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Dialogue in the Age of

Criticism

 

Chapter Ten

     A few chapters back, we discussed the idea that by publicly passing judgment upon others we can freeze our perceptions about them and limit our ability to learn. This is actually just the tip of a very interesting iceberg.

     All religious teachings tend to crystallize over time. This is a sign that perceptions are becoming frozen and learning has slowed down. However, it is not just public criticism that creates this; public praise has the same effect.

     People like to simplify a religious teaching into dogmatic phrases, mentalized concepts and rituals, and to file these belief systems away into neat little boxes. So, after thousands of such public statements, whether for or against a religion, perceptions start to become frozen, and the real spiritual essence becomes hidden.

     This is nothing new. The Tao-Te-Ching, written some 2500 years ago said:

          That which can be described

               Is not The Way.

          The name that can be named

               Is not the eternal Tao.

     About 1000 years ago, a Sufi teacher said something very similar:

          Sufism used to be a spiritual teaching without a name.

          Now it has become a name without a teaching.

     For the same reason, ECKANKAR says that only a small fraction of the teachings can be revealed through books or lectures. But even words like these can become crystallized over time and hide their true meaning, because it is not just the Living ECK Master who keeps the teachings from freezing and dying over time. Each ECKist, inwardly and outwardly, also plays a role as well. It is when ECKists find new spiritual rivers and worlds to explore that the teachings continue to grow. But if the ECKists chose the comfortable and familiar instead, then even the Living ECK Master may not be able to keep the outer organization from falling into ritual.

     What this all comes down to is this: The ECK will always find new ways of expressing Itself, and unless we are continually willing to drop everything we ever thought was true, we will miss the rebirth of the teachings.

     Therefore, the path of ECK is not about mentalized beliefs, but simply following the ECK, the spirit of Truth, as it manifests in the moment. As Harold once said, we must re-win our connection with Spirit everyday. So also we must rediscover the path of ECK in every moment.

     This is exactly what Soul Travel is about: Throwing away the locks of fixed states of consciousness. But in a strange twist, the idea of Soul Travel itself has become a frozen concept for many.

     In going over Paul's early writings, it strikes me how the Science of Soul Travel has almost been lost in many ways. This might seem like a strange comment to make, but looking back I can see that Paul continued to change his way of talking about Soul Travel. He never became fixed in his explanations. Starting with bi-location, then turning to the idea of being in more than one place at a time, he then took up the term Soul Travel, and then spent numerous articles saying that it was nothing like astral projection.

     So, let's continue in Paul's evolutionary teaching style and unfreeze our concepts of Soul Travel. We can start by looking at what Paul wrote about it in his second Illuminated Way Letter, dated May 1966:

     Actually, Soul Travel is not a projection of the subtle bodies as one might think, but an expansion of awareness into those areas where we want to be. It has nothing to do with astral travel, which is a limited form of movement, nor with the mental body and other lower bodies wrapped about Soul in order to protect it in the lower worlds. We find that Soul can be as small as an acorn or as large as the whole universe, according to Its own desire. This being true, it puts us in the position of having as much space as we desire, with a three hundred and sixty degree vision. It is really up to us as to how much awareness we desire to have at any time - this is sometimes called being in all places at once with Total Awareness.

     This is where we are heading - the area of Total Awareness, or God-Consciousness, as it is often called. This is the modus operandi in which many Spiritual Travelers are working, and that in which each of us may at some time or other find ourselves. It is not difficult, but it means we must develop the state of God-Consciousness. This can be done by acting as an agent of God, meaning, of course, that everything we do, say and think is done for God only...

     The word "uplift" means opening the consciousness. When Christ said, "Whosoever cometh to me will I lift up," he was saying that he would open their consciousness (Soul) so the Divine Spirit could flow through in greater quantity into the world of matter. This means we are able to project whenever we wish, or expand the awareness to the area that we want to know about, and even appear to those who are able to see us...

     Therefore, we really do not need to be concerned with astral, mental and other lower plane travels. If we work to gain proficiency in astral and mental projection, we may split off the consciousness and slow up learning Soul Travel. In a sense, it could cause some damage to the psychic senses, but not unless practiced over a long period. This is what happens to many psychic readers and those who work on the lower planes in the astral body. All travel should be done with Soul so true awareness is assured.

     If you see what Paul is saying, Soul Travel has nothing to do with projection, not even projection of the Soul body, as the word seems to suggest. Nor is it about raising our state of consciousness. It is all about EXPANSION of consciousness. This may seem like a subtle distinction, but it isn't. There is a world of difference.

     In Paul's ever evolving teaching, he used the term Total Awareness. Why? Because he wanted to show that Soul has no limitations in what It can be aware of. Soul can have that 360-degree perception. Do you get a sense of what Paul was referring to? It has nothing to do with becoming aware of all physical things, everywhere. That's not what Paul meant.

     Paul was simply correcting the idea that Soul Travel was some form of projection. Rather, Soul, of Itself, can be aware of a single event, or can EXPAND in consciousness to experience the whole universe. This shift in viewpoint is what is meant by Soul Travel. Although there is often a feeling of motion or movement, in fact Soul does not move anywhere, since Soul's awareness permeates all of Life. Soul simply becomes aware.

     The problem with raising the consciousness is that it can pull our awareness away from this body and this world where we live. It can split us off, as Paul said. If practiced over a long time this can cause difficulties. I've seen a number of ECKists who've misunderstood this point, and after many years began to feel as if a part of their life was missing.

     They lost touch with their families. Physical things became harder for them. Some even got to the point where they intuitively felt they needed to stop doing their spiritual exercises because it was creating a physical imbalance. This is the problem with trying to raise the consciousness over many years.

     That, however, is not the goal in ECK. Rather, we look to EXPAND our consciousness so the higher states become ours, but at the same time we do not separate our awareness from our physical being. This is what EXPANDING our consciousness means - spanning our awareness across a greater range.

     This is the same thing as learning to live in the city while staying in touch with nature. Or living as part of a family while still having our own individual life. In the same way, we can follow a religious teaching and still discover new inner worlds and continents, because Soul sees from all perspectives.

     As Paul pointed out, even the word "uplift" means an OPENING in consciousness, not the raising of consciousness, like it sounds. Therefore, if we unfreeze the idea of Soul Travel, we see that in fact we could call it SOUL EXPANSION, even though, like Soul Travel, this term is only partially correct since Soul of Itself doesn't actually expand. It is just our awareness and attention that expands out of our limited perceptions into the Unlimited Self of Soul.

     When first beginning Soul Expansion, we find an interesting thing: We often have the feeling of actually leaving the physical body. However, the more we become adept at the Expansion of Consciousness, the more our body consciousness remains a part of our awareness while expanding outside of it. We contain the awareness of both, which is what Paul meant by being in two places at the same time. This is exactly the opposite of Astral Travel, which retains the experience of separateness and "otherness."

     This should answer the question that many ECKists have asked: Why were their most phenomenal out-of-the-body experiences in their early days with ECKANKAR? This occurs because after a long time living in a physical body, Soul becomes used to the limited physical senses. So, when Soul finally begins expanding Its awareness beyond the body, It forgets that it can be in two places at once.

     In other words, at first Soul carries with It this sense of separateness that belongs to the body consciousness. But as Soul's awareness expands more and more, Its perceptions begin to unfreeze, and It starts to see Itself as the all-in-all. It becomes both the body and the universe. It experiences limitation and yet is eternal. The hard walls of separation begin breaking down as it explores the spiritual worlds. Limitations become nothing more than experiences, and therefore Soul no longer identifies with the body alone. Then it begins to hear and recognize the language of God, Itself.

     Thus, the phenomenal experiences fade as Soul discovers true freedom of consciousness. The "solidness" and "otherness" of the outside world becomes infused with a Spirit and Consciousness. Soul then follows the spiritual currents both up and down, in whatever way the path of ECK may manifest itself in that moment. Therefore, frozen perceptions are nothing more than self-imposed limitations, and the true nature of Soul is the joy of changing points of view continually as It expands and grows.

