Gurdjieff, Kundabuffer, War
Posted by lahar9jhadav on February 11, 2013
G. I. Gurdjieff, who was one of the most remarkable spiritual teachers of the 20th century, was born in the 1870s, in the Caucasus region near Kurdistan, of mixed Greek and Armenian ancestry. This region, at the gateway between Europe and Asia, was one where for hundreds of years, peoples of many different nationalities and languages migrated, co-existed and often fought. In his younger years he traveled extensively in Central Asia (including Tibet), and the Middle East (including Egypt); in his later years in Europe, especially France, and making several visits to America. Having experienced both Russian Revolutions, as well as both World Wars (he died in 1949), he certainly had ample opportunity to study the nature and origins of war and violence at first hand. His teaching of practices of self-remembering and harmonious development, sometimes referred to as a Fourth Way teaching, was unique and original, although several writers have identified elements of Islamic Sufism, Greek and Russian Orthodox Christianity, Western esoteric, gnostic and hermetic traditions, as well as Buddhism and very ancient Asian, including Zoroastrian mystical traditions. In his writings and recorded talks, he himself stated repeatedly that his study of the causes of the “processes of reciprocal destruction” was one of the chief preoccupations of his life.
When he was living and teaching in Russia during the first decade of the 20th century, his talks were recorded in P.D. Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous. Here, like the Buddhists, he emphasized the unconscious, sleep-like condition of ordinary human existence, captivated by external influences over which we had no control, and that we could only hope to awaken and free ourselves from these forces by deliberate and intentional practices of self-remembering, which is similar to the Buddhist emphasis on mindfulness. War, he said, was due to cosmic forces, or planetary influences. Just like when two people pass too near each other in the street causing momentary discomfort, two planets coming too near each in their orbits may result in tension, only momentary at the planetary scale – but on Earth, for a period of several years, “millions of sleeping men may start slaughtering other millions of sleeping men”.
In his later years, when he was living and teaching in France, at his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, he wrote his All and Everything – Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson, he expounded a much more involved and elaborate esoteric, historic, mythic tale, with his characteristic and undoubtedly deliberate admixture of the fantastic, symbolic and obscure. His declared aim, in his writing, was not so much to inform or give opinions or theories, but to stimulate his readers to conscious intelligent thinking, and the development of what he called “objective conscience”. With these reservations in mind, it is astonishing to note how much the stories that Gurdjieff unfolds, overlap with the esoteric histories that we have been discussing, and modern views from UFO/ET research.
To begin with, the whole first volume (1200 pages long) of All and Everything, – Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson – is cast as an elaborate travel narrative, told on a spaceship, by Beelzebub (the name of a deity from Babylonian mythology), to his grandson Hassein. Beelzebub describes six “descents” he has made to the planet Earth, at different time periods in history, to different continents and countries, including Atlantis, India, Tibet, and America; and describes at great length with many and elaborate complex details, using numerous neologisms seemingly pasted together from different languages, the characteristics, problems and possibilities of humans, or as he says, addressing Hassein, – “those three-brained beings that interest you so much.” These six “descents” could be interpreted as meaning six human incarnations of a highly developed soul, on a quest for greater understanding of the human condition; or they could also be interpreted as actual descents in an actual space-ship, at different time periods, by visitors from another world, with a vastly advanced system of cosmic knowledge, making observations on planet Earth. In the course of the narrative, Beelzebub-Gurdjieff refers repeatedly to certain “messengers sent from above”, human incarnations of very high beings, who established religious teachings on Earth, including Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and especially a certain “Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash”, who taught on Earth during the ancient Sumero-Babylonian civilization (Shamash is also the name of a Sumerian deity). In addition to these, Beelzebub-Gurdjieff also refers, in his stories, to “Angels”, “Archangels” and even a “High Commission” of “sacred beings”, who are also engineers, physicists, or chemists, with whom he has conversations (i.e. or as we would say today, who he “channels”), and who have come to Earth at various times to address certain cosmic planetary problems that had arisen.
