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My Solution to the Enigma of the Food Octave of Gurdjieff

(See the last section on possible reasons for why the substance at 'la' is missing.)

© 2013 by Dylan Stephens

"Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson" page 761 reads:

"In Tetartocosmoses the following names were given to
these independent arisings:
(1) Protoehary
(2) Defteroehary
(3) Tritoehary
(4) Tetartoehary
(5) Piandjoehary
(6) Exioehary
(7) Resulzarion
(Numbers 1-7 are intended to be the vibrations 'do', 're', 'mi', 'fa', 'sol', 'la', 'ti')

This is my attempt to fix the enigma of the Food Octave where Gurdjieff has placed Exioehary (Testes: Sperm and Ovary:ovum) as the sixth note (6) 'la' of the Law of Seven when it is clearly intended as the seventh (7) 'ti' and "Resulzation" would by its name be the completed octave at (8) higher 'do', however when it is moved to its proper place, there is a missing center and substance at sixth note (6) 'la'.

To offer a solution to the problem, I have compared "In Search of the Miraculous" by P.D. Ouspensky, Chapter 9 The Table of Hydrogens and their production in the Food Octave with "Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson" by G.I. Gurdjieff Chapter 39 The Holy Planet Purgatory.

Ouspensky's recollections of Gurdjieff from 1915 onwards are useful as a cross reference especially because Ouspensky was meticulous in his notes and, although the centers and substances are not defined as they are in Gurdjieff's book, they are located in a three storied structure of man namely upper floor (the head), middle floor (the chest) and bottom floor (the back and the lower part of the body). The Hydrogen substances are labeled as to density and are placed in their appropriate stories and thus it must be assumed that Gurdjieff knew what they were, but was holding back the information.

The three being foods are also shown as ordinary food, air and impressions. Air matches with Gurdjieff and Ouspensky's 'impressions' is a mere shadow of 'the assimilation of the cosmic substances,' but the point is clear that no higher beings will be created without 'conscious labors' and 'intentional suffering' which begins with consciousness or ‘being-Partkdolg-duty.'

In addition to inserting a substance at sixth note 'la', I have taken issue with Gurdjieff on his assignment of a lower vibrational substance for cerebrum over cerebellum. Humorously, this would be to say that only zombies get to heaven. Other than that I have reproduced the words exactly from Beelzebub's Tales and the page numbers correspond to the 1950 edition which is online here.

