Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER Publication date: April 1997
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I want to go back to the home base now.
DOUG WRITES: So when did plagiarism become such an unacceptable, unethical act? Basically, when people started making money from the written word. To protect an author's right to profit from their creation, we frown on those who copy. This works fine for our current era, and for the publishing world, and is so strongly accepted that it is rarely even questioned anymore. So, once again we find that Paul transgressed our modern day code of ethics, but does not seem out of synch with the spiritual tradition at all. And the pieces that Paul copied, seem much truer and larger in scope when Paul uses them, connecting us to greater realities than their original meaning. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Given your argument, then Twitchell or Eckankar wouldn't mind if their works were plagiarized, since the would-be author may be trying to connect (as you say) to some greater reality. But we know from Twitchell's own history (see the J.R. episode) and Eckankar's (see their lawsuit against Gross for trademark infringement) that copyrighting and protecting such is very important to them--even when those very "copyrights" contain plagiarized material from other copyrighted books. Twitchell not only trangressed our modern day code of ethics, he transgressed his own. Remember he was the one who "copyrighted" his books (even those purloined quotes--some 400+ in number--from Johnson put into the mouth of Rebazar in THE FAR COUNTRY). He didn't say, "Hey, I have gotten my stuff for free from other copyrighted texts so dear reader feel most free to incorporate what you find in your newest tome." Instead, he threatened J.R. with a lawsuit and Eckankar did indeed file suit with their former leader, Darwin Gross, over trademarks. Now, you further state that Twitchell's creative plagiarisms even raised the "meaning" of those pirated quotes to a higher level. Hmm.... I guess that is why when he copied Julian Johnson's objective indices for a Perfect Master, Twitchell chose to leave off the very first one--the objective indice that Johnson himself stated was the clearest and most important one. What was that? That Masters DON'T charge money for membership. Twitchell left that nice little indice out of the equation, even though he "plagiarized" the other chief ones from Johnson. This is a step up? No, I think this excuse for Twitchell's plagiarism is just that--an excuse. Moreover, your allegation that Twitchell plagiarized more authors than Johnson has also been mentioned by me in THE MAKING and on this newsgroup. It is well known, but it doesn't get Twitchell off the hook; it simply shows, once again, that Twitchell deceived his audience. And I do mean deceived. Again, let me put this another way. If I found an R.S. guru doing what Twitchell did I wouldn't excuse it, I would call it plagiarism and say that it was wrong. Wrong because there is a much simpler solution: cite and reference your sources so that the would-be neophyte will know that when Rebazar Tazs speaks Kentuckian it is due to Twitchell's cribbing of Johnson (a fellow Kentuckian), and not because of an exact conversation in the Himalayans (which Twitchell quite clearly tries to indicate--a point blank lie, of course). You may not know this, but Kirpal Singh NEVER copyrighted his own books. He felt that they should be free to use to whomever, provided one gave due reference and citation when necessary. Now did Twitchell did anything comparable to that? Nope. He "copyrighted" his numerous plagiarisms and sold them in the book market as original. He made money, in other words, on the literary efforts of others, without so much as one single note of appreciation. Read the FAR COUNTRY closely. Do you see Johnson cited? thanked? appreciated? Did Twitch send money to Johnson's heirs for the 400+ paragraphs he stole, even though those very stolen paragraphs contributed greatly to the success of "selling" his book? I could care less about the money angle; what concerns me, however, is how really immature this line of argumentation is when examined. Twitchell plagiarized and he was WRONG for doing it. It's that simple. Everything else is puffery and insubstantial at that. DOUG WRITES: Our memories of Paul, and how we see him today, may have changed, but who he really was, and what he really did remain the same. We are the ones who have changed. The world itself has changed. How can anyone judge, today, what Paul did, or why he did it, over 25 years ago? