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



67 thoughts on “Eckankar – A Scientology Clone

  1. I’ve been in ECKANKAR since 1972, 44 years. I am a fifth initiate. I was raised in other religions, Baptist, Catholic, Mormon, and have read many books on philosophy and other spiritual paths such as Buddism. I’ve been a seeker of knowledge and wisdom and can tell you that in my experience, Eckankar is anything but a cult. I don’t ‘worship’ the Eck Master. I have gone some years not paying anything to Eckankar and have never been asked for money. When I could afford to contribute my annual fee, I would, but if not I didn’t. I was not contacted for money nor was I threatened with loss of membership. Yes, they charge money for their books just as any other path or writer does. I have most if not all of Eckankar’s books and discourses, beginning with their original discourses by Paul Twitchell. There is nothing in their writings except positive teachings that lead to an individual’s awareness of the true self and the other planes of existance. I have never been told what to think, how to vote, or with whom I may associate, I’ve never been abused or even required to attend meetings. They teach nothing but love and spiritual responsibility. I can’t really speak to the accusations of conflict within the organization of Eckankar. I was never focused on that. In my experience, the teachings of Eckankar have always been positive and the information taught about the spiritual planes and beings within them has been validated by my own personal experiences, It is a path that is right for me, but may not fit someone else.

  2. What can be said. To some it is a vicious cult seeking to deceive people and take their money. To others, it may be a window into a type of spirituality of which one could not have found easily by themselves. We are all God’s children, and God, if approached in sincerity and humility, responds by sending the Holy Spirit to guide that soul. The basis of soul as a creative entity, is that we create our own inner worlds and experiences. Any checkered pasts that exist are part of this physical world and always will be. If God did not overlook our faults, their would be no spiritual learning in this life. We are only here for a short time in life. Some of our greatest doubts may be a learning experience directly from God. There is also a danger of being lost in this physical world of drama, of he said she said, he did this, they did that. Soul, as a creative being, may be creating a world of suspicion and doubt for it’s self and others to reside in.You may want to try, but only if you want to, focus on love and good will with your fellow souls. Even if you don’t agree with them or the choices they have made in life, allow them the freedom to, at least, in your own heart, be responsible for their own life’s course. JM

  3. I was a member of Eckankar back in the 80’s. I was a member for seven years and I think I had reached the 3rd initiation. I left Eckankar 25 years ago and truthfully I have not missed it. It feeds upon guilt and fear and basically it’s rubbish. I’m an atheist now and have been for over ten years and frankly nontheism is really the best there is for any human. That is true freedom.

    • Well–there are always people writing negatively about paths they know nothing about except thru their OWN BELIEF BLINDERS. Eckankar mixes many truths from many paths–so members WILL have experiences because of this. The ‘Masters’ are other names in other paths so many have experiences BEFORE Eck because of this. DO TRUE RESEARCH and you will understand. Paul changed his Indian Master Kirpal Singh to Sudar Singh and this has been proven in old articles published in magazines before 1965 when he first used ‘Eckankar’. Gopal Das now says what Jesus said in old articles Paul wrote. He changed the names to start his OWN path with him as head. When an Eckist can SEE this finally–they are freed from all the belief dogmas and fears that bind you up in Eckankar–and FREED from the ‘mouthing beliefs’ so prevalent here from all the eckist comments. When you finally SEE truth well hidden from membership, then you can leave or stay and know TRUTH will NEVER take your spiritual progress away. You will lose NOT everything. THIS IS A CULT (even if Eckists argue this)because of the beliefs and the FEARS drummed into members which make ‘high initiates’ AFRAID to investigate massive plagiarism, untruths, cover-ups and threats, lies, and false teachings perpetuated on the membership. When you finally SEE the truth–you are FREE. Those stuck have something still to learn. EVERY RELIGION fits its members–until they grow past it.

      • Well, Soul, I’ve been an ECKist for 44 years and I wouldn’t have stayed for 44 days, if I hadn’t EXPERIENCED so many of the wonderful things that Paul Twitchell and Harold Klemp (the present Living ECK Master) have spoken and written about. Many Eckists have had experiences with the ECK Masters long before they even heard about the path and even long before Paul brought out the teachings in 1965.

