11 Remarkable Men & 1 Woman

Summary of Gurdjieff's Second Series: "Meetings with Remarkable Men"

© 2014 by Dylan Stephens
His Goal: " To acquaint the reader with the material required for a new creation and
to prove the soundness and good quality of it."
My Goal: To extract those sections that fulfill this within the context of the book.

(Sentences in italic are mine, non italic is quoted.)
2 - My Father (proper aim)

Gurdjieff's father was an ashokh who sang from memory poems, stories, and folk tales. One of them was of the the Babylonian hero Gilgamesh, telling of the Flood. The tablets written in Akkadian were discovered by Hormuzd Rassam in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh in 1853 and was written between 1300 and 1000 BC from earlier texts.

Part of this song he sang:

I will tell thee, Gilgamesh, Of a mournful mystery of the Gods:
How once, having met together,
They resolved to flood the land of Shuruppak.

Clear-eyed Ea, saying nothing to his father, Anu,
Nor to the Lord, the great Enlil,
Nor to the spreader of happiness, Nemuru,
Nor even to the underworld prince, Enua,

Called to him his son Ubara-Tut;
Said to him: ''Build thyself a ship, Take with thee thy near ones,
And what birds and beasts thou wilt;
Irrevocably have the Gods resolved
To flood the land of Shuruppak,'

When Gurdjieff asked his father about what exists after this physical existence, he replied:

'In that soul which a man supposedly has, as people believe, and of which they say that it exists independently after death and transmigrates, I do not believe; and yet, in the course of a man's life "something" does form itself in him: this is for me beyond all doubt.'

'As I explain it to myself, a man is born with a certain property and, thanks to this property, in the course of his life certain of his experiencings elaborate in him a certain substance, and from this substance there is gradually formed in him "something or other" which can acquire a life almost independent of the physical body.'

'When a man dies, this "something" does not disintegrate at the same time as the physical body, but only much later, after its separation from the physical body.'

'Although this "something" is formed from the same substance as the physical body of a man, it has a much finer materiality and, it must be assumed, a much greater sensitivity towards all kinds of perceptions.'

He used as an example, the a time that Gurdjieff hypnotized a woman and was able to cause her to twitch when he stuck a pin in a statue (similar to the phenomenon of a voodoo doll).

His subjective sayings are listed of which the most interesting is:
'If you wish to lose your faith be with the priest' because his father was good friends with the Gurdjieff's tutor, Dean Borsh, the dean of the Kars Military Cathedral.

They would often ask questions and give answers to seeming ridiculous questions such as:
'Where is God just now?'
To which his father most seriously, 'God is just now in Sari Kamish.'
Receiving this reply from my father, the dean asked, 'What is God doing there?'
My father would answer, 'God is making double ladders there and on the tops of them he was fastening happiness, so that individual people and whole nations might ascend and descend.'

This procedure is called "kastonsilia", a term derived from the ancient Assyrian and was used as to means for the "development of the mind and for selfperfecting."

3 - My First Tutor (proper guidance)

Gurdjieff's tutor, Dean Borsh, already mentioned, had some ideas on the importance of being responsible for ones actions once adulthood is reached.

He attributes the rampant promiscuity of couples was due to their marriage to incompatible types. It would appear that astrology would be one of the necessary factors for compatibly which Gurdjieff alludes to in his other writings.

He believed that in order for a man to be a 'real man', he must follow ten principles in his early education:

  • Belief in receiving punishment for disobedience.
  • Hope of receiving reward only for merit. Love of God - but indifference to the saints.
  • Remorse of conscience for the ill-treatment of animals.
  • Fear of grieving parents and teachers.
  • Fearlessness towards devils, snakes and mice.
  • Joy in being content merely with what one has.
  • Sorrow at the loss of the goodwill of others.
  • Patient endurance of pain and hunger.
  • The striving early to earn one's bread.'

4 - Bogachevsky (Father Evlissi) (objective morality is absolute and unchanging)

Bogachevsky would become an abbot of the chief monastery of the Essene Brotherhood (his name being Father Evlissi), situated not far from the shores of the Dead Sea. This brotherhood was founded, according to certain surmises, twelve hundred years before the Birth of Christ; and it is said that in this brotherhood Jesus Christ received his first initiation. (Sounds like Qumran which was not known when Gurdjieff wrote!)

Before that he was a deacon at Kars Military Cathedral. He was Gurdjieff's tutor when he was older, but then he left Kars because his wife had run off with another man.

He became a monk at a monastery near the town of Samara, then to Holy Athos in Turkey, and then renounced the monastic life. In Jerusalem he met a vender selling rosaries at the Temple who was an Essene monk. as he was leaving the house of the local bishop. He was then wearing the monk's habit of a well-known monastery. He did not immediately recognize Gurdjieff, as he had by then grown up and changed a good deal, but when he told him who he was he was very glad to see me, and for several days they saw each other often, until both left Samara.

