Gurdjieff was accused of trying to keep his wife alive while she was dying. His disciples seem shocked and didn’t understand.
In what way was he trying to help her that he was unable to do before she was dying?
The 1917 revolution in Russia disturbed Gurdjieff’s whole work. His disciples got scattered. He himself had to escape out of Russia because the communists, who were coming into power, were materialists: they did not believe in any spiritual growth. They conceived of man just as a vegetable.
But Gurdjieff managed to take with him a small group of disciples who had developed and crystallized very much. His wife happened to be one of them. They remained in Constantinople waiting for some opportunity to settle somewhere. It was in Constantinople that they were found by Bennett and brought to Europe.
First he wanted to settle in England, but it seems no country – because of its politicians’ mediocre minds – wants any giant to settle there. They cannot accept anybody who knows more, who is more; and Gurdjieff was a very strong, powerful, charismatic man – whoever came into contact with him was changed. England refused. Country after country refused him.
It was just by chance that the prime minister of France had read a few of his books and was immensely impressed. He invited him, and gave him a beautiful place near Paris, a few miles away, where he established his commune.
In that commune there were two sections. One was the old-guard Russians who had come with him, who were far more developed than the new followers from the West – particularly from America. The difficulty was double.
First, the Russian group knew only Russian, so communication was impossible. Second, they were highly developed, and these new people were highly educated but spiritually not developed at all. Those Russians were not very educated. So there was another barrier of communication – intellectually they could not communicate, language prevented it, education prevented it, and on the plane of being also, communication was difficult because the Russian group was far more developed – Gurdjieff had been working for years with them.
The oldest disciple was his own wife. And it became troublesome to people, particularly the new group: “Why should Gurdjieff be so interested in his own wife?” It was not a question of being his wife; that was irrelevant. The question was that he had worked on the woman the most, and she was dying. And it was only a question of a few days – if he could manage to keep her alive her crystallization will happen. Otherwise one knows not into how many circles of birth and death she would have to move.
And he was capable of keeping her alive, because in his system, transfer of energy is one of the basic methods. It can be used to the extreme – that the dying person can live as much as the person who is transmitting his energy to him; if he transmits his whole energy he will die immediately, and the dying person can live long.