Chapter 43 of Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson, entitled “Beelzebub’s Survey of the Process of the Periodic Reciprocal Destruction of Men”, opens with a passionate query from Hassein, who in trying to understand why humans, with their long history on the planet, and the fact that they have developed many systems of knowledge, still resort to wars: “Don’t they really ever see that these processes of theirs are the most terrible of all the horrors which can possibly exist in the whole of the Universe and don’t they ever ponder on this matter, so that they might become aware of this horror, and find a means of eradicating it?” In response to this question, Beelzebub then launches into a long discussion about the many attempts and agreements made by groups and leaders in various societies, throughout history, to investigate this process and to find ways to eradicate it – referring to the League of Nations as one of the most recent ones. He says that such groups, though usually starting with good intentions, have always tended to disintegrate into increasing divisiveness, as various leaders and groups participating are taken over by egotism and greed, and end up instigating more war and destruction in order to profit from it for themselves and their group.
Beelzebub then discusses some groups of learned beings in ancient times in the regions of Kurdistan and Turkestan, who assembled a conference, which included representatives from six or seven Asiatic and Mediterranean religions and cultures, to address this problem of war. A “learned being” of that time had discovered and then taught, that there appeared to be some kind of natural planetary process, some kind of balancing process on a planetary scale, that constantly alternated periods of overpopulation of animals and humans, with periods of their destruction, regardless of what individuals wanted to do. Wars were totally unconscious, unintentional mass events, over which humans had no control. A key element in this situation was the human practice of dominating nature, that at times involved massive animal sacrifice, (and, one might add, human sacrifice, especially in ancient Meso-America). And Nature had to constantly adapt herself to these destructive practices of humans. This conference also eventually broke up, as the participants proved incapable of dealing with this terrible trap that they had discerned. And whereas the motto of the original peace-seeking society was “Earth free for All”, after the break-up into different factions, the leading motto of some groups became “Earth only for Men”. This is an interesting adumbration of the deep ecology critique of the Judaeo-Christian domination of nature (“thou shalt have dominion over the beasts”).
The teachings of the “Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash”, a “Messenger sent from Above” during the Sumero-Babylonian civilization, aimed toward enhancing the development of objective consciousness and conscience in humans, by cultivating the “sacred being-functions” of faith, hope and love. Since in most humans these functions had already degenerated and were present only in mechanical and emotional forms, only conscious faith, hope and love would suffice, and these were to be developed through “conscious labor and intentional suffering”. (This was also the guiding precept of the “work” that Gurdjieff taught at the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man). The human condition, in which the development of objective consciousness was blocked, and the sacred being-functions of conscious faith, hope and love had atrophied, was due to the consequences of the “accursed organ kundabuffer”. This organ, according to Beelzebub-Gurdjieff, had been implanted in human beings at the base of the spine, a very long time ago, by a group of “Very High, Very Sacred” angelic scientists, acting on instructions “from Above”. Although the organ kundabuffer was subsequently removed, by other scientist angels, its operation had become crystallized and passed on genetically through the generations, to the point where it became “second nature” in humans.
The maleficent residual consequences of this kundabuffer organ were that the psyche of humans is dominated by egotism, conceit, vanity, selfishness and the like, making it extremely difficult for them to develop objective consciousness and conscience, as well as making humans susceptible to being manipulated and exploited by leaders, warmongers and ideologues for self-serving and profiteering motives. Although Beelzebub-Gurdjieff clearly considers the action and residual consequences of this implanted organ an unmitigated disaster for humans, he does report the results of his investigations and “conversations” with high angelic and archangelic beings as to the origins and intentions behind this genetic implant. Its origin had to do with certain cosmic planetary processes.
