Chief being-duties

From “The Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson”  G.I Gurdjieff


“At that period, the processes I have mentioned were flowing more often than ever on that continent.

“Some of these processes took place between different communities and

some within the borders of a single community, these latter processes

afterward came to be called ‘civil wars.’

“One of the chief causes of these terrible processes, both between and

within communities on the continent of Asia,

was a religion only recently formed and based, fantastically, on the teaching of a genuine Messenger of our Endlessness, Saint Muhammad.



“The society I am speaking of was founded by the brothers of a fraternity then existing in Central Asia under the name of the ‘Assembly of the Enlightened. ‘

“Here it must be noted that in those days the brothers of this fraternity were greatly venerated by the other three-brained beings of almost the whole of your planet, and hence this brotherhood was sometimes also called the ‘Assembly of All the Living Saints on the Earth. ‘

“This brotherhood of three-brained terrestrial beings had been founded long before by beings who had noticed in themselves the consequences of the properties of the organ kundabuffer and had come together to work collectively for their deliverance from these consequences.

“And so, when these terrible processes of reciprocal destruction became altogether too frequent on their continent of Asia, certain members of this fraternity, with the most venerable Brother Olmantaboor at their head, decided for the first time to see whether it might be possible, if not to abolish this terrible phenomenon from their planet completely, at least to diminish such a crying evil.

“Devoting themselves to carrying out this decision, they then visited

various countries of the continent of Asia, and wherever they went they

preached very movingly against the colossal crime and sin of these acts of

men, and thus found many people earnestly in agreement with them.


“The result of their impartial and truly humanitarian labors was the formation in the city of Mosulopolis of that large and serious society of men-beings called ‘The Earth Belongs to Our Common Creator and Is Equally Free for All His Creatures. ‘

“From the very beginning, the members of this society accomplished many things for this aim that no other beings

of the Earth were able to accomplish, either before or since.

“And they were able to do this only because, from the start, almost the whole of their program was very well conceived from the point of view of its feasibility in the conditions existing there.

“Among other things, the basic program of this society laid out a series of steps to obtain the following results first, the establishment for all the beings of the continent of Asia of one common religion, which they proposed to found upon the teaching, slightly changed, of the sect known as the ‘Parsis’, second, the adoption of one common language, which was to be ‘Turkoman,’ the oldest language on the continent of Asia, whose roots had entered into many Asiatic languages And third, the fundamental program of this society included the aim of organizing in the center of Asia, in the city of ‘Margelan,’ the capital of what was called the khanate of ‘Ferghania,’ a single central government for all the countries of Asia under the name of the ‘Council of the Elders,’ the members of which had to be honorable beings from all the Asiatic communities.

“And it was given this name because only the oldest and most honorable beings were worthy to participate in it.

“According to their understanding, only such beings of their planet were

able to be impartial and just toward all other beings of the Earth, irrespective

of their religion or nationality.

“From the time it was founded in the city of Mosulopolis this society was

composed of beings belonging to almost all the Asiatic communities.

“Among them were beings called ‘Mongols,’ ‘Arabs,’ ‘Kirghiz,’ ‘Georgians,’

‘Little Russians,’ and ‘Tamils’—even the personal representative of

Tamerlane, the famous conqueror of that time.

“Thanks to their intense, truly impartial, and unselfish activity, those ‘wars’ and ‘civil wars’ which had been on the

increase on the continent of Asia began to diminish, and it was anticipated that many other good results might be attained for their aims.

“But just then something happened which led to the break-up of this eminent society of men-beings on that unparalleled planet.

“All the following events came about through the influence of a famous philosopher, named Atarnakh, and of the theory expounded by him in a treatise under the title ‘Why Do Wars Occur on the Earth?’

“When this philosopher made his appearance among the members of the society, all their ideas were turned upside down.

“I know the story of this philosopher, Atarnakh, very well, because during my studies of the results of the labors of the Most Saintly Ashiata Shiemash I needed to know about the activities of this philosopher in detail, and also about him personally.

“This Atarnakh was born in that same city of Mosulopolis, into a family of what are called ‘Kurds.’

“After reaching responsible age, he became a great learned being— learned, that is, for the planet Earth.

“This Kurd, Atarnakh, began by devoting many Earth years to the persevering study of every possible subject that he thought might give him an answer to the question ‘What is in general the sense and meaning of man’s existence?’ And in the course of his studies it seems that somehow there fell into his hands a very ancient but well-preserved Sumerian manuscript.

