The way he had chosen was a hard and long way. But he was a strange type of man: for him, it was neither long nor hard, for him it was perfectly natural and normal.
The car accident should be remembered as a voluntary entering into death. He had almost died, but just through his crystallized consciousness he managed not to die. He refused to die. It is a beautiful experiment, although outlandish.
What he tried to do with it can be done very easily by just becoming aware of your day-to-day activities: walking, sitting, eating, sleeping. They will not be so dramatic, but they will be more simple, more human, more sane.
And Gurdjieff is not a normal human being. He should be taken as an exception, not the rule. Nobody should try to follow him because he will be in trouble. That kind of person cannot be followed; that kind of person is born. You can understand much from their life, but you should never try to imitate them. And it is not only with Gurdjieff; there have been many other people in the East who have died unknown. A few are known, but even the normal Eastern humanity has tried to forget them because their experiments looked outrageous.
In India there are eighty-four siddhas. In the whole history of India there have been eighty-four people who could have talked with Gurdjieff in the same language, who tried all kinds of experiments. Perhaps in a few experiments Gurdjieff may not have been able to compete with those people.
I have been to one of the monasteries of the siddhas. Their monasteries have gone underground; because of their experiments the masses were so against them that they have burned their literature, killed their masters, tried to erase…saying that they are not part of the heritage of the East.
In Ladakh, in the Himalayas, there is a small monastery hidden deep in the mountains. They don’t tell anybody that it belongs to the siddhas. There are a few others in India but unless they trust you, they will not tell you about other monasteries. They are all linked.
In this monastery I saw one experiment that will help to explain Gurdjieff’s experiment to you. They start drinking poison in small quantities, and slowly, slowly they increase the quantity every day. The poison is so dangerous that just a single dose is enough to finish a person. But they come to a point where they can take any quantity of poison and it does not affect their consciousness at all. They remain absolutely normal. And they have absorbed so much poison that if they bite you, you will die: they are full of poison.
And in the monastery they keep big cobra snakes, which have the most dangerous poison. Out of one hundred snakes there are only three percent which have real poison; ninety-seven are just hypocrites, they don’t have real poison. But they can make you freak out if you see them because they look like real snakes. They are snakes, only one thing is missing: they don’t have the poison.