Friday, October 21, 2016

Meetings With Remarkable Men

Gurdjieff’s second book is called Meetings with Remarkable Men. By his own account its purpose is “To acquaint the reader with the material required for a new creation and to prove the soundness and good quality of it.” All and Everything – Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, G. I. Gurdjieff

For readers who are unfamiliar with Gurdjieff, his ideas I will try to explain. Sometimes in order to build something better it is necessary to clear away that which is inferior. Gurdjieff’s first book,  All and Everything – Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, was dedicated to that aim, “To destroy, mercilessly, without any compromises whatsoever, in the mentation and feelings of the reader, the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the world.” – ibid.

In other words, with regard to the involution of consciousness it could be observed that when a person begins to question the reality formed in his mind about himself and his world—a reality constructed from the half-truths and untruths of modern education, philosophy, and religion—and begins to intuit that the sum total of his knowledge and understanding, a knowledge and understanding that gets added to day by day by the false-thinking of the mind of man, is no more reliable than a house of cards that assuredly will tumble from the slightest touch of real objective truth; then that person begins to require and seek a new material derived from a more objective truth upon which he can create a new and more real understanding of himself and the world in which he finds himself. The book, Meetings with Remarkable Men, was intended to supply such new material.

But Gurdjieff knew that the thinking function of mind, what he called the “mentation” could only go so far in the understanding and assimilation of objective truth and that teachings and discourses could not in themselves trans-substantiate in one’s being the new material he wished to convey. In other words, certain forms were required to transmit this new material, like the wine glass that brings the wine to the lips, and that stories and images were able to bypass, under certain circumstances and the readiness of the listener, the thinking function of mind and thereby touch the higher feeling function of mind—that which is often called the heart.

The historic and biographical accuracy of Meetings with Remarkable Men has been discussed and debated, but it should be realized that this accuracy, or the lack of it, is itself a matter for the thinking section of the mind only, the very section of mind that Gurdjieff hoped to bypass. Of course, without the thinking section mind, normal awareness would also be bypassed, in other words, one might not be aware that anything new had been heard—had gotten in—had gotten trans-substantiated—in his being. But this is not a liability; Gurdjieff did not want his ideas to become the fodder of his student’s egos. Meher Baba put it so gracefully when He said, “The real gift is given by one who does not realize he is giving and is received by one who does not realize he has received.”

So we read the stories and descriptions in Meetings with Remarkable Men, and perhaps we feel something or perhaps we don’t, and yet we wonder, we hope, we wish, that perhaps a seed has been planted and taken root, that will eventually flower, and the “soundness and good quality” of it will be obvious and unquestionable to ourselves and all and every sincere seeker of truth.

The first chapter of Meetings with Remarkable Men is dedicated to his father of whom Gurdjieff said; “This tendency of his nature, apparently acquired by him when still a child, I would define thus: ‘an instinctive aversion to deriving personal advantage for himself from the naïveté and bad luck of others.’” ibid. page 48

He also said, “In spite of the fact that he often happened to find himself in the midst of events beyond the control of man and resulting in all sorts of calamities, and in spite of almost always encountering dirty manifestations from the people around him—manifestations recalling those of jackals—he did not lose heart, never identified himself with anything, and remained inwardly free and always himself.” – ibid.

 This statement, “never identified himself with anything, and remained inwardly free and always himself,” reminds me of something that Eruch Jessawala said to a younger Baba lover many years ago; he said, “Do you know the difference between you and me? You 100% believe that you are you, but there is one little part of me that knows I am not Eruch.”


It is interesting to me that Gurdjieff, like so many of those perfected in consciousness, had a very unfavorable opinion of what passes for the education of children and young adults. In a talk given by Upasani Maharaj in 1923 He told those present;

Your present education does not lead to happiness. What you think is happiness is not happiness at all; it is the apparently pleasing prelude to the terrible on-coming pain. In short, your whole present mode of behavior and your present education are and lead to nothing else but all around suffering and pain.

“The present education is unfit for the children. If they are not taught in these schools, they will automatically begin to learn and understand real knowledge that leads to real happiness. The whole world is there to teach them and for them to learn. You yourself find fault with the present educators and yet you put your children in the schools run by them!” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume II Part A, page 65

A scathing indictment no doubt, and one we could easily shrug off as unfair or even untrue, if we were not to consider that the source of the statement is a God Realized Perfect Master, one who is the repository of Infinite Knowledge, Infinite Power, and Infinite Bliss.  