“This manuscript was well preserved because it had been inscribed with the blood of a being named ‘chirman’ on skins of the snake-being called ‘kaliandjeks. ‘

“As my investigations made clear to me, the contents of this manuscript, inscribed by some learned being of ancient times, greatly interested the philosopher Atarnakh, who was

particularly struck by one passage in the manuscript where the following supposition was made: ‘In all probability there exists in the world some law of the reciprocal maintenance of everything existing. ” ‘Obviously our lives also serve for maintaining something great or small in the world. “The idea expressed in the ancient manuscript so captivated the

philosopher Atarnakh that from then on he devoted himself entirely to the

study of this one aspect of the question that had interested him.

“This idea served as the basis for a whole plausible theory which, after

several years of investigation and minute experimental verification of his

conclusions, he expounded in his chief work entitled ‘Why Do Wars Occur on

the Earth?’

“I also became acquainted with this theory of his.

“It was indeed close to reality.”All the hypotheses of this Kurd, Atarnakh, were very similar to the

essence of the great fundamental cosmic law, Trogoautoegocrat, existing in

our Universe, which I explained to you more or less in detail when I was

speaking about the Holy Planet Purgatory

“It was very definitely proved in this theory of the philosopher Atarnakh

that there must inevitably exist in the world a law of the ‘reciprocal

maintenance of everything that exists,’ and that this ‘reciprocal maintenance’ is

assisted by certain chemical substances through which the process of the

spiritualization of beings, that is to say, ‘life,’ takes place, and these chemical

substances serve the maintenance of all that exists only after the life of a

being ceases, that is, when a being dies.

“The theory of Atarnakh also fully proved, with the help of many logical

confrontations, that at certain periods there must infallibly take place on the

Earth a specific quantity of deaths, which in their totality must yield

vibrations of a specific ‘degree of power.’

“Once at a general meeting of the being-members of the society, ‘The Earth Belongs to Our Common Creator and Is Equally Free for All His Creatures,’ this anything but ordinary terrestrial three-brained being, who was also the elected representative of the whole population of the country called ‘Kurdistan,’ at the request of his fellow members, expounded his theory very eloquently and in detail, and this aroused great confusion and agitation among the members of the society.

“They were so struck by his theory that at first a ‘sepulchral silence’ prevailed among them, and they were so stupefied that no one could stir. Only after rather a long interval did such an uproar break out that it seemed as if each one’s life depended on the degree of his excitement and the vehemence of its expression.

“The result of it all was that late that night they unanimously decided to select from their number several learned beings to investigate jointly the details of this theory which had impressed them so strongly, and afterward to make a report on it to the general assembly.

“From the very next day, the selected learned members of the society set to work very earnestly to familiarize themselves with the theory of this Atarnakh.

“But to the misfortune of all terrestrial three-brained beings of future times, it turned out that although most of the appointed learned members were well advanced in years, and those baneful functions which make the being of your favorites ‘jealous’ and ‘greedy’ were almost atrophied in them, nevertheless for various reasons, chiefly owing to their upbringing in childhood, certain of them had not yet acquired enough experience to be convinced that their dreams—ensuing from that abnormal education of theirs— could never be realized, and they were therefore not disillusioned enough to be fully impartial and just.

“And in consequence of this, from that very same day,

as they became familiar with the details of this astonishing theory, they began to get into the state typical of terrestrial beings, that is, they began to forget what had been said in that theory which had so struck them, and gradually re-turning, as is proper to three-brained beings there, to their former purely subjective and thus always changeable convictions, they forthwith split into two opposing parties.

“Some of them began without any logical criticisms to take on faith all the suppositions advanced in this theory, others, however, as is proper to most of the ‘learned beings’ of the Earth, began to say and to argue just the opposite, finally working themselves up into a state of hostility not only against his theory but even against Atarnakh himself.

“In short, my boy, those learned beings who had been chosen to make the

detailed study of the theory of Atarnakh, instead of helping to extricate the

other members from their bewilderment and agitation and to settle the

disputes among themselves, only increased the confusion of their ideas, and

gradually, in the common presence of each member of this earnest society,

data automatically arose for two completely opposite convictions.

“The first of these convictions was that everything takes place precisely according to the theory of the philosopher Atarnakh, that is to say, that ‘wars’ and ‘civil wars’ must proceed periodically on the Earth, quite independently of the personal consciousness of men And the second was the conviction held previously by all the members of the society, according to which, if they succeeded in carrying out the program their society had undertaken, it would be possible to destroy this evil on their planet, root and branch, after which everything would proceed in a desirable order.

