers of the 20th century as well as a profound commentary on their philosophy
John Adago, author of East Meets West.

 Posted by on 22nd April 2015 at 13:00

Our Aim


Ouspensky’s seminal book Tertium Organum documented the start of his life’s work to discover man’s true nature and possibilities through bringing together ideas from Eastern and Western philosophy and science. Dr Francis Roles developed a practical synthesis of Eastern and Western teaching following Ouspensky’s direction. The inspirational relationship that Francis Roles maintained for 20 years with the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, Maharaj Shantananda Saraswati, convinced him that our true nature, and the nature of the universe, is pure unlimited Consciousness and that there is only one Consciousness. All the knowledge, methods and practices taught in this stream of the Fourth Way point directly to this non-dual reality.

The purpose of this website is to provide a comprehensive record of the development of Ouspensky’s teaching by his successors, up to the present day. We aim to give sufficient encouragement and freedom to experiment with the material provided so that individuals can come to their own form of understanding and practice that will effectively dispel habitual misconceptions and beliefs to reveal themselves to be Pure Consciousness.

What we are advocating is not merely an experience that comes and goes but a deeply felt and lasting understanding that persists throughout all conditions of life.

 Posted by on 19th January 2014 at 21:17

Cosmology – Where are we?


Ray of Creation 2The cosmological side of Ouspensky’s teaching is a model of how One, the Absolute, creates a series of ‘worlds within worlds’, living beings of ever increasing complexity and density. It describes the eternal circulation of the pure light of consciousness descending into matter and ascending again from materiality to consciousness.

This process produces a scale of levels of materiality and the four states in which they are experienced — a ‘ray of creation’. Every stage of the picture on the left is a whole living entity, containing all the ones below it just as a human being is made up of organs, cells, molecules etc. — like a set of Russian dolls. This is a holistic view: each individual level is a whole or  ‘holon’, a part of the one above it and containing all the one’s below it.

Ouspensky’s system regards everything in the universe as alive. ‘Life’ is seen as an animating intelligence — matter imbued with consciousness.

Human beings only see ‘life’ in things which live on a scale close to their own. It is not immediately obvious to conceive of a rock or a star as possessing a degree of sentient and intelligent life commensurate with its own space, time and level of energy.

Chakras for CosmologyIn scales or worlds that we cannot directly experience, like the molecular world of our own bodies or the whole universe, we see only ‘matter’ — the world of atoms and elementary particles or the world of stars and galaxies. As yet, science has little conception of the meaning of the scale, perceiving these apparently distant worlds only as matter and energy in dimensions of space and time beyond the reach of living human senses.

As human beings, energy from all the levels of the universe flows continually into and out of us, whether we know it or not. We are, literally, one with everything, filled and sustained by the light of consciousness at every level of our existence. The chakras in the human body can be seen as a miniature reflection of the great Ray of Creation.

The human body/mind, born as part of organic life on earth is naturally subject to the 48 orders of laws which create and sustain this level of reality. Nevertheless, higher levels of reality are available to human beings once they realise that this body-mind is not all that they are. At each higher level of consciousness a number of constraining laws drops away allowing greater freedom and understanding.

Ouspensky’s system teaches that all the levels, all the worlds, are brimming with life and consciousness —where other entities consciously exist as living beings analogous, though different, to ourselves.

Oroborus for CosmologyScience too is now attempting to produce its own unified models of the universe.  One of these, the oroborus, an ancient image of a snake eating its own tail, describes a similar process of the eternal circulation and transformation of energy into matter. The horizontal arrows indicate the relationships found in science between the big and the small: for example, the sun works by nuclear fission so its ‘element’ is the nucleus. Where the ouroboros bites its tail, there is the creation of the universe from elementary particles, expanding and condensing to form the universe we now see.

Humans are almost exactly midway in size between the very big and the very small. Quite probably it is impossible to know the ultimate truth about the universe with only a rational mind but there is no need to despair. We seem to live in a very special place, and maybe it’s only organisms of about our size that can have our special kind of Consciousness, ‘able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth’ – to be able to contemplate the large and the small and themselves.

Eyes are our means of sight for the outer world. One develops an inner eye with true Knowledge. This is the highest state of human intelligence in which the Atman gets flashes of the true Knowledge which is not available by other physical senses. It depends upon the level of Consciousness. At the top, Consciousness comprehends everything, at lower levels according to its level.
HH Shantananda Saraswati 29 August 1964.


