Iran News ...


11/06/07

Gurdjieff: The Founder Of American Mysticism

By Roya Monajem, Tehran

 

What follows is the note I added to my translation of Gurdjieff’s canon Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, subtitled The Objective Criticism of the Life of Man after, a few days of internal fierce struggle whether I should take this venture, this risk or not. With the encouragement of the publisher, I did. My intention in writing this note was to share with readers what helped me when reading this amazing ‘story book of ontology and cosmology.’ I will be grateful if people familiar with G’s teachings and this book in particular, and those interested in Mysticism, and New Age Spiritualism in general to criticize this note as it is the only alternative that I can think of to make sure I haven’t gone too wild here!

 

This is what I wrote there.

 

Apparently, after sending this work to the publisher (1949), Gurdjieff tells his entourage that his task is now finished and leaves this world a week later. Based on the fact that it was translated and sent to the publisher while he was still alive, one could hope that there would be only one translation; what a vain wishful thinking!

 

After finishing the first draft of the translation which was carried out from the photocopy of the book I had borrowed from Saman Sadjadi (Penguine 1992), I received a normal copy of 1998 edition. Having the above wishful thought in mind, I put this on a shelf and continued checking and working with that photocopy, until one day when wishing to check some part, I picked up this new book which was closer at hand. What a shock! No, it can’t be true, this is a different translation!  I turned to the first page and found exactly what was said in the first book: “Original written in Russian and Armenian. Translations into other languages have been made under the personal direction of the author…” with no other note mentioning that this is a new revised edition. Very strange and unexpected from well-established western publishing system! What is the story?

 

I started to compare them. As much as I could see they both convey the same things, but they are different! Now the question was: Which one of them is the translation carried out “under the personal direction of the author?”

 

Yet, we can ask that if they essentially convey the same thing why is it important to know which is the ‘genuine or authentic’ copy? Another question may answer this question. Is a painting produced by a master painter the same as even its best reproduction carried out by his most talented and well trained pupil? Our eyes might not see the difference, but something in us feels and senses it because they come from two different sources of ‘energy and emanations.’ In other words, they come from two different persons at two different levels of Being. In our case, Gurdjieff’s energy should still be present in one and absent in the other…

 

To find an answer I contacted two different Gurdjieff’s groups in US through e-mail and it was interesting to find out that both were as much surprised as I was when I first realized this fact. And they both suggested that I should take the latest edition as the authentic copy. Opposite to what I was feeling.

 

Anyhow at the peak of “what to do?” in this regard, I reached the section dealing with Islam and while struggling with one of the typically long Gurdjieffian sentences, I appealed to the new edition to see how it is translated there. Seeing the term Mohammadi instead of Moslem and associating what Edward Saeed says about the history of this term in his Orientalism, I became certain that this can not be the genuine authentic translation because it almost seems impossible that Gurdjieff who took a considerable part of his teachings from Islamic mystics and Islamic mystical orders says Mohammadi instead of Moslem. Thank goodness, the first question finally found a satisfactory answer at least for me and from then on I peacefully continued taking the first copy as the genuine authentic translation and mentioned the discrepancies only when they were noticeable as footnotes. After all, what has happened in this regard is nothing new. G gives us ample information about what has happened during the past human history each time that a prophet, a theoretician, a philosopher, a mystic, a man of genius…. puts his head on earth.  

 

There were other important points that had to be pondered upon, and with the above incidence I no longer had the motivation or inclination to appeal to G’s groups in the west.

The next important ‘what to do?’ showed itself from the first page of the first chapter if we don’t take the author’s introduction as the first chapter. What Persian equivalent should I use for the frequently repeated term “common presence?” Common can not mean ordinary here because the term ‘ordinary presence’ is also used every now and then with a different meaning. I used the Persian word moshtarek which is the meaning it conveys in the English sentence ‘we have common points of view’ for example, all the time thinking whether it is a proper equivalent or not. Why has G used this term, what does he exactly mean by that? …

The first simple answer that comes to mind is that he means the presence that is common in all humans. If so then why didn’t he use only presence? Why does he use the same term for even a single human being?...