It is not that Perfect Masters are against happiness, Upasani Maharaj said as much in his statement, but Perfect Masters know that on the pendulum of pleasure and pain, pleasure is not happiness. They also know, and this is sometimes difficult to understand, that even while suffering, one can be happy.

Masters are not against suffering either, if that suffering leads to real happiness. But as Gurdjieff often pointed out, there is mechanical and unnecessary suffering and there is intentional suffering—suffering that lead to real happiness, suffering that leads to perfect consciousness, suffering that leads to God. In his book, All and Everything – Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, he used the term, Being Partkdolg Duty, which he explained is the ability to labor consciously and suffer intentionally in order to help bear the burden of our Common Father Creator.

Many times Meher Baba made the same distinction by saying that there are two kinds of tears, warm tears that are shed over the frustration of one’s desires and cool tears that are shed from a longing for God.

So, we began with Gurdjieff’s statement regarding the purpose of his book, Meetings With Remarkable Men, ““To acquaint the reader with the material required for a new creation and to prove the soundness and good quality of it,” All and Everything – Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, G. I. Gurdjieff  and recall that the first remarkable man he spoke about was his father, a man who “never identified himself with anything, and remained inwardly free and always himself.”

Which brings us to Gurdjieff’s second remarkable man, his first tutor, a man he called Father Borsh. Father Borsh, Gurdjieff said, “was a man distinguished by the depth and breadth of his knowledge and his life and views were quite different from the people around him.” Meetings with Remarkable Men, page 51

An educator with worldly responsibilities, he conscientiously fulfilled his obligations, but “gave all his spare time to science, especially to astronomy and chemistry; and sometimes, for a rest, he worked on music, playing the violin or composing sacred canticles, some of which came to be very well known in Russia.” Ibid, page 52

And so here was a man who appeared to be in the world but not of the world—a man who like Gurdjieff’s father, kept some kind of awareness back from worldly life, a man like Gurdjieff’s father, who remained inwardly free and always himself.

On the subject of real education, Gurdjieff quotes Father Borsh’s ten requirements for the education of a child:

“Belief in receiving punishment for disobedience.
Hope of receiving reward only for merit.
Love of God—but indifference to the saints.
Remorse of consciousness for the ill-treatment of animals.
Fear of grieving parents and teachers.
Fearless towards devils, snakes, and mice.
Joy in being content merely with what one has.
Sorrow at the loss of the goodwill of others.
Patient endurance of pain and hunger.
The striving early to earn one’s bread.” – Ibid. page 57

I can only imagine a world whose children grow into adulthood with the awareness of these values— indeed what a different world it would be.

There is a statement I heard many years ago; “There but for the grace of God go I.” I think of that statement often when I hear people criticize others. I ask myself, if I grew up in the same place as the one being criticized, under the same influences and given the same situations, would I act any differently than them?

It is common knowledge that modern man is far more suggestible than he believes he is and cares to admit. Observing this truth, it brings up the question; is there anything that can be transubstantiated in a human being that can remain true, like the needle of a compass that always finds north, no matter if that compass is in the East or the West; in the desert or the plains, or mountains; in a temple, or a mosque, or brothel?

The third remarkable man that Gurdjieff speaks about is an early teacher of his named Bogachevsky, or Father Evlissi. It was at his house, seated around a samovar, that certain conversations “about anything and everything” between Bogachevsky and his learned friends —conversations that Gurdjieff was privy to—that awakened in him “an ever-continuing interest in abstract questions.”

Gurdjieff was also influenced by his teacher’s remarkable views regarding conscience and morality. These views lay at the heart of my earlier question; is there something that can be acquired that would be impervious and remain unaffected by such influences as one’s education, culture, and upbringing? Father Evlissi said that there was and he called it objective morality.

Objective morality, as opposed to subjective morality, comes from within oneself, from conscience. Conscience is like the moon that reflects the sun of consciousness. Perhaps it is a kind of moral wisdom that gets distilled over many lifetimes, or perhaps it is something we are born with, something that is a part of human consciousness, like the divine part of the Holy Ghost or the divine atma of the Jivatma.

