Georges Gurdjieff

born in 1866 in Alexandropol (Gyumri), Shirak, Armenia

died on 29/10/1949 in Paris, Île-de-France, France

G. I. Gurdjieff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
20th-century Mystic
G.I. Gurdjieff
George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
Birth {{{birth}}}
School/tradition Fourth Way or the "Gurdjieff Work"
Main interests Psychology, philosophy, science, ancient knowledge
Notable ideas Fourth Way, Fourth Way Enneagram, Centers, Ray of Creation
Influenced by Officially unknown; but according to his book: His childhood and adult teachers, his father, Mullah Nassr Eddin.
Influenced Jeanne de Salzmann, Lord Pentland, P. D. Ouspensky, Olga de Hartmann, Thomas de Hartmann, Jane Heap, John G. Bennett, Alfred Richard Orage,Maurice Nicoll, Colin Wilson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, Robert Fripp, Moshé Feldenkrais, P. L. Travers, Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh), Peter Brook, René Daumal, Katherine Mansfield, Keith Jarrett, James Moore,

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (Armenian: , Greek: , Russian: ) (or Gurdjiev); January 13, 1866? October 29, 1949), was a Greek-Armenian mystic and spiritual teacher. He called his discipline "The Work" (connoting work on oneself according to Gurdjieff's principles and instructions), or as he first referred to it, the Fourth Way.[1] At one point he described his teaching as "esoteric Christianity".[2]

At different times in his life Gurdjieff formed and closed various schools around the world to utilize his teachings. He claimed that the teachings he brought to the West from his own experiences and early travels expressed the truth found in ancient religions and wisdom teachings relating to self-awareness in people's daily lives and humanity's place in the universe.[3] The essence of his teachings could be expressed by the title of his third series of writings: Life Is Real Only Then, When 'I Am', while his complete series of books is entitled "All and Everything".


Gurdjieff was born in Alexandropol (now Gyumri), Armenia to a Pontic Greek father and an Armenian mother. The exact date of his birth remains unknown (conjectures range from 1866 to 1877). Some authors argue persuasively for 1866, even though his passport states that he was born on November 28, 1877. Gurdjieff grew up in Kars and traveled to many parts of the world (such as Central Asia, Egypt and Rome) before returning to Russia in 1912. The Muslims around Georgia call the Georgian people gurdjis, which is a possible root of Gurdjieff.

The only account of Gurdjieff's early biography before he appeared in Moscow in 1912 appears in his text Meetings with Remarkable Men. This text, however, cannot be read as straightforward autobiography.[4] It was in the pre-1912 period that Gurdjieff went on his apocryphal voyage outlined in Meetings with Remarkable Men where he comes upon a map of "pre-sand Egypt" which allegedly leads him to study with an esoteric group, the Sarmoung Brotherhood. Coincidentally, Gurdjieff is one of the few sources lending credibility for the existence of this group.

From 1913 to 1949 the chronology appears to stand on the much firmer ground afforded by primary documents, independent witness, cross-reference, and reasonable inference.[5] On New Year's Day in 1912 Gurdjieff arrived in Moscow and attracted his first associates. In the same year he married Julia Ostrowska in St Petersburg. In 1914 Gurdjieff first advertised his ballet, The Struggle of the Magicians, and supervised his pupils' writing of the sketch "Glimpses of Truth". In 1915 Gurdjieff accepted P. D. Ouspensky as a pupil, while in 1916 he accepted the composer Thomas de Hartmann and his wife Olga as students. At this time he had around thirty pupils.

In the midst of revolutionary upheaval in Russia he left Petrograd in 1917 to return to his family home in Alexandropol. During the Bolshevik Revolution Gurdjieff set up temporary study-communities in Essentuki in the Caucasus, then in Tuapse, Maikop, Sochi and Poti, all on the Black Sea coast of southern Russia, where he worked intensively with many of his Russian pupils.

In March 1918, Ouspensky separated from Gurdjieff, and four months later Gurdjieff's eldest sister and her family reached him in Essentuki as refugees, informing him that Turks had shot his father in Alexandropol on 15 May. As Essentuki became more and more threatened by civil war, Gurdjieff put out a fabricated newspaper story announcing his forthcoming "scientific expedition" to Mount Induc. Posing as a scientist, Gurdjieff left Essentuki with fourteen companions (excluding Gurdjieff's family and Ouspensky). They traveled by train to Maikop, where hostilities delayed them for three weeks. In spring 1919 Gurdjieff met the artist Alexandre Salzmann and his wife Jeanne and accepted them as pupils. Assisted by Jeanne Salzmann, Gurdjieff gave the first public demonstration of his Sacred Dances (Movements at the Tbilisi Opera House, 22 June).

