George Gurdjieff | Children | Wife | Philosophy | Books

Know Everything about George Gurdjieff, His wife, childrens, books and how he died and what were his philosophy of life and why he is considered a mystic.

George Gurdjieff Biography

George Gurdjieff Biography
George Gurdjieff Photo
Name George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
BornGeorge Ivanovich Gurdjieff
AlexandropolRussian Empire
Died29 October 1949 (aged 71–83)
WifeJulia Ostrowskaya
ChildrensMichel de Salzmann
Cynthie Sophia
Sergei Chaverdian
Svetlana Hinzenberg
Eve Taylor
Nikolai Stjernvall
Main interestsEnlightenment, Psychology, perennial, philosophy

Gurdjieff was born in Alexandropol of the Transcaucasian Russian Empire into a Caucasian-Greek father, Yiannis Georgiade, and an Armenian mother, Evdokia (according to biographer Paul Beekman Taylor). Gurdjieff is a Russified version of the Pontic Greek surname “Georgiades” (Greek: ). Greek-Georgian was also a popular combination in Kars Oblast and Georgia during Tsarist rule, which could also be the origin of his surname, as Muslims in Georgia refer to the Georgian people as “Gurdji” (with Russified ending -eff). His birth year is unknown; estimates range from 1866 to 1877. Certain authors (for example, James Moore) argue for 1866.

Both Olga de Hartmann, whom Gurdjieff referred to as his “first inner life friend,” and Louise Goepfert March, Gurdjieff’s secretary in the early 1930s, believed Gurdjieff was born in 1872. Although his passport stated that he was born on November 28, 1877, he once stated that he was born at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day (Julian calendar). Although the dates of his birth vary, the year 1872 is inscribed on a plate on the gravemarker in the Avon, Seine-et-Marne, France, cemetery where his body was interred.

Childhood and Youth

Gurdjieff spent his youth in Kars, which served as the administrative capital of the Russian-ruled Transcaucasus province of Kars Oblast from 1878 to 1918, a recently captured border region from the Ottoman Empire. It was covered in extensive grassy plateau-steppe and high mountains and was inhabited by a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional population with a long history of reverence for travelling mystics and holy men, as well as religious syncretism and conversion.

Although a part of the Armenians Plateau, Kars Oblast was home to armenians, Russians, the Greeks from Caucasus, the Georgians, the Turks and the Kurds, and a smaller number of Christian communities from Eastern or Central Europe such as the Germans from Caucasus, Estonia, and Russia such as the Molokans, Dukhobors, etc. Gurdjieff makes a point of mentioning the Yazidi community in particular. Gurdjieff became fluent in Armenian, Pontic Greek, Russian, and Turkish as a result of his upbringing in a multi-ethnic society, speaking the latter in a mixture of elegant Osmanl and some dialect.

Later Life

Later in life, he acquired “a working knowledge of several European languages.” His father, a carpenter and amateur ashik or bardic poet, and a family friend, Dean Borsh, the priest of the town’s Russian church, were early influences on him. Gurdjieff was a voracious reader of Russian-language scientific literature as a child. Influenced by these writings and having witnessed a number of unexplained phenomena, he developed the conviction that a hidden truth existed that was not found in science or mainstream religion.

George Gurdjieff Philosophy

Gurdjieff claimed that in its present state people cannot perceive reality because they do not have a unified mind, but live in a hypnotic “waking sleep” situation.

“A man’s life is lived in sleep, and his death is occured in sleep.” As a result, each person perceives things in a totally subjective way. He claimed that people in their typical state work as unconscious cars but that a person can “wake up” and become another kind of human being.

Some contemporary investigators claim that the concept of ‘self-remembering’ in Gurdjieff is close to the Buddhist concept of awareness or a popular definition of “carefulness.” The Buddhist term “mindfulness” is translated to English in the Pali term “sati,” which is identical to Sanskrit “sm jusqu’ti.” Both terms mean “recalling.”


The teaching of Gurdjieff addressed the question of the place of mankind in the universe and the importance of the development of latent potential—which we see as our natural human endowment, but seldom achieved. Higher levels of consciousness, higher bodies, inner growth and development, he said, are all actual possibilities that can be attained through deliberate effort.

Gurdjieff offered different meanings to several historic texts, such as the Bible and many religious prayers, in his teaching. He believed that such books have meanings that are substantially different from what is typically assumed about them. “Sleep not,” “Awake, because you do not know the hour,” and “The Kingdom of Heaven is Within” are instances of biblical phrases that hint to forgotten truths.

Gurdjieff taught people how to strengthen and focus their attention and energy in a variety of ways, as well as how to avoid daydreaming and being distracted. This inner development, according to his teaching, is the beginning of a possible subsequent process of change, with the goal of transforming people into what Gurdjieff believed they should be.

Gurdjieff emphasised the value of “conscience” over “morality,” which he sees as shifting from culture to culture, frequently contradictory and hypocritical.

Gurdjieff also taught his students “holy dances” or “movements,” subsequently known as the Gurdjieff movements, which they performed together as a group to generate conditions in which inner attention could be exercised more vigorously. He also left a body of music written for piano in partnership with one of his pupils, Thomas de Hartmann, and inspired by what he heard during excursions to remote monasteries and other places.

Gurdjieff also employed numerous activities to encourage self-observation in his students, such as the “Stop” exercise. Other shocks to assist jolt his pupils awake from their daydreaming were always a possibility.

George Gurdjieff Quotes

A man renounces all pleasures that he likes, but does not give up his suffering.

George Gurdjieff

A man can only gain knowledge with the assistance of others who already have it. From the start, this needs to be understood. You have to learn from the knower.

George Gurdjieff

A person may be born, but first he must die to be born, and first he must wake up to death.

George Gurdjieff

No progress and no result without struggle. Every habits break leads to a machine change.

George Gurdjieff

Awakening can only be achieved for those who seek it and desire it, for those who are prepared to fight and work on themselves for a very long period of time and very long to achieve it.

George Gurdjieff

In life, two things are endless; man’s stupidity and God’s mercy.

George Gurdjieff

I’m going to tell you one thing that makes you rich for life. Two battles exist: one internal and one external. You must establish an intentional contact between these worlds. Then, you can crystallise data for the Third World, the Soul World.

George Gurdjieff

Man doesn’t have an individual i. Instead, hundreds and thousands of separate small “i”s come into contact, often unknown to each other or, on the contrary, hostile to each other, mutually exclusive and incompatible. Every minute, every moment, man says or thinks, “I.” And I’m different every time. It was just a thought, it’s the desire now, a feeling now, another thinking now, etc. Infinitely. Man is a multitude. The name of Man is legion.

George Gurdjieff

To wake up, one must realise first of all that one is in a sleeping state. And to realise that one is in a state of sleep, the nature of the forces operating in the sleep, or hypnosis, must be fully recognised and understood. It is absurd to think that this can be done by looking for information from the source itself which leads to hypnosis. One thing alone is certain that slavery of men is growing and growing. Man becomes a ready slave. He doesn’t need chains anymore. He begins to love and be proud of his slavery. And this is the most awful thing a man can do.

George Gurdjieff


  • Meetings with Remarkable Men
  • Life is Real Only Then, when “I Am”
  • Views from the Real World
  • The Struggle of the Magicians
  • In Search of Being: The Fourth Way to Consciousness
  • The Force of Gurdjieff
Join Telegram Channel

Leave a Comment