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I am small man compared to those who sent me.

The Sources of Gurdjieff's Teaching

"Perhaps," said Gurdjieff, "I stole it."

The Sarmoun Monastery is now underground in what is now Russia. Their existence is threatened and must be protected from exposure. Along with other isolated (secret) monasteries of the 3rd way, they are already being replaced by the 4th and 5th ways. While we are grateful for the discoveries made in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd ways, we must recognize that in the course of evolutionary change the burdens of development have been passed onto the shoulders of seekers in the course of ordinary daily life. (Paul Beidler, January 2, 1986)

"The teaching whose theory is here being set out is completely self-supporting and independent of other lines and it has been completely unknown up to the present time..." -Gurdjieff . (Fritz Peters, Gurdjieff Remembered. p122)

Gurdjieff said that Christianity was "not invented by the fathers of the church. It was all taken in a ready-made form from Egypt, only not from the Egypt that we know but from one which we do not know. This Egypt was in the same place as the other but it existed much earlier. [...] prehistoric Egypt was Christian many thousands of years before the birth of Christ." (ISOM 302)

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The theory of such a contingency, with its element of emigration, would be supported by the circumstance that something subtended by the Sarmoun and associated traditions began to establish in the West, including England, from about 1952. The Sarmounis (“the Bees”) believe that the teaching they follow pre-dates the Flood. They assert that objective knowledge is a material substance and can be collected and stored like honey. This is done during periods of history when the world does not value honey. At critical junctures, the Sarmouni distribute the honey throughout the world by the agency of specially trained emissaries. Associated with the organization of the Sarmouni is a symbol called the No-Koonja (literally, “nine-pointed diagram”), also known as the Naqsh (seal or design) which “reaches for the innermost secrets of man”. (Idries Shah, The Sufis)

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(Saurat)-You do not belong to any school?
(Gurdjieff)-No, we are a group of friends. About 30 years ago a dozen of us spent several years in central Asia, and we reconstructed the doctrine from the remains of oral traditions, from the study of ancient customs, folk songs and even from certain books. The doctrine has always existed, but the tradition has often been interrupted. In ancient times certain groups and castes knew it, but it was incomplete. The ancients went in too much for metaphysics. The doctrine was too abstract.
S-Are you still in touch with friends who have reconstituted the doctrine?
G-I see three or four of them still.
S-What are they doing?
G-They are practicing different ordinary professions.
S-Are they teaching?
G-No. I am the only one who teaches; that is my profession.
(From - "A Visit to Gourdyev" by Denis Saurat
The Living Age, New York, January 1934, Vol. CCCXLV (4408), pp. 427-433)

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Eightfold Path of Raja Yoga

Many sources have been proposed for Gurdjieff's system. They run the gamut from the Hindu Yogas, through Buddhism, Eastern Christianity, Sufism, Kabalistic Judaism, Western Alchemy, Taoist Alchemy, Zoroastrianism, Yedzidiism, Ancient Egyptian religion, and the fabled Unknown Source.

Many researchers have found elements from all those sources present in the Gurdjieff teaching, but by far the largest single source appears to be derived from the the Eightfold Path of Raja Yoga. Actually there are approximately 40 schools of yoga. To be somewhat precise, but not definitively so, it could be said that Gurdjieff was teaching a westernized form of Raja Yoga.

Raja Yoga is also called the "Royal" Yoga, and includes the three paths of Karma Yoga (union with God through physical work and activity for the good of others), Bhakti Yoga (union with God through devotion) and Jnana Yoga (union with God through wisdom and mental activity and discrimination).  At one time it was said that a devotee would spend a lifetime pursuing Karma Yoga.  The following lifetime they would follow Bhakti Yoga, then a further lifetime practicing Jnana Yoga.   Later, as human beings evolved in consciousness, through the practice of Raja Yoga a student could practice all three paths in one lifetime. This accords with Gurdjieff's teaching that a person should work on all three centers simultaneously in a balanced way.

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Gurdjieff´s Possible Buddhist Influences 

An article by Jose M. Tirado 

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The Patanjali Yoga Sutras

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Sensing exercises are based on an ancient Tantric practice called Nyasa.

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Another possible source is from the writings ascribed to the Egyptian god Thoth or Hermes Trismigistus in the Emerald Tablet.

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