Who is Sudar Singh?
Paul Twitchell claims he had two teachers who taught him the
path of Eckankar. The first was Satguru Sudar Singh, who,
according to Twitchell, made his residence in Allahabad, India, until the late 1930's or 1940's (Twitchell does not
seem sure). 
The second was Rebazar Tarzs, a Tibetan monk reputedly over five hundred years old. With the latter, there is no way to verify his existence because Twitchell alleges that the Tibetan monk can only be visited via "soul travel".
As stated earlier, Twitchell maintains that he first met Sudar Singh in Paris, France, when he was in his teens. Later, he states that he and his sister went to Sudar Singh's ashram in Allahabad and lived with the guru for over a year. Although Twitchell readily recounts his experiences with the Indian adept, he curiously gives no dates, except one found in Eckankar: The Key To Secret Worlds, concerning his visit. 
 In the book In My Soul I Am Free, Twitchell claims that Sudar Singh was one-hundred and five years old when he died. While in another work, he alleges that the guru died in his late nineties. Curiously, in the book Eckankar: The Key to Secret Worlds, Twitchell writes that Sudar Singh was a very young man when he met Rebazar Tarzs in Agra, India, in 1885. If we accept Twitchell's claim that Sudar Singh died at one-hundred and five years old in either the late 1930's or 1940's, it makes the Allahabad guru over forty years old in 1885. The implications are obvious: Does Twitchell consider "forty years old" (or more) to be a very young man? Further suspicion about the actual existence of "Sudar Singh" arises when we learn that Twitchell's account of his master is based upon the life story of Baba Jaimal Singh, the founder of the Radha Soami Satsang at Beas (refer to the appendix on plagiarism). Although it is only conjecture, it would appear that Twitchell coined the name "Sudar" from the longer name "Sudarshan" , who was a nephew of Shiv Dayal Singh, the originator of the Radhasoami path. This same "Sudarshan Singh" also resided for a time in Allahabad, India. In summation, Twitchell has used the name "Sudar Singh" (which he most likely lifted from Julian P. Johnson's book, With A Great Master in India, since it contains a section on Sudarshan Singh) as a cover name for several different teachers, but most notably for Kirpal Singh.
 Writes Twitchell,
". . . I found this to be true of Sudar Singh, the strange mystic of Allahabad, in the summer of 1938, when I visited him with my step-sister."firms that he was the source for his fictitious "1922" birth date.
[An interesting sidebar here, connected to our previous footnote: Sudarshan Singh, the nephew of Shiv Dayal Singh, died in 1936 at Soamibagh, just outside of Agra city.]
According to Steiger's account (which also gives no dates), it would be in the late 1930's, early 1940's, when Twitchell visited India. Yet, according to Twitchell's actual birth date (1908-1912), it would have to be the late 1920's when he visited India. In both cases, however, there is no proof, documentary or otherwise, to support Twitchell's self-claimed travels to India. The doubtful nature of Twitchell's travels gains further support when we learn that the first mention of his guru Sudar Singh is not until the January 1964 issue of Orion Magazine. Before that time, Twitchell makes no reference to the elusive Indian master. 
As Twitchell's travels to India at a young age are extremely doubtful, his account of Sudar Singh (whom he claims to have met at the same time) also becomes highly questionable. There is no indication in Twitchell's actual life (versus his created one) or written works that Sudar Singh is a real person. The true identity of Sudar Singh is intimately tied with Twitchell's efforts to cover-up his past associations with certain teachers. This cover-up was started by Twitchell in January 1964, and continues today under the present Living Eck Master, Harold Klemp.
Today, in Eckankar's extensive literature, there is no mention whatsoever of Swami Premananda or Kirpal Singh. Most Eckists have never even heard of either of these two gurus. The reason why is because from 1964 to 1971, in a slow but finally accelerated process, Twitchell had both names, which appeared throughout his original writings, The Tiger's Fang, The Flute of God, and other assorted articles, edited out. He replaced the names of his actual teachers, Swami Premananda and Kirpal Singh, with the names "Sudar Singh" and "Rebazar Tarzs." And, although Twitchell spent a total of eight years studying under Kirpal Singh, he denied in 1971 that he was ever initiated by him.
