Following a suitable period of preparation, Gurdjieff, like a mature oak shedding its acorns, appears to abruptly discharge his senior students into the world–to succeed or perish based upon their own merits. The need to ‘let go’ of one’s students at the proper time and place, so to sever any final fragments of attachment to the Master, is a fundamental tenet of stewardship in all legitimate mystery schools. Knowing exactly when to discharge a student into a new octave of work (crossing the Si-Do interval) does not come from intellectual knowledge, but is more a ‘feeling or taste’ from contact with Higher Wisdom. The point of discharge should occur at that moment when the Student has the greatest number of opportunities to be of use in the fulfillment of the needs of the Source. This period is a time of hazard for both Teacher and Student. Hazard is a term coined by Bennett to describe those moments of decision when a person has to choose a course of action without full knowledge of the consequences. It is a moment when the Teacher must have full confidence in the Cosmos.

At all times, the student’s actions determine the proper moment for the teacher to discharge the student, peacefully or forcefully. Peaceful discharge occurs whenever the Student has succeeded in subduing the false personality sufficiently (attained non attachment) such that the true self is obtained (center of gravity is in the higher centers, man # 7). Such students are ready to serve others entering upon the ‘ladder of salvation’ as a high form of Teacher.

Other times, such as appears to be the case with Gurdjieff’s more well known students, Gurdjieff was forced to discharge his students because each had lost the battle between false personality and true self. Consequently, the only option available to Gurdjieff to ‘shock’ the Student was to terminate the official Teacher-Student relationship in the eyes of the Student. In actuality, on a deeper plane of experience, such bonds are never severed; for each Teacher has committed, as a true and trustworthy friend, to work eternally for the Student’s final salvation. Gurdjieff’s commitment to his former students is evident throughout the written material upon Gurdjieff.

In conclusion, I would recommend that anyone interested in studying the Teacher-Student relationship avail themselves of William Patrick Patterson, STRUGGLE OF THE MAGICIANS: WHY USPENSKI LEFT GURDJIEFF, Arête Publications, Fairfax, California, 1996.


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