Eckankar is a religion founded by Paul Twitchell in 1965. It is a non-profit religious group with members in over one hundred countries. The spiritual home is the Temple of Eck in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Eckankar is not affiliated with any other religious group.
The Eckankar "EK" symbol
|Type||Dharma influenced New religious movement|
Minor:Autobiography of a Modern Prophet etc.
|The Mahanta, the Living ECK Master||Harold Klemp|
|Headquarters||Temple of ECK, Chanhassen, Minnesota|
San Diego, California
|Centres||367+ (Late 1990s)|
The word Eckankar is a transliteration of the phrase Ik Onkar, which is used in Sikhism. According to the Eckankar glossary, the term Eckankar means Co-Worker with God. ECK is another word for the Holy Spirit, also known as the Audible Life Current, Life Force, or Light and Sound of God.:55
Eckankar's headquarters were originally in Las Vegas, Nevada. Under the leadership of Darwin Gross, the organization was moved to Menlo Park, California in 1975. In 1986, Harold Klemp moved the base of operations to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The leader of Eckankar is known as 'the Living ECK Master'. Some leaders, Twitchell and Klemp, for example, also hold the title "Mahanta" which refers to the inner aspect of the teacher. The leader functions as both an inner and outer guide for each member's individual spiritual progress. Twitchell (spiritual name: Peddar Zaskq) was the movement's spiritual leader until his death in late 1971. Gross (spiritual name: Dap Ren) succeeded him until October 22, 1981, when Klemp (spiritual name: Wah Z, pronounced Wah Zee) became the spiritual leader.
Some scholars believe that Eckankar draws in part from the Sikh and Hindu religions, and the Sant Mat movement. Other influences include Rosicrucianism, Edgar Cayce, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, whose ministry Harold Klemp once trained for.
One of the basic tenets is that Soul (the true self) may be experienced separate from the physical body and in full consciousness travel freely in other planes of reality. Eckankar emphasizes personal spiritual experiences as the most natural way back to God. These are attained via Soul Travel shifting the awareness from the body to the inner planes of existence.:187
Certain mantras or chants are used to facilitate spiritual growth. One important spiritual exercise of Eckankar is the singing or chanting of Hu, and is viewed in Eckankar as a "love song to God". It is pronounced like the English word "hue" (or "hyoo") in a long, drawn-out breath and is sung for about half an hour. ECKists sing it alone or in groups.:59 ECKists believe that singing Hu draws one closer in state of consciousness to the Divine Being and that it can expand awareness, help one experience divine love, heal broken hearts, offer solace in times of grief, and bring peace and calm. ECKists believe this practice allows the student to step back from the overwhelming input of the physical senses and emotions and regain Soul's spiritually higher viewpoint.:59
Dreams are regarded as important teaching tools, and members often keep dream journals to facilitate study. According to followers of Eckankar, dream travel often serves as the gateway to Soul Travel or the shifting of one's consciousness to ever-higher states of being.
Eckankar teaches that "spiritual liberation" in one's lifetime is available to all and that it is possible to achieve Self-Realization (the realization of oneself as Soul) and God-Realization (the realization of oneself as a spark of God) in one's lifetime. The membership card for Eckankar states: "The aim and purpose of Eckankar has always been to take Soul by Its own path back to Its divine source."
The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, which means "Way of the Eternal", is the holy scripture of Eckankar. It comprises two books that tell of spiritual meaning and purpose as written by the Mahanta.:59 There are also a series of Satsang writings, that are available with yearly membership in Eckankar. There are Satsang classes available to study discourses with others, as well as individually.:177
Some of the key beliefs taught in the Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad include Soul Travel, karma, reincarnation, love, Light and Sound, and many other spiritual topics. ECKists believe Sugmad is the endless source from which all forms were created, and that the ECK, the Sound Current, flows out of Sugmad and into lower dimensions.:59, 187, 194
Primary to the teaching is the belief that one may experience the perspective of soul beyond the limits of the body. Also, the concepts of karma and reincarnation help to explain situations in life as the playing out of past causes.:186–187
The beliefs that individuals are responsible for their own destiny and that their decisions determine their future are important concepts to Eckankar. Eckankar students meet in open public services and classes to discuss personal experiences, topics, books and discourses.:59
Eckankar emphasizes personal spiritual experiences as the most natural way back to God. These are attained via the Spiritual Exercises of ECK. Eckankar offers a Spiritual Exercise of the Week on its website.
