Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: Alt.religion.eckankar Publication date: 1996
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The Eckankar Research Kit: part one Thanks for your recent posts. In a couple of them you raise some questions that you wish I would answer. I would be glad to do so: 1. I have never stated that I was "unbiased" or completely "impartial." Actually, I have even written a post called "the Making Sucks, Lane's Biased, and Where's Jagat Ho?" which argues that the key to any research findings (like plagiarism, cover-up, and biographical lying) is to see if one can discover or discern the same by doing his/her own investigation. Science is replete with stories of multiple confirmations. (see http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dlane/point4.html) It does not matter whether Alfred Russell believed in spiritualism or not (he did), when one is concerned with testing his theory of evolution. Either natural selection works or it does not. Same with evaluating the 1859 edition of Origin of Species by Darwin; it does not matter whether Darwin was a Christian or an Agnostic or an emerging Atheist, the question is whether or not his theory is true or correct. So far, so good. Naturally, I have my biases, my slants, my prejudices, my predispositions, my angles, my metaphysical pathos, my existential grinds.... so do we all. Now the question for the concerned Eckist or reader is whether or not the central claims that I have made about Eckankar can be verified by the interested investigator. As I have repeated much too often (I feel sorry for Kent who must be saying "Oh My God, not this argument again. Which round are we in..... 109?"), they come down to some basic observations which can be tested: A. Compare Twitchell's writings with other authors, particularly Julian Johnson, L. Rob Hubbard, Lama Govinda, and a slew of others. Are there similarities? Are those similarities due to chance or due to Twitchell copying from already published titles? Go ahead and check it out for yourself. Forget everything I have done. Just see. B. Look at Twitchell's earlier writings and compare those very same writings (where the content has not been essentially changed) with the later redacted versions that were published by IWP. Are there name replacements? Don't believe me or my previous stuff. Go and get original copies of ORION, PSYCHIC OBSERVER, SEARCH, etc., and compare them with their book versions. Note the differences. C. Study closely Twitchell's statements about his life. Do a correspondence check between his alleged birthdates, marriages, travels, jobs, etc. Are there significant changes? Are there contradictions? Again, forget me and my biases. Just go ahead and get the necessary documents (birth certificates, death certificate, notarized statements, etc.). Make a chart of the variances. D. Read Eckankar materials closely. Compare Twitchell's theology, as espoused in The Tiger's Fang and the Far Country, with his later writings, The Spiritual Notebook and The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad. Are there interesting and crucial departures? Are the sounds of the inner regions different? If so, why? Forget about my slants. Just look carefully at the discrepancies. Why the difference in the sounds, the regions, the higher planes? Make a map and illustrate the changes. E. Take a close look at the Vairagi Masters. Write down all the names of the published ones (The Spiritual Notebook and the Eckankar Dictionary are good sources to start with) and then do a cross-check of the available information. Do this both internally (that is, compare Twitchell's statements about Rebazar Tarzs in different places) and externally (see Twitchell's dates on Shams-i-Tabriz, for instance, and compare them with several scholarly sources). Is the information that is being presented reliable? Is it internally consistent? Is it externally verifiable? Note the wide variances in Twitchell's claims from one book to another book (also check out the differences in the tapes as well). Tell Lane to take a hike. You are doing the research now. Okay, then concentrate on the two ECK masters who supposedly lived in this century, outside of Twitchell and Klemp: Sudar Singh and Darwin Gross. What information do we have on Sudar Singh? Is Twitchell's description accurate, verifiable? Now do the same with Darwin Gross. Check out his life, his activities...... and check them out for the time he was the living ECK Master. Did Darwin, as the ECK Master, do things which contradict the teachings? Write them down and analyze them. ----------------------------------------------- Naturally, I could go on, but I think you are seeing my drift. I have made some claims; they can be verified. Geez, I could be a lousy surfer, mean to little kittens, eat meat, drink too much, and it would have nothing to do with whether or not the claims I have made on Eckankar are true or not. The proof of the pudding is in doing the research yourself, especially if you doubt plagiarism, cover-up, and biographical deceit. ------------------------------------------------------ I look forward