Books by Disciples
Our Life With Mr. Gurdjieff
By Thomas and Olga de Hartmann.
De Hartmann wrote Our Life with Mr. Gurdjieff together with his
wife Olga de Hartmann who was Gurdjieff′s personal secretary for many years.
After her husband′s death, Olga collected many of Gurdjieff′s early talks in the
book Views from the Real World.
"Hartmann and his wife were both disciples of Gurdjieff.
Hartmann was a musician and played for Gurdjieff′s dances. Gurdjieff used
dances as meditations, not only for the disciples but even for the people who
saw the disciples dancing.
In New-York when he performed for the first time, Hartmann was playing the
piano, the disciples were dancing, and the moment when Gurdjieff shouted
"Stop!"... It was a stop exercise - not you Geet Bharti, you go on
writing... When Gurdjieff shouted "Stop!" the dancers really
stopped. In the middle of a dance! They were just on the edge of the stage.
They all fell on top of one another, on the floor, but still nobody moved! The
audience was awestruck. They could not believe that people could be so
obedient. Hartmann wrote the book Our Life With Gurdjieff and it is a
beautiful description by a disciple. It will be helpful to anyone who is on
(Osho - Books I have Loved)
Thomas de Hartmann
1917 was to be traumatic for Russian aristocrats - the Revolution would kill many, drive survivors from their homes, deprive them of their fortunes and titles. Yet
Thomas and Olga de Hartmann quite willingly gave up their aristocratic status for quite another kind of revolution: the inner insurrection, wherein the true Self
overthrows the false self. Thomas de Hartmann was born to privilege on his family′s estate, near Kiev in the Ukraine. A composer who was later to collaborate
with Gurdjieff in the composition of sacred music, he graduated from the St. Petersburg conservatory, under the direction of Rimsky-Korsakov, in 1903, as well as
graduating from military school. In 1906 de Hartmann married Olga Arkadievna de Schumacher, the daughter of a high government official. In 1907 Thomas′s ballet
"The Scarlet Flower" was performed by the Imperial Opera with Nijinsky in the cast; in the audience was the Tsar himself. Impressed, the Tsar authorized
Thomas de Hartmann′s release from active service in the Guards so that he could concentrate on composition. Both Thomas and Olga de Hartmann had deep family
connections in Germany, and from 1908 to 1912 they lived primarily in Munich, where Thomas studied with Wagner′s student Felix Mottl, director of the Munich
Opera. There Thomas came into contact with the youthful energies of modern art, taking in the first great exhibition of van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cezanne and becoming
close friends with the painter Kandinsky. In Munich the de Hartmanns brought into focus an interest that had always been hovering in the background for both of them:
the esoteric and spirituality. They began with Blavatsky′s doctrine and later had an intriguing experience with spiritualism, but they felt no indubitable
quality of realness in the usual theosophical suspects.
(Taken from "Gurdjieff" by John Shirley - Kindle Edition)
Then Thomas′s friend Andrei Zakharoff, a mathematician, told them about a startling new teaching, and in due course he introduced first Thomas and then Olga to
G. I. Gurdjieff.
"Mr. Gurdjieff," Olga wrote, in ′Our Life with Mr. Gurdjieff′, "was an unknown person, a mystery. Nobody knew about his teaching,
nobody knew his origin or why he appeared in Moscow and St. Petersburg."
They followed this mystery for the next twelve years, through the social minefield of the Russian Revolution; into and out of poverty several times; and through many
adventures in Armenia, Turkey, Europe, and America.
By P. D. Ouspensky
"This book was written by P.D. Ouspensky, a disciple of
Gurdjieff who betrayed him. I did not want to include it because of this
betrayal, but the book was written before he betrayed his Master so finally I
decided to include it. The name of the book is In Search of the Miraculous.
It is tremendously beautiful, more so because it was written
by a man who was only a disciple, who himself had not known. Not only was he a
disciple but later on a Judas, the man who betrayed Gurdjieff. It is strange,
but the world is full of strange things.
Ouspensky′s book represents Gurdjieff far more clearly than Gurdjieff′s own.
Perhaps in a certain state of being Gurdjieff had taken possession of
Ouspensky and used him as a medium, just as I am using Geet Bharti as my
medium. Right now he is writing the notes and with my half-closed eyes I am
watching everything. I can watch even with closed eyes. I am just a watcher, a
watcher on the hills. I have no other work left but to watch."