Text of "Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson" by G.I. Gurdjieff
(with my comments; my illustrations on the left)
(right hand figures from "In Search of the Miraculous" by P.D. Ouspensky.)
* page 753
"And so, in consequence of the fact that for this new
system of functioning of the forces which until then
maintained the existence of the Most Most Holy Sun Absolute,
there were required outside of the Sun Absolute
corresponding sources in which such forces could arise
and from which they could flow into the presence of the
Most Most Holy Sun Absolute, our ALMIGHTY ENDLESSNESS
was just then compelled to create our now existing
Megalocosmos with all the cosmoses of different scales
and relatively independent cosmic formations present in
it, and from then on the system which maintained the
existence of the Sun Absolute began to be called Trogoautoegocrat.
decided to change the principle of the maintenance of
the existence of this then still unique cosmic concentration
and sole place of HIS most glorious Being, first of
all altered the process itself of the functioning of these
two primordial fundamental sacred laws, and HE actualized
the greater change in the law of the sacred Heptaparaparshinokh.
"These changes in the functioning of the sacred Heptaparaparshinokh
consisted in this, that in three of its
Stopinders HE altered the what are called ‘subjective actions'
which had been until then in the Stopinders, in this
respect, that in one HE lengthened the law-conformable
successiveness; shortened it in another; and in a third,
disharmonized it.
* page 761
"In Tetartocosmoses the following names were given to
these independent arisings:
(1) Protoehary
(2) Defteroehary
(3) Tritoehary
(4) Tetartoehary
(5) Piandjoehary
(6) Incorrectly left out: Hormoneary (made up my me)
(7) Exioehary was (6) but is clearly (7)
(8) Resulzarion was (7) but is clearly (8) as converted Exioehary
'do' (1) Protoehary (Ouspensky: H 768 lower (stomach-spine) story)
* page 786
"And if now, my boy, you satisfactorily grasp the succession
of the process of transformation of cosmic substances
by means of beings-apparatuses, into which these
cosmic substances enter as first being-food, then at the
same time you will approximately understand everything
concerning the chief particularity of the sacred law of
Heptaparaparshinokh as well as the processes of evolution
and involution of the other higher being-foods.
"When these evolving active elements, in their returning
ascent from the last Stopinder of the fundamental
common-cosmic Sacred Heptaparaparshinokh, enter into
the common presences of being-apparatuses as their first
being-food, they begin already from the mouth itself—
with the help of the processes of the second-grade law
* page 787
Harnelmiatznel, that is, owing to mixture and fusion according
to the ‘affinity of vibrations,' with the active elements
which have already evolved in the presences of the
beings and have acquired vibrations corresponding to the
subsequent Stopinders of the being-Heptaparaparshinokh—
to be gradually changed, and are transmuted this
time in the stomach of the beings into definite active elements
named ‘being-Protoehary,' which correspond in
their vibrations to the ascending fourth Stopinder of the
fundamental common-cosmic Heptaparaparshinokh.
're' (2) Defteroehary (Ouspensky: H 384 lower (stomach-spine) story)
"From there, this totality which has the ‘gravity-center
vibration' of being-Protoehary, passing—thanks again
only to the process Harnelmiatznel—over the whole of
what is called the ‘intestinal tract' and gradually evolving,
completedly acquires in consequence corresponding vibrations,
and is this time completely transmuted in what
is called the ‘duodenum' into ‘being-Defteroehary.'
'mi' (3) Tritoehary (Ouspensky: H 192 middle (chest) story)
"Further, a part of these definite substances of ‘being-
Defteroehary' go to serve the planetary body itself and
also the local Harnelmiatznel in respect of the newly entering
food, but the other part, also by means of a process
of Harnelmiatznel of local character, continues its independent
evolution and is ultimately transmuted in beings
into the still higher definite substances which are called,
this time, ‘being-Tritoehary.'
"And this totality of cosmic substances, temporarily
crystallized in the common presences of ‘beings-apparatuses
which correspond in their vibrations to ‘being-Tritoehary,'
have as the gravity-center place of their concentration in
the presences of beings the, what is called, ‘liver.'
* page 753
"And, namely, with the purpose of providing the ‘requisite
inherency' for receiving, for its functioning, the automatic
affluence of all forces which were near, HE lengthened
* page 754
the Stopinder between its third and fourth deflections.
"This same Stopinder of the sacred Heptaparaparshinokh
is just that one, which is still called the ‘mechano-coinciding- Mdnel-In.'
* page 787
"It is just in this place of the being-Ansanbaluiazar
that the lower ‘Mdnel-In' of the Sacred Heptaparaparshinokh
is located, called the ‘mechano-coinciding-Mdnel-In,' and