The cover-up was commenced by Twitchell after the "Tiger's Fang incident" in 1963. It was in his preparation for founding Eckankar which led Twitchell to create a whole new mythology--a mythology which included a new biography for himself. Twitchell's biography included new teachers, new travels, and new insights. Yet, Twitchell could not destroy all of his previous articles, associations, or his family heritage. These remnants were too vast and too scattered to eradicate. It is from these records that we find the "old" Paul Twitchell.
 In none of Twitchell's writings before 1964 is there any mention of Sudar Singh. However, Twitchell does refer to Kirpal Singh, Swami Premananda, and L. Ron Hubbard before this date.
Twitchell's first reference to Satguru Sudar Singh was not meant as an introduction for his readers (or his followers) to his actual, but hidden, past; rather, it was meant as his first preface to his new biography--a biography which rapidly changed with the growth of Eckankar. Although Twitchell's real life narrative included a bevy of different gurus, teachers, and movements, it did not include "Sudar Singh" or "Rebazar Tarzs." Both gurus served only as mythological characterizations of Twitchell's genuine and imagined biography. Their existence was factual to some extent as "cover-names" for real gurus. They were so named perhaps because of Twitchell's vivid occult imagination, abetted by his knowledge of Theosophical literature on the "Great White Masters."
Twitchell's first cover-up or editing appears in the January 1964 issue of Orion Magazine, where he introduces Sudar Singh for the first time. It reads:
"I began my study of bilocation under the tutelage of Satguru Sudar Singh, in Allahabad, India. Later, I switched to Sri Kirpal Singh of Old Delhi. Both were teaching the Shabda Yoga, that which is called the Yoga of the Sound Current. I had to learn to leave my body at will and return, without effort. Also among my writings are numerous discourses from many master [sic], in the flesh and those on the inner planes. I have talked with and taken down the words of Kirpal Singh who appeared in my apartment in his Nari Raup, his light body, although his physical body was six thousand miles away in India."In the entire article, there is no reference whatsoever to Rebazar Tarzs. Yet, in 1966, when Twitchell republished the article almost verbatim in the booklet, Introduction to Eckankar, he changed the words bilocation and shabda yoga to "Eckankar"; and the two times he mentions Kirpal Singh, he changes to "Rebazar Tarzs" and "Sudar Singh" respectively. The original article, although edited later and more thoroughly, was itself a product of editing, for the name "Sudar Singh" is actually a cover name for Swami Premananda, who was Twitchell's first yoga teacher. 
 Refer to the appendix on Cover-up for a detailed study of Twitchell's editing.]
Of the several articles reprinted in Introduction to Eckankar, most have undergone name replacements. A total of at least eight names have been edited out and replaced with a hierarchy of Eck masters. The list of names edited out includes Sawan Singh, Kirpal Singh, and Swami Premananda. Each guru has either been replaced by "Sudar Singh" or "Rebazar Tarzs," while the main text remains untouched. Although Twitchell attempted to do a scrupulous job of redacting, he made one slight error in the index to Introduction to Eckankar. The editor lists the name "Sawan Singh" as occurring on page five of the text; yet, on page five, it reads "Sudar Singh." The first four editions of the booklet carried the error; the fifth edition finally corrected it. The original article from which the mistake was made was published in the September 1965 issue of Search Magazine. It reads in part:
"From Kabir's day those who have helped spread the doctrine of bilocation were mainly, the leader of the Sikh order, especially Nanka Guru [sic], the founder. Others have been the Sufi saints, e.g., Hafiz, Jalal din Rumi, Shamus Tabriz, and Sawan Singh, Kirpal Singh, St. Anthony of Padua, and the contemporary clergyman, Padre Pie [sic], to name a few."The reprinted, "Can You Be in Two Places At The Same Time," in the booklet Introduction to Eckankar, reads:
"From Kabir's day, those who have helped spread the doctrine of Soul Travel were mainly the leaders of the Sikh order, especially Nanka Guru [sic], the founder. Others have been the Sufi saints, e.g., Hafiz, Jalal din'l Rumi, Shamus Tabriz, Sudar Singh, St. Anthony of Padua, and the contemporary clergyman, Padre Pio, to name a few." In the original article, Twitchell had mentioned Kirpal Singh three times; in the revised edition his name has been changed to read "Sudar Singh." The original reads:
