“A master meets you for the sole purpose of showing you the direction, the way to the inner master which is called conscience. He helps you to discover that you are its subject, but that were not aware of it.”
René Zuber, Who Are You Monsieur Gurdjieff, p. 65
The content of this paper has its origins in a passage in Ouspensky’s book In Search of the Miraculous. Mr Gurdjieff gathered a number of his disciples and asked them to state their aims in life. One person said that his aim was to know the future. Another person said that his aim was to know what happens after death. A third person said the he did not care about either the future or life after death. He said that his aim was “to be the master of myself.” It went on like this for a while and then Mr. G stopped them by saying that the best formulation of an aim was “to be one’s own master.” He went on to say that only a master can know the future and what happens after death. I have to confess that this passage from Ouspensky’s book had great influence over me.
Who is the Inner Master?
The answer to this question is straightforward. It is given in the quote from René Zuber’s book used as opener to this paper. The inner master is Conscience. Zuber’s answer is further corroborated in Beelzebub’s Tales. The inner master is in the Teaching of the Most Most Saintly Ashiata Shiemash. We are told on page 368 of the book: “Only-he-will-be-called-and-will-become-the-Son-of-God-who-acquires-in-himself-Conscience.” The inner master is the Son of God in us. He is Objective Conscience.
The Inner Master, Conscience, does not live in isolation, like personality does. The Inner Master, Conscience, lives in Unity. The Inner Master has his own Law of Tree and lives from this law. Objective Conscience is the same everywhere and there can be no two different Objective Consciences.
It is only when man awakens to the Inner Master or Conscience, that he no longer need help from outside. Now man knows what he has to do and how he has to do it. He is now a law onto himself. He is the master of himself. He is now lonely and solitary. It is of this man of conscience whom Jesus speaks of in the Gospel of Thomas:
“Blessed are the solitary and elect, for you will find the kingdom. For you are from it, and to it you will return.”
The Inner Master, Conscience, can also be viewed in terms of vibrations or vibrational notes. The Inner Master never distorts Unity with his vibrational note. The striving of the Inner Master is always towards Unity. That is because he has his own Law of Three.
The Way to Conscience or Inner Master.
There is one and only one way to Conscience or Inner Master. It is Suffering. That is at the very heart of the teaching of Ashiata Shiemash. Suffering is the name of the street, of the Way. We are told on page 372 of Beelzebub’s Tales:
“‘In all three-brained beings of the whole of our Universe without exception, among whom are also we men, owing to the data crystallized in our common presences for engendering in us the Divine impulse of conscience, “the-whole-of-us” and the whole of our essence, are, and must be, already in our foundation, only suffering.”
The kind of suffering leading to Conscience is the kind of suffering one experiences in Holy Purgatory. It may be designated as Purgatorial suffering. This suffering is much higher than intentional suffering and voluntary suffering. With these two kinds of suffering, plus conscious labors, one makes it to Purgatory. But it is with Purgatorial suffering that one purges and purifies the so-called “sins of the soul.” Contrary to intentional suffering, which must always be self-initiated, Purgatorial suffering always come from Above, straight from the soul. At a certain level of Being, it is the soul that chooses for us. Directions then come from Above, directly from the soul.
There is a kind of suffering that happens only in Purgatory and it is connected to Objective Conscience. So, in order to connect with this Conscience and the Inner Master, one needs suffering, a special kind of suffering known as Purgatorial suffering. True and genuine remorse of Conscience, not to be confused with psychological guilt, is a special kind of Purgatorial suffering.
It is of this man who has suffered in Holy Purgatory that speaks Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas:
“Blessed is the man who has suffered and found life.”
It is obvious that the way to the Inner Master or Conscience is totally different than the way to acquired conscience. The former is awakened through Suffering; the latter is acquired through every day ordinary life lessons and experiences. One is awakened through efforts; the other is learned from living ordinary life. Objective Conscience is the link to our Creator, to God; acquired conscience is keeping up appearances in front of other men. Objective Conscience is connection with the Higher in us; acquired conscience is based on relative and subjective conventions. The former leads to objective morality; the latter leads to subjective morality.
Moments of Conscience:
The moments of Conscience are those when the Inner Master speaks directly and clearly. Those moments when one lives and is alive. One knows what one has to do and why one has to do it. Those are also moments of real self-observation because, as Mr. Gurdjieff said repeatedly, self-observation is the function of the master. Only the master can do self-observation, because all other observations are identifications. There are lots of identifications. But in real self-observation the master observes, and there is a true and real self-observation.
In the beginning, moments of true Conscience are very rare because in the beginning what speaks in us is acquired conscience. But as we become more and more connected to Objective Conscience, we have more and more moments of true Conscience. We can then rely on the voice speaking in us because this voice is the Representative of the Creator in us. We then understand why this body exists and what its function in life is.
Conscience and the First Liberation of Man.
On the last chapter of Beelzebub’s Tales, Mr. Gurdjieff, now out of character, speaks of the first liberation of man. This first liberation, he tells us is the liberation from the inner impulses arising from the crystallization of the consequences of the properties of the organ Kundbuffer. This organ was implanted in us, so that we should perceive reality upside down. The organ was later removed from us but its properties remained vestigial. Kundabuffer assure us that we do not even care we live in prison. But we can escape from prison. Liberation from the consequences of the properties of Kundabuffer takes place when man awakens to Conscience.
There are quite a number of unbecoming being-impulses arising from the crystallization of the properties of the organ Kundabuffer. Beelzebub’s Tales lists over seventy of them. However, two of them ought to be noticed because of the hypnotic spell over man. They are “Mr. False Self-Love” and “Madame Vanity.” They have even be called the “Messengers of the Devil on Earth.”
The man who has decided to work on himself and attain the first liberation, on his way to meet the Inner Master or awaken Conscience, must first free himself from the grasps of “Mr. False Self-Love” and “Madame Vanity.” They are at the threshold of the first liberation of man. There is no other way.
The first liberation of man is also known as inner liberation. It is freedom from these two (and many other) unbecoming inner being-impulses arising in man from the crystallization of the properties of the organ Kundabuffer. But there is a second liberation which is much higher than the first liberation. It is liberation from external influences. Every man desires this liberation but it is possible only if the first liberation is first attained.
It is therefore very profitable for man to awaken to Objective Conscience or Inner Master. This is his first liberation and it is the result of work on himself. Man must be willing to go through the Purgatorial suffering that alone leads to the awakening of Objective Conscience and attainment of his Inner Master. Only such a man is a liberated man.
Without the Inner Master, without Conscience, man cannot look at death objectively and impartially.