The revenge of the pygmies
IT SEEMS THAT THE IMPLICATIONS OF GURDJIEFF'S WORK WERE AS REVOLUTIONARY, AS THREATENING TO THE STATUS QUO, AS YOURS. MANY OF HIS METHODS WERE UNEQUIVOCALLY OUTRAGEOUS, YET IT SEEMS HE WAS NEVER REPORTED IN THE LOCAL RAGS AS RUNNING A CAMP FOR SLAVE LABOR, DISRUPTING PUBLIC TRANSPORT, BEING A MENACE ON THE ROADS OR BEING THE INSTIGATOR OF RIOTOUS BACCHANALIAN ORGIES.
YOU SAID THE OTHER MORNING THAT GURDJIEFF FAILED BECAUSE OF THE THICK HUMAN SKULL. IS IT FOR THIS REASON THAT HE CHOSE TO WORK WITH A SMALL, SELECT GROUP OF PEOPLE - RATHER THAN CHALLENGE THE ENTIRE WORLD AS YOU HAVE? AND IF YOU HAVE SUCCEEDED - WHICH YOU HAVE - WHERE HE DID NOT, IS THAT IN PART BECAUSE MAN WAS NOT IN QUITE SUCH A PITIFULLY DESPERATE STATE FIFTY YEARS AGO AS HE IS TODAY?
There are a few things to be understood.One, George Gurdjieff was never interested in changing society. His reason was very strange but seems to be meaningful. He believed that people are not born with souls: the soul has to be earned, you have to deserve it.
So the question of the society being revolutionized, transformed, does not arise. For him, only very few people, who have worked hard to crystallize their being, have souls; others are simply vegetables, they don't count. It hurts. It is shocking. And it is not true either, but it is meaningful.
All the religions of the world have been teaching that man is born with a soul. Gurdjieff is the first man in the whole of history with this strange idea - that man is born only with the possibility of having a soul, if he chooses.
There have been atheists who have said there is no soul in man, but they never accepted that there is any possibility of deserving it. And there were theists who believed man is born with a soul; the question of deserving it does not arise, you have to discover it.
Gurdjieff stands alone in his idea that people are born just as the atheists say, but if they make enough effort they can create souls in themselves as the theists say.
Now the problem is a little complicated. It is not a question of what is true and what is untrue. The question is always, what works?
The atheist who simply denies the soul - as the communists are doing all over the world - is immensely harmful because he stops man's possibility of growth. He gives you the idea that you are material and you are going to remain material; there is nothing more. You are born matter, you will die matter, and nothing will be left; life is only between birth and death, neither before or after.
It is a dangerous creed, and half of the world has accepted it. It seems it fulfills some inner necessity of man.
Man does not want to be a soul, because to be a soul means a struggle for freedom, a struggle for individuality, a struggle to live totally. Once you accept the soul, you are accepting the whole sky of growth. For people who don't want to struggle for so many things, the easiest way is that there is no soul, so the question of any growth does not arise.
It is not coincidental that half of the world or more, for the first time in the whole history of man, are atheists. There have always been atheists, but single thinkers, or a small group, never such a large amount of humanity.
All the religions are on one side, and atheism alone is equal in strength on the other side. This is happening for the first time.
It seems there is a revenge; a revenge against all those whom we call the enlightened ones, the awakened ones; a revenge against Gautam Buddha, Mahakashyap, Bodhidharma, because their status, without their intention, made you inferior. They never wanted it to be so. They wanted to help you to grow to even greater heights than themselves. But that was only in theory.
Humanity remained deeply rooted in the earth. For thousands of years it has worshipped the awakened ones. And always remember the basic rule of life: if you worship someone, one day you are going to take revenge.
And this is the revenge against all spiritual giants - the revenge of the pygmies - the declaration, "There is no soul at all, so what all these people are talking about is mere talk. It means nothing.
They are talking of the soul and its growth just to reduce you into an unspiritual, retarded human being."
It happened in the court of one of the great emperors of India, Akbar. He was very interested in collecting all the geniuses to his court - and he had really great people in his court. One day he came, and he drew a line on the wall and said to his people in the court, "Can you make this line small without touching it?"