It appears that in very ancient times, long before the existence of the continent and civilization of Atlantis, there was a collision of a comet with planet Earth, causing the Moon (and another, undetected fragment) to split off into a satellite orbit. This collision, Beelzebub avers, was due to “miscalculation” on the part of archangelic planetary engineers, monitoring the intersecting orbits of cosmic bodies. It led to a crisis, because in accord with the basic cosmic laws of reciprocal maintenance, certain kinds of radiations and vibrational energies had to be produced on Earth, in order to keep the Moon in a regular orbit around the Earth. These kinds of energies could be produced by life, including human life, either consciously and qualitatively (as was done in certain temples in Atlantis) or unconsciously and quantitatively, through massive die-offs of human and animal populations (as has occurred in various planet-wide catastrophes, including floods, earthquakes, plagues and wars). This perspective was the basis of Gurdjieff’s original, provocative formulation in various talks and writings, that ordinary humans, with undeveloped consciousness, were machines for the transformation of substances that provided “food for the Moon”.
At the time of the original collision and the resulting threat to the maintenance of cosmic harmony in our planetary neighborhood, “a Most High Commission consisting of Angels and Archangels, specialists in the work of World Creation and World Maintenance,” had “come down” from the Central Sun, and decided that this special organ kundabuffer needed to be installed in human beings. This organ was designed to prevent humans from developing objective consciousness, because if they did they would see the “terror of their situation”, namely that the prime purpose of their existence was “to maintain a detached fragment of the planet, and being convinced of their slavery to circumstances utterly foreign to them, they would be unwilling to continue their existence and would destroy themselves.” So the kundabuffer that was installed had two functions: one, to cause human beings to “see reality upside down”, and two, to engender in them sensations of pleasure and enjoyment. After the immediate planetary crisis had passed , a further delegation of archangelic engineers and scientists caused the implant to be removed, but its consequences, as mentioned above, became crystallized and have remained part of human genetic inheritance ever since.
Beelzebub-Gurdjieff does not further explain how exactly the functioning of the organ kundabuffer, originally designed to prevent a kind of suicidal traumatic reaction on the part of humans, then led to the maleficent congenital features we have been laboring under ever since. One could think of the connection this way: “seeing reality upside-down” refers to a kind of perceptual inversion, causing humans to fixate only on the physical plane as real, and ignore the greater realities accessible to objective consciousness, where they would have clearly seen their enslaved condition , i.e. the “terror of their situation.” Furthermore, the enhanced organ capacities for pleasure and enjoyment perhaps provided a kind of tranquilizing balm, which then manifested as addictive overdevelopment of craving that we know as egotism, vanity, conceit, self-importance, greed and the like. Although the original planetary collision crisis which led to the implantation of this perceptual block has long passed, the need for human life on Earth to contribute certain energies for harmonious cosmic functioning remains – and if not provided by the intentional conscious work of humans, these energies are generated automatically by massive population increases and consequent massive die-offs due to natural catastrophes and war.
Gurdjieff, speaking as the space-travelling narrator Beelzebub, as well as quoting his spiritual ancestor the “Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash”, provides two separate rather sobering and mysterious answers to the question of whether war can be eradicated and humans can be saved. At the end of the long chapter on “the processes of periodic reciprocal destruction”, Beelzebub concludes that “if this property of terrestrial beings is to disappear from that unfortunate planet, then it will be with Time alone, thanks either to the guidance of a certain Being with very high Reason or to certain cosmic events.”
At the very end of Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson, after 1200 pages of these extraordinary ruminations and explications, Hassein asks his teacher-grandfather again to state, in a summary way, from “your long-centuried impartial observations and studies of the psyche of the three-centered beings arising on the planet Earth… whether it is still possible by some means or other to save them and to direct them into the becoming path?” Beelzebub then, with great emphasis, replies: “The sole means now for the saving of the beings of the planet Earth would be to implant again into their presences a new organ, an organ like kundabuffer, but this time of such properties that everyone of these unfortunates during the process of existence should constantly sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests.”
“Only such a sensation and such a cognizance”, he continues, “can now destroy the egotism completely crystallized in them that has swallowed the whole of their Essence and also that tendency to hate others which flows from it – the tendency, namely, which engenders all those mutual relationships existing there, which serve as the chief cause of all their abnormalities unbecoming to three-brained beings and maleficent for them themselves and for the whole of the Universe”.
