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Re: A Review of ekult by Biblical Disernment Ministries

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  • eyesopen444
    Eckankar (ECK) New Age Religion In 1964, a new religion made its appearance -- Eckankar, The Ancient Science of Soul Travel (Eck). Eck was founded by Paul
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 10, 2006
      Eckankar (ECK)
      New Age Religion

      In 1964, a "new" religion made its appearance -- Eckankar, The Ancient
      Science of Soul Travel (Eck). Eck was founded by Paul Twitchell, a
      journalist, eccentric occult dabbler, and self-proclaimed soldier of
      fortune. In 1964 and l965, he wrote articles and gave lectures on his
      peculiar philosophy of "Biolocation," or supposed out-of-body travels.
      He evolved the philosophy and practice of Eck out of this experience
      and from studying the teachings of Ruhani Satsung, Scientology, and
      several other religious and occult groups. Twitchell, who was born in
      Paducah, Kentucky sometime between 1908 and 1912, and died in 1971,
      asserted that Eck did not actually begin in 1964, but rather was a
      timeless and universal Truth which had been "revived" for public
      dissemination at that time.

      Eck's membership is estimated at approximately 50,000, but there are
      supposedly about 3 million "followers" throughout the world. It was
      originally centered in Las Vegas, Nevada, but after Twitchell's death
      and the coming to power of Darwin Gross, the group moved to Menlo
      Park, California. Its main headquarters are currently in Minneapolis,
      Minnesota, but Eck also has active works in Europe, the Middle East,
      Asia, Australia, and Africa. Eck's authoritative books are An
      Introduction to Eckankar and Eckankar: The Key to Secret Worlds, both
      written by Twitchell. Eck also publishes a monthly publication, Eck
      World News.

      Twitchell sensed that he had hit upon a winning combination with Eck,
      proclaiming himself the unique incarnation of God on earth (i.e., the
      "Living Eck Master"), insisting that only through him and his movement
      could an individual find truth and salvation. Eck embodies almost all
      of the characteristics of a "made in America" cult religion -- a
      recent vintage eclectic movement, combining occult philosophy and
      mystical experience, big money, misrepresentation of origins, rampant
      spiritism, manifestations of psychic phenomena, virtual veneration of
      the leader as God, syncretism, indoctrination, and a form of attempted
      mind control -- not to mention the standard "esoteric gap," that is,
      the difference between the image the group projects to the public and
      the inner truths revealed to initiates. Eck has gone from (literally)
      nothing to a highly systematized belief system with a large corporate
      bureaucracy and an in-residence "God-man" as its leader.

      Eckankar presents itself as the most ancient teaching known to
      mankind. It is referred to as "The Path of Total Awareness." Below are
      the highlights of what Eckankar believes concerning its source(s) of
      authority, God, sin and salvation, Christ, spiritual practice, the
      Kingdom of Heaven, reincarnation, and prayer*:

      1. Source of Authority. The current Living Eck Master -- "the MAHANTA,
      the Vi-Guru, the Light-Giver, the Way Shower, the protector, guide and
      companion of every ECK chela" -- is the Eckist's sole authority for
      Eckankar doctrine. Eck also has its own Scriptures, The
      Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, which state that "the faith that one has in the
      Mahanta must be that of complete understanding and surrender." The
      "Word of God" in Eckankar is also known as "Shabda, Basni" -- it is
      the Eckist's security, and "should one have this Word of God flowing
      from the temple within himself, then he should be protected from bad

      2. Eck Master. Eckankar teaches that few religious disciplines are
      able to transcend the lower states, due to ignorance and the error of
      their way. Only through "soul travel," which is supposedly a superior
      and exclusive form of out-of-the-body experience, is one able to flow
      upward (or inward) through the various realms in hopes of eventually
      reaching the Sugmad, which exists as pure formless essence on the
      topmost plane. And the only way to succeed is by submitting totally to
      the guidance of the Living Eck Master, or Mahanta, who plugs the chela
      (learner or student) into the cosmic current. [This "current," known
      simply as the Eck, ostensibly flows out from, and back into, the
      Sugmad. Eckists say it can be heard as sound and seen as light; thus
      with the help of the Mahanta, other spirit guides (i.e., demons), and
      two of his five senses, the chela learns to flow with the Eck up
      through the various "God Worlds," gradually attaining enlightenment
      and spiritual maturity along the way.]