They thought of all possible ways, but how to make it smaller without touching it? But one man stood up and drew a bigger line on top of it; he did not touch the line the emperor had drawn, but made it small.
It is for centuries that humanity has been accumulating a revenge against all those who really were giants, but whose level the masses could not rise up to. And how long can you live in shame? It is better to accept a philosophy that denies that there is any possibility of any growth - that all these great awakened ones are just fictitious.
And spiritual growth is not something that can be put before the people. It is something invisible - either you feel it or you don't feel it. If you deny it, whatever the reason for your denial, unknowingly you are also denying your own growth and its possibility. Now you can not conceive that a Gautam Buddha can be born in the Soviet Union. It is impossible.
Atheism was a very small thing in the past, but still it hindered people from growing. Theism proposed that everybody is born with a soul. All that he has to do is to discover it - nothing has to be created, no arduous effort. A simple awareness of yourself and the cover is removed, and you are face to face with yourself. And the moment you know it, your life is transmuted. Everything in your life changes.
These people thought that by insisting that you are born with a soul, the masses will start - because now it is not a question of arduous effort to create it, but only to uncover it.
But the masses took another interpretation of it, they interpreted it, "If the soul is already there what is the hurry? - and you have eternal life, you can uncover it any time. But the fleeting pleasures of life - which are not eternal - don't miss them!
"You cannot miss the soul because it is always there and will remain with you always - whether you discover it or not. So it can be delayed, postponed for the next life or another life; but the fleeting pleasures of the flesh... enjoy them!" Even a very great idea can be interpreted in such a way that it turns exactly to its opposite.
So all the religions of the world were in a strange situation. There were atheists who were denying the soul, and people were not making any effort - there was no question, no such thing exists. And there were theists who believed in a soul, but when it is already yours, there seems to be no need to be in a hurry - before you discover it, enjoy everything of the world.
In both cases people remained materialists.
It is against these two standpoints that Gurdjieff brought a new, original idea, that you are not born with a soul. Remember, unless you create it you will simply die, nothing will be left, you will not survive your bodily death. You can, if you work hard, create the soul. It is not a question of uncovering it - you don't have it right now - it has to be crystallized.
But because of his idea - and his idea seems to be significant because it avoids the pitfalls of both the theists and the atheists - a new problem is created. The problem is that the greater masses cannot be inspired to make arduous effort; only a few intelligent people....
And I say only a few because even intellectuals will say, "If I die and nothing survives, so what?
Once I was not; it was not a problem to me. Before birth I was not; it was not a problem for me because if I am not how can there be any problem for me? After death, if I am not - that seems to be the best solution of the whole problem."
So only a few intelligent people became interested in Gurdjieff. And he never hammered on society's vested interests, he never hammered on religious superstitions, he never hammered on political social conditions. He was not interested at all. His whole effort was so that he can create a few people who have a crystallized being.
He was not interested in the masses. And you cannot complain against him. The masses are such that to be interested in them means to be stoned, to be crucified, to be poisoned, to be killed. The same people for whom you are working hard are going to destroy you.
The reason is the same - without intending it, you are reducing the masses to ignorant people. You KNOW - and you can show the path for them to come to the same knowing. But they don't know, and they are the majority - the whole world.
Rather than bothering about your path and its mysteries, the easiest way is to finish you so you don't bother them; otherwise you create disturbances in people's minds. They were satisfied with "eat, drink and be merry"; and suddenly you come and start talking about enlightenment. You disturbed their ignorant life - ignorant but with a certain satisfaction.
P.D.Ouspensky, before he betrayed Gurdjieff, wrote one book on Gurdjieff's teachings, IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS. He dedicated it to "the man who disturbed my sleep."
But nobody likes to be disturbed in sleep, and spiritual sleep is so deep that to be disturbed... there is anger. Gurdjieff knew exactly what happened with Socrates, what happened with Jesus, what happened with Al-Hillaj Mansoor, what happened with Sarmad - and thousands more who tried to liberate humanity. Humanity rewarded them with death.
He was a totally different kind of man, a very practical and pragmatic man. He said, "Why bother about these people and waste my time? I should just choose those who are ready to go all the way along with me."