therefore the substances of the being-Tritoehary
* page 788
cannot, only owing to the process ‘Harnelmiatznel,' independently
evolve further.
"Well then, owing to that change in the general functioning
of the primordial common-cosmic sacred law of
Heptaparaparshinokh, this totality of substances named
'being-Tritoehary' can in the given case evolve further
from this state only with the help of forces coming from
"That is why in this case, if this totality of substances
of ‘being-Protoehary' does not receive foreign help from
outside for its further evolution in the common presences
of the beings, then both this totality and all the
definite centers of gravity of the being-Ansanbaluiazar
crystallized up to it always involve back again into those
definite cosmic crystallizations from which they began
their evolution.
"For this help coming from outside, Great Nature in
the given case most wisely adapted the inner organization
of beings in such a manner that the substances which had
to enter into the common presences of beings for the
coating and feeding of their second being-bodies Kesdjan,
namely, that totality of cosmic substances which your favorites
call air, might at the same time serve as just such
a help coming from outside for the evolution of the substances
of the first being-food.
"The active elements which compose this second being-food
or air
, and which enter into the presences of beings
also for evolution through this second being-food, beginning
from the nose of beings, gradually evolve with the
co-operation of various processes of Harnelmiatznel of local
character, and are also transmuted this time in the
what are called ‘lungs' of beings into Protoehary, but into
Protoehary called ‘Astralnomonian-Protoehary.'
"And then the substances of this ‘Astralnomonian-
Protoehary,' entering into the presences of beings for their
own evolution and having still in themselves, according to
* page 789
the Sacred Heptaparaparshinokh, all the possibilities of
evolving from their centers of gravity by the process of
Harnelmiatznel alone, mix with the totality of substances
of the first being-food which have already evolved up to
the third Stopinder of the Sacred being-Heptaparaparshinokh,
and further evolve together, and thus help these substances
of the first being-food to pass through the lower
'mechano-coinciding-Mdnel-In' and to be transmuted into
other definite substances, into ‘being-Tetartoehary,' and
the Astralnomonian-Protoehary' itself is transmuted into
the substances named ‘Astralnomonian-Defteroehary.'
"At this point in my explanations, you can have one
more clarifying example for a full understanding of the
difference between Autoegocrat and Trogoautoegocrat,
that is, of the difference between the former maintaining
system of the existence of the Sun Absolute when that system
was Autoegocratic, and the other system now called
Trogoautoegocratic which it became after the creation of
the Megalocosmos.
"If the transformation of substances through ‘beings-apparatuses'
proceeded according to the law of the Sacred
Heptaparaparshinokh when certain of its Stopinders were
not yet changed, that is, as it still functioned before the
creation of our now existing Megalocosmos, then the cosmic
substances composing the first being-food, entering
into such ‘apparatuses-cosmoses' for the local process of
evolution, would accomplish their ascent up to their
completing transmutation into other higher definite active
elements without any obstacle and without any help
coming from outside—merely by the process of Harnelmiatznel
alone, but now since the independent functioning
of this primordial sacred law has been changed
into a dependent functioning, the evolution or involution
in its changed Stopinders must always be dependent upon
external ‘extraneously caused' manifestations.
"In the given case, this extraneously caused help for
* page 790
the complete transmutation of cosmic crystallizations
through beings into higher crystallizations is the second
, which has entirely different causes of its arising
and which must actualize entirely different cosmic results.
"I will some time later explain to you in detail how the
transformation of the substances of the second and third
proceeds in beings, but meanwhile note only
that these higher cosmic substances in beings are transformed
according to exactly the same principles as the
substances of the first being-food.
'fa' (4) Tetartoehary (Ouspensky: H 96 middle (chest) story)
"Now we shall continue to investigate just how, according
to the Sacred Heptaparaparshinokh, the further
completing process of the transformation of the substances
of their first being-food proceeds in the presences
of ‘beings-apparatuses.'
"And so ... the ordinary first being-food is thus gradually
transmuted in beings into definite substances called
'being-Tetartoehary,' which have in beings, just as of
course in your favorites, as the central place of their concentration
both of what are called the cerebrum ‘cerebellum,'
which in beings is also located in the head.
(Swapped from (5) because Ouspensky has it in the middle (chest) story