        Paul took many of the ECK teachings that had been scattered throughout various writings, polished them up, removed all the superstitions and cultural nonsense that had muddied them up, and put them on a much Higher Scheme than they had been before. As well as, added new and greatly appreciated original insights.

        Harold has continued this great legacy. I, personally, have (thru my association with the ECK Masters) recalled countless past lives, exp. Divine Light and Sound, Higher Consciousness, and Divine Love. I also have had personal experiences with Rebazar Tarz, Gopal Das, Yaubl Sacabi, and Paul Twitchell (decades after he left his physical body)

        Eckists are not “afraid” to look at Truth, rather they ’embrace’. For our path is based on PERSONAL EXPERIENCE not the hand me down writings of past founders.

        Good luck on your own search for Higher Realities. Hint…find a guide…you’ll go so much faster.

    • This “true freedom” that you talk about seems to be illusion. There’s no freedom in the worlds of matter, space and time. Until you’re established in the in the High Worlds of GOD, you’ll have to endure the school of karma and reincarnation. There’s no real freedom in that.

      The goal of Eckankar is spiritual liberation in this lifetime. To help a person “get off” the Wheel of Birth and Rebirth. If you choose to continue on that wheel, you have the freedom to do so. When life beats you up enough and you want a better deal, then perhaps you’ll find a path like Eckankar again, and your time in these worlds will draw to a close….You’ll be free to explore the Worlds of Pure Spirit as a Co-Creator with GOD. THAT’S real freedom. Good luck on your journey.

  4. I apologies with all the people on earth . There are no races . Just one the human race . So there are just one religion and that one is love . I know there a lot of path . But don t forget . Don t throw the baby with the washing water. It that means . Look forwards and you ll see by yourself if it s good or wrong no Mather race or religion . Love is the ultimate sense that god give it to us . animals can sense it though. I experiment this a lot of time . When you love yourself . Then you love god . And god give you a lot in return. And don t remember what Jesus Christ said those who are not against us are with us . There are not a bad races . There are just bad peoples . And we will pray for there souls . Love is the ultimate path to gods . I wish we will meet all the people s of earth in paradise one day. God bless you all thanks

  5. I found in Eckankar decades ago truth, an explanation to a minor out of the body experience that opened my eyes to a greater life than the physical world we live in. What makes people different are those that have experiences but go no further and those willing to open their minds. I have never questioned my own experiences, and this makes me different than some. Eckankar eventually leads you to the one simple truth that love is all, and if God and Spirit is anything it must be love.

  6. Christianity has been passed on to generations for over 2000 years. the results are lucidly the best then one man just wakes up one morning to start his own religion calling it a Godly one when God never gave such instructions in His words for over 2000 years now, God has directed us on how to worship Him. How can people actually do this? A one man thing, this is just too pathetic (sorry) may God forgive us, and may all you ECKs come to realization. Amen!

    • Paul Twitchell, the modern day founder of Eckankar, didn’t just wake up one morning and start a religion. He trained for it all his life, and for many, many previous lifetimes. Paul attained a High Degree of ENLIGHENMENT or GOD REALIZATION. From that Enlightened State, he took the Golden Threads of Truth from all the scattered remnants of different religions and spiritual writings, tossed out the cultural and superstitious nonsense that had been added, put in his own experiences in the HIGH HEAVENS OF GOD, and came up with the foundation of ECKANKAR.

      Only a LIVING ENLIGHTENED MASTER could give out the high truth. Jesus knew this and handed his mantle over to Peter, who was a dim bulb compared to Jesus. As the mantle got handed down over the decades (and lost) the “LIGHT” went out of the Christian religion, and truth was replaced by rituals, ceremonies, and heavy handed superstitious dogmas. I know because I have recalled past lives as a Christian (some good, some bad), and everytime I crossed over (died) I always found out the same thing…

      “Jesus is not the Only Begotten Son of GOD.” “There is no Eternal Damnation.” “None of your sins are forgiven, you’ll have as many lifetimes as you need to work them out.” “The Earth is just a school for SOUL to grow up in.” “The negative forces were created by GOD to tempt and test SOUL, in order for it to grow.” “All SOULS eventually go home.” “No one is ever lost.” “A PERFECT GOD has a PERFECT CREATION..!”