However it gets there, I believe that it takes something to unlock it in any given lifetime, some right conditions for it to flower and become the objective moral compass that can guide one’s life, like the education earlier spoken of by Upasani Maharaj and Dean Borsch.

Father Evlissi taught the young Gurdjieff that; “Subjective morality is a relative conception, and if you are filled with relative conceptions, then when you grow up you will always and everywhere act and judge other people according to the conventional views and notions you have acquired. You must learn not what people round you consider good or bad, but to act in life as your conscience bids you. An untrammeled conscience will always know more than all the books and teachers put together.” Meetings with Remarkable Men, pages 76-77

How would an individual with an untrammeled objective conscience appear to act to others?  Would that individual not embody what Gurdjieff’s father described as “an instinctive aversion to deriving personal advantage for himself from the naïveté and bad luck of others?” Would that individual be someone “who never identified himself with anything, and remained inwardly free and always himself?”

Gurdjieff never talked much about the worlds beyond the Gross World—the Subtle World and the Mental World—nor did he talk much about the higher planes of consciousness, though he did  teach that there are seven different  levels of human consciousness which he named man number one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. He said that a human being is born into one of the first three categories as physical man, emotional man, or mental man, respectively. He said that everyone has all three of those qualities in different degrees, but in man number one, two, and three, one quality is always prominent. He said that with the right work on oneself those three sides of a man can be balanced and with that balance the level of man number four is reached.

Man number four could be said to possess hawa. Meher Baba said that one with hawa is permanently connected to the spiritual path, meaning the higher planes of consciousness, or in Gurdjieff’s terminology, the consciousness of man number five and six. Man number seven is a perfect man; he has achieved all that can be achieved; man number seven is what Meher Baba calls God-Realized. Meher Baba said, though near to the path and permanently connected to it, man number four is not on the path, meaning that he, or she, does not experience the Subtle and Mental Worlds, or the higher planes of consciousness that run through these worlds.

But Gurdjieff left these questions and descriptions of higher consciousness and the planes and worlds beyond the Gross World to wait until one could experience them for oneself because, as Kabir said, “Until you experience it, it is not true.” Also too, Gurdjieff was well aware that higher and ultimate consciousness is a given and like a bubble released under water, it nature is to rise, and it will rise, provided that it does not get caught along the way. His work was about how to not get the bubble caught.

For the bubble, the water is essential, but attachments to the water and the things of the water create hindrance. Water can be understood here as being creation.  So Gurdjieff centered his work and teachings on achieving the status of man number four, because without balance, without hawa, there is no possibility of development beyond the consciousness of the Gross World.

Gurdjieff was not alone in focusing his work on achieving a right balance, a right orientation, to life in the Gross World; the Perfect Masters do so as well. All of the yogas—Bhakti, Karma, Raj, etc. as well as all religions and many of the so called spiritual teachings, really aim at freeing oneself from attachment to life in order to experience the higher and then ultimate consciousness, in other words their aim is to be in the world, but not of it—a necessary prerequisite to the real goal of God Realization or man number seven.

One of the things I have always found unusual about Gurdjieff was his interest in low level psychic powers and experiences. I think that as a boy the possible existence of these powers and experiences suggested to him the possibility of something beyond the world as he knew it and was taught about it. The subject opened something in him about possibilities—touched something in him that was more real than life as he experienced it. I also think that he recognized the usefulness of such questions in his work with others, however he never seemed to endorse these experiences and powers as the be all and end all of one’s work on oneself—as did other like Aleister Crowley.

Sarkis Pogossian was the next remarkable man Gurdjieff wrote about. Closer in age to him, the two were more like friends than either Dean Borsch or Bogachevsky. It was with Pogossian that Gurdjieff attempted to further his understanding of supernatural phenomena. They talked and sometimes travelled together to investigate claims of such phenomena. I believe it was Pogossian’s serious interest in such matters and an “original feature of his general psyche” that made him remarkable to Gurdjieff.  

“I love work and have set myself the task of being able, through persistence, to accustom my whole nature to love it and not my reason alone. Further, I am really convinced that in the world no conscious work is ever wasted.”  Sarkis Pogossian, Meetings with Remarkable Men, page 107

In 1979 I was talking to Adi K. Irani, a close disciple of Avatar Meher Baba, and Gurdjieff’s name came up in the conversation. Adi asked me, “What was Gurdjieff’s work?” In response I said that if one were to ask followers of Meher Baba the same question one would hear as many different answers as there were people asked and it would be the same with followers of Gurdjieff, but for me, I said,” I will answer your question in this way. Gurdjieff spoke about the goal of his work to create in his followers the capacity for Being Partkdolg Duty—or the ability to labor consciously and suffer intentionally in order to help bear the suffering of our Common Father Creator.”

