Note: this recording uses the first edition published in 1950 once available only through Two Rivers Press. Amazon online sell Penguin Arkana editions of the original version on both sides of the Atlantic now.

Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson

Readings by Anthony Blake
Gurdjieff/de Hartman music played by Wim van Dullemen

Illustration by Bob Jefferson

Technical Production by Patrick Findlay

As mentioned above, I use the 1950 version of the book (and the 1931 version of the chapter 'Purgatory' as an extra). I recommend Paul Beekman Taylor's notes on the making of All and Everything: 1924 to 1950, click here

These recordings have been made over many years (almost twenty) and consequently vary in tone of voice and delivery. While I have tried to pronounce the sometimes very difficult words of the text correctly - according to how I remember them being pronounced by John Bennett - there are undoubtedly errors, as there are also many imprecise slurring of words.   I hope you can bear with me and enjoy the experience of hearing this remarkable book read aloud for its own sake.

It is reported that the early readings of Beelzebub's Tales were often preceeded by piano pieces composed by Thomas de Hartman under the direction of Gurdjieff. I am grateful to Wim van Dullemen for providing piano pieces from that repertoire for a few of the chapters I read. These may help the listener to feel the atmosphere of the text. Little is known of which pieces were played with which chapters. See The relation between the Gurdjieff/de Hartmann music and Beelzebub’s Tales for one of the few attempts to summarise what is known (unfortunately I no longer have the url reference for the source).

The text I read from is the one first published in 1950. Since the content of the chapter on Purgatory is of great interest for understanding Gurdjieff's ideas, I have read also the 1931 version.

Though I started with Chapter 1 'The Arousing of Thought' and ended (besides work on corrections) with Chapter 48 'From the Author' the sequence of recording did not follow the order of the chapters.

I am particularly in debt to Patrick Findlay (Edinburgh) for his indefatigable labours in improving the sound quality of the recordings and presenting my readings as best as they could be. And to Karen Stefano for persuading me to undertake this wonderful though arduous task. Of course, in reaching the end I was tempted to start all over again and do it better! And to Bob Gerber for sponsoring the project and enabling me to complete it. Not least, I should also mention Steven Rhodes who helped me initiate the project in the Microsoft studios in Seattle.

I hope that my version will compare favourably with those of William J. Welch and Margaret Flinsch. It gives the option of an English voice.

Technical Advice

It is recommended that you copy the disk onto your hard drive. Windows Media Player is the optimum programme to play tracks. Make use of the playlist file to make your own.


Due to an oversight, 30 pages of the chapter on War were omitted. These are now recorded and incorporated in the version available. For those who have not yet noticed the omission and want the missing section, email me at and I will send a link for it.

I made use of one of the very first printings of Beelzebub. In later editions two previously missing paragraphs on Hypnotism were noted (p.568 line 18)

“So, my boy, when the hypnotist, by modifying the tempo of their blood circulation, temporarily suspends the action of the localization of their false consciousness is now the ruling master of their common presence – the sacred data of their genuine consciousness can blend freely during their ‘waking’ state with the entire functioning of their planetary body; and if then he rightly assists the crystallization of data evoking in that localization an idea contrary to what has been fixed there, and directs the action of that idea upon the disharmonized part of the planetary body, an accelerated modification of the circulation of the blood in that part can be produced.

     “During the period of the Tikliamishian civilization, when the learned beings from the country of Maralpleicie first discovered the possibility of such combinations in their common psyche and tried to put one another at will into that special state, they soon found out and understood how to obtain it with the help of what is called being-hanbledzoin, that cosmic substance whose essence the three-brained beings of contemporary civilization came close to understanding, and which they named animal magnetism.

Thanks are due to Iakovus Brown who wrote me this interesting comment:

"I spent about six months of last year reading B's Tales aloud. It was a markedly different experience from simply reading it and I can now understand why Gurdjieff insisted on it. However, listening to it is a different experience again. I can listen attentively but do not have to make the effort to read, either silently or aloud. This is something of a luxury. What has also surprised me is the speed with which I'm travelling through the book.

With each method of absorbing the book, the reader is active and passive in different ways. What is most remarkable, although I am not able to explain it, is how the book is communicating to the subconscious. I have just read your piece on reading Gurdjieff aloud and found it very interesting. Two things strike me: one is a return to poetry and storytelling as a spoken art form, rescued from the coldness of print. The other is the liturgical aspect. Having spent some time in Orthodox monasteries and also having once had the role of reader, I can see how reading and listening to, for example, the Psalms, educate the subconscious over months and years through word, image, rhythm etc and I think Gurdjieff is doing something similar, although in a more modern way: inserting the 'essence of certain real notions'.

Following Gurdjieff's 'friendly advice' the reader actively participates in an Objective work of art.

