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Georges Gurdjieff.JPG
Born (1866-01-13)January 13, 1866
Died October 29, 1949(1949-10-29) (aged 83)
Era 20th-century
School "Fourth Way"
Main interests
Psychology, philosophy, science, ancient knowledge

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (13 January 1866 – 29 October 1949), usually called Gurdjieff, was an Armenian guru and writer. He was an influential spiritual teacher of the first half of the 20th century. He was influenced by Sufi, Zen and Yoga mystics he met on his early travels.

Gurdjieff taught that most people live their entire lives in a state of hypnotic "waking sleep":

"Speaking frankly... contemporary man as we know him is nothing more than merely a clockwork mechanism, though of a very complex construction".
"A modern man lives in sleep, in sleep he is born and in sleep he dies".p66

Gurdjieff developed a method for working towards a higher state of consciousness and achieving full human potential. He called this "The Work" or "The Method".

Gurdjieff's method for awakening one's consciousness is different from that of the fakir, monk or yogi, so his discipline was called originally the "Fourth Way".

At different times in his life, Gurdjieff started and closed various schools around the world to teach the work. He said that the teachings he brought to the West came from his own experiences and early travels. The teachings expressed the truth found in ancient religions. They were wisdom teachings relating to self-awareness in people's daily lives, and humanity's place in the universe.

Gurdjieff's writings

  • Gurdjieff G.I. 1950. Beelzebub's tales to his grandson: an objectively impartial criticism of the life of man. 3 vols, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. 1973 reprint, E.P. Dutton, N.Y.
  • Gurdjieff G.I. 1957. The struggle of the magicians: scenario of the ballet. Stourton, Capetown. Very limited printing of ten copies.
  • Gurdjieff G.I. 1963. Meetings with remarkable men. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. . Gurdjieff's own autobiography
  • Gurjieff G.I. 1975. Life is only real then, when "I am". Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.

Biographies of Gurdjieff

  • Ouspensky P.D. 1950. In search of the miraculous: fragments of an unknown teaching. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. "Substantially, this comprises Gurdjieff's direct speech, which Gurdjieff gratefully acknowledged". Moore's biography p403.
  • Ouspensky P.D. 1957. The fourth way: a record of talks and answers to questions based on the teaching of G.I. Gurdjieff. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.
  • Anderson, Margaret 1962. The unknowable Gurdjieff. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.
  • Nott C.S. 1969. Journey through this world: meetings with Gurdjieff, Orage and Ouspensky. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.
  • Bennett J.G. 1973. Gurdjieff: making a new world. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.
  • Bennett J.G. 1975. Witness: the autobiography of John Bennett. Turnstone, London. . Recounts in some detail meetings with Gurdjieff and Ouspensky.
  • Wilson, Colin 1980. G.I. Gurdjieff: the war against sleep. HarperCollins. Paperback reprint: 2005. London: Aeon Books.
  • Moore, James 1991. Gurdjieff: a biography. Element, Shaftesbury, Dorset.
  • Smoley R. & Kinney J. 2006. Hidden wisdom: a guide to the western inner traditions. Wheaton, Illinois: Quest Books. . Chapter 9 (The way of the sly man: the teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff) is an excellent introduction to Gurdjieff.


There is a 1979 British film, Meetings with Remarkable Men, directed by Peter Brook. It is based on the book of the same name by Gurdjieff. It was shot on location in Afghanistan (except for dance sequences, which were filmed in England). It starred Terence Stamp as Prince Lubovedsky, and Dragan Maksimovic as the adult Gurdjieff. The film was entered into the 29th Berlin International Film Festival and nominated for the Golden Bear prize.

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