Visions, Love, and Plagiarism

Author: David Christopher Lane
Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER
Publication date: February 1997

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at dlane@weber.ucsd.edu

I want to go back to the home base now.

Dick P. Quotes Lane and then Comments:

Not to get detained by 
ANY vision, but to follow the light and the sound to their terminal apex in
Sach Kand.  And what happens there?  Does it stop?  No, Shiv Dayal says:
IT'S WONDER, WONDER, WONDER.  WONDER HATH ASSUMED A FORM.

Thus, Maharaji's point in your letter is really quite apt.  Go beyond visions
(earthly or otherwise), and ride the Current.

[Dick 97: Apparently Dave 
differs with his guru on this point.  There is one vision that Dave still 
fails to ignore - that of his guru.]

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

I know you may not intend it as such, but you pay me too high a
compliment here.

I only wish there was just one vision that I failed to ignore.

This reminds me a bit of that lovely parable told by Ramakrishna 
who talks about a young boy scaling a very high wall and sees an
amazing garden with wonderful fruits. Yet, instead of jumping over,
he decides to straddle the fence so that he can help others with
his vision: telling them to come up the fence and see what he does.

In my case, I don't know anything about enlightenment ultimately or
truth ultimately.

I just remember a beautiful gardener and I wish I could see him
again.

I also wish I could see my Dad and my brother again, as well.

It's that simple for me, Dick.

The Sufis have developed some nice metaphors for this kind of love.

Instead of desiring union (which may be the ultimate or the real
undying truth), some Sufis desire a very very tiny separation.

Why?

Because in that separation, in that longing, in that Sensucht (sp?),
in that Great Nostalgia, there is a unique pleasure.

Or, as Mary of Magdala says, "Where have they laid his Body?"
(She apparently never believed that Jesus would resurrect, even
when she learned of the empty tomb from Peter and John).

She cared for that physicality, for that flesh, for that human
being.

She was attached to that.

I well understand her question.

It turns out that the person she is asking the question to is not
a gardener as she wrongly believes; it is actually Jesus himself.

You see, even in her case,

Love can be blind.

-------------------------------------------------


Dear Dick:

Thanks for your latest essay, though I must admit that the
inter-splicing was a bit difficult to unpack at times (planned 
confusion?).

Yes, by all means, there is a difference between Lane of 87 and Lane
of 97. Let me count the ways:

1. I am more skeptical 
2. My back hurts more often after surfing
3. I am more convinced of my ultimate unknowingness (you see,
each book just opens more avenues into infinity)
4. I seem to have grown an inch 
5. I use the "Fuck" word more often, only to have some Dick delete
it (just teasing)
6. I miss my guru more often

P.S. I do appreciate your wonderful filing system; you keep quite
nice records and it is fun for me to relive the past and my
thoughts.

You have made a few faulty inferences which I will deal with in the
next post. Thanks.

------------------------

Dear Bill:

Thank you for your thoughtful rejoinder.

You raise two points that I wish to address:

1. There is not just one shabd yoga group in India, but rather tens
upon tens of them (I would daresay that the number runs in the
hundreds, perhaps), most of which have a presiding guru.

Such shabd oriented groups range from the Kabir-panthis, to the
Tulsi Sahibis, to the Sat Namis, to the Sikhs (and their various
sub-branches, Nirankaris, Namdharis, etc.), to the Paltu Sahibis, to
the Divine Light Mission (yes, the one-time boy guru's father was
associated with shabd yoga--Shri Paramhans Advait Mat in Guna), to
Ruhani Satsang, to Sawan-Kirpal Mission, to Sant Bani, to Radhasoami
Beas, Soami Bagh, Dayal Bagh, Peepal Mandi, Tarn Taran, etc., etc.
(See the genealogical tree in Juergensmeyer's RADHASOAMI REALITY
for a partial sketch).

Thus your indication that Johnson or his group may have borrowed
from the "Vairagi" lineage (Rebazar? Sudar? Fubbi?) is completely
ill-founded in light of the already pre-existing diversity of shabd
yoga groups--many of whom share a common terminology, common
concepts, and common cosmologies (I won't say plagiarized texts,
though there are incidents of that as well--see the writings of
Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind, especially RADIANT ROAD TO REALITY, which
were in part taken from WITH A GREAT MASTER IN INDIA).