“From then on, disputes, quarrels, and disturbances arose among all the members of that society, and in this case also, the same began to proceed as had long before become customary there. These quarrels and disturbances soon spread

to the ordinary beings, that is, to the citizens of Mosulopolis, inflaming their abnormal psyche.

“I do not know how all this would have ended if the brothers of the ‘Assembly of the Enlightened’ had not arrived just then and taken a hand in this affair.

“Due to their influence, all the members of this serious society gradually quieted down and started once again to reflect and deliberate, peaceably and earnestly, upon what to do in the future.

“The result of their serious reflections and deliberations was that they unanimously elected Atarnakh as their chief director, and begged him to help them find some way out of this situation.

“After several meetings directed by the Kurd philosopher Atarnakh himself, the members of the society came unanimously to the following categorical conclusion.

” ‘In accordance with the laws of Nature, wars and civil wars must always proceed periodically on Earth, independently of man’s will, and this is because at certain periods Nature requires a greater quantity of deaths.

” ‘In view of this we are all obliged to recognize, with great sorrow but with inevitable inner resignation, that no decision of man’s Reason can abolish the shedding of blood between states and within a state We therefore unanimously resolve to wind up our current affairs and put an end to everything undertaken by our society, and then perforce to separate and go home to take up again the “inescapable burden of daily life. ”

“It was only after this categorical resolution was passed, and all the members of that serious society had unanimously decided to begin that very day liquidating all their affairs, that the Kurd, Atarnakh, who although considered there as truly learned was nonetheless very proud and self-loving, ascended the rostrum and spoke as follows: ‘My honorable colleagues

” ‘I am sincerely grieved that unintentionally I have been the cause of the

dissolution of this great philanthropic undertaking to which you, the wisest

and most honorable men of all the countries of the Earth have, for several

years, devoted more impartial and unselfish efforts than anyone on Earth has

ever made or ever will be able to make for others—that is to say, for beings

quite unknown and indifferent to you.

‘For a number of years you have labored unceasingly to obtain for the

masses what is most essential for their welfare and, although I too have

labored upon my theory for many years, also for people unknown to me, this

theory has brought all your tireless efforts and benevolent aspirations to


” ‘The consciousness that I am to blame for all the misunderstandings that

have arisen among you has given me no peace these last few days, and I have

been thinking and pondering continuously whether there is not some way to

repair this involuntary fault of mine.

” ‘And so, my wise colleagues, selected from all the countries of the Earth,

I wish to share with you the final conclusion to which my deliberations have

brought me.

” ‘If the universal laws I have discovered are an obstacle to the means you

were counting on to bring a certain happiness to mankind, these same laws,

however strange it may seem to you at first glance, could, provided they are

used otherwise, serve for the attainment of the aim we have set ourselves

” ‘Now listen to what we must do to attain this aim.” ‘The results of all my researches clearly prove that at certain periods

Nature requires a specific number of deaths on the Earth, at the same time I

have succeeded in establishing that for the needs of Nature it makes no

difference whose deaths these are, whether of people or of other forms of


‘From this it follows that if the number of deaths required by Nature is made up by the deaths of other forms of life, the required number of deaths of men will obviously be proportionately reduced.

” ‘And it will be quite possible to achieve this if all the members of our society continue to work with the same intensity, only no longer for the aim of carrying out our former program, but to revive on Earth, on a larger scale than before, the ancient custom among men of offering sacrifices to their gods and saints by destroying the lives of other forms of beings.

“When this proud Kurd had finished his speech, the members of the society ‘The Earth Belongs to Our Common Creator and Is Equally Free for All His Creatures’ became no less astonished and agitated than on the occasion when he first expounded his famous theory.

“For nearly three days and nights following that memorable speech they scarcely adjourned, and in the halls that had been put at the disposal of this all-planetary society of men-beings by the citizens of Mosulopolis, there was a continuous rumble of discussion and deliberation At last, on the fourth day, an official general meeting was convened at which, by general consent, a resolution was carried to do in the future whatever was indicated by the great Kurd philosopher, Atarnakh.

“That same day, the name of the society was changed to ‘The Earth Is Only for Men.

“Several days later, the members of that society, now under its new name, left the city of Mosulopolis for their native countries where, under general instructions issued by the philosopher Atarnakh, they took measures for reviving and implanting among the peoples of the continent of Asia the idea of ‘pleasing’ their gods and idols by killing beings of different forms.

