Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: Alt.religion.eckankar Publication date: 1996
E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to go back to the home base now.
Steve R. writes: [repost] Watch out for the launching of multiple missles from the David Lane camp. Fortunately his aim is no better than an Iraqi scud. David, if he is true to type, will entirely miss the point of what I have written and try to support his position by piling up more anecdotes on top of the present accumulation. Excuse the country analogy, but someone should tell David that you don't make a manure pile smell any better by throwing more manure on it. DAVID LANE REPLIES: I was amused to see that you are in your repost mode for every new essay I have written in response to your typo defense. Steve, I have point blank shown you that your hypothesis is wrong. I have illustrated my sources (from Pro-Eck factions: Steiger, Gail, Jarvis, and Twitchell) and clearly indicated to you and to others that it was not a typo, but rather a very conscious changing of dates. You just don't want to reconsider your position. That's fine, because in any case you have allowed me the opportunity to re-check what I have written and to see if I have ample proof. Not only do I have that, but I have discovered more. If you get a chance you may want to read my analysis of the Steiger time-line; it raises some very serious questions about Twitchell's alleged travels to India and Paris. Keep ranting about manure..... I would prefer to uncover more information. ------------ Steve R. writes: Will you also take responsibility for the ways in which people use and misuse your report? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Hmm, that's a bit funny. Given that logic, then Eckankar should be held ACCOUNTABLE and RESPONSIBLE for the several suicides that have been done by Eckists. So given your logic, Eckankar should be held accountable for the misuse of their teachings, huh? That way, they should pay out millions to all those divorced couples who claim that Eckankar drove a wedge in their marriages. Steve, do you really want to say such silly things? I can only take responsibilit for WHAT I have written. I am sorry but who knows what spin-doctoring people can do to anything...... Remember Charly Manson and the Beatles White Album? Oh yea, Lennon should be held accountable for the murders of Sharon Tate.......... ---------- Mark Alexander writes: The major weakness is in your one-sided presentation. The critique on the web of K. Paul Johnson's books on the Theosophical Masters explores how Johnson ignores evidence that *favors* the reality of the Masters. K. Paul actually *does* explore favorable evidence to a degree that *your* book fails to approach. You have done the *argument* against Paul a profound disservice, David, by failing to explore evidence favoring Paul's stature as a Master, or anectdotal evidence that supports the existence of ECK Masters. (And if you wish to raise the tired old argument that anecdotal evidence is not *scientific*, then PLEASE remove ALL anecdotal statements from your book.) DAVID LANE REPLIES: Thank you for your critique. This may surprise you but I agree that my presentation is one-sided. Indeed, the very subtitle of THE MAKING OF A SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT says it precisely--THE UNTOLD story of Paul Twitchell and Eckankar. Not for a second do I believe that I have somehow uncovered everthing about Paul Twitchell--far from it. Readers should never rely on one book or one account or one history for anything. I see my work as simply one piece in a larger jigsaw puzzle. Now I realize that you and others may want me to flesh things out, but that's not the focus of my work. Rather, I have tried to concentrate on those areas which have been unexplored and those areas which I have some expertise. By all means read the vast storehouse of Eck literature, the pros and the cons. That way one can get a much more rounded out picture. The same holds true with any study of anybody. Let me give you another example. I have written a very positive book on Faqir Chand, but do I think I have given the "full" picture. Of course not. I have simply given one glimpse. But it is a glimpse which adds to the large patchwork. That's all we can do. As for exploring the "reality" of the Eckankar Masters, I think I have done much more than most people in this area. Why? Well, I did lots of research both in India and outside trying to track down Sudar Singh. I have spent countless hours trying to "reconstruct" Twitchell's past influences. How else would I have come across Camille Ballowe Taylor, Paul Iverlet, Dr. Bluth, Ed Pecen, Charly Wallace? I didn't start this quest at 19/20 saying to myself, "yea, that's the plan, let's get all the dirt we can on Twitchell." Rather, quite the opposite. If you get a chance read the letters I got from Eckankar when I asked them about Kirpal Singh back in 1977. Guess what they said to this naive 20 year old who was trying to understand the "Vairagi" lineage? They replied that Kirpal Singh had "forged" Twitchell's name on many papers. That turned out to be a smoke-screen and a cover-up which took me sometime to completely unearth. And I am happy to note that even Harold admits of the association. Eckankar didn't before my term paper. So I have actually spent lots of time seriously pursuing the Vairagi Masters and their history. I can't help it if it turns out that the original FLUTE OF GOD mentions Kirpal Singh, Swami Premananda, and Sawan Singh, but the later revised book does not. I have really tried to search for "Rebazar" Tarzs. Try reading Twitchell's clues closely; they contradict each other. I have said this countless