      When Living Eck Master Paul Twitchell died in 1971, his wife, Gail,
      claimed that Twitchell came to her in a dream and told her that Darwin
      Gross was to succeed him as the new Mahanta. Gail did as she was told
      and named Gross the new Mahanta. She then married him in October 1972.
      Gross described himself as "the only man ever manifested in all of
      history in whom individualism and universalism are combined in their
      full expression." (Gross was obviously not to be outdone in his claims
      by Twitchell.) The Grosses were to have a short marriage. Five years
      later they were divorced. At the suggestion of his advisory council,
      Gross resigned as the only "God-man" in October of 1981, and was
      replaced by the current "Living Eck Master," Sri Harold Klemp. This
      particular God-man was born in Wisconsin.

      Klemp and his predecessors are considered to be Mahantas -- one step
      above the normal Eck Masters. A Living Eck Master is held so high that
      Eckists seem to put him equal with God. Twitchell said this of the
      Living Eck Master: "The Living Eck Master is the only man, should I
      say being, who is capable of manifesting both individuals and
      universalism in their full expressions. He is law unto himself, does
      what he pleases, has what he wants, comes and goes absolutely at his
      own will, and asks no favors of any man." Sir Darwin Gross suggested
      that "self-surrender" by everyone to the Living Eck Master's "radiant
      form" is the key to spiritual success. An Eck Master, then, turns out
      to be nothing but a standard avatar, a routine "savior" who
      "incarnates" to instruct humanity, reputedly being able to lift people
      out of the cycle of death and rebirth if they submit to him in total
      faith, submission, and self-negation.

      3. God. Twitchell realized early on that if he was going to create a
      new religion, he had to conjure up a new concept of God to go with it.
      He used methods of eclectic cross-fertilization in his effort to come
      up with a new hybrid, blending together monism and pantheism, with a
      touch of monotheism to give his theology some character. The final
      product is a confused, crippled, and impotent deity which he
      indifferently labels "It." Like most hybrids, Eck's "God" is sterile,
      incapable of producing new life. If anything, it is a throwback to the
      primitive fear religions of the animistic and pagan cultures.

      The "God" of Eckankar (Sugmad) does not manifest as a personality.
      Consequently, seeking, knowing, or desiring to comprehend God in
      personal terms is impossible; indeed, it may be impossible in any
      terms. Twitchell writes that "we do not, and cannot, know God. ... God
      itself is realized by the very cessation of all seeking and by
      dropping of the mind. ... You will never find God by searching for
      Him. He is here and now within you! So never search. Just realize this!"

      Sugmad is a pantheistic god described by Eck as "progressive
      Self-realization or God-realization." Eck teaches that God is all
      things, and more significantly, that God is not separate from his
      creation. Twitchell wrote: "There is nothing in the universe that is
      not the SUGMAD, the everlasting ECK." By this logic, then, Eck is
      forced to pin the universe's flaws and problems upon its own "God,"
      and grudgingly admits that it is the Sugmad's "lower natures" that
      generate negativity. (In Twitchell's book, The Tiger's Fang, Sugmad is
      described as being ignorant, internally inconsistent, in need of
      wisdom and education, negative, unawakened, wondering, poor, unhappy,
      not content with "his" creation, and in need of assistance.) Eck tries
      to evade this dilemma by teaching that the dynamic which makes evil
      operative is a form of free will, which when abused, spawns
      "ignorance," leading to a lack of God-realization in the self.

      4. Sin. Eck does not adhere to the concept of "original sin." Eck
      believes this about sin: "The idea of man born in sin is one of the
      oldest pitfalls which the Kal Niranjan ("Kal" for short -- Eck
      terminology for the negative force of the cosmos, otherwise identified
      by Eck as "the Devil") could plan for keeping Soul in ignorance of Its
      true glory. ... All the doctrines of man born in sin, to be purified
      by the appearance of a messiah who dies for man's sins, is that of a
      Kalistic belief." (Eck does not endorse or uphold Christian morals
      concerning sexual behavior. Also, Eck does not believe this Soul
      enters the body of an unborn child; thus, they have no problem with

      5. Salvation. Twitchell said that "Eck is the highest of all paths to
      God. ... there is no other way to gain spiritual enlightenment." He
      sweepingly pronounces that "belief in anything except the Eck is
      false. ... ECKANKAR is the only direct path to God. ... All other
      paths are only stepping stones into the Astral plane. ... belief in
      anything except the Eck is false ... it is not possible to enter into
      the Kingdom of Heaven except through the teachings of ECKANKAR."

