Eckankar, Religion of the Light and Sound of God

ECK Masters—Paul Twitchell

The Writing of Paul Twitchell

By Sri Harold Klemp

At one time there were three little boys in our neighborhood named Matt. To make it easier to tell which one you were talking about, they were given nicknames: Little Matt, Middle Matt, and Big Matt. When Middle Matt's friend, Little Matt, moved away, Middle Matt didn't have anyone to pal around with.

Real Communication

One afternoon I was at home, working in my office upstairs, when the doorbell rang. The day had gone by so fast that I was wondering how I'd ever get my work finished. I wasn't thrilled at having to go downstairs and answer the door. When I opened it, there stood Middle Matt.

He asked if my daughter could come out and play, and I said no, that she was still at school. He said, "When will she be home?"

I looked at him and tried to put myself in his shoes. What does time mean to him? I gave it a try: "She'll be home in two hours."

He just stared at me for a moment. Then he said, "I'm only four and a half years old."

In that simple way he was saying, Why don't you tell it to me in a way I can understand?

I still didn't know what to say, but he gave me a clue. "Is it before I eat?" It was the middle of the afternoon, and I wondered if he normally got an afternoon snack. But then I figured he probably wouldn't get fed until dinnertime. Finally I said, "She'll be home right before you eat dinner." He looked so disappointed. "That's a long time," he said.

The way my day had been going, two hours had passed in what seemed like ten minutes. Yet for him it would seem to take all day. "Yes," I said, "I guess it is." He turned and headed slowly back to his house, probably wondering how he was going to get through that long desert of an afternoon.

This is how it is when we speak with each other. Although we know what we mean, we don't know how other people think or what's important to them. Often we look for ways to communicate with and understand each other. The point to this story ties in with the writing of Paul Twitchell.

A Living History

We've been busy interviewing some of the people who knew Paul personally. The purpose is to compile a living history which will provide valuable information to historians of the future. In a hundred years, people are going to be able to say, "This was the foundation of Eckankar." It will answer a lot of questions about how the ECKists of our time thought and felt, how they got through all the different changes which shook the very foundations of ECK—and who got through it and who didn't.

The one thing every single person remembered the most was the great love that Paul had for others. It was described as an overwhelming love, and it touched other people. He showed kindness and consideration for even the smallest concerns of others.

One person told of an instance that took place at a seminar in Chicago in the late sixties. Large groups of youths had come to the seminar by hitchhiking or whatever means they could. When Paul heard about this, he very privately told one of the initiates, "Whatever it takes, just don't let them sleep outside." It was cold outside, and he said, "Make sure they don't have to sleep in the cars." Paul had slept in cars himself when he didn't have enough money, and he knew how uncomfortable it was.

He was such an individualist that when he tried to make a living working for someone else, he generally aggravated his bosses and got himself fired. He found it difficult to make himself fit into this society and to the state of consciousness that was prevalent at the time. Often he barely had enough money to live on.

Struggle for Mastership

It's important for us to know that someone like Paul, who reaches the heights of spiritual attainment in this lifetime, doesn't get there the easy way. We somehow knew and felt the great compassion he showed as the Mahanta, but so little has been said about him that we never knew what trials he had to go through before this could develop. I've read letters in which he openly admitted, over and over again, his selfishness and how he had hurt people.

About two years after he separated from his wife, Camille, he had the experience that he later wrote down in The Tiger's Fang. This experience came in late 1956 or early 1957. From the time he and his wife actually separated until about 1963 when he met Gail, Paul tried to find another person with whom he could share his life. He knew he had a mission, and he knew he needed someone to help him with it. He dated a number of different women, but it was a rocky road he traveled.

As late as 1961, the breakup of one of his relationships so distressed him that he spent every night for the better part of a week in church, praying for forgiveness. And this was after he'd had the experience recorded in The Tiger's Fang.

One might think that the instant he had experienced God Consciousness, he could have risen above the human emotions. This is one of the popular myths that has been put upon people by those who don't know any better. When the God Consciousness comes in, it does not immediately dissolve all the habits that have developed over a number of years. Instead, the ECK gradually begins to move the person into circumstances which are best to allow him to grow. It's usually done under great protest. We don't like it. I called my first book The Wind of Change, which refers to the ECK; and when the change comes, we resist. We fight it. This is true whether one has the God Consciousness or whether he has the initiation of the First Circle, which comes in the dream state.