times, I would love to be proven wrong. Rebazar and I surfing, Fubbi on the beach, and Gakko cooking Tempeh burgers. I am not trying to be cute; I am quite sincere. It just turns out that Twitchell had a nasty habit of bull-shitting. I know we don't like that phrase, but that's pretty much it. He BSed a lot. Concerning ancedotal evidence, it is fine with me provided it can be verified or notarized. I don't mind hearing "ancedotal" stories about the Vairagi Masters. What we then want to do after hearing such stories is try our very best to VERIFY them. That's the key. When I quote Paul Iverlet as saying that "Paul Twitchell was a notorious liar," we just can't leave it at that. We have to find some substantiating evidence. We have in surplus. It is fine to hear stories about such and such gurus. What is forgotten is the next step: CONFIRMATION. So you may take whatever ancedotal information I have given (allegations from Twitchell's close relatives, for instance) and then proceed to see if they hold up. Did Twitchell lie about his age? YES. Did Twitchell try to cover-up his spiritual associations? YES. Did Twitchell plagiarize? YES. We base this not on "ancedotes" but on documentation. Ancedotes can be leads, but they cannot be our final conclusions without further evidence. Okay, the ball is in your court. GIVE ME SOME HARD CORE EVIDENCE OF SUDAR SINGH. I will be most happy to explore it. P.S. I realize that some Eckists may say that one can only perceive these masters on the inner..... But remember Twitchell was the guy who said they actually PHYSICALLY existed. I haven't seen any evidence and I am most open to explore any new leads. ------------------------------ Mark Alexander Writes: "This is where you might consider *shoring up* your argument. Not in tiring us with your continuing responses to data points within such a narrow frame." DAVID LANE REPLIES: It is precisely my narrow focus that has uncovered Twitchell's duplicity. My narrow frame has allowed me to focus on those areas that most don't have the patience for. It may not be your cup of tea, but that's why there are many books, and not just one, why there are many points of view and not just one. That's why we have the Internet. Each has to do what he/she does best. Then present those findings to the larger arena. Before we can read a sentence, we need words. Before we can read a book, we need an alphabet. Before we can have a fuller view of Twitchell, we need to have certain individuals focus on the tiny details. Those details can then be connected with other views and other insights. -------- Steve R. Writes: "Just reread them. Nothing there but a rehash of the old stuff and some new factoids which were conveniently left out of the original attack. David continues to miss the point that solid biographical research should not be done by anyone with the sort of bias that he has. He would do better to move onto a subject that he feels less passionate about, something with which he doesn't have such a long personal history." DAVID LANE REPLIES: No matter what bias you may think I have or don't have, a death certificate says Twitchell was born in 1922 and died at the age of 48. No matter what prejudices you may think I am hampered by, anyone who reads THE PATH OF THE MASTERS and THE FAR COUNTRY will note the similarities. No matter how Kal-influenced you may think I have been, the original FLUTE OF GOD mentions Swami Premananda, Kirpal Singh, and L. Ron Hubbard, whereas the later book version deletes those very names and replaces them with Rebazar Tarzs, Fubbi Quantz, and Lai Tsi. No matter how passionate you may think I am, the fact remains that I have unearthed data that your Master, Harold Klemp, has utilized in his own research. What you seem to always forget Steve is that Gravity is still Gravity even if the guy who discovers it or names it is an Apple Freak. The point is that certain facts stand out and thousands can see it. It is not my fault that you won't "down load" my replies. I take my critics seriously, even when they make things up about me and my motives. Bias is not an issue when the facts can be ascertained outside of the tainted medium. signed: the biased one who has directly influenced Klemp's retelling of Paul's life ----------- Bruce Writes: "Stop it, David; this donning of the fool's garb is just a smokescreen and it is so unnecessary. You are not "just another schmuck" (however you spell it :-) You are, whether you like it or not, a leader, just by posting here. On top of this, you have academic credentials, and you have done a respectable amount of research on these matters. This gives you a lot of authority, which some people do not question. Disclaimers do not have much impact. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yes, I would agree that I have a responsibility for the accuracy of what I have written. But let's distinguish levels here: It is Twitchell who is claiming to be the 970 Eck Master and claiming direct access to the Highest Region in Existence. I don't need to belabor all the points about the various qualities that such Beings are supposed to have (truthfulness being one of them). My point is that by placing himself and his group on such a level, he is more or less forcing us to hold him accountable. And as such it is noteworthy to see how he "fails" his own self-made criteria for a True Eck Master. Just take Twitchell's own high standards for Eck Masters and place them on his shoulders. SCP did a whole comparison chart showing the incongruencies. Raphael has done the same. We may not like it, but it is very illuminating. Do the very same with me. What will happen? Well, you might find out that my "claim" and my "reality" are the same. There is not much "falling" when you claim to be a punk. But there is a huge fall when you claim to be a God-man and you are not. The higher they climb (or in our case, the higher they "claim"), the lower they fall. And so it should be. Why follow a God-man who bullshits his followers? I don't care what path it is. BRUCE WRITES: "..... but that still doesn't mean we can run around and imagine that we are without influence. We are wayshowers too. All of us, in some way. Sure, hold the gurus accountable, but hold yourself accountable too; be an example to the gurus. IMO, this society is not as authoritarian as you seem to feel it is. DAVID LANE REPLIES: You are quite correct. I definitely need to be held accountable and that is why I have entered into this Internet discussion. I take you and others very seriously, even though I try to keep a light touch on it all. But there is a huge difference between a Guru and a Writer. That difference is in the claims of each. The greater the claim, the greater the demand for evidence or for action/theory congruence. BRUCE WRITES: "Well, sure, but when was the last time you edited "The Making"?" DAVID LANE REPLIES: Here is a partial list of the various editions and updated revisions: 1977 1978 1979 1981 1983 1986 1987 1989 1990 1993 Each one of those years brought changes and updates. I am planning a new book, GAKKO CAME FROM VENUS, which has taken me much longer than expected because I want to gather information never before seen. I hope that answers your question about updating. BRUCE WRITES (in connection to my point about willing to take criticism): "I don't see evidence of this. You seem to be of the "best defence is a good offence" school
" DAVID LANE REPLIES: No, I am from the school that one's best defense or offense is GOOD RESEARCH. That is why I actually enjoyed Steve's "doubts" because it simply forced me to double-check everything. And guess what? By so doing, I found out something I didn't know: Twitchell lied about his high school career. He didn't graduate at 15, like he claimed. He graduated at 18 or older. I also discovered that he lied about his age when going to Paris and India. He also lied about his age when his mother died. Without Steve's "doubts" I wouldn't have realize this. Thus I really do like "doubts" and "rips" and "critiques." We learn a lot. BRUCE WRITES: "I just find it odd that in 1996 you feel that it is enough to reveal the flaws in our leaders and not provide leadership." DAVID LANE replies: Well, I don't know exactly what you mean by this. But I think leadership is not something one assumes, but is rather demonstrated by the integrity of one's actions. I have tried to be as forthcoming as possible in this forum about my research methods and documents. I have no desire to assume much more than that. I like the free range of ideas--even if I disagree with them. BRUCE WRITES: "I hope the food is better than they say... But there's always the theatre!" DAVID LANE REPLIES: Actually the food is amazingly good in London. Why? Because it contains hundreds of very fine ethnic cafes. Indian food is abundant, Italian food, and even Vegetarian burgers at Mcdonalds! Cokes are okay, but not as burning as California. France is really the place that is tough for a vegetarian...... ----------------- PATRICIA WRITES: "I don't know why some Eckists choose to go and 'round and 'round with you on this stuff. It's beginning to strike me as rather silly. It's not that big a deal to many of us. So Paul Twitchell played footsie with the facts of his life. Does this mean that he was not a spiritually advanced adept, capable of traveling on the inner and helping others do the same? Why? Why do you seem to think that it undermines his skills as a spiritual traveler? Do you think on the inner planes, they stop you and say, "uh, excuse me but, um, have you ever been untruthful? Because if you have, then you can't pass through here and gather all these experiences!" In my opinion, this kind of thinking is based on rather immature concepts of how spiritual adepts operate. It's too simplistic, too linear, and too based in the values of the physical/earth plane." DAVID LANE REPLIES: Thank you for your response. I personally prefer this approach because it is refreshing to call a spade a spade and then move on. It was for this reason that I was quite impressed with Kent's essay. Okay, now that we may agree that Twitchell played "footsie" with the facts (i like that turn of phrase, by the way--perhaps Fergie would like it too, if you catch my drift), the larger question is "Does it matter in connection with my spiritual aims?" Well, there are several ways to respond, but for now I will simply limit it to two. 1. It does matter because if we cannot trust someone here and now (that which we can touch and feel and replicate), then why should we trust them in those regions which are mostly unseen and unheard? In other words, if the guru in the outer is lying to you now, what assurances do we have that he/she won't B.S. you in the inner? Well, I think there should be a congruency between the outer life of the guru and the inner life. 2. In a radical way, it does NOT matter. This may surprise some folks, but let me give you a precise example. What do we really know about Jesus? Not much. He could be lots of things, perhaps some things much worse than we can imagine. We simply don't know. Now clearly there are thousands of people who have received benefit from what they "believe" he taught, regardless of whether he lived up to it. Thus, in this view, it is OUR Sincerity, which is the driving force behind our spiritual experiences. But there is catch in this second answer. It entails the ability of the disciple to "turn off" his or her critical faculties when