Eckankar – A Scientology Clone

Started as Eckankar, The Ancient Science of Soul Travel, by Paul Twitchell, is still one of the more popular of the white collar religious cults.  Their estimated earnings are around eighty million a year, and because of a recent television advertising blitz they are bringing in many more members every day.

TwitchellTwitchell was always interested in the esoteric.  in 1950, Paul and his wife Camille, joined the "Self Revelation Church of Absolute Monism". In 1955, Swami Premanda requested Twitchell to leave the Church.  Later that year Paul and his wife were separated and in 1960, they were divorced.  Twitchell then joined the "church" of Scientology, but could not refrain from practicing other technologies, while he was practicing Scientology.  He was soon branded a Suppressive Person (Scientology speak for excommunication), and moved on.  At this time, Kirpal Singh was taking tours of the United States. In 1963, Paul Twitchell asked his bride-to-be, Gail Atkinson, to attend one of the "satsangs". After attending several of these meetings, Paul Twitchell presented Miss Atkinson to the "Ruhani Satsang master" to receive her "initiation into the path of surat shabd yoga".  Just after this initiation, Paul leaves, takes the name Singh out of his previous written works and  his own movement comes into view. Derived from Ruhani Satsung, Scientology, and several other religious and occult groups, Eckankar was begun by Paul Twitchell in 1965, where he remained in charge until his death in 1971.

Later that year, his widow 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 Grossthen 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".  In his time as the Living Eck Master, he only published a few monographs and one book.  in 1978 he and Gail were divorced and in 1981, upon the advise of his advisory council he resigned as the "God Man"

KlempAt this point, Sri Harold Klemp takes over the "Staff of Life", and remains the Living Eck Master to this day.  Don't take his seemingly mild manner and soft voice at face value, he rules with an iron fist.  He could be called Eckankar's David Miscavige.  In the words of Twitchell, "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."  Klemp calls all who do not practice Eckankar "weeds", (Scientologists call them "wogs"),  a derogatory term that implies they are only worthy to be stepped on and ground into the dirt. He has said in some of his lectures, "each of those who are ECKists must come to the realization that they each, belong to the chosen race of the superior being. All others are aliens, that is those who have not yet voluntarily taken up the path of ECK. These aliens, as we speak of them, are, in a way, heathens or pagans who have not yet found truth. They are the agents of the Kal, (the god of the lower worlds, the devil) and the enemy of those who are the followers of ECK"

Those who have left Eckankar usually leave quietly without speaking about it publicly.  This is because the organization has a most unsettling habit of gathering personal data on people who dare raise the least criticism of it. (where have we heard this before?) This is especially acute on the Internet, where a contingent of priests devotes countless hours trying to track down and compile personal information on anyone careless enough to divulge their personal information. This information has been used to harass critics in their real lives and has been effectively used to silence many who might ordinarily speak up. Then is the psychological damage done to many people when they give their hearts, souls, money, time and energies to an organization that betrays them. Most ex-eckists are able to pick themselves up, dust off their pants and, after a period of grieving, move on with their lives. Some, though, have extreme difficulty breaking free of the fear and bad karma threats that are strewn throughout the writings. They've been conditioned to believe that if one walks away from the "master", they lose all spiritual status and must begin their journey in the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms again. For some people, these fear implants have led to terrible suicidal depressions that can last for years. Others have had to seek out trained psychologists to help them through it. Twitchell said, "Whosoever…shall divulge the secrets of his initiation…shall be deprived of his sight and tongue in order to never say anything about the degrees of initiation in ECKANKAR."  Sri Klemp has said, "But once the chela [member of Eckankar] has become a member of the inner circle, HE CANNOT RESIGN…Those few have found that spiritual decay sets in immediately, affecting the health, material life and spiritual life, and BRINGS DEATH MORE SWIFTLY."  Klemp further states, "The wrath of the eck (spirit) crashes down upon anybody who is still a slave to the ego and deserts the master. Not once will he see the connection between his betrayal of the eck and the horrendous troubles that strike him down like a plague on every hand. And thus he goes downward on the spiral of awareness until he leaves this body in hopeless despair, still wondering why the fates have treated him so cruelly."