After this meeting Gurdjieff never saw him again. He heard later that he had not wished to remain in his monastery in Russia and had soon left for Turkey, then for Holy Athos, where he also did not stay long. He had then renounced his monastic life and had gone to Jerusalem. There he chanced to become friends with a vendor of rosaries who traded near the Lord's Temple and joined their order in Egypt.

When he was tutoring Gurdjieff he said that there were 'two moralities: one objective, established by life in the course of thousands of years, and the other subjective, pertaining to individuals as well as to whole nations, kingdoms, families, and groups of people.'

'Objective morality, he said, 'is established by life and by the commandments given us by the Lord God Himself through His prophets, and it gradually becomes the basis for the formation in man of what is called conscience. And it is by this conscience that objective morality, in its turn, is maintained. Objective morality never changes, it can only broaden in the course of time. As for subjective morality, it is invented by man and is therefore a relative conception, differing for different people and different places and depending upon the particular understanding of good and evil prevailing in the given period.'

His advice to Gurdjieff was, 'For the present, until your own conscience is formed, live according to the commandment of our Teacher Jesus Christ: "Do not do to others what you would not wish them to do to you." '

5 - Mr. X or Captain Pogossian (conscious work)

Pogossian would become an owner and captain of several ocean steamers in the Solomon Islands. In Gurdjieff's youth he was finishing his studies at the Theological Seminary of Echmiadzin to be a priest. His father was a dyer and his mother a seamstress who lived nearby. in Kars. He took Gurdjieff to many usually inaccessible religious sites. When he graduated from the Seminary, he was supposed to marry and be a priest at a parish, but his heart was not in it. One day Gurdjieff suggested that he come to work at the Tiflis railway station where Gurdjieff was a stoker. He loved the work and became a locksmith.

Both shared the belief that there was esoteric knowledge out there that my have been lost. So one day they went to Alexandropol and were digging in the isolated ruins of the ancient Armenian capital, Ani. They found a parchment talking about the Sarmoung Brotherhood founded Babylon as far back as 2500 B.C. (Clearly this was the inspiration for Ashiata Shiemash in the First Series: 'Terror of the Situation' - Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson.)

They became obsessed with finding this Brotherhood and managed to get financing for a trip to the river Arax between Russia and Turkey and then over Mount Egri Dagh then south towards Van, leaving on our right the region of the sources of the great rivers Tigris and Euphrates.Two months after crossing the river Arax, they came to the town of Z and beyond it was a certain pass in the direction of Syria. In this pass, before reaching the famous waterfall of K, they turned off towards Kurdistan and it was somewhere along this road that they expected to find the place which was the chief objective of their journey.

Unfortunately Pogossian was bitten by a poisonous spider and Gurdjieff had to take a large cut from his thigh which got infected. They made it to the home of an Armenian priest who told them of a man (who later proved to be Prince Yuri) who had offered to buy an ancient map in his possession, but he did not sell the original, but just the copy. It turned out to be a map of 'pre-sand Egypt'. Gurdjieff and Pogossian made up a key and traced the map before they left.

They purchased two horses and rode to Smyrna, where upon helping some sailor in a tavern brawl they ended up joining their ship which would eventually be stopping at Alexandria. Gurdjieff left the ship there, but Pogossian continued with them to Bombay and then to England were he studied marine engineering where, along with intensive technical studies, he perfected himself in the English language and became a qualified mechanical engineer.

Pogossian was always occupied working at something. 'He never sat, as is said, with folded arms, and one never saw him lying down, like his comrades, reading diverting books which give nothing real. If he had no definite work to do, he would either swing his arms in rhythm, mark time with his feet or make all kinds of manipulations with his fingers.'

Gurdjieff once asked him. 'Why he was such a fool as not to rest, since no one would pay him anything for these useless exercises."

'Yes, indeed,' he replied, 'For the present no one will pay me for these foolish antics of mine, but in the future either you yourself or your children will pay me for them. Joking apart, I do this because I like work, but I like it not with my nature, which is just as lazy as that of other people and never wishes to do anything useful. I like work with my common sense. '

'Please bear in mind,' he added, 'that when I use the word "I", you must understand it not as the whole of me, but only as my mind. I love work and have set myself the task of being able, through persistence, to accustom my whole nature to love it and not my reason alone.'

'Further, I am really convinced that in the world no conscious work is ever wasted. Sooner or later someone must pay for it. Consequently, if I now work in this way, I achieve two of my aims. First, I shall perhaps teach my nature not to be lazy, and secondly, I will provide for my old age. I also work because the only real satisfaction in life is to work not from compulsion but consciously; that is what distinguishes man from a Karabakh ass, which also works day and night.'

6 - Abram Yelov (thirst for understanding)

Abram Yelov was a young Aisor who bought and sold or handled on commission all kinds of books in Tiflis. Gurdjieff would often go there to find ancient books that would tell him of the lost knowledge. He was an artful dodger, but an irreplaceable friend to Gurdjieff, knowing many languages and 'the names of the authors, and also the date and place of publication of any book, and where it could be obtained. He was preparing himself to enter the Cadet School, but later he went to Moscow and obtained a degree in philology.