Adi K. Irani responded by saying, “I like this man Gurdjieff, his work was the work of self-effacement.”


Just as Pogossian had a very particular notion about physical work, so Yelov had a very original view of mental work. He once said: ‘It’s all the same. Our thoughts work day and night. Instead of allowing them to think about caps of invisibility or the riches of Aladdin, rather let them be occupied with something useful.” Meetings with Remarkable Men, page 117

Gurdjieff spoke often about sleep, that man number one, two, and three are asleep. It’s not a new idea; we find it over and over again in such places as the New Testament:

Luke 9:32
But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.

Luke 22:46
And said unto them, Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

John 11:13
Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

Acts 13:36
For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption.

Acts 20:9
And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.

Romans 13:11
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

1 Corinthians 11:30
For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

1 Corinthians 15:51
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

1 Thessalonians 4:14
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

1 Thessalonians 5:6
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
  Art and the Bible © 2005 – 2016

We all are familiar with the states of sleep, dream, and awake in life, but to the Masters, those few who experience the real awake state, and to Gurdjieff who was convinced of its reality, the awake state of normal human consciousness is a dream state —the dream state of the mind.

Gurdjieff said that the ‘I’ that man number one , two, and three take for granted, the ‘I’ of “I do, I am, I see, etc.” is not an ‘I’ at all, but a collection of ‘I’s.  He said, borrowing a word from the New Testament, that man is a legion of different ‘I’s. These different ‘I’s often do not know each other, are often in conflict with each other, and are not the real ‘I’ at all. He said that these different ‘I’s are like different fares in a cab, each with his own different agenda and destination.

But to progress in consciousness, to become man number 4-7, these different ‘I’s have to be controlled and made to serve a common aim. An ‘I’, or group of ‘I’s, must be chosen and given authority over all the other ‘I’s. This I’ or group of ‘I’s, is called a Deputy Steward. When the Deputy Steward, takes control of all the ‘I’s, and begins to motivate all of the ‘I’s according to a specific aim, or wish, or idée fixe, then that man has achieved the state of man number 4, and, for him, exists possibilities not available to man number 1-3.

Man number 4 is still asleep and dreaming, but unlike man number 1-3, he begins to experience his sleep and to glimpse another dream, the divine dream of becoming God, one with the Self, that man number 5-6 dream, and man number 7 awakens into, i.e. the Real Awake State, the State of Sat Chit Ananda—Infinite Knowledge, Infinite Power, and Infinite Bliss.

There is the body, the mind, and the Self. Man number 1-3 is mostly only aware of his body. He monitors the senses and their sensations with his mind which goes on thinking and thinking about the body, addicted to it and its sensations, and intoxicated with its sensual imaginations.  This state which is totally unaware of the Self beyond the mind and in which the mind is invisible to itself except for brief and fleeting awarenesses of its own thoughts is the state that Gurdjieff and the Masters call sleep. There are many different levels of sleep, but in the end, sleep is sleep, and dreams are dreams…

So revisiting Yelov’s assertion; “It’s all the same. Our thoughts work day and night. Instead of allowing them to think about caps of invisibility or the riches of Aladdin, rather let them be occupied with something useful,” it becomes clear that the state of control that Yelov suggests is really very extraordinary because it assumes some possibility of a self that is something other than the body or the mind and ultimately it raises the question of what the mind identifies with. When the mind identifies with the body or even identifies with itself it is in the state of  limited mind thinking falsely, but when the mind becomes infinite and thinks infinitely it becomes identified with the Self and is in the state of the infinite mind thinking infinitely—the state of I am That I am.

In the end, or should I say until the real end, it is all a game of the mind. Behind Yelov’s assertion is the truth that the Self is not the mind and that the mind can learn to control itself by itself if it can only learn to play its own game with awareness. But how can the mind control itself? Gurdjieff once said; “It is like trying to jump over one’s own knees.”

