Does the Fourth Way Exist
Posted by lahar9jhadav on February 11, 2013
The question of whether the Work begun by Gurdjieff in context of his teachings about the Fourth Way and the schools associated with it is fundamental for all ’seekers’ who find their way to his teachings and then to the remnants of Gurdjieff’s influence- the various Gurdjieff Foundations and Institutes, the Fourth Way Groups and Teachers and the countless material available which examines the subject of Gurdjieff’s teachings.
Gurdjieff tells us that a Fourth Way School is never without some work of a definite significance, is never without some undertaking around which and in connection with which it can alone exist. What was Gurdjieff’s undertaking? He gathered a group of many people scattered over the globe and worked with them to develop higher being bodies- Kesdjan and Martfotai, and to carry on in the future as prepared Helper Instructors which he stated would be required with the publishing of his writings in context of the interest they would generate also in the future. He developed a legomonism of words, movements, music, records of meetings and worked to make sure that all would survive into the future for a certain time intact. Gurdjieff himself said that when he had finished his writings in the form that he wished then his work would be over and he could die a contented man.
It is fairly obvious that G’s particular school of the fourth way finished upon, or at least a short time after, his death and the completion of his life’s work.
Schools of the fourth way exist for the needs of the work which is being carried out in connection with the proposed undertaking. They never exist by themselves as schools for the purpose of education and instruction.
What has the Work become fifty years later but a school or set of institutions for the purpose of education and instruction. They instruct on the teachings, pass on the various exercises, the movements, the music and Gurdjieff’s writings and the “archives of the league” to quote a phrase used before. What is the difference between the Work now and, for example, the various Foundations dedicated to Buddha and so on, except that the Work’s inception was only a mere few decades ago
“The work itself of schools of the fourth way can have very many forms and many meanings. In the midst of the ordinary conditions of life the only chance a man has of finding a ‘way’ is in the possibility of meeting with the beginning of work of this kind. But the chance of meeting with such work as well as the possibility of profiting by this chance depends upon many circumstances and conditions.”
Imagine a meteor falling in space towards a planet and then hitting it. The effects will be felt for many years even thousands of years later, but the comet only hits once and what it hits it hits directly- all else is after-effects eventually becoming a myth or legend. Gurdjieff was a meteor (and perhaps he came with a group of other meteors), a messenger from above, he made impact with the earth, touched directly all those who were near enough and the rest is the residue of this ‘occasion’.
“The quicker a man grasps the aim of the work which is being executed, the quicker can he become useful to it and the more will he be able to get from it for himself.””But no matter what the fundamental aim of the work is, the schools continue to exist only while this work is going on. When the work is done the schools close. The people who began the work leave the stage. Those who have learned from them what was possible to learn and have reached the possibility of continuing on the way independently begin in one form or another their own personal work.”
And what can they get, and of what does this personal work deal with? What else but the journey towards immortality, the Sacred Martfotai. To be able to become a “meteor” themselves.
“But it happens sometimes that when the school closes a number of people are left who were round about the work, who saw the outward aspect of it, and saw the whole of the work in this outward aspect.
Having no doubts whatever of themselves or in the correctness of their conclusions and understanding they decide to continue the work. To continue this work they form new schools, teach people what they have themselves learned, and give them the same promises that they themselves received. All this naturally can only be outward imitation.But when we look back on history it is almost impossible for us to distinguish where the real ends and where the imitation begins. Strictly speaking almost everything we know about various kinds of occult, masonic, and alchemical schools refers to such imitation.
We know practically nothing about real schools excepting the results of their work and even that only if we are able to distinguish the results of real work from counterfeits and imitations.”
And here we are, the exact description of the future of the Work, fifty years later. All this is Law Conformable, ie. to be expected.
“But such pseudo esoteric systems also play their part in the work and activities of esoteric circles. Namely, they are the intermediaries between humanity which is entirely immersed in the materialistic life and schools which are interested in the education of a certain number of people, as much for the purposes of their own existences as for the purposes of the work of a cosmic character which they may be carrying out.
The very idea of esotericism, the idea of initiation, reaches people in most cases through pseudo esoteric systems and schools; and if there were not these pseudo esoteric schools the vast majority of humanity would have no possibility whatever of hearing and learning of the existence of anything greater than life because the truth in its pure form would be inaccessible for them.
By reason of the many characteristics of man’s being, particularly of the contemporary being, truth can only come to people in the form of a lie. only in this form are they able to accept it; only in this form are they able to digest and assimilate it. Truth undefiled would be, for them, indigestible food.”
So, we come to the only function the Fourth Way Work has at this time and into the future- a Question, a sign towards something perhaps more real. Like A UFO in the sky it points to another reality: or a crop circle. Symbols of Mystery and Search. Like the Pyramids which offer no teaching except the one that says, “I am Here and You are Here, still. You cannot understand me, Know me or create me– all you can do is realize your nothingness in the face of me.”
“Besides, a grain of truth in an unaltered form is sometimes found in pseudo esoteric movements, in church religions, in occult and theosophical schools. It may be preserved in their writings, their rituals, their traditions, their conceptions of the hierarchy, their dogmas, and their rules.”
But what good is a Grain of truth? Who could make use of such a quantity except someone who already Knew a great deal, and how does one come to Know a great deal except through C influence? What is the purpose of this grain if there is C influence except when the C influence has departed or one has returned alone. Gurdjieff teaches that the crystallization of the Higher bodies including Kesdjan can only come through conscious work and that schools are needed for this and and that C influence is needed. Kesdjan must return to life to fulfill the promise of Martfotai, but in the meantime the School has left, hence the requirement for these grains and a legomonism, for these artifacts of remembrance ?
” Esoteric schools, that is, not pseudo esoteric schools, which perhaps exist in some countries of the East, are difficult to find because they exist there in the guise of ordinary monasteries and temples.
Tibetan monasteries are usually built in the form of four concentric circles or four concentric courts divided by high walls. Indian temples, especially those in Southern India, are built on the same plan but in the form of squares, one contained within the other.Worshipers usually have access to the first outer court, and sometimes, as an exception, persons of another religion and Europeans; access to the second court is for people of a certain caste only or for those having special permission; access to the third court is only for persons belonging to the temple; and access to the fourth is only for Brahmans and priests.
Organizations of this kind which with minor variations, are everywhere in existence, enable esoteric schools to exist without being recognized. Out of dozens of monasteries one is a school. But how is it to be recognized? If you get inside it you will only be inside the first court; to the second court only pupils have access. But this you do not know, you are told they belong to a special caste. As regards the third and fourth courts you cannot even know anything about them. And you can, in fact, observe the same order in all temples and until you are told you cannot distinguish an esoteric temple or monastery from an ordinary one.”
how many lives are required to enter these Inner temples?
“The idea of initiation. which reaches us through pseudo esoteric systems, is also transmitted to us in a completely wrong form. The legends concerning the outward rites of initiation have been created out of the scraps of information we possess in regard to the ancient Mysteries. The Mysteries represented a special kind of way in which, side by side with a difficult and prolonged period of study, theatrical representations of a special kind were given which depicted in allegorical forms the whole path of the evolution of man and the world.
Transitions from one level of being to another were marked by ceremonies of presentation of a special kind, that is, initiation. But a change of being cannot be brought about by any rites. Rites can only mark an accomplished transition. And it is only in pseudo esoteric systems in which there is nothing else except these rites, that they begin to attribute to the rites an independent meaning. It is supposed that a rite, in being transformed into a sacrament, transmits or communicates certain forces.”