It is because of this that there was no world-wide antagonism against him. Very few people in America, a few people in France, a few people from Russia, a few people from England - not more than two hundred - were working on his principles. Now, if only two hundred people are working on the principles, and those principles are not against any orthodox system, any religion, any tradition, any past, the society will ignore it.
They thought that he is a slightly eccentric person and those who are of the same type go to him.
But he could not disturb the whole world, he could not create a stir; he was not interested. And even if he was interested, he could not do it; he was not articulate.
He never delivered a single lecture in his life; he never talked, even to his own disciples. He will write; somebody else will read it, and he will watch the faces of his disciples to see what impression the reading of the article is creating. And according to that impression he will change again the article, and it will be read again. The same article may be read for the whole year, until he was satisfied that it was creating the right impression on everyone.
This kind of person cannot stir the whole world. To write one lecture, if it needs one year.... He has written only three books - in this way. It seems that he wrote those books more for himself than for anybody else, because he wrote them in a strange place. He was a strange man.
People go to a silent place in the mountains to write something. He will go to a restaurant in Paris and just sit there in the restaurant, in the middle of hundreds of people coming and going... and all kinds of talk and everything happening... waiters bringing things and plates being broken, and he will be writing there. That was his place to write.
His disciples said, "You have a beautiful silent place near Paris. Why don't you write there?"
He never agreed. He said, "I want to write in a place where every kind of disturbance is there - the road is there, the traffic is there, and a restaurant.... I want to write there and remain undisturbed. I don't want any outer silence to help me. My inner silence has to write it."
So he wrote those three books for two reasons. Basically it was his own continuous testing, that if you are writing in such a disturbing situation and you remain undisturbed and calm and quiet - as if you are in the hills in a silent cabin writing by yourself.... So first it was for himself; and second, whatever he would write would be read before the students.
He was not certain that the impression he wanted to create would be created by what he had written.
So there were continuous changes in his script. He took his whole life to write three books. And still they are of no use to the common people. You cannot understand what he is writing. He was not a writer. He was not a speaker.
He had learned a few techniques, and he had worked hard and achieved a crystallization in himself; but he was not articulate enough to express it to others. In fact, he had learned from people who were less concerned with verbal communication, than with actual exercises. He had been through monasteries. He went up to Tibet. And he moved in many hidden Sufi monasteries - but they were all interested in exercises.
But the modern man first wants to be convinced intelligently that something is worth doing; otherwise, he is not going to waste his life doing something, about which he has no conviction.
That conviction Gurdjieff could not create.
He had a charismatic personality so that those who came close to him became almost convinced of the fact that whatever the man says has to be true. But only a few people - he was not a world- famous name. But those who came to him certainly gained much - although the exercises were outrageous - because in the Western tradition that kind of exercise has never existed. But in the Sufi tradition they are common exercises. They look outrageous because they are out of the Sufi context.
And he was not basically interested in creating a revolution in the world, creating a new man, a new humanity. His concern was very limited; to create a few people - because that's how Sufis have worked for centuries - just to create a few people, because this has been their understanding: the more you become known the more there is danger.
Many Sufis who became known have been killed. Then Sufis went completely underground. Now to find a Sufi master may take months or years for you. Unless you happen to meet a disciple of the master, and he is convinced of your real search for the truth - that you are not just a curiosity- monger, not just a tourist who by the way wants to see what a Sufi school is like, what Sufi exercises are like - then only through a personal introduction will you enter into a school, on the responsibility of that person who is bringing you to the master. It was sheer necessity because Islam was very cruel.
Jews have killed only one Jesus.
Islam has killed many Jesuses.
And unfortunately, Gurdjieff learned everything from the Islamic Sufi schools, so he always remained secretive; it became part and parcel of his being - just a few students and he was satisfied.
My situation is totally different, because for centuries we have been trying to change a few individuals; and a few individuals have been changed, but that has not affected humanity at large.
And unless humanity at large evolves in consciousness, we will not be able to create thousands of buddhas.
One emperor in China made a temple of ten thousand buddhas. In that temple there are ten thousand statues of buddhas. The whole temple is nothing but statues - all the walls. It is a whole mountain cut into a temple.