"Kirpal Singh who is still at his own ashram in India, has the ability to appear to his own people, in his Nuri Sarup body, no matter where they may be. A skill which almost anybody can learn who gets the knack of bilocation. Among my numerous discourses from many gurus in the flesh and those on the inner planes, are those taken down when Kirpal Singh appeared in my apartment in Washington, D.C., in his light body, although his flesh self was six-thousand miles away in India."The revised article, with name replacements, reads:
"Sudar Singh, who lived in his ashram in India, had the ability to appear to his own people in his Atma Sarup body, no matter where they might be. A skill almost anyone can learn who gets the knack of Soul Travel. . . Among my numerous discourses from many gurus in the flesh and those on the inner planes, are taken down when Sudar Singh appeared in my apartment in New York City, in his light body, although his flesh self was six thousand miles away in India."Not only had Twitchell changed the name Kirpal Singh to "Sudar Singh," he also altered certain factors in his past to fit in with his "new" biography. Writes Woodrow Nichols:
"This holy cover-up was nothing new in the previous experience of Paul Twitchell. If we go back to Singh's accusation that there were some facts (descriptions) in The Tiger's Fang that were inaccurate, it should become apparent that Twitchell had a long history of rewriting history." 
The Flute of God: A Case Study of Re-Editing
Twitchell's enormous editing of names reached a pinnacle when he decided to publish in book form The Flute of
God. The work was originally printed in installments in
Orion Magazine, from 1965 to 1967. The first six chapters
of the text profusely mention the names of Kirpal Singh,
Sawan Singh, and Jesus Christ. When Twitchell had the book
republished, however, he redacted every single mention of
Kirpal Singh, Sawan Singh, and Swami Premananda. In some
cases, he even edited out the name Jesus and replaced it
with "Gopal Das" or other Eckankar Masters. And, although
he quotes from the Christian Bible, he even changes the name
of his source (to that of the Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad) while
retaining the same biblical quote. Below is a comparison
study of the two versions. Remember that the Orion version
is the earliest, and that Twitchell's editing is primarily
The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as it appeared in installments in Orion Magazine. Chapter I - "In The Beginning" (March-April, 1966):
Par. 3: "I remember very well when Swami Premananda, of India, who has a Yoga church in Washington, D. C., said, 'When someone asked Bertrand Russell what his philosophy of Life was, he wrote several volumes of books on the subject."The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as published by Illuminated Way Press (1970). Chapter I - "In The Beginning":
Par. 3: "I remember very well when Sudar Singh, the great Eck Master said, 'When someone asked Bertrand Russell what his philosophy of Life was, he wrote several volumes of books on the subject."The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as it appeared in installments in Orion Magazine. Chapter I - "In The Beginning" (March-April, 1966):
Par. 15: "I have studied under many teacher [sic], and may yet have to study under more. Like Meher Baba, the Indian saint, who was said to have nineteen teachers to help him gain his place in the universe, I have so far had seven, some outstanding ones, including Sri Kirpal Singh, of Delhi, India."The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as published by Illuminated Way Press (1970). Chapter I - "In The Beginning":
Par. 16: "I have studied under many ECK Masters only they have led me to the highest truth. Like Fubbi Quantz, the ECK saint, who was said to have nineteen teachers to help him gain his place in the universe, I have also had several, each outstanding, one being Sudar Singh of India."The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as it appeared in installments in Orion Magazine. Chapter I - "In The Beginning" (March-April, 1966):
Par. 16: "Each has had a place in my growth toward the spiritual goal; each are equally great in their work for mankind. However, I have felt a closer kinship and friendliness to Kirpal Singh, who has shown me a lot of the other work during my first year or so under him. Since we have parted he keeps an impartial view toward me and my research. Therefore, if I quote him in these pages it is because I feel that he is sympathetic and interested in my work."The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as published by Illuminated Way Press (1970). Chapter I - "In The Beginning":
