Eckankar, Religion of the Light and Sound of God

ECK Masters—Paul Twitchell

Eckankar: Follow us on Facebook Eckankar: Follow us on Twitter Eckankar: Follow us on YouTube

Paul Twitchell, the Man, Part 2

By Sri Harold Klemp

It's sometimes hard to get talk material together for seminars. If the ECK happens to bring you a story at an inconvenient time, do you drop everything and write it down? If you wait until later, the chances are you'll either lose the little nuances that make the story worth telling, or forget about it altogether. And if you don't use what the ECK has already given you, It won't give you any more.

It's the same with inner experiences. If the ECK initiate is given something by the Inner Master in the dream state, it takes real discipline to get up in the middle of a cold night and write it down. But if you can do it, you will remember it.

It's very simple: As you use what is given to you, the ECK gives you more; and if you don't use it, the ECK stops. Why pour water into a full glass? The extra water would only spill over and make a mess. The spillover usually happens when ECKists take in too much of the spiritual works without giving enough back.

While we were at a restaurant last night, somebody told a story that I thought could be used in this morning's talk. Just then the waiter came to take our order. As I was trying to write notes for this story, the food arrived. Then the waiter, who was a very interesting fellow, began chatting with us. So there I was, trying to eat and write down the first story, and along comes a second story. And I'd just finished telling everybody at the table how hard it was to get material for the talks.

When the waiter found out we were with the ECK seminar, he said that he'd first heard about Eckankar two years ago while acting as a tour guide for an ECKist. He recalled how impressed he had been with the woman's composure and presence of mind. Sometime after that, a friend of his gave him a book by Paul Twitchell, but he couldn't quite remember the name of it. As we talked, he said he might just pop in for the meeting this morning. So, Eddie, if you're here: Welcome!

Looking at the Past for Spiritual Lessons

Paul Twitchell, the founder of Eckankar, brought out the ECK teachings in 1965. We look at different aspects of the task he faced in bringing Eckankar to the modern-day public. Digging into the past becomes old and tiresome, yet sometimes tying the past in with the present can illustrate a spiritual purpose.

Paul first met Rebazar Tarzs in 1951 in the foothills of the Himalayas near Darjeeling. Before that on his first trip to India in 1935, he met Sudar Singh. We are still looking for information on Sudar Singh. We have gotten a lot of reports about an individual named Sundar Singh, who is not the same person at all.

Somebody asked Paul why he didn't simply look into the ECK-Vidya whenever he needed to know something. He said he didn't want to take all the surprise and adventure out of life. I feel the same way. It's more fun to find out yourself rather than be told. This is why the ECK initiates go out and find material about Sudar Singh themselves.

Some people wonder if Rebazar Tarzs really exists. They ask if Paul just borrowed a name from the Far East and made him up. Yet people report having met the ECK Masters even before they ever heard of Eckankar. The ECK Masters are real.

Understanding Inner Experiences

Inner experiences are also real. When an individual recalls a dream that's disjointed and there seems to be no connection between one part and another, it's no reflection upon the inner experience that he is having as Soul. It's a reflection of his state of consciousness which is not able to bring back the entire experience.

The lower states of consciousness are imperfectly capable of bringing back a remembrance from the higher planes, so it comes back jumbled. People outside of ECK or in the first stages of studying ECK place a lot of emphasis on dream interpretation, but it's better to try to get a clear recollection of what is happening in the inner experience.

As above, so below. The inner experience is not a symbol for what is happening out here. It is a parallel—and there is a difference. A symbol is an image trying to express truth. When you perceive the inner experiences as symbols that need to be interpreted, your mind tries to understand the meaning of the images. Its understanding is always imperfect and disjointed.

If you can see the inner and outer experiences as parallels—each an expression of truth at a different level—then you are always dealing with truth. A clear inner recognition of the divine forces and what's happening with you as Soul requires the practice of the Spiritual Exercises of ECK. There is no other way.

Drawbacks to a Strong Intellect

A spiritualist who saw Paul's ads in Fate magazine wrote to express his disbelief in Paul's claim about having a simple technique for people to get into a higher state of consciousness. The man did not believe it could be that easy.