(Osho - Books I have Loved)
In her book "Undiscovered Country", Kathryn Hulme
writes: "In the opening chapters when Ouspensky described his initial encounters
and conversations with the master, it seemed as if I were hearing Gurdjieff talk
again, minus his accent and abbreviated locutions, and in much greater detail
than he had ever revealed to the Rope. There were brilliant clarifications of
things that had always puzzled me. I saw, for the first time, the scope of
Gurdjieff′s concept, mathematically formulated and diagrammed, a picture of the
universe from Godhead to Man, every part of the chain ordered and connected, "As
above, so below..." Below - all the way down from God′s omnipotence through suns
and planets to earth and to the sentient atom of humanity that was I, a part of
the immense design."
By P. D. Ouspensky
"Second is P.D.
Ouspensky′s Tertium Organum
. It is a miracle that he wrote it before he
had even heard of Gurdjieff. He wrote it before he knew what he was writing.
He understood it himself only afterwards, on meeting Gurdjieff. His first
words to George Gurdjieff were: "Looking into your eyes I have understood
. Although I have written it, now I can say that it has
been written through me by some unknown agency I was not aware of."
Perhaps it was that rascal Gurdjieff who wrote it through him, or maybe
somebody else whom the Sufis call the Ultimate Rascal, who has been doing
miracles - miracles like Tertium Organum
The title means ′the third canon of thought′. The Sufis give that ultimate
agency a name; it is not a person but only a presence. I can feel that
presence right now, here... this very moment. They call it a certain name,
because everything has to be given a name, but I will not say it, not in the
presence of this beauty, this splendor... of this exuberance... of this
exaltation... of this ecstasy.
I said it is a miracle that Ouspensky could write
of the greatest books in any language of the world. In fact it is said, and
rightly so - remember, I emphasize and repeat, rightly so - that there are
only three great books: the first is Organum
written by Aristotle; the
second is The Second Organum
written by Bacon; and the third, by P.D.
Ouspensky, Tertium Organum
. ′Tertium′ means third. And Ouspensky has,
very mischievously - and only a saint can be so mischievous - introduced the
book by saying, without any ego, simply and humbly, that "the first exists but
not before the third. The third existed even before the first came into
Ouspensky seems to have been spent, totally and utterly spent, into
, because he never could reach to the same height again. Even
reporting Gurdjieff in In Search of the Miraculous
he has not attained
to the same height. When he betrayed Gurdjieff he tried finally to create
something better than Tertium. As his last effort he wrote The
but failed utterly. The book is good, good for any university
curriculum. You can see I have my own ways of condemning a thing.The Fourth Way
can be part of a regular curriculum in a university
course, but more than that it is nothing. Although he was trying to do his
best it is the worst book that Ouspensky has written. It was his last book.
That is the difficulty with all that is great: if you try, you miss. It comes
effortlessly or not at all. It has visited him in Tertium Organum
he was not even aware of it. The words in Tertium are so powerful one
cannot believe that the author is unenlightened, that he is still looking for
a master, that he is still searching for the truth.
I was a poor student, working the whole day as a journalist - that is the
worst job you can do, but that′s what was available to me at the time - and I
was in such need that I had to join a night college. So the whole day I worked
as a journalist, and at night I went to college. In a way my name belongs to
the night. Rajneesh means the moon: rajni means the night, eesh means God -
God of the night.
So people used to laugh and say, "This is strange: you
work the whole day, and go to study at night. Are you trying to fulfill your
name?" Now I can answer them, yes - write it in capital letters - YES, I have
been trying to fulfill it my whole life. What else can be more beautiful than to
be the full moon? So as a poor student in those days, I used to work the whole
day. But I am a crazy man, rich or poor does not matter.
I have never liked to read books borrowed from others. In fact I hate even
borrowing from a library, because a library book is like a prostitute. I hate
to see the marks, the underlining of other people. I always love the fresh,
the snow-white freshness. Tertium Organum
was a costly book. In India, in those days, I was
getting a salary of only seventy rupees each month, and by coincidence the
book cost exactly seventy rupees - but I purchased it. The bookseller was
amazed. He said, "Even the richest man in our community cannot afford it. For
five years I have been keeping it to sell, and nobody has purchased it. People
come and look at it, then drop the idea of buying. How can you, a poor
student, working the whole day and studying at night, working almost
twenty-four hours each day, how can you afford it?"
I said, "This book I can purchase even if I have to pay for it with my life.
Just reading the first line is enough. I have to have it whatsoever the cost."
That first sentence I had read in the introduction was, "This is the third
canon of thought, and there are only three. The first is that of Aristotle;
the second of Bacon, and the third, my own." I was thrilled by Ouspensky′s
daring, that he said, "The third existed even before the first." That was the
sentence that caught fire in my heart.