He was short, thick-set and dark, with eyes always burning like two live coals. He was very hairy, with shaggy eyebrows and a beard growing nearly from the nose itself and almost covering his cheeks, the ruddiness of which nevertheless always shone through.He had a great love for his mother. He became great friends with Pogossian.

He recognized other's religions saying:
'It is not a question of to whom a man prays, but a question of his faith. Faith is conscience, the foundation of which is laid in childhood. If a man changes his religion, he loses his conscience, and conscience is the most valuable thing in a man. I respect his conscience, and since his conscience is sustained by his faith and his faith by his religion, therefore I respect his religion; and for me it would be a great sin if I should begin to judge his religion or to disillusion him about it, and thus destroy his conscience which can only be acquired in childhood.'

Skridlov, the professor of archaeology (another remarkable man), had to take a certain Afghan holy relic across the river Amu Darya, but the Russian border was patrolled by Afghan guards and British soldiers. Yelov obtained on old uniform of a British officer, and passed himself of as British officer from India who had come there to hunt Turkestan tigers in that adventure.

Like Pogossian with physical work, Yelov believed in mental work:
'It's all the same. Our thoughts work day and night. Instead of allowing them to think about caps of invisibility or the riches of Aladdin, rather let them be occupied with something useful. In giving direction to thought, of course a certain amount of energy is spent, but no more is needed for this purpose in a whole day than for the digestion of one meal. I therefore decided to study languages—not only to prevent my thoughts from idling but also not to allow them to hinder my other functions with their idiotic dreams and childish phantasies. Besides, the knowledge of languages can in itself sometimes be useful.'

7 - Prince Yuri Lubovedsky (conscious death)

Prince Yuri Lubovedsky was much older than Gurdjieff, but a friend for almost forty years, traveling with him to to India, Tibet and various parts of Central Asia. In an amazing set of circumstances, Gurdjieff was in Cairo having been on aboard the ship with Pogossian and was now acting as guide to the Russian tourists. He was then employed by Professor Skridlov, an archeologist (who also is a remarkable man).

As we were walking from the Sphinx towards the Pyramid of Cheops, Prince Yuri called out to Professor Skridlov, calling him a " grave-digger" as clearly they were friends. Prince Yuri was middle aged while Gurdjieff was much younger.

Several days while Gurdjieff was sitting at the foot of one of the pyramids deep in thought, with the open map of ancient Egypt in my hands. Prince Yuri caught a glimpse of the map and was extremely agitated. Gurdjieff guessed that he was the man you asked the priest for the map. After Gurdjieff explained, they became great friends.

Prince Yuri had begun his quest after the death of his wife in childbirth. He became involved in spiritualism to try to reach the spirit of his wife and eventually began seeking in Africa, India, Afghanistan and Persia all things that would answer the questions whether there was a life beyond.

Later while traveling to Alexandropol to visit my family and then to travel further on with the dervishes to Bukhara. Stopping at the Prince's house in Constantinople, Gurdjieff found him there and, canceling his plans, agreed to take a young girl to Moscow. The young girl turned out to be Vitvitskaia.

Gurdjieff interrupts the story of Prince Yuri.

7.1 - Vitvitskaia (theme:the effect on emotions of the musical law of seven)

Vitvitskaia was Polish, born in the Volyne province. Her mother died when they were young and her father died when she was fourteen. She was very beautiful and frivolous and it was long before she was taken advantage of and left penniless in St. Petersburg. She was a mistress and a courtesan to a doctor who used her to get more business. She met her her brother who told her to come to Odessa and that he could set her up as a governess. Fortunately, the Prince had a conversation with her as they boarded the ship to Ceylon and heard of her promise of a position except that the man was taking her, he heard was white slave trader for her scoundrel of a brother had sold her to the man. So rescued her and took her to his house in Constantinople.

Gurdjieff accompanied her to Tambov province to live with Prince Yuri's sister. He, however, felt that she was a lost cause, but had to do it out of friendship. He met her again in Italy four years later, while he was shinnying shoes. A year and a half later she came on an expedition with the group and on all the future ones. He had to admit that she had turned her life around and become the ideal woman, in fact a remarkable woman.

Having learned the piano while staying with Prince Yuri sister, she also studied the different scales and types and composers, but never found any book that explained the effect of music on the psyche of people. Then she found a book called 'The World of Vibrations' which was a scientific study on the effect of music. She set up experiments even with dogs and cats, but nothing seemed to work. Now on the Pamir-Afghanistan expedition when she witnessed the experiments of the Monopsyche Brotherhood, she was amazed at the effect that the seemingly monotonous music had on us. Her interest was again kindled.

Gurdjieff told her that the Essenes of Father Evlissi had used ancient Hebraic music and songs to make plants grow in half an hour. He promised to help her out with the experiments. The brothers had advised that the absolute "la" be obtained according to the atmospheric pressure of the place where the experiment was to be carried out and to take into consideration the dimensions of the room.
(Gurdjieff has more information on the Law of Octaves in his chapter on 'Law of Heptaparaparshinokh' in Beelzebub's Tales.