For some people it is, but for others it's impossibly difficult, because the mind gets in the way. The more intellectual the individual's approach, the more difficult it is to realize the connection with the Inner Master.

Western society puts great stock in an intellectually attuned mind, and great emphasis on the kind of education that programs the mind to fit into patterns and forms. But in other societies, such as Africa, where there is more of a balance between the outer and the inner, the people are able to experience the Light and Sound of God more easily. It comes more naturally for them. Europeans, with their centuries of class structure and ingrained thought stacked one layer upon another, may have a more difficult time breaking through to the higher planes of consciousness.

But any person—in any society, no matter how restricted or how free—is still an individual. ECK is such an individual path that regardless of which country you are in, no matter how oppressed or how democratic, your spiritual unfoldment depends upon your own efforts with the spiritual exercises. These techniques are given in the ECK discourses and in some of the ECK books, such as ECKANKAR—The Key to Secret Worlds and In My Soul I Am Free.

Getting the ECK Message Out

In 1965, when Paul was doing workshops at the California Parapsychology Foundation, a woman wrote to ask if he had a home study course available. He said no, we don't have a home study course, but we do have written discourses. He made an interesting distinction there.

Paul was learning how to put the truths he found on the inner planes into writing. He had a very difficult time figuring out a way to present Eckankar to this society. The earliest mention of his use of the word Eckankar was about 1960 or 1961. He said he had come across the teachings through Sudar Singh in a general way as early as 1935, then studied them in depth with Rebazar Tarzs starting in 1951. But the teachings were difficult for him to bring out, because nobody cared.

To get people interested in what he had to say, Paul first had to catch their attention. He began by getting his name out to the public. One method was to place his recommended by Paul Twitchell and sour grapes awards in books or sending the awards to people. Someone who worked in the field of public speaking suggested that he present the ECK teachings in a lecture tour. As a starting point, the man said Paul should try to establish an association with the California Parapsychology Foundation.

Paul did just that, and soon he was giving workshops on how to get out of the body. Around this time he also began to write for the New Cosmic Star. His affiliation with that magazine led to more opportunities to lecture as a guest speaker on the teachings of Eckankar.

What Is Soul Travel?

In those days he referred to out-of-body travel as bilocation, but that term was misleading. He found that people had it mixed up with astral projection, which is a limited form of travel that requires separating the Astral body from the physical body. In astral projection you have to drag the connecting silver cord with you, and you end up no higher than the Astral Plane.

But Paul's teachings went beyond the Astral Plane, and eventually he came up with the term Soul Travel.

He explained that Soul Travel took place in two ways: (1) by projection (a term which he later put on the shelf along with bilocation), and (2) by the movement of consciousness. Soul Travel enables Soul to go into a higher state of consciousness where It takes on one of the bodies already operating on the other planes. Soul inhabits the physical body but is not imprisoned in it; therefore, It can also move to the Astral Plane and take on the Astral body which is already residing there with some fragment of the consciousness of Soul.

The Astral Plane is the area where many of our dream experiences occur. There is also a delicate interplay—a tuning in to the unconscious mind, on the Etheric Plane that deals with remembrances and the source of the impulses for the experiences which take place on the Astral Plane.

Soul then can move on to the Causal Plane, and then to the Mental Plane. It picks up one of the bodies stationed on each plane. There is always one body in each of these universes, and sometimes there are several, depending upon the individual's state of consciousness.

The Mental Plane is generally the level that one can reach if he sees the Blue Light of the Mahanta. A person can usually get to this plane before he translates, or dies. The Blue Light comes from the Mental Plane. This Light of the Mahanta appears blue because It is shining through the Mental Plane from the highest of the God Worlds. But if you see It just as you are getting into ECK, it means you are between the First and Second Planes.

Some of this gets very esoteric. The deeper instruction comes through the inspiration you get from reading the ECK discourses. But the real teachings come on the inner planes as you, Soul, move into the invisible worlds with the Mahanta. The term Mahanta refers to the Inner Master. His appearance on the inner is often the same as he appears on the outer as the Living ECK Master. The Mahanta is the Inner Master, and the Living ECK Master is the Outer Master.