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Very easily. Why? Because Paul Twitchell himself made judgements on those who came before him (just see what he said about Kirpal Singh's initiations or spiritual path--not a pretty sight, huh?); just see, in other words, what Paul Twitchell said about other gurus, other paths, or other religions. He was not at all adverse to making judgements, to making predictions, to making critiques. So he is fair game. I have no qualms with calling Twitchell a plagiarist (he was), a liar (geez, Steve, read what Twitchell submitted to Ripley's believe it or not, or read Harji's own comments), and a first-rate cover-up artist (sorry, Steve, but try finding a reference to Sudar Singh in Twitchell's writings in the 1950s, or 1940s, or 1930s.... good luck). In any case, Twitchell has provided his own ammunition and it is not our fault that he shoots himself in the foot by his own duplicity. The founder of Eckankar lied about his writing and that is troublesome--so troublesome, in fact, that the more we try to "excuse" it under astral or non-astral pretexts the larger the issue looms. The charge of plagiarism grows not because we acknowledge it (then it tends to go away since we are dealing with it), but because we lamely try to defend it with explanations that are less than sufficient. Remember, a spiritual master is supposed to be more ethical than a high school student, not LESS. ----------- DOUG WRITES: The true spiritual path has never been a popular place, because we must each face the shocks and challenges within the aloneness of our own Self. We have only those named and nameless spiritual beings to call upon, but they generally remain detached from the troubles and confusions of our life. Yet those who need the comfort of the masses will seek out the popular beliefs and the publicly accepted truths. They will run away from the spiritual path out of their fear of being mocked and derided. Then they will turn around and try to judge all others by their new standards. It is better to keep such people away from the spiritual path, for their own sake and for the sake of sincere seekers. For this reason, there are often created tests and obstacles upon the path, to sort out those who are not ready to attain the higher truths. In this arena, as in all others, Paul outdid himself in leaving some wonderful mysteries, contradictions and shocking truths, as tests and hurdles along The Way. I, for one, thank him for these, as well. DAVID LANE REPLIES: While I deeply appreciate your civility and your reasoned arguments, I must confess that I strongly disagree with you on these two paragraphs. The justification of contradictions, tests, and mysteries by devotees is the first step towards cultic or mythic or herd thinking. Let me spell it out in an extreme case: When certain young male devotees of Sathya Sai Baba were asked to pull their pants down, they did so under the pretext that it was for their own good. Even though it seemed funky at the time, they sensed that maybe it was a test, or maybe it was a higher teaching, or a mystery not comprehendable at "this" level. And even when Sai Baba rubbed oil on their penis, they still thought along these lines...... I won't go any further on what Sai Baba then proceeded to do these young kids' woodies.... (you can take a guess..... and you would be most likely right on the money), but it was precisely this kind of silly spiritual rhetoric that led them to "doubt" their funkiness and trust the guru's purpose....... This same rhetoric has allowed Thakar to blindfold kids, Da Free Free to convince disciples to make porno movies, John-Roger to rectally interface young hetros, and any guru to justify almost anything...... Sorry, but this bird always flies back and when it does it deposits something long held back because of its journey..... Crap and lots of it. Why can't we simply say it? Twitchell plagiarized and he was wrong. --------------- Now that gets to the "mystery" and to the "test" you are talking about. Can we accept our gurus and our path with intelligent love, or are we so sophomoric in our approach that we have to justify or legitimize their actions with all sorts of non-verifiable goo? Hey, let's reverse the test. The guru is wrong, but the disciple doesn't have the balls (or the ? for females) to say it. That would be a refreshing change of pace....... DOUG WRITES: The true spiritual path has never been a popular place, because we must each face the shocks and challenges within the aloneness of our own Self. We have only those named and nameless spiritual beings to call upon, but they generally remain detached from the troubles and confusions of our life. Yet those who need the comfort of the masses will seek out the popular beliefs and the publicly accepted truths. They will run away from the spiritual path out of their fear of being mocked and derided. Then they will turn around and try to judge all others by their new standards. It is better to keep such people away from the spiritual path, for their own sake and for the sake of sincere seekers. For this reason, there are often created tests and obstacles upon the path, to sort out those who are not ready to attain the higher truths. In this arena, as in all others, Paul outdid himself in leaving some wonderful mysteries, contradictions and shocking truths, as tests and hurdles along The Way. I, for one, thank him for these, as well. DAVID LANE REPLIES: While I deeply appreciate your civility and your reasoned arguments, I must confess that I strongly disagree with you on these two paragraphs. The justification of contradictions, tests, and mysteries by devotees is the first step towards cultic or mythic or herd thinking. Let me spell it out in an extreme case: When certain young male devotees of Sathya Sai Baba were asked to pull their pants down, they did so under the pretext that it was for their own good. Even though it seemed funky at