David Lane Comments on Paul & Gail & Rebazar
- This is an excerpt from
the site previously posted
and is listed 1st on the
LINKS page (left column).
"Lane's research on Eckankar is meticulously documented. The Making of a Spiritual Movement is, in fact, so well documented that at at times it reads like a 200-page footnote. It lacks the wit, passion, and narrative drive of his other books, Exposing Cults and The Radhasoami Tradition. In The Making of a Spiritual Movement, like his counterpart Houdini, Lane seems shackled. Two figures emerge from the stilted style of The Making of a Spiritual Movement: the protean Paul Twitchell and his young, vivacious wife, Gail, who, after Twitchell's death, married his successor, Darwin Gross, in a Dynasty-like power play that troubled and thrilled the faithful. Lane attributes the initial success of Eckankar to Gail's organizational abilities. He takes a sip of his Coke and explains, "She's very clean and clear about her business acumen. Everybody I've ever talked to who knows Gail says she's a very sharp person. And Twitchell was also very sharp, but maybe not sharp business-wise. He never had much money. Combine these two forces, the creativity of Paul Twitchell with the organizational skills of Gail " Lane opens his hands in a gesture indicating anything could happen. "I don't think Twitchell imagined that Eckankar would blossom the way it did. It went through the roof a lot quicker than he expected. It's the reason, I believe, that he plagiarized so blatantly."
"Because he had to get a lot done?"
"You got it. The way to get more income is to have new material. Imagine it-you've got a lot of new clientele out there ready to buy your stuff. To come up with original material takes time, and time is money. Dr. Bluth, Twitchell's personal doctor and vice president of Eckankar at the time, has confirmed that he gave Twitchell books from the Radhasoami library. So, Twitchell starts to plagiarize extensively from these books in order to get new material to get new money.
"More and more money comes in. His earlier writings didn't really talk about Rebazar Tarzs." The 500-year-old bearded Tibetan monk, Rebazar Tarzs, wears a maroon robe, carries in his powerful right hand a huge walking staff, and speaks with a musical voice. He's a character who has seized the imaginations of Eckists as completely as Ahab or Falstaff has seized ours. "Instead, Twitchell wrote about Kirpal Singh and Swami Premananda. Now what do you do when your group is charging money and does not follow any of the restrictions of this Indian group it evolved out of, one whose teachings are free? So I came upon this idea called genealogical dissociation. Simply put, Twitchell cut his connection with Radhasoami for good marketing reasons. He had to make it seem like it's his own creation, because if he linked the two he'd lose his potential clientele."
It was in order to hide these past connections, Lane believes, that Twitchell created the unbroken line of Vairagi Eck Masters, dating back some six million years to Gakko, who emigrated from the planet Venus. "Understandably he changed the names of his sources, because he didn't want people to know about his past. Remember, he'd been kicked out of Swami Premananda's church in 1955. His previous associations were tainted. He accelerated his cover up to the point that it became a mythology in which Twitchell couldn't remember all the names. On tape Twitchell is asked about Rebazar Tarzs. In what century was he born? He totally doesn't know, he doesn't know what the guy's talking about. 'Oh oh! Rebazar Tarzs, yeah, that Rebazar Tarzs.' Understand, he's got names coming out of the woodwork."
"So who do you think Rebazar Tarzs really is?"
"Probably a composite cover name for three people: Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, which was started 500 years ago; Sawan Singh, who was Kirpal Singh's guru; and Swami Premananda. Whereas Sudar Singh [another memorable character in Twitchell's cosmology] is a straight cover for Kirpal Singh." In The Making of Spiritual Movement, Lane quotes numerous passages from Twitchell's magazine articles written in the sixties, in which Twitchell cites Swami Premananda, Kirpal Singh, Meher Baba, Guru Nanak, Kabir, and even Jesus. Lane then quotes these same passages as they were later reproduced, usually word for word, in Eckankar books, with the names changed to the Eck Masters Sudar Singh, Fubbi Quantz, Rebazar Tarzs, Lai Tsi, and Gopal Das.
Lane and his friends playfully call one another by the names of Eck Masters. Lane places his hand to his face like a phone receiver, "Hi Fubbi, this is Gakko." I choke down the last gulp of my Green Garden vegetable cocktail and ask, "Where do you think Twitchell got these names?"
"He got them from his Indian books on Radhasoami, or Julian Johnson's The Path of the Masters, or from With a Great Master in India. He came up with the name Sudar Singh, from the name Sudarshan Singh-he just cut off the 'shan' part of it and put 'Sudar.' Usually he mixes Indian names with Chinese names that he read about in some popular Tibetan or Taoist book, and he'll conflate the two. An example is Jagat Ho. Now, 'Jagat' is actually the first name of a Radhasoami guru named Jagat Singh. Then he took the 'Ho', and he put the two words together. He does that all the time."
"So who is Jagat Ho?"
"He's one of the 970 Eck Masters who runs one of the Golden Temples near El Cajon." Lane laughs heartily at his joke. "Once when I was driving down to Baja on one of my frequent surf trips," he continues, "I noticed to my amazement a highway sign that said, 'Rebasar.' I don't know exactly what it means-'no passing,' or something like that. I said to myself, I bet this is where Twitchell got the name Rebazar Tarzs! Remember when Twitchell founded Eckankar in 1965 he was living in San Diego at Point Loma. I would not put it past Twitchell to have simply coined the name from one of his trips to Baja."