In autumn 1919 he and his closest pupils moved to Tbilisi, where a lot of fundamentals of his teaching were gathered. There, in 1919, he established the first Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. He was thought to be greatly influenced by Nikolai Marr, a Georgian archaeologist and historian. In late May 1920, when political conditions in Georgia changed and the old order was crumbling, they walked by foot to Batumi on the Black Sea coast, and then Istanbul. There Gurdjieff rented an apartment on Koumbaradji Street in Péra and later at 13 Abdullatif Yemeneci Sokak near the Galata Tower.[6] The apartment is near the tekke (monastery) of the Mevlevi Order of Sufis (founded by Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi), where Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and Thomas de Hartmann experienced the sema ceremony of The Whirling Dervishes. In Istanbul Gurdjieff also met John G. Bennett[7].

In August 1921 and 1922, Gurdjieff traveled around western Europe, lecturing and giving demonstrations of his work in various cities such as Berlin and London, and capturing the allegiance of Ouspensky's many prominent pupils (notably the editor A. R. Orage). After he lost a civil action to acquire Hellerau possession in Britain, Gurdjieff established 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. Gurdjieff acquired notoriety after Katherine Mansfield died there of tuberculosis under his care on 9 January 1923.

Starting in 1924 Gurdjieff made visits to North America, where he eventually took over the pupils taught previously by A.R. Orage.

In 1924, while driving alone from Paris to Fontainebleau, Gurdjieff had a near-fatal car-accident. Nursed by his wife and mother, he made a slow and painful recovery against medical expectation. Still convalescent, he formally "disbanded" his Institute on 26 August (in fact he dispersed only his less-dedicated pupils), and began writing All and Everything.

In 1925 Gurdjieff's wife contracted cancer; she died in 1926 despite radiotherapy and Gurdjieff's unorthodox treatment. Ouspensky attended her funeral.

In 1935 Gurdjieff stopped writing All and Everything, having completed the first two parts of the trilogy but having only started on the Third Series (published under the title Life Is Real Only Then, When 'I Am').

In Paris, Gurdjieff lived at 6 Rue des Colonels-Rénard, where he continued to teach throughout World War II.

Gurdjieff died on October 29, 1949 at the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. His funeral took place at the St. Alexandre Nevsky Russian Orthodox Cathedral at 12 Rue Daru, Paris. He is buried in the cemetery at Fontainebleau-Avon.[8]


Gurdjieff claimed that people do not perceive reality, as they are not conscious of themselves, but live in a state of hypnotic "waking sleep".

"Man lives his life in sleep, and in sleep he dies."[9] Gurdjieff taught that each person perceived things from a completely subjective perspective. Gurdjieff stated that maleficent events such as wars and so on could not possibly take place if people were more awake. He asserted that people in their typical state function as unconscious automatons, but that a man can wake up and experience life more fully.[10]

Self-development teachings

Main article Fourth Way

In his early lectures Gurdjieff described his approach to self-development as the Fourth Way.[11] In contrast to teachings that emphasize the development of the body, mind, or emotions separately, Gurdjieff's exercises claimed to work on all three at the same time to promote comprehensive and balanced inner development. As with other spiritual traditions Gurdjieff taught that considerable effort is required to effect the transformation that leads to awakening. The effort that one puts into practice Gurdjieff referred to as "The Work" or "Work on oneself"."[12] Though Gurdjieff never put major significance on the term "Fourth Way" and never used the term in his writings, his pupil P.D. Ouspensky made the term and its use central to his own teaching of Gurdjieff's ideas. After Ouspensky's death, his students published a book with that name, based on his lectures.

Gurdjieff's teaching addressed the question of humanity's place in the universe and the importance of developing latent potentialities regarded as our natural endowment as human beings but rarely brought to fruition. He taught that higher levels of consciousness, higher bodies,[13] inner growth and development are real possibilities that nonetheless require work to achieve.[14]

In his teaching Gurdjieff gave a distinct meaning to various ancient texts such as the Bible and many religious prayers. He claimed that those texts possess a very different meaning than what is commonly attributed to them. "Sleep not"; "Awake, for you know not the hour"; and "The Kingdom of Heaven is Within" are examples of biblical statements which point to a psychological teaching whose essence has been forgotten.

Gurdjieff taught people how to increase and focus their attention and energy in various ways and to minimize daydreaming and absentmindedness. According to his teaching, this inner development in oneself is the beginning of a possible further process of change, the aim of which is to transform people into what Gurdjieff believed they ought to be.[15]

Distrusting "morality", which he describes as varying from culture to culture, often contradictory and superficial, Gurdjieff greatly stressed the importance of conscience. This he regarded as the same in all people, buried in their subconsciousness, thus both sheltered from damage by how people live and inaccessible without "work on oneself".

To provide conditions in which inner attention could be exercised more intensively, Gurdjieff also taught his pupils "sacred dances" or "movements", later known as the Gurdjieff movements, which they performed together as a group. He also left a body of music, inspired by what he heard in visits to remote monasteries and other places, written for piano in collaboration with one of his pupils, Thomas de Hartmann. Gurdjieff also used various exercises, such as the "Stop" exercise, to prompt self-observation in his students. Other shocks to help awaken his pupils from constant day-dreaming were always possible at any moment.