Vitvitskaia died in Russia from a cold she caught while on a trip on the Volga. She was buried in Samara. Gurdjieff was there when she died.

Gurdjieff briefly resumes the chapter of Prince Yuri just to introduce Soloviev, whose story I have moved to the 'Death of Soloviev' section

Bogga-Eddin finally returned bringing news of an old man who was a member of the Sarmoung brotherhood, whose the chief monastery was somewhere in the heart of Asia. Apparently, this man had already heard of Gurdjieff and said would like to see him. Bogga-Eddin arranged for guides to take them to the monastery and Soloviev was allowed to go also. Meeting the guides near the ruins of Yeni-Hissar on the banks of the Amu Darya, they had placed hoods over their heads to keep their destination secret except when crossing a scary single file bridge with no railings, which appeared to cross over the Pyandzh River.
(The name of this river is significant as its name was used by Gurdjieff for the substance 'Piandjoehary' at position 'sol' of the Food Octave. It is tributary of the Amu_Darya as its the Kunduz River used for 'Kundabuffer'. In the chapter on Professor Skridlov, Gurdjieff elaborates on the Pyandzh River
being further up in its course from the river Amu Darya, in ancient times called the Oxus is believed by certain peoples of Central Asia to be where contemporary culture first appeared on earth. with it main source being the Hindu Kush mountains and flows at the present time into the Aral Sea, though formerly, according to certain historical data, it emptied into the Caspian Sea.

It turned out that Prince Yuri was there at the monastery and he told the story of how he came there. After their meeting at Constantinople, he went to Ceylon and organized a trip up the River Ganges, only to find nothing. Returning to Kabul, he fell into "oriental idleness."At the house of the Aga Khan he met an old man whom he chatted with until suddenly the old man said,

"Eh, Gogo, Gogo! Forty-five years you have worked, suffered and labored incessantly, and not once did you decide for yourself or know how to work so that, if only for a few months, the desire of your mind should become the desire of your heart. If you had been able to attain this, you would not now in your old age be in such solitude as you are!"

He had used a nickname that he had had as child and Prince Yuri could not understand how he would know it. He asked him how he knew him. He replied,

"Is it not all the same to you, just now, who I am and what I am? Is there really still alive in you that curiosity which is one of the chief reasons why the labors of your whole life have been without result? And is it really still so strong in you that even at this moment you are ready to give yourself up with your whole being to an analysis of my knowledge of your personality—only in order to explain to yourself who I am and how I know you?"

Prince Yuri was distressed at this and admitted that it was a trivial question. The priest initially said that it was too late for him to achieve his goal of inner growth and then relented:

"No, perhaps it is not yet too late. If you feel with all your being that you really are empty, then I advise you to try once more. If you quite clearly feel and recognize without any doubt that everything for which you have striven until now has been a mirage, and if you agree to one condition, I will try to help you. And this condition is that you consciously die to the life you have led until now, that is to say, break away at once from all the automatically established practices of your external life and go where I shall indicate."

Prince Yuri agreed because after all he had nothing left and thus they had met each other. Here at the monastery, Prince Yuri was bed ridden, recovering from an illness, but Gurdjieff had a chance to talk with him.

After two weeks, Gurdjieff and Soloviev were brought into the third court, to the sheikh of the monastery, who spoke to them through an interpreter. He appointed as our guide one of the oldest monks, said to be two hundred and seventy-five years old.

In the center of the third court was a large building like a temple, where twice a day all those who lived in the second and third courts assembled to watch the sacred dances of the priestesses or to hear the sacred music.

After he recovered from his illness, Prince took Gurdjieff around and even got him access to a 'fourth court, at one side, called the Women's Court, to the class of pupils directed by the priestess-dancers who daily performed sacred dances in the temple.

There they viewed 'peculiar apparatuses gave the impression, even at the first glance, that they were of very ancient workmanship. They were made of ebony inlaid with ivory and mother of pearl. When they were not in use and stood grouped together, they reminded one of 'Vesanelnian' trees, with branches all alike. On close examination, we saw that each apparatus consisted of a smooth column, higher than a man, which was fixed on a tripod. From this column, in seven places, there projected specially designed branches, which in their turn were divided into seven parts of different dimensions, each successive part decreasing in length and width in proportion to its distance from the main column.

These apparatuses were used by the dancers to memorize and sense each posture. The young girls had been dedicated as temple priestesses by their parents at an early age

After three months, Prince Yuri was told that he had only three years to live and that the sheikh advised him spend the rest of his life at the Olman monastery, which is on the northern slopes of the Himalayas. Sadly the two friends had to accept that they would never see each other again as Gurdjieff stayed behind at the monastery.

Next Gurdjieff inserts a section on the death of Soloviev (to which I have added the previous other information on him).

