In July 1924 Gurdjieff
was severely injured in a near-fatal car crash. By August, realizing
there was not sufficient time to prepare his students, Gurdjieff
disbanded the Institute. For nearly four months Gurdjieff pondered the
situation. Then on December 16, 1924, a stupendous idea arose and he
began to dictate: "It was in the year 223 after the creation of the
World by objective time-calculation, or, as it would be said here on the
'Earth,' in the year 1921 after the birth of Christ. Through the
Universe flew the ship Karnak of the 'trans-space' communication." Gurdjieff would defeat time by hurling the teaching into the future by writing a Legominism of three series of books under the title All and Everything.
A Legominism is a means of transmitting through
initiates information about certain events which occurred on the planet
Earth long ages ago.
Initiates are those who have acquired in their
presences, through personal conscious labors and intentional sufferings,
almost equal objective data which could be sensed by other beings and
which evoke trust and respect. The Great Pyramid, chess and tarot are
examples of Legominisms.
The first draft of the First Series, Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson,
was completed in 1928. Gurdjieff would observe students as chapters
were read aloud to them; a practice he continued until nearly the end of
his life. Changes in the text were made accordingly. The book was
published in 1950. Seven years later a revision of the book began. The
revised edition was published in 1992. It evoked much controversy and
was later withdrawn.
The Second Series, Meetings with Remarkable Men,
is an esoteric work in the form of autobiography written to furnish, as
Gurdjieff said, "the material required for a new creation." This title
reveals the depth and intensity of Gurdjieff's search which attracted to
him significant influences whom he calls, "remarkable men." Gurdjieff
encountered these fellow seekers as he traveled throughout the Middle
East, including Egypt, Africa, and Central Asia in search the origin of
an ancient teaching.
In 1935 he completed the Third Series, Life Is Real Only Then, When 'I Am'—though
some contend he left it unfinished. Whether Gurdjieff did or did not
finish the Third Series remains open to debate. But without doubt it is
the most esoteric of the three books.
In 1933 he published The Herald of Coming Good.
Later he withdrew it from publication because it did not have the
desired effect, but, while difficult to read, it provides an invaluable
perspective. He speaks about Tzvarnoharno, the subconscious,
hypnotism, vanity and the discovery "that the force and degree of man's
inner benevolence evokes in others a proportionate degree of ill-will."
Views from the Real World
presents Gurdjieff's actual words and his direct instructions given in
conversations, talks and lectures at the Prieuré and as he traveled with
his pupils who would record his words faithfully from memory. In
addition to the talks and lectures Views from the Real World contains Glimpses of Truths,
an account of a conversation with Gurdjieff written by an unknown
Moscow pupil in 1914 and mentioned by P. D. Ouspensky in In Search of the Miraculous.
Madame Thomas de Hartmann, with Gurdjieff from 1917, was present at all
the meetings and lectures, and acknowledged the authenticity of the
material as presented in Views from the Real World. Included also, in English, are some of the Aphorisms inscribed on the walls of the study house at the Prieuré in a special alphabet known only to the pupils.