Almost from the beginning of Gurdjieff's teaching mission in the West, he was surrounded by controversy, rumour and speculation.

Critics, outside observers and even some of his own students questioned his intentions, credentials as a spiritual teacher, methods, traditional attitudes and beliefs, use of alcohol, sexual behavior and validity of the ideas he presented.

Was he a genuine spiritual teacher or a charlatan, an ‘Emissary from Above’ or a ‘black magician’?



Authenticity as a Spiritual Teacher

(updated 2017/05/26)

Conflict with Traditional Religious Beliefs
Authority and Mandate to Teach

Controversial Reputation

(updated 2023/09/28)

Criticism by Journalists and the French Metaphysical Community
Criticism by Pupils of Gurdjieff
Exaggerated Knowledge and Abilities
Gender Attitudes
Travelling Adventures

Drugs, Alcohol and Food

(updated 2023/10/27)

Gurdjieff's Knowledge and Use of Drugs and Alcohol
Use of Drugs and Alcohol with Pupils
Ritual Meals and Food as Sacraments

Sexual Beliefs and Practices

(updated 2023/10/27)

Gurdjieff's Beliefs About Sexuality
Sex, Marriage and Love
Gurdjieff's Sexual Behaviour

Gurdjieff's Psychological Ideas

System is Fragmentary and Incomplete
Pessimistic View of Human Nature
Lack of Love
Control of Negative Emotions
Emphasis on Effort and Struggle
Substituting Belief Systems

Gurdjieff's Cosmological Ideas

Unbelieveable and Incoherent
Lack of Scientific Validity
Materiality vs. Spirituality
Influence of the Moon
Planetary Influences
The 'Organ Kundabuffer'
The Development of a Human Soul