7.2 - The Death of Soloviev (the emotional guidance that follows the realization of the inevitablity of death)

Gurdjieff was living in New Bukhara, built by the railroad four miles from old Bukhara. He was there to be in touch with the dervishes and his old friend Bogga-Eddin. He had an amazing Kurdish sheep-dog, Philos, who would get him hot water for his tea and other groceries. Having seen Gurdjieff dig up a Jerusalem artichoke on the side of the road, Philos began to bring him one each day, stealing it from the market. (A remarkable dog!)

In New Bukhara, while waiting for Bogga-Eddin to return, Gurdjieff defended a man being beaten up by his drunk fellow hobos and took him home to his apartment. His name was Soloviev.

Soloviev was later an authority on what is called Eastern medicine in general, specializing in Tibetan medicine and an authority on the action of opium and hashish on the psyche and organism of man. He had a drinking problem and Gurdjieff, who had studied hypnotism, offered to help him come clean, staying at Gurdjieff's apartment. He would accompany him on his travels.

Soon after their sojourn at the chief monastery of the Sarmoung Brotherhood, Soloviev joined the group of persons calling themselves 'the Seekers of Truth' with a plan to search for the remains of an lost cities in the Gobi Desert in the year 1898. It was in the desert that died from the bite of a wild camel.

On this expedition were Gurdjieff; Professor Skridlov, the archaeologist (to be called a remarkable man in a later section); Karpenko, the mining engineer; Dr. Sari-Ogli; Yelov, the philologist (already featured as a remarkable man); Dashtamirov, experienced astronomer who could navigate by the stars; and Pogossian (already featured as a remarkable man) who suggested bring kindling for fires. (Dr. Sari-Ogli was by origin Persian, he was educated in France and also qualified as a highly remarkable man, but not given any section in the book.)

Given the fact there was was no food or water they thought of an ingenuous plans for the expedition. Karpenko seven and a half parts of sand, two parts of ground mutton and one-half part of ordinary salt as the sand contain organic material from being an old sea bed. Dr. Sari-Ogli suggested making twenty-five foot stilts with metal feet that could be used to walk above the level of the sandstorms. Yelov proposed making platforms on sheep to carry the supplies. Pogossian who suggested building saddles to carry the bladders of water of special wooden sticks to used for making campfires.

After surviving two sandstorms and reaching almost to their desired location, as they were having breakfast after traveling at night, Soloviev ran off after some wild camels and was killed by them. Thus ended their Gobi expedition.

8 - Ekim Bey (the physical body of man, its needs according to law)

Dr Ekim Bey is known as a great magician and wizard having the title Great Turkish Pasha in some insignificant place in Egypt. He was a student in a military school in Germany, but later studied to become an army physician. He was an excellent hypnotist and studies the 'power of human thought'. His reputation as a magician came from his ability to read minds. He was able to do this because a a person's attention would always be drawn to what the mind was thinking and thus by placing an alphabet in front of him, his mind would spell out his name, and so forth.

In Constantinople in his early avid searching years, Gurdjieff was diving for coins thrown by the tourists. One day a passenger, Pasha N, the former governor of a small district nearby, lost a religious chaplet in the water and offered 25 Turkish pounds for its recovery. Gurdjieff was able to find it after diving with sledge hammers as weights which obviously made him ill. After he delivered the chaplet he fainted and had to stay at the pasha's house. It was there that he became friends with the Pasha's son Ekim Bey who was on summer vacation.

Fours years later while living in the town of Suram making objects in plaster-of-Paris, Gurdjieff sent him telegram to visit. During this summer Pogossian, Yelov and Karpenko, a friend from my boyhood (all three remarkable men) were there and we all became intimate friends. Being drawn in my our mania of exploration, he joined us on an expedition of twenty-three people organized my Prince Yuri. In January they set out on the expedition on foot starting from the frontier town of Nakhichevan and crossing Persia to the Persian Gulf.

After leaving the town of Tabriz, we visited a certain Persian dervish, who was supposedly a performer of extraordinary miracles. Near his house in the shade of some trees was a man of fairly advanced age, dressed in rags, barefoot and seated cross-legged on the ground with his Persian pupils.

We asked him questions and he answered while Dr. Sari-Ogli translated. When he had lunch and we were also eating, he asked Gurdjieff why he was slowly masticating the food in his mouth according to Hatha yoga practice. The old man replied,

'Good. Let us now return to your way of chewing your food. If you chew in this way as a means to health or for the sake of other attainments, then I shall have to say, if you would like to know my sincere opinion, that you have chosen the worst possible way. By chewing your food so carefully you reduce the work of your stomach. Now you are young and everything is all right, but you are accustoming your stomach to do nothing; and when you are older, owing to the lack of normal work, your muscles will be to a certain extent atrophied. And that is bound to occur if you continue this system of chewing. You know that our muscles and body get weaker in old age. Now, in addition to the natural weaknesses of old age, you will have another brought on by yourself, because you are accustoming your stomach not to work. Can you imagine how it will be then?'