An ECK Light and Sound service generally includes a HU Song and contemplation, a talk or panel discussion from members of the Eckankar Clergy, and often includes creative arts and group discussion. Eckankar hosts a Worldwide Seminar in October and a Springtime Seminar every year. Eckankar also hosts annual seminars in countries around the world. ECK seminars include speakers, creative arts, workshops, discussion groups and other activities.
The Eckankar "EK" symbol appears on the list of Available Emblems of Belief for Placement on Government Headstones and Markers by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Sources estimate that there were around 50,000 followers in the 1990s.
In February 2018, Iranian agencies reported the execution of an Eckankar member for "establishing fake institution". Karim Zargar, the former Iran TV's channel one broadcast manager, general manager of IRIB's international section, head of the Faculty of Radio and Television, and owner and managing director of Film Reports magazine (Gozaresh-e-Film), was hanged at Rajai Shahr Prison. Marjan Davari, Mr. Zargar's former spouse, is also kept in prison and is sentenced to death for being a member of Eckankar. Ms. Davari's family has stated in the media and online that she is merely a researcher and a translator and is not a follower of Eckankar.
There are few personal requirements to be an ECKist; however, certain spiritual practices are recommended. Chief among these is daily practice of the "Spiritual Exercises of ECK" for 15–20 minutes.:189 The most basic ECK spiritual exercise is singing the word Hu. A wide variety of spiritual exercises are offered, and members are encouraged to create their own. There are no dietary requirements, taboos, or enforced ascetic practices. Eckankar does not require potential members to leave their current faith to join.
There are a number of ceremonies an ECKist can experience as part of the teaching, including a Consecration ceremony for initiating the young and infants, a Rite of Passage into adulthood (around age 13), a Wedding ceremony, and a Memorial service.:186
ECKists believe contact with Divine Spirit, which they call the ECK, can be made via the spiritual exercises of ECK and the guidance of the living ECK Master. It is held that the ECK Masters are here to serve all life irrespective of religious belief. The main Eckankar website includes a list of Masters.
In Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America, David C. Lane writes:
This lineage, known as the Vairagi masters in Eckankar, allegedly traces its genealogy back through some 970 Living Eck Masters to Rama, an avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism. In other versions, the teachings go even further back to Gakko, a spiritual essence that traveled from the city of Retz on the planet Venus to Earth six million years ago...In addition, Sudar Singh and Rebazar Tarzs are not genuine historical personages but literary inventions developed by Twitchell to conceal his past associations.
Eminating from the Radhosoami Satsang (q.v.) background, which is a synthesis of Hinduism and Sikhism (qq.v.), Eckankar teaches a form of surat sabda yoga...
The Eckankar articles in the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Encyclopedia of American Religions (both by J. Gordon Melton) estimated total membership at 50,000 in the late 1990s.
Ancient Teachings of the Masters (also called ATOM) is the name Darwin Gross used to carry on the original teachings of Paul Twitchell after his termination from Eckankar.
Darwin Gross became the new Living Eck Master upon the death of Paul Twitchell in 1971. In 1981, he named Harold Klemp to take that position, continuing to function as the president of the Eckankar Corporation himself. In 1983, his relationship with Eckankar was formally terminated by Klemp, who formally terminated all of his agreements with the corporation and his status as an Eck Master, amid a cloud of charges of misappropriation of funds that were later sustained in court. (Source untrustworthy)
At that time, Darwin Gross began teaching independently, clearly stating that he was not creating a separate teaching, but that he was maintaining the original teachings of Paul Twichell.