Is Eckankar dangerous?  There have been a few instances of suicides, usually people in the upper levels of training.  One critic said, "Yes, I have known someone who's 2 brothers were in that religion. One of them committed suicide in his garage, with the car running, and a picture of Eckankar plastered on the inside of his windshield. I would run, not walk away from this religion."  Many more have had psychotic breaks on the upper levels.  They are usually escorted out the back door with admonishments to keep silent about their experiences or suffer the consequences.  Also as in all religions, there is a certain fanatical core group and with such ones around, anything could happen, (like the Sea Org in Scientology). Twitchell once wrote that "the Eck not only condones warfare, but has used it on occasion."  Dangerously inflammatory words from a so-called spiritual teacher. Fanatics of all stripes latch onto such irresponsible words and use them to justify the most horrible treatment of others, if history is any guide.  So yes, Eckankar can be considered dangerous.

So what do ECKists believe?   Their number one precept is soul travel as guided by an Eck Master.  In this way they can avoid further incarnations if they so desire On 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."

Their 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.

What do Eckists say about sin, Christ, salvation and prayer?  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 abortion.)

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!

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."

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

I hope this has answered a few questions for you. Please watch the short video below.  It says a lot in a short time.  Thanks for reading this post.  If you have any comments, pro or con, I would love to hear them.  Also please subscribe so that you can be notified when I post the next issue. And please remember to click the social share buttons! smiley

 

 

24 thoughts on “Eckankar – A Scientology Clone

  1. Sorry, this is silly. Eckankar and Scientology are both for the birds, but labeling Eckankar an offshoot or “clone” of scientology is absurd. They have almost nothing in common.

    I would also dispute the notion that Eckankar, as silly as it is, is a controlling cult. I had two friends who were active in Eckankar. They both were funny, free thinking people who seemed to get value out of their association with the group. Eventually they both drifted away from it. No one tried to stop them from leaving; I doubt anyone even noticed. Eckankar is just one person’s befuddled attempt to take some elements of eastern mysticism and graft them onto Western cultural ideas. Like most such attempts, it falls apart under close scrutiny. Even if the man who founded it briefly dabbled in scientology, Eckankar shares very little with scientology.

    Your article would be of more value, and more down to earth, if you removed the blaring “clone of scientology” headline with something more thoughtful and accurate.

  2. Your story is not uncommon. I’ve know of many testimonies like yours, enough to fill a small warehouse, from people all over the globe who met the ECK Masters long before the knew of ECKANKAR or even before Paul Twitchell brought out the teachings in 1965. When people were children in the 1920′s, 30′s, 40′s, 50′s, into present day, they encountered the ECK Masters like Kata Daki ( the female you refer to) as well as, Rebazar Tarz, Gopal Das, Fubbi Quantz and many others. It seems you have a connection to them, probably from a past life. Feel free to contact the Home Office for free material, or perhaps there’s and ECK Center in your local area. You may contact me at moranplano@aol.com if you have any more question or just want to talk. I don’t want to take up any more room on Rob’s website, as he is generous to allow us this exchange. Blessings!

  3. HI Rob, my name is Don, I have been a member of ECKANKAR for 42 years. I have always held a job and paid my rent and maintained my own household. I attend ECK Service twice a week and I can tell you that the people there are the kindest and most considerate people you would ever want to meet. We have a very modest ECK Center, compared to the Churches and Mosques and Synagogues, we live in a shack. Money is not a requirement for membership, sometimes I could only donate $20 for my yearly membership..no problem. Compare that to the 10% tithe I was pressured to give as a Baptist ($2,000). ECKANKAR is based on the individual striving for the goals of Self-Realization and God-Realization and to escape the Wheel of Karma and Reincarnation. I have had many past life recalls (preacher, Buddhist Monk etc.) but I still had to come back for more training. By Contemplating the DIVINE LIGHT AND SOUND (WORD by St. John) one is able to move beyond the human state and establish oneself in the HIGHER WORLDS OF PURE SPIRIT. That’s where True Freedom for SOUL is attained. That is ECKANKAR..nothing more, nothing less.

