John Godolphin Bennett

     (8 June 1897 – 13 December 1974)

J G Bennett was born in Wimbledon, South-West London. He was a noted scholar, whose progress to Oxford University was interrupted by World War I. He served in the military for nearly two years, being almost fatally injured in  March 1918. Upon his recovery, he learned Turkish language. When the war was over, he was posted to Istanbul, Turkey two years. In Turkey, he met P.D. Ouspensky; Thomas de Hartmann and G.I. Gurdjieff and also his future second wife, Winifred Beaumont.

By 1922, Gurdjieff was at The Prieuré in Fontainebleau and Bennett made two short visits—in the winter of 1922-3, spending five weeks there in the summer of 1923. Subsequently, Bennett worked closely with Ouspensky’s UK group. After Ouspensky left for the US in 1941, becasue he suspected that Bennett was plagiarizing his books, and he ejected Bennett from his groups.

After World War 2, Bennett returned to Gurdjieff almost exactly 25 years after he had last seen him. From that point until Gurdjieff’s death a year later, Bennett traveled almost every weekend to Paris. In January 1950, after Gurdjieff’s death, Bennett presented a series of lectures in Carnegie Hall, New York, to launch the Gurdjieff Foundation there. Through the 1950s visitors at Coombe Springs and attendees of his lectures numbered in the 100s, and a second branch of the Institute was set up in Manchester, England.

In 1956, Bennett became aware of Subud, a devotional practice originating with an Indonesian named Muhammad Subuh. Having been alerted by Gurdjieff to look for another teacher who would follow, and advised by Sheikh Abdullah Daghestani in Damascus that a great teacher was soon coming from the East, Bennett was disposed to believe that Pak Subuh was the promised leader. Accordingly, he made all his considerable resources available to Subud.

In 1958, Bennett’s second wife, Winifred died at the age of 83, and he was married to Elizabeth Mayall. In 1961 and 1962, he made two visits to Kathmandu to meet the Shivapuri Baba, a remarkable spiritual authority, who was 135 years of age at the time of Bennett’s first visit. In 1965, after a series of meetings with Idries Shah, he decided to close the Coombe Springs project, and the property was donated to

Idries Shah.

In 1970 he received an inner indication that he was to start a school. By October 1971, the school opened with 90 students at Sherborne House, in a large mansion in the Cotswolds, England. He died in December 1974.

Bennett wrote many books. Click here to see his books on Amazon.