Par. 17: "Each has had a place in my growth toward the spiritual goal; each is equally great in his work for mankind. However, I have felt a closer kinship and friendliness to Sudar Singh, who showed me a lot of the other work, during my first year or so under him. Since we have parted he has retained an impartial view toward me and my research. If I quote him in these pages it is because I feel that he is sympathetic and interested in my work and led me to Rebazar Tarzs."The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as it appeared in installments in Orion Magazine. Chapter I - "In The Beginning" (March-April, 1966):
Par. 32: "Life fascinates me. Certain details of life to be worked out are strange. Lying on the bed late at night I watch the pattern of shadows weaving about the room. In the presence of familiar night visitors like Kirpal Singh, or Rebazar Tarzs, a Tibetan Lama, who come often in their Nuri-Sarup, or others, some strangers, some friends, I wonder about life."The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as published by Illuminated Way Press (1970). Chapter I - "In The Beginning":
Par. 34: "Life fascinates me. Certain details of life that have to be worked out are strange. Lying on the bed late at night I watch the pattern of shadows weaving about the room. In the presence of familiar night visitors like Sudar Singh, or Rebazar Tarzs, the ECK Masters who come often in their Nuri-Sarup bodies, or others, some strangers, some friends, I wonder about life."The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as it appeared in installments in Orion Magazine. Chapter II - "The Symbol of The Princes":
Par. 12: "Therefore, the principal (sic) involved here is: `We live and have our being in the Supreme Being.' Jesus said it in another way as `we move and have our being in God.' Other savants e.g., Jalalddin Maulana Rumi put it another way, `Divine Grace is not limited by the conditions of ability, but ability, in fact, is conditioned by Divine Grace.'"The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as published by Illuminated Way Press (1970). Chapter II - "The Symbol of The Princes":
Par. 11: "Therefore, the principle involved here is,`We live and have our being in the Supreme Being.' Lai Tsi, the Chinese ECK Master, said it this way, `We live and move and have our being in the SUGMAD.' Other savants state it in a slightly different vein. For instance, Jalaluddin Maulana Rumi said, `Divine Grace is not limited by the conditions of ability - -but ability, in fact, is conditioned by Divine Grace.'"The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as it appeared in installments in Orion Magazine. Chapter II - "The Symbol of The Princes":
Par. 48: "This is what Kirpal Singh speaks of in his discourses. `We must become the conscious co-worker of God.' Meaning, of course, that once man is freed of his imbalances he inherits the throne and does his work for the whole."The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as published by Illuminated Way Press (1970). Chapter II - "The Symbol of the Princes":
Par. 45: "This is what Sudar Singh spoke of in his dialogues. `We must become the conscious co-workers of God.'"The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as it appeared in installments in Orion Magazine. Chapter III - "Purification of the Princes" (Sept.-Oct. 1966):
Par. 37: "All masters of earlier days, to name a few: Buddha, Gura Nanak (sic), Christ, Mohammed, Zoroaster, Lao Tse, George Fox, Sawan Singh, Confucius, Krishna and Shankhacharya exhorted us to know ourselves. Kabir says the same thing `Learn to die a hundred times daily, not once.'"The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as published by Illuminated Way Press (1970). Chapter III - "Purification of the Princes":
Par. 37: "All ECK Masters of earlier days exhorted us to know ourselves. . .Gopal Das says the same thing, `Learn to die a hundred times daily, not once.'"The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as it appeared in installments in Orion Magazine. Chapter III - "Purification of the Princes" (Sept.-Oct. 1966):
Par. 38: "Christ said, 'Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.' Guru Nanak said, 'Be pure that truth may be realized.'"The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as published by Illuminated Way Press (1970). Chapter III - "Purification of the Princes":
Par. 38: "Jesus said, 'Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.' Rebazar Tarzs said, 'Be pure so that truth may be known.'"The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as it appeared in installment in Orion Magazine. Ch. I, Par. 41:
"When Jesus looked upon His people and said, `I cannot tell you more because you cannot hear the whole truth.' He was saying that they were so far down the spiral of life they could not grasp His meaning. To tell them all would bring disorder into their lives, for once exposed to Truth, those not understanding develop hostility."The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as published by Illuminated Way Press (1970). Ch. I, Par. 42:
"When the ECK Master, Gopal Das, looked upon his people and said, `I cannot tell you more because you cannot hear the whole ECK,' he was saying that they were so far down the spiral of life they could not grasp his meaning. To tell them would bring disorder into their lives, for once exposed to Truth, those not understanding develop hostility."The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as it appeared in installments in Orion Magazine. Ch. I, Par. 44:
"One of my experiences while serving under the Yoga Satsang line of masters, was that I found one of the masters in the guise of a beggar. I had been in difficulty for sometime, and very unhappy over the fact that nothing could be found to solve my problem."The Flute Of God by Paul Twitchell as published by Illuminated Way Press (1970). Ch. I, Par. 45:
"One of my experiences, while serving under Rebazar Tarzs, was that I found one of the ECK Masters in the guise of a beggar. I had been in difficulty for some time, and was very unhappy over the fact that nothing could be found to solve my problem."
"I have never recognized you as a master, or that you give initiations, and that your work is not in the best interest of spirituality. Your teachings are orthodox, and as a preacher you are not capable of assisting anyone spiritually."As Paul Twitchell edited out the name Kirpal Singh in every rewrite he undertook, his cover-up grew by the late 1960's to such proportions that he even denied he was once initiated by Kirpal Singh. To many who knew him earlier, Twitchell had gone too far. Several, if not many, disciples of Kirpal Singh had attended satsangs with him; some had even been present at his initiation ceremony in 1955. Yet, Twitchell persisted: he continued to deny that he had any spiritual link with Kirpal Singh. He even went so far as to openly refute on tape that Kirpal Singh was the successor to Sawan Singh of Radhasoami Satsang Beas (who died in 1948), though it contradicted what he had stated previously in 1965. Claimed Twitchell:
"Guru Nanak became the founder of the Sikh order. Sawan Singh was the last of the Swami group of Masters. . . and Kirpal Singh claimed to become a follower in the same line of masters, and also Charan Singh who was a nephew [sic: Charan Singh is a grandson] of Sawan Singh, but neither one are masters because the mastership of this line stopped at Sawan Singh." Yet only five years previously, Twitchell wrote:
"These few who are following the ancient science do so loosely. However, Kirpal Singh, a living Guru, teaches the art (as) closely to the ancient teachings (as) possible, at his ashram in Old Delhi, India."The inherent contradictions in Twitchell's denial of his association with Kirpal Singh were too blatant for some Ruhani Satsang initiates to ignore. Several knowledgeable disciples began to give out the actual details of Twitchell's involvement with Kirpal Singh. Even the Ruhani Satsang Master himself commented on Twitchell's unusual actions:
"Yes, Yes. Too much propaganda. I tell you one American was initiated by me--I've got the initiation report in his own handwriting. That is what such-like people will do. They had some little thing, got stuck fast there. Now he's carrying on propaganda. He says he was never initiated by me. He was initiated in 1955. Some people get stuck fast on the way. This little ego is very difficult to get rid of unless there's some kind of protection. This is a living example. He has written other books. I need not mention his name. " It is unclear howTwitchell finally heard of Kirpal Singh's comments about him. Nevertheless, by whichever means he heard (through tape, letter, or word of mouth), the fact remains that Twitchell was highly displeased. The reason why is obvious: if word got out that Paul had indeed been initiated by Kirpal Singh but was denying it, it would imply that the founder of Eckankar was lying; and a master who would lie (or deceive or cover-up) is to many spiritual seekers no master at all. Thus, in a strange but predictable maneuver, Twitchell sent a letter bombasting Kirpal Singh, denying that he was initiated by him, and threatening--totally without legal basis--a lawsuit if Kirpal Singh pressed the matter any further.