There are always new people coming into ECK. These are the people who need to hear the basic simple truths. Those of you in the higher levels of ECK must remember to explain again and again to newer ECKists the teachings which seem so elementary to you.

Learning Spiritual Laws

Paul learned many things on his way to becoming the Living ECK Master. He also broke some spiritual laws while he was learning. One classic example just makes me shudder. After Paul left Swami Premananda's church in Washington, D.C., he fell in love with a woman named Pat. She soon fell out of love with him and moved to Florida. Paul continued to write her love letters from his home in Maryland, trying to keep a hold on her.

One time, while Paul was still in the process of burning off some of the ego and need for self-promotion, he wrote a letter to Pat under the pen name of Carol. Allegedly Carol was a friend of his. In the letter, Carol gushed about all the wonderful things Paul Twitchell was doing to help Pat with her spiritual unfoldment. It went on and on about Paul's many unrecognized accomplishments, building him up as a powerful, important person whom Pat would be very fortunate to marry and help with his mission. As I read it, I kept thinking, Paul, you were shameless; surely you must have known better.

But love can sometimes make a person throw all caution to the wind, and Paul was no exception. He made the same foolish mistakes that most of us have made, are making, and will make in the future. This is part of the experience of Soul in these worlds. We have come here to gain experience.

There is a saying in business that if a person isn't making mistakes, he isn't growing. It's pretty true in the spiritual life too.

The person who seems to live a very saintly life is probably also living a dull life. When the ECK is working for you, your life becomes exciting—sometimes too exciting. Sometimes you have to ask to have it slowed down. Then as soon as you've had enough rest, you say, "A little faster now, please." Then it speeds up again, and pretty soon you're saying, "Oh, please take this burden from me." It reminds me of the way some people constantly complain about the food in a restaurant being either too hot or too cold.

Polishing Soul

People are always bumping into each other as they round the corners. This interaction is what polishes Soul and makes It smooth and clear and pretty. It's hard to break the habits of many lifetimes, but as you unfold spiritually, you eventually get beyond the constant skirmishing and all the things that keep each of us here.

An ECKist visiting the United States mentioned how she just couldn't get along with another initiate in her country. One night she went into the dream state and found herself in a room with the other ECKist. The Mahanta tucked one chela underneath each of his arms, the way you would two little pets. He placed their heads close together and said, "You will get along!" The woman's first reaction upon waking up was, "I will not!"

Some people separate the inner and the outer without ever seeing the parallel connection. Life is hard for them because they are having a difficult time giving up the little self.

When we are still in the social consciousness, we're more interested in walking in someone else's shoes than in our own. We try to help someone who doesn't want to be helped, or we try to understand their side of a problem when we can't even understand our own.

The Do-Gooder Syndrome

One ECKist works with the elderly and disabled. During her contemplation one evening she went to the inner planes and visited a Temple of Golden Wisdom. These temples are the educational facilities on the other planes, where Soul is given inner instruction.

This woman saw a wheelchair near the wall. Wanting to understand what it was like for those who couldn't get around as freely as she could, she decided to sit down in it.

She soon began to notice that people regarded her in a different light now that she was in a wheelchair. She got quite involved in this experience. Suddenly she saw an ECK Master coming toward her, a stern look in his eyes.

"What are you doing in that wheelchair?" he asked.

"I just wanted to see what it felt like," she explained.

The Master said, "Get out of there!" She hopped out of the wheelchair and woke up.

She learned an important lesson from this dream. Already having gone through the experience of sitting in a wheelchair in another lifetime, she realized that now it was for others to experience. She was in a position in this life to push wheelchairs, not ride in them. She also realized she had misunderstood the reason for the strange looks she got from others as she sat in the wheelchair. The people who walked past her knew she was merely pretending, and they disliked her for her dishonesty. Despite her good intentions, this ECKist's overconcern with the plight of others was invading their space.

The social consciousness—the do-gooder syndrome—can make us think we are doing a great deed for mankind. Of course we can help people when they ask. We can certainly offer our services if they seem to need help. If the offer is accepted, we give assistance.

We are here to serve life, but how much we do for others is not as important as how well we do it according to the spiritual principles.