 Posted by on 4th January 2014 at 23:10



Conceptual image - thought process. 3dPsychology simply means ‘knowledge of oneself’. But which ‘self’ is that?

Ouspensky’s view is that true psychological insight can only arise from conscious experience. Without awareness, everything just happens automatically — there is no choice. To orient ourselves in our own inner world and explore our own possibilities we have to start from where we actually are — and knowing where we actually are comes down to a single fundamental realization:

The only thing that anyone knows absolutely for sure is that ‘I exist’.

Everything else we know is limited and conditioned by the ‘body/mind’. Science now knows that the whole observable material universe from atoms to galaxies constitutes only about 5% of what is actually there — the rest remains unknown. The same situation is mirrored in the inner world.

fuzzy-feltEvery being creates its own limited world— inside and outside. A bee lives in a bee-world, dogs live in dog-world and human beings live in what everybody agrees is the ‘real’ world — because our human brains and senses extract the same kind of partial information from a much greater world that we do not fully perceive.

Head in airAnd the sense of ‘I’ itself seems to be continually changing.  How I feel, and how much I perceive and understand is always being affected by what appears to be happening in the outside world and in the inner mental/emotional world. What is more, ‘I’ continually forget my own existence because ‘I’ am constantly merging with the objects that attract my attention.

And yet there is also something unchanging at the centre of the feeling of ‘I’.  It may seem to come and go but it is always the same. That feeling is the beginning of freedom from the limitations of the body/mind and its possibilities are literally infinite.

Sun reflectionWhen the ‘I’ becomes still and comes to rest in itself it ‘realizes’ that it is One with everything— All This I Am. Otherwise the awareness of the divine, ‘real’ world remains hidden behind the ever-changing illusion that I am something else.

On the Fourth Way, psychology is the art of allowing higher energy to direct mind, feeling and sense so that they present the divine, complete and eternal world rather than the limited and changing perception of separate personal existence.

YAWYEEnergy comes from food and human beings live on three kinds of food. Solid food and water, air, and impressions.  Absence of any one of these results in death.  Great importance is given to eating healthy food, drinking pure water and breathing good quality air, but little thought is given to the quality of impressions we take in or how they are digested. Digestion is the process of refinement of raw materials to extract energy. Attention is the ‘enzyme’ that promotes the digestion of impressions to produce high quality energy.

‘Self-remembering’ begins with the simple awareness that I am here now. This is a physical and emotional sensation — it is not an idea in the mind. If allowed to develop in stillness, the sense of Self expands from the individual to the Universal.

If we learn to allow it, Nature has provided us with a brain that has the capacity to be conscious of the unity of everything. The first step is to become a witness of the personal world, a silent, non-judgmental observer of one’s own existence.

This is only possible in the present moment. Consciousness, attention and awareness exist only ‘now’. There is no need to look for answers in the past because any really vital understanding of the past is always presented in this moment, here and now.

CaptureTo know our true nature it is necessary to get to know the individual body/mind but only in order to wake up to the fact that it is not ‘me’. The body/mind is designed to be an extraordinarily brilliant servant but it has come to believe it is the Owner. Real change occurs in the body and the feelings; it has very little to do with the mind.

The goal is not to struggle to shape a better personality but simply to know the truth of who I am.  And that is not a process, it is a natural, spontaneous insight and there are no steps.

paradoxSooner or later in the search for truth we encounter a paradox — and the ordinary mind cannot easily accept that something is simultaneously both true not true; it needs a different vantage point, a different energy, to resolve the apparent conflict. Nevertheless, when a paradox arises the truth is not far away.

If you begin to be what you are you will realize everything, but to begin to be what you are you must come out of what you are not.
You are not those thoughts which are turning, turning in your mind: you are not those changing feelings: you are not the different decisions you make and the different wills you have: you are not that separate ego: Well, then, what are you?
You will find when you have come out of what you are not, that the ripple on the water is whispering to you ‘I am That’, the birds in the mango tree are singing to you ‘I am That’, the moon and the stars are shining beacons to you ‘I am That’.
You are in everything in the world and everything in the world is in you since for you it only exists because it is mirrored in you; and at the same time you are that – everything.
HH Shantananda Saraswati.

 Posted by on 21st December 2013 at 15:32