I have a hunch that more people are now reading Gurdjieff's books and that the Work is entering a new phase in which the focus is on Gurdjieff's writings rather than the material generated by Ouspensky and others. I don't know whether you have observed a growing interest in Gurdjieff's books?"



An extract from the chapter on Art is available on You Tube

A sample chapter - Chapter 48 'From the Author' - is available to listen to here.


Now available

Price (subject to currency rates) £25 (UK) 30 Euros $40 (USA) plus 10% postage and packing

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The recordings of Beelzebub's Tales have often been in conjunction with recordings of the poetry of William Blake, Rainer Maria Rilke and T. S. Eliot. These poetry recordings are also available.

In MP3 format  Title


First Book

Chapter 1 The Arousing of Thought   Sayyid Song
Chapter 2 Why Beelzebub Was in Our Solar System  
Chapter 3 The Cause of the Delay in the Falling of the Ship Karnak  
Chapter 4 The Law of Falling  
Chapter 5 The System of Archangel Hariton  
Chapter 6 Perpetual Motion  
Chapter 7 Becoming Aware of Genuine Being-Duty  
Chapter 8 The Impudent Brat Hassein, Beelzebub's Grandson, Dares to Call Men "Slugs"  
Chapter 9 The Cause of the Genesis of the Moon  
Chapter 10 Why "Men" Are Not Men  
Chapter 11 A Piquant Trait of the Peculiar Psyche of Comtemporary Man  
Chapter 12 The First "Growl"  
Chapter 13 Why in Man's Reason Fantasy May be Perceived as Reality  
Chapter 14 The Beginnings of Perspectives Not Very Cheerful  
Chapter 15 The First Descent of Beelzebub upon the Planet Earth Moderato
Chapter 16 The Relative Understanding of Time  
Chapter 17 The Arch-absurd: According to the Assertion of Beelzebub, Our Sun Neither Lights Nor Heats  
Chapter 18 The Arch-preposterous  
Chapter 19 Beelzebub's Tales About His Second Descent on to the Planet Earth  
Chapter 20 The Third Flight of Beelzebub to the Planet Earth  
Chapter 21 The First of Beelzebub to India  
Chapter 22 Beelzebub for the First Time in Tibet  
Chapter 23 The Fourth Personal Sojourn of Beelzebub on the Planet Earth  
Chapter 24 Beelzebub's Flight to the Planet Earth for the Fifth Time  
Chapter 25  The Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash, Sent from Above to Earth Je Suis Pere, Fils
Chapter 26 The Legomonism Concerning the Deliberations of the Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash Under the Title “Terror of the Situation”  
Chapter 27 The Organisation for Man’s Existence Created by the Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash   
Chapter 28 The Chief Culprit in the Destruction of All the Very Saintly Labors of Ashiata Shiemash  


Second Book

Chapter 29 The Fruits of Former Civilizations and the Blossoms of the Contemporary Adam and Eva
Chapter 30  Art  
Chapter 31 The Sixth and Last Sojourn of Beelzebub on the Planet Earth  
Chapter 32 Hypnotism  
Chapter 33 Beelzebub as Professional Hypnotist  
Chapter 34 Russia  
Chapter 35 A Change in the Appointed Course of the Falling of the Transspace Ship Karnak  
Chapter 36 Just a Wee Bit More About the Germans  
Chapter 37 France  
Chapter 38  Religion  
Chapter 39  The Holy Planet "Purgatory " Seekers of the Truth


Third Book

Chapter 40 Beelzebub Tells How People Learned and Again Forgot About the Fundamental Cosmic Law of Heptaparaparashinokh Hymn No. 3
Chapter 41 The Bokharian Dervish Hadji-Asvatz-Troov The Bokharian Dervish
Chapter 42 Beelzebub in America  
Chapter 43  Beelzebub’s Survey of the Process of Reciprocal Destruction of Men, or Beelzebub’s Opinion of War  
Chapter 44 In the Opinion of Beelzebub, Man's Understanding of Justice Is for Him in the Objective Sense an Accursed Mirage  
Chapter 45 In the Opinion of Beelzebub, Man's Extraction of Electricity from Nature and Its Destruction During Its Use, Is One of the Chief Causes of the Shortening of the Life of Man  
Chapter 46 Beelzebub Explains to His Grandson the Significance of the Form and Sequence Which He Chose for Expounding the Information Concerning Man  
Chapter 47  The Inevitable Result of Impartial  Mentation Hymn to the Sun
Chapter 48 From the Author Music 3
1931 Purgatory  


Steven Rhodes                 Seattle
Anthony Stevenson        Charles Town
Gert-Jan Blom                   Amsterdam
Thomas Gasser                 Vienna
Patrick Findlay                   Edinburgh
David Blake                         Coldstream

Wim van Dullmen

Recording The Bokharian Dervish in Vienna 2009


A compilation illustrated by Bob Jefferson



Last stages of recording, Edinburgh, September 2010

Patrick Findlay, recording master - the final take 2010