If someone asks about ECK, we can answer them. We can even invite the public to an ECK function by placing notices on bulletin boards or in newspapers. But we do not just go up to somebody and say, "There's this great path called ECK, and ECK is the only way! Oh, you're a Baptist? Well, Baptists don't get very far, did you know that?" Human nature is like that sometimes. We figure if it works for us, it must be right for everybody else too. But it's not. For example, a medical doctor is not the right doctor for everyone: Some people may get better results from an herbalist or a nutritionist. It all depends on one's state of consciousness, which has nothing to do with higher or lower. People with higher states of consciousness do not necessarily gravitate toward herbalists and nutritionists.

People on all sides of any issue tend to violate the spiritual laws by interfering with each other's choice, because each one wants to feel that his way is the only way.

Eckankar is the fastest, most direct path home to God—I'll go that far—but we do not claim it is the only way.

The Seat of Power

Eckankar's property in Sedona, Arizona, has been referred to in the past as the Seat of Power. Those who are newer in ECK don't understand that the Seat of Power is not the same as the Rod of ECK Power. The Seat of Power is merely a physical communication point. But since the communication facilities and the hotels in Sedona are not adequate to accommodate large numbers of people, it is actually an inactive communication point and not considered operational.

The Seat of Power will not fulfill its destiny until we can bring all of our operations together and make it the true communication point with the world. This requires facilities near a large city. Once we build them, then we will have a true Seat of Power.

The Power of HU

HU, the secret name for God, has been brought out again. It is a pure word which hasn't been debased in profanity, like words such as God.

It's a peculiar quirk of the lower nature of man to take a spiritual term and use it in profanity. It's almost as if he were trying to bring heaven down into the mudhole. This tarnishes a charged word such as God.

The word HU has a purifying power for the individual. Unlike prayer, HU is not misused to change another person's state of consciousness. To pray for someone to join one's church, for instance, is a violation of the spiritual law.

Even if a person who is ill asks you to pray for him, it's best to just turn it over to the Mahanta—"Mahanta, you take care of it"—and keep yourself clear of the karma which resulted from their own ignorance of the spiritual laws. If you want to pray for your own spiritual unfoldment, that would be all right, because you're working within your own worlds.

An ECKist in Europe recently learned about the power of HU. Her head was throbbing as she got on a crowded airplane. To make matters worse, the nonsmoking section was full, so she had to sit back in the smoking area. Between the clouds of smoke and the chattering people, her headache grew so intense that she didn't know what to do. Finally she shut her eyes and began to chant HU very softly, barely loud enough to be heard by those around her.

Suddenly she noticed that some of the noise had abated. Opening her eyes, she found several of the passengers giving her sympathetic looks and realized they probably thought she was afraid of being in the air. A kind flight attendant brought her extra food and beverages.

She closed her eyes again and just kept chanting HU. Soon the chattering and the smoking stopped altogether, and the throbbing in her head went away. When the plane landed, the other passengers considerately helped her remove her luggage from the overhead rack.

For her this experience was proof of how the power of ECK works through the sound of HU.

Reality of the Light and Sound

When things are not being resolved in the way a person thinks they should, he might feel that the ECK doesn't work. The ECK may be working out the best possible solution that will bring about a greater overall change. But he doesn't see it, simply because he is looking at the problem from the lower state of consciousness. He has judged the situation from his limited viewpoint.

People with this attitude will always have trouble in ECK and in their lives. They may ask for help and receive it. But just as quickly as the problem is resolved, they forget they ever had it and immediately slip out of the Light and Sound. Eventually things go so wrong that they haven't any choice but to remember the Mahanta and ask to be linked up again with the Light and Sound of God.

The Light and Sound are not just words. The Light is actually seen in the dream state or during Soul Travel. It comes in a great range of colors, from blue to pink to brilliant white. Usually we see the higher colors in ECK.

This is the Light of God coming in and purifying Soul. The other aspect, the Sound, is actually heard by the individual. It may sound like a flute, buzzing bees, twittering sparrows, a choir singing, or the wind blowing—any of these things.