I gave the bookseller my whole month′s salary. You cannot understand, because
for that whole month I had to almost starve. But it was worth it. I can
remember that beautiful month: no food, no clothes - not even shelter;
because I could not pay the rent I was thrown out of my small room. But I was
happy with Tertium Organum
under the sky. I read that book under a
street lamp - it is a confession - and I have lived that book. That book is
so beautiful, and more so now that I know that the man did not know at all.
How could he have managed it then? It must have been a conspiracy of the gods,
something from the beyond. I cannot resist anymore from using the name the
Sufis use; they call it khidr. Khidr is the agency that guides those who need
Books I have Loved)
Peter D. Ouspensky
(also Piotr Dimianovich Ouspenskii) was born in Moscow in
1878 and died in England in 1947. He was a Russian philosopher, a mystic, a
mathematician of considerable calibre, a journalist and a prolific writer of
several books about possible higher dimensions of our universe, even before
meeting Gurdjieff. His first book The Fourth Dimension
1909, his second book Tertium Organum
in 1912 and
A New Model of
the Universe in 1914. This last work made him known all over the world.
He was convinced that there were centers in the world where the knowledge and
wisdom he had written about were preserved from a very remote age, and he went
looking for them, travelling extensively in Europe and the East. His endeavour
wasn′t very successful and he returned to Russia only to find that what he had
been looking for far away from home was right there in his own country not far
from where he lived. Ouspensky meets G. I. Gurdjieff in St. Petersburg, Russia,
in 1915 and from then on it is his task to lucidly explain and integrate into
a logical system, the raw materials given to him by his Master. He does this
to the best of his ability in the book he is perhaps most famous for, namely
In Search of the Miraculous, published posthumously in 1947. Experts
agree that this book is the clearest and best exposition of the teachings of
Gurdjieff as he taught it to his early pupils in St. Petersburg and during
their travel to the West in the difficult and trying circumstances during the
Russian Revolution. In the West, Gurdjieff and Ouspensky part ways never to
meet again. Gurdjieff finally settles in France and Ouspensky travels on to
England setting up residence in London. He lectured extensively on Gurdjieff′s system
in London and New York between 1921 and 1947. Shortly after his death in 1947,
The Psychology of
Man′s Possible Evolution
is published, together with
In Search of the
. His book The Fourth Way
appears in 1957. The papers
of P.D. Ouspensky are held in the archives of Yale University Library.
A good biography of Ouspensky is
Ouspensky, The Unsung Genius
by J.H. Reyner.
A New Model of the Universe
By P. D. Ouspensky.
"Again I am going to mention P.D. Ouspensky. I have
already mentioned two of his books: one, Tertium Organum
, which he
wrote before he met his master Gurdjieff. Tertium Organum
is well known,
particularly among mathematicians, because Ouspensky was a mathematician when
he wrote it. The second book, In Search of the Miraculous, he wrote
after he had lived with Gurdjieff for many years. But there is a third book by
him which was written in between - after Tertium Organum
and before he
met George Gurdjieff. This book is very little known, and its name is A New
Model of the Universe. It is a strange book, very strange.
Ouspensky searched for a master all over the world, particularly in India,
because people in their foolishness think that masters are only found in
India. Ouspensky searched in India and searched for years. Even in Bombay he
searched for a master. In those days he wrote this tremendously beautiful book, A New Model of the Universe. This is a poet′s vision, because he knows
not what he is talking about. But what he is talking about comes very, very,
very close to the truth... but only close, remember, and even a hair′s breadth
is enough to keep you away. He remained away. He searched and searched....
In this book he describes his search. The book ends strangely, in a cafeteria
in Moscow, where he meets Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff was certainly the strangest
master who ever lived. He used to write in cafeterias. What a place to write!
He would sit in a cafeteria - people eating, talking, children running hither
and thither, the noise from the street, the honking of horns, and Gurdjieff
sitting by the window surrounded by all this nonsense, writing his book All
Ouspensky saw this man and fell in love. Who could resist it? It is utterly
impossible to see a master and not fall in love, unless you are utterly dead,
made of stone, or made of synthetic material - a pre-fab man! The moment he
looked at Gurdjieff... strange: he saw that these were the eyes that he had
been looking for all over the earth, on the dusty, dirty roads of India, and
this cafeteria was just beside his house in Moscow! Sometimes you may find
what you are seeking just nearby.
A New Model of the Universe is poetic, but comes very close to my
vision; that is why I include it."
(Osho - Books I have Loved)
The Psychology of Man′s Possible Evolution
By P.D. Ouspensky.
"I have always
loved the books of P.D. Ouspensky, though I have never loved the man himself.
He looked like a schoolmaster, not like a master, and can you love a
schoolmaster? I tried while I was in school and failed; in college, and failed;
in university, and failed. I could not do it, and I don′t think anybody can
love a schoolmaster - particularly if the schoolmaster is a woman; then it is
impossible! There are a few fools who even marry women who are schoolmasters!