     It should now be clear that Soul Expansion is nothing like the practices of Sant Mat, which focus on moving the spiritual currents up in the body to the Tisra Til (Third Eye), and then raising the consciousness into higher states, beyond the body. This is also why Soul Expansion seems so much more natural and effortless, even though it still requires discipline to learn, compared to the practices of Sant Mat, which require strict diets and lifestyles, and long hours of meditation.

     Many followers of Sant Mat have heard public statements by Kirpal Singh, David Lane and others, characterizing ECKANKAR as an offshoot of Sant Mat. The fact that both teachings use similar terminology and words tend to support this idea. However, because of this error many miss the significant differences in the teachings, and therefore have not been able to see the real path of ECK. That is why I say that mentalized, simplified and frozen concepts always get in the way of understanding the spiritual teachings.

     Now, let's turn to David's last chapter, which he so generously calls:

     THE SAGA OF HAROLD KLEMP

     How To Dismantle Eckankar Gracefully

     David writes:

     Here's the scenario:  you are a devoted and longstanding member of a new religious movement.  After slowly moving up the ranks, you secure a good position in the religion's publishing division.  After 10 years in the group, you write a well-received book about your great experiences following the Spiritual Masters.  Then, in a surprising turn of events, word comes that you have been appointed to be the leader of the group.   You now find yourself the object of devotion among thousands of disciples.  But there's a catch:  after assuming the mastership you discover that the founder of your religion and his successor were corrupt; not only did the originator plagiarize and cover-up his past, but his successor misappropriated funds and led an immoral life-style. Now for the key question:  if this was your situation, what would you do?

     Unbelievable as it may seem in fiction, the above scenario actually did happen in real life to Sri Harold Klemp, the third "Living Eck Master."

     David is almost completely wrong here in his characterizations. However, this should not be a big surprise, since David has no first hand knowledge of these events.

     What is interesting, though, is the confidence with which he makes such statements. This is actually a sign that he is writing about frozen concepts, not real life. We always sound more emphatic when we speak about theories, rather than what we know from personal experience. Real life is rich with color and texture, but theories easily fall into black and white.

     I'll share a little of what I know about Harold's earlier days in ECKANKAR. Hopefully it will give a more complete sense of what really took place.

     First of all, Harold didn't slowly "move up the ranks" to secure a good position in ECKANKAR's print shop. In fact, the position Harold held was hardly anything special. It was a job that required long hours working alone in the dark room, developing negatives, touching them up while hunched over a light table, and then stripping them into flats, to make the plates for the printers. There wasn't exactly a line standing outside the door to grab that job.

     Harold was meticulous with this work, as with everything he did, and he obviously enjoyed his job, but his position didn't change that much in the seven or so years he worked there.

     I was working at the ECKANKAR Office when Harold first took this job. I had just started the Audio department, as I spoke about previously, and had set up a little office space just opposite where Harold worked. While Harold went into his dark room and worked over his light table, to print materials for ECKANKAR, I went into my little office and worked with the sound; editing tapes and making cassettes for distribution. Looking back, our jobs were strangely complimentary and similar.

     I had already heard of Harold before he started his job in the print shop. The previous year, I had worked in the shipping department, packing book orders and shipping them out to bookstores, ECK Centers and individuals. Every month or two, we received a carefully worded letter from Harold, explaining that he was visiting prisons around the country. He would ask us to send him damaged books that might otherwise be thrown away. He then placed them in the prison libraries when he visited.

     Except to set up his book program, Harold never told others what he was doing for ECKANKAR. He just took on the opportunity by himself. He was always very quiet in the way he worked. While many were trying to draw attention any way they could, Harold just methodically worked in the background, getting things done.

     After Harold arrived at the Office, it didn't take long for us to become friends. His quiet, careful nature was just one of the inner qualities that attracted me. However, in those days Harold was not the experienced communicator that he is today. Looking back, I can remember more than once when I found myself explaining to others what Harold had meant when he said something.

     Harold apparently knew he needed to improve his communication skills, so he began a long, very careful process of teaching himself the art of public speaking. Then, years later, in the same patient way, he taught himself how to write and eventually authored his first book. He often shared his discoveries with me along the way, so I can tell you that it did not come without effort to Harold. It was a constant, yet persistent task he took on, and his approach left a deep impression on me.

     One day, after I'd known Harold for a year or two, an inner awareness suddenly came to me that Harold would be the Living ECK Master. How could I know such a thing? Where did this idea come from? I only knew too well how new I was to ECKANKAR. I could hardly see the ECK-Vidya accurately, especially on such a matter as this. But somehow this knowingness came to me and it would not go away.

     Looking back I can see that I hardly had enough experience to even understand who or what the Living ECK Master was, so how could I know such a thing about Harold? But this awareness created a problem for me. What should I do with it?

     In 1975, when writing to a close ECK friend who had moved up to Canada, I tried to describe what I was seeing and why. Yet, even as I began writing about it, I could see that this was something I could not put into words. It was like Rumi once said, "...and then the Pen broke." I could find no way of writing about it, because it belonged to the inner perceptions only. It did not yet have a place in the outer worlds. Learning about the Law of Silence, as ECKists call it, was not easy, because more than anything I wanted to discuss it.

     Later, I tried to broach the subject with Harold, but he would not talk about it. He shook his head and changed the subject, cutting the discussion off before I could even get started. This taught me, for the first time, that there are things that simply have no place in the outer world. We might see something in another person, but not be able to do anything or say anything about it. We stand by as Witnesses. We hold the Truth, like custodians, in our awareness, but we must hold our vigil silently. This is how the ECK Masters work as well.

     However, because this awareness presented such a strange contradiction to me, knowing something that I had no way of knowing, I watched how others saw Harold. I found it fascinating that many were taken by surprise when Harold was announced as the Living ECK Master, but I was not alone in my perceptions. There were others who saw what I saw in Harold.

     I remember, in particular, Millie Moore and how she would watch Harold. Later she admitted that she also began seeing Harold as the next Master in 1975. I could see that Margie Klemp, Harold's first wife, also knew, and over the years this became an unspoken understanding between us. The day Karen, my wife, and I first arrived at the World Wide Seminar in 1981, and we heard a rumor about there being a new Master, I saw Margie and walked up to her. I hadn't even said a word when she said, "It's true," nodding her head up and down, and smiling. I knew exactly what she meant, and she knew I knew.

     However, Darwin may have been the first to see Harold's future. Even in 1974, I noticed Darwin's careful eye on Harold. It was Darwin who continued to give Harold chances to speak at the major seminars and backed Harold's first book.

     While I always assumed Darwin was simply seeing the same qualities in Harold that I did, I think Harold had a different impression. Harold told me, in a conversation, shortly after he was announced as the Living ECK Master, that he had received an ECK-Vidya reading from Paul in 1970. The reading gave Harold information about his past lives, including one where he died as a soldier from an illness when the US Army was moving troops out into the western territories. Paul had even given Harold his name in that previous lifetime. Harold diligently tracked down old public records that proved what Paul had said was true. The person named indeed had died as Paul had said, and he bore an amazing resemblance to Harold in this lifetime.

     But it was another comment in Paul's ECK-Vidya reading that caught my attention. According to Paul, Harold would attain ECK Mastership in this life. Harold recounted this to me from memory, because he was describing for me the experiences he had gone through on the bridge when he first touched God-Consciousness. He told me that unfortunately he had to destroy the reading, along with his ECK discourses and his dream journals before entering the hospital (see Harold's book, Child In The Wilderness for the rest of the story). But Harold thought that Paul may have kept a copy of the reading, and he hoped he would see it again one day.

     I then realized that Harold may have thought Darwin had read Paul's ECK-Vidya reading. That was why Darwin had worked through the years to bring Harold along. However, in 1983, when Harold finally had a chance to go through Paul's library thoroughly, he admitted the reading was nowhere to be found. Darwin had simply seen what others had seen in Harold, and Paul's prediction had come true on its own.