The Light and Sound are the only way the Holy Spirit, which we call the ECK, can be seen or heard by man. The closest It comes to a human voice is when these twin aspects come together in a matrix into the form of the Inner Master, the Mahanta. We don't hear etheric voices from the clouds, proclaim the Lord spoke to us, or claim to receive instructions that dictate what others should do. When we do get a feeling about something that has to be done, we examine our feeling carefully to determine that the act is not going to impede anyone on the path to God. If it does, then it's wrong. If it somehow uplifts another person and doesn't affect their freedom, then it's a good act. Of course, the imperfect human consciousness wants to believe it's always right, and this is why we have problems.

A Search for the Divine Principle

I met a woman in Norway last summer, a former atheist who had spent most of her youth doubting that there could be such a thing as God or a divine principle. During World War II, she was part of an underground movement to help Jewish families escape from the Nazis through the Scandinavian countries. The Nazis constantly roamed the mountains in patrols, and anyone caught helping the Jewish people to escape was immediately shot.

This woman always seemed to be steered around danger. Trekking high in the mountains to meet the person who was to give her instructions for the next day, for no apparent reason she would suddenly turn and take a different path. Or someone would come out of the forest and say, "Nazis are up ahead. Go this way, and you'll be OK." She kept up these activities throughout the war, but she always managed to avoid danger. It never occurred to her that there was a divine principle at work.

The woman also had the peculiar ability to know before anyone else when the German bombers would be flying overhead. Every so often they would drop a few bombs just to keep the people on the ground properly frightened. Even when they didn't have a lot of bombs to spare, they still made dry runs designed to terrify the people and break down the national will.

Fifteen minutes before the bombers arrived, this woman would run to the bomb shelter, shouting, "The bombers are coming!" The other people laughed at her, but only once or twice. She was right in her predictions; so whenever she was seen running for the bomb shelter, everybody else soon followed. She never figured out where this help came from. It didn't occur to her that she was Soul wearing a physical body.

Years later, when she received word that her father was on his deathbed, she traveled to his home. She arrived about an hour before he translated, or died.

Sitting in his room at the moment of his death, she suddenly saw a very bright light coming from his heart center. As it left his body, she watched as it appeared to change into the form of a dove and fly away. For the first time, she realized that a living force had resided in and animated the body she had known as her father. Once Soul was gone, the body became lifeless and cold; there was nothing in it anymore.

Thus began her search for the divine principle, this unknown element behind life, the force that animated all things around her. This example of the Light of God eventually led her to the teachings of ECK. As she started to learn through dreams, one thing led to another, and one day she realized that this living force was the Holy Spirit, the ECK, which also animates Soul.

The Purpose of Every ECK Initiate

Soul is a spark of God. We can become one with the ECK, and as this takes place we become a Co-worker with God; but we can never become God. To become a Co-worker with God is the purpose of every initiate in ECK.

To travel in the inner worlds in this lifetime is spiritual liberation. As we move in these inner planes, we are sometimes shown our past lives as they affect our present life. Or we may see the future when it can help us to sidestep unnecessary problems. This is one of the benefits of ECK.

In the United States the ECK teachings are so readily available that often we are not willing to make even a small sacrifice to get them. The people in other countries have to make far greater sacrifices. Some of us complain if we have to drive a short distance to get to an ECK meeting or consider it a hardship to answer questions about ECK from somebody who lives fifty miles away. It's almost humorous in a way.

We have it so easy that we're often blinded to our purpose here, which is to become a Co-worker with God. And how do you do it? By hard work.

Each seminar is an opportunity to work out many of the little problems that stand between Soul and a higher state of consciousness. When you go home, your friends and family will certainly see a difference, even if you do not.

You carry the golden light of ECK with you. Sometimes It can be seen, but more often It is felt by others as you quietly go about your business with your thoughts still on the different things you learned at the seminar.

When this glow goes away, it can leave a vacuum, and then you may end up in a postseminar depression. This is the time to chant HU.

May the blessings be.

World Wide of ECK,
Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, October 27, 1985

"Paul Twitchell, the Man, Part 2," excerpted from Cloak of Consciousness, Mahanta Transcripts, Book 5, copyright © 1991 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 September 26, 2014   070408db