      This is exactly what ECKANKAR teaches. And many Near Death Experiences confirm these beliefs.

      • Thank you so much, Don! Your post was excellent and touched me deeply. As an Eckist for the last 15 years–4th initiate–I sometimes have negative reactions to Paul’s writings as well as his history. And while I love Harold, I sometimes find his discourses to be basic beginner-level stuff. That said, I must admit that I haven’t been keeping up with the more advanced ones. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that your post has inspired me to go back to my discourses and recommit to the spiritual path I chose so many years ago. One other thing I want to share is that since joining Eckankar, I have been working quickly through my karma in my dreams! Also in daily life, but my dream life has become incredibly active, and I most always recognize when I have resolved a karmic relationship or situation from this lifetime. This speeding up of my karma can sometimes be uncomfortable– even painful and anxiety-provoking, but after contemplation, I always feel grateful. Thank you again, Don.

      • Don’t be a fool.

      • You were right good work

  7. Don’t forget that Christianity is also a cult, for better or worse.

    • Is it? Or do you feel better about your poor choice by saying so.

      • Cult- a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.
        By definition christianity is a cult. you’re not clever for trying to question this person’s saying so. Grow up.

  8. I had a bird’s eye view and I seemed to move out of a gigantic ocean. I was just a view point moving over this gigantic ocean and it was 26 million years ago. So now I know that as soul I ve always existed. Am so delighted to discover my true identify as soul via the ancient teaching of Eckankar .

  9. I’m Vic from Nigeria and after reading this article and the comments here about Eckankar, I must say that having lived with a steadfast African Eck family, I’ve never experienced such freedom, responsibility and enormous joy else where. I’ll also assume that majority of the contributors here are westerners and have probably little or no information about African culture. The power of black magic , evil influence is very common and popular and is not going away any time soon. The only way you can know if something works is by practice, no other ways. That being said, I will also add that every Adult African Eckist was at one point in their lives a christian , moslem or belonged to other religion and they have experienced the influence of black magic. What they can tell is that Eckankar has been able to protect them from these evil forces. What they can also tell you is that before Eckankar, they have been to every kind of church and sought help all to no avail. I’ve studied other religions in school because they were compulsory and in my opinion, this is the only religion (Eckankar) that actually makes sense to me. You talk about fear , how would you like to live your life knowing that an all merciful father who created man also created a place called hell Just In Case man fumbles, he’ll be thrown Into it for all eternity. If Jehovah and satan were at war , then why did Jehovah summon the devil, his arch enemy to test Job in the bible , we don’t summon our enemies right?. We have a life of let’s say a 100 years and let’s assume we have been in sin, and then we are condemned to all eternity , probably a billion , trillion years of hell fire , that doesn’t seem fair to me. Christianity does not believe in reincarnation but labels all humans as sinners waiting to be redeemed, hey!!! Cut me some slack here, I wasn’t born when Jesus was crucified , so I didn’t do it okay. It seems quite unjust that even innocent babies who are borne are labelled as sinners and if their parents do not save them and they die by accident, they’re all going to burn in hell. The Christian bible teaches that a man shall leave his family and get married to a woman and both shall become one, however when I watch CNN , I see reports of gay couples who are joined in holy matrimony in the church BY A PRIEST, an ordained man of God ( Please I mean no disrespect to the gay community, only trying to illustrate a point) and no one sees the conflict. To me , all these teachings do not make any sense. When seeking truth , you should seek that which is practical, applicable to your daily life and that which you can lay your hands on. Do not lay your hopes on beliefs which are not relatable . Bottom line, do what works for you, worship where you can get help and assistance whenever you need it because with all the trouble the world is currently facing , we all need to have some sort of divine protection and communication , thank you.

  10. This article is very misleading. I’ve been a member of Eckankar for 18 years now. It’s one of the most beautiful and loving paths I’ve ever come across and it’s filled with the kindest people you will ever meet. It has no connection at all to the power struggles in Scientology. If you want to know the Truth about Eckankar, go meet the people and you will see for yourself. The entire path is about pointing you within to find Truth for yourself. There’s no outer pressure to stay. I’ve known many people to come and go as they like. You have to experience it for yourself. It’s an inner revelation that happens over time and transforms your consciousness. The proof can only be discovered by you.