     But, no matter how you slice it, it was hardly a surprise turn of events for Harold to find himself being announced as the Living ECK Master. Reading Harold's new book, Autobiography of a Modern Prophet, should make this quite clear.

     Darwin had been giving Harold more and more chances to speak at the major ECKANKAR seminars. He also involved Harold in more and more of his planning meetings. As I said before, Darwin had also spoken with Harold about his plans to announce Harold as the Living ECK Master more than a year earlier. Rather than it being a surprise turn of events for Harold, it was really long years of quiet patience and study, in preparation for what some of us saw was inevitable.

     As for Harold coming to learn that Paul and Darwin had led corrupt lives - once again we are seeing David's viewpoint, not Harold's. Harold knew Paul well enough to know that Paul's heart was in the right place, no matter what methods he might have used.

     A few years after Harold became the Master, he began researching and going through Paul's old files. That was after Darwin turned Paul's library over to Harold. It certainly would be true to say that Harold saw a side of Paul he had not seen before, as did I when Harold gave me permission to look through the records. Paul's files gave some interesting insights into Paul's past, which Paul never spoke about. So Harold began to make a more thorough study.

     About this same time, Harold began hearing from a number of ECKists about passages in other books that sounded similar to Paul's, and further stories about how Paul had studied with Kirpal Singh and worked for L. Ron Hubbard, which had circulated around since the early days. So, with Paul's files handy, Harold started digging.

     Harold told me about this in a number of conversations. He told me about Gilbert Highet's book, The Art of Teaching, and that Paul had used parts of it in his little booklet on teaching satsang classes. Over the next few weeks he referred to quotes from other books as well. I never saw Harold back away from what he learned, or try to cover it up. Rather he realized it was important that he share this information. Harold also thought these new facts helped explain how Paul could have produced so many manuscripts in such a short time. Paul's output was truly extraordinary in the last years of his life, and this cleared up some of the mystery about how Paul was able to write so quickly.

     A few months later, after researching Paul's files more thoroughly, Harold began giving a series of talks and writing a series of articles to share the information he found. Although Harold never tried to force anyone to change their perceptions of Paul, he was clearly working to unfreeze the ideas that had developed over time so that we could all see Paul from a fresh viewpoint.

     David continues:

     In a bold move (but not a politically wise one), Klemp excommunicated Darwin Gross from the Eck fold, even rescinding his lower level initiations.  Klemp also tried to clarify Eckankar's dubious past by revising much of its "official" history.  In a series of articles in The Mystic World and his public talks, Klemp admitted that Eckankar's founder, Paul Twitchell, was a follower of Swami Premananda, Kirpal Singh and L.   Ron Hubbard.  Prior to Klemp's announcements, the official word through Eckankar was that Twitchell was not involved with these teachers.

     David forgets that Paul never denied that he studied with Swami Premananda, Kirpal Singh or L. Ron Hubbard. Paul, in fact, had been quite open about it until 1966, when he realized he was better off standing on his own two feet and not using the names of these teachers to promote his own teaching.

     So, Harold's revision of official history was really correcting the mistaken ideas that had crept up around Paul's image over the years. In other words, this is all about the unfreezing of fixed perceptions.

     You would think that David would give Harold kudos for such efforts, but instead David seems intent on making it look like Harold is trying to cover things up, as David writes next:

     In an article for the Mystic World (Winter 1984), pages 1-2, entitled "Stop The World I Want To Get Off.  .  .Or When Will You Leave ECK?"  Harold Klemp wrote the following about his mentor, Paul Twitchell:

     Here comes Paul Twitchell, a social rebel and spiritual giant in a single package.  His personal life and habits were a jolt to people who thought a man of God should be of another order...

     Scientologists pelted Paul with letters.  The advanced members, the "Clears," made an offer to advance him in spiritual matters for a large sum of money. Paul bought none of their sales pitch because they had more problems than he did, an outsider.

     Although he claimed to have acted as Ron Hubbard's press officer for several years in the District of Columbia, he wanted no "gas" from these professional people.  Paul's tie-in with Scientology during his training as Godman is another bitter mouthful to chew for some people.

     Even in ECK, one's cherished notions about the Master are dashed to the ground by the truth of spiritual things.  For instance, all ECK Masters do not hold the same high power from the SUGMAD when they take the Rod of ECK Power.

     David continues:

     Klemp's allegation that Twitchell was an "outsider" to Scientology is patently incorrect.  Twitchell was a member of Scientology and deeply admired L. Ron Hubbard for years until he later broke off his connection.

     I disagree. With all the materials and stories I've read and heard, I have come away with the same impression as Harold. Although Paul was involved in the early days and worked with L. Ron Hubbard, Paul was always somewhat on the outside looking in. He didn't act or talk like the others studying with Hubbard. In fact, that's what put some people off. Stories about Paul, when he was involved in Scientology, circulated around quite often in the early days, because a number of early ECKists had actually followed Paul from Scientology, and therefore knew Paul's history quite well.

     It is David who is having a hard time recognizing that Paul was not merely a follower of Hubbard. David even discounts his own sources who say that Paul started working with Hubbard in the early 50's at the very beginning of Scientology, while Paul was still living in Swami Premananda's ashram.

     I think that while Paul learned a number of valuable lessons from Hubbard's teachings, Paul was also looking for an outlet for his own writing and he was working to incorporate his idea of Soul Travel into Scientology. In other words, Paul was looking to find a home for his creativity and his inner knowledge. He saw himself as a co-worker, not a mere follower as David implies.

     When Paul felt like he no longer fit in with Scientology, Paul began approaching Kirpal Singh in the same way. But Paul was still writing for Hubbard years after he was initiated by Kirpal, even after he wrote The Tiger's Fang. Therefore, Paul was far from being a simple follower. In fact this was clearly such an important part of who Paul was that Paul instituted this same practice in ECKANKAR. He was not looking for followers, but co-workers with God.

     David continues:

     Klemp even went so far as to admit that Twitchell's writings appeared similar to Julian P. Johnson's, the author of the now famous The Path Of The Masters, and other religious writers.  Yet, Klemp did not go far enough.  Instead of honestly telling the truth to the Eckankar membership that Twitchell was a notorious plagiarist and a first rate liar, he recoiled and sought to give a ludicrous explanation about how there is an akashic library in the astral plane where writers, like Johnson and Twitchell, go to copy their books.  In other words, Twitchell didn't plagiarize The Path Of The Masters in its copyrighted form, he simply copied it word for word from the original, "astral" version of the text. Klemp implies also that Johnson copied his writings from the same text too.

     Simply put, Klemp has invented a story to cover-up Twitchell's plagiarism so that Eckankar can still get away with publishing "stolen" materials.

     Once again, David is simply wrong about his interpretations. I can see why David might have gotten the wrong idea, but Harold was suggesting nothing like what David claims. I know this first hand, because Harold raised the subject with me in our meetings before he gave his talks.

     Harold told me about the quotes and paragraphs that ECKists had brought to his attention while he was still researching them. He knew a lot of ECKists worshipped Paul, but Harold thought they should be aware of these things. He said that although it would be uncomfortable for a number of ECKists, and he might even be accused of criticizing Paul, he felt it was important for everyone to hear about and understand what this new information meant. This is exactly what Harold began doing a few months later.

     But, let's take a look at the talk David is referring to and see what Harold really said. This quote is from the International Youth Conference, in Las Vegas, on April 21, 1984. I have gone back to the original transcripts to make sure the words here are as accurate as possible. Except for a few differences, here and there, it is almost identical to what can be found on the ECKANKAR web site (www.eckankar.org/Masters/Peddar/writings.html) as part of the series of talks that Harold gave on Paul Twitchell:

       Master Compiler

     "The teachings of ECK, the high teachings, had been scattered to the four corners of the world. The different masters each had parts and pieces of it, but they attached little requirements, or strings, to it: You must be a vegetarian, or you have to meditate so many hours a day if you want to really be a true follower on the path to God. And this was wrong for our day and age. It was geared for another culture.

