"All and Everything" extract
Chapter 42 -All and everything - J.I.Gurdjieff
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Chapter 42 /
“The changes now taking place in the process of this Christian custom of fasting are very characteristic and provide an excellent example for understanding how in general all the “good Christian customs” have little by little undergone change, until they have finally entirely ceased to exist.”
“An excellent illustration of this is the manner in which this fast is observed at the present day by those called “Russian Orthodox Christians“ ‘These Russian Orthodox Christians took their religion in its entirety from the Orthodox Greeks, who passed on to them, along with other Christian customs, this same custom of “fasting. “Among the millions of these Russian Orthodox Christians the majority still continue to fast, as is said, “rigorously,” according to the “Orthodox code” now existing there.”
“But as to the manner of their fasting, one cannot help recalling the saying of our dear Mullah Nassr Eddin in such cases:
“Isn’t it all the same if I sing like a donkey as long as they call me a nightingale?”
“It is just the same with the fasting of these Russian Orthodox Christians as long as they are called Christians and moreover Orthodox—what does it matter that they receive no “shock” whatever from the fast? “ ‘As I have said, these Russian Orthodox Christians of the present time still observe very strictly all the seasons and days of fast indicated in their code. ‘But as for what should or should not be eaten during a fast, it is just in that question that the “left paw of the curly-haired dog of ex-Emperor Wilhelm” lies buried.
“You will understand clearly how these contemporary Russian Orthodox Christians fast if I repeat the exact words of one of them, spoken to me not long ago in Russia.”
“I used to meet this Russian there on business and even became somewhat friendly with him and visited him at his house.
‘He was considered by those around him to be a very good Christian and the “patriarchal father of a family,” he came from the sect of the “Old Believers. “ ‘Old Believers are those Orthodox Christians whose ancestors, several centuries ago, refused to submit to new rules then laid down by “somebody or other,” and who remained faithful followers of the previous rules, also laid down by “somebody or other,” only a century or two before this religious schism.
“And so one day, when I was dining at the house of this worthy Old Believer in the company of several other Russians, also Orthodox Christians, he turned to me and said:
“Ekh! old dear!”
“By the way, I must tell you that the beings of this group have the habit, after the second glass of genuine Russian vodka, of calling their acquaintances by various pet names, such as “old dear,” “my zapoopoonchik,” “my pot-bellied beauty,” “my little brown Jug,” and so on and so forth.
“And so this worthy Russian Orthodox Christian, addressing me as “old dear,” said:
“Never mind, old dear! We shall soon be having Lent and then we shall feast together on genuine Russian dishes .
“To tell the truth, here in Russia, during ‘meat days’ we almost always eat the same things .
“But during fasts, especially during Lent, it is quite a different story! “Not a day goes by but one is privileged to enjoy the most succulent dishes…
…“These last researches of mine made it clear to me that although people’s psyche does indeed deteriorate from the constant introduction into the organism of the substance ‘eknokh,’ yet it is only at certain times of the year that this substance has a particularly harmful effect.
“So, my brethren in Christ from all I have said and chiefly from my latest observations, made daily during a whole year on numbers of people, and which clearly showed me that the intensity of the harmful effect of the substance ‘eknokh’ increases at certain times of the year, I can only now make bold to express my personal opinion that if there were to be spread among the followers of the teachings of Jesus Christ the custom of abstaining at certain designated times of the year from the use of products in the formation of which the substance ‘eknokh’ plays a dominant part, such a custom could conceivably be observed and would bring the people a real benefit.
“As my numerous alchemical investigations have shown me, the substance ‘eknokh’ participates in the formation of all living organisms without exception, wherever they may exist—on the surface of the Earth, within its depths, in the water, in the atmosphere, and so on. “This substance is also present in everything contributing to the formation of these organisms, as for example in the amniotic fluid of every species of pregnant female, and in such products as milk, eggs, caviar, and so on.
“ ‘The ideas expressed by the great Hertoonano so astounded and agitated all the members of the Council of Kelnuan that the commotion made it impossible for him to continue, so he was obliged to abandon his speech and descend from the rostrum.
“ ‘The manuscript stated further that by the end of the day the members of the Council of Kelnuan had come to a unanimous decision to specify, with the help of the great Hertoonano, those times of the year when the effects of the substance “eknokh” were most harmful for people, and to spread widely among the followers of Jesus Christ the custom of fasting at these times of the year—that is, of abstaining from products containing the substance “eknokh” injurious for them.
“ With this, the Judaic-Essenian manuscript ended.”