Osho on Gurdjieff and de Hartmann Music

Feb 19, 2014

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QUESTION: Beloved Osho, In a book I read about Gurdjieff, it was said that two of his disciples, who had been with him for a long time and in a very intimate way – for example, Thomas de Hartmann, who played his music – suddenly left him. Can you explain why this seems to happen again and again in the master-disciple relationship?


OSHO: Turiya, the question is something of deep significance and with profound implications. It is something in the very nature of things that this kind of thing happens again and again, and will continue to happen again and again; it cannot be stopped. De Hartmann lived with George Gurdjieff for perhaps the longest period of any of his other disciples, perhaps forty years or more. He was a great genius as far as music is concerned, and he was playing music for special meditations, which Gurdjieff had devised.


Thomas de Hartmann

The music was also devised by Gurdjieff; de Hartmann had to bring the device into reality. Gurdjieff was a strange master, everything about him had the quality of strangeness. He himself was not a musician, but he understood what kind of vibrations could create certain states in man. His understanding was about man, his meditation, his mind, the possibility of his receiving certain vibrations and being affected by them. He would explain his whole program to de Hartmann, and de Hartmann had become such an expert that he would make it a reality.

But de Hartmann was not a disciple — this was where the trouble arose. He had come to George Gurdjieff to be a disciple, but his genius about music took him on a different route: rather than being a disciple, he became an associate. He started working for Gurdjieff insofar as he needed music for his special dances, and he forgot completely why he had come. Gurdjieff reminded him many times:

[pull_quote_center]de Hartmann, you are a perfect master as far as music is concerned, but you had not come here to play music. And now your ego is feeling so fulfilled and contented that you don’t want to sit among the disciples. You have forgotten that your basic motive was not to play music here. [/pull_quote_center]

The separation was bound to happen one day, because finally Gurdjieff became very hard. And he said to de Hartmann, “You have to stop music completely, because music has become a barrier. Your music has helped others tremendously, but for yourself it has become a barrier. You stop music completely! Burn all your musical instruments.” This was too much for de Hartmann.

He was not an ordinary musician. He left Gurdjieff rather than leave music. And because he had lived for forty years with George Gurdjieff, and had remained in a very intimate relationship… but not as a disciple, remember — that was forgotten; that was why the problem arose. The intimacy was because of the music; Gurdjieff needed a musician. He was taking his disciples around the world, showing people the immense effect of vibrations. In New York, in one of his shows, the disciples were dancing…

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They have to dance intensely and totally; they have to forget the whole world. But if the music stops, then they have to stop in whatever position they are in — if the hand is up, it remains up; if their eyes are open, they remain open, they don’t blink — a total stop. If one leg is up in dancing, it remains where it is. And when the dance came to its climax, he gave the indication to de Hartmann to stop. As the music stopped, every dancer had to stop — just like statues, as if suddenly they had become marble statues, no movement.

It is a tremendous experience. In that gap, when all movement has stopped, you simply feel your existence, your isness. But when he said to de Hartmann to stop… the dancers were moving in a certain round and they were so close to the edge of the stage that with the sudden stop, one dancer fell from the stage. Because there was no way, you could not do anything — whatever happened, happened, you had to stop. On top of him, another dancer fell. A whole line of dancers went on falling from the stage, as if they were dead bodies.


Gurdjieff and de Hartmann

The people who had seen that show could not believe… the silence of the disciples, their becoming centered, created a new vibration. Even the people in the audience who had no idea of any meditation certainly felt a new breeze, a silence surrounding them, and a peacefulness. For years, the intelligentsia of New York talked about the dance. They could not believe what had happened; it was simply sheer magic. But nothing happened to de Hartmann. He was just a technician: he played the music — he was an expert — and when the indication was given he stopped it.

But he remained in close proximity to Gurdjieff for forty years, and people naturally thought that he was a disciple, and a very close disciple. And when he left Gurdjieff, he maintained the illusion — perhaps he himself was in the illusion — that he was a disciple, that he had learned everything that Gurdjieff knows… forty years is enough. That’s why he went to America to open his own school. A desire to become a master is a simple ego number. His statement, Turiya, when he said to people, “You are more important to me than Mr. Gurdjieff,” is simply shameful — but this is the category of the Judas.

In every master’s life there are bound to be Judases. It seems to be the law of nature that the people who come to a master don’t come with the same motivation. A few come to seek the truth, a few come to learn how to be a master.

In the life of Basho, one of the great mystics of Japan, there is a beautiful incident.

[quote_box_center]He was sitting with his disciples and a man came and he said, “I also want to join.”