They must be suffering from the disease called by the psychologists ′masochism′;
they must be searching for someone to torture them.
I don′t like Ouspensky. He was exactly the schoolmaster, even when he was
lecturing on the teachings of Gurdjieff. He would stand before a blackboard
with a chalk in his hand, with a table and chair in front, exactly like a
schoolteacher, with specs and all, nothing was missing. And the way he taught!
- I can see why so few people ever became attracted to him, although he was
bringing a golden message.
Secondly, I hate him because he was a Judas. I cannot love anybody who betrays.
To betray is to commit suicide, spiritual suicide. Even Judas had to commit
suicide just within twenty-four hours of Jesus being crucified. Ouspensky is
not my love affair, but what can I do? - he was a capable writer, talented, a
genius. This book I am going to mention was a posthumous publication. He never
wanted it to be published during his lifetime. Maybe he was afraid. Maybe he
thought it may not prove up to his expectations.
It is a small book, and its name is The Future Psychology of Man. He wrote in his will that the book should only be published when he was no more.
I don′t like the man, but I must say, in spite of myself, that in this book he
almost predicted me and my sannyasins. He predicted the future psychology, and
that is what I am doing here - the future man, the New Man. This small book
must become a necessary study for all sannyasins."
Books I have Loved)
Dr. Maurice Nicoll was born in 1884 in Scotland, the son of Sir William
Robertson Nicoll, the well-known littérateur. In his youth he met many famous
men at the brilliant gatherings at his father′s house in Hampstead, among whom
were Lloyd George, Asquith, Sir James Barrie, the young Winston Churchill, and
Lord Riddell who frequently refers to conversations at this home in his Diaries.
Dr. Nicoll took a first in Science at Caius College, Cambridge, afterwards
qualifying in medicine at St. Bartholomew′s Hospital. After studying in Vienna, Berlin and Zürich,
he entered upon his career as a Harley Street specialist.
In World War I he was a captain in the R.A.M.C. (the Royal Army Medical Corps) and was in charge of a hospital
in Gallipoli, the Turkish peninsula. He described his war experiences in a book, In Mesopotamia
published in London in 1917 under the pseudonym of "Martin Swayne".
In 1917 another book came from Dr. Nicoll. This was Dream Psychology
and in it
he acknowledged his profound debt to Dr. Jung with whom he had studied in
On his return to Harley street after the war of 1914-1918 Dr. Nicoll joined Dr.
George Riddoch at the Empire Hospital, where there were many famous men on the
staff. He became a well-known pioneer in British psychological
medicine and published many papers on medical psychology, from which William
McDougall often quoted in his neuro-psychological volumes.
After meeting Ouspensky in 1921, in 1922 he
went on to study for a year with Gurdjieff at the
Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man
, which Gurdjieff had established
at the Château du Prieuré, Fontainebleau.
He returned to London and studied with Ouspensky until in 1931,
at Ouspensky′s request, he initiated a
program of work devoted to passing on the
ideas on "Esoteric Christianity" he had received, and this was
sustained for twenty years until his death
in 1953. This devotion culminated in a
five-volume work, Psychological Commentaries
on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky
The Commentaries were begun during the world war II years and continued afterwards.
Throughout his life Maurice
Nicoll maintained an interest in the
essential Christian teachings, in
Neoplatonism, and in dream interpretation.
There are two biographies of Maurice Nicoll, Maurice Nicoll a Portrait,
written by Beryl Pogson, one of his students and later on his secretary, and
Portrait of a Vertical Man by Sam Copley, another student.
Beryl Pogson′s biography is very detailed and can be said to mostly describe
Maurice Nicoll′s life along a horizontal timeline. Sam Copley fills in the gaps
left by Pogson′s book and vertically complements her work with his.
"The object of self-observation, as it is said in the Work, is to let a ray of
light into oneself. The next thing that is said is that when light is let in in
this way many things begin to change of themselves. It is the light of
consciousness that begins to change things. For this reason it is said in the
Work that the light will cure us. Have you ever thought what it means, this
extraordinary phrase: "the light will cure us"? When I first heard it said to me
by Gurdjieff, it had such an emotional effect upon me that I was unable to speak
to anybody for some time afterwards." (Maurice Nicoll)
By Maurice Nicoll.
The "Pentateuch" of Nicoll:
"Nicoll was a disciple of
Gurdjieff, and unlike Ouspensky, he never betrayed, he was not a Judas. A true
disciple to the very last breath and beyond it too. The Commentaries of Nicoll
are vast. I don′t think anybody reads them. Thousands and thousands of pages,
but if one takes the trouble one is immensely benefited. Nicoll′s Commentaries
should be considered as one of the best books in the world."
