When addressing the life of George Gurdjieff, you have to walk gingerly. Until the age of 40, nothing can be checked in his biography, except some details of civil status. Everything else, his travels, his encounters, his deeds are told by himself or by his disciples, who are based on his word. Sure they’re wrong.
Right as sickle and frank as fox, Gurdjieff is like a bear with a sore head. First: he’s a guru, and most part are scoundrels. In his life story, a lot of blur, many uncertainties. We must choose to trust him, ifever lacking of real existence, to merely accept his dream life …
These are the words of Wikipedia, encyclopedia of against-initiation and exclusive coterie of the dominant thought: George Gurdjieff, born December 27, 1861 in Alexandropol (now Gyumri), Armenia, and died October 29, 1949 in Neuilly sur-Seine, france, is an adventurer and a figure of esotericism of the first half of the 20th century. He was also a composer. Dubbed the new Pythagoras and considered by some as the holder of an ancient traditional knowledge, this controversial figure is seen by others as a dangerous rogue and a charlatan. (source)
For once, I agree with Wikipedia. Without illusion, I will summarize his bio, surely false, because the guy is an ace of manipulation.
The eldest of three children, Gurdjieff spent his childhood in the Kars region in Armenia. First wealthy, his family get ruined. His father was a bard, he became a carpenter in Kars. This is where Gurdjieff studied at the Greek school and the Russian school. Heading for the Orthodox priesthood, he entered the seminary.
His father the bard will have great influence on Gurdjieff. He tells him the old legends, Gilgamesh, Enki, Rama and many others to which he adds many details of his own. Clairvoyant and sorcerer, his father awakens the child’s spirituality and gives it a high meaning of life later found in his teaching.
Gurdjieff is dreaming of science and technology. A neighboring priest suggests he pursues medical studies in addition to the seminar, “to heal both body and soul.” But he rejects the two to give free rein to his fascination with the occult. Astrology, telepathy, spiritualism and turntables, divination and demon possession, all this accounts for his youthful interest. He does not listen any opinion about it, does not follow any advice, and disdains the explanations of science he deems unconvincing. In the pursuit of occult knowledge, he traveled through Central Asia, the Mediterranean, Egypt, Tibet and India.
There he meets important people for his inner adventures. He is mainly interested in Sufism, and precisely in the esoteric school Sarmouni. He says it was founded in Babylon around 2500 BCE. In all his research, the young man pays for his wandering life. He does odd jobs, not always very honest. Smuggling, scams, nothing stops him in his quest, and he needs money to undertake, he always knows where to find it.
He recounts with pleasure some of these villainies, as the case of American canaries. He had found a way to paint the feathers of live sparrows with aniline. Without deflate, he named the “American canaries” and began to sell them on the market. smashing success: it sells dozens before taking the flight to another market … His business acumen and moral elastic give it great affluence.
In Afghanistan, around 1897, a dervish would have presented an old man of Sarmouni sect that leads to the secret monastery of the sect, in Turkestan. Main object of his research, this sect is interesting in more ways than one. This is an enlightened branch of Sufism, which is the real heart of Islam, and probably much earlier this recent religion.
Gurdjieff taught mystical dance, their psychic powers, and the Enneagram. For Sarmounis the Enneagram is a divination tool, and a representation of the vital processes, such as personal transformation. It will become a part of the spiritual teachings of Gurdjieff.
He then formed a group, the “Seekers of Truth”, his companions in the quest for enlightenment and full consciousness. Then he went to Bukhara, where he was introduced to the group of Sufi Naqshbandi Bahaudin.
“These Sufi Naqshbandi, also called Khwajagan or “Masters of Wisdom, “would claim to be the” World Brotherhood, “composed of all nationalities and religions, teaching that” all were united by the God of Truth. “These Naqshbandis possess a legend about an inner circle of humanity that was a very sophisticated network of people with special knowledge.
These people have watched over the human race and directed the course of its history. the Naqshbandis also believed in a perpetual spiritual hierarchy headed by Qutb i Zaman or “Axis age” a personal spirit receiving direct revelations of divine purpose. This spirit transmits so-called revelations to humans through other spirits called Abdal or “Transformed”.
Gurdjieff and his followers believed that these spirits, “demiurgic essences” from a higher level than man, are responsible for the maintenance and evolution of planetary harmony although their action was not necessarily conducive to liberation individuals. Despite their potential hostility, Gurdjieff and his followers maintained contact with these spirits.” (source)
I discovered Gurdjieff when I was teenager, I devoured his books and I loved his stories. I do not know if they are all experienced, but I know they are all true. No matter that he embellished, that he awarded adventures, that he has not met all these remarkable people he is talking about.
The truth of Gurdjieff is not measured in terms of wikipedia. The rational extinguisher always pissed me off. I avoid as much as possible the scholars who claim to have the truth. Such abundant, such magnetic being as George Gurdjieff can neither be reduced nor summed up. The only way to dig his views is to love him, fall into his traps, dream on his slopes. While being cautious, the man is wild.
The last years of his life will be held in France, where he exerts a sulphurous and stimulating influence on the esoteric Paris at the time.
“Many Gurdjieff groups were formed after his death, such as Gurdjieff-Uspensky centers, the “Fellowship of Friends” by Robert Burton, the Theater of All Possibilities, and the Institute for Development of Harmonious Human Being. There should also include the Arica training -named after a town in northern Chile- a program of “human potential”, founded by Oscar Ichazo, mainly involved in the spread of the Enneagram. His work is also broadcast by disciples of Gurdjieff, such as Henri Tracol, Vera Daumal, wife of René Daumal or Jeanne de Salzmann, wife of the painter Alexander de Salzmann.” (source)
After his death many disciples continued his work, but none of his genius.
He knew lather words and images. He gave wings to the most hidden desires. He listened to every word of nature, and all inner voice. Best of all, he could recognize and distinguish.
Teen, I remember doing a portrait of him, with his appalling Nietzschean mustache. The parallel with Nietzsche did not stop the hair system. For me, these two are forever part of flying philosophers, who gave me wings.
Excessive, disproportionate, largely misunderstood, these two giants show that any time, any place you can live stronger and higher. Beyond good and evil. But the parallel has its limits. The big difference is Nietzsche never was a guru. And he strongly refused to. His virtue is not to be questioned, which is not the case with Gurdjieff. But when you are a teenager, you can fall in love with the last of the scoundrels, even if in the realm of spirituality, the rascality is quite hateful.