    • If you have had a good experience, then I am happy for you. You are entitled to your own opinion. Thanks for you comment.

      • Everyone,
        my name is Jerry from Detroit Michigan. The reason why they call it the “science” of soul travel, and the “science” of prophecy etc, is because YOU have to experiment with it. Like any experiment in a chemistry text book, if you follow the guide lines given, you can DUPLICATE THE RESULTS. Like anything ECK requires disciplined practice. Don’t complain that you don’t like the results if you are not making a disciplined effort at it.
        Also I was never entangled in any ploy of cult recruitment. I conducted a solitary exploration of ECK teachings, (inspired by my own search for truth). I read and practiced for about a year prior to actually attending any ECK events or joining ECKANKAR. It has only been the personal results I have personally experienced which transcend all blind criticism I am reading on the web.
        I am very grateful for the ECK teachings, for they have CONFIRMED beliefs which I held LONG before ever hearing about them in ECK. My deepest sympathies and compassion to those who are angry with us ECKists. I hope you all get better soon.
        Also the “Mahanta”, is a great spiritual teacher. Please stop obsessing over this term. I think we all agree anyone can find God realization on every known path, eventually. ECKANKAR is just the easy way.

        Baraka Bashad
        Jerry

    • My name is Nitza, I am 52 years old. I’m a catholic and I am totally confused. I have been thinking about this constantly.

      When I was a little girl back in my small hometown, I remember being with my grandma while she visited a friend. I wandered it into a big room with a long table, chairs and big portraits on the wall.

      I must have been very small I remember looking up to see their faces one by one.

      I heard a noise it was very low at first and gradually became very loud and I remember being afraid of looking back and when I finally did, I saw a young girl in her 20s sitting on one of the chairs. I ask her how did she get into the room, She told me she came through the door. I knew she didn’t.

      I remember laughing when she told me her name. She looked at me and gave me a smile with her eyes and I remember it so clearly.

      We played with a paper airplane, I was so amazed at how it flew. She taught me how to make little paper dolls and I never saw her again until I visited the Eckankar website and looked at the ECK Masters pictures a couple of months ago.

      I am totally overtaken by this, The guardian angels, as she called the pictures on the wall back then, were there at the website, and she was there in one of the pictures.

      I told my daughters but I think they don’t believe me.

      • These Masters have been around through the Ages. They are always there for the betterment of Humanity and to serve Life itself.
        It doesn’t matter what path or Religion you are on… If it helps you lead a more loving life everything you are on the right path, if you think you need more… look for yourself. Your heart knows the truth, and you will find a path that suits you.
        There are as many religions as there are people, because everyone’s viewpoint is unique. We just try to find the one that is closest to what we believe and know.

  4. I think, that like ANY religion, there will always be extremists that take it too far. There will always be misinterpretations, personal agendas, etc. To say that this ECK is a clone of Scientology is a little extreme. My godparents recently gave me the book, and it’s as old as I am. It was printed in 91′… Call me naive but they’re both great people that have been together over 50 years, have no kids by choice, and are extremely in control of all their emotions and extremely detached. They both are content living within their means, even though they both have accumulated quite a bit of money over the years. I was intrigued by astral projection, because so many people can do it, without ECK- they learned through meditation, and through my interest in that, they gave me the book to see if it could help me. I think where ECK seems to get a bad rap is from the fanatics and extremists, not people like my godparents.

  5. I found that the lessons within the movie starring David Carradine called “Circle of Iron – The Silent Flute” to be confirming of my own intuition of things. There is no book. No enlightenment outside yourself. I have sought others successively in my times without success. The three times in 40 years that I dipped my toes in those strange and still waters came from searching within and without a master for there are none but one available to anyone. I have learned that you are your own guru and highest master. I am mine. We alone know best where we go to seek. To me, then – any external organization is external to my quest. There is knowledge for the sake of knowing and knowledge for the enablement of doing. In my later years now, I tend towards the latter. I practice what I have reached.