Having retained copyright for all of his own books and music, Gross began publishing these works, and the works of his students, independently, under the SOS ("Sounds of Soul") Publishing label through 1989. Darwin Gross continued the original teachings of Paul Twitchell until his death on March 8, 2008.Astral plane
The astral plane, also called the astral world, is a plane of existence postulated by classical (particularly neo-Platonic), medieval, oriental, and esoteric philosophies and mystery religions. It is the world of the celestial spheres, crossed by the soul in its astral body on the way to being born and after death, and is generally believed to be populated by angels, spirits or other immaterial beings. In the late 19th and early 20th century the term was popularised by Theosophy and neo-Rosicrucianism.
Another view holds that the astral plane or world, rather than being some kind of boundary area crossed by the soul, is the entirety of spirit existence or spirit worlds to which those who die on Earth go, and where they live out their non-physical lives. It is understood that all consciousness resides in the astral plane. Some writers conflate this realm with heaven or paradise or union with God itself, and others do not. P. Yogananda wrote in Autobiography of a Yogi, "The astral universe . . . is hundreds of times larger than the material universe . . .[with] many astral planets, teeming with astral beings." (p.416) When Alice Bailey writes of seeing "Masters . . . upon the inner spiritual planes [who]. . . work with Christ and the planetary hierarchy," she refers to a vision she had of the unseen astral realm that these and countless other beings inhabit. Christ being in that realm, it is hard to construe it as a non-heaven.The Barzakh, olam mithal or intermediate world in Islam is a related concept. In Judaism, it is known as the "World of Yetzirah", according to Lurianic Kabbalah.Astral projection
Astral projection (or astral travel) is a term used in esotericism to describe an intentional out-of-body experience (OBE) that assumes the existence of a soul or consciousness called an "astral body" that is separate from the physical body and capable of travelling outside it throughout the universe.The idea of astral travel is ancient and occurs in multiple cultures. The modern terminology of 'astral projection' was coined and promoted by 19th century Theosophists. It is sometimes reported in association with dreams, and forms of meditation. Some individuals have reported perceptions similar to descriptions of astral projection that were induced through various hallucinogenic and hypnotic means (including self-hypnosis). There is no scientific evidence that there is a consciousness or soul which is separate from normal neural activity or that one can consciously leave the body and make observations, and astral projection has been characterized as a pseudoscience.Darwin Gross
Darwin Gross (1928–2008) was an American spiritual teacher who succeeded to the leadership of Eckankar in 1971 at the death of its founder Paul Twitchell. Gross officially took up the position of "Living ECK Master" on October 22, 1971 and appointed his successor Harold Klemp as Living ECK Master on October 22, 1981, though Gross later claimed Klemp failed to fully succeed to the position. Gross claimed to continue afterwards as the Living Eck Master, though he was precluded from continuing to use the Eck terminology.David C. Lane
David Christopher Lane (born April 29, 1956 in Burbank, California) is a professor of philosophy and sociology at Mt. San Antonio College, in Walnut, California. He is notable for his book The Making of a Spiritual Movement: The Untold Story of Paul Twitchell and Eckankar which exposed the origins of Eckankar and demonstrated the plagiarism of its founder, Paul Twitchell. He is also notable for introducing to a wider audience the teachings of Baba Faqir Chand, the Indian exponent of Surat Shabd Yoga from Hoshiapur in the book, The Unknowing Sage: The Life and Work of Baba Faqir Chand. Lane founded the journal, Understanding Cults and Spiritual Movements in the 1980s which featured critical studies of John-Roger Hinkins and Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness, Adi Da, and Sathya Sai Baba.Dream diary
A dream diary (or dream journal) is a diary in which dream experiences are recorded. A dream diary might include a record of nightly dreams, personal reflections and waking dream experiences. It is often used in the study of dreams and psychology. Dream diaries are also used by some people as a way to help induce lucid dreams. They are also regarded as a useful catalyst for remembering dreams. The use of a dream diary was recommended by Ann Faraday in The Dream Game as an aid to memory and a way to preserve details, many of which are otherwise rapidly forgotten no matter how memorable the dream originally seemed. Keeping a dream diary conditions a person to view remembering dreams as important. Dreams can be recorded in a paper diary (as text, drawings, paintings, etc.) or via an audio recording device (as narrative, music or imitations of other auditory experiences from the dream). Many websites offer the ability to create a digital dream diary.List of New Age topics
This article contains a list of New Age topics that are too extensive to include in its main article New Age; further information may be found at Category:New Age.Mar Amongo
Mar Amongo (October 9, 1936 – August 10, 2005) was a Filipino comics artist and illustrator.