“And indeed, when they later began putting their new program into practice, the custom of offering sacrifices to their imaginary ‘saints’ by destroying the existence of various weak or stupid one-brained and two-brained beings was soon reestablished over the whole continent of Asia.

“From the beginning, the members of this new society, ‘The Earth Is Only for Men,’ carried out their task chiefly through what are called the ‘clergy’ of the religion founded upon the teaching of Saint Muhammad, which was very widespread at that period over the entire Asiatic continent.

“This time the custom was adopted on a larger scale than it had been when, at the request of the Angel Looisos, I had descended there to do what I could to eradicate it among the three-brained beings As I have already told you, His Conformity had then regarded this custom as very undesirable in relation to cosmic phenomena on a greater scale because the number of your favorites had greatly increased, thereby increasing the number of those anxious to ‘give pleasure’ to their fantastic idols.

“The destruction of the existence of beings of other forms was now resumed not only at home among their families but also publicly in special places.

“But this time these special places were chiefly associated in some way with the memory of Saint Muhammad, or of his disciples.

“The number of ‘victims’ increased year by year to such an extent that only about a hundred of their years after the formation of the society ‘The Earth Is Only for Men,’ there were slaughtered each year, in a single place, up to a hundred thousand beings like those that had been sacrificed in earlier times, called ‘oxen,’ ‘sheep,’ ‘camels,’ and so on.

“During the last two centuries, the most favored among the places honored in this way were the cities of ‘Mecca’ and ‘Medina’ in ‘Arabia,’ the city of ‘Meshed’ in the region

of ‘Baghdad,’ the environs of ‘Yangi-kishlak’ in ‘Turkestan,’ and several others.

“In a word, there on the continent of Asia, ‘blood again flowed like a river. ‘

“These sacrificial offerings increased during the Muslim feasts called ‘Bairam’ and ‘Goorban,’ and likewise during the Christian festivals called ‘Shrovetide,’ ‘Saint George’s Day,’ and so on

“And so, my boy, when this abnormality was again implanted in three-brained beings there through the strenuous efforts of the members of the society ‘The Earth Is Only for Men,’ those terrible processes of theirs did indeed take place less often and on a smaller scale In this way the sporadic, relatively great mortality due to these processes was diminished, but the general death rate of the three-brained beings was not only not reduced by this but even increased, since on account of the gradual and steady deterioration in the quality of the vibrations emanating from their presence for the needs of Nature, there was a further shortening in the duration of their existence and at the same time an increase in what is called their ‘birth rate. ‘

“So it continued until the time when a certain Assadulla Ibrahim Ogly, a famous Persian dervish, who arose and was formed into a responsible being on that same continent, turned all this in quite another direction.

“The dervish Assadulla Ibrahim Ogly began his activity there only some thirty or forty terrestrial years ago.

“Being a simple fanatic of Islam, without the serious and profound knowledge of the Kurd, Atarnakh, he saw in the custom of sacrificial offerings only a horrible injustice on the part of men toward beings of other forms, and he set as the aim of his existence to achieve, at any cost, the destruction on Earth of this custom, which in his opinion was anti-religious.

“From then on he traveled everywhere on the continent of Asia, chiefly in those countries where most of the three-brained beings were followers of Islam, and he worked mainly through dervishes like himself, who were to be found in almost all these communities.

“Everywhere he went, this ingenious and energetic Persian, Assadulla Ibrahim Ogly, very cleverly persuaded these other dervishes of the ‘truth’ of his idea, and these in their turn persuaded the ordinary beings of Asia not only that the destruction of the existence of beings of other forms is displeasing to God, but that those who destroyed them would even be obliged to suffer a double punishment ‘in another world’ in hell, both for their own ‘sins’ and for the ‘sins’ of the beings they had slaughtered, and so on.

“Thanks to this kind of preaching about the ‘other world’ by dervishes, considered great authorities in such matters, the beings of Asia did indeed, year by year, reduce the number of their sacrificial offerings.

“And the final result of all the activity of this ‘humane Persian dervish’ was precisely the last great process of reciprocal destruction or, as your favorites call it, ‘the First World War. ‘

“So, my boy, although, as I have already told you, the hypothesis put forward by that unusual learned Kurd, Atarnakh, came very close to the truth, he failed to understand the most important thing, which is that the vibrations required by Great Nature that are formed from the emanations issuing from the process of their ‘rascooarno’ have no significance quantitatively, but only qualitatively.