Gurdjieff transmitted his ideas through a number of different methods and materials, including meetings, music, movements (sacred dance), writings, lectures, and innovative forms of group work. He was not consistent in his use of these materials through his lifetime; for example, six years in Paris were devoted primarily to writing, while composition of music and movement centered around a few distinct periods. In Russia he was described as keeping his teaching confined to a small circle,[16], while in Paris and North America he gave numerous public demonstrations.[17]

Gurdjieff felt that the traditional methods of self-knowledgethose of the fakir, monk, and yogi (acquired, respectively, through pain, devotion, and study) -- were inadequate on their own.

"Gurdjieff's system, which involved music, movement, dance, and self-criticism, enabled the unrealized individual to transcend the mechanical, acted-upon self and ascend from mere personality to self-actualizing essence."[18]


The Gurdjieff music divides into three distinct periods. The first period is the early music, including music from the ballet Struggle of the Magicians and music for early Movements, dating to the years around 1918.

The second period music, for which he is best known, written in collaboration with Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann, is described as the Gurdjieff-de Hartmann music. Dating to the mid 1920s, it offers a rich repertory with roots in Caucasian and Central Asian folk and religious music, Russian Orthodox liturgical music, and other sources. This music was often first heard, and even composed, in the salon at the Prieure. Since the publication of four volumes of this piano repertory by Schott, recently completed, there has been a wealth of new recordings, including orchestral versions of music prepared by Gurdjieff and de Hartmann for the Movements demonstrations of 1923-24.

The last musical period is the improvised harmonium music which often followed the dinners Gurdjieff held in his Paris apartment during the Occupation and immediate post-war years, to his death in 1949. A virtually encyclopedic recording of surviving tapes of Gurdjieff improvising on the harmonium was recently published.

In all, Gurdjieff in collaboration with de Hartmann composed some 200 pieces.[3]


Main article: Gurdjieff movements

Movements, or sacred dances, constitute an integral part of the Gurdjieff Work. Gurdjieff sometimes referred to himself as a "teacher of dancing," and gained initial public notice for his attempts to put on a ballet in Moscow called "Struggle of the Magicians."

Films of Movements demonstrations are occasionally shown for private viewing by the Gurdjieff Foundations, and one is shown in a scene in the Peter Brook movie Meetings with Remarkable Men.

Group work

Gurdjieff taught that group efforts greatly surpass individual efforts towards self-development, and therefore he created innovative ways for individuals to come together to pursue his work. Students regularly met with group leaders in group meetings, and groups of students came together in "work periods" where intensive labor was performed and elaborate meals were prepared.

Gurdjieff student William Segal recounts periods of hard labor "around the clock" in his autobiography[19] A Voice at the Borders of Silence [4]. Gurdjieff's student John Pentland connects the Gurdjieff group work with the later rise of encounter groups. Groups also often met to prepare for demonstrations or performances to which the public was invited.


Gurdjieff wrote and approved for publication three volumes of his written work under the title All and Everything. The first volume, Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, is a lengthy allegorical work that recounts the explanations of Beelzebub to his grandson concerning the beings of the planet Earth. Intended to be a teaching tool for his teachings, Gurdjieff had gone to great lengths in order to increase the effort needed to read and understand the book. The second volume, Meetings with Remarkable Men, was written in a very easily understood manner, and purports to be an autobiography of his early years, but also contains many allegorical statements. His final unfinished volume, Life is Real Only Then, When 'I Am', contains a fragment of an autobiographical description of later years, as well as transcripts of some lectures.

As Gurdjieff explained to Ouspensky ... "for exact understanding exact language is necessary."[20]. In his first series of writings, Gurdjieff explains how difficult it is to choose an ordinary language to convey his thoughts exactly. He continues..."the Russian language is like the English...both these languages are like the dish which is called in Moscow 'Solianka', and into which everything goes except you and me..."[21]. In spite of the difficulties, he goes on to develop a special vocabulary of a new language all of it his own. He uses these new words particularly in the first series of his writings. However, in The Herald of Coming Good, he uses one particular word for the first time which does not appear in any of his other writings: ..." Tzvarnoharno...leads to the destruction of both him that tries to achieve something for general human welfare and of all that he has already accomplished to this end."[22]. According to Gurdjieff, King Solomon himself coined this particular word; as such, it seems to be a key to understanding the legend of Hiram Abiff.

