He remained conscious. The operation was done, the appendix removed, and he remained as if nothing was happening. It was an unprecedented phenomenon in the whole history of medicine. It was a miracle.
Gurdjieff’s whole work consists in separating the consciousness from the body and making the consciousness such a solid force that the body cannot drag it – that the body becomes only a servant and is not a master. And he was trying many kinds of experiments.
For example, he used to drink alcohol. One cannot imagine such a quantity of alcohol…and he would remain perfectly conscious. No quantity of alcohol was able to make him unconscious. His disciples and he, they all would start drinking together, and within a few minutes all were flat on the ground – and he was still drinking.
He was trying in different ways to feel where he was still attached to the body. He would fast, he would not eat for many days – and this was not anything religious, it was purely scientific experimentation. And he would eat too much, that the whole body would be saying, “Stop!” and he would go on eating just to make the body completely understand that he was not under its control: he would do what he wanted, he was not going to listen to the body.
The car accident was the very culmination of his experiments. It is wrong to say it was an accident; it was not. He did it – purposely, consideredly, consciously. It looked like an accident to anybody else.
He always used to drive very fast. All those who were sitting inside the car were just trembling: any moment the car was going to crash with something or other. But that day he was alone in the car, and he knowingly put it on full speed and crashed it into a big tree. He had multiple fractures – the car was completely finished. Doctors said it was unimaginable how he got out of it. He got out of it with all those fractures, with blood all over his body. He walked to the ashram – which was almost one and a half miles from there – and informed them: “Call some doctors to check what has happened in the body.”
The doctors could not believe it when they saw the car. Nobody could remain alive; the accident was absolutely total. And then, with so many fractures, he was not unconscious; with so much blood gone, he was not unconscious. He managed to walk one and a half miles which was absolutely miraculous. He was not supposed to be able to do it!
It was not an accident; he did it on purpose, and within three weeks he was perfectly okay. He wanted to know death before death. That was the purpose of the accident. He wanted to know that even if the body goes through such torture, it is not going to affect his consciousness. And he was immensely happy that he had succeeded, that he had attained what, in his terminology, is “crystallization.” Now death meant nothing and now he could die consciously, watching what was happening.