Raphael, who has attained a synthesis of Knowledge (not to be confused with eclecticism nor with syncretism), aims at “presenting” the Universal Tradition in its many Eastern and Western expressions. He has spent a substantial number of years writing and publishing books on the spiritual experience; his works include commentaries on the Qabbalah, Hermeticism and Alchemy. He has also commented upon and compared the Orphic Tradition with the works of Plato, Parmenides and Plotinus. Raphael is also the author of several books on the pathway of non-duality (Advaita), which he has translated from the original Sanskrit, offering commentaries on a number of key Vedantic texts.
With reference to Platonism, Raphael, in his Initiation into the Philosophy of Plato, has highlighted the fact that if we were to draw a parallel between Shankara’s Advaita Vedanta and a Traditional Western Philosophical Vision we could refer to the Vision presented by Plato. Drawing such a parallel does not imply a search for reciprocal influences, but rather it points to something of paramount importance, a sole Truth inherent in the doctrines (teachings) of several great thinkers, who although far apart in time and space, have reached similar and in some cases even identical conclusions.
One notices how Raphael’s writings aim to manifest and underscore the Unity of Tradition, under the metaphysical perspective. This does not mean that he is in opposition to the dualistic perspective, to the various religious faiths, or “points of view”. An embodied real metaphysical Vision cannot oppose anything, and what counts for Raphael is the unveiling through living and being, of that degree of Truth which one has been able to contemplate.
It is in the light of the Unity of Tradition that Raphael’s writings and commentaries offer the reader’s intuition precise points of correspondence between the Eastern and Western Teachings. These points of reference are useful for those who want to address a comparative Doctrinal study and to enter the spirit of the Unity of Teaching.
For those who follow either the Eastern or the Western traditional line these correspondences help in comprehending how the Philosophia Perennis (Universal Tradition), which has no history and has not been formulated by human minds as such, «comprehends universal truths that do not belong to any people or any age». It is only for lack of “comprehension” or of “synthetic vision” that one particular Branch is considered the only reliable one. From this position there can be but opposition and fanaticism. What degenerates the Doctrine is sentimental, fanatical devotionalism as well as proud intellectualism, which is critical and sterile, dogmatic and separative.
In Raphael’s words: «For those of us who aim at Realization, it is our task to get to the essence of every Doctrine, because we know that as Truth is one, so Tradition is one even if, just like Truth, Tradition may be viewed from a plurality of apparently different points of view. We must abandon all disquisitions concerning the phenomenal process of becoming, and move onto the plane of Being. In other words: we must have a Philosophy of Being as the foundation of our search and of our realization». Raphael interprets the spiritual practice as a “Path of Fire”. Here is what he writes: «...The “Path of Fire” is the pathway each disciple follows in all branches of Tradition; it is the Way of Return. Therefore, it is not the particular teaching of an individual, nor a path parallel to the one and only Main Road... After all, every disciple follows his own “Path of Fire”, no matter which Branch of Tradition he belongs to».
For Raphael it is important to express through living and being the truth that one has been able to contemplate. The expression of thought and action must be coherent and in agreement with each being’s own and specific dharma.
After more than thirty-five years of teaching, both oral and written, Raphael is now dedicating himself only to those people who wish to be “doers” rather than “sayers”, according to St. Paul’s expression.
Raphael is connected with the matha founded by Sri Adi Shankara at Sringeri and Kancipuram as well as with the Ramana Ashram at Tiruvannamalai.
Founder of the Ashram Vidya Order, he now dedicates himself entirely to the spiritual practice. He lives in a hermitage connected to the Ashram and devotes himself completely to a vow of silence.