'On the contrary, it is not at all necessary to masticate carefully. At your age it is better not to chew at all, but to swallow whole pieces, even bones if possible, to give work to your stomach. I can see that those who have advised you to practice this mastication, and also those who write books about it, have, as is said, "heard a bell without knowing where the sound came from".'

Next Gurdjieff asked about breathing and the old man answered,

'If you harm yourself with your way of chewing food, you harm yourself a thousand times more by the practice of this breathing. All the exercises in breathing which are given in books and taught in contemporary esoteric schools can do nothing but harm. Breathing, as every sane thinking man should understand, is also a process of feeding, but on another sort of food. Air, just like our ordinary food, entering the body and being digested there, disintegrates into its component parts, which form new combinations with each other as well as with the corresponding elements of certain substances which are already present. In this way those indispensable new substances are produced which are continuously being consumed in the various unceasing life processes in the organism of man.'

'You must know that, to obtain any definite new substance, its constituent parts must be combined in exact quantitative proportions. Let us take the most simple example. You have to bake bread. For this you must first of all prepare the dough. But to make dough you must take definite proportions of flour and water. If there is too little water, you will get, instead of dough, something that will crumble at the first touch. If you take too much water, you will simply get a mash, such as is used for feeding cattle. It is the same in either case. You will not get the dough necessary for baking bread.'

'The same thing occurs in the formation of every substance necessary for the organism. The parts composing these substances must be combined in strict proportions, both qualitatively and quantitatively.'

'When you breathe in the ordinary way, you breathe mechanically. The organism, without you, takes from the air the quantity of substances that it needs. The lungs are so constructed that they are accustomed to work with a definite amount of air. But if you increase the amount of air, the composition of what passes through the lungs is changed, and the further inner processes of mixing and balancing must also inevitably be changed.'

'Without the knowledge of the fundamental laws of breathing in all particulars, the practice of artificial breathing must inevitably lead, very slowly but none the less surely, to self-destruction.'

'Therefore—since you have asked me for it—my advice to you is: stop your breathing exercises.'

They stayed for a week learning from the old man and just as they were saying goodbye, Ekim Bey spoke to him in Persian, acknowledging as a great sage and requesting him that he give instructions and instructions that could guide his life.

Gurdjieff fails to include this talk here and promises a chapter of the third series of his writings, to be entitled 'The Physical Body of Man, Its Needs According To Law, and Possibilities of Manifestation'. (Thus I have placed him on the triangle position between 'mi' and 'fa': the Physical Body.) Gurdjieff never wrote this!

Early in the morning following this last visit to the dervish, they changed their direction from the Persian Gulf to Baghdad, since two of our company, Karpenko and Prince Nijeradze, had fallen sick with fever. In Baghdad they split up in different directions.

9 - Piotr Karpenko (the second independently formed part of a man, namely, his spirit/astral body)

Piotr Karpenko was friend from Gurdjieff's childhood, who later became, by his own real achievements and not merely by diploma, a prominent mining engineer. When they were adolescent boys they had a fight over a girl and, having agreed to a duel, ended up in a cannon firing range. Karpenko was injured, but Gurdjieff was not, but being so close to death changed them and they became friends.

On each of my Saint's-days and birthdays he would write a long letter to him, in which he usually began by describing his inner and outer life in detail and went on to ask my opinion on a long list of questions which interested him, chiefly on religious subjects. His first serious enthusiasm for our common ideas arose seven years after the duel. While traveling to Kars for the holidays with his family, he stopped off at Alexandropol. Becoming intrigued with concept of finding hidden truths, he joined Gurdjieff's group 'The Seekers of Truth' on their expedition to Ani. After that he finished his degree as a mining engineer. At that point he became a full member of the group.

On one of the expeditions that intended to cross the Himalayas from the Pamir region to India, an avalanche killed Baron X and their guide Karakir Khaïnu. Without a guide and no accurate map, they came upon a stream that turned into a river (They learned from the inhabitants that it was the Chitral, which flows into the river Kabul, which in its turn flows into the Indus). There they constructed rafts using the bladders of the goats that they slaughtered, using the designs the engineer Samsanov.

While searching for wood to make the rafts, they came an ez-ezounavouran (one who works on himself for the salvation of his soul), who brought them to his teacher. While they were talking with that benevolent looking teacher, a bear come out of the bushes and placed maize at his feet. They invited him to the camp for a photo which Professor Skridlov took of him. Seeing that Vitvitskaia had come down with something resembling goiter, he massaged her neck and shortly it went away. He also prescribed a tonic to cure Professor Skridlov kidney trouble and copper sulfate for Yelov's eyes to cure trachoma.

It turned out that he was the grandfather of the Emir of Afghanistan and when he was sixty years was wounded and decided to devote the rest of his life to the salvation of his soul. Although a Baptist, he studied with some Persian dervishes and then entered a monastery in the environs of Kabul. 'When he had understood everything he needed and was convinced that people were no longer necessary to him, he began to look for an isolated spot far from human habitation. Having found this place, he had settled here in the company of a few persons who wished to live according to his indications, and was awaiting his death, as he was already ninety-eight years old.'

