Who was Gurdjieff?
What did he teach?
Dances and Movements
The Man and the Literature
Chronology of Gurdjieff's Life
James Moore's Memoir
Links to Related Sites
GEORGE IVANOVITCH GURDJIEFF was born to poor Greco-Armenian parents in
Alexandropol near the Russo-Turkish frontier in 1866 and died in Neuilly, Paris,
on 29 October 1949. According to Meetings with Remarkable Men, his
richly textured but uncorroborated autobiography, the youthful Gurdjieff was,
for twenty years, a fervent seeker after esoteric knowledge. He travelled
on many passports and in many realms. Three times he survived near-fatal
bullet wounds. In remote fastnesses and inaccessible monasteries in
Central Asia, he encountered profound traditional sources and even authentic
The unchallengeably historical Gurdjieff dates from 1912, when
he arrived in Moscow from Tashkent; attracted a select circle of pupils
(including P. D. Ouspensky); and, in conditions of strict secrecy,
began to teach, by precept and example, an unknown doctrine. This role of
spiritual Master he pursued with formidable energy to his life's end,
surmounting revolution, Civil War, penury, exile, journalistic derision, and
mandarin hostility. In 1922 he settled in France, situating his Institute
for the Harmonious Development of Man at the Prieuré, Fontainebleau-Avon.
He attracted - and often quixotically repulsed - many gifted disciples:
English, American and French.
Today, Gurdjieff dominates some fifty
memoirs and studies; he is cited in the Dictionary of Gnosis and Western
Esotericism; and claims modest but increasing attention in university
departments. His work comprises one ballet, some two hundred and fifty
sacred dances or Movements, two hundred piano pieces composed in collaboration
with his pupil Thomas Alexandrovitch de Hartmann (1886-1956), and four books, of which the magnum
opus is Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson.
Click here for a
more detailed résumé of Gurdjieff's life and
Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism).