George Ivanovich Gurdjieff was one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the twentieth century. In his early years, he participated in expeditions that went in search of ancient teachings, partly documented in his book Meetings with Remarkable Men. His quest led him to a secret brotherhood, from which he seemed to have returned in possession of a unique system. In 1910, Gurdjieff imported that system to Russia. He translated his eastern knowledge and experience into a language palatable to twentieth century western man. He called his discipline the “Fourth Way,” a blend of the three traditional ways of the Fakir, the Monk and the Yogi (read more about the Fourth Way). However, the Bolshevik Revolution and the first World War forced Gurdjieff to migrate and eventually end up in France, where he opened his “Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man.” Gurdjieff’s influence extended throughout Europe and as far as America, but the declining social order and World War II prevented him from further formalizing his organization. He was forced to close the institute and spent the latter part of his life writing books: Life Is Real Only Then, When ‘I Am’, All and Everything, Meetings With Remarkable Men and Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson. He died in France on October 29, 1949. Gurdjieff Angkor Wat Angkor Wat Temple Gurdjieff was discreet about the origins of his teaching. He felt no need to reveal his footsteps. For one, he claimed that the wars had obliterated any traces of the schools with which he had come in contact. Moreover, his teaching specifically called, not for academical study, but for turning knowledge into practice. Gurdjieff himself had labored to acquire his teaching and had earned, so to speak, the rights over it. Such rights had to be earned anew by anyone meeting his work for the first time. While knowledge could be given, wisdom had to be earned. Hence, Gurdjieff, who had sacrificed much to obtain his wisdom, was reluctant to hand it over to others except at the price of labor. Once earned by any individual, the knowledge would become his own; he himself would become those ancient truths Gurdjieff allegedly dug up, a reiteration of ancient wisdom, a contemporary expression of a timeless truth.