  11. Eckankar is the best thing that happened in my life, the most direct path I have experience to God. you will meet the most lovely people in eckankar all its teachings is based on love the maranta the living eck maste is a guide that helps you find your way to God he is the kindest soul you can dream off he not only helps eckist he does guide non eckist as well please calibrate your information before you post it as you are not doing any good to soul.

  12. Well Rob, it would be easy for me to dismiss your obviously biased, uninformed rant on Eckankar as religious based fear mongering, but I’m going to refrain from that impulse. Instead, I’ll provide you and your readers with a bit of personal history. Raised as a Christian, I became disenchanted with all the power, guilt, condemnation, money grabbing and shame. I consciously chose to become an atheist by my late teens. I felt so free. I was happy. By the early 70’s and after a stint in the military, I was well on the way to a “normal” life. Then, in a spontaneous event I had an out of body, into the future experience. It startled me beyond description. I didn’t see any religious icons or Biblical references, but I was made aware that who I was as a living being was far beyond a simple physical being. I began intense search for any possible explanation. About six months later I stumbled across Eckankar. What I read and learned made sense with respect to what I had seen in my vision. The simple singing of “Hu”, Eckankar’s daily “prayer”, seemed so gentle, simple and comfortable for me. Some 30 years later, after a successful business career, I was killed in a violent auto accident–internal decapitatation. I was wheeled into a hospital operating room, the organ transplant surgical team was called in and I suddenly became conscious. I began singing “hu”. Physicians were convinced that it was only a brief, spontaneous anomoly so they patiently waited for me to permanently die. They waited 16 hours. I kept singing “Hu”. They gave up. I was still 100% paralyzed from the neck down but I was alive and breathing. Years of extremely painful rehab later, I am a perfectly functioning human being once again. So, Rob, say and spew what you wish about Eckankar and what you characterize as its invalidity, but your opinion does not trump my reality.

    • I agree with Anonymous. I was also raised in a strict christian religion, many know them as the assembly of god church. my father was a minister and missionary all his life and I came to the conclusion early on that this was a manipulative cult that “sent” disobedient children to hell. After renouncing the christian faith and going through 40 years of unlearning I came across Eckankar,

  13. worth thing you get adbused with alot of digestion problems with eckankar — member for over 12 years been afraid to talk they use hu for air sometimes and thing u have heart problems and sleep disorder 12 years found large amt of air in system without knowledge of it very sad after review would like to find more imformation happened after major event in eckankar they hide the air inside your body if their – hi intiates around u they need to have more security if their that powerful to protect health if they really care you was around make them mad you will get alot more of it — thought the sleepless nocs would finally go away—- they didnt for 12 yrs stayed drugged u — lots of zantac use— my christian church is becomming more inviting – you can tell more – you are greatful to be alive and learning how are chistian churchs help lots of good thing — if u miss them –sometimes u need blood to live healhier, eckankar likes to use your and others if they mess up . sincere thank you

  14. I will be brief. One of the main things taught in eck is to respect what others believe .Thank You from David

    • I have been in Eckankar for over 28 years. It has been and is still wonderful. I am sorry to see that simple sentences written by the Living Eck Master are twisted in such a way that it gives a very false idea of what this religion is . For this is an accredited religion in USA and in over 140 countries in the world. I agree with your comment but not with the general idea of this blog which is to disqualified what is divine by nature. But so is the way of the negative power. The author of this blog should review what he is pretending to understand.

