The Strange Editing of LETTERS TO GAIL and more

Author: David Christopher Lane
Publisher: Alt.religion.eckankar
Publication date: 1996

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.


I think it might be fruitful for all concerned if we developed
a systematic way to debate issues. What this means is that
we could "progressively" go from one issue to the next (instead
of rehashing our respective views over and over again).

Here's my idea. Let's take one paragraph of MAKING at a time
that bothers you (going from Chapter 1 to Chapter 10) and
then have you give your critique of it. I can do my best to
rejoinder and others can give their input (pro and con).

That way, we can at least cover more ground and perhaps get
more information on the board. I think people are pretty
clear that you and I are not going to see eye to eye on
Twitchell's 1922 birthdate (typo or deception?). 

So what we can do, at least, is move the discussion along
to other points that you don't like in a systematic fashion
and that way we get more information and newer points and
perhaps people won't be as bored as they already are with
the give and take.

Bruce did a nice job of this and I tried to reply to each of
of the points he disagreed with. 

We could do the same, if you wish.

If analyzing the MAKING is not your cup of tea, then we
could even take IN MY SOUL I AM FREE and see the various
points we may agree/disagree on in a progressive fashion.

Otherwise, I have to admit that I am even getting tired
and bored of having to constantly say Twitchell lied,
plagiarized, and covered-up.

It would be a bit more exhilerating to actually take a
text progressively and proceed through it instead of
doing a WW1 like debate where we simply dig our ditches
and shoot back and forth:

1922 is B.S. or 1922 is a typo

over and over again.

In any case, you can pick the text and I would be most
happy to engage you on it, provided that we can at least
find a specific focus/paragraph where we can proceed from
and onwards to a new one, etc.

Others could join in (pro or con) and provide whatever
information they think is useful or necessary within that

Joseph P. even suggested an important issue about documents
and the like.

We could try to see how many "new" documents we could gather
on the Twitch and use that as a focus.....

In any case, I am most open to the debate.

And if you are not, I will understand that as well.

your former manager,



David Stewart, the Former Editor of the Eck World News,
stated (while he was working in the print office at
Eckankar in Menlo Park) that LETTERS TO GAIL contained
editing which included altering names which appeared in
the original letters.

For instance, David Stewart claimed to have seen the name
Kirpal Singh crossed out several times and the name "Sudar
Singh" put above. Stewart believed that the editing was
done by Gail.

This naturally bothered him, since the original letters
by Paul Twitchell did not contain the name Sudar Singh
and he thought there was some type of cover-up taking place.
Stewart left Menlo Park shortly after I talked with him.

Now tonite I was just glancing through LETTERS TO GAIL
VOLUME 3 and found something a bit curious. On page 161
Paul writes to Gail the following:

DATED (please note): MAY 10, 1964:

"The god of this plane is Sat Nam, as YOU [Gail] know
>from  LISTENING to ECK Master Sudar Singh."

What is curious about this?

Well, first Sudar Singh, according to Twitchell, died
around 1937.

Gail couldn't have possibly "listened" to Sudar Singh
(he was dead) unless Twitchell was refering to her
contact with him on the inner planes.

But enter David Stewart. He pointed out that "Sudar Singh"
was not in the original, but rather Kirpal Singh.

Now let's put "Kirpal" back in and let's see how it

"The god of this plane is Sat Nam, as YOU [Gail] know
>from  LISTENING to Master Kirpal Singh."

Why does that work so well?

Because Gail Atkinson had just months prior "heard" Kirpal
Singh speak in San Francisco where she received initiation
>from  him. Kirpal Singh had made a tour of the USA in 1963.
Twitchell's letter is dated May 10, 1964.

Kirpal Singh, unlike his fictional counterpart, was
very much alive when Twitchell's May 10, 1964 letter
was written.

Now it seems as if the editors of this third volume
did see the incongruency. David Stewart knew it and
now so should you.

Note to Steve: Don't believe me. Write to Harji about it
and have him release the originals. Better yet ask
Gail or David Stewart.