     "Paul gathered up the whole teaching and took the best. Though it may be a strange thing to say, in this sense I see him as a master compiler. He gathered the golden teachings that were scattered around the world and made them readily available to us. So now we don't have to spend ten or fifteen years in an ashram in India, sitting around in the dust with the flies, or locked in a walled-up little cell to keep our attention from the outside world, in order to live the spiritual life... "

 

The Real Foundation

     "Paradoxical as it may seem, my point in bringing out all of this has been to strengthen your faith in the Mahanta--but not at the expense of making a god out of the Mahanta's vehicle, which is the Living ECK Master. It's a price we cannot afford to pay. As soon as we set someone above us, in potential or in fact, we have committed a crime against ourselves: We have limited the opportunity for our own unfoldment.

     "We recognize that there are some people who have unfolded more; but Soul, in quality, is Soul. The difference in consciousness is the difference in unfoldment. It doesn't make one person bigger or another person smaller--as Soul.

     "Sometimes we wonder; Where really is the foundation of ECK for me? And I'm telling you, it's not in the physical writings. It's always within, with the Light and Sound.

     "The writings inspire us. They can give us words we can understand, but they'll never help us practice the life of ECK. It won't work that way. The books are good, the discourses are good; they inspire, they give us enthusiasm, they show us how to meet the Inner Master as the Blue Light in the inner form. But by themselves, they are imperfect translations written in an imperfect world.

     "Paul encouraged people to read The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad and make their own study. He never said to take the words as holy, as the last word. You take the words and check out the teachings from within. You ask: Does this work for me or doesn't it? You have to know. And based upon what you know is how you conduct your life out here. This is what governs your relationship with your friends and your family. It governs every aspect of you in the lower worlds, including your ethics and morality.

     "Ethics and morality will be different for each one of you. But I do expect more from the leaders of ECK when they're out in public. Whatever you do in private, it's your life. But when you go out in public as an ECK leader, you should epitomize the highest points of these golden teachings of ECK. "

 

Death of an Ideal

     "And so we have, perhaps, the death of an ideal. This means that no longer can we make a god out of a man. It was never intended. Many of us haven't done this, but some of us have."

Harold then goes on to describe the five stages of accepting death, which Elisabeth Kubler-Ross had discovered in her work with terminally ill patients. The stages are: Denial, anger, trying to bargain a different outcome, then depression, and finally acceptance.

In other words, Harold was explaining that to unfreeze our perceptions of Paul, and to see him in a new light based on new information means letting our old images die. Therefore, we might find ourselves going through these five stages of acceptance.

Harold concluded his talk with the following story, which is what David was referring to:

The Inner-Plane Library System

     "I'd like to conclude by mentioning how the libraries on the inner planes work. On these planes there are main libraries connected to the wisdom temples. But there are also many branch libraries. The main library of each wisdom temple is like the Library of Congress, providing the greatest source of all the books and materials. One particular library I was visiting on the Astral Plane is adjacent to the Temple of Askleposis. In this place, some of the writings of the Shariyat, which then are brought here to the physical and translated, are stored in an archival warehouse. The Astral Plane is an immense world, so the writings are stored in huge rooms...

     "There was a curious thing in this manuscript I was reading. Certain thoughts would be expressed, such as aspects of spiritual liberation. Then the same idea would be written in eight different paragraphs, reflecting eight different levels of consciousness. I found this very interesting.

     "There are very few writers who can come to this library. Most of the writers from earth go to the branch libraries, so they don't get to use the best sources. But the good researchers--such as Paul, Julian Johnson, Paul Brunton, and others--can come in here and select the paragraphs that suit their audience.

     "In the margin next to the different paragraphs on the manuscript I was reading were notes written in Paul's hand: "Far Country," "Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, Book One," "Shariyat, Book Two," "Spiritual Notebook," and again, "Far Country," and so on. Under his notes a librarian researcher had placed the specific page reference where these ideas could be found in the current manuscripts. I was looking this over, and I thought, this is very curious...

     "I'm doing all this research in a soundproof booth so it doesn't disturb the other people who are doing research. As I look over at a table, I see Paul--busy as usual, researching and writing. He looks at me and says, kind of gruffly, "What's that?"

     " 'Source manuscripts, ' I say.

     " 'For what? ' he asks.

     " 'To show where a lot of the ECK writings on earth came from, ' I reply.

     " 'Oh, ' he says.  'Well, we'll have to do something about that someday. '

     "Then he picks up his notebook and leaves, heading out into the stacks.

     "Yeah, I thought to myself, and I know who is going to have to do something about that someday! "

     I think Harold's point is very straightforward: The Inner Libraries show the true sources of where the writings of ECKANKAR came from. This doesn't mean that Paul's writings were all taken directly from the source manuscripts, as David is claiming Harold said. Rather, these inner records are what guided Paul as he wove the teachings into a cohesive whole, just as they have guided other authors. In other words, Harold's point was that Paul recognized the quality in Julian Johnson's writings, as well as other writers such as Paul Brunton, because Paul saw how they fit with the inner teachings as a whole.

     Why would Harold tell such a story about the Astral Library? Not only to show, in an interesting way, how the spiritual teachings are kept in their original form on the inner planes for each of us to explore personally, but also to explain that the records there show everything.

     In the physical world, we can never be sure what really took place. There have been many amazing cases where two writers have independently written almost exactly the same thing, at the same time. Did they visit the same library independently of each other? Stories like this are more common than people realize, and a number of ECKists have recounted such cases.

     There are also many documented accounts where a book read many years previously had been forgotten, but was then re-written word-for-word by the reader. The new author had plagiarized without any idea that they were using the same story and the same words. Helen Keller, who was blind and deaf by the age of about one, wrote a children's story as an adult without realizing that it was identical to a story that had been read to her when she was just a baby, before she had lost her hearing.

     When word got out on Helen Keller's children's story, it created quite a controversy, until Helen's teacher figured out what happened. Mark Twain wrote a letter to Anne Macy, which was reprinted in the book, Anne Sullivan Macy, The Story Behind Helen Keller. Mark Twain said in his letter:

     ...substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by the gardener with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them anywhere except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral caliber and his temperament, which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing...

     It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a photograph, or a telephone, or any other Important thing - and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others.

     Mark Twain went on to explain his own unintentional transgression to Anne Macy, but he tells the story better in this excerpt from his writings, called "Unconscious Plagiarism", written in 1879, that Steve Runfeldt recently sent to me:

     Well, the first great man who ever wrote me a letter was our guest -- Oliver Wendell Holmes. He was also the first great literary man I ever stole anything from -- and that is how I came to write to him and he to me.

     When my first book was new, a friend of mine said to me, "The dedication is very neat." Yes, I said, I thought it was. My friend said, "I always admired it, even before I saw it in The Innocents Abroad." I naturally said: "What do you mean? Where did you ever see it before?" "Well, I saw it first some years ago as Doctor Holmes's dedication to his Songs in Many Keys."

     Of course, my first impulse was to prepare this man's remains for burial, but upon reflection I said I would reprieve him for a moment or two and give him a chance to prove his assertion if he could. We stepped into a bookstore, and he did prove it. I had really stolen that dedication, almost word for word. I could not imagine how this curious thing had happened...

     In Twain's letter to Anne Macy, he concluded the story this way:

     Ten years afterward I was talking with Dr. Holmes about it. He was not an ignorant ass - no, not he;... and so when I said, "I know now where I stole, but who did you steal it from?" he said, "I don't remember; I only know I stole it from somebody, because I have never originated anything altogether myself, nor met anybody who had."

     In fact, on this same subject, Rich Smith recently posted on the Internet an interesting quote of Paul's that runs along these same lines, from the book, Difficulties of Becoming The Living ECK Master, pages 98-100:

     When I was in Washington, D.C. for several years, I read about 15,000 books there in the Congressional Library on the subjects I wanted. In other places, such as New York, I may have read 5,000 or something like that, for one year in 1946...I don't say that I particularly read them word for word...

