Eckankar was officially founded on October 22, 1965 in San Diego, California as a non-profit religious organization. The founder of Eckankar Paul Twitchell said to have been at first a disciple of a sufi-master Sudar Singh in Allahabad, whom he left after several years. Twitchell was initiated into the Surat Shabd Yoga by Kirpal Singh, Master of the Sant Mat group named "Ruhani Satsang," in October 1955 in Washington DC.
Twitchell's first 3 books were : 'The Tiger's Fang', 'The Flute of God' and 'An Introduction to Eckankar'. Later books were "The far country", "Stranger by the river" and 'Spiritual Notebook'. The most important book was 'The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad'.
In his letters to people such as his second wife Gail Atkinson Twitchell introduced Eckankar to the world and declared himself to be the 971st Eckmaster. He claimed to have received teachings from the Vairagi ECK masters, including a Tibetan monk named Rebazar Tarz, of an alleged tradition of the Venus with more than 300 masters. (He was official not a disciple of Kirpal Singh though he was initiated by Kirpal Singh into Ruhani Satsang in October 1955 in Washington DC. )
Twitchell wrote about the periodic cycles of 6000 years of human cultures and of the coming destruction of our culture by "fire". The next destruction after further 6000 years would erase mankind completely. 3000 years later our planet will be populated by an extraterrestial race for 20 million years.
After Paul Twitchell's death in 1971, the 972nd Eck Master Darwin Gross, became the Mahanta of Eckankar for 10 years. But Darwin Ross married an attractive disciple in London. He expected spiritual love, and she expected personal love. So the marriage suddenly ended after 14 days. He died some time after that.
In 1981 his Mahanta-Successor became Harold Klemp (spiritual name Wah Zee) , who at first did not expect the surrender of the disciples to see him as a guru but only as a leader, which has meanwhile completely changed.
== Philosophy ==
ECK is the Divine Spirit, or "Current" of life, that flows hidden through all living things. Eckankar is a system of belief that seeks to unify the person’s soul with Light and Sound which are two aspects of the the Divine Holy Spirit.
Eckankar teaches five simple spiritual exercises (varnatmik und dhunatmic : Eck-Kalam, Unmani dhun : Hiuh, Surat Abbyas : Satnam, Vigyan Dhhan-Nadameditation, a consciousness - dislocation - exercise) - all for the experience of Light and sound of God.
These exercises are a help for the propagated Soul Travel and for the development of higher states of consciousness. (The techniques of soul-travel are for progressed disciples, who first can do that at all - with the exception if the Guru uses his power. The soul travel (across a see of soul-corpses) as described by Paul Twitchel may awaken the false impression that the disciple gets finally to the highest planes.)
Eckankar knows 10 main planes (PDF) up to the SUGMAD(Ocean of love and mercy) and talks in the letters about Shabda as BANI . These worlds are similar to the worlds of Sant Mat or Radhasoami und lead to the feet of the highest lord (SAT). Again the existence of Maya and its connection to the 5 lower planes is not mentioned.
The aim of all this is a consciousness of 360 degrees (as it has been described by Gopi Krishna in his book : Kundalini). But that is by far not yet the enlightenment !
Beginners receive teaching-letters that talk about exercises and the ten worlds of the ECK and a sleep techniqe which cannot lead to spiritual progress without the master. But why should the master develop his disciples in sleep if other masters are not allowed to do that.
== Literature ==
- Sri Harold Klemp : The Spiritual Exercises of ECK
- Eckankar: Ancient Wisdom for Today: How Past Lives, Dreams, and Soul Travel Help You Find God, Todd Cramer
|#||Eckankar - Worlds||Hinduism|
|12||Sugmad ( Anamai Loka ) - Sound : Music of god||Satya Loka|
|11||Sugmad Lok ( Anamai Loka )||Satya Loka|
|10||Anami Lok ( Anamai Loka )||Satya Loka|
|9||Agam Lok ( Anamai Loka )||Satya Loka|
|8||Hukikat Lok ( Anamai Loka )||Satya Loka|
|7||Alaya Lok ( Hukikat Lok - Alaya Lok )||Tapo Loka|
|6||Alakh Lok (Sugmad)||Jana Loka|
|5||Sat Nam (Baju) - Soul - single flute tone||Mahar Loka|
|4||Brahmanda Brahm - Mental - Omkar (not the Omkara of Ishivra in Tapo loka) ---||Swar Loka|
|3||Maha-Kal / Par Brahm Causal (Mana - Ramkar)||(prana)|
|2||Sat Kanwal Anda (Astral)||Bhuvar Loka|
|1||Elam (Physical / Alayi) ---||Bhu Loka|
The sounds of the higher planes 7-12 are doubtful, because these are cosmic states of consciousness !
Saint Kabir said "Kabir DHARA agam ki, satguru di lakhay. Tahi ulat sumrin kar, SWAMI sang milay." He said that the stream(dha-ra) of Agama-Loka has to be transformed before it can unite with the Swami.
== Links ==
- A Wiki about Eckankar
- A Wiki about Paul Twitchell
- P. Twitchell : The far country
- A Link of former Eckists
- A critical link
- The Eckankar-Cult
- Neural Surfer : Eckankar
- Twitchell : Spiritual Notebook
- Bahaistudies : Eckankar
ECKANKAR, ECK, MAHANTA, SOUL TRAVEL, and VAIRAGI, among others, are trademarks of ECKANKAR, P.O. Box 27300, Minneapolis, MN 55427 U.S.A.