I would imagine that if Mother Teresa had her official biographer
lie about her birthdate, her travels, her high school graduation,
her war record, her spiritual associations, and then she tried to
exaggerate and twist facts for fame (to cite Harjji) by using a
a different name so that the publisher would think it was not really
her bragging about her, and in addition she threatened to sue the
Pope, one of her former nuns, and then copyrighted her extensive
plagiarisms (but denied doing so in the first place) and then
started her own religion on her own birthday (october 22) and then
claimed to be an enlightened being, and then had a successor who
got excommunicated from the church for embezzling money///////
well, I think you are absolutely right and she would deserve a
comprehensive rip. By the way, there is already one on the market
called Missionary Position (no joke) which talks about her life and work.
I do know this: doubting the life and work of Paul Twitchell is
absolutely necessary.
Why? Well, you have already admitted the obvious:
His official biography and the one that hooked thousands is mostly
fiction without any factual basis.
P.S. Did you know that your 1912 date is contradicted by Twitchell himself when he registered at Western Kentucky University. Better do the math.



I want to say thanks once again for calling me names; it
gives me that warm deja vu feeling as if I had gone back
in a time capsule some 20 years when I first encountered
the "wrath" of Eckankar's legal arm.

This time you list the following: "ugly prejudice," 
"have you no shame" and "franatically scrambling" for
real evidence.

I guess it is better than your previous one, wherein you
compare me to Hitler.... And that may be a step up from the
1979 memo in which I was called a pagan and a heathen who
had been formed from the beginning of time.

In any case, Steve, I do like your doubts and critiques
(even though you say you won't go point by point on

Indeed, without you I would never have tracked as many
new plagiarisms as I have, nor would I have realized that
Twitchell didn't graduate high school at 15 as Steiger
says, or that your own living Eck MASTER has publicly
stated that 

Paul Twitchell "twisted" and "exaggerated" facts. Geez,
Klemp even accuses Twitchell of BSing Ripley's Believe
it or Not so that he could garner some fame.

Now you say I am "scrambling" for real evidence.

No, Steve, you are the one who inspired me to even
think of Twitchell's driver's license. The thought
had simply never occurred to me.

I was laughing one night after reading one of your posts
(I am particularly fond of your posts which have a nasty
undertone) and the thought hit me about Twitch's driver's

You see, Steve, I had gotten lots of primary documents
years ago (that is why I have his death certificate,
his marriage certificate, etc.). 

But since you "doubt" my research so much (which I think
is a good thing), I thought it would be great fun to
find out more, not less.

I have no idea what his driver's license says.

It could be any date, as far as I know.

Let us see and then we can have another to/fro argument.

Maybe you will even come up with some more honorifics
for me.

Without you Steve as my inspiration, I would probably
not write much on this newsgroup.

So don't stop ripping me;
otherwise I will end up watching Seinfeld repeats.

your admirer,

dave lane

P.S. You mention something about how I should be worried
about my academic standing and the like. No, I am on
sabbatical for 15 months and I have already received

You might find this troublesome, but the term paper I
wrote on Eckankar is what opened graduate school doors
for me.

Why? Because before I wrote on Eckankar, very few talked
about Kirpal Singh, Swami Premananda, L. Ron Hubard,
Dianetics, Sant Mat, etc.

Geez, they didn't even know that the FLUTE of God had been
heavily redacted, or that Twitchell originally stated
that Kirpal Singh was responsible for the Tiger's Fang.

Nobody talked about his first wife. Most Eckists thought
Gail was his first wife (I don't see any mention by
Steiger of it, do you?). I got an interview with her.

Then SCP journal came out citing my study extensively and
Eckankar got really concerned.

By the way, Steve, do you know why Harjji even talks about
astral libraries, Kirpal Singh, Scientology, the various
birthdates of Twitchell, and the "twisting" of facts?

Yep, it was due to MAKING and the SCP journal.