Until one day, (imitating Archimedes): “Eureka!”  huzur moshtarek’ must be O.K, for this simple reason that based on a very old belief, G regards every single human being as a legion and proves it in an understandable way. We don’t have a single ‘I”, the common presence is the presence of all this legion of ‘I’s.

From G’s point of view every human being has at least three ‘I’s that he calls physical, emotional and mental; and the perfect man has three bodies, a planetary body, an astral body and a mental body and taking into consideration the universality of the law of seven, each of these bodies should consist of seven layers… little by little we are reaching that legion.

Therefore, perhaps we can say that ‘common presence’ replaces the ‘I’ that humans if real should have, but lack as they are.

The other important ‘what to do?’ concerned G’s forged words, in most cases, long almost unutterable words encountered almost in every page or so. Some of these words or to be more exact, parts of them consists of words understandable for any educated English speaking person. Should these parts be translated? But from another perspective this words may be looked at as an international language that if translated will lose this quality. For example, the word hepta-paraparshinokh means the law of seven which has its own term in different languages, but when G’s word is used, it is not important what is our mother tongue, we will know exactly what is meant by that.

So although translation of these meaningful parts could help Persian readers a little in remembering them better, like saying haft (seven)-paraparshinokh, but again there was a sense or a feeling that together with responses of the people I consulted in this regard was telling me that this should not be done and I just should mention these cases in the corresponding footnotes as much my knowledge allows me.

But what could be G’s intention in making these words? He does give some scattered candid and obscure reasons for it that you will read as you read through the text, but for those who are not familiar with G’s teachings, although deeply disinclined to transfer my personal understanding and insights – you will read the reasons later – it is perhaps useful to mention one of them.

G believes that humans as such are just a special and unique brand of mechanical transformers of substances and radiations spending their live in ‘sleep.’ According to some statistics an average human being can live at most only for one minute with total and complete presence and awareness, and I like to add here that even this seemingly very short time span is a lot and rarely happens. And according to some other statistics we can keep our attention on the text we read for only 20 minutes and even this only concerns those texts that really need attention. Therefore, the first function of these unfamiliar words for everybody regardless of their mother tongue is to prevent us from losing attention and ‘go back to sleep’ or our usual state of ‘daydreaming,’ and in case this has already happened they compel us to ‘wake up’ and resume attentive reading.

We can say more about their probable other functions, but let us each think and discover them for ourselves. There is a long discussion in Ouspensky’s In Search of Miraculous[1] about why it can be harmful to transfer our personal understanding at the level that this poor translator may have which frankly and honestly doesn’t know where it is and makes her doubt whether she should have ventured to translate this work or not in the first place. What gave her some assurance is based on the text itself.

G says that he has written this book by ‘active mentation.’ Allow me to transfer the meaning of this term by telling you a story. Another important G’s pupil (disciple), Orage, who was an experienced knowledgeable Englishman, the editor of a literary magazine called New Age and the first organizer of G’s groups in US (although apparently without G’s permission and knowledge at first)[2] and perhaps the first editor of English translation of this work, when asked why he didn’t do much edition, he answered he ‘didn’t find it necessary; it is understandable as it is!’ (free quotation).[3] In the peak of reflection and self-doubt about the above question, that is the relation between understanding and the level of Being, reading or hearing this about Orage was an assurance. This was more or less exactly what I felt when I first faced this work. Despite long sentences, sometimes covering more than half a page, it was startling to see that with a little bit of concentration and effort, they can be translated without the need to cut sentences and…