and cerebrum must be higher than cerebellum.)
'sol' (5) Piandjoehary (Ouspensky: H 48 top (head) story)
"Further, a part of this being-Tetartoehary from both
hemispheres of their head-brain goes unchanged to serve
the planetary body of the given being, but the other part
having in itself all the possibilities for independent evolution,
continues to evolve without any help coming from
outside; and mixing again by means of the process Harnelmiatznel
with previously formed higher substances already
present in the beings, it is gradually transmuted into
still higher definite being-active-elements called ‘Piandjoehary.'
"And these substances have as the central place of their
concentration in beings the, what is called, ‘Sianoorinam'
or, as your favorites call this part of their planetary body,
* page 791
the ‘hemispheres of their head-brain:' cerebellum ‘cerebrum.'
(Swapped from (4) confirmed by Ouspensky having it in the top (head) story.
"Soul-Protoehary" (Due to the presence of the third point of the triangle in the
* page 754
"As regards the third Stopinder, then changed in its
'subjective action' and which is fifth in the general successiveness
and is called ‘Harnel-Aoot,' its disharmony
flowed by itself from the change of the two aforementioned
"This disharmony in its subjective functioning, flowing
from its asymmetry so to say in relation to the whole entire
completing process of the sacred Heptaparaparshinokh,
consists in the following:
"If the completing process of this sacred law flows in
conditions, where during its process there are many ‘extraneously-
caused-vibrations,' then all its functioning
gives only external results. (i.e. normal personality controlled people)
"But if this same process proceeds in absolute quiet without
any external ‘extraneously-caused-vibrations' whatsoever,
then all the results of the action of its functioning
remain within that concentration in which it completes
* page 755
its process, and for the outside, these results only become
evident on direct and immediate contact with it. (G's humor about monks)
"And if however during its functioning there are neither
of these two sharply opposite conditions, then the results
of the action of its process usually divide themselves into
the external and the internal. (G's 4th way)
* page 792
and in order to transform completedly
into new higher substances and in order to acquire vibrations
corresponding to the vibrations of the next higher
vivifyingness, namely, corresponding to the fifth Stopinder
of the fundamental process of the common-cosmic Sacred
Heptaparaparshinokh, it inevitably requires just that foreign
help which is actualized only in the presences of the
three-brained beings exclusively owing to those factors
mentioned by me more than once and which are manifested
in the ‘being-Partkdolg-duty,' that is, owing to just
consented to foreordain to be the means by
which certain of the Tetartocosmoses—as a final result of
their serving the purposes of the common-cosmic Iraniranumange—
might become helpers in the ruling of the
enlarged World, and which factors also until now serve as
the sole possible means for the assimilation of the cosmic
substances required for the coating and perfecting of the
higher being-bodies and which we at the present time call
'conscious labors' and ‘intentional suffering.'
* page 783
It is interesting, however, to notice that in the beginning,
namely, soon after the destruction of the functioning
of the organ Kundabuffer in the three-brained beings
breeding on this planet of yours, they also became aware
of these two higher being-foods, and then began to use
them with cognized intention, and certain beings of the
continent Atlantis of its latest period even began to consider
these same processes of the absorption of these
higher being-foods as the chief aim of their existence.
“The beings of the continent Atlantis then called the
second being-food Amarloos,’ which meant ‘help-for-the-moon,’
and they called the third being-food the ‘sacred
Amarhoodan,’ and this last word then signified for them
(It is interesting to note how Gurdjieff created the word 'Piandjoehary' and 'Kundabuffer' by reference to a map of the Amu Darya in Central Asia. There are two tributaries: the Panj (Pyandzh) River representing "Help for God" (since this is where the Sarmoung brotherhood was located) and the other being Kunduz River representing "Help for the Moon". - See Meetings with Remarkable Men).
'la' (6) "Hormoneary" (word coined by me) (Ouspensky: H 34 middle (chest) story)
Missing from Beelzebub's Tales.
(A similar substitute to mine is shown in "The Gurdjieff Work"
by Kathleen Speeth pg.54)
Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis centered in the chest
* page 791
"You should know that this particular
way mentioned is called ‘Trnlva.'
"From the cerebrum cerebellum of beings a part of these definite
substances also goes to serve the planetary body itself, but
the other part, passing in a particular way through the
'nerve nodes' of the spine and the breast, (Continued in (7))
'ti' (7) Exioehary