Klemp, unlike Darji, wanted to clarify the whole thing.

And just think what prompted that?

a term paper by some surfer dude.


I am not ashamed of it.

I think Eckankar probably should be.

Why sue a kid when he was polite enough to send them
a copy and ask for their comments?

That term paper wasn't going anywhere, but it most
certainly did when they threatened me with a lawsuit
over it.

And to think I was naively sending it to them for their

A legal reply is what I got.


No, I am not worried about my reputation or my academic

You see, Steve, I know what I have uncovered and what
you refuse to address.

But keep critiquing........

I have an open mind to new evidence.

Any word on Sudar?


> Geoff,
> Did you ever notice that David Lane never uses original sources?  He
> never quotes Paul Twitchell directly, always citing someone else's
> recollection or prejudice.  I wonder why?


Hmm, this is pretty sweeping generalization and one that
can be demonstrated to be false. You say I "NEVER" quote
Paul Twitchell directly.

Yet, in the MAKING I quote him directly over 50 times,
especially in his early writings on Eckankar, and then later
on his FLUTE of GOD redaction and then, of course, in doing
those very long plagiarism studies.

It is not my fault, but entirely Eckankar's, that Twitchell
would allow hundreds of thousands of copies of his biography
(and published by IWP) to be sold and distributed to Eckists
worldwide which contains elaborate fictions that have no
basis in facts--from doctoring his hometown to the age of
his graduation from high school to his own age when his
mother, Effie, died.

Eckankar has allowed IN MY SOUL I AM FREE to be distributed
worldwide at ECK conferences, at libraries, and to personal

Yet, as you even admit yourself, the facts are not accurate.

Instead of blaming me for citing my sources (which I clearly
do--from Jarvis to Steiger to Gail), better blame Eckankar
for perpetuating a myth about Twitchell which is factually
untrue and entirely misleading.

I have documented the fact that Twitchell's death certificate
states that he died at the age of 48 and was born in 1922.

You want to go with the 1912 date, yet don't realize two
important points: The Registrar at Western Kentucky University
has stated that Twitchell wrote he was 22 when he entered school,
thus making his birthday EARLIER than 1912 and that your
own living Master Harold Klemp has in the Mystic World of
1984 stated that 1908 is his working date for Twitchell's

Steiger's narrative is based on his study of Paul 
Twitchell himself. And Paul approved the project and
Paul carried through with the project and Eckankar
published it as well via IWP.

Finally, you say I "always" cite someone who has a prejudice,

Steve, these sweeping generalizations are prima facie

I would encourage you to rip me, but rip me accurately.

That way, we can proceed in an interesting discussion.

Otherwise, the very thing you wish to avoid you end up
doing: making allegations up.

I have never made up anything about Twitchell. I have, rather,
given my interpretation based upon a line of evidence or a line
of documentation.

I have only relied on available information or documentation.

To say otherwise is patently false.

Better to say that you don't like my documents or don't
like my interpretations. You will at least be understood

But to make stuff up about my work with words like
"always" or "never" is puffery and untrue.

I really do enjoy your doubts and your skepticism.

But I want you to succeed in your critiques of me 
and not lose because you get hot-headed and start
making things up.

I want you to win this debate, bro.

It would be utterly delightful to meet Sudar and 

But in order to win, you have to play within the arena
and fight the opponent in front of you..... not some
imaginary character you invent because you can't deal
with the specific argument.

If I was  your manager and I would tell you that your fight
strategy would be much better if you would do some
research YOURSELF.

Contact the DMV if you are so certain that Twitchell
never lied. Contact Gail yourself and see what she says.
Get Twitchell's marriage license, etc.
Write to Harji and tell him he is wrong about Twitchell's
twisted facts.

That way you could point to your newly discovered documents
instead of an "air" defense of typos, which in the long
run simply means you don't have a case.

Joseph P, for instance, tries to stay within the arena
and get me on some specific points. That is good because
progress can be made.