Reception and influence

Opinions on Gurdjieff's writings and activities are divided. Sympathizers regard him as a charismatic master who brought new knowledge into Western culture, a psychology and cosmology that enable insights beyond those provided by established science.[14] Critics assert he was simply a charlatan with a large ego and a constant need for self-glorification.[23]

Gurdjieff had a strong influence on many modern mystics, artists, writers, and thinkers, including William Patrick Patterson, Frank Lloyd Wright[24], Keith Jarrett, Alan Watts, Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Robert Fripp, Jacob Needleman, John Shirley, Dennis Lewis, Peter Brook, Kate Bush, P. L. Travers, Robert S de Ropp, Walter Inglis Anderson,Jean Toomer, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Louis Pauwels, James Moore and Abdullah Isa Neil Dougan. Gurdjieff's notable personal students include Jeanne de Salzmann, Willem Nyland, Lord Pentland (Henry John Sinclair), P. D. Ouspensky, Olga de Hartmann, Thomas de Hartmann, Jane Heap, John G. Bennett, Alfred Richard Orage, Maurice Nicoll, Lanza del Vasto, George and Helen Adie and Katherine Mansfield. The italian composer and singer Franco Battiato was sometime inspired by Gurdieff's work, for example in his song Cerco un centro di gravita permanente that is one of most popular modern italian pop songs. Aleister Crowley visited his Institute at least once. Gurdjieff called Crowley 'dirty,' and wanted him to leave the institute. Privately Crowley praised Gurdjieff's work, though with some reservations.

However one regards Gurdjieff's teaching, or Gurdjieff personally, he appears to have given new life and practical form to ancient teachings of both East and West. For example, the Socratic/Platonic emphasis on "the examined life" recurs in Gurdjieff's teaching as the practice of self-observation. His teachings about self-discipline and restraint reflect Stoic teachings. The Hindu/Buddhist notion of attachment recurs in Gurdjieff's teaching as the concept of identification. Similarly, his cosmology can be "read" against ancient and esoteric sources, respectively Neoplatonic and such a source as Robert Fludd's treatment of macrocosmic musical structures. American psychological culture has seized on one of Gurdjieff's introductions, the enneagram. Although for many students of the Gurdjieff tradition the enneagram remains a "koan," challenging and never explicated once and for all, the enneagram figure has been used as the basis for personality analysis, for example in the Enneagram of Personality, developed by Oscar Ichazo, Helen Palmer, and others, and in that application is not related to Gurdjieff's teaching or to his explanations of the enneagram.


Gurdjieff had influenced the formation of many groups after his death, all of which still function today and follow his ideas.[25]

The Gurdjieff Foundation, the largest organization directly influenced by the ideas of Gurdjieff, was organized by Jeanne de Salzmann during the early 1950s, and led by her in cooperation with other direct pupils. The main three branches of the Foundation are The Gurdjieff Foundation of New York,[26] The London-based Gurdjieff Society, the Institut Gurdjieff (Paris), and the network of foundations in South America founded by the late Natalie de Etievan, daughter of Jeanne de Salzmann. Connected to these four foundations are numerous smaller groups around the world, collected under the umbrella of the International Association of Gurdjieff Foundations. The president of the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York was Lord Pentland, who retained this position until his death. As of 2009 Frank R. Sinclair, author of Without Benefit of Clergy, presides. A group in India is led by Ravi Ravindra who was a student under Mme De Salzmann and Dr. Welch.

Various pupils of Gurdjieff also formed other groups. Willem Nyland, one of Gurdjieff's closest students and an original founder and trustee of The Gurdjieff Foundation of New York, left to form his own groups in the early 1960s. Jane Heap was sent to London by Gurdjieff, where she led groups until her death in 1964. Louise Goepfert March, who became a pupil of Gurdjieff's in 1929, started her own groups in 1957 and founded the Rochester Folk Art Guild in the Finger Lakes region of New York State; her efforts were closely linked to the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York. There are also independent groups which were formed and led by John G. Bennett.

Gurdjieff's influence has expanded from traditional Gurdjieffianism to variants and independent groups with little or no relationship to him or his teaching apart from the use of his name. See for example [5]. Many of these groups do not have names or formal organization, but are rather held together through the leadership of individuals.


Criticism of Gurdjieff's system largely focuses on his insistence on seeing people as "asleep" in a state closely resembling "hypnotic sleep". Gurdjieff said, even specifically at times, that a pious, good, and moral man was no more "spiritually developed" than any other person; they are all equally "asleep."

A primary criticism of Gurdjieff's work points out that it attaches no value to almost everything that comprises the life of an average man. According to Gurdjieff, everything an "average man" possesses, accomplishes, does, and feels is completely accidental and without any initiative.

In his most elaborate writing, Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson (see bibliography), Gurdjieff records his reverence for the founders of the mainstream religions of East and West and his contempt (by and large) for what successive generations of believers have made of those religious teachings. His ironical discussions of "orthodoxhydooraki" and "heterodoxhydooraki" orthodox fools and heterodox fools, from the Russian word durak (fool) position him as a critic of religious distortion and, in turn, as a target for criticism from some within those traditions. Gurdjieff has been interpreted by some to have had a total disregard for the value of mainstream religion, philanthropic work, and the value of doing right or wrong in general.