So although Orage’s comment decreased that self-doubt, another question appeared almost immediately that helped me to understand the term “active mentation” better as well. The question was how is it that two people, one Persian speaking and the other English speaking, in two different time-spaces, particularly with such great different cultural backgrounds have reached almost the same perception in regard to this work, that is it is understandable.[4] So perhaps this is the difference between ‘objective and subjective art’ mentioned in Miraculous: in objective art, the result of active mentation the artist knows exactly what sort of effects he/she wishes to create on the audience regardless of their individual subjectivity. For example, we all feel overwhelmed when we first face Persepolis, due to its grandeur and…, and then each depending on the degree of our understanding (which according to G is the mean of knowledge and level of Being) is affected in other ways as well. In subjective art, however, the work is mostly created by accident and thus can have totally different effects on the audience. The more I lived with the content of these Tales, the more I could feel the truth in the fact that G knew exactly what he wanted to do with his readers.

The second point that should be mentioned in this regard is that G has written his canon in the form of story. Why? Perhaps because to make it easier for us, regardless of our race, culture, social class, level of education and…to understand his teachings. A great part of this work is indeed written in the form of story, and tells the story of human life, the world, the cosmos. And stories talk to our ‘commonest presence.’ Everybody regardless of his/her race, social cultural geographical, educational level, understands such stories. In addition, if we pay a little bit of attention to the sound of stories when they are told, we can detect the same melody or different performances of the same melody depending on the language. Once upon time…Il etait une fois…. ruzi, ruzegaari…Grandparents, regardless of their time-space of their origin relate stories in the most loving way to their grandchildren, particularly when they are their favorite grandson, their heir! This familiar ‘romantic’ melody can also play a significant role in facilitating the understanding of this piece of objective art. And after all, translation of such stories is no difficult job.

But what can be said about other parts of this work that sound like when one is trying to solve a difficult mathematical question and therefore has to press hard one’s brain? Here, G uses the same language that is the contemporary international scientific language that everybody with a high school diploma should be familiar with it. Mathematical problems, chemical formulae, biological and physical laws and principles say the same thing, no matter in what language they are said or written. Translation of these texts is not very difficult either, but how much we can understand them is anther thing. It is here that the reciprocal relation between knowledge and level of Being comes to play a role and as Molana says ‘everybody becomes my company, according to his/her thoughts.’[5]

And the last point in this regard.

I sincerely hope I have not made any mistakes that would harm the reader’s understanding in this translation with this confession that imitating G, I have intentionally used a couple of words that may sound awkward, and for which we have commoner equivalents, such as the word ‘intentional’ (repeated often) translated as niyat-mandaaneh. The purpose was to further help reader to stay attentive and awake while reading. But in order to complete this note, let me add the following.

G says: “Man is a legion with three headquarters mentioned above. If I am right to say that stories of this work which are simple stories of our everyday life experienced by all human beings regardless of time-space, aim at our physical center (roughly instinctive brain) and the non-story parts aim at our mental center, then although on one hand the love stories of this work are limited to first of all Beelzebub’s love for his grandson, a case of mother-son love and a couple of friendly love-relations, and on the other hand very little has been directly said about our emotional center, then one can rightly ask how is he tackling our emotional center that plays a vital role in understanding?

Its absence does not appear very strange at the first glance or first reading of the book. According to Ouspensky in Miraculous, G’s teaching has been criticized for not saying much about love and loving! He is indeed a strange mystic! Yet, let us not forget that again according to Ouspensky, G called his way the Way of Sly-man and in the documentary that Peter Brook has produced on G’s life we see a scene when G catches a sparrow, paints it and sells it as American Canary to buy some old books from a Persian speaking book seller and there is a part in this very work that associate the same thing, but of course he is the kind of sly man that Hafez describes: Learn slyness and be generous, as it is not an art/an animal not drinking and not becoming man.