Still, those who have won the game assert that it is possible. If they have won the game, than you and I can win that game too. Gurdjieff said that the way begins with the Deputy Steward who takes charge of the household of ‘I’s and make the  house is ready for the arrival of the real owner.  The real owner is the Self beyond the mind and the body. Consider the words of Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, the great poet and Perfect Master;

The mind is a great and a wondrous thing,
That can bring you to the door of the King;
But then need to be discarded and left at the door—
Like shoes upon entering a holy place.”

After achieving the objective of his first book, to “destroy mercilessly, without any compromises whatsoever, in the mentation and feelings of the reader, the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the world,” All and Everything – Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, G. I. Gurdjieff, Gurdjieff’s second book, Meetings With Remarkable Men, was intended “to acquaint the reader with the material required for a new creation and to prove the soundness and good quality of it.” – Ibid.

 Gurdjieff began with the observation that his father always managed to maintain a degree of non-attachment while responding to whatever circumstances life happened to bestow upon him. He also spoke about how his father seemed to be unable to take advantage of his fellow beings. In the following chapters he indicated what a real education should encompass and the importance of acquiring an objective morality built upon an untrammeled conscience.

In Chapter VII, Gurdjieff  introduces us to a few of his fellow seekers, all of whom shared his growing interest in realities and knowledge that seem to exist just beyond the pale of the average man’s grasp, realities and knowledge that cannot be explained in the usual ways. Gurdjieff later used the word schools to describe places and people who were the repository of these realities and knowledge. Did they exist only in the past, or did they exist in his lifetime—and if they did, how could he find them and gain access to their teachings?

The chapter dedicated to Prince Yuri Lubovedsky, Gurdjieff’s older friend and fellow seeker of truth, is nearly twice the length of any other chapter and contains three important digressions or sub-chapters dedicated to two of the most important people in Gurdjieff’s life as a seeker, Vitvitskaïa, a woman who, he writes, “might serve as an ideal for every woman,” and Soloviev who he called an “honest and ever loyal friend of all friends!”

Prince Lubovedsky lost his wife in childbirth and “seeking an outlet for his grief first became interested in spiritualism, hoping to enter into communion with the soul of his dead beloved wife; and then, without realizing it himself, he became more and more drawn to the study of occult sciences and to search for the meaning of life.” Meetings with Remarkable Men, page 118

It was at that time that the first of two extraordinary meetings took place that was to forever change the trajectory of the prince’s life. And old man, unknown to any of his household, showed up at the prince’s door and was received in the privacy of the prince’s study. “Very soon after the visit the prince left Moscow, and spent almost the rest of his life in Africa, India, Afghanistan, and Persia.” Ibid. page 119

The meaning of life, that phrase that Gurdjieff used, so easy to say, less easy to comprehend, far more difficult to ever realize—what exactly does it mean? The meaning of the word meaning is, “the end, purpose, or significance of something.” –  So the prince was drawn into the question, the very question that Gurdjieff had himself been so consumed by since boyhood; what is the end, the purpose, or the significance of life?   That question can be subsumed by the more personal question, who am I? To answer either is to answer both.

The chapter dedicated to Gurdjieff’s friend the prince reminds me of the structure of 1001 Arabian Nights, with its stories within stories that resemble the intricate geometric designs of Arabic art. In one such amazing story, circumstances contrive to bring Gurdjieff and Soloviev to a hidden monastery where they unexpectedly meet Gurdjieff’s old friend, Prince Lubovedsky. In that meeting, they recounted their journeys and the prince spoke about his disappointments.  

He had continued to search, one search after another, all ended in disappointment. He eventually came to his wits end and gave himself up to what he called oriental idleness. He felt helpless and hopeless and it was only then, by chance, he met another old man who seemed to know more about him then was possible.

They had a long conversation and by its end the prince concluded, with all sincerity, that his life had been a waste and that now it was too late. But, to this, the old man replied, “No, perhaps it not yet too late. If you feel with all of your being that you really are empty, then I advise you to try once more. If you clearly feel and recognize without any doubt that everything for which you have striven until now has been a mirage, and if you agree to one condition, I will try to help you. And this condition is that you consciously die to the life you have led until now, that is to say, break away at once from all the automatically established practices of your external life and go where I shall indicate.” Meetings with Remarkable Men, pages 159 – 160

And so it happened that the prince was led to this very monastery and it was there that he received the teachings and the knowledge he had been so sincerely seeking. Soon after that conversation the prince died and Gurdjieff and Soloviev continued their search.