     But, what I'm trying to say is that this book knowledge builds a great pool of intellectual knowledge, and anyone who has a recall is able to begin looking at this knowledge when he is not able to call-up the wisdom knowledge.

     It's all stored there in the background, and there's no need to carry a book around with you all the time. All that a person does gets placed in the background, and then he can get a recall on lots of things he never could have if he'd never gone into this type of reading.

     I hope you can see and understand this. On the other hand, we have what we call the wisdom pool of divine knowledge, and as long as he can maintain his position at the heights, he can always call upon the wisdom pool. But we don't always maintain the heights of being at the top of the spiritual ladder all the time. We go up, and we go down. So when we're down, we can call on this knowledge that we have had here, that is back in the subconscious, as well as all that is in the wisdom pool also, and it seems to come through when it's necessary...

     I've done this hundreds of times on stage, or when typing a manuscript. Also, in conversations with people, or when I need it, certain ideas come up. I can call on both and both will furnish the whole when it should be necessary.

     Paul used the term wisdom pool, while Harold calls it the inner library, but what they are describing is the same thing. Paul's voracious reading was notorious, even from his youth, and he talked about it a number of times. Therefore, it is clear that Paul often pulled information from subconscious memories of the many books he read. He never pretended the teachings were all directly from the wisdom pool, or the inner libraries. And Paul certainly never pretended he was originating the teachings, but merely bringing them out into printed form.

     So, Harold's point is that we can never know for sure what has happened in cases like these with our physical senses, however the records on the inner planes do not have such limitations. They are real and true records. They cannot be fooled.

     If Harold was trying to convince ECKists, as David suggests, that Paul's words never came from the writings of others, then why would Harold have talked about the five stages following the death of an ideal? Why would he have spoken about the need to accept that Paul was not a god? Why would he have called Paul a master compiler? Why would Harold say that he would have to do something about the sources of Paul's writings someday?

     David's interpretation just doesn't fit. But then, David also imagined that Paul removed the names of his previous teachers as some sort of cover-up. And David assumed Paul deviously and corruptly plagiarized, not realizing that "re-using" the writings of others was common practice amongst journalists in Paul's day. The difference between David's suppositions and what I am writing, however, is that I know first hand what Harold thought, because he told me. So I know that David is wrong.

     While David accuses Harold of recoiling from telling the truth, in fact I saw the exact opposite. Harold forthrightly researched and shared the information he found as soon as he became aware of it. Harold explained it in his own way, from his own viewpoint, and perhaps it was not as critical as David would like, yet Harold continued on with a series of talks and articles over the next few years. So, once again, the idea of a cover-up disappears like sand through our fingers after we see the facts.

     But, nothing David has written so far comes close to what he says next. Even the ethics of academia could never condone such outrageous accusations:

     Harold Klemp also suffers under the delusion that even though Eckankar is fraudulently based (from start to finish) that he can somehow keep the "integrity" of the movement intact.  How can this be possible when Twitchell's own wife (and, I would suggest, co-founder), Gail, has privately admitted that Eckankar is a "fraud?" How can this be viable when the history of Eckankar's origins is a fanciful, literary (and, at times, borrowed) fiction?   The forthcoming answers are a sad indication of the state of some modern religions: money, blind faith, power, and ignorance.   For if Harold Klemp was truly honest and sincere, he could only do one thing to Eckankar:

     dismantle it gracefully, but quickly.

     It is as if David has entered a world of his own, where his personal religious opinions have become transformed into facts. Apparently, having made his public statements, they have now become frozen, hardened realities for him. He seems to forget that others have very different opinions, often from first hand experience, and that they have a perfect right to their own honest and sincerely truthful ways of seeing these matters.

     There is another problem with what David says here. David makes a public statement about Gail's opinion of ECKANKAR based on a third hand comment that she apparently made in private. If Gail wanted to make such a public statement, she should be allowed to do so on her own, or at least with her permission. David, and others, have certainly invited her to do so numerous times. She has publicly remained silent on the matter.

     I don't think it is at all proper for anyone to make such a public statement for another person without their permission, especially based on hearsay stories. No matter how Gail may feel about ECKANKAR is okay with me, and most ECKists. Personally, I have always liked Gail, and have a lot of respect for her. But putting a public statement into her mouth without her permission seems completely unfair to me.

     David now turns his criticisms of Harold to a new subject:

     However, misguided Eckists need not fear, for Klemp has directed Eckankar into a new direction, one which has paranoia as a cornerstone.  I don't think it is coincidental that the number of Eckists who have had "bad" astral experiences has increased steadily since Harold Klemp published his article, "Methods of the Black Magician," in the Winter 1983 issue of The Mystic World.  In 1987 alone I have talked with more than ten Eckists who have reported terrifying experiences of "losing" one's mind and mental balance; some even claim to be haunted by internal beings and powers taking away the inner recesses of their personality. A close look at the following passages from Klemp's article shows clearly where these Eckists are getting their fears:

     "The black magician depends upon simple, inexperienced people to provoke worship of the personality, for in ignorance is his power.  Signs of one in whom the Kal power is stronger than the ECK are several, including:  1) Show him money and he wonders how to get it from you, 2) make peace in your household and he will try to break it up and 3) if you say, "This is Truth," he tries to prove it is not so.

     "The potential for a fall from grace is a real danger when the lust for power thrusts itself into the foreground.  No matter what high station anyone gets in his journey to God, he can end up a fallen star unless he has truly seen the SUGMAD...

     "A black magician has a degree of knowledge as to how invisible energies split from the Audible Life Current, but he bends them toward darkness and destruction.

     "With power to invade dreams, he can bring terror through nightmares.   The dreamer quakes, wondering what has suddenly unbalanced the delicate scale in his affairs.  Monsters appear, forces tear at the Astral body and strange, awful phenomena confront him.

     "Fear grows and, with it, the disarming influence of the magician steals over the victim.  In the initial phase he scatters the initiate's serenity so as to control the mind.  Craving raw power, the magician cares not a wit for Soul's freedom...

     "To survive a psychic attack takes several approaches:  1) A conscious closing of the emotional door against the intruder.  Any photos, as well as memorabilia, of a disruptive personality must be put out of the house.   2) A constant chanting of HU or the initiate's personal word.  3) An actual fight on the inner planes whereby the trespasser is driven off by marital arts or some weapon at hand.  4) Getting plenty of rest each night.

     "The old law of protection is this:  'Nothing can hurt us unless we ourselves allow it. '

     "People under psychic attack must make a decision whether to follow the Lord of Light and sound, or the lord of darkness.  Hesitation creates a split current of energy within one.  I've had reports of people who suffered heart attacks because they let their emotions pull in two different directions at the same time.  Forego the Worship of Moloch.  The price is too dear.

     "I can help you combat the dark force by use of the mighty Sword of the SUGMAD--but only if you listen. "

    (From The Mystic World, Winter 1983, pages 1-2.)

    The danger of Klemp's warning against "black magicians" (some former Eckists feel it is a thinly disguised criticism of Darwin Gross) is that it allows for impressionable Eckists to start having the very experiences he warns against. Indeed, several of the Eckists I interviewed did not have troubles in their meditation until Klemp's warnings of the "black magician [who] creeps into his prey's life step by step.  Every emotional trick is used to bind the two ever more closely together."  Such mind games can only run havoc on immature and impregnable personalities.  In this way, Harold Klemp has done a great harm to his following.   Eckankar has been the source of tremendous mental imbalance for a growing number of devotees because its doctrines are not systematic, psychologically sound, and spiritually authentic.  Rather, they are the outcome of Twitchell's schizophrenic plagiarism (he copied widely varying and contradictory teachings), which are replete with unsound (and unproven) meditation techniques, sophomoric advice about "internal beings," and dangerous spiritual counseling.  The net result is that Eckankar is anything but a beneficial and uplifting religion.

