Chapter 7 - Gurdjieff's Teaching After His Death

Copyright 2003/2004 © Reijo Elsner

Apart from the continuation of the Work in its different 'branches' Gurdjieff left us his writings, music and the Movements. Some of his last words were: 'I leave you all in a fine mess!'

Here is a copy of Gurdjieff's letter written in 1949 announcing the publication of All & Everything .

'The mess' as regards the spreading of the teaching had been started very early and much of it was due to Gurdjieff's own actions. Different 'lines' were established even when Gurdjieff was still alive by many of his students.

Early 'Lines' of the Work

Of the people mentioned above Dushka Howarth is alive. Of others still alive and who met Gurdjieff in the late fourties can be mentioned Paul Beekman Taylor, Adam Nott, Matthew Thring, Kathleen Riordan Speeth and Nicholas de Stjernval. The Gurdjieff Work continues with new people in the leadership.

The Official Version of the Work

Madame de Salzmann was appointed by Gurdjieff to carry on his work and became the head of the teaching worldwide. This meant that she run the Gurdjieff Foundations in France, U.S.A and London with their worldwide net of contacts and people in charge of the organizations in the different areas.

Madame de Salzmann was in this position appr. 40 years, somewhat longer than Gurdjieff himself (even if we take the year 1912 as the year he started to teach). Having joined Gurdjieff in Tiflis in 1919 she was active with her groups and as the head of the teaching until her death in 1990, i.e. over 70 years.

The leadership of the teaching continued 'in the family' after Madame de Salzmann's death when her son Michel de Salzmann continued her work until his death in 2001.

The Gurdjieff Foundation, the Gurdjieff Society of London and Institut Gurdjieff (Paris) carry on their mission of maintaining the authentic study and teaching of the Gurdjieff Work with local organizations in all continents.

Among the new inscriptions in the trade register of Geneva on the 12th of May 2003 there was a registration for Association Internationale des Fondations Gurdjieff with the address chemin Jaques-Attenville 9, Le Grand-Saconnex, which has the following text: "mettre en commun les efforts et l'expérience acquise des différents Instituts membres afin de préserver l'essence, la spécificité et l'intégrité de l'enseignement de G.I. Gurdjieff; coordonner les résultats des activités et des recherches de ses membres, etc."

Claims to teaching the Gurdjieff Work have been made by many organizations established in the past fifty years or so. It is evident that all these claims are not valid. However, in the words of C. S. Nott regarding groups being led by people who never met Gurdjieff or studying Ouspensky's philosophy: "These groups have little value as regards the inner Teaching; yet they may be a means of leading a few to feel the need for something more." (Journey Throught this World' p. 249)