Books I have Loved)
- Short review by Sam Copley
- Possibly Osho considered Nicoll to be one of Gurdjieff′s most important disciples, because Nicoll had a light touch in his teaching and writing and warned
that anyone who adopted a serious demeanor to appear to be a follower of "The Work" probably was far from it, this in accordance with the saying inscribed on a wall at
one of his group houses: "Serious things can be understood through laughable things."
In his Commentaries he writes, after having explained something to his readers, "Now you may think that this is a little solemn. Actually it is not so, but, like everything else
in The Work, must be taken with a grain of salt."
"What is this Work about? It is about enjoying yourself, but people cannot enjoy themselves. It is the most difficult thing to do."
In the early 1950s, the Commentaries met with immediate approval from Jeanne de Salzmann, who praised them as "the exact formulation of Gurdjieff′s ideas
(Andrew Rawlinson - The Book of Enlightened Masters, may 1997 p. 300)
The idea of Self-Remembering is central to The Work of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Nicoll. Maurice Nicoll writes:
(Maurice Nicoll - Commentaries, vol.4 page 1479)
"All Self-Remembering has to do with the fact that you came down to this earth and life here does not correspond with what you came down from: and something in you knows
it - that is, has not forgotten it: and that means remembers it."
The New Man & The Mark
By Maurice Nicoll
These books are companions to each other. Both are an interpretation of
some parables and miracles of Christ. In them Dr. Nicoll discusses, in relation to the Gospels, the idea that real religion is
about another man, latent but unborn, in every man. The end of this
transformation of a man is thought of as The Mark to be aimed at,
resulting in The New Man.
The author explains that in the gospels the word translated as ′sin′, in Greek
literally means ′missing the mark′, as of a spear thrown at some object and
failing to hit it. And from meaning to miss the mark it came to mean failing in
one′s purpose, and so erring or wrong doing. The gospels, if rightly understood,
are about transformation of man as he is into a new man, who′s not governed
anymore by his senses. The direction towards transformation is indicated by
means of parables, which are the only way of pointing towards something
that is invisible to the senses by means of words belonging to the world of the senses we live in.
It is Maurice Nicoll′s contention that when a man is overpowered by outer life
and influenced only by all that acts upon him from outside, and argues only from
what he can see, he is machine-driven by his senses, and internally, the wrong
way round. He is dominated by external life and has no life in himself.
The fact that the gospels are difficult to understand is not only because they
have many different, metaphorical levels and most people understand them as literal
stories of what actually happened, but also because of inadequate translation from the
Greek. The Greek word ′metanoia′, for example, is usually translated as ′repentance′,
while it literally means ′change of mind′ or ′an about turn′.
If Gnosticism is taken to be the esoteric branch of Christianity, then these
by Dr. Nicoll make it abundantly clear that he is a Gnostic. And didn′t his Master Gurdjieff say that The Work was all about esoteric Christianity?
Both of Dr. Nicoll′s books are indeed not about Christianity; they are about esoteric
Christianity, and ′esoteric′ here implies the possibility of an inner development
of Man. As such the books belong to any ancient or modern traditions in which
Man is regarded psychologically as an undeveloped seed, capable of an inner
evolution to a higher (or deeper) understanding. The Mark and The New
Man are in essence
not different from Dr. Nicoll′s Psychological Commentaries. Nicoll
extracts from the gospels a path for the psychological evolution and
transformation of Man that is truly religious by not belonging to any religion,
and hence can be said to be universal.
- Osho once said to a visitor, "When you were working with Nicoll it was absolutely on
the right track".
By Kathryn C. Hulme
Paris in the 1930′s was a cultural magnet for
writers, artists and musicians. Kathryn Hulme′s book is a great account of a
group of women, mostly from this elite and arty world, who put their careers on
hold to study privately with Gurdjieff. Known as "the Rope", this group included
three writer/editors, a wealthy San Francisco milliner, a legendary French
soprano, an actress/theatrical manager and a prim British spinster. Hulme gives
a lively account of their relationship with each other and to Gurdjieff, the
unconventional guide who lead them into an "undiscovered country" of
Kathryn Hulme writes about her intention to her
literary agent: "What I really hoped to do was to give ′outsiders′ a view of the
phenomenal man whom I had the luck to meet and love and learn from".
She certainly succeeds in bringing
Gurdjieff and his teaching to life for the people of the present age.