Gurdjieff's detractors argue, despite his seeming total lack of pretension to any kind of "guru holiness", that the many anecdotes of his sometimes unconventional behavior display the unsavory and impure character of a man who was a cynical manipulator of his followers. [6] Gurdjieff's own pupils wrestled to understand him. For example, in a written exchange between Luc Dietrich and Henri Tracol dating to 1943: "L.D.: How do you know that Gurdjieff wishes you well? H.T.: I feel sometimes how little I interest him--and how strongly he takes an interest in me. By that I measure the strength of an intentional feeling." [27]

Louis Pauwels wrote Monsieur Gurdjieff (first edition published in Paris France in 1954 by Editions du Seuil.[28]) In an interview, he said of the Gurdjieff work: "... After two years of exercises which both enlightened and burned me, I found myself in a hospital bed with a thrombosed central vein in my left eye and weighin ninety-nine pounds...Horrible anguish and abysses opened up for me. But it was my fault."[29]

Pauwels claims Karl Haushofer, the father of geopolitics whose protegee was Deputy Reich Führer Rudolf Hess, as one of the real "seekers after truth" described by Gurdjieff. According to Rom Landau, a journalist in the 1930s, as reported to him by Achmed Abdullah: at the beginning of the XXth century, Gurdjieff was a Russian secret agent in Tibet who went by the name of Hambro Akuan Dorzhieff or simply Lama Dorjieff, chief tutor to the Dalai Lama.[30] However, reports have it that Dorzhieff went to live in the Buddhist temple erected in St. Petersburg and after the revolution, he was imprisoned by Stalin. Jack Webb conjectures that Gurdjieff may have been Dorzhieff's assistant Ushe Narzunoff but this is untenable.[31]

Colin Wilson writes about "...Gurdjieff's reputation for seducing his female students. (In Providence Rhode Island, in 1960, a man was pointed out to me as one of Gurdjieff's illegitimate children. The professor who told me this also assured me that Gurdjieff had left many children around America)."[32]

Frank R. Sinclair, president of the Gurdjieff Foundation in New York, identifies Michele de Salzmann as Jeanne de Salzmann's son by Gurdjieff.[33]

Gurdjieff vs Crowley

According to Alex Owen, Gurdjieff "...was often referred to by his followers as a magician, and the powerful effect of his hypnotic presence is reminiscent of Aleister Crowley in his prime. Although Gurdjieff despised Crowley, both men were undeniably occult Masters in a similar mold."[34]

Whitall Perry writes that "...there is just the possibility that the two men had some business in common that escaped the notice of the others present."[35]

Samael Aun Weor writes more directly in The Juratena Mountain of how Francisco A. Propato (a graduate of La Sorbonne and Spanish translator of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam) declares "Beelzebub" Gurdjieff a Black Magician,[36] though Samael himself only ever speaks of Gurdjieff in positive terms.

"...As far as I know, the only occult resort of recent times which surpassed Gurdjieff's in madness was the infamous monastery established near Cefalu, in Sicily, by the fabulous British occultist, Aleister Crowley."[37]

Gurdjieff vs Rasputin

"...Rom Landau was one of the first to compare Gurdjieff to Rasputin. Describing a meeting with Gurdjieff, he explains: 'I had been specially careful not to look at Gurdjieff and not to allow him to look into my eyes...'"[38]

Gurdjieff was once described by Time magazine as "a remarkable blend of P.T. Barnum, Rasputin, Freud, Groucho Marx and everybody's grandfather."[39]

Other views

With so much surrounding Gurdjieff and his teaching, other views are possible. For example, during the Russian period he spoke with respect of the obyvatel, the simple householder or salt-of-the-earth peasant, who lives by traditional values and slowly develops himself. Much later, in Paris, he gave encouragement and financial help to a multitude of people who were hard up for one reason or another. His Paris flat had, people say, one of the world's worst art collections, consisting of pieces purchased from indigent artists as a cover for providing them with funds without humiliating them. Diogenes, the ancient Greek Cynic philosopher whom Gurdjieff resembles, once said of himself that like the chorus master, he set the note a little high so that the chorus would hit the right note. For his pupils and in his writings, Gurdjieff set the note "a little high" as a goal and inspiration, while in his personal conduct he was generous to "the average man." Many such people attended his funeral at the Russian cathedral, rue Daru. Gurdjieff's pupils did not know them.


Gurdjieff is best known through the published works of his pupils. His one-time student P. D. Ouspensky wrote In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching, which some regard as a crucial introduction to the teaching. Others refer to Gurdjieff's own books (detailed below) as the primary texts.

