Comparison between Lane's book on Eckankar and Johnson's book on
Jul 27, 1995 08:12 PM
In my attempt to do a review of Paul Johnson's book THE MASTERS
REVEALED, I thought it might be of some use and of some interest
to compare Johnson's TMR with another book entitled THE MAKING OF
A SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT: The Untold Story of Paul Twitchell and
Eckankar by David Christopher Lane. This book has been through a
number of editions. Del Mar Press first published the book in a
paperback edition in 1983. I will refer to the 1989, Special
Students of Theosophy would do well to read this work by David
Lane. I have known Lane for a number of years, have met with him
several times in San Diego, and have carefully looked at his
documentation in the book. I find that Lane is a careful
researcher who documents his facts and who is given to little
speculation. He tries to ask relevant questions and let the
documents speak for themselves (as much as that is possible).
Let us first look at the theme or thesis of TMR by Johnson. I
will repeat Dr. Godwin's summing up of Johnson's thesis:
"The theme of this book is that HPB's Masters were not the
Himalayan sages whom she invented to distract her
co-workers....Mr. Johnson's suggestion ..is that the Mahatmas
Morya and Koot Hoomi are fictitious Tibetan personae that conceal
well-documented historical figures: Ranbir Singh and Thakar
Singh...." TMR, p. xviii
David Lane in his book THE MAKING OF A SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT
(hereafter called TMOASM) writes:
"Documented research indicates that Paul Twitchell created the
character REbazar Tarzs, basing the monk's life story on the
biographies of Kabir, Shiv Dayal Singh, Sawan Singh, Kirpal
Singh, and several other real life gurus. This finding, however,
is known only to a few members of Eckankar...." (p. 64)
For those of you who know little about Paul Twitchell, I will
briefly say that in 1965 Paul Twitchell founded an organization
called Eckankar. He claimed that he was in contact with a group
of Adepts or Masters. These Masters had commissioned him to
reveal the teachings and practices of Eckankar to the world and
to interested seekers of truth. Twitchell claimed that he came
into contact with Rebazar Tarzs, "a Tibetan monk supposedly over
five-hundred years old." Twitchell also claims he was taught in
India by a guru named Sudar Singh. There is much more to this
story but this will give the reader a glimpse of what Twitchell
David Lane writes: "Sudar Singh and Rebazar Tarzs, though their
existence is factual to some extent as `cover names' for real
gurus, are actually mythological characterizations of Twitchell's
genuine and imagine biography. In order to start a `new'
movement , Paul Twitchell attempted to cover up is previous
association with Kirpal Singh [a real guru in the Radhasoami
movement of India]...and tried to create a mythology which made
him and his group, Eckankar, a fulcrum for a unique and superior
spiritual revelation." (p. 96)
Paul Johnson has a *similar* (I didn't say identical) thesis
concerning what H.P. Blavatsky did. According to Johnson,
Blavatsky knew personally Ranbir Singh, the Maharaja of Kashmir
and Thakar Singh of Lahore. She created and substained the
Theosophical movement with their help (and with the help of
others). She created "cover names", "fictitious personae",
"fictional characters" or "mythological characterizations" to
hide these real flesh and blood people. In other words, she
created the fictional characters of Morya and Koot Hoomi much as
Paul Twitchell did when he created "Rebazar Tarzs", "Sudar Singh"
and other Vairagi Masters.
In John Algeo's review of Johnson's TMR (see July, 1995 issue of
THESOPHICAL HISTORY), several pages are devoted to outlining
Johnson's thesis and pointing out some of the problems with this
"The hypothesis [by Johnson about the Masters] cannot be proved
because there is no single bit of clear, unambiguous evidence
demonstrating that Master X is modeled on historical person Y.
There is no smoking gun. And in the nature of the subject, it is
hard to see how there could be unless a statement of Blavatsky's
turns up to the effect that she created the figure of Master X on
the model of person Y." (p. 238)
Turning to David Lane's research on Paul Twitchell, David Lane
found a "smoking gun." Plenty of guns! All of this is carefully
documented in David Lane's book.
In the early 1960s, Twitchell wrote articles for various
magazines in which he mentions various masters by name and gives
specifics, but in 1965 and after he rewrote these articles and
edited out the original names of the various masters and plugged
in different names.
Many examples of a smoking gun could be given but I will only
After the founding of Eckankar, Paul Twitchell published a book
in 1967 called THE TIGER'S FANG. In this book, Twitchell was
taken out of the body and given a tour of the higher, spiritual
worlds by the Master Rebazar Tarz.
But David Lane in his research found the following statement by
Paul Twitchell in a 1964 magazine article:
"Master Kirpal Singh spoke briefly of these masters when he took
me through the several invisible worlds in 1957. The story of
this trip has been recorded in my book `The Tiger's Fang'."
In another magazine article from 1964, Twitchell wrote:
"I have talked with and taken down the words of Kirpal Singh who
appeared in my apartment in...his light body, although his
physical body was six- thousand miles away in India."
At a later date (late 60s or early 70s) Kirpal Singh told the
"I tell you one American was initiated by me....Then he wrote to
me, `The Master's Form appears to me inside.' That form used to
speak to him, dictate to him, inside. And all that dictation was
put into a book and the manuscript was sent to me in 1963. Later
he sent me another letter, `Return my book, The Tiger's Fang.' I
returned his book. He changed that book before printing; where
he mentioned my name, he changed it to another's guru's name...."
A pretty good smoking gun!
(see pp. 20 and 23 of Lane's book for all the above-quoted
As far as I can see, Paul Johnson does not have such a smoking
gun in the case of HPB and her Masters.
Anyway, I thought some readers of Theos-roots might be interested
in this comparison of David Lane's thesis concerning Paul
Twitchell with Paul Johnson's theis concerning H.P. Blavatsky.
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