  15. Hi Rob
    I have been a member of Eckankar for over 30 years. If you are honestly trying to enlighten people about Eckankar perhaps you will hear me out. and maybe your readers who happen to see my comment may see another perspective. When I was 17 or 18 I got into Eckankar to either expose it as a dangerous cult or to see if it actually had something valuable to offer. Let me make this super simple: it’s not a dangerous cult. I am very happy to see both of my children who have decided, on their own, to become members of Eckankar. People seem to be amazed at what great kids I have – and give me a lot of credit which I don’t think I deserve. But Eckankar is aligned nicely with lovely souls such as these coming into the world. As far as offering anything valuable – gold! And here is why: Eckankar states very clearly that the outer teaching is only the tip of the iceberg. That by far the greater part of the teaching is found on the “inner”. This means that the outer teachings of Eckankar simply point the seeker of truth to the inner part of himself – to soul – and towards self realization. Ultimately, we are seeking God Realization, which I can say very little about, since I am certainly not there. As far as the ethics of Eckists – second to none, since they are taught to follow their own values, and the values of soul are pure. While we are developing that inner connection we are taught to follow this simple creed: is it true, is it kind, is it necessary. As far as the Spiritual leader in Eckankar – the “Living Eck Master” – he is a guide, just as any good spiritual leader is. I have always found Harold Klemp to be one of the very cool things about Eckankar – because he is so unassuming and humble – even a bit geeky. I have seen him on the inner as well, just as I have seen other Eck masters and maybe even as a Christian may see Jesus on the inner. The inner planes are such a fun place to explore and expand into and I thank Eckankar for introducing me to these worlds. So, dangerous, not at all. If you have a friend or relative who is an Eckist, I promise you they will not be looking to snatch you and your loved ones to poison their brains and turn them into unthinking robots. Most Eckists are very integrated in their communities and believe in sharing love through service. Love is what I have found to be the foundation of this teaching and that’s what I love most about it :)
    Hope this helps,



  16. 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.

    • Sarah,

      My wife is a member of Eckankar. I cannot comment with respect to the comparison to Scientology, I suspect it has more to do with the way the beliefs are applied vs what is actually believed. However, I have been to a number of their services and your correct, they are as “normal” and “nice” as any other “focused” religious organization. I will take the exception to “free thinking”, that I do not believe is the case, read on:

      The one thing I have noticed with Eckankar is their demand for total commitment each and every day and PARTICULARLY on weekends; there are enough “activities” that keep the “Eckist” away form the outside world and THIS is the way these people are controlled. The activities are a continual “round table” reinforcement of their teachings which is the exact same story with the exact same arrogant “Holy are thou” talk that takes away a members ability to see around them.

      A good example of this is their “spring” seminar which occurs over Easter! The flock is encouraged to make a pilgrimage to the home Temple in Minnesota where their “God on Earth” Eck Master will define the new years “divine” focus. The point here is, Why Easter? Of course the answer is obvious, it is a Judeo-Christian family time, where probably most family members are non-eckist and are most likely of the Christian faith. It’s best to keep the Eckist away from ANY type of Christen influence with Easter being the MOST holy!

      I could give countless other examples but, my point is, the “Grand Puba” wants the flock to have as little inter-mingling/influence from the predominant religions of our history so that Eckists will not be swayed. It truly is a belief with total control but, ever so subtle to the outsider.

      As I told my wife, Eckankar has some teachings that are very good but, really no different than any other religion. If you are asking me to “hitch my wagon” with Eckankar I say, “I don’t think so!” It is a “religion” founded, defined and instigated by ONE so called “enlightened” MAN in the 1960’s. When I look at it compared to Christianity it is quite obvious that the bible has been written by many “enlightened” men, over a tremendous period of time and frankly, has stood the test of time. Just because it is “old” does not mean it is wrong or irrelevant on the contrary, I have met and befriended far more people of the Judeo-Christ belief who are absolutely fantastic, “free thinking” people, the comparison does not “hold water”.

      In the end, Eckankar won’t survive and they won’t survive because it’s simply a “pyramid” religion where if you get involved early, you reap the egotistic power, the elitist position and the financial rewards of their beliefs. All that follow find the road long and expensive with the graciousness of level to level attainment granted frugally. As far as I can tell, they do nothing to induce or cull young people which is the death knell. Eckankar will die on the same narcissistic vine as many “one man” beliefs before it and much to the pain of those who are the followers.

      • very good i,m a member of eck – you have enlighted me also – well written-raised in a baptist church started working 15 years — always belived in goodness and kindness — , learned natural healing as matured – i have had strange things happening since husband of christianity church and me eckankar, church , probably will go back to christianity church soon ,things that happen to me so upseting i don,t know what happened,, was inspired by eck, di not know enough about it when i joined.

      • This is spot on. As an ex member of 30 odd years this is by far the most accurate description I’ve read here so far.

