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Gurdjieff
was born in Armenia around 1870. Although his first tutor was a priest, he received a scientific education, but in surroundings and a way of life that had changed little for centuries. To his questions: who am l? Why am I here? He found no answer either in religion or in science, but suspected that the truth lay hidden behind what had come down from the past in religious traditions and those strange myths and legends which he learned from his father, a traditional bard or 'ashokh'. Inspiring likeminded companions, he set out to find in Asia and Africa the truth that he sought, learning many languages, and acquiring many practical skills to earn the money for his journeys.

G. I. Gurdjieff
In 1912 he brought to Moscow an unknown teaching, a teaching that was not a religion, nor a philosophy, but a practical teaching to be lived. To follow the way he proposed, nothing is to be believed, and life in the world is not to be renounced. It is a way in life, on which - gradually for it cannot be done all at once - everything has to be questioned - one's beliefs, assumptions, attitudes, one's whole outlook on the life of man on this Earth.

Man is asleep, said Gurdjieff, he has no real consciousness or will, he is not free; to him, everything happens. He can become conscious and find his true place as a human being in the creation, but this requires a profound transformation.

"Man's possibilities are very great. You cannot even conceive a shadow, of what man is capable of attaining. But nothing can be attained in sleep. In the consciousness of a sleeping man his illusions, his 'dreams' are mixed with reality. He lives in a subjective world and he can never escape from it. And this is the reason why he can never make use of all the powers he possesses and why he always lives in only a small part of himself.

After the Russian revolution and the First World War, Gurdjieff set up an institute in France, and later taught in Paris. His book All and Everything, Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson is "an Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man", man within the scale of the universe. From a very old tradition which he rediscovered, he brought exercises and Sacred Dances based on universal laws, to stretch the pupil to the utmost in the search for harmony and awakening.

After his death in Paris in 1949 his closest pupils, led by Mme de Salzmann, continued the oral transmission of his practical teaching through activities touching all sides of a man, and this tradition continues today. The Society in London was established at that time and has remained in close touch with the other main centres of Gurdjieff's teaching in Paris and New York, always adapting to new conditions whilst remaining true to its source. There are associated groups in many other countries and elsewhere in the British Isles. From time to time, groups, are open to accept new members.

"The work of Gurdjieff has many aspects. But through whatever form he expresses himself, his voice is heard as a call. He calls because he suffers from the inner chaos in which we live. He calls us to open our eyes. He asks us why we are here, what we wish for, what forces we obey. He asks us, above all, if we understand what we are. He wants us to bring everything back into question. And because he insists and his insistence compels us to answer, a relationship is created between him and ourselves which is an integral part of his work." - Jeanne de Salzmann

© The Gurdjieff Society, London