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P. D. Ouspensky

P. D. Ouspensky1878 -1947
Ouspensky was born in Moscow, but was living in Petrograd when he first met Gurdjieff in 1915. He made very quickly sure that he could write about what Gurdjieff was teaching and the permission to do so was granted by Gurdjieff, provided Ouspensky was able to arrive at a good understanding of the ideas and only wrote about experiments that he could carry out himself.

In spite of his difficulty in accepting Gurdjieff as an authentic teacher Ouspensky kept in contact with Gurdjieff from 1915 until their last meeting in France 1930.

The contents of Ouspensky's main work, 'The Fragments', cover Gurdjieff's teaching as given from 1915 to 1918, over a period of barely three years.
Gurdjieff saw 'The Fragments' after Ouspensky's death (a short time before his own), and accepted its publication, saying that he can hear himself speaking.

P. D. Ouspensky

In Search of the Miraculous - Fragments of an Unknown Teaching

Author/Artist: P. D. Ouspensky
ISBN: 0156445085
Publisher: Harvest Books
First published: 1949

A new edition of the groundbreaking spiritual treasure, with a foreword by bestselling author Marianne Williamson.

Since its original publication in 1949, In Search of the Miraculous has been hailed as the most valuable and reliable documentation of G. I. Gurdjieff's thoughts and universal view. This historic and influential work is considered by many to be a primer of mystical thought as expressed through the Work, a combination of Eastern philosophies that had for centuries been passed on orally from teacher to student. Gurdjieff's goal, to introduce the Work to the West, attracted many students, among them Ouspensky, an established mathematician, journalist, and, with the publication of In Search of the Miraculous, an eloquent and persuasive proselyte.

Ouspensky describes Gurdjieff's teachings in fascinating and accessible detail, providing what has proven to be a stellar introduction to the universal view of both student and teacher. It goes without saying that In Search of the Miraculous has inspired great thinkers and writers of ensuing spiritual movements, including Marianne Williamson, the highly acclaimed author of A Return to Love and Illuminata. In a new and never-before-published foreword, Williamson shares the influence of Ouspensky's book and Gurdjieff's teachings on the New Thought movement and her own life, providing a contemporary look at an already timeless classic. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Fragments of an Unknown Teaching
Ouspensky named his book 'Fragments of an Unknown Teaching', but when the book was published in 1950, after his own and Gurdjieff's death, the name was changed due to its similarity to 'Fragments of a Faith Forgotten' by G.R.S. Mead.

Gurdjieff's lectures and answers are recorded in the 'Fragments' so exactly that when Madame Ouspensky showed the book to Gurdjieff he said: 'I can hear myself speaking' and gave permission to publish the book, but insisted that his own book 'Beelzebub's Tales' must come out first. 'Beelzebub's Tales' was eventually also published first time in 1950.

The contents of the 'Fragments' were delivered in meetings in Moscow and Petrograd (earlier St. Petersburg, later Leningrad and now again St. Petersburg) in 1915 - 1918, in other words just before, during and just after the October revolution, in conditions G. described as favourable for 'picking up ideas'.

The 'Fragments' has the whole theory of Gurdjieff's teaching, often known as the Fourth Way, and moreover presented in such clear way that the book is easy reading taking into account the difficulty of the subject.

To get to know what Gurdjieff's teaching is can be found out by reading the book. To put it in just a few words is not really possible, but Ouspensky writes about it like this:

"G. began the next talk as follows:
"Man's possibilities are very great. You cannot conceive even a shadow of what man is capable of attaining. But nothing can be attained in sleep. In the consiousness of a sleeping man his illusions, his 'dreams' are mixed with reality. He lives in a subjective world and he can never escape from it. An this is the reason why he can never make use of all the powers he possesses and why he always lives in only a small part of himself."

Reijo Oksanen, Switzerland
added 2003-03-16

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