This page will give a brief history of the work of Gurdjieff and
Ouspensky, and the biographies of the leading figures in the discovery
and further development of the teaching.
Three exponents of the esoteric teaching in
the twentieth century
G.I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, L. MacLaren
By Dorine van Oyen
It has been said that the 20th century has produced more gurus,
sages and messiahs than the previous five centuries put together,
mainly due to the collapse of organised religion. The three men,
G.I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky and L. MacLaren all lived within
the span of a hundred years. For three years, Gurdjieff was the
teacher of Ouspensky, who started a school of his own after a gap
of ten years. L. MacLaren, who never met either of them, but who
was a pupil of Ouspensky's successor, Dr. Roles, founded his own
school based on the esoteric teaching of the other two. Although
the three men operated independently from each other, their work
was basically the same and consisted in rediscovering and reformulating
the ancient esoteric teaching - 'eso' means 'inner' -, which like
a subterranean stream disappears and reappears from time to time.
Gurdjieff and Ouspensky called their teaching "The Fourth Way",
for it was not the way of the fakir, the monk, or the yogi, but
of the ordinary householder, meaning that a man can continue to
live an ordinary life, but, by working on three levels, physical,
emotional and intellectual, he can develop himself to his full potential,
provided he does so under the guidance of a teacher or a school.
By means of the links below, you can see how at a certain point
the Eastern stream very naturally flowed together with the Western,
from which we can now reap the benefits.
From reading their biographies, the general conclusion could be
that Gurdjieff struck a well, that the stream that welled up was
channelled by Ouspensky and that MacLaren turned this stream into
a waterway accessible to whomever is looking for it. Now it is up
to the followers they left to navigate this waterway.
How Gurdjieff dug the well
How Ouspensky channelled the stream
How MacLaren turned this stream into
an accessible waterway