Accounts of time spent with Gurdjieff have been published by A. R. Orage, Charles Stanley Nott, Thomas and Olga de Hartmann, Fritz Peters, René Daumal, John G. Bennett, Maurice Nicoll, Margaret Anderson and Louis Pauwels, among others. Many others found themselves drawn to his 'ideas table': Frank Lloyd Wright[40], Kathryn Hulme, P. L. Travers, Katherine Mansfield, Jean Toomer and Ethel Merston.

Three books by Gurdjieff were published after his death: Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, Meetings with Remarkable Men, and Life is Real Only Then, When 'I Am'. This trilogy is Gurdjieff's legominism, known collectively as All and Everything. A legominism is, according to Gurdjieff, "one of the means of transmitting information about certain events of long-past ages through initiates". A book of his early talks was also collected by his student and personal secretary, Olga de Hartmann, and published in 1973 as Views from the Real World: Early Talks in Moscow, Essentuki, Tiflis, Berlin, London, Paris, New York, and Chicago, as recollected by his pupils.

The feature film Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979), based on Gurdjieff's book by the same name, depicts rare performances of the sacred dances taught to serious students of his work, known simply as the movements. The film was written by Jeanne de Salzmann and Peter Brook, directed by Brook, and stars Dragan Maksimovic and Terence Stamp.


  • The Herald of Coming Good by G. I. Gurdjieff (1933, 1971, 1988)
  • All and Everything trilogy:
    • Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson by G. I. Gurdjieff (1950)
    • Meetings with Remarkable Men by G. I. Gurdjieff (1963)
    • Life is Real Only Then, When 'I Am' by G. I. Gurdjieff (1974)
  • Views from the Real World gathered talks of G. I. Gurdjieff by his pupil Olga de Hartmann(1973)

Books about Gurdjieff and The Fourth Way

  • The Unknowable Gurdjieff, Margaret Anderson, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1962, ISBN 0-7100-7656-8
  • Gurdjieff: A Very Great Enigma by J. G. Bennett, 1969
  • Gurdjieff: Making a New World by J. G. Bennett 1973, ISBN 0-06-090474-7
  • Idiots in Paris by J. G. Bennett and E. Bennett, 1980
  • Becoming Conscious with G.I. Gurdjieff, Solanges Claustres, Eureka Editions, 2005
  • Mount Analogue by René Daumal 1st edition in French, 1952; English, 1974
  • The Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship by Roger Friedland and Harold Zellman, 2006, (includes especially extensive documentation on "the strong influence the occultist Georgi Gurdjieff had on Wright and especially his wife Oglivanna."[41])
  • Gurdjieff Unveiled by Seymour Ginsburg, 2005
  • Our Life with Mr. Gurdjieff by Thomas and Olga de Hartmann, 1964, Revised 1983 and 1992
  • Undiscovered Country by Kathryn Hulme, 1966
  • The Oragean Version by C. Daly King, 1951
  • The Gurdjieff Years 1929-1949: Recollections of Louise March by Annabeth McCorkle
  • Psychological Commentaries on the Teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky by Maurice Nicoll, 1952, 1955, 1972, 1980, (6 volumes)
  • Teachings of Gurdjieff - The Journey of a Pupil by C. S. Nott, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1961
  • On Love by A. R. Orage, 1974
  • Psychological Exercises by A. R. Orage 1976
  • In Search of the Miraculous by P. D. Ouspensky, 1949 (numerous editions)
  • The Fourth Way by P. D. Ouspensky, 1957
  • The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution by P. D. Ouspensky, 1978
  • Eating The "I": An Account of The Fourth Way: The Way of Transformation in Ordinary Life, William Patrick Patterson, 1992
  • Ladies of the Rope: Gurdjieff's Special Left Bank Women's Group, William Patrick Patterson 1999
  • Struggle of the Magicians: Exploring the Teacher-Student Relationship, William Patrick Patterson 1996
  • Taking with the Left Hand: Enneagram Craze, The Fellowship of Friends, and the Mouravieff Phenomenon, William Patrick Patterson, 1998
  • Voices in the Dark: Esoteric, Occult & Secular Voices in Nazi-Occupied Paris 1940-44, William Patrick Patterson, 2001
  • Spiritual Survival in a Radically Changing World-Time, William Patrick Patterson, 2009
  • Boyhood with Gurdjieff by Fritz Peters, 1964
  • Gurdjieff Remembered by Fritz Peters, 1965
  • The Gurdjieff Work by Kathleen Speeth ISBN 0-87477-492-6
  • Gurdjieff: An Introduction To His Life and Ideas by John Shirley, 2004, ISBN 1-58542-287-8
  • Gurdjieff: A Master in Life, Tcheslaw Tchekhovitch, Dolmen Meadow Editions, Toronto, 2006
  • Toward Awakening by Jean Vaysse, 1980
  • Gurdjieff: An Approach to his Ideas, Michel Waldberg, 1981, ISBN 0-7100-0811-2
  • A Study of Gurdjieff's Teaching, Kenneth Walker, 1957
  • Gurdjieff: The Key Concepts, Sophia Wellbeloved, Routledge, London and N.Y., 2003, ISBN 0-415-24898-1
  • Gurdjieff, Astrology and Beelzebub's Tales, Sophia Wellbeloved, Solar Bound Press, N.Y., 2002
  • The War Against Sleep: The Philosophy of Gurdjieff, Colin Wilson, 1980
  • Who Are You Monsieur Gurdjieff?, René Zuber 1980
  • Monsieur Gurdjieff, Louis Pauwels, France, 1954. [7]
  • "Ouspensky, Gurdjieff et les Fragments d'un Enseignement inconnu", by Boris Mouravieff, in Revue Mensuelle Internationale "Synthèses", N°138, Bruxelles, novembre 1957.
  • "Ecrits sur Ouspensky, Gurdjieff et sur la Tradition ésotérique chrétienne", Inédit, Dervy Poche, Paris, September 2008.
  • Gurdjieff Seeker of the Truth, Kathleen Speeth, Ira Friedlander, 1980, ISBN 0-06-090693-6