“It is possible that since Atarnakh was an uncommon terrestrial being, he might have understood this if he had known in detail the results obtained when there had been more or less established on that planet the conditions of

being-existence especially created for the three-brained beings through the most saintly labors of the essence-loving, Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash.

“During that period, not only did their ‘death rate’ begin to decline, but

what they call their ‘birth rate’ also declined.

“And this was because the three-brained beings there were then existing more or less as is becoming to three-centered beings, and the emanations issuing from them yielded vibrations more akin to those required from them by Nature, both for the Most Great Common-Cosmic Trogoautoegocrat in general and for the maintenance of the Moon and Anulios in particular And thereafter, Great Nature did not fail to adapt herself to the decline in their birth rate, the more so since for the following period the need for these vibrations to maintain the existence of the planet Moon had to be reduced.

“Among the diverse aspects of this fundamental question, the one relating to the meaning and aim of the existence of your favorites is so important for understanding many things taking place on the Earth—and, by the way, also for understanding everything touching the causes of war—that I find it necessary to refer to it once more.

“I first learned that the destiny of the three-brained beings arising on this planet is chiefly to elaborate, by the very process of their existence, the vibrations required by Nature for the maintenance of those former parts of their planet now called ‘Moon’ and ‘Anulios’ when, as you remember, I was worthy for the second time of conversing personally with His Conformity the Angel, now Archangel, Looisos.

“His Conformity then told me that although the movement of the two former parts of the planet Earth had been finally regulated to accord with the movement of the general harmony, and though all apprehension of some surprise or other in the immediate future had vanished, nevertheless, to avoid any possible complications in the distant future it had been categorically decided by the Most High and Most Sacred Individuals to take the necessary measures to insure the formation on the Earth of what is called the sacred ‘askokin,’ so that this sacred cosmic substance, indispensable for the maintenance of the Moon and Anulios, might issue continuously from your planet.

“His Conformity also explained that this cosmic substance, the sacred ‘askokin,’ exists throughout the Universe, generally blended with the sacred substances ‘abrustdonis’ and ‘helkdonis,’ and therefore, in order to have the degree of vivifyingness required for such maintenance, the sacred substance ‘askokin’ must first be freed from the other two substances.

“To tell the truth, my boy, I did not understand at once all that he told me, it all became clear to me only later when, during my studies of the fundamental cosmic laws, I learned that these sacred substances ‘abrustdonis’ and ‘helkdonis’ are precisely those substances which enter into the formation and perfecting of the higher being-bodies of the three-brained beings—that is, the ‘kesdjan body’ and the ‘body of the soul’—and that the separation of the sacred ‘askokin’ from the two other substances proceeds when beings, on whatever planet they may be, transmute these sacred substances in themselves for the forming and perfecting of their higher bodies, by means of conscious labor and intentional suffering.

“And when I became interested in these favorites of yours and began to observe and study their strange psyche, I finally understood why and to what ends Great Nature herself and the Most High and Most Saintly Individuals are always patiently adapting themselves to all things In this connection, the following personal opinion was formed in me.

“If only these favorites of yours would seriously ponder all this and serve Nature honestly in this respect, their being-self-perfecting might then proceed automatically,

even without the participation of their consciousness, and in any case, the poor Nature of this ill-fated planet would not have to strain so hard to adapt herself to remain within the common-cosmic harmony.

“But to the misfortune of everything existing in the Megalocosmos, there is no honesty in your favorites in fulfilling their duties, not even toward that Nature to whom, in truth, they owe their very existence.

“As regards the absence of honesty in your favorites in the fulfillment of their duty toward Nature, I have just remembered a very wise saying of our incomparable teacher Mullah Nasr Eddin, the hidden meaning of which is borne out in the present case.

” ‘Plague and cholera are in any event nobler than human honesty, for people with a conscience can at least live at peace with them. ‘

“And so, my dear Hassein, when it became clear that there had entirely disappeared from the psyche of your favorites the instinctive need for conscious labor and intentional suffering in order to take in and transmute in themselves the sacred substances abrustdonis and helkdonis—thus releasing the sacred askokin for the maintenance of the Moon and Anulios—Great Nature was constrained to adapt herself and to extract this sacred substance by other means, one of them being precisely that periodic terrifying process of reciprocal destruction.

“Here, for a correct valuation of your contemporary favorites, it will be opportune to remind you that after the organ kundabuffer had been removed from the three-brained beings of your planet, the first generations of their descendants very soon learned that a certain substance had to be transformed through them and that their assistance in this transformation was one of their chief being-duties.

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