- Kathryn Hulme mentions in her book that at one of the last group meetings in his
Paris flat, right before the start of WW II, Gurdjieff gave to each on the
Rope a copy of this picture of his:
- In a few chapters of her book, Kathryn Hulme describes her humanitarian work in Wildflecken,
a camp of DP′s (Displaced Persons) in the
Germany of just after WWII, a theme which she further explores
in her book "The Wild Place."
- After her conversion to Catholicism,
Kathryn Hulme authored the book
The Nun′s Story,
which was made into a movie, starring Audrey Hepburn. Iinterestingly, according to
Gregory Peck and revealed in an UNICEF documentary, Audrey′s favorite poem was
Love" by Rabindranath Tagore.
The Nun′s Story is the biography of Kathryn Hulme′s soulmate and housemate,
Marie-Louise Hâbets, whom she made the acquaintance of in Wildflecken.
Ladies Of The Rope
By William Patrick Patterson
(A book about Gurdjieff′s special Left Bank Women′s group called "the Rope".)
The Life and Teaching of the Shivapuri Baba
By John G. Bennett
Osho: "This book is by Bennett, an Englishman, a perfect Englishman. The book is about an absolutely unknown Indian mystic, Shivpuri Baba. The world has come to know about him only through Bennett′s book.
Shivpuri Baba was certainly one of the rarest flowerings, particularly in India where so many idiots are pretending to be mahatmas. To find a man like Shivpuri Baba in India is really either luck or else a
tremendous work of research. There are five hundred thousand mahatmas in India; that is the actual number. To find a real man among this crowd is almost impossible.
But Bennett was fortunate in many ways. He was also the first man to discover Gurdjieff. Nobody thanks poor Bennett for it, and there is a reason. It is because he was a wavering kind of person. Bennett
never betrayed Gurdjieff while he was alive. He did not dare. Those eyes were too much.
Bennett was a wavering man. He could not waver and betray like Ouspensky, but when Gurdjieff died, then he betrayed. He started looking for another master. What a misfortune! I mean misfortune for Bennett.
It was good for others, because that was how he came to find Shivpuri Baba. But Shivpuri Baba, howsoever great, is nothing compared to Gurdjieff. I cannot believe it of Bennett. And he was a scientist, a
mathematician... only that gives me the clue. The scientist has almost always behaved foolishly outside his own specific field.
I always define science as ′knowing more and more about less and less′, and religion as ′knowing less and less about more and more′. The culmination of science will be knowing
everything about nothing, and the culmination of religion will be knowing all - not knowing about all, simply knowing; not about, just knowing. Science will end in ignorance; religion will end in
All the scientists, even the great ones, have proved foolish in many ways outside their specific ?eld. They behave childishly. Bennett was a scientist and mathematician of a certain standing, but he wavered,
he missed. He started looking for another master again. And it is not that he remained with Shivpuri either; Shivpuri Baba was a very old man when Bennett met him. He was almost one hundred and ten years
old. He was really made of steel. He lived for almost one and a half centuries. He was seven feet tall and one hundred and fifty years old and still there was no sign that he was going to die. He decided to
leave the body - it was his decision.
Shivpuri was a silent man, he did not teach. Particularly a man who had known Gurdjieff and his tremendous teaching would find it very ordinary to be with Shivpuri Baba. Bennett wrote his book and started
searching again for a master. Shivpuri Baba was not even dead yet.
Then, in Indonesia, Bennett found Mohammed Subud, the founder of the movement called Subud. Subud is a short form of Sushil-Buddha-Dharma; it is just the first letter of these three words. What foolishness!
Bennett started introducing Mohammed Subud, a very good man, but not a master... nothing even compared to Shivpuri Baba; no question arises about Gurdjieff. Bennett brought Mohammed Subud to the West, and
started introducing him as the successor to Gurdjieff. Now this is utter stupidity!
But Bennett writes beautifully, mathematically, systematically. His best book is Shivpuri Baba. Although Bennett was a fool, even if you allow a monkey to sit at a typewriter once in a while he may come
upon something beautiful - perhaps a statement which only a buddha could make - just by knocking the typewriter keys here and there. But he will not understand what he has written.
Bennett continued in this way. Soon he became disillusioned with Mohammed Subud and started searching for yet another master. Poor fellow, his whole life he was searching and searching unnecessarily. He
had already found the right man in Gurdjieff. He has written about Gurdjieff, and what he says is beautiful, efficient, but his heart is dark, there is no light in it. Still, I count his Shivpuri Baba book
as one of the best."
Books by Gurdjieff
Gurdjieff′s masterpiece as an author is All and Everything, consisting of several books published in three series.
- First Series: Three books under the title of Beelzebub′s Tales to His Grandson: An Objectively Impartial Criticism of
the Life of Man.
The first series is meant to destroy, mercilessly and without any compromise whatever, in the mentation and feelings of the reader,
the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the world.