Basho said, “There is no barrier; the doors are open, you can join. But let me tell you: disciple-hood is an arduous thing. Are you ready for it, or is it just curiosity? If it is just curiosity then don’t waste your time, because soon you will have to leave. If it is a sincere search that you are ready to stake everything — life included — only then can you be a disciple.”

The man said, “I am not prepared. I never thought that to be a disciple costs so much.” And then he said, “Then what about the master? — I can become the master. If it is easier, then I can drop the idea of being a disciple; I can become the master.”

Basho said, “We will not prevent you from being a master, but unless one has passed through the arduous path of disciple-hood, one cannot be a master — although it is very easy. If there was some back door, I would have allowed you in. But there is no back door; you will have to come through the right channel of being a disciple.”

The man said, “Then I will think it over, and I will come again,” and he never came again.[/quote_box_center]

A few people simply come to the masters because they see a certain dimension of fulfillment for their ego, their ambition. To them, it is the same: to have power, prestige, respectability, richness, or to be a great master with thousands of disciples. They have no desire to know the truth, no search for knowing oneself. To them, to be a master is just like any other ambitious project of the world — to be a rich man, to be a politician, to be a prime minister, to be a governor. And you cannot prevent them, because sometimes when they come and they try to understand, they change. They see that when they came they had come with a wrong motive, but now that motive has been dropped. So they cannot be prevented from the very beginning… and one never knows when they will change; it may take years.

The master has to be patient. But these people are in a hurry, because life is slipping out of their hands.

Judas betrayed Jesus not for any other reason. It was not for thirty silver coins that he betrayed Jesus; he betrayed Jesus because he was the only educated disciple. He was more educated and cultured than Jesus himself. Moving with Jesus, seeing his teachings, he could easily visualize himself as a great master, greater than Jesus: “Because this man is simply a carpenter’s son, knows nothing much; still he has created a great stir in the country.”

It was a very simple arithmetic: Judas could see that if this man is removed, he can prove himself to be a great master; but if this man is alive he will always remain a disciple. Either he had to revolt against him and create a totally different following, which is more arduous… This was far better, if Jesus could be removed in some way. And Judas was bound to be the leader, with an established following. It is just like a shop with a credibility of hundreds of years — rather than opening a new shop… You may be offering better things to the world, but still, the old name has a credibility, an established credibility.

The competition is going to be tough and very difficult. The best way is somehow get the name of the old shop — just old bottles filled with new wine. Nobody bothers about the wine, everybody looks at the bottle — but the bottle has to be old. The old bottle is the proof of old wine. Simple logic…

And to remove Jesus was easy, because the Jews were after him and things could be done in such a way that nobody would ever know that Judas had done it. But he forgot one thing: nobody would ever know that Judas had done it, but how can Judas forget it? That realization came only later on. That realization came only when Jesus was crucified. Judas was in the crowd. He could not believe that he had done this — just to become a master, he had betrayed a friend, a master who loved him, trusted him.


One of the Dancing Shows

And now he forgot all about the old ego trip. Something new that he had never thought about, a great repentance, a guilt… within twenty-four hours he committed suicide. De Hartmann was not a disciple at all, but he knew certain techniques that Gurdjieff was practicing with disciples. He had become a technician. Because he had to supply the music to every technique, he knew the techniques in every detail — but he had never practiced them; his work was to supply the music.

But this is how the mind deceives you. Your own mind leads you astray. De Hartmann could not prove himself to be a master — without Gurdjieff, the music fell flat. He knew the technique, he knew the music, but he was not aware that the technique, the music, all were alive because of the living presence of a master. He was only a technician. That is the difference between a technician and a master.

Now if something goes wrong with the electricity any technician can come and fix it, but that does not mean that he is Edison who discovered electricity. Although he knows everything, he is not Edison. That master touch will be missing. It took three years for Edison to discover electricity. He started with many colleagues and students — he was a professor. And by and by, because every experiment went on failing, people started deserting him: “He seems to be mad, he is trying to do something impossible. Hundreds of experiments have failed, but that man seems to be strange… every day, early in the morning, he comes back to the lab with the same enthusiasm, the same zest.”

All his colleagues were feeling that it would be better to do something else — “We are wasting our time.” They were all frustrated. Except for Edison, nobody had any enthusiasm, and within three years all his colleagues and students had left. But Edison continued, and one night at three o’clock… the whole night he had been working, because he was coming so close. And that was his logic — he was saying to his colleagues, “Don’t desert me; you are deserting at the wrong time. We have tried hundreds of experiments and they have all failed. That means that the one experiment which is going to succeed is coming closer. Finally we will sort it out. We are dropping those which are going to fail, they are not on our list anymore. The list is becoming shorter — soon we will be able to find the right method.” They said, “Three years have been wasted, and we cannot imagine how long this ‘soon’ is going to take.” And that night he started to feel from the very beginning of the evening that he was coming closer: “Things are fitting; the puzzle is to be settled tonight.” He went on and on and on, and by three o’clock he saw the first electric bulb. It was so much light! No human eye had ever seen it before; people had seen only candles.

