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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Guénon and Jeanne de Salzmann?

There are rumors of a meeting in Cairo between Guénon and Jeanne de Salzmann (as in Gurdjieff), and I am told that de Salzmann's current followers often value Traditionalist works. Any further information on this would be much appreciated!

7 comments:

Joseph Azize said...

I am interested in this question, because if they did not meet, it explains a good deal to me about the direction in which Madame took the Institut Gurdjieff. The NY Gurdjieff Foundation's librarian encouraged me to get the Traditionalists' books, especially those of Guenon and Schuon. I replied that I was not impressed by their practical value, and also referred to Perry's book on Gurdjieff. She said, yes but Madame de Salzmann visited Guenon in Cairo just before he died, and he agreed that Gurdjieff was "traditional", but when she met Schuon he would not be swayed. I do not doubt that the librarian believed this, but having read "Against the Modern World", esp. about Geunon's last years and how he went to lengths to hide his wherabouts,I think that there must be more to it than this. Either Madame had an intermediary or was already known to hm, or something. But the major reason I am sceptical is this: if it is true, why did Guenon tell no one? Why do none of the traditionalists act as if it were true? Regards, Joseph Azize

Anonymous said...

I have no proof but can only offer a possible way to research this:

There is a chance that John Levy could have been an intermediary.

Mr Levey was wealthy enough to purchase the Cairo house rented by Guenon and gave Guenon that house as a gift which as Professor Sedgwick told us, helped stabilize Guenon's financial situation, which before had been precarious.

Levy went on to become interested in Hinduism, especially that of Atmananda Krisnamenon.

Levy is mentioned by Jeffrey M. Masson as close to his parents and as a sort of guru to Masson's mother---this is mentioned in Massons memoir 'My Father's Guru'
on pages 145 to 146. Levy even gave Masson's parents some advice on the best education for Jeffrey.

So to pursue this inquiry you might try the following:

1) Contact Dr Masson himself and ask if Levy ever expressed any interest in Gurdjieff, met Mme de Salzmann and also whether Levy spoke of persons he had met in Cairo, such as Guenon

2)If so, and if Dr Masson is willing, might it be possible for you to read any of Levys letters in their possession?

3) See if Mr Levy is still with us and if he is able or willing to discuss this and

4) If his letters have been preserved, could you obtain permission to read them for the period where Mme de Salzmann claims to have been in Cairo

There is a chance that Mr Levy may be a missing link in the history of Westerners encountering Western and Asian esotericism.

This would be in item for an enterprising Ph.D candidate--but only if funds are available for travel assistance and only if custodians of Mr Levy's correspondance are willing.

Otherwise, it could end up like The Aspern Papers.

Anonymous said...

Gurdjieff is completely Anti tradition for anyone who has even a basic idea of what tradition is or what GUrdjieff stood for,so i dont even see why youre trying to even pursue this,apart from dirt digging..There is even a book called Gurdjieff in the light of tradtion written by whitall Perry that explores this issue in detail.
As for the Guenon and Gurdjief meeting,another urban legend about gurji that should be taken with a pinch of salt.Hasent he met everyone at some point?

morris said...

somewhere on internet i read a letter from guenon to someone, mentioning madame de salzmann; actually, in more than one letter, i think. but doesn´t get deeper.

morris said...

and do you know what tradition is, annonimous?

DrKathleen said...

I discuss this in my book "Rene Daumal: The Life and Work of a Mystic Guide" [SUNI Press] and in French, Rene Daumal: au dela de l'horizon [Jose Corti, Paris]. I spent 20 years on and off interviewing Rene's colleagues and Madame de Salzmann and her son Michel who grew up knowing Rene. I feel it is conclusive that Madame did have the opportunity to clear the air with Guenon. Gurdjieff's work is the essence of traditional if it means getting to the original kernel of truth. There is a photo of Guenon, the only photo to lack an accompanying blurb below. 3 chapters on Daumal and Hinduism.

DrKathleen said...

I discuss this in my book "Rene Daumal: The Life and Work of a Mystic Guide" [SUNI Press] and in French, Rene Daumal: au dela de l'horizon [Jose Corti, Paris]. I spent 20 years on and off interviewing Rene's colleagues and Madame de Salzmann and her son Michel who grew up knowing Rene. I feel it is conclusive that Madame did have the opportunity to clear the air with Guenon. Gurdjieff's work is the essence of traditional if it means getting to the original kernel of truth. There is a photo of Guenon, the only photo to lack an accompanying blurb below. 3 chapters on Daumal and Hinduism.