From a dervish named Bogga-Eddin we learn that the school where Gurdjieff and his companions were taken was a monastery somewhere in the heart of Asia founded by a group—a school—called the Sarmoung Brotherhood. Among students, followers, and researchers of Gurdjieff and his teachings, the general consensus is that the Sarmoung Brotherhood and its monasteries do not exist, and have never existed. This is not to say, however, that they might not exist or have existed under another name.

But Gurdjieff did choose the name Sarmoung and, I believe, he had his reasons. The word Sarmoung and its many iterations, such as Sarman, Surmang, and Sarmouni, etc. suggests such meanings as preserver of hidden teachings and keeper of the honey, a role usually ascribed to esoteric Sufism. Indeed, Gurdjieff said that Bogga-Eddin was a dervish, a name often used for followers of Sufism, especially those followers of the Sufi Master, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī.

Idries Shaw said that a real Sufi can find the kernel of truth in whatever form that contains it, be it the Koran, the Gita, the Bible, or even old sayings and stories that have been passed down through time. In other words, a real Sufi never mistakes the wineglass for the wine within it, yet respects the fact that it is the glass that brings the wine to one’s lips. The relationship is subtle, as Al-Ghazzali put it so beautifully in his Mishkat Al – Anwar, (The Niche for Lights);

“The glass is thin, the wine is clear!
The twain are alike, the matter is perplexed:
For ’tis as though there were wine and no wineglass there,
Or as though there were wineglass and nought of wine!”

Whatever the wineglass, be it Sufi, Buddhist, Vedic, Christian, or other, eventually Gurdjieff found what he sought and drank that wine and spent the rest of his life sharing what he could share with others.

I personally spent ten years in the Gurdjieff Work in the form that it was preserved and transmitted by Madam Jeanne de Salzmann, a close and longtime follower of Gurdjieff.

In 1979 I was sitting in Meher Baba’s tomb shrine in central India. Though I was still in the Work, circumstances had led me to His place of pilgrimage and, over time, I was drawn more and more to Meher Baba who is considered by many to be the most recent Incarnation of the Avatar—the Christ—the Messiah—the Ancient One.

It’s a long story, one that I will save in detail for another time, but the climactic moment came for me one evening when I was sitting in Meher Baba’s tomb shrine before the evening prayers. I had recently been feeling that my spiritual path had come to a crossroads, and fully aware of the mischievous nature of my own mind, I expressed inwardly my concerns to Meher Baba. Mainly I wondered how I could trust my mind to make such an important decision.

At that very moment a man walked quickly into Baba’s tomb, bowed down, and left. What was so incredible for me was that the man bore such a striking resemblance to Gurdjieff. I had been at the Baba’s place of pilgrimage for about a month and I had never seen this man before. To me, this occurrence was, without doubt, Meher Baba’s reply to my concerns; “Your path has led you to Me. Gurdjieff, himself, would come and bow down to my Godhood.”

Incidentally, I later did see the man who had bowed down in Baba’s tomb. His resemblance to Gurdjieff was indeed striking. I asked him who he was and how he came to be there. He told me he was from Europe and had an inclination to travel around India. He said that when the train pulled into the station he just got off—he didn’t know why. The station was the Ahmednagar station—a station far from the usual tourist destinations.

Some people saw him and assuming he was there for Meher Baba; they put him into a rickshaw which took him to the road below Meher Baba’s tomb. People directed him up the hill and somehow he got pushed into the tomb. I asked him what he thought and he replied, “I feel that something important is going on here, but I have absolutely no idea what it is or what I’m doing here.” The man was gone the next morning. I have been with Meher Baba ever since…

I dedicate this discussion of Meetings With Remarkable Men to Mark Allegretti, a truly remarkable man in his own right, and my dear old friend from our Gurdjieff days. I fondly remember the many occasions in his shop, sitting on stacks of antique oriental rugs and drinking tea, or something more, and talking about things we knew little about, what Gurdjieff called, “pouring from the empty into the void.”  

My prayers and best of all wishes always to my friend; may he, in God’s compassion and perfect timing “return to the door he first came out after lifetimes of journeying from door to door.– Maulana Shabistari)

                                                                                                            © copyright Michael Kovitz, 2016



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