GURDJIEFF BOOKS

List of Gurdjieff books authored by him and his students

Books on Gurdjieff’s Teaching

george gurdjieffNewcomers to the Fourth Way will benefit from simplicity. The newcomer is susceptible to getting lost in the labyrinth of ideas and drifting farther away from practicality. Gurdjieff never intended this. In this spirit then, Gurdjieff books are listed below in order of clarity and accessibility, beginning with those that present Gurdjieff’s teaching in the most simple and succinct manner and ending with the complex and elaborate:

GURDJIEFF BOOKS

Views from the Real World

Recollections by Gurdjieff’s pupils of early talks in Moscow, Essentuki, Tiflis, Berlin, London, Paris, New York and Chicago. Within this book is an essay titled Glimpses of Truth, an account, written by one of his Russian pupils, of a visit to Gurdjieff near Moscow before the revolution. This essay was occasionally read in Moscow as an introduction for people meeting Gurdjieff for the first time, as is related by P. D. Ouspensky in In Search of the Miraculous.

Life is Real Only Then, When I Am

The long awaited third and final installment of Gurdjieff’s exposition published in 1976. This books opens a unique window into Gurdjieff’s personal work that is uncommon in other works. The prologue gives a most interesting disclosure of the inner world problems which Gurdjieff had to face and the process of his own spiritual evolution. The final chapter, called the ‘Inner and Outer World of Man’ is incomplete, and it stops tantilizingly when Gurdjieff is about to disclose the secret for the prolongation of human life.

Meetings with Remarkable Men

A purported autobiographical description of key moments in Gurdjieff’s formative years. Intriguing and colorful. Map of pre-sand Egypt. Gurdjieff’s father as Ashokh. It is clear that Gurdjieff wrote this. It is less clear whether it actually happened the way he wrote it. J. G. Bennett, who sought to trace Gurdjieff’s sources after his death, claimed that most of these stories were metaphorical and the figures alluded to pseudonymical.

Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson

Written in an obscure and lengthy style that neutralizes the reader’s normal cognitive pathways, Gurdjieff paints a galactic canvas unlike normal expository narrative. Gurdjieff spend seven years writing this magnum opus–as he himself said, sparing himself neither day nor night, constantly writing and rewriting. It appears that Gurdjieff, having decided to throw open his ideas to anyone who chose to buy his books, wished to safeguard their real significance by making them accessible only to those who were prepared to make a very big effort. In doing this, however he fell between two stools. On the one hand, he was anxious that Beelzebub’s should be widely read. On the other hand, he was impelled to write more and more obscurely.

Herald of the Coming Good

Gurdjieff’s first and relatively short narrative reflecting Gurdjieff’s initial and somewhat naive enthusiasm. This book would be of profound interest for understanding the development of Gurdjieff’s thinking; but, at the same time, it represents an unfortunate episode which he afterwards wished to bury. Only a year or so later he wrote that if any of his readers had by their good fortune failed to read The Herald of the Coming Good, he advised them not to do so.

OUSPENSKY BOOKS

peter ouspenskyPeter Ouspensky was one of Gurdjieff’s earliest pupils. Gurdjieff invited him to one of his introductory lectures in hope of using his help to publish his message in Russia. Ouspensky took note of Gurdjieff’s early lectures and eventually published what would become the most well-known presentation of Gurdjieff’s teaching.

In Search of the Miraculous

A cinematic narrative in Ouspensky’s own words of his experience searching for the miraculous and finally crossing paths with George Gurdjieff in Russia. Published posthumously and after the manuscript had been reviewed, praised and authorized by Gurdjieff. To this day, In Search of the Miraculous is the best-selling doorway into Gurdjieff’s practical, theoretical and philosophical teachings.

The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution

The most concise exposition of the core of the Fourth Way. An easy read written in lecture form, read before an audience by Ouspensky’s inner circle, with Ouspensky taking notes and revising over a period of 6 years. Save for the historical narrative of In Search of the Miraculous, this would be our #1 pick for best introduction to the Fourth Way. These first two books are the only ones edited by Ouspensky himself. The books below are compilations from meeting transcripts.

Conscience – The Search for Truth

A compilation of five essays based on more of P. D. Ouspensky’s talks and answers to questions. This compilation is centered around the development of conscience, although subject range through all Fourth Way ideas. The contrast between morality and conscience was a popular idea to which Gurdjieff periodically returned. In Conscience – the Search for Truth, Ouspensky explores Gurdjieff’s ideas in depth.

The Fourth Way

A well indexed and accessible exposition of the Fourth Way, taken from notes of those attending Ouspensky’s lectures. this book was not compiled by Ouspensky, but elaborates in great detail on what The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution outlines. Each chapter is dedicated to a series of related Fourth Way topics, beginning with an introductory compilation of Ouspensky on that topic and continuing with questions and answers from his meetings.

A Further Record

Further notes from Ouspensky’s lectures, written in a similar form to The Fourth Way, but including material that was left our from that compilation. This book would not serve as a good introduction to Gurdjieff’s ideas, but as an inspiring addition to the books listed above.

