Through the Lens of Gurdjieff
Glimpses of Contemporary Sufism in Turkey
Keywords:Gurdjieff, Sufism, Sufism in Turkey
G. I. Gurdjieff (c.1866–1949) was born in Gyumri, Armenia and raised in the Caucasus and eastern Asia Minor. He also traveled extensively throughout Turkey to places of pilgrimage and in search of Sufi teachers. Through the lens of Gurdjieff’s notion of legominism, or the means by which spiritual teachings are transmitted from successive generations, this article explores the continuing significance of spiritual practice and tradition and the ways that these forms remain relevant in shaping contemporary trends in spirituality. Beginning with Gurdjieff’s use of legominism, the article provides reflection on some early findings done in field research in Turkey— through site visits, interviews and participant-observation—conducted in the summers of 2014 and 2015. The aim of the project is both to meet individuals and groups, particularly connected to Sufism, that may have some contact with the influences that Gurdjieff would have been familiar with, and to visit some of the sites that were part of Gurdjieff’s early background and which served to inform his work. Considerations of contemporary practices include the view of spiritual transmission, and practices of pilgrimage, prayer and sohbet, or spiritual conversation, in an ongoing discourse about spiritual transformation.
Bakhtin, Mikhail 1990 The Dialogic Imagination. University of Texas Press, Texas.
Bayman, Henry 2001 The Station of No Station: Open Secrets of the Sufis. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley.
----- 2003 The Secret of Islam: Love and Law in the Religion of Ethics. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley.
----- 2014 Personal interview. June 1, 2014.
----- 2015 The Four Books and Their Meaning. http://www.henrybayman.com (accessed July 10, 2016).
Bennett, J. G. 1973 Gurdjieff Making a New World. Harper and Row, New York.
----- 1984 Gurdjieff: A Very Great Enigma. Weiser, York Beach.
----- 2000 [1976/1977] Journeys in Islamic Countries. Bennett Books, Santa Fe.
Elliot, Hugh n.d. Pierre Elliot. http://www.gurdjieffdominican.com/Pierre_Elliot_biography.html (accessed May 4, 2010).
Emre, Yunus 2014 Selected Poems of Yunus Emre. Trans. Ersin Balci. Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchange, Ankara.
Gurdjieff, G. I. 1950 Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson. E. P. Dutton and Co., New York.
----- 1963 Meetings with Remarkable Men. E. P. Dutton and Co., New York.
Kabbani, Muhammad Hisham 1995 The Naqshbandi Sufi Way: History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain. Kazi Publications, Chicago.
----- n.d. A Talk to the Gurdjieff Group. http://naqshbandi.org/library/safety/gurdjieff. htm (accessed March 3, 2010).
Le Gall, Dina 2004 A Culture of Sufism: Naqshbandis in the Ottoman World, 1450–1700. SUNY Press, New York.
Lapidus, Ira 1992 Sufism in Ottoman Islamic Society. In The Dervish Lodge: Architecture, Art, and Sufism in Ottoman Turkey, edited by Raymond Lifchez, 15–32. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Mevlevi Order of America n.d. About Mevlevi Order of America. http://www.hayatidede.org (accessed July 12, 2016).
Moore, James 1991 Gurdjieff: Anatomy of a Myth: A Biography. Element Books, Boston.
Pittman, Michael 2012 Classical Spirituality in Contemporary America: The Confluence and Contribution of G. I. Gurdjieff and Sufism. Continuum, New York.
Taylor, Paul Beekman 2008 G.I. Gurdjieff: A New Life. Eureka Editions, Utrecht.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.