the time, they sensed that maybe it was a test, or maybe it was a higher teaching, or a mystery not comprehendable at "this" level. And even when Sai Baba rubbed oil on their penis, they still thought along these lines...... I won't go any further on what Sai Baba then proceeded to do these young kids' woodies.... (you can take a guess..... and you would be most likely right on the money), but it was precisely this kind of silly spiritual rhetoric that led them to "doubt" their funkiness and trust the guru's purpose....... This same rhetoric has allowed Thakar to blindfold kids, Da Free Free to convince disciples to make porno movies, John-Roger to rectally interface young hetros, and any guru to justify almost anything...... Sorry, but this bird always flies back and when it does it deposits something long held back because of its journey..... Crap and lots of it. Why can't we simply say it? Twitchell plagiarized and he was wrong. --------------- Now that gets to the "mystery" and to the "test" you are talking about. Can we accept our gurus and our path with intelligent love, or are we so sophomoric in our approach that we have to justify or legitimize their actions with all sorts of non-verifiable goo? Hey, let's reverse the test. The guru is wrong, but the disciple doesn't have the balls (or the ? for females) to say it. That would be a refreshing change of pace....... -------- STEVE R. CITES AND REPLIES: > Appendix Three > Forgotten Writings > A Selection of Paul Twitchell's Early Writings > "ECKANKAR - The Bilocation Philosophy" >"I began my study of bilocation under the tutelage of Satguru Sudar >Singh, in Allahbad, India. Later I switched to Sri Kirpal Singh, of old >Delhi." >So Sudar came before Kirpal, not the other way around as Lane et al >speculate! When things did not work out with Kirpal, Paul did not make >up a fictitious Sudar as Lane theorized, but merely went back to him as >his inner guide. This should be very significant to those who worry about details. If Paul Twitchell invented the name Sudar Singh in order to mask his association with Kirpal Singh, then why in the world would he use both names in the same sentence. Remember that this is all before David Lane's time. If Sudar was a cover for Kirpal, then what are they both doing there? This provides strong support for the notion that when he was relating his inner experiences with an Eck Master, Paul at some point realized that those teachings were not coming from Kirpal SIngh. I suspect that this occurred around the time that Kirpal rejected Paul's writing of "The Tiger's Fang" and his emphasis on dreams as a place for spiritual learning. As the teachings from Sudar Singh and then Rebazar Tarz continued to come on the inner they diverged greatly from what Kirpal Singh had been teaching - no required vegetarianism, 20 to 30 minute Spiritual Exercises, a greater Western, Judeo-Christian influnence, more Sufi and Moslem influence, more Buddhist, more influence from modern American methods like Scientology, Edgar Cacey, and Spiritualism and Theosophy. As he continued, Paul began picking up the pieces from all of these traditions, and as he did so, it became increasingly clear that Sant Mat and Kirpal Singh were not the source, but Sudar Singh, Rebazar Tarz and Eckankar were. Expect David Lane to brush this one aside. DAVID LANE REPLIES: How could I "brush this one aside" when I am the guy who published the excerpt? I have always argued that Sudar Singh was a cover name for several people, including Kirpal Singh and Swami Premananda. We know that Twitchell studied bilocation under Swami Premananda in the 1950s until he was booted out of the group in 1955 for misconduct. He later "switched" to Kirpal Singh.... who visited Washington, D.C. the same year Twitchell got kicked out of the Self-Revelation Church of Absolute Monism..................... ---------------------------------- Steve R. Writes: He doesn't even have conversations. Lane has to control the subject heading of every post. Did you notice that Lane never responds within a thread. Do you suppose that he doesn't know how? Or is he just to pompous and egotistical to descend to reply in someone elses thread? DAVID LANE REPLIES: I have already explained this to you before, but I guess you don't like my answer. I try to reply to each and every major point of criticism. keep up the good work, your pompous and egotistical friend, dave ------------- Steve R. Writes: Lane claims that over the last 20 years he has received literally thousands of favorable letters, on the order of an average of 2 per day, from grateful Eckists. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yes, I have even received more letters than that. I low-balled the number...... Sorry, but that's what happened, bro. I get lots of letters. STEVE R. WRITES: Lane claims that his beloved guru, Charan Singh, who could do no wrong, was behind a surreptitious campaign to smear Paul Twitchell and Eckankar using his (Lane's) material. Yet the same Charan Singh is cited publically as saying that he prefers what Paul did, promoting the Light and Sound of God, to secular writing. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Oh, my good friend Steve. Nice attempt, but I have already told you on several occasions when my beloved guru Charan Singh was wrong (lest you forget, Shiv Dayal Singh did smoke a huqqa, contrary to what Charan Singh once stated). Second, please keep your timeline accurate, since the statement Charan Singh made about Twitchell was in 1970; i wrote the Making in 1978. Charan Singh didn't run a campaign against Twitchell. He simply had his staff and representatives read THE MAKING OF A SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT (78 version). No need to exaggerate, Steve. STEVE R. WRITES: Lane claims that he has no reason to "rip" Eckankar, to interfere with people's spiritual progress, to break the faith that people have in their chosen religion, other than that it is "fun". Did he pull the wings off of flies for "fun" as a child? Lane is a fraud and a liar. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Again, you seem to forget that I think critical thinking is important in religion. I think it is altogether healthy to "doubt" gurus and paths..... Truth can stand our scrutiny. As for the fun part, remember I said I like detective work....... As for pulling wings off of flies, I like little creatures and animals. I don't even eat them. ---------- STEVE R. WRITES: That David Lane is lying when he says that he has received an average of over 2 letters a day for the last 20 years from Eckists thanking him for his good work. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Steve, I always enjoy your doubts of me and my work; it is helpful to all concerned. Yes, I did receive that many letters, dear Steve; indeed, I received even more than that, but I just wanted to be a bit conservative. Try reading about what happened in the late 1970s and 1980s and you will see why so many letters were written. As for right now, I can't even keep up with all my email, though I try to answer each and every one. You can imagine how difficult it was with all those "slow" mail letters. If you keep writing nasty things about me, I am sure I will get even more letters as well. Since I do like getting mail, don't stop the good work. STEVE R. WRITES: That Charan Singh was duplicitous in publically saying that Paul Twitchell could have visited an astral library DAVID LANE REPLIES: Steve, where do you get this stuff? You start adding details to a very simple question and answer period that was not in the original. Why don't you simply quote Charan Singh directly; it was 1970. Then point out that Charan Singh in 1978 (that's 8 years later) gave copies of MAKING to his reps for further information. No campaign against Twitchell, dear Steve. Just a very simple thing: distributing information that he felt was helpful to his reps in answering questions. STEVE R. WRITES: and that in any case his work in bringing the Light and Sound to the world was better than secular writing (secular, you know, like David Lanes'), while at the same time surriptiously circulating Lanes book among his disciples and patting Lane on the back for an attack well done. DAVID LANE REPLIES: You have this wonderful knack of making things up...... One question, Steve: have you read the 1978 version of MAKING? Try it; it may surprise you since it is a bit different than later versions. Charan Singh never backed my attacks. He simply read my manuscript and thought that the information was useful..... So did Harold Klemp, dear Steve. He used parts of it as well. Don't believe me? Ask him. I also promise not to eat you, either. ----------------- STEVE R. WRITES: You just proclaimed yourself the Prophet of Eckankar. David Lane just proclaimed, "Jay is the Way!--Eckankar's Future" praising you. I haven't seen your response to Lane. I think that it is fair to say that you are probably David Lane's favorite Eckist right now. I don't say that you care to be David Lane's favorite Eckist, but he does like what you have to say, and he has publically called for the dismantling of Eckankar. I don't really think that is what you want, but Lane would have the world think so. DAVID LANE REPLIES: My favorite Eckist? Is YOU, STEVE R. Why? Because your doubts, your criticisms, your speculations, your musings allow me to write more than I would have ever thought possible. You are my inspiration (I am serious) and for that I am deeply grateful. You get my all-time award for Lane's favorite Eckist..... your #1 fan, dave, hitler, lane -------------- STEVE R. asks: My question is why does David Lane think that this is so much fun? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Because, as I have said to you many times before, I like detective work and Eckankar is a treasure trove. STEVE R. WRITES: I think that critical analysis would be quite helpful in examining David Lane's sadsim. DAVID LANE REPLIES: I never met a sadsim. Is that related to being sad when you can't get slim? In any case, by all means examine my "sadsim". STEVE R. WRITES: Obvously David has little insight into his own behavior. David, you might try some self reflection before you hurt any more people. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Well, I think it is much more hurtful when a so-called Master lies to his disciples, to his wife, to his friends, to his official biographer, and to his fellow Kentuckians....... I think the pain people feel when reading the MAKING is directly related to the deceit generated by Twitchell's antics. Truth, if it is True, shines all the more when doubted. There is nothing to be "hurt" about that..... right? ------------------------------- Nathan Writes: A very well written article. So maybe I was wrong about David Lane. He isn't stupid at all. He's merely physical, and only unconsciously intolerant, biased, and unethical. It's not his fault, though. After all these years, when he reads this post by Doug, he'll realize why he has analyzed everything from the the surface levels only (i.e. physical), ignoring their depths (i.e. intuitive or "mandalic") completely. So, in the next few days, we will expect him to make a public apology for all the misunderstandings he has created because of his ignorance of his own nature, and he will close down his web page, refute his long standing attacks against Eckankar and other religions, advise David Rife and Raphael to do the same and retire from a.r.e., or, even better, spend the next 20 odd years of his life telling the world all the positive things about Eckankar he somehow never bothered mentioning before. Am I right, David? Living and Loving in Eck, Nathan DAVID LANE REPLIES: Before I reply, please make certain that your kids are safe, since you once mentioned that you feared for your kids' safety when I was online............. (just teasing you, my friend.... signed: Kal boy) Sorry to disappoint you, Nathan, but you are not right once again. As for Doug's essay, I really enjoyed them. They were quite interesting and he brought up some very pertinent points--especially with regard to guru successorship. I also like your weekly posts about me and my biases. keep up the good work, dave ------------ NATHAN WRITES: Now, David has posted no less than (count'em) 16 full-sized posts. Wow, what a confession! All he had to write was a small paragraph and just say he's sorry for what he did. It was really decent of him to paraphrase it so well. Looking forward to Dave's next manuscript called The Re-making of a Spiritual Movement....The Told Story of Eckankar.... (also known as How I Learned to Stop Interfering in Other People's Lives) DAVID LANE REPLIES: You have a nice sense of humor, Nathan. But I have need to apologize, nor have I, about writing on Eckankar. I have always thought that critics are our best friends; for that reason I welcome your future comments, even if they are misleading. keep up the fine work, dave --------- firstname.lastname@example.org (David Lane) wrote: >I think a Rebazar spirit caught hold of my typewriter and deleted my >"no". >I have received upwards of 15,000+ letters NATHAN writes: I thing the same spirit added the 0 from the no, multiplied it by 2, and added 2 zeros to the number 150, which is probably all you ever received in 20 years. And they were all from Lane's relatives, friends, and disciples, including 50 letters from David Rife, who kept saying the same thing 50 times. I like you, as well........ Well, I don't like you......... In the Light and Sound of Eck, Nathan DAVID LANE REPLIES: i actually like your sense of humor here Nathan; it is refreshing. No, I was even underestimating the number, since from 1977 to 1986 I was receiving close to a 100 letters a month. I didn't know Dave Rife then, and my relatives don't write me. This past year has seen a tremendous increase. But, quite frankly, I don't think numbers tell the story. I do think, as Mark Alexander suggests, that people will continue to follow Eckankar and that it will even get larger, despite anything I write. I sensed this back in 1977, and Juergennsmeyer noted in 1983 in his foreword to the book. The growth of a religion does not necessarily correlate with its founders truthfulness or authenticity. Richard Dawkins has written a very suggestive theory on cultural memes about why this may be so. In any case, regardless of whether you like me or not, keep up the critiques and questions and the humor. liking you still, dave ------------- Dear Rich: Thank you for your recent note. However, you are wrong about Julian Johnson's books not being copyrighted. They were (and still are). THE PATH OF THE MASTERS was copyrighted in 1939 and that copyright has been renewed. Get a copy; you can see for yourself instead of relying on this "Kal" authority. Twitchell breached that copyright, yet had the audacity to "copyright" his plagiarisms of Julian Johnson and others. ---------- Dear Rich: I don't disdain you for loving Paul Twitchell (see what I say about this issue with regards to Jay). Rather, I would be much more impressed if an Eckist would simply state the obvious: Twitchell plagiarized and covered-up and didn't lamely defend such silliness. It is not the love that is in question, but the excuses we generate to not acknowledge the obvious. Now concerning "speculations" and the like, I should point out that I did talk with Charan Singh on the matter and that he also wrote to me about it a couple of times. Furthermore, he wrote several letters to seekers who asked about the research I did. Moreover, Julian Johnson was the key source for Twitchell's shabd yoga plagiarism. On that score, most would agree. I know Charan Singh, Darshan Singh, and others were surprised to learn how extensive it was.
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I want to go back to the home base now.