     David has now crossed into the realm of religious intolerance with his comments about ECKANKAR being psychologically unsound, sophomoric and dangerous. This sounds like the talk of a fanatic lost in his perceptions, not a professor of sociology. Thousands have proven the validity of the ECK teachings to themselves, but the projection of evil onto others is what this whole matter is all about.

     If David was really concerned about the affect of fearful images on impressionable ECKists, he would never have spent more than 20 years publishing the upsetting and disturbing accusations that he has made against Paul, Harold and ECKANKAR. Is David suggesting that his own images have not caused serious anguish and inner turmoil for ECKists? But, from David's viewpoint, this pain and trauma is okay because he believes it is saving ECKists from their delusion.

     Harold wrote his article in response to ECKists who were asking him for guidance. His point was that no matter how fearful or how powerful another person might seem, we have ultimate control over who we allow into our heart. It is our choice who we hold in our attention and imagination. Harold makes this most clear when he writes, "Nothing can hurt us unless we ourselves allow it." (For some reason David chose to delete this line, and not include it in his book with the rest of Harold's quote.)

     This is the whole problem with seeing evil intentions in others. The evil we perceive often springs out of our own subconscious. It is not easy recognizing others as they really are. We must first cleanse the mirror of our own inner selves.

     Rumi once said:

     All too quickly we lose our friends. Do you not see how in this mortal world you become the friend and darling of some person, and they become the very Joseph of beauty in your eyes. Then, on account of a single shameful act they vanish from your sight, and you lose them completely? That Joseph-like form is changed into a wolf. This very same one you once saw as Joseph you now see as a wolf. Yet, their actual form has not changed, but is still the same as it always was. By that one accidental act you lost them. After death, when this present essence is changed into another essence, since you never really knew that person deeply, and never penetrated thoroughly into their essence, how are you going to recognize them?

     The lesson to be learned from this is that we must see one another very well indeed. We must pass beyond the good and bad qualities that are present temporarily in everyone, and must enter into the other's very essence. We must see with exceptional clarity that these qualities people observe in one another are not their original qualities.

     The story is told of a man, who said, "I know that fellow very well. I will give his distinguishing mark." His friends said, "Please do." The man answered, "He was a muleteer of mine. He had two black cows." People talk in this same way. "I consider So-and-so my friend. I know them." Yet every distinguishing mark they give is just like the two black cows. Those are not distinguishing marks. Those marks are of no use whatsoever.

     So, we must pass beyond the good and evil in others and enter into their essence to see what they really are. That is truly seeing and knowing.

     Therefore, the spiritual path of ECK is based on the true essence beyond good and evil qualities. Public opinion cannot grasp this. Pointing fingers can never get us any closer. It is hidden and must be searched for. It unfolds before us in the intimacy of our Inner Temple, where we meet Truth shorn of all outer cloaks.

     This brings us right to the heart of the difficulties that many ECKists faced. Darwin's image seemed to change from Joseph-like beauty to the wolf. Most ECKists had a great deal of affection for Darwin, even after Harold removed his name from the ranks of ECKANKAR. In fact, many ECKists tried to make contact with Darwin to hear his side of the story, but they could not understand why he would push matters to the breaking point with Harold.

     To those who left to follow Darwin, the situation was reversed. How could Harold say what he did about Darwin, and how could those who had been Darwin's chelas for so long suddenly turn their back on him? To these, the image of Harold and ECKANKAR had become the wolf.

     This whole trouble - the appearances of evil qualities - was building at a time when ECKists were going through inner turmoil in their search for where the path was leading them and who their Master was. This inner struggle was not a battle of good versus evil, but a struggle to find what lies hidden beneath the sands of appearances. A search to see beyond good and evil to find the true essence.

     Spiritual and religious organizations, in fact all organizations, are always tossed and turned by the currents of politics and outer skirmishes, especially during changes of leadership. People imagine that such problems should not exist in true spiritual organizations. This is a grave mistake. It is an idyllic dream born from the hope of finding heaven on earth.

     In fact, the opposite is usually true. Religious organizations tend to encourage idealism and the desire for perfection. But what looks like perfection for one person is often all wrong for another. Therefore there are clashes of ideals until each person learns that the spiritual path is not one of idealism, but of real essence and spiritual currents that enter into our hearts and expand our awareness.

     Since the spiritual path is one of learning, religious organizations become places where lessons are played out between brothers and sisters on the path. These apparent conflicts have the effect of tearing down ideals so that all can see the path as it really is in the fullness of God. It is not an ideal of the mind, but the immediacy of the ECK spirit at work in our life.

     If you can see what is being described here, you can see that projections were flying in every direction, because just as Harold explained in his talk, people were experiencing the death of an ideal, but wanted to deny it. Their beliefs had become frozen onto some ideal and were now suddenly being dashed by the changing events. Their bowls had become cracked, and their inner dreams were draining away until they began looking again for the new door that was opening.

     As Rumi said: We must pass beyond the good and evil in others and enter into their essence to see what they really are. That is truly seeing and knowing. We must also pass beyond the good and evil in any event that takes place to see what is really happening. That is the wisdom of the ECK Masters.

     A significant piece of what really happened during this time has been missed by many. It revolves around how the Master's image is used by the spiritual student. When the appearance of Darwin's image suddenly changed, many ECKists found themselves divided against their own inner memories.

     To understand this better, let's take a look at one of the first ways that Paul described this practice of using the Master's image, in his June 1967 Illuminated Way Letter:

     A letter was received the other day from one of our students whom I had advised to use my image during all his awakening hours. I said that the way this should be done was to put my image in front of himself and let it be the screen through which all things flowed from himself outwardly and all inflows upon himself...

     What I have pointed out here is that once anyone takes up the imagery of myself and keeps it with them, they soon learn that it works. This is the oldest truth of all times...

     Therefore, ECK...has nothing to defend nor is it fighting anything. Its independent and non-dogmatic position runs counter to minds conditioned by an attachment to particular beliefs. Those who live in ECK have no personal ideas, nor do we defend any special belief with which we have identified ourselves. No ECK Master has anything to defend for the very reason that he possesses nothing...

     This is the secret doctrine of ECKANKAR. Consequently the paradox of using the Teacher's spiritual form as the matrix is done without attachment, only in the state of non-conditioned thinking...

     This is why we use the spiritual image of the Teacher to surround us at all times for protection and to keep us lifted up in Spirit. We must do this until reaching that state by which we are established on the Soul Plane and having our own freedom. It is a state of protection, light and joy for which we are thankful to have during the first travels throughout the lower kingdoms of the universal mind world. Here the traps will take over - especially those laid by the intellect. They lead us into mechanical and unintelligent arguments...

     The element that is often missed and overlooked here is that the use of the Master's image must be done with a detached and non-conditioned attitude. All thoughts and preconceived ideals must be dropped. Taking sides and holding considerations only rips the delicate fabric of perception, and causes the mind to get caught in the trap of endless questioning and doubts. Therefore, the protection of the Master is for the purpose of attaining that balanced state of non-attachment where the essence of Truth reveals Itself to us.

     As Paul said, we have nothing to defend. There is no reason to choose sides or take a stand for or against anyone. If we wish to protect our path and our Master, we are best able to do so from trust in the balanced state, where the Master's presence can guide and protect us.

     Rumi once told the following story:

     A child in the desert said to her mother, "On dark nights a horrible demon appears to me, and I am terribly afraid."

     "Don't be afraid," said her mother. "The next time you see that form, attack it bravely. Then you see clearly that it is nothing but a fantasy."

     "But mother," said the child, "what if the horrible demon's mother has given him similar advice? What shall I do if she has taught him, saying, 'Don't give in, so she will think you are real and powerful. And don't say a word, so that you won't be exposed?' How shall I recognize him then?"

     "Keep silent, yield to his form as it is, and wait with patience," her mother answered. "Sooner or later some word will leap from his mouth. Or if it does not, from your own heart some words will spring forth unconsciously, or into your mind some thoughts or ideas will spring up, so that out of those thoughts you will know him for what he is. For this is how he has affected you. This is a reflection of his true self and his real feelings that have sprung up inside of you."

