The Sly Man and the Devil

beelzebubI think I had better tell you a story. It is an old story, told in the Moscow groups in 1916 about the origin of the system and the work and about self-remembering.

It happened in an unknown country at an unknown date that a sly man was walking past a cafe and met a devil. The devil was in very poor shape, both hungry and thirsty, so the sly man took him into the cafe, ordered some coffee and asked him what the trouble was.

The devil said that there was no business. In the old days he used to buy souls and burn them to charcoal, because when people died they had very fat souls that he could take to hell, and all the devils were pleased. But now all the fires in hell were out, because when people died there were no souls.

Then the sly man suggested that perhaps they could do some business together.

'Teach me how to make souls', he said, 'and I will give you a sign to show which people have souls made by me', and he ordered more coffee. The devil explained that he should teach people to remember themselves, not to identify and so on, and then, after some time, they would grow souls.

The sly man set to work, organized groups and taught people to remember themselves. Some of them started to work seriously and tried to put into practice what he taught them. Then they died, and when they came to the gates of heaven, there was St Peter with his keys on one side and the devil on the other. When St Peter was ready to open the gates, the devil would say, 'May I just ask one question—did you remember yourself?'

'Yes, certainly', the man would answer and thereupon the devil would say, 'Excuse me, this soul is mine'.

This went on for a long time, until they managed somehow to communicate to the earth what was happening at the gates of heaven. Hearing this, the people he was teaching came to the sly man and said, 'Why do you teach us to remember ourselves if, when we say we have remembered ourselves, the devil takes us?'

The sly man asked, 'Did I teach you to say you remember yourselves? I taught you not to talk.'

They said, 'But this was St Peter and the devil!' and the sly man said, 'But have you seen St Peter and the devil at groups? So do not talk. Some people did not talk and managed to get to heaven. I did not only make an arrangement with the devil, I also made a plan by which to deceive the devil.'

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