For a few years Paul was a member of Swami Premananda's church in Washington, D.C. When that association ended, he came in contact with the works of Kirpal Singh, who was based in India at the time. Paul had some experiences in which Kirpal Singh came to him in his room. They began to correspond. When Paul wrote to tell Kirpal Singh about the series of discourses he was working on, Kirpal Singh replied: "Let's see what you have. Perhaps we can use them."

Paul was a prolific writer. Kirpal Singh was very interested in Paul's account of his experience in The Tiger's Fang and he even offered suggestions. He said, "When you talk with these Masters, ask them questions like, 'What is the process of death? How did the creation of the worlds come about?' " It was interesting that Kirpal Singh knew Paul had the ability to go into the other worlds, come back, and report on certain things.

Kirpal Singh told several of his close followers that his line of mastership would end with him, and that the mastership would then be picked up in one of the Western countries. But I sincerely wonder if he recognized Paul, a former chela, as being the carrier of this Light and Sound of ECK.

Paul sent his manuscript of The Tiger's Fang to Kirpal Singh in India, which triggered a series of letters back and forth. It caused a very disagreeable situation when Paul wanted the manuscript back later. Paul had admired Kirpal Singh for a long time, but then they had this little falling out. Perhaps they worked it out later.

In about 1961, Paul's father translated. Paul had just moved from Washington, D.C., to the West Coast. At the time of his father's passing in Kentucky, he was not able to be there. He later wrote a letter to the person who had been taking care of his father. He said, "I was in the hospital for some tests, and I simply wasn't able to get there. But I wanted you to know that at the moment it happened, I was lying on my couch when all of a sudden my father appeared in the room. It looked as if he was standing there in the flesh."

When Paul got up to go over and greet him, his father just faded away. This was his way of letting his son know that he had left the physical body. Paul looked at the clock on the mantle and noted the time.

It was an indication of Paul's closeness with his father and of his ability to move out of the body, and see and know things beyond the perceptions of the physical senses. It was something his relatives never recognized in him.

Beginnings of Eckankar

Paul got into his early efforts to present the teachings of ECK even before he called them ECK and Eckankar. He started with weekly lectures to small groups of fifteen to thirty people at the California Parapsychology Foundation in Southern California. In those days he referred to Soul Travel as bilocation, and it was explained as a way to reach the Supreme Oneness. He was trying to express the Sugmad, the Supreme Being, and that the way to It was through the Voice of God, which we know as ECK.

The people were very enthusiastic. They liked his lectures, and as he worked with them, some had success in going out of the body. But Paul ran into problems. Just when everything was going very well, two things happened.

First of all, the people in his audience noticed that Paul would try to put them to work, and they felt uncomfortable about it. He had a message and it worked. It was to show people how to make contact with this mysterious force—which many could observe but very few could really tap into—and learn how to become clear vehicles for this ECK power. So after he showed them how to go out of the body, he would then ask them to set up other meetings for him. Paul had very little money at the time, so if they could meet the expenses, he would go and conduct a workshop. But he found that the people were reluctant to help in this way.

Secondly, when Kirpal Singh found out about Paul doing these Soul Travel workshops, he wrote a letter to the Parapsychology Foundation and informed them that Paul's works were a lot like his own. But Kirpal Singh never mentioned that he, too, had picked them up from someone before him. In a way, he was trying to possess truth. But truth builds upon itself. Kirpal Singh had gathered it from other groups, Paul had taken it and built upon it from many different areas, and he then moved it more than a step further. More than just identifying the mysterious force—which he later called the ECK—that works through all the God worlds, Paul said, "I also know how to begin working with It."

He had figured out the key—how to teach others to become Co-workers with God. This was the major difference between Paul and many of the other teachers. Paul had the ability to work as the Inner Master. Kirpal Singh also did to his chelas, and there are many other teachers who can do the same thing. Each teacher can take his chelas to the level at which he has established himself. Paul began here, and went much further.

Early Books and Discourses

In the early years of Eckankar, Paul didn't have enough up-front money to get the new books printed. He couldn't afford to go to the printer and say: Here's the manuscript; go ahead and get it ready for press. Print it, and we'll pay for it upon delivery. To earn the money to pay the printer, he decided to make some of the early books available by subscription. He would write chapter 1 of The Spiritual Notebook, and then he'd send out a notice to the ECK chelas. Those who placed an order would receive the book in serialized form, run off on the copier right from the manuscript. He did the same thing with The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, Book One, and later, Book Two.