she knows better. That is, if you find out that Jesus was scum, it may be tougher (but not impossible) to still believe in Him as Enlightened. Thus, in a very strange way, we need to find a guru or a path that we can have some trust in. To be sure, we can still be married to a woman who cheats constantly and still derive some benefit from it. But it will be tougher. Likewise, if one follows a guru or a path and knows that it is filled with contradictions (and doesn't try to ignore them--the repression effect can only work so long without getting really exhausted) there will be some rocky roads ahead. Yet, it can be done. Indeed, everybody to greater or lesser degrees does it. The real question is one of tolerance: how much B.S. can we take and still follow the path with some balance and some calm. Surprisingly, I would have great admiration for the Eckist who would straight out say that Twitchell lied, plagiarized, and bull-shitted. And said it does matter! Yet, even in that context, he/she just happens to like the Twitchell and loves him anyways, but does not condone it (see my essay on Mark Alexander's website to buttress this point). That is, a disciple who loves his guru and accepts his faults, and is willing to engage in day to day criticism of it. It's a rare thing, I know......... But that disciple impresses me. I rarely encounter such a being. PATRICIA WRITES: "I think many of us don't care about it because it bears no direct impact on our reality with the light and sound path of Eckankar. If Eckankar was based on a hero worship of Paul Twitchell then certainly we would all be falling apart. We didn't fall apart with the fall of Darwin Gross. Why? Because all of the Eck Masters that we have worked with have said, "Try these exercises, look within and see for yourself". We did. End of story." DAVID LANE WRITES: This is perhaps the most widespread response I have heard through the years. In the spirit of dialogue, I would simply say this. The reason Eckankar (or any path, including Sant Mat) works is due to the sincerity of the devotee and to the inherent potential within all human beings for alternative states of consciousness. Yet, for some reason we like to impute power to things or to people when all they really did was spark that which we already had. Thus Eckankar does NOT work. People with devotion and love do. That love and that sincerity gets "claimed" by various religions and we have a tendency to let them have all the glory. They deserve nothing of the kind. And this applies to EVERY religion that I have encountered. In a strange analogy, Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz always had the power via her ruby slippers to go home, but she believed that she needed a Wizard to get her to Kansas. It was only at the very end that she realized that she had the power all the time. Toto showed the Wizard for who he really was: a human being, much frailer than Dorothy. I feel like I am a Toto too........ Simply a dog pulling at the curtain trying to tell my listeners that the ruby slippers are not on Twitchell's feet...... they are on yours...... --------- Steve R writes: "So? Paul mentioned an interview with Jarvis in which Jarvis got Paul's age wrong and Paul didn't mention it. So?" DAVID LANE REPLIES: So? So you can see that just turning 40 in 1963 means that he was under the presumption that Paul was born in 1922. Pretty odd coincidence, huh? Another typo? ---------- Joseph P WRITES: "I am glad that you mentioned both the Ruhani Satsang and the Radhasoami Satsang because it reminds me of something I meant to include in my article. I meant to point out the absurd juxtaposition of the allegation in the original post that "... without the Sant Mat/Radhasoami tradition and literature there could be no Eckankar ...", and the claim that Paul Twitchell was initiated by Kirpal Singh and owed so much to Kirpal Singh of *Ruhani* Satsang. This absurdity may not always be as blatantly expressed as it was by David Lane when, in the course of a single post to a.r.e., he wrote BOTH: 1. "Let me illustrate why ECKANKAR is mostly derived from the Radhasoami tradition of India: ...", AND 2. "The teachings of ECKANKAR are primarily derived from four distinct spiritual movements: Ruhani Satsang, Self-Realization Fellowship, Scientology and Theosophy." Perhaps footnoting both sides of a contradiction makes good academic sense." DAVID LANE REPLIES: Joseph, Ruhani Satsang is a modern manifestation of Radhasoami or Sant Mat or shabd yoga. Indeed, Darshan Singh, Kirpal's son, used to say that his group was Radhasoami, but without the name affiliation. Okay, so among those four influences: R.S., SRF, Scientology, and Theosophy, it is fairly clear that R.S. has had the greatest impact. Even Twitchell originally stated that Eckankar was a modern version of shabd yoga (check his original articles). I think what you may be objecting to is that I mention four primary influences and then state which one was the greatest. That's all. Kirpal Singh taught Sant Mat. Radhasoami is simply a term used in some quarters to designate the modern manifestation of that. Joseph P writes: "Anyway, I hope we can go beyond dealing with claims that Eckankar is merely an offshoot of the Sant Mat tradition (let alone some particular variation of Sant Mat) despite sharing many features with it." DAVID LANE REPLIES: Well, Twitchell used to say that Eckankar was Shabd Yoga. It was only later that it evolved that he began to change his tune on this. You may be surprised to read Twitchell's own letters on this matter to Kirpal Singh. He was the one who claimed it was a branch. Interesting stuff. ------------
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I want to go back to the home base now.