Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: Alt.religion.eckankar Publication date: 1995
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ECK FOR PROFIT
Though I deeply appreciate your many sub-references (kinda of a Dennis Miller high on Fubbi Quantz sort of gig), I noticed that you have circumvented the central point that I was trying to make. Twitchell started Eckankar to make money. Now there may be a host of other reasons which prompted him also (fame, ego, power, desire to spread obscure teachings, etc.), but the fact remains that Twitchell himself stated that he started it as a for-profit organization (initially resisting any attempts to make it a religion--later, as we all know [when the money came in much bigger heaps than he or Gail expected], Twitchell gave in). Now you claim that Eckankar is not shabd yoga; well, that's not entirely true, given Twitchell's early writings on the subject wherein he categorically states that Eckankar is another name for shabd yoga (check his articles in 1964 and 1965 and 1966). To be sure, Twitchell later claimed to have transformed it, to some measure, for the western world. But my overall point remains the same: Twitchell did not start Eckankar because he was trying to be generous; he started it because he was in need of money. It was for that reason, I would argue, that he extensively plagiarized most of his material. Keep in mind that all Twitchell had to do was properly cite and reference his material (something a grammar school child is taught and punished for if he/she does not obey). Twitchell's plagiarism, as you must know, is really quite astounding. I am in the process of trying to document most of it--it now appears that almost nothing is original (and by original I simply mean written in Twitchell's own words). It wasn't a sincere desire to spread eastern wisdom in a new basket (he could have easily cited his material if he wanted to do that), but rather the desire to "sell" more goods to his buying audience. Twitchell was not prolific as a writer--he was, on the contrary, prolific as purloiner of copyrighted words, sentences, and paragraphs. Julian Johnson, L. Ron Hubbard and others, were utilized by the Twitch in order to get as much material as he could so that unsuspecting Eckists would have something "new" to buy. And concerning Twitchell's cover-up of his association with Kirpal Singh, Swami Premananda, and others, it is fairly obvious that he didn't want to dilute the market value of Eckankar by showing that almost everything he was saying (and writing--oops, not writing, but rather copying almost verbatim) was but an expensive (and I underline expensive--especially in comparison to the "cheaper" Indian versions) rehashing of his teachers' books and lectures. It is important to note that all of Twitchell's writings are lifted to some degree from other writers without due reference. This is not because he was some sort of creative genius (read Wilber if you want to see somebody compile eastern and western wisdom into a creative, but thoroughly honest, system), but because he was literally too lazy, too dishonest, and too motivated by greed to acknowledge his links and let the readers then make their decisions. Twitchell doesn't let his readers in on his secret. He deceives them. This is not spiritual kindness; this is, to be polite, spiritual piracy. If Twitchell wanted to claim to be an enlightened master, so be it. But why not be honest about your roots??? He genealogically dissociated not because the 60s were a time in need of Eastern wisdom dispensed for the capitalistic masses. No, Eastern wisdom has been in the West since the 1800s. Remember Theosophy, remember SRF, remember Ramakrishna/Vivekananda. If anything, Eckankar was behind the times. So I don't have to do a post-modern, deconstructionist interpretation of Eckankar to understand that Twitchell was probably just like his brother-in-law, Paul Iverlet, said he was: "A notorious liar." Twitchell lied to Camille, his first wife; he lied to his second wife, Gail (he claimed he was much younger than he was---it is easier to get a date, I would assume, saying that you are in your young forties, instead of your mid-fifties); and he lied to every Eckist who has read his books. But instead of acknowledging Twitchell's piracy, we try to come up with a series of defenses. Some, like Mysti's, are sophisticated; some, like Harold's, are lame. But in both cases they remain just that: excuses for something my college students would get booted out for. Why should spiritual masters have a lower standard than grammar school children? But mysti, the ball is now in your court. Rip, shred, and lacerate. P.S. I should emphasize that I do not hold Indian religions as a general standard for spiritual groups or gurus.. Indeed, there are definitely more frauds in India than in America (there are literally thousands of gurus selling their wares). I think, rather, that we should critique Indian gurus all the more. My harshest critics, I should add, are from India. Eckists may not like me, but my most heated criticism has come from other shabd yoga related movements in India. So, I utilize certain benign groups--East or West--which I believe reflect a higher standard for spirituality. Just like we do in physics, or in chemistry, or in any science. There are individuals who have clearly reflected a clearer, and higher ethical standard: Ramana Maharshi, Sawan Singh, Mother Teresa, Gumby. . . .
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