Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: The Neural Surfer Publication date: 1996
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Whew, thanks for that clarification, Steve...... I was walking around the last couple of days thinking I didn't have a life..... and no soul to add insult to injury! Today you tell me that I do have a life, but that I am wasting it. Gosh, you sure do know a lot about me. Did we meet or something? (previous life? Sizzler's before bankruptcy? Notre Dame homecoming? Fubbi's bachelor pad?) Strangely, I thought I had a pretty fun life. What time I spend on Eckankar is comparatively little. My friends think I surf too much, or read too many physics/neuroscience books, or drink too many cokes, or see too many students, or play basketball or play pingpong, or go to Hawaii, or miss my guru too much ...... They keep telling me I have too much time, as well. But then you come along and tell me that I am wasting it by posting documented information about a religion you follow. I am a bit different, perhaps. I happen to like it when someone provides historical information about Radhasoami, or Sant Mat, or Catholicism, or the history of physics (I was pleasantly shocked to realize that Einstein had an illegitimate daughter...... Is she still alive, I wonder?), or surfing (I didn't know until just recently that it used to be a native tradition in Hawaii, especially on the island of Oahu, that when a woman and a man rode the same wave together it meant that those two would get together later that night for some love in the sand/hut. No wonder the Duke didn't want his haole wife surfing with his bros.) I think it is really quite intriguing to investigate the history of Eckankar, even if it is to you and others a dead horse (but one that I am happy keeps on kicking). Why? Because to understand the roots of a religion provides tremendous insight into how and why people believe/behave the way they do..... And this applies to any religion or to any tradition. Since I have studied many different shabd yoga groups and have written about lots of them, I continue to be interested in the proliferation of new gurus/groups. Just today, for instance, I listened to a tape by Twitchell talking about Sudar Singh and Sawan Singh and Kirpal Singh. I was amazed that Paul, who claims to have spent at least a year with Sudar in India, cannot even remember where exactly he lived, nor when he died, nor can he give any directions. He seems, given the tape, totally befuddled by recalling his time with Sudar. It sounded to me like he was making it up. Mark Juergensmeyer once asked me to track down all the shabd yoga gurus I could for his book, Radhasoami Reality (Princeton University Press, 1991), when I was his research assistant at Berkeley. I had a great time in India in 1978 trying to locate many of these characters. I was especially interested, of course, in finding Sudar Singh. Was Twitchell a good guide? No, I didn't locate the guy, nor did Gold, nor did Melton, nor did Talsky, nor did Juergensmeyer, nor did Walsh, nor did any scholar of shabd yoga I have met. Now since I mentioned this in the past (and have presently mentioned it again), some are upset because they think I am critiquing their religion...... Hmm, I would love to know about the latest research on Shiv Dayal Singh or Kirpal Singh from someone in the field. I think any person interested in the history of science would be fascinated to know more about Newton (there really was an apple tree in his garden, just outside of his office), or Darwin (Marx once asked him to write a foreword to one of his books, but Darwin refused), or Feynman (he used to practice astral travel with Lilly, only to explain it away as hallucinations of the brain). I also think that religionists would appreciate knowing more about their founder's life story: 1. Geez, you mean that Joseph Smith of Mormonism had more than 50 wives! yep, read No Man Knows My History, which provides the dates and the names. 2. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, took morphine hits to kill the pain before she died. No way.... Yea, the original health advocate did the unthinkable. 3. None of Jesus' disciples believed he was going to resurrect, and when they first heard the reports they thought it was nonsense (hey, didn't he preach that stuff before he died? Do a cross-check of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and read what happens right after his death). 4. The two genealogies of Jesus provided in the New Testament have completely different names for his grandfather (the virgin birth story is only mentioned in two of the gospels, as well). 5. Eckankar's Vairagi Masters, such as Sudar Singh, never existed (oops, went to far..... ) I think it is intriguing to know that Kirpal Singh used to love to drink coca cola (Robert Leverant, who wrote a brief pictorial biography of him in the 70s, told me that the Kirpal had a good supply right underneath the podium during one of his initiations). I remember seeing Ajaib Singh drink down a campa cola (coca cola had been outlawed in India at this time, to my great sadness i should point out) right in front of me and let out a decent burp (not great mind you; I could have taught him some more advanced techniques to be sure) I remember Faqir Chand telling me that even though he was in his nineties and practicing celibacy, he could still have a nocturnal emission. The crowd didn't really want to know the details, I think. Now none of this may be interesting to people, but I know there are a few. And because of this historical bent, I continue to find Eckankar's early history a treasure trove of forgotten historical jewels. The other day, for instance, an ex-Eckist sent me a letter that was handwritten by Twitchell wherein he made the funny comment to someone who was meditating more than two hours a day, "Hey, what are you trying to do? Blow yourself up!" (paraphrased). Now I just wish I could tell you some stories about Sudar Singh. Got any? Oh by the way, please provide some documentation as well. Don't want to spread any unsubstantiated things around the Net. I know I am probably wasting my life away in the hopes of getting those Sudar stories............ but what is a surfer to do? As you know surfers just waste their lives in the water...... signed The wasted one
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I want to go back to the home base now.