He wants some proof for my claim that Theosophy influenced
Eckankar. That's entirely appropriate and then forces me
to get off the dime and show him my line of reasoning.

But to start making things up and shouting off at the mouth
about things that are either not in my work or actually
incorrect means that you will weaken the critique you
are trying to do.

Again, I want you to succeed.

But in order to do that you need to focus and do some
of your own research.

We will all be better served in the process.

If you can prove that Sudar Singh actually existed,
and Paul was genuinely connected to him empirically,
just imagine what a cool face of Lane that would be.

Geez, I would even be stoked.

your manager,

dave lane



> The sad fact is that so many people take his writing at face value and
> do not look into it with a more critical eye. 
> Steve

DAVID LANE replies:

No, what is even more sad is that ECKANKAR can allow IN MY
SOUL I AM LYING to be distributed worldwide and sold at
conferences when even you know that Steiger's narrative
is inaccurate, misleading, and not true.

Just think: Eckankar sells a book wherein the author states
that Twitchell graduated at the age of 15 when we KNOW this
is not true.

Eckankar sells thousands of copies of a book wherein it
states that Paul saw combat duty but the Living Eck Master
contradicts that and said he didn't.

Eckankar sells thousands of copies of a book wherein Paul
is supposed to be 15/16 when his mother died, yet we KNOW
that he is approaching 30.

I will banter on this point over and over again, Steve,
precisely because you have yet to confront the most
troublesome issue of all:

My 1922 birthdate comes from PRO-ECK sources.

Talk about funky.

It is Eckankar that is not straight or honest.

If I allowed the publication of my own biography with
that much information and put it on this newsgroup,
I have a confidence that you--Steve--would demonstrate
the duplicity. And so you should.

Steiger did it and Twitchell approved and Eckankar republished

The lies and the rumors you talk about so frequently come
>from  Eckankar......

And it is Eckankar's responsiblity to correct them.

Any great critiques of Steiger provided to Eckists as
a warning when they read that book?

If not, then it is called FALSE advertising, because you
are selling a story about a supposed God-man that is
not factually accurate--indeed fictionalized at times--
and convincng a buying public that they are getting the

I like being ripped, but your failure to see Paul and
Eckankar's duplicity in this regard is truly astonishing
to me.

Yet, keep astonishing me, since otherwise my pen will
go silent.


Dear Geoff:

I think your point of bringing up shabd yoga lineages in
India is an apt one. They most certainly do require as much
skepticism as I have displayed towards American gurus, like
J.R. and Paul Twitchell.

I remember when I first met the late Faqir Chand in 1978,
after several months of correspondence. He had cabled me
in Delhi, India, where I was staying at Sawan Ashram in
Delhi. I had happened upon Faqir Chand because I was
quite interested in drawing an extensive genealogical map
of all the gurus who have developed their own satsangs
and followings.

At the time I was doing research on what had happened after
Kirpal Singh's death in 1974. I had already interviewed
Madam Hardevi, Gyani ji, and the most notorious guru (in
my opinion) in the history of shabd yoga, the so-called
"Sant" Thakar Singh.

Thakar Singh and I did not get along well at all. In fact,
I cut short my visit with him since I thought we would
end up getting in a physical altercation. I will leave
the details for that for another time.

I told Thakar that I was going next to visit the 92 year
old Faqir Chand in the Punjab. Thakar tried to "dis" the
guy, saying he had gone mad in his old age. Of course,
knowing Thakar I took his "dissing" as a compliment and
was even more anxious to meet Faqir.

Faqir Chand deeply impressed me because he was willing to
be very honest and frank to his disciples about the
human failings of the guru and the guru-system itself.

We became fast friends and I eventually convinced him in
1980 to write his life story, which he did several months
before he died.

I think Faqir is a critical touchstone to expose the duplicity
that seems almost inherent in the guru system.

He sheds a new light on the subject.

This does not mean that Faqir is always right or that gurus
don't have something to offer, but it does coincide with
your points about family connections, money, and property.