  6. hi Rob, this write up is mixture of truth and untruth, because a psycho chose to take his life does not necessarily mean his religion is at fault, this is a mind disease and suferers cut across all religion so also the other areas of falsehood mentioned above by @ DG needs to be corrected by you to give this write up impartial outlook.

  7. Interesting !,

  8. if you are going to allege to be knowledgeable about 'cults' you should at least get some of your facts rights  and stop you're erroneous and misguided interpretations of the minisicule quotes you take out of context.  I guess you are so desperate for attention and so fearful of certain truths that you need to spew your poisen everywhere.

     

    - Eck believes the Biblical concept of intercessory prayer is an "occult" technique.  Falsehood #1  

    - There are ten initiations — one for advancement to each plane. They are generally given yearly and are considered the basic "sacrament" of Eckankar   Falsehood #2

    There are 4 other falsehoods which mostly seem to be fabricated by you in this short piece

    Too many lies to take you seriously –Watchman

    Who is watching the watchmen?
     

     

     

     

  9. In the early 70's Co$ lost a wealthy potential newcomer to Eck. This made them concerned about Eck and if it would be competition or be a squirrel group so I was chosen to investigate them, under cover. 

    They spoke about astral travel, inner master and other things which seemed strange to me.They really came across as innocent enough to the casual onlooker. To me, a know-it-all Superior Scino, it seemed to be a totally unscientific "Other practice" which probably wouldn't get too far. I reported that and was sent back again to get books and more info. That's when something strange happened. 

    The person from Eck whom I was getting data from just drew back, and as if getting data from an inner source, just dropped the subject for no apparent reason, looked at me with head tilted back a bit and said " I don't know who you really are or why you are really here. You should know, however, we mean no harm or threat to anyone. Does that answer your real question?" End of conversation. I went back to HQ and reported the incident and how weird it was that someone other than OT's might have exterior perception! No one from the G.O. went back there during those days.

    Interestingly enough, some 25 years later, after I was out of Co$, I had a major astral experience with an unknown source, and later learned it was Kirpal Singh's master!!! I studied up on it, learned about the varieties of the Radha Soami meditation path mentioned in this video, and found it's practice to be quite unimposing and very self-directed, internally and externally. Because that practice is done as a lab experiment it calls for certain required pre-cepts to produce relative results; these being veg diet, no drugs or alcohol, a balanced and moral lyfe-style, and daily meitation. Lane's book gave an excellent summary of it, and I was able to do it because there was absolutely NO demand on who I could talk to, what practices I could do, or how much I needed to donate! Like Buddhism, they left me alone to do the practice on my own with no motivation to sell me the next level. It was up to me to go inside and get it. It was all free.

       Thanks for clearing this up on Eck. I always wondered why their members were closed mouth and not able to go to otherr satsangs or services.

    • Yeah, if you are using drugs and alcohol you may have trouble finding the spiritual experiences you seek. I suggest AA and NA 12 step meetings first, and then move into meditation from there. ( Step 11.) after you are clean and sober for a while. Also bad language and poor demeanor (attitude ) are barriers to spiritual growth ( I have struggled with both ).
      Essentially, the charges that ECKANKAR is evil, are stopped right there if you ask me. If Eckankar were an evil practice, anyone would do really great with it while strung out on dope and living poorly, which is not the case. You must strive for purity while on this path. And so we see why so many strike in anger against it. It is far more popular to justify and rationalize one’s poor habits, than to look inside and strive for inner purity. Accusations are far easier than self honesty. Anger is only a reflection of their poor spiritual condition. It is not with condemnation, but only from my own recovery that I can see this for what it is.
      Personally I am a lower initiate, so I lack the patience a true spiritual person should have. I would be just as happy if these sorts of people would stay away from ECKANKAR. I grant them all my permission to remain in their present state of consciousness.
      Baraka Bashad
      Jerry

  10. That is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate information… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!

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