A very curious comment was included toward the back of the original version of The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, Book Two. It said the Mahanta reappears to renew and wage battle against the Kal and to lead Soul out of the lower worlds, and this occurs every five to a thousand years. This was very heartening to me because it meant that in my lifetime, I too would have the opportunity to reach this step of Mastership.

Later, as these serialized chapters were put into books and reprinted, a proofreader or someone else changed the "five to a thousand years" to the impossibly high range of "five hundred to a thousand years." The incorrect version of the sentence was printed in The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, Book Two, for a number of years.

Earlier this year, for the first time, I was able to read some of the letters that Paul had written, and also see carbon copies of the manuscripts that he had typed. That's when it occurred to me that I could check this sentence on the carbon copy of the original manuscript.

In those days you used nothing but a typewriter. There were no IBM Selectrics with the correcting feature, nor were there yet any word processors where you could correct words right on the screen. Paul would type along as accurately as he could, then all of a sudden there would be xxxxx. Or sometimes there would be a slash mark between words where he would insert something in the space above.

In the manuscript for The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, Book Two, he had typed, "reappears every thousand years," and then with a little slash mark, he careted in "five to a" thousand years. This copy conforms to the serialized version that he sent out. Some Higher Initiates might still have a copy at home. This is an important point for those who are studying on the path of ECK.

Paul's Last Year

A very significant event in Paul's spiritual evolution took place in the summer of 1970. During a trip to Spain, he was poisoned. A young man, under the influence of the Kal Niranjan, slipped an extremely potent poison into Paul's citrus drink. Paul had walked into this individual's home with complete openness and an abounding love, and when he was handed the juice, he drank it. But he knew it would harm him, in the same way that Buddha did when he ate the tainted rice.

The damage to Paul's body was severe. The doctor who treated him said he consumed enough of this poison to kill three horses. But Paul went on for another year before he dropped the body. Some of the initiates who knew Paul very well said that while the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master went to Spain, only the Mahanta came home. Though this was not accurate, it expressed the spirit of what they were trying to say.

Paul's body had taken such a beating that he was barely able to keep it going, yet he continued to push himself so that he could write the things that had to be said. There were days his body actually looked black, and other days when it would suddenly glow with a pink countenance, just like a child's. Some days he was able to restore the body's vitality, while other days he was close to death. He would periodically drink a special concoction, probably made of extra vitamins and herbs, so that he could carry on. He sought no personal gain from this struggle; he had no personal motive.

Master Compiler

The high teachings of ECK 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 feel that we must 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 consciousness here in the twentieth century is a valid one. We have a family, we go to work, we have recreational activities, we meet with friends after work, and we take the kids to Little League practice. This is the way of our society, and it's a valid consciousness for Soul to gain the experience It needs on Its way back home to God.

All It needs is the linkup with the Light and Sound; and this, of course, always comes through the ECK teachings, through the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master. It always comes in this way.

As I was trying to write something about the earthquake of 1811, I read a book about life on the Mississippi. It was a compilation of a series of essays written by a number of people and edited by one man. But I wasn't able to find out who owned the rights to it. No one knew, because as a book gets older, publishing houses are sold, management changes, and records are lost or thrown out. This is only one of many problems encountered in doing research.

It should have taken more than a lifetime for Paul to gather the ECK teachings, and yet he put it all together. This is what Paul did.

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've wondered, 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 of the Mahanta. 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: 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.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross made a study of the cycles or stages a person goes through when he finds he has a terminal illness. These are the same five stages one goes through at the breakup of a relationship or the loss of a job. They affect some people very strongly, while for others, the same five steps come as just a very soft, gentle touch.

The first feeling that comes at the death of an ideal is denial: Tell me it ain't so. The second stage is anger. In the third stage, a person wants to bargain: Maybe we can mediate this—isn't there a way it can be worked out? Next comes depression, and finally, acceptance.

These phases can take place over a period of months; you may go back and forth between the different stages. You may fluctuate between the second and third for a while, and then go into the fourth and come back to the first. The second time you'll get out of the first stage more quickly than you did the first time. And the way you get out is by chanting your word and doing the spiritual exercises.