It is hard to believe that G has left out this center particularly vital in reaching real understanding of anything, let alone his teachings. He must have tackled this mysterious center of ours, but so slyly that we can not perceive it at first. But how? This was a question that haunted me all the time, until the sixth time I was working on this translation,[6] when something like an answer crossed the mind. Perhaps he is tapping our ‘emotional center’ by using ‘emotional’ words?! The word love itself is used a dozen of times, but always with two other words ‘faith’ and ‘hope’ and a few times with the third word ‘conscience.’ He says with the abnormal life man has created for himself with the result of development of self-love, vanity, conceit and…he has pushed these sacred feelings to his subconscious and what man calls ‘love’ is mainly sexual attraction and/or mental considerations (free quotation). He says, it is a long time that man has not experienced the real taste of love and that is why he can not describe this “most beatific sacred impulse.” The clue he gives for its identification is this: ‘the result of experiencing of which we can blissfully rest from the meritorious labors actualized by us for the purpose of self-perfection.’[7]

The first notion that we can have from this is that love is the fruit of ‘conscious labor’ for keeping oneself ‘awake,’ for the purpose of self-perfection. On the other hand he says in another part: what is most accessible to us in the process of self-perfection is patient endurance of unpleasant manifestations of the people we live and socialize with for any reasons’ (free quotation). Isn’t this in a way teaching how to truly love in practice, or using the prevalent term used today, isn’t this the very definition of ‘unconditional love?’

G’s teachings seems lacking this most loved subject, love, because his approach is neither the ‘Hollywoodian’ contemporary form of love, nor the classic form of ‘Leyly and Majnoon’ or ‘Romeo and Juliet’ including mystical type of love. In fact, considering all evidences (see below) we can dare to call this way, the ‘way of lovers of truth’ with its loving aspect concealed because of the above reasons.

And if it repels potential candidates of the way of spiritualism for this, let them cling to empty words and as there is not much open talk about love and loving, let them follow much talked about ‘unconditional love’ of American mysticism and the ‘new priesthood of spiritualism’ arising from it. Yet, the interesting point or the paradox here is that G himself with all the people he directly or indirectly trained in West, among them are many brilliant trend-making individuals in various fields from sciences to arts may very well be called the founder of this new priesthood and American Mysticism.[8] This may not seem obvious at first because not all the people who ‘profiting by the crumbs fallen from his so to say ‘idea table’ and ‘opening their, what he would say ‘Shachermacher workshop-booths’ were honest and sincere enough to mention his name and his influence on their works. But the real proof for the above claim, the G is the founder of a ‘new’ kind of ‘priesthood’ is not only this very book itself, but a part of it where Beelzebub tells his grandson that ‘one of the strangest things about these contemporary three-brained beings is to teach what themselves don’t know… You can even earn money from it (free quotation).[9] Has there ever in the history of mankind been so many ‘gurus’ and ‘spiritual teachers’ all charging their ‘followers?’  Like lots of other things, G bravely just brought into surface what the traditional priesthoods have been doing in concealment in the past and present.

G or perhaps his Eastern masters before him realized that the center of civilization is moving completely to the West and by G’s first appearance in Russia, even from Europe to America and this ‘new civilization’ needs its own spiritual way and language. Africa at the time of Atlantis, Asia at the time of Persia, Egypt, Babel, India and China, Europe since Renaissance until the end of WWII and now it is naturally the turn of America to be the center of civilization.

Majnoon’s turn is over and it’s our turn/everybody has his turn for five days (Hafez)

Now when we look at the question from this perspective, and we realize what is now ‘exported’ under the name of ‘progressive culture, new age material and spiritualism’, is directly or indirectly influenced by G’s teaching, himself trained in central Asia, then we might be less worried and fearful about our ‘backwardness’ from the contemporary center of civilization and as G says ‘vainly grow sincerely indignant about it.’ G says nothing that Hafez, Molana and their teachers and disciples haven’t said. As he himself says all our ‘the- so-called- new- ideas and inventions have a prototype in the past.’ G is just repeating all the things considered as ‘truth’ from the dawn of civilization on earth in our language. Without a true knowledge of where we are standing we can never appreciate what we have and therefore continue being ‘vainly and sincerely indignant’ and worried for being ‘backward’ without deeply reflecting on the meaning of this word, plus the fact that it is impossible to violate the universal laws and do not pay for our past and present mistakes?  Dark nights always end in bright days, and east, west, north, south will have their turn of rise and fall, birth and death…