- Second Series: Two books under the common title of Meetings with Remarkable Men.
The second series is meant to acquaint the reader with the material required for a new creation and to prove the soundness and
good quality of it.
- Third Series: Five books under the title of Life is Real Only Then, When "I Am"
The third series is to assist the arising, in the mentation and in the feelings of the reader, of a veritable, nonfantastic
representation not of that illusory world which he now perceives, but of the world existing in reality.
Gurdjieff wanted his books to be read in the above order: first Beelzebub to clear the mind of the reader and prepare it in the
second series for a new state of mind to arise in the third series.
George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
was born in 1877 in Alexandropol, Armenia, near the Persian border of
Russia. His mother was Armenian, his
a Greek from Asia Minor. After his youth he travels for twenty years
in the Middle East, Egypt and Central Asia in search of sources of
ancient true knowledge that he thinks will enable him to get to the
bottom of the mystery of life and thus transform into a new and true
man. It is for exactly this purpose that he lives and studies in
several from the modern world secluded communities and there he
finally comes to realise his mission in life: he feels he should
impart the objective knowledge he meanwhile has gained to humanity and show people a
way to a more fulfilling life.
He writes about his adventures during this twenty years period of
search in his book Meetings With Remarkable Men.
He returns to Russia in 1913 and starts teaching in Moscow and St.
Petersburg. In 1917, amidst the Russian revolution, he leaves St.
Petersburg and takes a few of his pupils with him, to return to his
family home in Alexandropol. During the revolution he sets up camps in
Essentuki in the Caucasus, and in several cities on the Black Sea
coast of Southern Russia. There he works intensively with many of his
Russian pupils. January 1919 he and a group of his closest pupils move
to Tbilisi and stay there until May 1920 when political conditions
further deteriorate. Then, by foot, they walk to Batumi on the Black
Sea coast and embark for Constantinople (now Istanbul). Gurdjieff
leaves Constantinople in August 1921 and travels on to Western Europe
lecturing and giving demonstrations of his work in various major
cities such as Berlin and London. In October 1922, he establishes "The
Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man", south of Paris, at
the Prieuré des Basses Loges in Fontainebleau-Avon near the famous
Château de Fontainebleau. In 1924 he nearly dies in a car accident.
After his recovery he begins writing what is to be a trilogy of three
books, notably Beelzebub′s Tales to his Grandson, Meetings
With Remarkable Men, and Life is Real Only Then, When ′I Am′.
He stops writing in 1935 after having completed the first two books of
the trilogy and only having started on the third. The trilogy is
published after his death under the common title All and Everything.
Gurdjieff lives in the Paris of Vichy France during World War II and
he continues to teach his pupils throughout the war. He dies on
October 29, 1949 at the American Hospital in Neuilly, France. His
funeral is held at the St. Alexandre Nevsky Russian Orthodox Cathedral
in Paris. He is buried in the cemetery at Fontainebleau-Avon.
Gurdjieff is best known through the published works of his students,
such as In Search of the Miraculous written by P. D.
Ouspensky, Our Life With Mr. Gurdjieff by Thomas and Olga de
Hartmann, and Maurice Nicoll′s
on the Teaching of
Gurdjieff and Ouspensky among others.
His ideas center around the starting up of alchemical processes within
the human being by the struggle of working on oneself for the purpose
of becoming more conscious. This struggle entails mainly the practice
of a meditative technique called self-remembering, external
considering of others and the
non-expression of negative emotions.
His teachings are called "The Work" or "The Fourth Way" which is
also the title of a book by P. D. Ouspensky.
Gurdjieff was known for making a
between objective and subjective art.
Osho comments on objective and
The English version was first published in 1950, just a few months after Gurdjieff died. He had overruled objections that the
translation needed more work, insisting that the time had come to launch his ideas into the mainstream of Western thinking.
Although before his death Gurdjieff had insisted on immediate publication, he reportedly acknowledged that the English book was a
"rough diamond" and asked Mme de Salzmann to revise it at a later time. In 1956 Mme de Salzmann began work with selected
American pupils to revise the English-language version; the primary aim was to bring it closer in substance to the original
Russian text, which, as Russian readers confirmed, is much more readable than the first English publication. This revised English
translation was published in 1992, two years after Mme de Salzmann′s death.
Many readers welcomed the new edition; others had a strong preference for the original book and objected to allowing it to go out
of print. They pointed out that Gurdjieff had authorised its publication, and that it had been read and studied for more than
forty years. That′s why, up to this day, both English versions of Gurdjieff′s First Series are still available.