Around the time that Kirpal Singh received the portending letter from the founder of Eckankar, Paul Twitchell died unexpectedly from a heart attack.  It was a curious turn of events, for Twitchell departed only months after claiming that he would live at least another five years--if not fifteen.
 A copy of the letter that Paul Twitchell sent to Kirpal Singh shortly before his death is still in the possession of Gail Atkinson. According to several Ruhani Satsang initiates who were present in India when Twitchell's letter was received at Sawan Ashram, Kirpal Singh made the following comment: "We are all born with a large noose around our neck. He hasn't much rope left." Shortly thereafter Twitchell died.
"Sri Darwin Gross, the Living Eck Master of Eckankar has stated that he knows for a fact that Paul Twitchell only had two Eck Masters during his earthly stay here; the Tibetan Rebazar Tarzs and Sudar Singh, and no one else. They were the only Masters to initiate Paul Twitchell."After Twitchell's demise, the cover-up concerning his involvement with Kirpal Singh continued unchecked. The posthumous publication of Twitchell's manuscripts were all thoroughly scanned. No work published after his death mentioned the name Kirpal Singh, even though the original manuscript, Letters to Gail, Volumes One and Two (a collection of letters written by Twitchell to his wife before their marriage in 1964), contained several references to the Ruhani Satsang master. For example, an excerpt from the original letter of May 30, 1963, reads: "Kirpal Singh used the readings from the Sikh Bible and a few from the Indian scriptures in his nightly meetings. . ." Yet, the revised letter replaces the name Kirpal Singh with "Sudar Singh" while leaving the main content of the letter intact.  It appears almost certain that the original Letters to Gail makes no reference to "Sudar Singh" whatsoever. Oddly, though, the present (revised) letters contain numerable references to him. It can be assumed that whenever the name "Sudar Singh" appears in Letters to Gail it is a cover name for Kirpal Singh, whose name appears in the original. 
In the 1970's, the International Headquarters of Eckankar vehemently denied that their founder was ever initiated by the late Kirpal Singh, or that Twitchell considered the Ruhani Satsang adept a Master. In pursuance of Eckankar's official stand on this issue, I sent a letter of inquiry to their headquarters in Menlo Park. Below are excerpts of what I received:
"Kirpal Singh and the Radha Swoami [sic] tried to "claim" Paul Twitchell and use him for their own purposes, as have other groups from the East and West. Paul mentioned this several times and at one point wrote a letter to Kirpal Singh and his associates stating that he, Paul, would take Singh and his associates to court if necessary. Due to the threats and harassment and material Kirpal Singh and Mr. Khanna tried to use against Paul Twitchell by faking Paul's signature on many papers. Paul wrote that letter that his widow, Gail Twitchell, gave me permission to read. . . " It is obvious from the above extract that Eckankar strongly denies their founder's involvement with Ruhani Satsang. Their position, however, on Kirpal Singh's alleged forging of Twitchell's signature on "many papers" is without any documentary basis. Neither has Darwin Gross or Gail Atkinson (also initiated by Kirpal Singh) adequately explained why if Twitchell was never a follower of Kirpal Singh did he state both in articles and in letters that he was? A paradigm for the whole matter comes from one of Eckankar's first "proto-advertisements." In 1965, a few months prior to Eckankar's official inception, Twitchell distributed his "Bilocation Sheet." It reads:
The full impact of Ruhani Satsang and its parent Radha Soami Satsang Beas on the teachings of Eckankar are not fully appreciated until one understands the connection between the writings of Julian P. Johnson and Paul Twitchell's. Without a thorough understanding of Twitchell's sources, Eckankar's origins will remain a mystery. The one person who had undoubtedly the greatest effect on Twitchell's own spiritual life was Kirpal Singh of India. But the one person who had the most pivotal influence on Twitchell's writings was a Kentuckian--Julian P. Johnson.
 I must thank Edward Pecen for this startling finding; he has been a key source for a number of rare and important documents.