'Suddenly, Karpenko, without consulting any of us, addressed him in the Uzbek language and said:'

'Holy Father! As by the will of fate we have met you in such unusual surroundings, a man great in knowledge and rich in experience of ordinary life as well as on the level of self-preparation for the being after death, we are all convinced beyond doubt that you will not refuse to give us your advice, of course so far as this is possible, on the life we should live and the ideals that we should hold before us, in order that we may ultimately be able to live as designed from Above and as is worthy of man.'

The ez-ezounavouran reply 'developed into a kind of lengthy sermon, of profound interest and significance.' however Gurdjieff deferred this sermon to his Third Series in a chapter entitled, 'The astral body of man, its needs and possibilities of manifestation according to law'. (Thus I have placed him on the triangle position between sol' and 'la': the Kesdjanian Body.) Gurdjieff never wrote this!

After two days on the river, natives on the shore seriously wounded Piotr Karpenko and died two years later.

10 - Professor Skridlov The divine body of man (the soul), and its needs and possible manifestations according to law'

Having met Professor Skridlov with Prince Yuri at the Pyramids of Giza and at Thebes, Gurdjieff stayed with Professor Skridlov for four months on his journey to the Nile source, then through the Red Sea and to the ruins of Babylon. Two years later he arrived with Prince Yuri for the Seekers of Truth expedition through Siberia and many more after that.

One of the times he was together with Gurdjieff which began with a chance meeting on a train is described in detail. Skridlov spoke of his discoveries and how he became homesick for his family. Gurdjieff told him how in the last two years: he had 'become very interested in Islam, and after great difficulties and by much cunning had managed to get into Mecca and Medina, inaccessible to Christians, in the hope of penetrating into the secret heart of this religion and of perhaps finding answers there to certain questions I considered essential.' And that he had found nothing. He had hoped to return with some pilgrims to Bukhara to find the secret knowledge of Islam; but, as a favor to Prince Yuri, he had to take Vitvitskaia to the Tambov province.

They both decided to go the Bukhara together, but stopped at Old Merv. Wanting to get into Kafiristan which is almost impossible for European to enter, Skridlov disguised himself as a Persian dervish with a tambourine that would be used for alms and Gurdjieff as a direct descendant of Mohammed, which Gurdjieff calls a 'Seïd'. For almost a year they practiced many sacred Persian chants and instructive sayings of former times. Taking a train to Chardzhou, and from there they set off by boat up the river Amu Darya apparently also up the Pyandzh River. (See reference in the section on Vitvitskaia)

Having left the settlement of the Afridis with the intention of proceeding towards Chitral, in the market of the next fairly large place, an old man in native dress said in Greek that he would like to talk with them as he overheard them talking in Greek, reminding him of his homeland fifty years ago. With their disguise discovered, they might have become alarmed, but by his voice and the expression of his eyes, they trusted him and were invited to his monastery.

10.1 - Father Giovanni (knowledge versus undertanding)

Father Giovanni was quite old and in native dress, but was Italian, having a Greek mother. He had formerly been a Christian missionary and had lived a long time in India. On some missionary work into Afghanistan, he was taken prisoner by Afridi tribesmen and was passed from one to another as a slave, until he was freed for performing an important service. It was then that he learned of the 'World Brotherhood' which he joined. Gurdjieff called him Father Giovanni because he had once been a Catholic priest by that name in his own country.

We were given permission to stay at the monastery. During our talks Father Giovanni told them a great deal about the inner life of the brethren there and about the principles of daily existence connected with this inner life; and once, speaking of the numerous brotherhoods organized many centuries ago in Asia, he explained to them a little more in detail about this World Brotherhood, which any man could enter, irrespective of the religion to which he had formerly belonged.

As we later ascertained, among the adepts of this monastery there were former Christians, Jews, Mohammedans, Buddhists, Lamaists, and even one Shamanist. All were united by God the Truth.

In a discussion on faith, he said,

'Faith cannot be given to man. Faith arises in a man and increases in its action in him not as the result of automatic learning, that is, not from any automatic ascertainment of height, breadth, thickness, form and weight, or from the perception of anything by sight, hearing, touch, smell or taste, but from understanding.'

'Understanding is the essence obtained from information intentionally learned and from all kinds of experiences personally experienced.'

'For example, if my own beloved brother were to come to me here at this moment and urgently entreat me to give him merely a tenth part of my understanding, and if I myself wished with my whole being to do so, yet I could not, in spite of my most ardent desire, give him even the thousandth part of this understanding, as he has neither the knowledge nor the experience which I have quite accidentally acquired and lived through in my life.'

'Understanding is acquired, as I have already said, from the totality of information intentionally learned and from personal experiencings; whereas knowledge is only the automatic remembrance of words in a certain sequence.'

