What Swami Vivekananda was to Rama Krishna Paramhansa, was Ouspensky to George Gurdjieff — both the mystics had the fortune of having the most wonderful disciples, who made their spiritual masters very famous all over the world. These gurus were enlightened mystics, self-realised souls, but not so educated to communicate effectively with modern scientific people. Swami Vivekananda took his master’s message to the United States and the whole world came to know about his master after the brilliant talk he delivered in Chicago. He was certainly an intellectual giant who articulated Vedantic teaching in such a way that educated people could understand easily.
Gurdjieff was the greatest enlightened mystic born in Russia, but his teaching was so mystical and irrational that the world would not have understood him directly. Ouspensky made it possible. Richard Lloyd writes: “Ouspensky was an incredible man, blessed with a towering intellect and a decided realisation that the world was wrong, and that somewhere was an underground stream of perfect knowledge and tradition.”
He adds that Ouspensky had a method of oration that drew people to him. He could expound on the most sublime and elusive subjects with incredible clarity. He had an almost flawless memory and could recite almost anything that passed before his eyes or ears. He, therefore, drew large crowds who listened to his lectures, mostly about the most abstruse subjects concerned with the destiny and fate of man, and the hidden knowledge which he had sought after.
During the short time Ouspensky spent with Gurdjieff, he wrote down everything that he could understand and compiled them into the book titled In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching.
In one of his talks, Osho elaborates: Certainly, Gurdjieff had fragments. He tried hard to make a system out of them, but he was not a poetic, imaginative man to create the system. So although he wrote three books, only one was published in his lifetime. The next, Meetings with Remarkable Men, was published after his death. He had certainly met remarkable people unknown to history — but they will always remain unknown to history. They were remarkable because they had found some fragments of truth, but they were not able to speak about it or explain it. You could be with them and somehow find a way to understand it.
Gurdjieff used to say, “There are people who have found the truth. They cannot say it, they cannot show it to you — you have to be with them to steal it.”
Mystics like Rama Krishna, Raman Maharishi and Gurdjieff are the ones who attained enlightenment, the highest possibility of spiritual unfolding — any sensitive person can feel this in their presence, but they don’t have the language, they don’t have the concepts, they don’t have the words. And perhaps that’s why their truth is so pure, worth stealing. Every disciple who is dedicated and full of trust can steal it, and it is a wordless transmission, as Osho always reminds us: Those who cling to my words, miss me.