     When we take strong positions in our mind, it tears the delicate fabric of perception that we need to see things in their real essence. What we want, instead, is to keep that wide-eyed wonder of the child while waiting for truth to reveal itself. Otherwise our own subconscious projections flood the screen of our minds.

     This is what Paul wrote in his Illuminated Way Letter, Dated September 1966:

     From the moment when we start creating special points, ideas and distinctions, we exile ourselves from the state of God-Consciousness, and miss the infinite freedom of Reality...

     The problem of saints within organized religions lies in the thought that once they have reached the formless - that of the true Kingdom of Heaven - they begin to make the mistake of putting themselves into the limitations of symbols and cherished opinions. All experiences of the mystics within religions have done this, and find themselves limited by the mind, which intervenes and creates tragic anxiety within the symbols of the adored formless vision and sound. Therefore, in spite of their lofty thoughts, they are able to penetrate only the limits of the mental plane where we find symbols, ideas and forms existing.

     For whatever reason, good fortune smiled upon me. Even though I was close friends with Harold at the time, and had looked up to Darwin as my Master, I did not jump to take sides against one or the other. I think the hand of love held me back from making any decisions. So, I waited in that suspended state of non-attachment, watching carefully until the understanding revealed itself to me.

     However, I have spoken with many who have not had such an easy time of it. And even today, many years later, the issue is still not resolved for some, even though they may not think of it any longer. Recently, I corresponded with an ECKist over this very issue. I started by writing a response to something she had written on a newsgroup:

     Dear X,

     I think what you have been trying to express, that we shouldn't always be trying to sweeten everything up, is the right message. But the problem goes quite deep...

     To give you an idea of how deep this issue goes, from the best I can determine, this pattern that some have of trying to sweeten things began shortly after Darwin left ECKANKAR. I think this event left a wound that has not yet healed for some. Therefore, this extreme desire for Harmony is like children who overcompensate when their parents have been fighting, by trying to make everything better than it is.

     Of course, the whole matter is buried in the unconscious, and tied in with lots of individual karma, but there does seem to be something larger going on as well.

     Lady X wrote back to me privately:

     This really makes sense. I never thought of it in relation to what happened with Darwin like this...

     Speaking of Darwin, he showed up in my dreams a few nights ago for the first time in years, looking all sparkly (little covered stars) and very etheric plane-ish.

     There was a sense of space (so I assumed it was in the high mental worlds) of color, movement, beauty, open deep blue sky, as if we were almost standing up in space somewhere.

     I see the sky, and someone, a voice, is telling me what the marks in the sky mean, they are giving me a name for it. I look up and see these comets like streaks in the sky, in threes, all across the heavens.

     Then I suddenly notice someone heading my way. When Darwin turns at me, smiling, I feel a slight shock, and some fear. I worry he will trap me in his gaze and his beauty (the pretty colors and stars moving around in his aura). He catches my gaze immediately, the beauty coming out from his eyes even more intensely. I break my gaze right away, because I don't want to be trapped. We don't touch or shake hands. I move away slowly...

     I felt irritated and a little frightened. He was smiling, but I felt this was wrong somehow...I didn't want Darwin abusing his powers...I didn't want to feel like I was being forced to choose between Masters. And I didn't want to be tricked or misled...

     It wasn't a dream, but was an experience. Made me quite nervous for several days. I realize this could be something left over from 20 years ago that made its way to the top. Makes me wonder what kind of unknown things I'm holding onto somewhere in my deep, dark recesses.

     Have you heard of this happening to anyone else? Thanks for your (honest, don't be afraid to tell me what you think) thoughts on this subject.

     I responded to Lady X like this:

     Yes, sounds like the etheric worlds. The color of the sky, the symbolic markings made by comets. Very beautiful.

     A strange conflict is going on in these images. Your meeting resembles the meeting of an old Master, yet your fears suggest that you don't want this to happen.

     It's possible that you might be having the opposite problem from what you might be thinking. I'm not sure, but I'll throw this out to you and you can see if this strikes a chord:

     It is possible that this symbolic form of Darwin is in need of you honoring what he has been for you in the past, as a means of releasing him, and letting him be what he is today. Could it be that in some way, by your not being able to accept the beauty that surrounded his image that you are holding him back, rather than the other way around?

     You felt that Darwin might abuse his power, and that he could hurt you if you didn't obey him, yet I don't get any sense in what you've said above that this is what he was trying to do. Were these fears you were projecting on him, or was he indeed trying to control you? In other words, did your fears spring from out of something that he was actually doing, or did they spring from what you thought he might do?

     This indeed sounds like an old unresolved issue, but also something that is very relevant for today.

     It is possible that you are catching glimpses of your own Mastership, but are distrustful of them, and are afraid of them, since with vanity they could lead to the fallen state that Darwin represents to you. But, if this is true, you should turn around and accept that indeed these qualities of Mastership do flow through you from time to time, and that they can lead you from this point onward.

     Our deep feelings and impressions are almost always true. We really aren't fooled at that level. It is through our interpretations that we get fooled, and we must watch carefully. It is important to trust what we are seeing, and wait until we can understand its real meaning.

     These are just suggestions here. Obviously only you can be the judge of these things.

     Lady X responded:

     Thank you so much for this kind post, I appreciate it, it's very nice of you to take the time to do this...

     I believe I need to look at this differently. I need to understand what I am responsible for, and what is being shown me by the ECK, or the Mahanta consciousness? It's true that I'm not comfortable seeing the Master as Darwin, that I'd like to let go of that, and that there might be some aspect of myself that hasn't done that yet.

     I don't understand why Darwin would need to be honored by me to release him...

     What I felt coming from him wasn't at all my definition of love. And as far as beauty goes, well, things can be very beautiful, but that doesn't mean they're full of the ECK, it just means they're beautiful. I'm not as impressed with beauty as I used to be, now that I understand the difference.

     I wrote the following back to Lady X:

     I'd like to share a dream experience I had with Darwin that explained some things to me. It occurred shortly before Harold had announced that Darwin was no longer an ECK Master.

     Like you, I'd already seen a number of problems with Darwin, physically, but I didn't try to understand the meaning of his goings on, because my inner connection was all that really mattered to me. And I had definitely seen Darwin as my Master for many years.

     Then, one night, he visited me in a dream. He approached, trying to impress me with his spiritual powers, as if he were still the Master. It wasn't looking too good. Then, he reached out to shake my hand, and I found that he had one of those hand buzzers. He thought a little jolt in the handshake might impress me. It was pretty sad.

     I just looked at him and said, "Darwin!" Then his whole demeanor changed, and he looked at me with sad, far away eyes, and he said to me: "I had to show you myself like this, so that you would understand. Now, go to Harold. He is going to need your help." And with that he faded away.

     This dream said a lot of things to me. First, that Darwin's higher self was still connected to the Mahanta Consciousness, because he was showing me something that I needed to learn, and he cared enough to show me, but that Darwin's physical, lower self, had lost connection with his own higher self. The dream was showing me that there were really two aspects, Soul of Itself and the lower mind, but that they were now disconnected.

     In other words, Darwin's higher self, Soul, knew what was happening, and still offered me guidance and love, as a vehicle for the Mahanta, just as anyone can be a vehicle for the Mahanta. But that Darwin, on the physical side, was struggling, trying to do and be what he had been before, but without the connection to his own higher self. Once I saw this in my dream, I could see this separation in him growing over time. It is an experience that has burned itself deeply into my consciousness.

     In some ways, your dream sounds similar to mine, but if Darwin's higher self came to deliver you a gift, in your case you seemed unwilling to accept it from him, as Soul. You were too distrustful of him to see the gift he was bringing.

     The second thing I wanted to explain is that when we spend time studying under a physical Master, such as we have with Darwin, it is natural that the matrix of his inner form would come to represent the Master in our dreams. This is just like the first lover we have in our youth. That person's image often takes a certain place in our inner imagery.