I understand the message of the man who made that temple of ten thousand buddhas. To me it is not a temple, it is an indication that unless we create thousands of buddhas in the world, this world is going to remain miserable unnecessarily, suffering for no reason at all, creating troubles for itself - because you cannot create anything else. Unless your creativity moves towards some other meaningful projects, you are going to create trouble for each other.
We have seen it - buddhas have been here, there have been teachers like Gurdjieff who changed the quality of a small group, but it is like throwing a teaspoonful of sugar into the ocean - the ocean remains the same, it takes no notice of the sugar. It does not become sweet.
The effort for creating enlightenment has been very disproportionate. The masses are huge, and once in a while one person, or a few people, get the point. But it remains in the margin - and the world goes on moving in the same rut, on the same rotten wheel.
My interest is to create as many buddhas as possible, around the world; as many lighted beings as possible, so that even if they want to destroy me, it doesn't matter because there will be thousands of others who will do the same work.
And you cannot think that thousands of people can be crucified. And even if it happens, that very fact that ten thousand buddhas are crucified, perhaps may be enough of a shock to the whole humanity - to wake them up so they can see what they are doing in their sleep, in their slumber.
Moreover, the time is short so I cannot depend on the old slow methods. They are bullock-cart methods. Buddha had a long future ahead of him. I don't have.
Humanity is in danger any moment: by the end of this century, if we have survived it will be a miracle.
So the pressure of time, the experience of the whole past, makes me take the risk and start cutting the very roots which are preventing people, and create so many conscious beings around, that the masses cannot think that it is just one man trying to be holier-than-thou. There are thousands... and they can see their actions, their behavior, their love, their compassion, their changed life... and the future is dark, death may take over.
We have to use this critical stage. We have to make the masses clearly aware: "You can die any moment - you may not wake up tomorrow morning, so you cannot waste your time in trivia. Do something essential. Do something that can bring you in touch with eternity. So even if the whole globe dies, it doesn't matter. At least for those who have touched the experience of eternity, for them there is no death."
And it is possible that if we can create thousands of people... the very phenomenon may start triggering it in others, because we are made in the same way, we are connected with each other.
Just a strong enough atmosphere is needed, so the forces of awakening move around you like a whirlwind and trigger your own process.
And I don't see that it is impossible.
It is possible.
It has to be made possible.
We are at a point where the forces of sleep and the forces of awakening are coming into conflict in a final battle; and basically the forces of sleep - howsoever big - are weak.
Twenty persons may be asleep here, and one person may be awake; that one person who is awake is more powerful than the twenty persons who are asleep.
The masses may be asleep, they don't have any force.
We just have to create enough force of awakening.
And this is the time. If we miss this time, perhaps something for which the whole of nature and existence has been working for millennia will fail. But I don't think it can fail.
If existence wants that the people should evolve into a superhuman race, then all the nuclear weapons and all the Ronald Reagans just don't count.
YOU HAVE POINTED OUT THAT IN DREAMS WE OFTEN LIVE OUT THE CONTENT OF THE UNCONSCIOUS IN A SYMBOLIC FORM. FOR EXAMPLE, THE WISH FOR A LOVE AFFAIR WITH ONE'S SISTER IS PLAYED OUT IN THE DREAM AS A LOVE AFFAIR WITH HER BEST FRIEND.
IN THIS SITUATION, WHO IS DOING THE CENSORING AND WHY?
The conditioning of the conscious mind has gone so deep that even in sleep it won't allow a few things. Even in deep hypnosis it won't allow a few things.
For example, people have been worried that a hypnotist hypnotizing a woman can rape her under hypnosis. But unless the woman herself is willing it is not possible, she will wake up.
I was working with one of my cousin-brothers. He was a very talented boy; he is now a professor in a university. But he is very cowardly. So whatever he clings to, it is very difficult to persuade him to drop it if something better is available - because what he is clinging to is safe, he knows it.
He was from a very poor family. His mother died and his father married again, and the woman started torturing the boy. So I told the boy to come and live with me so he lived with me. He was studying and he was also working part-time in an office.
