Questioning Twitchell's Legitimacy

Author: David Christopher Lane
Publisher: Alt.religion.eckankar
Publication date: 1995

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Questioning the Legitimacy of Twitchellian History

with regard to the coining of new names for previous Eck Masters

Mark S. writes that he is upset with my questioning of the "spiritual names" for previous (and current) Eck Masters. He further mentions that he would not discuss with me his inner experiences with such beings because I have crossed the line in terms of objectivity.

Now Mark is actually right on the mark here (no pun intended). I have crossed the line of objectivity since I really don't know (absolutely) where Twitchell came up with these incredible (and I use incredible here consciously--that is, not believable) sounding names.

And when I do use my objective, research oriented method I have come across a severe problem. Most of these characters cannot be verified historically. Indeed, when I went to India to find out if some of these gurus (like Rebazar and Sudar) really did exist, as claimed by Twitchell and others in Eckankar, I found out to my dismay that there was no evidence whatsoever for them. Thus, what is a researcher to do???? Well, he/she can simply accept Twitchell's testimony, but there's a catch if he or she does that. Almost everything else Twitchell has stated has turned out to be either false (like his birthdate) or a cover-up (e.g., his association with Kirpal Singh, L. Ron Hubbard, etc.).

Thus, when it comes to the alleged facticity of the "Vairagi" masters, the researcher has to step outside the bounds of objectivity. Indeed, every Eckist I know has to. Why? How else can you believe Twitchellian history when most of it falls beyond the realm of empirical confirmation.

Yet, the Eckist sometimes wants it both ways. They want the researcher to be objective, value-free, etc. (most of which, of course, is impossible anyways) when it comes to evaluating the truth claims of their respective religion. However, when the researcher asks them to be objective about the origins of their group, their leader, their genealogical connections, it is occasionally argued that "empiricism" is limited and that Eck deals with things far beyond the rational mind.

A simple question arises in my mind. If Rebazar and Sudar and Fubbi and Gakko really did exist, why is it that only Paul Twitchell talks about them? (I am not talking about inner visions and the like here). It is Twitchell who has access to them. It is Twitchell who knows their names. It is also Twitchell who has systematically lied about almost every important detail in his life. To protect his family? I think not; it was very family that said he was a liar. Even Twitchell' first wife informed me that Twitchell had a tendency to tell yarns (a polite terms for "lying").

So if the Twitch has this fairly bad habit of lying and he is the first guy to talk about a five hundred year old Tibetan monk and nobody either in Tibet or India has heard of the guy, what is the researcher to do?

Well, my hunch is that Twitch just made the names up. Now this may seem non-objective, but I ask the internet readers to do the necessary empirical research (go to India, go to Tibet), and find the evidence for Rebazar Tarzs or Twitchell's version of Sudar Singh.

I don't mind being wrong. Indeed, it would be quite fun to meet Rebazar. It would be great to add Sudar to my shabd yoga genealogical tree.

But all I hear is that some of these beings can only be contacted on the inner planes. They don't appear to skeptics (just like psychics cannot work correctly when a magician is watching them).

Mark, I genuinely don't mind being wrong. I think it is a worthy task for you to gather solid evidence for Rebazar Tarzs and crew. (I hasten to repeat that I am not asking for testimonies of others inner experiences--I have already commented on the unreliablity of that already in two pieces: The Politics of Mysticism and the Kirpal Statistic).

If I am wrong, I will personally go to Tibet and apologize to Rebazar, providing of course that the Chinese government doesn't mind a foreigner talking to one of their elders.

Concerning "Wah Z", I personally didn't mean anything offensive by it. Maybe I am just too jaded. Because even when Eckankar claimed that I was a reincarnation of Kal I didn't get offended. I sort thought of it as a backsided compliment. I mean I know they must have been very taken aback when they tried to sue me and my sister who is an attorney wrote them back a very stern response.

Why were they taken aback? My sister's initials are: KAL (Kim A. Lane). Hmmm......

On a more serious note, I think this whole business of names and the like should be more thoroughly investigated.

I would like to see somebody do the kind of research that Johnson has done on the Theosophical masters. It is very instructive.

Check out his latest book which is coming out from SUNY. It is indicative of what needs to be done more thoroughly in Eckankar.

Keep ripping, Mark.

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I want to go back to the home base now.