In his teachings George Gurdjieff promotes faith, hope, love and conscience as sacred impulses. If one were to develop these sacred impulses one has a chance of developing into becoming a real man or woman. ‘Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson’ is the first book by Mr Gurdjieff. It is a fictionalised story interspersed with the wisdom and teachings that the author wanted to promulgate.
One of Gurdjieff’s characters in the book is Ashiata Shiemash, who is a very sacred individual, was sent down as a messenger from the Above, the Above referring to the domain of the Deity (The Absolute) of the book. For all his good works Ashiata Shiemash was promoted to becoming a Highest Most Very Saintly Sacred Individual, which is a very high-ranking position in the book’s cosmology.
Whilst on planet Earth Ashiata Shiemash came with wise words and advice for the human race. He had gathered round him a set of disciples who learnt from him and passed on his wisdom. Ashiata tried to teach them how to be a real son of God, and to be a real son of God one needs Conscience, proper conscience.
Ashiata Shiemash’s famous words about conscience and love were inscribed on a marble tablet and they read-
“Faith of consciousness is freedom,
Faith of feeling is weakness,
Faith of body is stupidity.
Love of consciousness evokes the same in response,
Love of feeling evokes the opposite,
Love of body depends only on type and polarity.
Hope of consciousness is strength,
Hope of feeling is slavery,
Hope of body is disease.”
The statue of Akhaldan, also known as the Statue of Conscience is a visual version of this message of faith hope and love. In the book ‘Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson’, Beelzebub is instructing his grandson on the ways and development of human life on planet Earth.
One of the societies he talks about is the Society of Akhaldan, this was a learned group of people who existed long ago and were wise in knowledge, art and how to live life in a harmonious way. Their aim was “The striving to become aware of the sense and aim of the Being of beings.”
TST chatted to Joshua Denny on what this inscription means and how important it is in Gurdjieff’s system.
The Society of Akhaldan had an emblem, a giant statue called the Statue of Conscience and the figure of the statue was made in such a way that it’s many meanings would soak into one’s subconscious. Gurdjieff writes that it is made to represent an allegorical being, it is a sphinx but with a difference.
It has the body of a bull which rested on the four legs of a lion. On it’s back were eagle wings and for its neck there was piece of amber and upon that amber sat, instead of a head a pair of virgin breasts.
Each part of the statue was created to represent something; the bull trunk for labours performed, the lion legs for courage and faith in might, the wings to remind us to meditate and the breasts of the Virgin are to represent that LOVE should predominate always. Now the piece of amber that separates the breasts from the rest of the body is there to remind people that true love is impartial.
Gurdjieff writes about this “And that the head is fitted to the trunk of the Bull with “amber” signifies that this Love should be strictly impartial, that is to say, completely separated from all the other functions proceeding in every whole responsible being.”
I have made a short film about Gurdjieff and the Statue of Conscience, which can be watched here