'Not only is it impossible, even with all one's desire, to give to another one's own inner understanding, formed in the course of life from the said factors, but also, as I recently established with certain other brothers of our monastery, there exists a law that the quality of what is perceived by anyone when another person tells him something, either for his knowledge or his understanding, depends on the quality of the data formed in the person speaking.

As an illustration to this, Father Giovanni the tells of two brothers, Brother Ahl and the other Brother Sez. 'When Brother Sez speaks, it is indeed like the song of the birds in Paradise', however 'Brother Ahl's speech has almost the opposite effect as he speaks badly and indistinctly.'

'The stronger the impression made at the moment by the words of Brother Sez, the more this impression evaporates, until there ultimately remains in the hearer nothing at all.'

'But in the case of Brother Ahl, although at first what he says makes almost no impression, later, the gist of it takes on a definite form, more and more each day, and is instilled as a whole into the heart and remains there forever. '

'When we became aware of this and began trying to discover why it was so, we came to the unanimous conclusion that the sermons of Brother Sez proceeded only from his mind, and therefore acted on our minds, whereas those of Brother Ahl proceeded from his being and acted on our being.

'Yes, Professor, knowledge and understanding are quite different. Only understanding can lead to being, whereas knowledge is but a passing presence in it. New knowledge displaces the old and the result is, as it were, a pouring from the empty into the void.

'One must strive to understand; this alone can lead to our Lord God.'

'And in order to be able to understand the phenomena of nature, according and not according to law, proceeding around us, one must first of all consciously perceive and assimilate a mass of information concerning objective truth and the real events which took place on earth in the past; and secondly, one must bear in oneself all the results of all kinds of voluntary and involuntary experiencings'

Two days before we left the monastery, Professor Skridlov put to him a question 'of enormous interest for everyone about the 'soul' and Father Giovanni replied,

'before counting on really coming under the effects and influences of the higher forces, it was absolutely necessary to have a soul, which it was possible to acquire only through voluntary and involuntary experiencings and information intentionally learned about real events which had taken place in the past. He convincingly added that this in its turn was possible almost exclusively in youth, when the definite data received from Great Nature are not yet spent on unnecessary, fantastic aims, which appear to be good owing only to the abnormally established conditions of the life of people.'

At these words Professor Skridlov sighed deeply and exclaimed in despair: 'What, then, can we do; how can we live on?'

Gurdjieff again defers this talk to his Third Series to a chapter to be called, 'The divine body of man, and its needs and possible manifestations according to law' that would relate to the question of the soul, that is, the third independently formed part of the common presence of a man. Gurdjieff did not write this!

Gurdjieff the lists the other two chapters that he promised would be in the Third Series:

one to the words of the venerable Persian dervish concerning the body, that is, the first independently formed part in the common presence of a man,

and the other to the elucidations of the old ez-ezounavouran concerning the second independently formed part of a man, namely, his spirit.

We lived in this monastery about six months and left it, not because we could not have stayed there longer or did not wish to, but only because we were finally so over-filled with the totality of impressions we had received that it seemed as if even a little more would make us lose our minds.

Gurdjieff saw Professor Skridlov for the last time in the second year of World War I in Piatigorsk, where he was visiting his daughter. They decided to climb to the summit of Mount Bechow. They took the difficult side begin in shape form all their journeys. Upon reaching the top and looking at the expansive view in silence, Professor Skridlov began to cry. Gurdjieff asked if something was wrong and he replied that it was nothing, but that he has been unable to hold back tears whenever 'he sees or hears anything majestic which allows no doubt that it proceeds from the actualization of Our Maker Creator. Each time, my tears flow of themselves. I weep, that is to say, it weeps in me, not from grief, no, but as if from tenderness. I became so, gradually, after meeting Father Giovanni, whom you remember we met together in Kafiristan, to my worldly misfortune.'

'After that meeting my whole inner and outer world became me quite different. In the definite views which had become rooted in me in the course of my whole life, there took place, as it were by itself, a revaluation of all values.'

'Before that meeting, I was a man wholly engrossed in my own personal interests and pleasures, and also in the interests and pleasures of my children. I was always occupied with thoughts of how best to satisfy my needs and the needs of my children.'

'Formerly, it may be said, my whole being was possessed by egoism. All my manifestations and experiencings flowed from my vanity. The meeting with Father Giovanni killed all this, and from then on there gradually arose in me that "something" which has brought the whole of me to the unshakeable conviction that, apart from the vanities of life, there exists a "something else" which must be the aim and ideal of every more or less thinking man, and that it is only this something else which may make a man really happy and give him real values, instead of the illusory "goods" with which in ordinary life he is always and in everything full.'

(This chapter on Professor Skridlov was meant to be the final chapter, but instead Gurdjieff's students put in an unumbered chapter titled, "The Material Question", which was a talk Gurdjieff had given. They did this probably because they thought that Gurdjieff needed to be shown as a remarkable man and in so doing portrayed him as a "successful business man of today who swindles others with an egotistical conscience." What a sad ending to the Second Series!)

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