His wife was sleeping in the other room. She had been calling him again and again — “It is time to go to sleep.”

He said, “Not tonight; you just go to sleep and don’t disturb me. I am so close, and I don’t want to miss. Tomorrow things may be different, I may have forgotten something. Today I cannot leave it.”

At three o’clock, suddenly the light… It was almost like lightning in the house. The wife said, “You idiot, put that light out! Neither are you going to sleep nor will you allow me to sleep. And from where did you get this light?”

And he was sitting with unblinking eyes in a state of awe… unbelievable! It has happened!

And the poor woman was saying, “Turn the light off.”

He said, “This light is never going to be turned off. Now it is going to be on forever and ever.” Now every electrician knows — but he is only a technician, he is not an Edison. He can fall into the illusion that he is also as knowledgeable as Edison himself, but the charisma is not there, the genius is not there. Those miracle-making hands are not there.

De Hartmann tried hard in America, because in America Gurdjieff had been such a success. He went through the same cities giving the same shows, but everything fell flat. He could not figure out what was wrong — because the songs were the same, the dances were the same, the music was the same, the musician was the same… “And that man Gurdjieff was not doing anything, he was simply standing there. All that he used to do was to tell me, ‘Stop!’ Just that much, anybody can do. And I myself know at what point he used to say stop, so I stop myself at those points, exactly at those points — but the magic is not there.”

He forgot that he had never been a disciple — and he had become a master! He forgot that he had been only a musician. If he had remembered that he was only a musician — and in that too, he was brought to such refinement by Gurdjieff, not by himself — things would have been different. Turiya, the same thing happened with Ouspensky, who was really a disciple. De Hartmann can be simply cancelled; he was never a disciple.

But Ouspensky was a disciple, and one of the foremost disciples. But again, something took him away, and that something was similar to de Hartmann’s music — that was Ouspensky’s intelligence. He was a world-famous mathematician, a great writer. Even before meeting Gurdjieff he was known all over the world. Nobody knew Gurdjieff. In fact, it was Ouspensky who made Gurdjieff’s name known to the world; the whole credit goes to Ouspensky. In this whole century there has not been another writer of the same caliber.

He writes with such authority, with such beauty — and that became his fall, because Gurdjieff became famous through his books. Gurdjieff was not a writer; he had no special talent which is recognized by the world. He was purely a master. He could transform human beings, their consciousness, but that is not an art recognized by the world. And when Ouspensky saw that he had made Gurdjieff world-famous, why should he bother? He knew everything about what Gurdjieff was teaching, he had written everything; through him the whole world knew about the teaching of Gurdjieff… “I myself can teach.”


Ouspensky and Gurdjieff Artwork

He started a school in London. And such ungratefulness… he would not use Gurdjieff’s full name; he would simply call him “G”. Just to avoid the full name, Gurdjieff, he would use only the first letter, G. And he made it clear to his students, that “Gurdjieff was right as long as I was with him. I left him because he started going wrong. So his teaching is valid till I left him — beyond that, it has no significance.” But he was just a schoolteacher, a professor, with no aura of a master. It was really ridiculous to see him pretending to be a master, because even in teaching higher principles of consciousness he was using a blackboard.

Just the old habit of being a mathematician… So he would write on the blackboard, as if the people who had gathered were students. He would not look into anybody’s eyes. He was not an impressive personality. He would have been perfectly good as a professor in a university, but to be a master, to belong to the category of Gautam Buddha, Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti, is a totally different matter. He tried hard, but he could not manage anything; nothing happened.

And you will be surprised to know that the whole world condemned Gurdjieff, nobody condemned Ouspensky, nobody condemned de Hartmann. In fact, they had nothing worth condemning either. Gurdjieff had a teaching, a methodology to transform humanity. But these persons wanted to be masters. Seeing the power of Gurdjieff, they became power hungry. Seeing his influence, they started feeling inferior; they wanted to move away and create their own sphere of influence. They all failed.

So it seems to be in the very nature of things that this will go on happening. Wherever there will be a master, there will be Judases, Ouspenskys, de Hartmanns. With Mahavira there was Goshalak. With each great teacher, these people have followed like shadows — hungry for power. But to be a master is not an ego game. The power of the master is not of the power of the ego; it is the power of his humbleness, it is the power of his nothingness.

So these people will continue to happen, but they don’t make even a dent in human evolution. They simply spoil their own life and a great opportunity that was given to them.

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“The Osho Upanishad” by Osho