These two answers reflect a conviction that the underlying causes of war are cosmic-planetary in nature, of which humans are more or less completely unconscious, and over which they have very little or no control. It is possible, but difficult, for individuals to undergo transformations of their psyche, through “conscious labor and intentional suffering”, and, one might add, through psychospiritual yogic and mystical practices, by which they can awaken to their spiritual essence and liberate themselves from the thralldom of unconsciousness. In my own comparative studies of transformative experiences, described in the book The Unfolding Self (Metzner, 1998), I found that the catalyst for the most profound life-changing and worldview-changing turning-points was coming close to confronting one’s own mortality, either through near-death experiences (NDEs), or through the death of a loved one. The death-rebirth Mystery ritual celebrations of ancient times, as well as certain shamanic initiations may have provided this kind of awakening. Psychedelic experiences can provide this kind of insight and awakening, given the appropriate preparation and guidance.
While the individual awakening of consciousness is possible and is certainly our primary responsibility, the transformation of collective consciousness from the bondage created by unconscious cravings and hatreds, in a situation of rapidly deteriorating planetary environments and the slow-motion collapse of civilization, would seem to be a highly improbable, if not totally impossible challenge. It is in this sense that I would understand Gurdjieff-Beelzebub’s seemingly bizarre and improbable prescription.
* * *
There are many themes in this story reminiscent of various Gnostic teachings, according to which Earth has been subject to mistakes and miscalculations on the part of a creator demiurge, and human incarnation is a kind of dungeon or exile. Gurdjieff’s story also has parallels in Sumerian mythology, as interpreted by Sitchin, not surprising in that Gurdjieff himself implicitly refers to his spiritual ancestry in the Sumero-Babylonian civilization. The most striking parallel is in the teachings that humans have been intentionally and deliberately kept in a subservient, slave-like condition by their superiors, to provide certain kinds of energies (whether for mining work or planetary maintenance). The biggest difference though is that Sitchin’s reading of the activities of the Annunaki and their Mesopotamian human underlings is purely concerned with the material level – the “gods” are nothing but long-lived ETs flying around in space-ships. Gurdjieff’s cosmology, on the other hand, reflects the multidimensional nature of cosmic reality and human consciousness, and the “descent” of divine beings and human interactions with them are as much interdimensional as interplanetary events. Other writers on the role of extra-terrestrial interventions in human history and civilization, including William Bramley and Arthur David Horn, have also supposed that deliberate conditioning processes on the part of dominator elites have kept the human workers and slaves unconscious of their inherent but undeveloped spiritual essence and potential autonomy.
Of great interest for me personally, in the light of my research in the psychological aspects of the planetary ecological crisis, is the prescient foreshadowing in this story, of the manner in which the destructive industrial activities of humans, in the reckless pursuit of power and profit, leads to increasingly disastrous consequences for the natural balance of the Gaian biosphere. Indigenous elders, such as the Hopis in the American Southwest and many others, have been warning us in their prophecies for a long time that the balancing adaptations of Nature to the seemingly unconscious , yet also deliberate destructive and exploitative behavior of humans are manifesting, and will be manifesting, in potentially near-total collapse of our planetary civilization.
A distinctive feature of Gurdjieff’s reading of the hidden historic and pre-historic antecedents of war, is that it goes deeper than the simplistic dualisms of good versus evil, or light versus dark forces, pervasive throughout ancient religious mythology and occult histories, as well as much of the UFO/ET literature of modern times. In Gurdjieff’s view, as in Buddhism, the wars and destructiveness, the domination and victimization behaviors of human beings, are the result of unconscious psychic factors in them that block awareness of their spiritual essence, or as the Buddhist say, their inherent “Buddha nature”. And those root unconscious blocking factors were not installed by dominator spirits seeking to enslave us (although such beings may exist at some level), but rather they were the unintended malignant consequences of measures that were taken, by very high supra-dimensional cosmic beings, to stabilize orbital planetary perturbations and ameliorate the potential shock to humans when they would become aware of the dangerous conditions of existence intrinsic to living on planet Earth.