Amongo was born in Santa Cruz, Manila, Philippines. After studying with cartoonist Nestor Redondo, he had a fruitful career illustrating komiks in his native country.
In 1971, DC Comics editor-in-chief Carmine Infantino and editor Joe Orlando traveled to the Philippines on a recruiting trip for artists. Amongo, Alfredo Alcala, Ernie Chan, Alex Niño, Nestor Redondo, and Gerry Talaoc were some of the Filipino artists who went on to work for DC, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s.
From 1983 to 1994, he worked as an illustrator in the Middle East.
On his return to comics, the Philippine government commissioned him to do some murals, which he adapted from one of Paul Twitchell's books on Eckankar.Amongo died on August 10, 2005, at age 68, in Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines.Marjan Davari
Marjan Davari (b. April 24, 1966; Tehran, Iran) (Persian: مرجان داوری) is an Iranian researcher, translator and writer who has been studying, teaching, translating and researching philosophical texts for more than 20 years.
Marjan has been arrested at her father’s home on September 23, 2015 in Karaj and currently has been held in women’s prison located in Qarchak (زندان قرچک), and subsequently sentenced to death for blasphemy and an additional 16 months for insulting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.Master Hilarion
The Master Hilarion, is considered an Ascended Master within the I AM movement and is one of the "Masters of the Ancient Wisdom" and in the Ascended Master Teachings is one of the Ascended Masters (also collectively called the Great White Brotherhood). Creator of the Orion's 144,000 Council 5th Dimension Merkhaba yellow infusion ascension Kundalini ((astral projection, soul travel)) Eckankar Master he is considered to be the Chohan (Lord) of the Fifth Ray of Scientific Knowledge (see Seven Rays).Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness
The Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (or MSIA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit religious corporation, incorporated in California on June 25, 1971. Before incorporation, the group was founded in California in 1968 by John-Roger (formerly Roger Delano Hinkins). The church has about 5,000 active students, mainly in the United States, in 32 countries.Outline of spirituality
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to spirituality:
Spirituality may refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality, an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being, or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.”Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop an individual's inner life; spiritual experience includes that of connectedness with a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self; with other individuals or the human community; with nature or the cosmos; or with the divine realm.Paul Twitchell
Paul Twitchell (born Jacob Paul Twitchell) (died September 17, 1971) was an American spiritual lecturer and writer, pulp fiction author, and founder of the religion known as Eckankar. He was accepted by the Eckankar members as the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master from October 22, 1965 until his death. He created and directed the development of Eckankar as a new spiritual teaching. He stated in his writings that his spiritual name is Peddar Zaskq.Plane (esotericism)
In esoteric cosmology, a plane is conceived as a subtle state, level, or region of reality, each plane corresponding to some type, kind, or category of being.
The concept may be found in religious and esoteric teachings—e.g. Vedanta (Advaita Vedanta), Ayyavazhi, shamanism, Hermeticism, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, Kashmir Shaivism, Sant Mat/Surat Shabd Yoga, Sufism, Druze, Kabbalah, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Rosicrucianism (Esoteric Christian), Eckankar, Ascended Master Teachings, etc.—which propound the idea of a whole series of subtle planes or worlds or dimensions which, from a center, interpenetrate themselves and the physical planet in which we live, the solar systems, and all the physical structures of the universe. This interpenetration of planes culminates in the universe itself as a physical structured, dynamic and evolutive expression emanated through a series of steadily denser stages, becoming progressively more material and embodied.
