|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©1999|
|Eckankar claims to be the most ancient religion known to man, and that it is the only path providing true salvation.|
Info at a Glance
Purpose: To help people directly experience God (the “Sugmad”) as sound and light in nonphysical states; to achieve spiritual liberation in this life by returning the soul to its true home in the god worlds.
Founders: Paul Twitchell, Darwin Gross and Harold Klemp are the most recent in a purported six million year line of “Living ECK Masters.”
Source of authority: The writings of Twitchell, Gross and Klemp.
Revealed teachings: Yes.
Claim: Eckankar is the most ancient religion known to man. It is the only path providing true salvation by unfolding unique spiritual experiences that no other teaching replicates.
Examples of occult potential: Altered states of consciousness, occult visualization, spiritism, similarity to occult magic.
Examples of key literature: Paul Twitchell’s The Tiger’s Fang; The Far Country; In My Soul I am Free (with Brad Steiger); Dialogues with the Masters; Eckankar; Letters to Gail; The Spiritual Notebook; The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad; Periodicals: The Eck Mata Journal; Eck World News; Darwin Gross,Your Right to Know; Harold Klemp, The Spiritual Exercises of ECK; A Modern Prophet Answers Your Key Questions About Life; A Cosmic Sea of Words: The Eckankar Lexicon; and The Mahanta Transcripts, some two dozen books derived from Klemp’s speech excerpts (How the Inner Master Works; The Dram Master; and others).
Attitude toward Christianity: Rejecting.
“I am the Deity!... I am the trinity, the holy trinity. I am God the Father, I am God the Son, Jesus Christ... the King of Glory.... I bring salvation to all souls...” (Paul Twitchell—The First Living Eck Master, The Tiger’s Fang, pp. 110-111).
“The Living ECK Master... never lays down laws and proclaims his way to God as the better way, although it is. He knows that all religions are pseudo and in the minority, but he never states this in any of his works.... All religions are [only] for the benefit of the leader with exception of the Path of ECKANKAR.... The chela must learn to separate truth from false teachings” (Darwin Gross—The Second Living Eck Master, Your Right to Know, p. 107, emphasis added).
“Every man, woman and child is God! No one can dispute this basic fact of cosmic wisdom” (Paul Twitchell, ECK World News, March 1979, p. 15).
“The Mahanta, the Living ECK Master, is so frank about everything in life that no one believes him” (Paul Twitchell, The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, Vol. 2, p. 30).
Note: Eckankar believes it is the oldest religion on earth and was begun by a former inhabitant of the planet Venus whose name was “Gakko” and who came to earth six million years ago (C. F. David Lane, “Eckankar in Turmoil, Part 1,” Understanding Cults and Spiritual Movements-Research Series, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Del Mar, CA: Del Mar Press), pp. 1-6, 17-19). Although Eckankar claims to be unique, Paul Twitchell actually acquired much of the teachings of Eckankar from a Hindu school. This group of teachings, called “Surat Shabd Yoga,” was systematized in India by Sawan Singh (died 1948) in his Radhasoami Beas sect. It was continued to Kirpal Singh (died 1974) in his Ruhani Satsang sect (into which Twitchell was initiated in 1955), and it was popularized in America by Dr. Julian Johnson in his book The Path of the Masters (1939). (Cf. SCP Journal, “Eckankar: A Hard Look at a New Religion,” Vol 1. No. 2, pp. 7-22.)
A popular humanistic new-age group, the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA, pronounced Messiah), sponsor of the “Insight Training Seminars,” was started by graduate John-Roger Hinkins in 1968. Through out-of-body episodes (“soul transcendence”) and psychic awareness, the student is led to the sound and light within, basic Radhasoami theology.
God: (The Sugmad). Impersonal, amoral, pantheistic spirit.
Jesus: Biblically, a son of Kal (the “devil”); otherwise a chela (Eckankar disciple) of 2,000 years ago.
The Holy Spirit: The divine sound current.
The Trinity: Biblically Satanic; otherwise variously integrated into Eckankar philosophy.
Salvation: By great personal effort and soul travel.
Man: Inwardly divine.
Sin: “Mistakes” in consciousness, or spiritual ignorance.
Satan: A Christian myth; otherwise Kal Niranjan, an evil God controlling the illusive worlds and deceiving man.
The Second Coming: A Christian Myth.
The Fall: Biblically a myth; otherwise there was a fall of spirit-souls into illusionary materialistic worlds (for example, earth).
The Bible: A corrupted work of unenlightened men.
Death: Spiritual advancement or regression depending on one’s spiritual condition at death.
Heaven and Hell: Christian myths; otherwise temporary places or states of consciousness.