to your fact oriented results. Then we can happily debate interpretations. The Eckankar Research Kit: part two 1. Steve asks me to respond to a Christian who thinks that Eckankar is fraudulent. I see no reason to respond to the person in question because it is quite obvious that my research points to many fraudulent things in Eckankar, not the least of which is that Paul Twitchell lied to his followers. And, naturally, if the founder of a religion is going to lie to his wife and to his followers on very significant details (origins of teachings, vairagi masters, sacred scriptures, biographical and spiritual associations, etc.) then it is little wonder that some may think that his religion is a fraud. For example, according to certain Biblical Christians, if Jesus did not resurrect from the dead (in bodily form, mind you) then he was a liar and his religion a sham. Now keep in awareness that I didn't say this, certain orthodox followers have said this (just listen to the Bible Answer Man... 3 p.m. Monday through Friday for more on this lines of theological argumentation). So it is understandable and reasonable to see why people after reading THE MAKING OF A SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT and other posts think that Eckankar is a fraud. Boy, if a used-car dealer lied to a potential customer about an old white 64 LeMans sitting on the lot as much as Twitchell has lied about his past and about the originations of his religion, the car buyer might not only walk off the lot (with no purchase), but go and call the better business bureau..... (Then, again, he might not and might buy the car, only to end up in La Jolla..... lost with Lane and crew....). 2. "What is positive about Eckankar?" Steve asks. My first answer is the people who are trying their best to follow a religion in which the founder has lied to them. There are thousands of very sincere people in Eckankar. It is that sincerity, I would argue, that works for interested members, not the organization (which garners the capital), not the leaders (which seem lawsuit happy: Darwin vs. The Corp?), not the books (plagiarism 101), not the Vairagi Masters (Sudar Singh's address has got to be one of the best kept secrets of the 20th century), etc. Of course, that sincerity would work wonders in any religion, positive or negative. I just happen to think that the leadership should be as sincere back. Its track record indicates otherwise. 3. "Do I think the world would be better without Eckankar?" Steve asks. I think the world would indeed be better without lying, plagiarism, cover-up, deceit, and dishonest portraits of fictional masters. If any religion has done that (in its past or present), then I think it would be better for that religion to come clean about its history and try to "transform" itself. If it cannot transform itself, then maybe it should "dismantle" itself. I see nothing negative in saying this. We break up bad and bogus organizations all the time. As I once stated to Dodie Bellamy, "Christianity has fucked up more people in its history than Eckankar ever has." (To be specific, think of the Spanish Inquisition). Every religion should be opened to rational scrutiny. But this does not let Eckankar, or any other religion, off the hook. It just demonstrates that we should be skeptical in every spiritual endeavor we undertake. 4. "Do you see how Eckankar helps people?" Steve asks. I see how sincere people in any religion or group can help one another, even if that group is tainted with a questionable past. But perhaps these sincere people can help even more if allowed the opportunity to have an organization which does not rationalize or legitimize behavior that a grammar school would find reprehensible: from not cribbing other author's works to fudging details on important historical personages. 5. "Do Eckists get any spiritual benefit?" Steve asks. I don't know what "spiritual benefit" means. I don't think anybody knows what it means, really. What we are saying, perhaps, is that we "feel" happier or more fulfilled or closer to our ideas of God or whatever..... But these "feelings" are part and parcel of our own human anatomies. We often transfer the source of our happiness or our benefits to outsider catalysts. It turns out often to be the case that we are the ones who are responsible for the feelings we derive. It arises within our own self, but we give credit to someone or something which was merely taking credit for that which it had nothing to do with. (the Kirpal Statistic and The Unknowing Sage touch upon this issue as do several posts in the Inner Visions section..... http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dlane/) But to address the heart of the matter: I think we are better served and get much more benefit by aligning ourselves with organizations that are honest, up front, and truthful about their origins. Moreover, I think we should demand of our leaders something better than we usually get in our religions. Put bluntly, do we really want Darwin as a role model? Or Thakar? Or John-Roger? ..... you can fill-in the blanks.....
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