[Türkçe çeviri için yorum bölümüne bkz.]
Now I would like to read you something Mister Gurdjieff said many years ago:
‘I am often asked questions in connection with the various texts, parables, and so on, from the Gospels. In my opinion the time has not come for us to speak about the Gospels. This requires more knowledge. But from time to time we will take certain Gospels texts as points of departure for our discussions. This will teach us to treat them in the right way, and above all, to realize that in the text known to us, the most essential points are usually missing.
To begin with let us take the well known text about the seed which must die in order to be born: ‘Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.’
This text has many different meanings, and we shall often return to it. But first of all it is necessary to know the principle contained in this text in its full measure as applied to man.
There is a book of aphorisms which has never been published, and probably never will be published. I have mentioned this book before in connection with the meaning of knowledge, and I quoted then one aphorism from the book.
In relation to what we are speaking of now, this book says the following: ‘A man may be born, but in order to be born, he must first die, and in order to die, he must first awake.’
In another place it says: ‘When a man awakes he can die; when he die he can be born.’
We must find out what this means. ‘ To awake;’ ‘To die’, ‘ To be born’: These are 3 successive stages. If you study the Gospels attentively, you will see that references are often made to the possibility of ‘being born’; several references are made to the necessity of ‘dying’; and there are many references to the necessity of ‘awakening’…’Watch for you don’t know the hour’…and so on. But these three possibilities of man, to awake or not to sleep, to die and to be born, are not set down in connection with one another. Nevertheless this is the whole point. If a man dies without having awakened, he cannot be born. If a man is born without having died, he may become an ‘immortal thing’. Thus the fact of this not having ‘awakened’ prevents him from ‘dying’; and should he be born without having ‘died’, he is prevented from ‘being’.
We have already spoken enough about the meaning of ‘being born’; this relates to the beginning of a new growth of essence-the beginning of the formation of individuality, the beginning of the appearance of one indivisible ‘I’.
But in order to be able to attain this, or at least to begin to attain it, a man must die, that is, he must free himself from a thousand petty attachments and identifications which hold him in the position in which he is. He is attached to everything in his life, attached to his imagination, attached to his stupidity, attached to his suffering, and possibly to his suffering more than anything else. He must free himself from this attachment. Attachment to things, identification with things, keep alive a thousand useless ‘I’s in a man. These ‘I’s must die, in order that the big ‘I’ may be born. But how can they be made to die? They do not want to die. It is this point that the possibility of awakening comes to the rescue. To awaken means to realize one’s nothingness, that is, to realize one’s complete and absolute mechanicalness, and one’s complete and absolute helplessness. And it is not sufficient to realize it philosophically in words. It is necessary for a man to realize it in clear, simple and concrete fact, in his own facts. When a man begins to know himself a little, he will see in himself many things that are bound to horrify him. So long as a man is not horrified at himself, he knows nothing about himself. He decides to throw it off, stop it, put an end to it, But however many efforts he may make, he feels that he cannot do this, that everything remains as it was. Here he will see his impotence, his helplessness and his nothingness. Or again, when he begins to know himself, a man sees that he has nothing that is his own, that is, that all the things he has regarded as his own, his tastes, views, thoughts, convictions, habits, even faults and vices, all these are not his own, but they have been borrowed somewhere ready-made. In feeling this, a man may feel his nothingness. And in feeling his nothingness, a man should see himself as he really is, not for a second, not for a moment, but constantly, never forgetting it.
This continual consciousness of his nothingness and of his helplessness will eventually give a man courage to ‘die’, and that is, to ‘die’ not merely mentally, or in his consciousness, but to ‘die’ in fact and to renounce actually and for ever those aspects of himself which are either unnecessary from the point of view of his inner growth, or which hinder it. These aspects are, first of all his ‘ `false ‘I’’, and then all the fantastic ideas about his ‘individuality, ‘will’, ‘consciousness’, ‘capacity to do’, his powers, initiatives, determinations, and so on’.