      • I grew up with Eckankar and was influenced deeply by it. It was my reality and it made growing up awkward, as I was the “weird” kid in my neighborhood. I did have the belief that I couldn’t tell the secrets of initiation, feared leaving the path, etc. as stated above. My family would do their HU’s with pictures of Twitchell/ Klemp on the walls. I’d personally chant more because I REALLY believed in it,
        and felt I was a secret agent for the Sugmad. ECK did nothing for my family or me. It had more negative effects than anything. I learned one thing. Religions are turnkey. Take the proven business model(with all the same manipulation tactics etc.), tailor it, slap a name on it and wait for the fools to walk in. I guess that’s enlightenment.

    • Scientology, from what I can tell, is far more manipulative than scientology. ECKANKAR only asks for a small membership fee, and emphasizes love, and one’s individual path back to God.

  17. 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 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!

  18. 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 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

    • 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.

    • “Money is not a requirement for membership…” Don’t lie Don, it is unbecoming to an Eckist!!! What about the yearly $165.00 membership fee? Oh – or the cost for the discourses or any of the books, video’s or DVD’s? Video’s of “Sweet” Harold’s Fall & Spring talks aren’t for free you know!

      Rob – step back and take a look, a good look for you know not what you believe!

      • My name is Kim, and I’m 43 years old. When I was a young girl my stepmother forced my brother and I into this “Eckankar” misguided crap!! I was forced to go to meetings twice a week and constantly chant “HU” all the time. I was even given my own secret chant word that no one was supposed to know(“HUNAE”). I remember my stepmother trying to make me believe in this cult. Yes, I said it!! It’s a CULT!!! They take your money and try to make you believe that you can take over other people’s souls , and soul travel and taking over another persons body which is totally ridiculous. I’ve been to hundreds of meetings and seminars listening in the background when I was a young teen and honestly it’s all lies. But people will believe in what ever they feel the need to believe in to make them feel better. Hey look at Manson….he got so many people to believe in his cult andlook what hhappened….. ECKANKAR , SCIENTOLOGY ..ETC. ITS THE SAME THING!!! THE EXACT SAME THING…LOOK IT UP ONLINE …YOU’LL SEE!!!

        • How did you come up with..”Soul Travel is about taking over other people’s bodies?” I’ve been in ECKANKAR for over 40 years, I have never, ever read or heard anyone mention such a ridiculous thing as that or even come close.

          Soul Travel is about connecting with Divine Realities on a personal level. One can, as SOUL, leave the body and ‘travel’ to other worlds, or expand one’s awareness to encompass Higher Consciousness of the Heavenly Worlds. The goal of Eckankar is to attain Spiritual Liberation. No one is ever going to do that by taking over someone else’s body.

          I’ve read all the books and discourses. The only goals set out by the ECK Teachings are SIMPLY to find one’s way back home to GOD, to become a Co-worker and Co-creator with the SUPREME. BLESSINGS.

        • Hi Kim. I have been an Eckist for about 15 years, and came upon this website because I have lately been questioning this path–not because of anything harmful or manipulative–am just in a stage of life where I am reevaluating my spiritual needs. However, I must take exception to some of what you said. First, Eckankar is very inexpensive to join–one yearly fee–less than $200 for a family membership, and around $135 for an individual– and you receive discourses (study materials) for an entire year. And if you can’t afford that, this yearly membership, which by the way is a donation, can be reduced or waived. Any other money you wish to give, for instance, a donation after a worship service, is completely voluntary. And there is no “passing around the plate,” either. At my Eck Center, there is simply a bowl at the back of the sanctuary where you can give cash or checks. Or you may decide that you would like to make a monthly donation via debt or credit card. The money is simply used to maintain the center–rent, utilities, etc. Our clergy members are not paid–all of their service is on a volunteer basis. There is never any pressure with regard to money. Also, no one is ever taught to believe that you can take over other people’s Souls, or another person’s body. Again, as a 15-year member, I’ve never heard or read anything remotely like this. And Soul travel, from my numerous experiences, is simply leaving your body and traveling to other places–the astral planes, for example (there are many, many others). And these experiences are fascinating and enlightening. May the blessings be.