Since Gurdjieff was in the habit of concealing nuggets of information in his neologisms, various readers of his books have speculated on the derivation of the word kundabuffer. One obvious possibility, suggested also by the location of the organ at the base of the spine, is that it refers to a buffer of kundalini energy, which lies coiled at the root chakra at the base of the spine. According to traditional Indian yoga teachings, when the kundalini energy is awakened and connects with the crown chakra, a state of cosmic consciousness can be attained. Gurdjieff himself, in his earlier teachings as recorded by Ouspensky, states however that the kundalini process is completely misunderstood, and in modern times is associated with nothing but fantasy and imagination.
For me, this speculative etymology of the meaning of kundabuffer relates to a somewhat different reading of mankind’s esoteric antecedents that I heard from my teacher of Agni Yoga, an American clairvoyant healer-teacher named Russell Schofield, who died in 1984. Though it was not the main focus of his teaching, which was healing through body-centered light-fire energy work, Schofield did at times make some statements derived from his reading of the akashic record – during a time when he and I were collaborating on an unfinished and unpublished writing project. The akashic record is considered to be the knowledge repository of all past events, at every level of all dimensions, on all planets and everywhere in the Universe. As I have come to understand it, at a certain level of psychospiritual advancement these records can be selectively accessed, when one’s spiritual purpose calls for bringing through that knowledge (as for example, Edgar Cayce who, while in a sleep-state, accessed and recorded knowledge of ancient civilizations like Egypt and Atlantis, in the context of providing healing information for people who consulted him). Since there is no way known to me to independently verify statements derived from such a source, I do not present these views, and those of Gurdjieff, as true, in the conventional sense, but rather as offering “food for thought” and perspectives that can lead to further questioning and searching.
Schofield related that a block or seal was implanted on the generative energy-center by the high-level cosmic light-beings and masters who are guiding human evolution, after the collapse of the continent of Atlantis, because of the misuse of that energy by certain leaders of that civilization. The serpentine generative energy, also called kundalini, whose source is at the root-center, in ordinary human life generates the biological life-force for building cells and maintaining the vitality of the organism (one band of this energy spectrum providing the energy of procreative sex). This energy was used by those Atlantean initiates who were on a dark power path, to create living human-animal hybrids as worker-slaves (as Edgar Cayce had also reported), as well as insects and microbes as biological weaponry for their domination agendas. As a result of this misuse of the generative energy, and to prevent it from recurring, the possibility of actually creating living biological forms was sealed off for humans, and the expression of creative power limited to the mental level only. We can create systems of ideas, designs and images, and give them form in buildings, paintings, music, literature, sculpture, music and all the other forms of art and invention, — but not living matter. The process of implantation of this seal in successive human generations presumably took some time, and involved also the collaboration of advanced human initiates, including the Hebrew King Solomon. The esoteric sigil design known as Solomon’s Seal is said to be an emblem of his participation in this process. (Solomon’s involvement in the kundabuffer story is also mentioned by Gurdjieff, but with a different twist).
To summarize, I have presented two variants of an esoteric teaching regarding an implant in the human energy system that has functioned, and still functions, as a block on the evolution of higher consciousness and a consequent inability to transcend destructive and divisive tendencies inherent in the human condition. In one version, the block was implanted to prevent and forestall further misuse of those higher-frequency energies for power and domination agendas. In the other version, the block was implanted for temporary reasons of cosmic necessity and human welfare, but had the unintended negative consequences of permanently fixating humans into unconsciousness.
Unconsciousness (avidya) or forgetfulness, combined with cravings and hatreds, is the basic human condition of both dominators and slaves, predators and prey, soldiers and traders, the powerful and the poor. That is the curse and the poison of human existence on planet Earth. However, teachers and teachings have appeared, and continue to appear, to show the pathways to remembrance and liberation. New generations of children continue to be born, their innocence intact, into fortunate circumstances of family and community, where the awareness of their spiritual essence can be nurtured and supported. That is the mercy and the blessing, and the precious opportunity of human life.
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