And in the last analysis what has been said up to now about the “Original Truth” no matter who, where and when is based on a war between two opposites, good and bad. G’s emphasis on the existence of the third reconciling force, recorded before in the idea of Trinity and Tao, particularly in the way he explains it, in a language accessible to all is really promising.

We were talking about G’s method of tackling our emotional center by using emotional words. If this understanding based on G’s teaching of the way our centers work and the role of ‘association’ in these centers is correct and Beelzebub’s Tales simultaneously affects and works on all our three centers – with stories affecting our instinctive center, non-story parts tackling our mental center and emotional words tapping our emotional center – then this last example will give another proof for calling ‘Fourth Way’ or the Way of Sly-man, the Way of lovers of Truth. G says the main human calamity arises from the fact that they divided themselves into four casts (classes) that turns all human relations to that of lords-slaves, depending on whether we see the other person as higher or lower than ourselves. In other words, if we see them higher, we behave like slaves, immediately “picking up our handkerchief to rub their ‘ticklish organ’” (i.e. flatter them) and if we see them lower we boast like lords and issue orders, etc. Another thing that G says in addition to what mentioned above about division of followers of any ‘ontological cosmological system of thought’ into different orders as soon as its founder put his head on earth, is that never would come a day when only one system of thought rules the earth.[10] In fact, these are among G’s ‘objective criticisms of the life of man.’

What I don’t understand in this historical masculine interpretation of life and creation based on war of opposites and division into classes is why we never suspect the fact that perhaps this state of affairs is also the will of our common ‘Endless Creator?’ In other words, there will never come a day when only one single interpretation of Truth dominates the world, because human beings are of different types and thus different world views, different approaches to the Truth. Doesn’t this variety and multiplicity rule throughout the universe, from the world of plants and animals, to the world of planets and solar systems?

Let’s look at this evidence in more detail. In case of mammals and even before them, this variety starts with having two different sexes for each species and in case of human beings, this two different sexes if looked at from Indian point of view, each has three different types (vata, pita, kafa) and if we look at them from Persian-Greek point of view they are divided into four dispositions (lets leave out details) and if we look at them from Chinese point of view they are divided into five dispositions, and if we look at them from the Gurdjieffian level of Being, these earthly ‘three-brained beings’ are divided into seven groups depending on the kind of emanations they issue with seven planets and seven amshaspand (archangels) representing them and based on I Ching’s eight hexagrams, they are divided into 8 groups and based on Eneagram types, into 9 types, and if we wish to see what is allotted to each of these two, three, four, five, seven, eight, nine types in ‘the circle of fate,’ depending on the time of their conception or birth, they are divided into at least 12 different types, each having their own world-view and their own interpretation of existence. And perhaps the cause of ‘war between 72 nations’ lies in this simple fact that because humans do not have the same predisposition, type, emanation, for this simple reason that they are born and grow up on different geographical lands with different nutrition under different cosmic radiation, willy-nilly they are divided into different races, tribes, nations, casts, classes, types. Perhaps there is a purpose in that too. It is true that it is the recognition of this obvious fact that probably gave rise to the idea of Federation (from the time of ancient Persian king Cyrus) and recently of Democracy, but the question is why hasn’t this unquestionable fact become an integral part of our collective consciousness, why hasn’t it entered our genetic pool?

The reason may lie in the overwhelming dominance of our ontological and cosmological interpretation based on the war of opposites that by now has completely dominated two of our centers- instinctive and mental. Perhaps that is why as G says, the world has always been as it is today.