Comprehensive biographies

  • Gurdjieff: Making a New World posthumous work by John G. Bennett, 1973, Harper, ISBN 0-06-060778-5
  • The Harmonious Circle: The Lives and Work of G. I. Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, and Their Followers by James Webb, 1980, Putnam Publishing. ISBN 0-399-11465-3
  • Gurdjieff: The anatomy of a Myth by James Moore, 1991, ISBN 1-86204-606-9
  • Gurdjieff's America: Mediating the Miraculous by Paul Beekman Taylor, 2004, Lighthouse Editions, ISBN 1904998003. Reissued as Gurdjieff's Invention of America 2007, Eureka Editions.
  • G. I. Gurdjieff: A New Life by Paul Beekman Taylor, 2008, Eureka Editions, ISBN 978-90-72395-57-3

Videos and DVDs about Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way

  • Gurdjieff's Legacy: Establishing The Teaching in the West, 1924-1949 Part III
  • Gurdjieff's Mission: Introducing The Teaching to the West, 1912-1924 Part II
  • Gurdjieff in Egypt: The Origin of Esoteric Knowledge Part I
  • Meetings with Remarkable Men, Peter Brook, 1979
  • Tribute to G. I. Gurdjieff
  • Some moments with Mr. Gurdjieff and others, France 1949
  • Hitler, Stalin and Gurdjiev. Running time appr. 44 minutes. Russia, 2006.


  • G.I. Gurdjieff Sacred Hymns, by Keith Jarrett, ECM, 1980
  • Seekers of the Truth: The Complete Piano Music of Georges I. Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann, Volume One, by Cecil Lytle, Celestial Harmonies, 1992
  • Reading of a Sacred Book: The Complete Piano Music of Georges I. Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann, Volume Two, by Cecil Lytle, Celestial Harmonies, 1992
  • Words for a Hymn to the Sun: The Complete Piano Music of Georges I. Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann, Volume Three, by Cecil Lytle, Celestial Harmonies, 1992
  • Gurdjieff's Music for the Movements, by Wim van Dullemen, Channel Classics, 1999
  • Thomas de Hartmann: Music for Gurdjieff's '39 Series' , by Wim van Dullemen, Channel Classics, 2001
  • Chants, Hymns and Dances, by Anja Lechner and Vassilis Tsabropoulos, ECM, 2004
  • Melos, by Anja Lechner, Vassilis Tsabropoulos and U.T. Gandhi, ECM, 2008

See also

  • Fourth Way
  • Centers (Fourth Way)
  • Fourth Way Enneagram
  • Leon MacLaren
  • Ray of Creation
  • Gurdjieff movements
  • In Search of the Miraculous
  • Meetings with Remarkable Men
  • Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson
  • Sarmoung Brotherhood
  • All and Everything


