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Chapter 2: The Inquiry

The magician replied, “I have hypnotized them and told them individually that they are not sheep, that all the rest are sheep; all the others will be killed, except them. That is why they are carefree; they don’t run away when they see others being killed.”

The guest asked, “And it is even more surprising that you do not tether them. Don’t they go astray? Don’t they get lost?”

He said, “I have also told them that they are totally free, they are never in bondage - because one wants to run away from bondage,

but when one is already free there is no question of running away. The desire to run away comes when one is in bondage, but when there is no bondage and one is totally free then fleeing is not needed.”

Gurdjieff used to say that man is almost in this situation: he considers his prison to be his palace. So there is no question of leaving it;

in fact if someone comes to help him to get out of it, he defends himself as though against an enemy who is trying to get him out of his palace. Man treats his chains as his ornaments, they are a decoration for him. If you want to take away his ornaments he will stand with his sword and fight.

So we do not crucify Jesus without reason, we do not poison Socrates without reason. They are our enemies because they try to take away our ornaments. What they call our chains are our ornaments, and what they call our prison is our kingly abode; what they call our slavery is our life, and what they call our sorrows are our pleasures.

So Gurdjieff used to say that the first thing a prisoner must know if he wants to be free is that he is a prisoner; everything else is secondary. If a slave is to get free, he first needs to understand that he is a slave.

This should penetrate his consciousness so deeply that he feels an acute agony and becomes filled with a longing for freedom.What is bondage?

The second question.then the second question arises: What is liberation?

Katham bandhah - what is bondage? Katham mokshah - what is liberation?

If you were to go and ask Buddha, “What is liberation?” Buddha would not answer. But if you asked him, “What is bondage? What is liberation?” you would receive an answer - because if you don’t ask the right question, you cannot receive the right answer. Wrong questions do not have right answers. And what you ask shows the state of your mind. Liberation can be understood only after understanding bondage.

And then the next question is:

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