), also commonly referred to as Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff and G. Gurdjieff, was an influential early 20th century Russian mystic, philosopher, spiritual teacher, and composer of Armenian and Greek descent.
Gurdjieff taught that most humans do not possess a unified mind-body consciousness and thus live their lives in a state of hypnotic "waking sleep", but that it is possible to transcend to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential.
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The only account of his wanderings appears in his book Meetings with Remarkable Men. Bennett, who researched Gurdjieff's sources extensively after his death, suggested these characters were symbolic of the three types of men Gurdjieff used to refer to: men #1 centered in their physical body; men #2 centered in their emotions, and men #3 centered in their minds.
Most commentators Each chapter is named after an individual "remarkable man", many of them putatively members of a society of "Seekers after truth". He asserts that he has encounters with dervishes, fakirs and with descendents of the extinct Essenes, whose teaching had been, he claimed, conserved in a monastery at Sarmoung.
The book also has an overarching quest narrative, involving a map of "pre-sand Egypt," and culminating in an encounter with the "Sarmoung Brotherhood", an organisation which has never been definitively identified and which historian Mark Sedgwick has described as "overtly fictional" and "entirely imaginary.").
Although the dates of his birth vary, the year of 1872 is inscribed in a plate on the grave-marker at the Cimetière d'Avon, in the Prefecture of Paris, France.
Gurdjieff spent his childhood in Kars, which between 18 was the administrative capital of the Russian ruled Transcaucasus province of Kars Oblast, a border region recently captured from the Ottoman Empire consisting of extensive grassy plateau-steppe and high mountains with a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional population that had a history of respect for travelling mystics and holy men and for religious syncretism and conversion.
Both the city of Kars and the surrounding territory was home to an extremely diverse population: Kars Oblast was home to Armenians, Russians, Caucasus Greeks, Georgians, Turks, Kurds, and smaller numbers of Christian communities from eastern and central Europe such as Caucasus Germans, Estonians, and Russian sectarian communities like the Molokans and Doukhobors.
Gurdjieff makes particular mention of the Yazidi community.
Growing up in a multi-ethnic society, Gurdjieff became fluent in Armenian, Pontic Greek, Russian and Turkish, speaking the last in a mixture of elegant Osmanli and some dialect.
Influenced by these writings, and having witnessed a number of phenomena he could not explain, he formed the conviction that there existed a hidden truth not to be found in science or in mainstream religion.