Notable Books

Notable Books 44

Something New

The Masters Speak: An American Businessman Encounters Ashish and Gurdjieff, Seymour B. Ginsburg, Quest Books, TPH, Wheaton, IL 2010, page 308, $18.95.

Notable Books 44 b

We hear of a book that is sometimes referred to as the "sleeper of the year". If so, this book has to be the "Sleeper of the Decade"!  I knew of Seymour ("Sy") from his published articles in the American Theosophist, and his talks he gave at Olcott (Headquarters of the TSA) in Wheaton, IL. I was so impressed that I drove about 8 years ago over to Olcott late afternoons to attend his series of classes  on Gurdjieff and his relation to the TS which lasted until he retreated to Florida. In my classes with Sy, I was impressed at how he could move between Theosophy and Gurdjieff; illustrating similarities and differences. 

Unless you grew to know Sy, you would miss the qualities that made him "someone you should know". He was a well-rounded person, and I thought he was very smart. This was well captured by the Obituary in the recent Quest Journal.  It was written by Sharon Ann Meyer (aka SAM).  It reads:  Seymour B. ("Sy") Ginsburg.  August 27, 1934 - November 14, 2019. Sy, born in Chicago, Illinois, graduated from Northwestern University with degrees in accountancy and law. He was a founder of a predecessor business and the first president of Toys "R" Us, and for many years he was involved in commodities trading. In 1978 he met guru Sri Madhava Ashish in the Indian Himalayas and documented his experience in this book In Search of the Unitive Vision (now published by Quest as the book under review). While studying with the guru, he learned about the Stanzas of Dzyan and significance of the Mahatmas. At that time he was also advised to work with the Gurdjieff teaching.  Sy served as president of the TS Lodge in Deerfield Beach, FL, for many years. A 40 year student of the teachings of Gurdjieff and Theosophy, he was also co-founder of the Gurdjieff Institute of FL and one of the founders of the All & Everything International Humanities Conference. Sy authored several books, including Gurdjieff Unveiled:  An Introduction to the Teachings of Gurdjieff, and he facilitated numerous courses, study groups, and webinars, including the Fourth Way Online Work Group.  

The book is an easy read, but I found you can't hurry. I read 5-10 pages and then stopped for a day.  I then re-read heavily marking it up and set it aside  for another day. Lastly, I re-read the marked parts and took notes forming a summary. I wish now that I had had this "summary" for the classes Sy taught because much of it fit well with his handouts. 

The first half of the book is the most exciting. I tells how Sy found his guru (I think he would dispute this phasing). I had heard and read this story a number of times, but it is always a synchronicity event. Many lessons are given by Sy as he does his pilgrimages to see Sri Madhava Ashish. The second half of the book are collected items; many of which are edited papers or notes that Sy worked with from mainly Madhava. This includes topics such as Uninitiated, the Guru, What can be taught, and Ashish's view on Masters.   

Something Old

Man, The Measure of All Things, Sri Krishna Prem and Sri Madhava Ashish, & Man, Son of Man, Sri Madhava Ashish.  Both books are from TPH with an edition date around 1970. There are numerous copies on the used book market.

Notable Books 44 c

Notable Books 44 d

These two books have been reviewed many times by numerous theosophists. When I joined the TS, then National President Dora Kunz, suggested I read these two books before I read The Secret Doctrine. It is ironic that the best review I now could give is by "Sy" himself.(see review above)  This is a short paragraph on page 7 in his book.  He writes: I asked some Theosophists if there was a book that could help me understanding Blavatsky's magnum opus. "Of course", came the answer. I was handed two books that seemed to make up a set.  One was called Man, the Measure of All Things, and the other, Man, Son of Man. The first was by Sri Krishna Prem and Sri Madhave Ashish, the second by Sri Madhave Ashish only.  

If by some chance, you haven't read this two volume set, I would suggest you read Sy's book first. This includes the suggested reading three times with notes. I then think you will find the above two books to be of great value. 

Notable books is a series compiled by Dr. Ralph Hannon.

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