No, the inspiration for Johnson's writings was much more mundane:
1. His guru, Sawan Singh (see SPIRITUAL GEMS or DISCOURSES ON SANT
MAT), with whom Johnson met with almost daily for several years;
2. Sawan Singh's immediate predecessors, Jaimal Singh (see SPIRITUAL
LETTERS) and Shiv Dayal Singh (see SAR BACHAN, the very book Paul
Twitchell calls practically his "Bible"); 3. The already abundant
literature in Hindi (ranging from such authors as Shiv Brat Lal,
Faqir Chand's guru by the way, to Rai Salig Ram, whose RADHASOAMI
MAT PRAKASH was instrumental in leading Johnson to Sawan Singh);
and 4. The various contacts he had with other gurus in India in
India (see CALL OF THE EAST and WITH A GREAT MASTER IN INDIA).

There is nothing mysterious in Julian Johnson's writings. His
sources are clear and if one is conversant in Radhasoami literature
or even shabd yoga literature in general one can see the impinging
(yet properly acknowledged) citations and quotes.

Moreover, THE GURU GRANTH SAHIB had already been in existence (in
its present form) for some two hundred plus years--a book which
uses much of the terminology prevalent in R.S. and Eckankar and
other shabd yoga groups.

No need to crib the "Vairagis" (whoever they may be).

-------------

I don't know what you mean by my "work", but I happen to like
tracking down obscure gurus.

-------------

thanks,


dave

-----------------


Dear Bill:

I deeply appreciate the frankness and civility of your last post.

Let me also say that I agree with you on several points, not the
least of which is that Dodie Bellamy IS a better writer than myself.
She is quite a talented woman and I even used one of her books in my
Sociology classes (REAL is the first title).

Concerning your major point about whether Johnson had access to a
Hindi text or not, I think it is important to underline something
about the charge of plagiarism against Twitchell:

1. If Twitchell had merely used certain Indian terms (shabd, nad,
mukti) or if Twitchell had merely used certain Indian concepts
(inner plane cosmology, the hierarchy of beings), the charge of
plagiarism would not be leveled against him.

Why?

Well, lots of groups use similar names and similar concepts. 

But what makes Twitchell's plagiarism stick and what makes it
significant is that he chose to copy the peculiar FORM and
occasional SEQUENCE of those concepts/words as expounded in
Johnson's text and others, without any attribution to where he had
found that peculiar phrasing, that distinctive compilation.
And, particularly in the FAR COUNTRY, it was a wholesale
purloining--sometimes not even changing a word in certain sentences.

Let me give you a strange example:

We know that DNA has resident components, sometimes abbreviated in 
4 letters (C, T, A, G).

DNA is in every living organism and it is comprised of those simple
paired units.

Just as in our alphabet, we have 26 letters and from just those 26
units we can have wide diversity of material.

With computers we use a binomial system of 0's and 1's, and yet from
this off/on 1/0 sequencing we can have tremendous variability.

Hence, it is not Twitchell's mere use of an Indian word or an idea
that causes the plagiarism bell to ring; it is, rather, the way in
which he has copied WHOLE STRANDS of words, sentences, paragraphs
and the like.

Those strands, as in Johnsons's writings, are signature guideposts,
if you will, and help us to understand the genealogical roots of
many of Twitchell's passages--especially in the FAR COUNTRY where we
notice Rebazar Tarzs, more or less, speaking Johnsonian.

As for the percentage of Twitchell's plagiarism, I still think the
jury is out on this one since I am of the opinion that we have yet
to track down all of Twitchell's literary piracy.

Quite frankly, I think it is much bigger than I have indicated.

Time and more research will give us a better indication.

We can say this, however:

Each of the following books contains plagiarized material:

THE FAR COUNTRY
THE TIGER'S FANG
THE SHARIYAT-KI-SUGMAD  (both volumes)
LETTERS TO GAIL (all three volumes)
ECKANKAR THE KEY TO SECRET WORLDS
HERBS-the magic healers
ECK VIDYA
DIALOGUES 
IN MY SOUL I AM FREE

and several more volumes, the titles of which I cannot remember off
the top of my head.

I personally think much more research needs to be done in this area.

Dick P. recently indicated that he remembered some plagiarism
examples from MYSTICISM.

I get mail on this from time to time with new discoveries.



thanks,


dave


E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at dlane@weber.ucsd.edu

I want to go back to the home base now.