  1. Gurdjieff International Review
  2. [1]
  3. P. D. Ouspensky (1949). In Search of the Miraculous
  4. S. Wellbeloved, Gurdjieff, Astrology and Beelzebub's Tales, pp.9-13
  5. Chronology of Gurdjieff's Life by James Moore
  6. "In Gurdjieffs wake in Istanbul", Gurdjieff Movements, March 2003.
  7. John G. Bennett (1983). Witness.
  8. James Moore (1993). Gurdjieff A Biography: The Anatomy of a Myth.
  9. P.D. Ouspensky (1949), In Search of the Miraculous
  10. G. I. Gurdjieff and His School by Jacob Needleman
  11. P.D. Ouspensky (1949), In Search of the Miraculous, Chapter 2
  12. Gurdjieff International Review
  13. P. D. Ouspensky (1949). In Search of the Miraculous Chapter 2
  14. 14.0 14.1 P. D. Ouspensky (1971). The Fourth Way, Chapter 1
  15. P. D. Ouspensky (1949). In Search of the Miraculous, Chapter 9
  16. P. D. Ouspensky (1949). In Search of the Miraculous, Chapter 1
  17. G.I. Gurdjieff (1963) Meetings with Remarkable Men, Chapter 11
  18. Book review of Gary Lachman. In Search of the miraculles: Genius in the Shadow of Gurdjieff.[2]
  19. William Segal (2003). Voice At The Borders Of Silence
  20. Ouspensky, P. D. In Search of the Miraculous, p. 70, Harourt Brace & Co. 1949, ISBN 0-15-644508-5
  21. Gurdjieff, G. All and Everything, p. 10, E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc., 1950
  22. Gurdjieff, G. The Herald of Coming Good, p. 12, Paris 1933
  23. Michael Waldberg (1990). Gurdjieff An Approach to his Ideas, Chapter 1
  24. Friedland and Zellman, The Fellowship, pp.33-135
  25. Seymour B. Ginsburg Gurdjieff Unveiled, pp. 71-7, Lighthouse Editions Ltd., 2005 ISBN 978-1904998013
  26. Frank Sinclair Without Benefit of Clergy, p. 17, Xlibris Corporation, 2005 ISBN 1413475140: according to the author who was former president of the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York, Michel de Salzmann was the illegitimate son of Madame de Salzmann by Gurdjieff.
  27. Henry Tracol, The Taste For Things That Are True, p. 84, Element Books: Shaftesbury, 1994
  28. Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke Black Sun, p. 323, NYU Press, 2003 ISBN 978-081473-1550
  29. Bruno de Panafieu/Jacob Needleman/George Baker/Mary Stein Gurdjieff: Essays and Reflections on the Man and His Teachings, p. 166, Continuum, 1997 ISBN 978-0826410498
  30. Gary Lachmann Turn Off Your Mind, pp. 32-33, Disinformation Co., 2003 ISBN 978-0971394230
  31. Gary Lachman Politics and the Occult, p. 124, Quest Books, 2004 ISBN 978-0835608572
  32. Colin Wilson G. I. Gurdjieff/P.D. Ouspensky, ch. 6, Maurice Bassett, 2007 Kindle Edition ASIN B0010K7P5M
  33. Frank R. Sinclair Without Benefit of Clergy, p. 17, Xlibris Corporation, 2005 ISBN 1-4134-7514-0
  34. Alex Owen The Place of Enchantment, p. 235, University of Chicago Press, 2004 ISBN 978-022664-2017
  35. Whitall Perry Gurdjieff in the Light of Tradition, p. 77, Sophia Perennis, 2005 ISBN 978-1597310154
  36. Samael Aun Weor The Juratena Mountain, ch. 3, Colombia S. A., Spanish first edition 1959
  37. Martin Gardner Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, p. 215, Dover Publications Inc., 1957 ISBN 978-0486203942
  38. Colin Wilson Rasputin and the Fall of the Romanovs, p. 103, Farrar Straus & Co., 1964 ASIN B001GIMPZ8
  39. Edwin Abbott/Ian Stewart The Annotated Flatland, p. 140, Da Capo Press, 2002 ISBN 978-0738205410
  40. Friedland and Zellman, The Fellowship, pp.33-135
  41. |Review of The Fellowship

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: G. I. Gurdjieff Wikimedia Commons has media related to: G. I. Gurdjieff

  • International Association of Gurdjieff Foundations
  • Gurdjieff entry in Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism
  • Gurdjieff Movements studies
  • G. I. Gurdjieff and His School by Jacob Needleman, Professor of Philosophy, San Francisco State University
  • Gurdjieff Reading Guide compiled by J. Walter Driscoll. Fifty-two articles which provide an independent survey of the literature by or about George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff and offer a wide range of informed opinion (admiring, critical, and contradictory) about him, his activities, writings, philosophy, and influence.
  • Gurdjieff International Review Informed essays and commentary on the history, writings, and teachings of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff.
  • Chronology of Gurdjieff's Life by James Moore
  • Gurdjieff connection to Gomidas
  • G. I. Gurdjieff articles Articles and quotes by G. I. Gurdjieff
  • George Gurdjieff - Armeniapedia article
  • Writings on Gurdjieff's teachings in the Elizabeth Jenks Clark Collection of Margaret Anderson Papers at Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
  • Gurdjieff Free Books Free PDF Ebooks of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky
  • Gurdjieff Work Definition by Wilhem Nyland Gurdjieff Work Definition by Wilhem Nyland


  • The Teachers of Gurdjieff by Rafael Lefort (probably a pen name of Idries Shah) ISBN 0-87728-213-7
  • The Way of the Sufi by Idries Shah ISBN 0-14-019252-2
  • Article in The Skeptic's dictionary by Robert Todd Carroll
  • Gurdjieff: articles and links
This page was last modified 20.10.2009 22:04:05

This article uses material from the article G. I. Gurdjieff from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.