(Ouspensky: H 12 lower (stomach-spine) story:"'Hydrogen' si 12 is the 'hydrogen' which represents the final product of the transformation of food in the human organism. This is the matter with which sex works and which sex manufactures. It is 'seed' or 'fruit.'" & "And when they (all the cells of physical body) have become sufficiently saturated the matter si 12 begins to crystallize. The crystallization of this matter constitutes the formation of the 'astral body.'" "In Search of the Miraculous", pg 262,263)

"is concentrated
in the beings of the male sex, in what are called ‘testicles'
and in the beings of the female sex in what most of your
favorites call ‘ovaries,' which are the place of concentration
in the common presences of beings of the ‘being-
Exioehary,' which is for the beings themselves their most
sacred possession. "Just these same substances in beings, according to the
fifth deflection of the Sacred Heptaparaparshinokh, have
the free possibility of giving, in the manifestations of the
common presences of three-brained beings, results not
similar but ‘opposite to each other.'
"That is why, in respect of these being-substances, the
beings themselves must always be very, very much on
their guard in order to avoid undesirable consequences for
their entire whole.
(First part of paragraph beginning "From the cerebellum of beings"
and sentence beginning "You should know" is moved to (6))

"Only after this are the cosmic substances which enter
beings-apparatuses for the purpose of evolution, that is,
for the possibility of passing the lower Mdnel-In of the
fundamental common-cosmic ‘exchange of substances,'
transformed into that definite totality of cosmic substances—
which transformation is the lot of all beings in
general and also of your contemporary three-brained beings
who breed on the planet Earth in particular, for the
automatic justification of the sense and aim of their existence,
and this totality of cosmic substances is everywhere
called ‘Exioehary.'
* page 754
"And the Stopinder which HE shortened is between its
last deflection and the beginning of a new cycle of its
completing process; by this same shortening, for the purpose
of facilitating the commencement of a new cycle of
its completing process, HE predetermined the functioning
of the given Stopinder to be dependent only upon the affluence
of forces, obtained from outside through that
Stopinder from the results of the action of that cosmic
concentration itself in which the completing process of
this primordial fundamental sacred law flows.
"And this Stopinder of the sacred Heptaparaparshinokh
is just that one, which is still called the ‘intentionally-actualized-
Higher 'do' (8) Resulzarion
* page 791
"And so, my boy, this totality of their first being-food
which results from the evolution in these beings-apparatuses,
* page 792
corresponds with its vibrations to the last Stopinder of
the being-Heptaparaparshinokh, and according to the
particularity of this Stopinder, it enters the
‘higher-intentionally-actualizing-Mdnel-In' of the law of
Heptaparaparshinokh; * skip to page 796
"Come now and let us talk about these ‘higher-perfected-
being-bodies,' that is about ‘souls,' who came
onto this holy planet Purgatory to which all my foregoing
explanations have referred.
"And so ... from the very beginning, when these
higher being-parts arose in this way and were perfected
* page 797
in beings to the required sacred gradation of Objective
Reason, that is to say, when in accordance with the lower
Mdnel-In of the Sacred Heptaparaparshinokh, the body-
was, thanks to the second being-food formed in
beings, and in accordance with the higher Mdnel-In of
the same sacred law, the third highest being-body was,
thanks to the third being-food, coated and perfected; and
when these completely perfected higher being-parts were
divided from the lower being-parts, then they were
deemed worthy to be immediately united with the Most
Most Holy Prime-Source and began to fulfill their Divine
foreordained purpose.

Some followers of Ouspensky resolve the enigma of the Food Octave by starting 'Protoehary' at note 're' instead of 'do', but this is contradicted by page 787 because the 'fourth Stopinder of the fundamental common-cosmic Heptaparaparshinokh' would not begin at 're'.

Strangely, John Bennett insists that 'Exioehary' is meant to remain at (6). This is contradicted by page 791-792:
"... this totality of cosmic substances is everywhere called ‘Exioehary.’ And so, my boy, this totality of their first being-food which results from the evolution in these beings-apparatuses, corresponds with its vibrations to the last Stopinder of the being-Heptaparaparshinokh, and according to the particularity of this Stopinder, it enters the ‘higher-intentionally-actualizing-Mdnel-In’ of the law of Heptaparaparshinokh;and in order to transform completedly into new higher substances ...".
The ‘higher-intentionally-actualizing-Mdnel-In’ is between 'ti' and 'do'.

For those who still do no see a problem in the list of seven substances at the top, it is confirmed in his writings that (6) 'Exioehary' is at position 'ti' (See above paragragh) and (7) 'Resulzarion' would by its name imply that it represents the higher 'do'. This would mean that they should be labeled (7) and (8). 'Piandjoehary' can also be shown in the discussions about it to be at position 'sol' and therefore can reamin at (5) as this is the position before the triangle on the left in the enneagram. This leaves (6) to be missing except for some mysterious pathway ‘Trnlva'.

I myself many times tried to resolve it by filling in these substances in the spaces between the notes, but this never seemed satisfactory. (I have spoken elsewhere of my question to the first line student Nyland about this, and the brush-off he gave me.)

There is one author (reference contained in Enneagram link) who claims that Gurdjieff purposefully left out the position 'la' in the Food Octave in "Beelzebub's Tales" in order to show the action of the enneagram. This is in spite of the fact that he taught this position to Ouspensky many years prior to this (see diagram in the section on 'la' above taken directly from "In Search of the Miraculous").

Although it is possible that Gurdjieff did map out "Beelzebub's Tales" according to the enneagram (given that there are only six voyages by Beelzebub's to the Planet Earth, instead of seven and given that there are only six enneagram points), it is perhaps merely a literary device. (See Outline of All and Everything).

The fact remains that the word enneagram is absent in "Beelzebub's Tales" especially in the Chapter 'Form and Sequence' where it certainly should have been mentioned. Although Gurdjieff does use the phrase "perpetual motion" (See "The System of Archangel Hariton") which might imply the enneagram (See "Mapping the Enneagram") and certainly used it widely in the dances he correographed called "Movements", this does seem point to its use in the Food Octave.

What is the real reason that the substance at 'la' is missing in the Food Octave? I would have expected that Ouspensky would have pointed out this discrepancy to Gurdjieff and then mentioned it in "In Search of the Miraculous", however, maybe he was never allowed to see "Beelzebub's Tales". I can only chalk it up to sloppiness on Gurdjieff's part and the syndrome of an "infallible leader that no one dares to question" that prevented someone from correcting his mistake, but most of all Gurdjieff's tendency to alienate those who could have assisted him.

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