Books on Gurdjieff’s life

Books that shed light on Gurdjieff’s life, from his early years of search through his apprenticeship and till his maturation as a teacher. This list includes accounts of Gurdjieff’s life by other authors:

GURDJIEFF BOOKS

Meetings with Remarkable Men

A purported autobiographical description of key moments in Gurdjieff’s formative years. Intriguing and colorful. Map of pre-sand Egypt. Gurdjieff’s father as Ashokh. It is clear that Gurdjieff wrote this. It is less clear whether it actually happened the way he wrote it. J. G. Bennett, who sought to trace Gurdjieff’s sources after his death, claimed that most of these stories were metaphorical and the figures alluded to pseudonymical.

Life is Real Only Then, When I Am

The long awaited third and final installment of Gurdjieff’s exposition published in 1976. This books opens a unique window into Gurdjieff’s personal work that is uncommon in other works. The prologue gives a most interesting disclosure of the inner world problems which Gurdjieff had to face and the process of his own spiritual evolution. The final chapter, called the ‘Inner and Outer World of Man’ is incomplete, and it stops tantilizingly when Gurdjieff is about to disclose the secret for the prolongation of human life.

Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson

Written in an obscure and lengthy style that neutralizes the reader’s normal cognitive pathways, Gurdjieff paints a galactic canvas unlike normal expository narrative. Gurdjieff spend seven years writing this magnum opus–as he himself said, sparing himself neither day nor night, constantly writing and rewriting. It appears that Gurdjieff, having decided to throw open his ideas to anyone who chose to buy his books, wished to safeguard their real significance by making them accessible only to those who were prepared to make a very big effort. In doing this, however he fell between two stools. On the one hand, he was anxious that Beelzebub’s should be widely read. On the other hand, he was impelled to write more and more obscurely.

OTHER AUTHORS

In Search of the Miraculous

A cinematic narrative in Ouspensky’s own words of his experience searching for the miraculous and finally crossing paths with George Gurdjieff in Russia. Published posthumously and after the manuscript had been reviewed, praised and authorized by Gurdjieff. To this day, In Search of the Miraculous is the best-selling doorway into Gurdjieff’s practical, theoretical and philosophical teachings.

Gurdjieff – Making a New World (J.G.Bennett)

john bennettJ. G. Bennett was a student of both Ouspensky and Gurdjieff. As an English intelligence agent, he had access to those regions in Central Asia in which Gurdjieff had done much of his gathering. After Gurdjieff passed away, Bennett undertook the daunting task of visiting those places in search of the origins of Gurdjieff’s teaching. This book presents a remarkably methodical result. However, the reader will only value it in as much they are familiar with Meetings with Remarkable Men, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, and In Search of the Miraculous. Bennett repeatedly references them, attempting to reveal the historical figures behind Gurdjieff’s allegorical heroes.

Other Notable Fourth Way Books

For those interested in delving even deeper into the Fourth Way tradition, and following its branches, below is an even more comprehensive list of books:

Tertium Organum

Peter Ouspensky’s best seller from before his acquaintance with George Gurdjieff. A direct experience of Ouspensky’s mind, without the Gurdjieffian imprint. Ouspensky comments on his own book, “I have called the system of higher logic Tertium Organum because for us it is the third law of thought after Aristotle and Bacon. The first was Organon, the second Novum Organum. But the third existed before the first.” In this book, Ouspensky postulates the nature of the real world beyond the ordinary senses, discusses the essential evolution in human consciousness and emotion which must come before the higher world can be perceived and understood, and presents the ‘new logic’ or terminology which is essential for the description of the new reality.

A New Model of the Universe

Ouspensky outlined and began this book before meeting George Gurdjieff, and completed it after the two had separated. Despite the years with Gurdjieff which intervened between writing and publication, Ouspensky tried in his revision to keep separate what he knew before he encountered the system and what he learned while within it. The book draws from his travels to the near and far east, and offer a psychological method for approaching the wisdom of ancient cultures (Tarot, Gothic, Buddhism, Esoteric Christianity, etc.). rich in historic background…

The Theory of Celestial Influence (Rodney Collin)

rodney collinAccording to some accounts, a book outlined in the last weeks of Ouspensky’s life, possibly dictated by the dying teacher to his student whose writing skills he valued. Additionally, in a powerful introduction that sheds light onto Ouspensky’s personal teaching, Collin admits this books came in response to Ouspensky’s abandoning the system and tasking his students with reconstructing it for themselves. In The Theory of Celestial Influence, Collin elabores where Gurdjieff and Ouspensky left off, developing ideas which would later become popular such as body types and the enneagram. Collin also examines objective laws as they manifest on different scales, from the macro cosmoses of the universe, through civilizations, humans, and to microscopic beings.

The Theory of Conscious Harmony (Rodney Collin)

Very readable excerpts, taken from Rodney Collin’s answers to correspondence he received from a wide variety of those working individually and with groups, shaped around the Gurdjieff Ouspensky work. Thoughtfully arranged into over 30 subjects. Collin shares his view of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky as two complementary poles of the Fourth Way in the twentieth century, and lays the groundwork for its possible future manifestations.

The Theory of Eternal Life (Rodney Collin)

A scientific attempt to examine the journey of the soul before conception, during birth, its passage through the physical body and its continuation after death. Rodney Collin examines the relation of time to man, and attempts to convey how it varies significantly depending on the relation of his spirit to his body. The final chapter also shares some personal experienced he had with his teacher, Peter Ouspensky.

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