          • Hi Machell, I was an Eckist for over 15 years and then I had an inner spiritual experience with 7 spiritual beings dressed in long white robes, but the information they shared with me didn´t line up with what I was learning in Eckankar. I left Eckankar and began my own search for spiritual truth. I eventually wrote a book called “Path of the Golden Heart” but it was the teachings of Eckankar that helped me to understand the reality of the inner worlds and made it possible to make a deeper connection with my own spiritual nature.
            Life is constant lesson in spirituality and we are all learning from each other.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. Interesting !,

  23. 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?




    • And how long have you been in Eckancar?

    • Eck is a CULT and it is evil satan worshiping disguised as "spritual awareness".  You are spot on Robert and the sap who was attacking you knows it too, otherwise they would not have been so nasty!  Watchman needs to read up on Cults and he will see ECK is ICK! 

      Thanks for reporting on Cults –  Robert!! 



      • Thanks.  Those kinds of attack don’t bother me.  I understand how much it hurts to face the truth.

        • I really appreciate your boldness Rob and your kind replies. Anyone who believes in God should also believe in what His words say and not what some bunch of people started in the 1960s. You have played your part and God shall reward you for that. By the way, Christians also show love. there are lots of people who chose to make the wrong decisions in the societies like armed robbers, so yeah you can preach the word of God to people but cant force them to believe. Not everybody that goes to church is a Christian but Heaven rejoices over a heart won. BROAD IS THE PATH THAT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION, NARROW IS THE PART THAT LEADS TO SALVATION. it might not be an easy thing to be a Christian cause it is narrow. All who denounce been Christ-like its obvious you never believed or understood but anyways its a free world on earth so you are free to believe what you think is best and right for you so no criticisms, there is no need to be insultive.

      • working in hospital did see diff things after intiation not sure what happened my animals in early 2001 died they reverse something more than 1 when your in christian circle the 5 star with cirled protects people and keeps people from losing energy that is safe – that —- cherished by me – that why i i don,t thing these people know what might happens, 6 star is the person invoved and 5 others are protection christ , upstate been researching since been haviving problems and unusuall things at strange times since invoved in eckankar, believe eckankar has maybe god intention, i love the great intentions of eckankar, they need to stop doing the merlin stuff to keep members =this is 1 person experience others may not have theses . you is the self .or hu,=== hu is good when done properly as song -need to deep breath breath in and out .likke deep yoga sound –,i have noted these sound are bases on the bodies natural sound, and if done rt – can lose weight by them–i thing the hu -llook at the alfabeti — hi means high, alfabeti still researching—very intreed,—have learned that the noble christian faith , alot of advancement appreciate its way more and sometimes we don,t realize what we have in our back yard, old saying – — worked alot of hrs – i was the one that helped everyone at the hospital — enjoyed ithey seem with my experience to do think differerent — i,m not sure what they do – there way may be wrong for alot of people–i believe the eckankar may have alot of secrets -people get a very devine feeling from this situration – i still beleive they have good intention- if digestion left alone in thess seminars- maybe only experience – may have room for advancement in — — in loving way- -they hopefully don,t do these merlin ways any more–i — so far — i -don,t know any more – except my experience- if have to go – take zantac with you– and do a vitamin to help any unual thinks from happening ‘. hope and love are the great thingswe want to keep. and a great deal of knowlledge i hope– take things –SLOW — IF CAN — YOU MAY –WANT ECK AND CHRISTIAN RELIGION -BOTH – WATCH OUT FOR MERLIN -DIZZY SPELLS AND DIGESTIVE SITURATION– IT HARD FOR ME TO BELIEVE YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE.

    • christian concept has evolved, thru years of learning, that good and powerful, don,t allow no one to betray that without good relationship of devine knowledge. over 2000 years means something special — watch out for – doctors of medicine – they will comfused and take a life easy if they don,t know what there doing , that high ego -.sometimes it so simple to heal some one, the older people trusted the doctors- like a devine god of goodness, things do change – you need to observe and get that bloodwork and study it your self, thats godself is a right, and priledge, sorry spelled wrong. thank you- sometimes these people ride on the tail of a devine being, you can not tell there ,there, and don,t care, when the tail gets to heavy ,then you would like to fits your tail for yourself if its your tail,and hope it does not hurt anybody,

    • it would be very helpful if you would explain these falsehoods, and why they are falsehoods. Feel free to email me personally. Thank you.

  24. 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

  25. 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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