Somewhere in these Tales dealing with the aim of creation of humans, an idea is expressed that is very similar to Zoroastrian view that Ahuramazda (God) created humans to help Him in the war with Ahriman (Satan), with this difference that here the aim is to help Him in management of his expanding Universe. It has also been said that the world is an ‘experimental crucible,’ and ‘attainment of full consciousness is only possible through conscious work on ourselves,’ therefore is it not possible to conclude that the ‘owner of this laboratory’ wish to try different combinations for his ultimate aim, even if we forget the terminating question of the above paragraph (i.e. keep with masculine interpretation)? What I am trying to say is let us work hard to truly accept the fact that because we are of different types, we can never live in peace with ourselves and others, unless we recognize this fact so deeply that it gets absorbed in our genetic pool and becomes an integral part of our collective consciousness.

On the other hand, each one of us is a legion, perhaps in order to make it easier for us to understand each other, to understand the concept of ‘unity in multiplicity’ or in Sadi’s words to understand the fact that ‘sons of Adam are organs of the same body’ and “because they did not see the Truth, went after Myth” (Hafez) In other words, we actually and potentially carry all personalities in this legion for a purpose: to reach a better understanding of ourselves because one can only understand things that one experiences within oneself.  In other words, in this way one may accelerate the process of sensing, feeling and thinking of unity in multiplicity and vice versa. The aim of the concept of reincarnation and life after Resurrection and Day of Judgment may also be the same. Whether they are true or not, they point to the same thing: ‘one will pay for one’s deeds’ (karma). The idea of ‘humans as being a legion’ can be helpful in this regard because in order to decrease ‘evil deeds’ in ourselves, learned men suggest: “Know yourself.” In G’s teaching the first step begins with self-observation in this manner: we become the camera woman or man of ourselves, as much as we remember. It is not that difficult because I don’t think there is now not a single person in our world who has not wished to be a film star and has not identified herself/himself with one of them! And when one identifies oneself with any personality, one learns to play that role. Ignoring the more important fact that most of the time, whether by ‘free will,’ ‘free choice’ or coercion, we are acting. In any case, supposing we honestly and sincerely wish to ‘know ourselves,’ by playing the role of the camera man or woman of the film of our lives, we gradually see that a series of ‘I’s appearing nearly everyday, seizing the reign of the ‘common presence of our legion.’ For example, we might notice that everyday a nervous person appears and depending on the surrounding condition, shows itself once or twice a day and is then replaced with for example, a lazy ‘I’ or a worried ‘I’ or…and…

This film-making helps us to experience more fully the reactions and moods of these different ‘I’s, and if the real ‘I’ that would hopefully be born little by little from the Nothingness of the pettiness of our existence succeeds in taking their reigns in its hand, then when this happens, we add say one ‘carat’ to that diamond or Persian turquoise that we carry on our brace and is called ‘essence.’ In other words, we reach peace with the same number of ‘I’s and ‘unify’ with them and experience some heavenly moments until the next ‘round’ the next cycle starts. And if we fail to take their reign, we keep reproducing the same film-script over and over and pay the price in the form of reactions we receive from outside and thus ‘the melody of grief continues’[11] till the last day of our lives.  For those who think and believe that is the end, well that is the end. For those who believe in the first above concept (reincarnation), we continue to pay the price in a series of lives by in this very same world, and in the other concept we pay it in another world. As it can be seen the difference between these two seemingly different concepts is just a difference in time-space.

Now on the basis of all that has been said, if we accept that it is according to Nature or Divine providence to have different types of human beings, then the subsequent divisions have to automatically follow; the fall of Mazdakism in Ancient Persia, Socialism and Communism in modern Europe present further evidence for this claim, that is human divisions into different categories. The main question is how is it that despite this concept of war of good and bad now encoded in two of our brains (instinctive and mental), thanks to all religions and moralities so far appearing and existing on earth, with the obvious result that every ‘other human being’ depending on the degree of differences – from racial to tribal, to religious, cultural, familial and... – will deep down can appear ‘evil’ to each of us, how is it that we don’t explode out of anger or tear ‘others’ into pieces, for the simple fact that these ‘others’ can not share our ‘world view,’ ‘our perceptions’ our ‘conceptions’ and…?