     Even though we outgrew our first love, and looking back we might even find that they were not really a good fit for us, we still will find their image embedded in our inner imagery. The same is true with our Masters. Because we may no longer look to Darwin to lead us spiritually, doesn't mean that the inner image of his higher self does not occupy a special place in our personal matrix of the Master. This is natural.

     There is no reason to fear this inner image, for it contains the love we had for the Mahanta, and does not necessarily open us up to Darwin's physical state. The Mahanta has promised to care for us since the day we accepted Him, and even before that, so we should not worry what form He comes in.

     This might seem very wrong, what I'm saying here, but the fear that I have seen that some have toward Darwin, as if he could have some hidden power over us, has made more of a mess of things than it has provided any real protection. Many others have fought Darwin's inner image as if it represented something evil, not realizing they were just struggling with changes in their own deeply embedded images of the Inner Master.

     You might not consciously be able to even remotely consider Darwin as your Master, but this doesn't mean that your inner imagery agrees with this. You should accept the Inner Master in whatever form He comes, ignoring the personality, or else what does this say about your commitment to Him? If you can accept this, He will show you the real meaning behind these Inner Matrixes of The Master.

     I hope I'm not making it sound like I know what your situation is. I really can't know. There are a number of other things I could say, but I've probably made a big enough mess for now, and no reason to add to it. I hope this helps some little bit.

     Lady X wrote back, concluding our dialogue:

     I don't know how to thank you for this, it is so on the mark in so many ways. I want you to know that what you have shared here is a wonderful gift, not at all the "mess" you hinted you thought it might be.

     So much to look at in these posts. Thanks, thanks, thanks.

     I hope this shows the incredible subtlety of these matters. For Lady X, the dream of Darwin raised issues of trust that were connected to other events long ago and also recent ones. Therefore, these experiences are tied in with countless other patterns in our lives. They do not stand alone. If we are going to let them resolve, we must watch patiently, without reacting or taking sides. Then the meaning will become clear.

     After I wrote the above series of letters with Lady X, I ran across an interesting quote of Paul's. This is what Paul wrote in his Illuminated Way Letter, Dated September 1966:

     The Spiritual Travelers refuse to consider themselves as intermediaries between the Divine, the universal mind and man. Of course, they are the agents of God, but they will not allow themselves to be used by anyone to rely upon them as a support. The purpose is to teach every man to take his own responsibility and stand on his spiritual feet anywhere at anytime.

     The attitude of ECKANKAR is the very independence of Soul...

     Soul is the central reality of the individual; Soul of itself dwells in the Ultimate Cosmic Consciousness, God-Realization, at all times. Unless, of course, mind gets too strong and becomes wild and tries to pull it down to the lower levels of the universes. This is hardly possible, for when this happens, Soul withdraws and leaves mind to run the body, which it will do, but to the detriment of the physical body. Soul, being a happy entity, will not be controlled by anything other than the Holy Spirit...

     This described exactly what I had seen in my dream. This doesn't mean that this should be taken as truth by anyone else. It was simply how truth showed itself to me. For others, the lesson may be very different.

     Many ECKists have asked the question: What happened to Darwin, that he could lose the spiritual connection he had? But Darwin's story belongs to him. It is not something that we can know. And remember, Darwin's story is far from over. Don't be fooled by outer appearances. Shams-i-Tabriz, the ECK Master and Sufi, once said that God sometimes punishes others by granting them outward success, and rewards them by outward failure. It is often during what appears to be our failures that we gain in spiritual growth, and in our successes we fritter our attainments away.

     Patti Simpson once made the wise observation that the whole of ECKANKAR was willing to come to a screeching halt for the sake of one individual to learn a lesson. She had seen this happen many times, and I've found this worth remembering. Soul is more important than anything else.

     David Lane concludes this chapter, and his book with the following comment:

     Harold Klemp would do a service to himself and the spiritual community at large if he would simply resign from his post and tell the unvarnished truth to Eckankar followers.   If this was done, thousands of Eckists may then have the opportunity to search again for an authentic path, instead of being misled by a religious corporation riddled with inept leadership and corrupt politics.

     There is a strange irony in what David says here. By authentic path, I assume that David is talking about a spiritual teaching like Sant Mat. But David used the term "unvarnished truth" because, as he once explained, he was reading a book at the time by Sant Das Maheshwari. However, Truth Unvarnished, by Maheshwari, was a book that uncovered many of the facts, which had been hidden and distorted by David's own Radha Soami Beas group.

     Here is what someone writing under the name of Zakk, with over 20 years of study with various branches of Radhasoami, wrote about the material in Truth Unvarnished, in a post on David's Radhasoami discussion site:

     Few westerners are aware of what happened. They have been presented the exact opposite history of what actually happened. And, until recently, this was the only material available. That's the way Beas wanted it. They knowingly deceived the public in the most remarkable religious history scandal of all time.

     Such a strange twist! I guess even authentic paths have to deal with criticism. Imagine that!

     With all the words written and so many differing viewpoints being expressed, I agree with Sant Das Maheshwari, that the first lesson for a seeker must be to "discriminate between true and false." It is best to know as many of the facts as possible, but, as Sant Das wrote, real understanding can only be achieved with "the knowledge of the secrets and subtleties of the Faith." In other words, knowing how to interpret all the information we receive comes from the perspective gained from personal experience.

     This raises an interesting point. We live in an age where people are filled with theories, yet these theories are often mistaken for real knowledge. Take all the latest business theories on how to make your company more successful, for example. The theories always sound so good. They have such interesting facts and statistics to back them up, and they make sense, mentally. They seem to sparkle to the mind. But hundreds of businessmen and women fail when trying to apply these theories instead of just working from what they know out of their own experience.

     I've seen dozens of companies where the belief in certain business theories was as extreme as any religious cult. In fact, the mark of such beliefs is that they seem so sure of themselves, and they talk so fearfully about what will happen if you don't follow them. They treat these beliefs as facts. It can create a fervor of enthusiasm until sales don't materialize as expected, or profits start to fall. Then there is general confusion over what went wrong.

     My experience is that most truly successful people act from what they know and avoid the barrage of faddish theories that come and go. They don't put their hopes on theories or processes to make things work. They know that it simply comes down to people knowing what they are doing, choosing the right course and getting the work done. In other words, it comes from the subtleties and insights derived from years of experience.

     But the fancy talkers sway lots of heads these days, because the average person is much more willing to believe in them. Going back a few hundred years, most people were taught their jobs by their parents, or learned as apprentices. In other words, they learned from direct experience and training from those who knew. But today we love to believe in theories that are sold like candy, and we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we really do. It is a characteristic of our times.

     The field of religion and spiritual teaching is filled with such theories, and it has become popular in our day for the outside critic to make others look foolish for what they believe, simply through the art of sophistry. They can be persuasive writers because they truly are convinced of what they write, but this doesn't mean they know what they are talking about. There is a big difference between theory and personal experience.

     This is why Paul wrote in his last Illuminated Way Letter, dated October 1971:

     There is no monster so cruel and depraved as public opinion. It is the mass mind which crushes genius, strangles initiative, promotes mediocrity and thrives on injustice. But it is the newspapers, the broadcasters and the politicians who make public opinion, not the people. The people are merely the followers of public opinion established by the public media. Public opinion is artificially created by professionals who are well versed in this field, therefore we must learn how to either ride with any storm or get out of its way.

     For this reason, the ECK Masters warn about getting stuck in the mental band. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't think and use our heads, but that our mind can never show us the way of spiritual truth. It is Soul that knows the path, and we must be careful not to let our mind and its theories drown out the innate wisdom of our true Self.

     While this ends the chapters of David's book, I have something more to tell in this tale. If we wish to really understand The Making of a Religion, I think we need to leave this wrangling over outer events aside, and step into the deeper Wisdom of the ECK Masters.

     However, before venturing there, a review of the dialogue that has taken place over the last year will reveal some very interesting insights.

 

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