Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff
Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff (Георгий Иванович Гюрджиев, Georgiy Ivanovich Gyurdzhiev,Gurdjiev; January 13, ? – October 29, 1949), was a Greek-Armenian mystic and self-professed 'teacher of dancing'. He claimed that the teachings he brought to the West from his own experiences and early travels expressed the truth found in other ancient religions and teachings relating to self-awareness in one's daily life and humanity's place in the universe. It might be summed up by the title of his book: Life is Real Only Then, When 'I Am'.
was born in Alexandropol (now Gyumri), Armenia. The exact year is
unknown; anything from 1866 to 1877 has been offered. James Moore's
biography ("Gurdjieff: The Anatomy Of A Myth")
pursuasively for 1866. Gurdjieff grew up in Kars, traveled
Near East before returning to Russia and teaching in Moscow and St.
Petersburg in 1913.
In the midst of revolutionary upheaval in Russia he left Petrograd (St. Petersburg was renamed Petrograd on September 1, 1914) in 1917 to return to his family home in Alexandropol. During the Bolshevik Revolution he set up temporary study communities in Essentuki in the Caucasus, then Tuapse, Maikop, Sochi and Poti, all on the Black Sea coast of Southern Russia where he worked intensively with many of his Russian pupils.
In mid-January 1919 he and his closest pupils moved to Tbilisi. In late May 1920 when political conditions in Georgia changed and the old order was crumbling, they walked by foot to Batumi on the Black Sea coast, and then Istanbul. There Gurdjieff rented an apartment on Koumbaradji Street in Péra and later at 13 Abdullatif Yemeneci Sokak near the Galata Tower. The apartment is near the tekke (monastery) of the Mevlevi Order of Sufis (founded by Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi) where Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Thomas de Hartmann experienced the sema ceremony of The Whirling Dervishes. In Istanbul Gurdjieff also met John G. Bennett.
In August 1921 Gurdjieff traveled around western Europe, lecturing and giving demonstrations of his work in various cities such as Berlin and London. In October 1922, he established the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man south of Paris at the Prieuré des Basses Loges in Fontainebleau-Avon near the famous Château de Fontainebleau.
In 1924 he nearly died in a car crash. After he recovered, he began writing All and Everything originally written by him in Russian and Armenian. He stopped writing in 1935 having completed the first two parts of the trilogy and only having started on the Third Series which had been published under the title Life is Real Only Then, When 'I Am'.
In Paris, Gurdjieff lived at 6 Rue des Colonels-Rénard where he continued to teach throughout World War II.
Gurdjieff died on October 29, 1949 at the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. His funeral was held at the St. Alexandre Nevsky Russian Orthodox Cathedral at 12 Rue Daru, Paris. He is buried in the cemetery at Fontainebleau-Avon.
Timelines, facts and whereabouts of Gurdjieff's early biography before he appeared in Moscow in 1913 are found fictionalised in his text Meetings with Remarkable Men.