There is only one answer! It is even possible to hear all of us singing it in our hearts: It is the heavenly feeling of Love, located in the third center that is preventing this most natural consequence of our historical way of thinking.

Now if the above claim sounds sensible that G taps this center by using emotional words – isn’t this what poetry does to us? – then based on above explanations, when this center is tapped, three other impulses are simultaneously tickled too, conscience, faith and hope.

In addition to the above and some other emotional words seen in this work, there is one word that is repeated at least once in nearly every page or so of these Tales: favorite, mahboob.

Human beings are Beelzebub’s grandson’s favorites! It is a word that in most of our mystical poetical writings is one of the commonest equivalents of man’s ultimate ‘beloved,’ god. When we see this word which is now a part of our collective memory, knowingly or unknowingly it brings about associations that in addition to tackling our emotional center, it tickles the emotional part of our physical center as well. On the other hand, considering the root of the word emotion, (stirring up, incite, agitate), any emotional word then should put into motion something in our mental center too. In other words, it should refer us to an emotional experience as the result of which an emotional state arises in us whether we become aware of it or not! All in all, each time we read this or similar words, all our three centers are stimulated, but each time with new impressions that arise from information and knowledge obtained from the part we are reading. Now remembering that the place of conscience is in the same center, when this center is tapped, our conscience is tickled too. Then according to G’s description of conscience: “a state in which a man feels all at once everything that in general feels or can feel,”[12] then many of our habitual self-deceptions, self-righteousness, self-justifications, partialities, and…will naturally and automatically gradually fall into pieces. And this opens the way for further purification of this important center for our conscious individual development and evolution. It is apparently through this center that we get connected to our higher centers.

It is here that we can understand better the meaning of the story G relates in the first chapter of this book as a warning, the story of a villager who buys a whole kilo of red pepper, thinking that it should be a tasty fruit, and starts eating them, ignoring the burning he is experiencing in his whole being. And again according to him, god forbid if one reads this book just as a matter of curiosity! Like that poor villager, one of the ‘I’s of this legion writing these lines who ignored G’s warning was badly burning and scorching all the time.

As this may happen to others too, then with a relatively long experience in medical field, I have a suggestion that may salve and ease this burning and scorching.

The sense and feeling of our ‘weaknesses’, ‘selfishness’, ‘self-deceptions’, ‘wishful thinking’ ‘day-dreaming’, ‘foolish prejudices and partialities’, ‘vain self-justification’ and… is indeed hellish!

When we start acting as a camera man or woman of our personal life, that is start the process of self-observation, it is necessary to try to remember one thing that can be called the second step in G’s teaching: we should remember not to identify with any of ‘I’s we film. For example, when we observe a lazy ‘I’, we should remember that our whole ‘common presence’ is not lazy, but we just have a strong or weak lazy I, shared by all humans. That’s why laziness (sloth) is a sin in Christianity. Secondly, it helps to search for instances in life that we were not lazy at all, like in childhood when we were always ready to play and never felt lazy in this regard. Or even now, when we wish to do something with our whole being, like taking a trip to a land we always wished to visit, or…In such instances the lazy I immediately disappears. We do the same thing with all our ‘weak,’ ‘negative’ or ‘evil’ ‘I’s, that is we search for their opposites, that is our ‘positive’ activities, the ‘sacrifices’ we make and…

Not identifying ourselves with any ‘I’s whether positive or negative, means to remember our real self. Each time we say this is not I, willy-nilly we remember that divine particle we carry in our ‘heart’ that will be revealed only after we manage to see the veils of our vain empty egoism.