The emanation is conceived, according to esoteric teachings, to have originated, at the dawn of the universe's manifestation, in The Supreme Being who sent out—from the unmanifested Absolute beyond comprehension—the dynamic force of creative energy, as sound-vibration ("the Word"), into the abyss of space. Alternatively, it states that this dynamic force is being sent forth, through the ages, framing all things that constitute and inhabit the universe.Radha Soami
Radha Soami, or Radhasoami Satsang, is a religious organization founded by Shiv Dayal Singh in 1861 on Basant Panchami Day in the Indian subcontinent. The nameless God beyond the gods is given a name: it is Radhasoami, according to those who follow the Agra branches of the movement. Repetition of the name (or names) enables the seeker to gain access to their energy to lift his/her own internal energy currents to the higher levels of God-consciousness, the realm of ethereal light and sound. The Radhasoami conception of the interior realm alluded to by the sants is articulated in considerably greater than it was by the sants themselves: it has multiple tiers, the discovery of which involves a journey through increasingly rarefied strata of consciousness., states Mark Juergensmeyer in his book "Radhasoami Reality: The logic of a modern faith".
The Radhasoami's, states Mark Juergensmeyer, shows that RS is not an offshoot of Sikhism--despite the common misconception--since it is not directly related; the two traditions, however, share some common roots and can also be considered a part of Hinduism because they share their cultural outlook, some practices and theological concepts such as karma, yoga (shabd) and guru. However, they are also different from Hindus and Sikhs because they reject the concept of a sacred scripture, rituals such as Karah Parshad and pilgrimage gatherings and ceremonies. The Radhasoamis are a religious fellowship that accepts saints and living gurus from anywhere.
The movement started in Agra, its contemporaneous headquarters are in Beas, with parallel branches found in India and outside India. There are over 30 different Radhasoami groups in the world. Competing Radhasoami groups have headquarters elsewhere such as in Dayalbagh, Agra.
According to Pierluigi Zoccatelli, there were an estimated 3 million Radhasoami followers worldwide in 2004, with many subsects based on the Guru. Of these, the Radha Soami Satsang Beas is the largest and it had 2 million followers. Other subsects and movements influenced by Radhasoami include Divine Light Mission, Eckankar, Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness, Science of Spirituality and others. Some of these groups have tried to distance themselves from the other. Succession upon the death of previous guru has been a source of controversies and schism in the Radhasoami movement since the beginning.Red Rock State Park
Red Rock State Park is a state park of Arizona, USA, featuring a red sandstone canyon outside the city of Sedona. The main mission of this day-use park is the preservation of the riparian habitat along Oak Creek. Red Rock State Park serves as an environmental education facility for the public and for school or private groups, and provides limited passive recreational opportunities.Sant Mat
Sant Mat was a spiritual movement in the Indian subcontinent in the 13th century CE. The name literally means "teachings of sants", i.e. mystic saints. By association and seeking truth by following sants and their teachings, a movement was formed. Theologically, the teachings are distinguished by inward, loving devotion by the individual soul (atma) to the Divine Principal God (Parmatma). Socially, an egalitarian understanding stands separate from qualitative distinctions of the Hindu caste system, and to those between Hindus and Muslims.The lineage of sants can be divided into two main groups: a northern group from the provinces of Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, who expressed themselves mainly in vernacular Hindi; and a southern group, whose language is archaic Marathi, represented by Namdev and other sants of Maharashtra.Shabda
Shabda, or Śabda, is the Sanskrit word for "speech sound". In Sanskrit grammar, the term refers to an utterance in the sense of linguistic performance.Temple of Eck
The Temple of Eck is the center of the Eckankar faith in the United States. It was built at a cost of $8.2 million. The building was completed in Chanhassen, Minnesota in 1990.