Gurus deserve our critical scrutiny and I would agree with
you that we should not lessen our standards one iota.

hope that clarifies my view on this a bit.



P.S. If you want to read my "critical" comments on shabd yoga
or its history, refer to

The R.S. Tradition
The Unknowing Sage
The Kirpal Statistic

and the forthcoming, THE GURU HAS NO TURBAN: Toward a 
New Definition of "Perfect" Masters......


Old answer to a perennial topic:

"If it's me, then rest assured we are in the same camp, because I often
wonder how this "me" or "I' got here (wherever  might ultimately
be). Indeed, I am a great admirer and advocate of skepticism of me
school (via Ramana Maharishi and the "Who Am I" line of inquiry--see
latest article in October, FATE for more). But, if you are skeptical of
 (as academic or as writer), what's the big deal? I was quite frank
with you in my last letter about my religious/philosophical leanings,
but you seem not to believe it, or maybe you want more details. Since
there's no deep secret about my background, I list a few salient
features that you should already know (by your close readings).

1. Born/Raised Roman Catholic
2. Taught Religion in Roman Catholic Schools for 5 years.
3. First became interested in Eastern Philosophy after I picked up   
Yogananda's AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI when I was eleven or twelve years   
4. Avid surfer
5. Experienced my first encounter with the mystical dimension when I
was 15 (see "Speaking in Tongues"). 
6. Turned vegetarian when I was 16 after much reading and a strange   
exposure to Father Yod and his "Source" restaurant in Hollywood [a   
story in itself--to come out later--see "USCM" Vol. 1--No. 3,   
7. Practiced kundalini yoga for about two years (16 and 17), viz a
viz books and Yogi Bhajan designated teachers. 
8. At 17 reached a very dark time in my life (my father died and
shortly before that time was extremely depressed).
9. Shortly before my father's death discovered Sant Mat teachings.
10. Went to C.S.U.N. for undergraduate work: B.A. in Religious studies.
11. First visit to India in 1978 as Juergensmeyer's Research
Assistant. Met with several Surat Shabd Yoga Masters. 
12. In November of 1978, after my visit to India, got accepted for    
initiation by Maharaj Charan Singh Ji of Radhasoami Satsang Beas
(see "The Great Sage of Hoshiarpur"--where this information,
albeit brief--is mentioned.
13. Got married in December of 1978
14. Began Graduate school at Berkeley in 1979 (got M.A. in history
and phenomenology of religion.)
15. Had a very close association with Baba Faqir Chand and his
writings (though he was never my guru--I've been a disciple of
Charan Singh's and still continue and will continue to be so).
16. I am a great fan of Ken Wilbur's. Indeed, had an intellectual    
"satori" one night reading him in Hayward, California; consequently    
altered my approach.
17. I am also a great fan of Ramana Maharshi and, believe it or not,
Da Free John (oops it is now "Love Anananda"). I don't buy into Da
Free as a Master, but I do think that what he has to say in some of
his books is extremely on target.
18. Today, I live in Del Mar. Surf as much as I can (only problem is
that I broke my foot playing basketball so I am temporarily out of
the wave action.)
19. Been married for 8 good years
20. Working on my Ph.D. in Sociology, while teaching in the Warren    
College Writing Program.
21. My overt biases (at least some that I am aware of): non-dualist
philosophy (advaita vedanta); Sant Mat ethics (e.g., no charging of
money, pure moral life, etc.); "Unknowingness" [I do not know what a
single thing is--via Nicholas of Cusa, Kant, S.L. Frank, Da Free John,
etc.]. Or, in other words, Reality is always greater than my puny
conceptions of it. My other bias is that I enjoy difference of opinion
and that I am interested in discovering what "Reality really is" versus
what I want it to be. [Or, what I want Reality to be, is that which it
already is in truth].

Finally, I have one major dietary flaw: I love classic coca colas (not
the new stuff nor the diet stuff--just the classic)."

David Lane - personal letter 28 August 1986.

A Blast from the Past

E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.