You are your own veil Hafez / Rise up (and free yourself from them all)[13]

We separate ourselves from each I of the legion, to get closer to our real I. Such long way! G comes to help again. He says: “study of laws of the world of creation and existence (which is what this book is all about) frees the third force that is the reconciling force. This is perhaps the ‘peace and reconciliation’ we feel when reading sacred books or mystical poetry. We might not feel it as openly when reading Beelzebub, because G intentionally sends our ‘I’s into the battlefield and in this war of “Iran and Turan”[14] like any other war ‘they don’t distribute halva (sweet).’ And the main reason for this may be that according to G this third or reconciling force always arises from friction and opposition of the other two sources, called active or affirming and passive or denying forces. So when this war reaches its peak, manifested each time we watch a part of the film we are making of our lives and realize our ‘nothingness’ ‘powerlessness’ ‘will-less-ness’ and the bitter truth that ‘we can do’ almost nothing with our own initiative, or put it another way, we are always under the domination of outside influences, and because this time we truly wish to ‘know ourselves’ and thus close the normal habitual doors of escapes, we naturally can feel even suicidal, it really helps if we remind ourselves of the presence of the above reconciling force that arises from the war between the two legions of our ‘good’ and ‘bad’ ‘I’s (inner good and evil)  and this is a law and it can’t be otherwise as much as the sun –at least under normal conditions – can not rise from the west, and wish beforehand that whenever this reconciling force arises, something in us uses it to back up and strengthen the legion of those ‘I’s that wish to stay on the path of goodness and love. And we can be sure that our ‘common presence’ knows what this something is, because as mentioned above, G promises that fortunately the impulse of ‘conscience’ together with the other three impulses, i.e. faith, hope and love have not been completely destroyed and uprooted in us. One of the qualities of the force of goodness is to evoke love and forgiveness in us and what is more healing than this? Can there be a more beautiful heaven than what we find inside ourselves when filled with love?



[1] Ouspensky was one of G’s most famous pupils and apparently G’s groups in US suggest that anybody interested to learn about G’s teachings should start with this book. The Persian translation of this book by the translator has been published by Elmi Publishing (2007).

[2] See G’s Life is Real, only then when “I am.”

[3] I know it is very unscholarly, but I really don’t remember whether I have read this or heard it in a documentary film about G’s life.

[4] It should be mentioned here that the sense and feeling I get from G’s style of writing reminds me very much of our Persian writers of the past, before the invention of grammar here. Some of them still live. They use same long sentences without commas, full stops or question marks. It is quite possible that the translation of this work into English had been much harder than into Persian. G’s style can be due to his origin, being born in Caucasus and getting a part of his teachings from Persian speaking people of the region.

[5] Not a poetical translation! The verse is har kasi az zan khod shod yaar man.

[6] G suggests that we should read this book three times, and because I translated the work, typed it, edited it and corrected it as well, I am counting the times I went over it as all these different personalities!

[7] See B’s Tales…chapter 26, Terror of the Situation.

[8] See Jacob Needleman and George Baker, Gurdjieff, Continuum, 1996. This book is a collection of articles written by significant American and European figures influenced by G’s teaching.

[9]  There is a discussion with Ouspensky in this regard in the same mentioned book. In addition, Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, may be looked at another evidence for this claim.

[10] The source of exact or free quotations in this note is Beelzebub… unless stated.

[11] Sohrab Sepehri.

[12] In search of Miraculous, chapter 8.

[13] A verse impossible to translate, I had to add that interpretation to show the point.

[14] In our now called legendary history recorded mainly in Ferdosi’s epic, Shahnameh, this is a never ending war, that symbolizes the war of good and bad.

... Payvand News - 11/06/07 ... --



comments powered by Disqus

Home | ArchiveContact | About |  Web Sites | Bookstore | Persian Calendar | twitter | facebook | RSS Feed


© Copyright 2007 NetNative (All Rights Reserved)