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Chapter 8: Of the Despisers of the Body and the Joys and the Passions

George Gurdjieff used to say that a very rich man had a palace and many servants. He was going on a holy pilgrimage; it may take two years, three years - his return was not certain.

He told his servants, “Remember, I can come any day. I may not complete the pilgrimage, so you are not to become lazy. The house has to remain ready for me every day - clean, tidy..” And they all said they would do their best.

But three years passed, and slowly, slowly the servants became lazy. For a few days there was enthusiasm to clean, perhaps he may be coming. But then three years passed, which was the longest time - and he was not back. Perhaps he is dead, perhaps he has become a renunciate. He is not going to come back...

And the cleaning of the house and everything slowly, slowly stopped. But the servants decided that by turn one servant should remain on the main gate, because you can see from the main gate faraway on the road: “If his chariot is coming then inform us inside, immediately we will do everything that is needed. Otherwise, what is the point of cleaning the house?” So by turn they were standing at the main gate.

The house was so beautiful and so unique, and in a lonely part amongst hills and forests, that whenever some traveler came across it, he would ask the servant who was on the gate, “Who is the owner of this house?”

And they all believed, deep down they wanted to believe - this is one of the human weaknesses, whatever you want to believe you start believing it - they had come to believe that the master is never going to be back. So the servant on the gate would say, “It belongs to me. I am the owner of the house.”

But the travelers were confused, because when they came back on the same route, somebody else was at the gate, and they would ask, “Who is the owner of this house?” And he would say, “Who is the owner of this house? I am the owner of this house.” Gurdjieff used to tell that story, that each servant in turn became the owner of the house. And exactly the same is the situation of your I. There are many Is in you. If you watch carefully, you can see there are many Is in you, but only one I is predominant at a certain time. That I says, “I love you and I will love you forever. Others have also loved, but they love only in life. I will love you, beloved, even when I am dead.”

And the next moment, the great lovers are fighting and throwing things at each other. What happened? What happened to the great love? It is a well-known fact that lovers can die for each other, and lovers can also kill each other. It cannot be the work of the same I.

If you are alert you will become aware that there is a queue of Is behind you. One I wants to say this, another I wants to say that, another I wants to do this - and they are never in agreement. There is a continuous inner fight going on: “Who is the owner of the house?”

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