This is similar to the way it works in the planes of God. The planes of God are not stacked up like pancakes on a plate at breakfast. This is how we illustrate them graphically in the God Worlds chart, but only because it's a convenient way to establish them in our minds.

Another Way to Use Your Word

The Astral Plane has over 150 regions. There are many different words for the Astral Plane that can be used in conjunction with the word you get at the Second Initiation. You can start working with these words in your spiritual exercises. Using your word for the Second Initiation to bring you to the Astral Plane, you just accept that you are here—even though you may not see or know anything at the time. From here, start chanting another word of God. It can be a word such as Mearp, which is found in The ECK-Vidya, or some other word.

Start by chanting your secret word or the ECK word of a plane, and then add another word in conjunction with it. If you want to look at a past life, for instance, start chanting the word for the Causal Plane. Work at this: Try it out for a week or two. If it doesn't work, then try some other word. Keep trying, but in a gentle way. Don't force it. Assume the attitude that someday you know this is going to work—and you just keep trying.

This is another way to use your word. For some initiates, using your word when you first have an initiation will bring many grand and glorious experiences. For others it won't. This word opens you only to a room, such as the one we're in. But as you get established on the plane of your initiation, you begin chanting another word, perhaps for the Mental Plane, or one of the words that you find in The ECK-Vidya or A Cosmic Sea of Words: The ECKANKAR Lexicon. It's a password that will get you through one of the doors. When you get there, the guardian of the door says, "Yes?" Then you chant or say this word to him, and he lets you into the hallway. From there you enter into another room—a whole new dimension.

Finding Truth

Begin by working with the creative element that you, yourself, are; because Soul, the creative spark, is the divine aspect that reflects the Sugmad. It's that simple. Begin working with this God power within you. I can only show you how to do it; you are the one who has to develop it and work with it.

This is how you find out for yourself what is truth. You're going to hear so many different versions of what is truth and what is not that finally you can't believe anyone. This is good, because it puts the responsibility back upon you to learn how to get the answer for yourself. Otherwise, you're just going to have to take someone else's word for it—and this is not a position you want to be in as a person who's looking for spiritual freedom.

You're looking for God-Realization, and with this come the attributes of God: wisdom, power, and freedom. But you don't look for the attributes, because when you have the state of God Consciousness, these attributes come with it, as part of the package.

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.

Back in this archival storeroom are the librarian's staff. These are people who work quickly, efficiently, and know exactly what they're doing. They're quite cheerful as they move here and there, going about their business, compiling things, doing this and that.

In the back room is a metal contraption that has huge sheets laid on it. The stacks of paper look like computer printouts, but these sheets are many times larger than we are used to seeing on earth. These are unprocessed manuscripts; source manuscripts from which writers of the earth world and other places come and take material. The sheets feed up on a sprocket, then run off onto racks that go down the long aisles of the warehouse, carried along on little tracks. If you want to see a certain section, you press a button and the sheets slowly run forward so you can read them.

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. A certain key concept will be expressed, such as a certain aspect of spiritual liberation. Then this one idea is written in eight different paragraphs, reflecting eight different levels of consciousness.

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.

For some reason, these sheets had carbons—they were in sets of four copies. In order to study it further, I loaded this manuscript stack on a handy little cart and took it to another area. Here it was again placed on a sprocket and stretched out in different directions so that you could separate the four copies and walk between them. Then you'd take one off and load it on another sprocket, where it would wind itself up. The manuscript was just in rough form. Later the researchers would compile it into a form that was easier to work with. This may sound complicated, but they really do have a sophisticated system. They're quite a bit ahead of us.

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.

"For a lot of the ECK writings to be done on earth," 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!

ECKANKAR International Youth Conference,
Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday, April 21, 1984

Excerpted from The Secret Teachings, Mahanta Transcripts, Book 3, copyright © 1989 ECKANKAR. All rights reserved.

Eckankar: ECK Master Paul Twitchell
Paul Twitchell

Personal Experiences with Paul Twitchell

The following real-life stories are by people who had extraordinary experiences with Paul Twitchell in the spiritual worlds before, and after, encountering Eckankar:

Eckankar, Religion of the Light and Sound of God
Last modified October 6, 2014   070408cz