Paul Twitchell in Context of the Times
By Sri Harold Klemp
In 1964 and 1965, Paul Twitchell’s state of consciousness was in fluctuation. At times he seemed very near the Mahantaship, which he was to receive on October 22, 1965.
But he did drift back and forth in consciousness. There were still signs of Paul’s failure to yet see and know the fullness of the divine plan for Soul’s education.
Paul, then, is a perfect example of the seesawing that Soul goes through in Its aspirations for the Oneness of All Being. It is as the doctor said of a patient: “Yesterday he was better, but today he is worse!” Finally, however, the patient does make a full recovery. In the end, Paul does become the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master. His struggles for Mastership did come to a fitting conclusion.
It might be awkward for us to accept this frailty of consciousness in Paul unless we acknowledge the principle that he and all beings—even the Mahanta in training—undergo marked changes in perception as their unfoldment progresses.
The saving grace in ECKANKAR is that absolute perfection is outside the context of an unfinished and expanding creation. That is exactly the nature of the true God Worlds. Soul may reach the canopy of heaven, but that canopy opens to a still more majestic creation beyond it.
By and large, Paul wrote for the people of his times. This was necessarily so because the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master responds to the spiritual conditions that prevail during his term of service to God. As the human race expands in consciousness to even the smallest degree, it calls for a like adjustment in the outer teachings of ECK. Therefore, the written and spoken works of ECK are suited exactly to the temper of the times in which they are given.
As the world society has an expansion of awareness, the Living ECK Master adapts the eternal teachings from the inner planes to match the spiritual needs of his audience.
At one point in his preparation for the ECK Mastership, Paul criticized the Catholic Church for making itself the beneficiary of the apostolic tradition. But despite the attempts at reform in Vatican II, it had long before that become a crystallized social religion. The life had already gone out of the primitive Christian church itself when Christ left it in the hands of a committee of apostles.
His retirement as the leader of the new religion caused it to lose much of the dynamic expression of the Life Force.
The church stumbled along in its evolution, fighting schism, until there was no alternative but to create a more unified leadership role than “Church Father.” That was the ecclesiastical office that replaced the authority of the apostles. In A.D. 590, the Roman Catholic Church came to accept its first pope, Gregory I. The church leaders saw the need for a strong, worldly-wise head if the church was to survive. But neither the first pope nor any of his successors had the power of the Word—the Light and Sound of God.
The main difference between ECKANKAR and all other religions is that the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master is the Word. He is the ECK.
The survival of a religion depends upon more than miracles and prophecy. Both were a strong part of the early Christian church until at least A.D. 200. But the church’s real loss at the death of Christ was that no living individual could replace him as its inner and outer master.
Once the light of spirituality is lit in a new religion, it must be tended every moment. Otherwise, the divine fire begins to flicker and go out. The life-giving spiritual element quickly gives way to formalism.
For a while, the Christian church was invigorated by prophecies of Christ’s Second Coming. But as time passed and he did not reappear, the internal discipline of the early church grew lax. In reaction, the laxness in conduct sprouted heretical groups, such as Montanism. This schismatic group of the late second century renewed prophecies of the Second Coming, while entering into a strict ascetic life.
The interesting thing about the prophecies of the Second Coming is that they express Christianity’s unconscious need for a living master. The people’s hope of Christ’s return is the cement that holds the church together. Yet in Luke 9:27, Jesus said, “But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”
However, when Jesus spoke of this Kingdom of God, he was not speaking of his physical return but of a spiritual awakening. He made it most clear where and when the Kingdom of God would come.
While some in Christ’s time would actually witness the Kingdom of God, most would not. Christ spoke truth, but few in organized faith knew what he meant. That misunderstanding has carried forward even to the present day. Seeing the Kingdom of God is an individual matter that depends upon the unfoldment of each person. It will not be a global event of one time or place. Christ explained the coming of the Kingdom of God quite clearly.
When the Pharisees asked Christ, in Luke 17:20–21, when the Kingdom of God should come, he answered, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
The apostles are long gone, yet today’s Christians still look outside themselves for the Kingdom of God.
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The writings of Paul Twitchell will be available for years to come, but they will always be secondary to the message of the Living ECK Master of the times. This is the edge that ECKANKAR has over Christianity. The Sound and Light of God are embodied in the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master. He—through the Sound and Light—can lead Soul to victory over death and reincarnation.
The spiritual evolution of mankind goes ever forward. A Second Initiate from Paul’s day would be several notches lower in consciousness than a Second Initiate in ECK today. This spiral of evolution includes even the Mahantaship, which is part of the unfinished creation of SUGMAD. As hard as it may be to imagine, the newest full Mahanta always starts his term with a greater level of consciousness than ever existed in a previous era of history.
The lover of truth is reminded that he is Soul. He exists because God loves him. If dream travel, Soul Travel, and experiences in the Sound and Light of ECK are to accomplish anything, it is this: the individual’s realization of infinite love.
Pure love is what Soul is always seeking. It is as Rebazar Tarzs said to the seeker in Stranger by the River: “Love is most sublime, having its origin in the House of God. In whatever heart love blooms, that Soul will be lifted and carried to the highest abode of the Supreme SUGMAD.”
So love ever the SUGMAD (God), the ECK (Holy Spirit), and the Mahanta (the Inner Messenger). Then all will be spiritually well with you.
Paul Twitchell in Context of the Times, copyright © 1987, 1990, 2003 ECKANKAR. All rights reserved.