      6. Jesus Christ. Eck does not recognize any authenticity of the
      "virgin-birth." Twitchell stated that "Kal is the Jehovah of the
      Jewish faith and the Father of the Christian teachings. ... Therefore,
      we really see [Jesus] as a son of Kal Niranjan, king of the lower
      worlds." Thus, in Eck, the Bible, the entire structure of its moral
      teachings, and Jesus Christ Himself are identified with the evil power
      of the cosmos -- in a word, with the Devil!

      7. Spiritual Practice. The primary means of spiritual unfoldment
      practiced by Eck is soul travel or out-of-the-body experiences. Five
      of the major techniques used are: (1) imaginative projection, (2)
      meditation, (3) projection via the dream state, (4) trance, and (5)
      direct projection (intentionally willing one's consciousness to be in
      another location). Mantras are frequently chanted and contact with
      spirit guides is practiced as well. Almost all forms and types of
      occult/mystical consciousness alteration come into play. Trance states
      and spiritism are encouraged from the outset in Eck spiritual
      practice, but the experience grows more esoteric as the Eckist travels
      up through "the realms." There are ten initiations -- one for
      advancement to each plane. They are generally given yearly and are
      considered the basic "sacrament" of Eckankar.

      The chela finds himself going through thirty-two varied, but unique,
      phases of "spiritual unfoldment." These are sometimes called the gift
      of Spirit, or the "essence of the ECK." Some of the most significant
      are mediumship, E.S.P., telepathy, mind reading, clairvoyance,
      speaking in unknown tongues, magic, cosmic consciousness, telekinetic
      powers, alchemy, and weather control. When one finally reaches this
      "upper level," he merges with the Absolute and becomes a "coworker"
      with God. He becomes part of God, and there is nothing in the universe
      that is not Sugmad (God) or the everlasting "ECK."

      8. Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven to which Twitchell refers
      is a cosmic layer cake of eleven different realms or planes. Strictly
      speaking, only the upper six planes are "heavenly," the lower five
      being ruled by the negative God-forces, especially by a cruel buffoon
      named Kal Niranjan, who supposedly causes all the familiar woes and
      confusion we experience here on Earth Plane, or First Plane. The
      second realm, known popularly as the Astral Plane, gives rise to all
      the garden varieties of occultic and psychic phenomena -- from
      deceitful spirits to flying saucers and out-of-the-body astral
      projection experiences.

      9. Reincarnation. According to Eck, as souls live their lives and make
      both conscious and "unconscious" choices, they accrue karma and karmic
      debt. Souls must then pay for or work off negative karma acquired
      through wrong action, either in this life or a previous one. In Eck,
      the individual soul must go through seemingly endless rounds of
      reincarnations to work off karma, taking millions of years and
      millions of reincarnations as the soul rises up the evolutionary scale
      of life. Eck teaches that the soul enters the universe as a mineral,
      then works its way up through plant, fish, reptile, and mammal
      incarnations, eventually becoming human, where it will spend any
      number of lifetimes until it attains spiritual enlightenment.
      [Twitchell claimed to have entered the lower universe as an
      unspecified mineral eight million years ago, and supposedly got off
      the "Wheel of 84" (meaning no more reincarnations) when he
      "translated" (Eckese for "died") in 1971.] The shortcut to
      God-realization is to meet and follow the Living Eck Master, whose
      presence will burn away eons of karmic debt, freeing the soul from the
      endless rebirths on the "Wheel of 84."

      10. Prayer. Eck believes the Biblical concept of intercessory prayer
      is an "occult" technique.

      *Most of the material in this report was derived from three sources:
      (1) SCP Journal, September 1979; (2) The DISCERNER, 2Q1992; and (3)
      Mount Carmel Outreach Newsletter, November 1996.
      Biblical Discernment Ministries - Revised 8/98
    • eyesopen444
      Hi Prometheous and everyone! I hit [enter] by mistake and posted this review before I could comment. I was reading some articles on the subject of cults when I
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 10, 2006
        Hi Prometheous and everyone!

        I hit [enter] by mistake and posted this review before I could comment.
        I was reading some articles on the subject of cults when I can across
        this. I don't think that I've seen this one before and I thought that
        it was well done. I know that this is the same old story for us but
        might be new to others.

        Have Fun!

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