The principal of his college was a friend of mine. I told him, "He has great talents and it is stupid that he should be working in an ordinary office as a typist. You can employ him also in the college part-time as a librarian, or something you can find." And he was willing.
The boy was getting only seventy rupees per month from the office, and the principal was ready to give two hundred rupees for the same time - and almost no job, just being a librarian.
And I said to him, "It will be good, you can read while there is nobody disturbing you, and you can become acquainted with the great literature; it will all be available to you. And you will remain in the college. You can study, you can work there.
"Show your talents, so finally I can manage to tell the principal when you pass your M.A. that it will be good to make you a lecturer in the college." But he would not leave the part-time typist work in the office. It was very difficult for him to move from anything that he has become accustomed to and was secure in.
Finally I tried hypnotizing him - and he was a good medium, he did everything that I told him to do.
When I became perfectly satisfied that he goes really deep and forgets everything, I said to him one day, "Now is the time. Tomorrow you resign from your post."
He immediately opened his eyes and woke up. He said "I was afraid continuously for all these days.
I can do everything else, but not this resignation. I knew that you would one day tell me to resign from that post."
"But," I said, "how did you manage it, because you were so deep in hypnosis?"
He said, "I was deep in hypnosis, but it was with my willing cooperation. On this point I was not willing."
So even in dreams the long training of your mind will interfere to change the dream, to make it as if you are chasing the best friend of your sister. But your unconscious desire is for your sister, the best friend is only a substitute. But the conditioned conscious has deep roots which have gone even into the unconscious.
So if a woman is willing the hypnotist can rape her; but she if is not willing, the moment he suggests anything against her will, she will wake up - however deep the hypnosis may be.
It was really a revelation to me, because he was doing everything else. I would tell him, "You just get up. It is morning and you have to milk the cow." And he would sit in the posture, as in India they do for milking the cow - and there is no cow. He will start milking the cow. And he will not remember anything about what happened. But to resign from the post... he was keeping his conscious censor alert about it.
You cannot tell somebody to go and murder, unless that person really wants to murder. Anything that the hypnotized medium does is his willing cooperation - not that he is conscious, but even in unconsciousness the conscious mind is alert so that nothing goes against the conditioning.
And if the suggestion is such as making love to your sister or your mother - which is one of the greatest sins in every society, the biggest taboo - the mind will immediately disturb the whole thing.
The consciousness will disappear, the hypnotist will disappear immediately, and the person will be awake, fully awake, and will be angry at you that you wanted him to do something which is not right.
So it is the conscious mind... but conscious mind, unconscious mind, these are just arbitrary divisions. There are not really walls between them, that they cannot cross each other. There are no divisions, these are just lines on the map. They are all one piece, just one part has become conscious; the other part has not become conscious - but they are joined.
So even in dreams there is a censor.
And all your dreams, unless they are not against your conditioning, are distorted. And that is the whole work of the psychoanalyst, to find out where they have been distorted and put things right. To find out what was actually wanted by the unconscious, but was diverted by the conscious, that is the whole art of psychoanalysis: to find it out, and to lead the unconscious to exactly the point where it wanted to go, and make you aware of it.
And once you become aware of it - that you wanted to make love to your sister, it was not her best friend, you are not interested in her at all - once this is clearly understood, the dream will not appear again, because now there is no point: you have accepted the fact that that was the unconscious desire. And there is no sin in it. All taboos are man-created. It is good for biological reasons that brothers and sisters don't get married.
But in India, the ancient story is that in the beginning, the child was born with his partner - the boy with the girl together, they were twins. So he was born with the wife; there was no question of choice or finding or astrology or anything.
The Sanskrit word bagni means both 'sister' and 'wife'. When I first became aware of the meanings of the word, I was puzzled how a word could mean both 'sister' and 'wife'.
So I worked on it and found out that in the beginning - this is the Indian mythology - everybody was born with his wife or husband. And life was very peaceful because they grew up together; they had the same tastes, the same likings. There was never a conflict or fight. But it had to be stopped because their children suffered.
If a man marries his own sister, their children will be retarded, crippled, blind, something or other; they cannot be perfectly healthy babies. Crossbreeding brings the best results. This was understood thousands of years ago. That's why it became a taboo - that no brother should marry his sister, because the children will suffer.
