By Swami Satchidanand
Gurdjieff died in 1949, about the same year as Ramana Maharshi.
Gurdjieff essentially synthesized ancient esoteric teachings and made them approachable and applicable to the lives of rational Western individuals. His concepts and methods are still seminal in the spiritual work of the west.
A seeker will find in his teachings an immeasurable treasure, the essence of so many other teachings, both spiritual and psychological, on the inner life.
This Gurdjieffian extraordinary system of thought, which ranges from the most intimate, psychological insights to a grandiose cosmology linking the individual with the universe, is a synthesis of practices and teachings known as The Fourth Way.
Then there is the man himself. Gurdjieff was the archetypal Master, beaming with extraordinary psychic powers developed in secret schools and monasteries somewhere between the Caucasus and the Himalayas; brutal soul-shattering insights; marvelous humor which was both ribald in the extreme and breathtakingly penetrating.
Gurdjieff also had a capacity for love that was matched only by his ability to express rage. He was a master hypnotist, a master actor, a master healer.
Those who encountered him often had opposite ideas of who he was, usually as a result of his own intentional behavior.
Like many Masters, Gurdjieff sometimes gave the impression of being a charlatan or mad to arrogant egotistic individuals, while to others he was the most enlightened man they would ever encounter.
His radiant energy, the Buddhafield of the Master, always acted on people's negative energies to send people with a lot of it away, and attracted people with a lot of good, positive Soul energy.
In such a way, as with all Masters, Gurdjieff consciously separated the evil weeds from the good grain!
This powerful Master Gurdjieff, with eyes that pierced to the depths of the soul was also an old man whose pockets were full of candy for the children.
He worked by many methods, to bypass the mind he worked with dance, Gurdjieff said, "I am a simple teacher of dance". Devi Dhyani has given performances of "The Sacred Dances of Gurdjieff" in order to radiate her Buddhafield more strongly, to throw out the bad and energise the good.
And when he explained the theory of the evolution of substances like hydrogens, carbons and oxygens in Ouspensky's book, "The Fourth Way", Gurdjieff was just tricking him, taking a very long winded intellectual theory to say to intellectual Ouspensky and to anyone else reading it, to bypass the mind, "You need the radiation of a Master to quicken your evolution!"
His major concepts were Buffers or Energy Blockages, like the organ Kundabuffer, Mechanical people, Sub – Personalities and the Soul Personality or Essence which I have described in the first article on Gurdjieff
Yet in his third book of the trilogy, Beelebub's Tales to his Grandson, he talked about two more interlinked concepts.. Reciprocal Maintenance is the Taoist Macrocosmic Orbit Meditation and The Affirming and Denying Influences on man.
Here is a quote, "the Most High and Most Sacred Individuals to take the necessary measures to insure the formation on the Earth of what is called the sacred 'askokin,' so that this sacred cosmic substance, indispensable for the maintenance of the Universe, might issue continuously from your planet.
"His Conformity also explained that this cosmic substance, the sacred 'askokin,' exists throughout the Universe, generally blended with the sacred substances 'abrustdonis' and 'helkdonis,' and therefore, in order to have the degree of vivifyingness required for such maintenance, the sacred substance 'askokin' must first be freed from the other two substances.
"To tell the truth, my boy, I did not understand at once all that he told me, it all became clear to me only later when, during my studies of the fundamental cosmic laws, I learned that these sacred substances 'abrustdonis' and 'helkdonis' are precisely those substances which enter into the formation and perfecting of the higher being-bodies of the three-brained beings—that is, the 'kesdjan body' and the 'body of the soul'—and that the separation of the sacred 'askokin' from the two other substances proceeds when beings, on whatever planet they may be, transmute these sacred substances in themselves for the forming and perfecting of their higher bodies, by means of conscious labor and intentional suffering.
"And when I became interested in these favorites of yours and began to observe and study their strange psyche, I finally understood why and to what ends Great Nature herself and the Most High and Most Saintly Individuals are always patiently adapting themselves to all things In this connection, the following personal opinion was formed in me.
"If only these favorites of yours would seriously ponder all this and serve Nature honestly in this respect, their being-self-perfecting might then proceed automatically, even with-
out the participation of their consciousness, and in any case, the poor Nature of this ill-fated planet would not have to strain so hard to adapt herself to remain within the common-cosmic harmony.
"But to the misfortune of everything existing in the Megalocosmos, there is no honesty in your favorites in fulfilling their duties, not even toward that Nature to whom, in truth, they owe their very existence.
"As regards the absence of honesty in your favorites in the fulfillment of their duty toward Nature, I have just remembered a very wise saying of our incomparable teacher Mullah Nasr Eddin, the hidden meaning of which is borne out in the present case.
" 'Plague and cholera are in any event nobler than human honesty, for people with a conscience can at least live at peace with them. '
"And so, my dear Hassein, when it became clear that there had entirely disappeared from the psyche of your favorites the instinctive need for conscious labor and intentional suffering in order to take in and transmute in themselves the sacred substances abrustdonis and helkdonis—thus releasing the sacred askokin for the maintenance of the Universe—Great Nature was constrained to adapt herself and to extract this sacred substance by other means, one of them being precisely that periodic terrifying process of reciprocal destruction.
"Here, for a correct valuation of your contemporary favorites, it will be opportune to remind you that after the organ kundabuffer had been removed from the three-brained beings of your planet, the first generations of their descendants very soon learned that a certain substance had to be transformed through them and that their assistance in this transformation was one of their chief being-duties.
"Do you remember, I already told you that the three-brained beings of the continent of Atlantis even considered this being-duty as sacred and called it 'amarloos,' which in their language meant 'help for the Universe. '
The Central Spiritual sun sends, shines energy, Affirming Influences, to earth in different quantities at different times dependent upon astrology.
Human beings and all nature have been created to transmute those different quantities of energy through a Reciprocal Maintenance meditation and send back Denying Influences to the central spiritual sun.
Reciprocal Maintenance Meditation also evolves humanity, creating the higher being bodies of the soul and the body Kesdjan, and allows a greater quantity and quality of energy to be transmuted.
If Reciprocal Maintenance does not occur then,
"It was also fully proved in the theory of Atarnakh that at certain periods depending on astrology, there must infallibly proceed on earth such a definite quantity of deaths as in their totality will yield vibrations of a definite degree of power."
The energy from these deaths, unless provided by meditation, are provided by natural causes like Tsunamis, the sacrifice of animals, or the killing of human beings through war, or as Gurdjieff calls it, periods of Reciprocal Destruction.
Gurdjieff was saying that the death or sacrifice of animals was unaesthetic. Part of Beelzebubs Tales to his Grandson was how he came down to the planet several times over thousands of years and in that time he prevented the previous practices of animal and human sacrifice, first created in Babylonian times.
Death by war or natural disasters or sacrifice is an abomination.
Without the completion of the process of Reciprocal Maintenance Meditation, lives would grow shorter and people would forget their previous lifetimes in their next rebirth. In a way, completion of the Reciprocal Maintenance Meditation leads to Immortality!
Thus the solution to the problem of war and also to evolution is the advanced meditation of Reciprocal Maintenance resulting in a process of being-duty - opening the heart, conscious labor and intentional suffering for the benefit of others.
Thus we learn and practice the initiations of Energy Enhancement - Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation, Samadhi, Samyama, the Kundalini Kriyas, Chinese Alchemical Taoism and the Micro and Macrocosmic Orbits, VITRIOL and The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, The Grounding of Negative Energies, Reciprocal Maintenance, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Raja Yoga and the Eighteen Classical Yogas of the Bhagavad Gita.