The Fourth Way
The Original Teaching
What has been confusing to many people is that until Gurdjieff introduced the teaching in Russia in 1912 it was not known. Since chronologically all teachings and religions appear before The Fourth Way, it is easily supposed that it is last. This perception, however, is quite linear. Though The Fourth Way does appear last, it is actually first. All esoteric and religious history is thus stood on its head.
We see the world, as Gurdjieff said many times, "topsy-turvy." Original does not mean newly invented, as it is often taken to mean. An original teaching is "of the origin," meaning that the teaching existed first, from the beginning, before other teachings that may derive from it.
In other words, The Fourth Way predates not only Christianity but the Egyptian, Judaic, Persian, Buddhist and Islamic religions.
Gurdjieff tells us that the earliest indications of the teaching of The Fourth Way lie in prehistoric Egypt—an Egypt that existed before recorded history, which dates from 3000 B.C. "It will seem strange to many people," Gurdjieff said, "when I say that this prehistoric Egypt was Christian many thousands of years before the birth of Christ."
He said that the principles and ideas constituting true Christianity were known many thousands of years before the birth of Christ. In discovering these, he had "the blueprint," so to say, of the original Christianity.
As he said, "The Christian church, the Christian form of worship, was not invented by the fathers of the church. It was all taken in a ready-made form from Egypt, only not from the Egypt we know but from one which we do not know. This Egypt was in the same place as the other but it existed much earlier."