But it has to be carried to its logical point. No one should marry into his own caste because, somehow or other, far back they will be related as cousins - their great-grandfathers or even further back. The best is that they should marry into a different caste, a different nation where there is no possibility of their blood being the same.
Now, it is an established fact as far as animals are concerned. We are using crossbreeding and the animals are becoming better and better. But with man we are superstitious and stupid.
In fact, marriages should be from one continent to another continent - as far away as possible so there is no connection at all; so even thousands of years back there is no connection. If that becomes possible, humanity will have better health, more intelligence, more beauty, less sickness, a longer life. Now these are scientifically established facts.
But one of the miseries is that man will not apply his findings to his own behavior. His behavior will be dominated by customs made by people who had no knowledge, no awareness of all these facts that have come just now into our understanding.
They should be used with human beings too. And if someday we can find a planet which has human beings, that will be the best. Because not even a suspicion... because here, even if you marry somebody from one continent to another continent, it is not absolutely certain, because all the civilized peoples of the world once lived in central Asia, in Mongolia.
When their population increased they had to spread from there. The same people are in India, the same people are in Iran, the same people are in Germany, the same people are in England, all over Europe, in America. Hundreds of generations have passed, but we can find that they were once in one group because of their languages.
English has thirty percent of its words from Sanskrit. Russian has forty percent of its words from Sanskrit. And one Western language, Lithuanian, has seventy percent of its words from Sanskrit.
All western languages have roots in Sanskrit.
That simply means that once a tribe lived in one place, used one language, and then had to spread into different parts of the world because of the population explosion. They learned new words, they made new words, they came across new realities; but a certain percentage of their old language remained with them.
Language is a sure sign of whether these people come from one tribe or different tribes. For example, Chinese is a totally different world. Even South Indian languages have no Sanskrit roots. European languages are closer to Hindi than South Indian languages, because South Indian languages and the people who speak those languages are not part of the Aryan group that spread all over Europe and India.
The best will be to find someone who is as remotely connected to you as possible; if not connected, that's the best.
So every society tabooed it out of necessity - but every child is bound to fall in love with his sister.
One of my sannyasins was just asking me, "I am in trouble. You said that couples should make love without hiding from their children; the children should know that making love is a human phenomenon, natural. Their parents are doing it. And this will be an experience for them to watch, to see, and they will take it not seriously - but playfully."
She said, "It was good, but the boy now says that he wants to make love to me. Now what am I supposed to do?" - because the whole taboo is that you cannot make love to the mother. They had allowed him to be present and he was very happy that he had been taken into their confidence - the father making love to his mother - and he watched it. And he said, "I had never thought of it. But now I want to do it myself." And he is so small, perhaps six years old.
I told the mother to tell him, "You will make love when you grow up. You will have a wife. You are too small, I am too big. Just wait. It is natural, and it will come. And when you are mature, you will be married; you will fall in love with a girl and you will be married. Right now you should learn that there is nothing wrong in it, nothing guilty about it, no sin in it - that it is not something to be done in hiding, even from your own children."
Because when the children discover - and they do discover - their respect for their parents flops.
Then they cannot respect these people, they are prohibiting them from doing the same thing that they themselves are doing.
She explained it to the boy. And children are very perceptive and very understanding. And he understood that it is right: he is not old enough so he will wait. But he felt grateful, and he will feel grateful his whole life - that he had a special kind of mother and father who took him into their confidence, even in their privacy. They never kept anything secret from him.
Now this boy has already asked to make love to his mother, has had explained to him the reasons - "It is not useful, it is meaningless; you are not mature yet" - and he will never have a dream of making love to his mother. It has become consciously clear.
But every other boy is unconsciously hankering to make love to the mother, and because of it he is jealous of the father. Every girl wants to make love to the father, and she is jealous of the mother.
And that's how we are creating complexities of the mind which will create mental troubles for these people in their future life.
But if everything is cleaned and cleared, explained, you will bring up your child without any repressed feelings. He will have a totally different quality of being: a freshness, a sharpness, and a deep acceptance of himself.