Before he was one of the chief devils of the Old Testament, identified with either Satan or his right-hand man, Beelzebub was Baal-zebub, in Hebrew meaning Lord of
the Flies - for baal simply means lord. But in Ugaritic, Baal-zebul means Lord of High Places, and with this in mind Beelzebub is thought by many scholars to be a
pejorative of the original name for a god of the sky. Thus the Hebrews were, in effect, mockingly saying "the pagan′s lord of the sky is but a Lord of the Flies."
(John Shirley in "Gurdjieff" - Kindle Edition)
Other scholars believe that Baal-zebul was a god of healing, and Lord of the Flies (or Lord of Filth) thus meant that he had the power to remove sickness, which was
represented by the flies accompanying decay. That is, he had power over the flies of sickness and could command them to withdraw.
forgot to say something about Gurdjieff and his book All and
Everything - perhaps because it is a
very strange book, not even readable. I don′t think
there are any living individuals, except me, who have read from the first page
to the last. I have come across many Gurdjieff followers, but none of them had
been able to read All and Everything in its totality.
(Osho - Books I have Loved).
It is a big book - just the opposite of the Isa Upanishad - one thousand
pages. And Gurdjieff is such a rascal saint... please allow me this
expression: rascal saint. He writes in such a way that it becomes impossible
to read. One sentence may go running on for pages. By the time you come to the
end of the sentence, you have forgotten its beginning. And he uses words he
made up himself, just like me. Strange words... for example, when he was
writing about kundalini, he called it "kundabuffer." That was his
word for kundalini.
This book is of immense value, but the diamonds are hidden among ordinary
stones. One has to seek and search.
I have read this book not once, but many times. The more I went into it, the
more I loved it, because the more I could see the rascal; the more I could see
what it was that he was hiding from those who should not know. Knowledge is
not for those who are not yet capable of absorbing it. Knowledge has to be
hidden from the unwary, and it is only for those who can digest it. It has to
be given only to those who are ready. That′s the whole purpose of writing in
such a strange way. There is no other book stranger than Gurdjieff′s All
and Everything and it certainly is all and everything."
"This is a great work. Gurdjieff traveled all over the world, particularly in
the Middle East and India. He went up to
Tibet; not only that, he was the
teacher of the late Dalai Lama. Not the present one - he is a fool - but the
previous one. Gurdjieff′s name in Tibetan is written as Dorjeb, and many
people thought that Dorjeb was someone else. He is none other than George
Gurdjieff. Because this fact was known to the British government - that
Gurdjieff had been in Tibet for many years; not only there, but had been
living in the palace at Lhasa for many years - they prevented him for staying
in England. He originally wanted to stay in England but was not allowed.
(Osho - Books I have Loved)
Gurdjieff wrote this book, Meetings with Remarkable Men as a memoir. It
is a tremendously respectful memory
to all those strange companions he had met in his life... Sufis, Indian
mystics, Tibetan lamas, Japanese Zen monks... I must mention to you that he
did not write of them all. He left many out of the account for the simple
reason that the book was going to be in the marketplace, and it had to fulfill
the demands of the market. I don′t have to fulfill anybody′s demands. I am not
a man who worries at all about the market, hence I can say that he left out
the really most remarkably significant people from his account. But whatever
he wrote is still beautiful. It still brings tears to my eyes. Whenever
something is beautiful my eyes fill with tears, there is no other way to pay
This is a book that should be studied, not just read. In English you don′t
have a word for path;
it is a Hindi word which means "reading and
reading the same thing every day for your whole life." It cannot be translated as reading, particularly in the West where you read a paperback and
once you have read it you throw it away, or leave it on the train. It can not
be translated as study either, because study is a concentrated effort to
understand the meaning of the word, or words. Path is neither reading
nor study, but something more... it is repeating joyously, so joyously that it
penetrates to your very heart, so it becomes your breathing. It takes a
lifetime, and that′s what is needed if you want to understand real books, books
like Gurdjieff′s Meeting with Remarkable Men.
It is not a fiction like Don Juan - a fictitious man created by an American
fellow, Carlos Castaneda. This man has done a great disservice to humanity.
One should not write spiritual fictions for the simple reason that people
start thinking that spirituality is nothing but a fiction. Meetings with
Remarkable Men is a real book. A few of the people Gurdjieff mentions are
still alive; I have met a few of them myself. I am a witness to the fact those
people are not fictitious, although I cannot forgive even Gurdjieff for
leaving out the most remarkable people he met.
There is no need to compromise with the marketplace; there is no need to
compromise at all. He was such a strong man, I wonder why he compromised, why
he omitted the really important people. I have met a few people that he
omitted from the book, who themselves told me that Gurdjieff had been there.
They are very old now. But still the book is good - half, incomplete, but