Eckankar, Religion of the Light and Sound of God

Frequently Asked Questions

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What does the word Eckankar mean?

Eckankar means "Co-Worker with God." It is the destiny of each Soul to experience God and serve all life.

ECK is another word for the Life Force or Holy Spirit, which can be experienced as Light and Sound. It is also known as the Audible Life Stream.  Back to top

Where did the ECK teachings come from?

The teachings have been on earth since the dawn of human history, in one form or another. No country can claim to be their birthplace.

Many Eckankar terms trace their historical roots to the Far East; however, they have their own meaning and application in Eckankar.

Paul Twitchell made Eckankar known to the modern world in 1965. He separated spiritual truths from the cultural trappings which had surrounded them. Everyday people could now experience the Light and Sound of God while living happy and productive lives.  Back to top

Many people are looking for spirituality, not religion. They seek experiences, not beliefs. Since Eckankar is a religion, how does it meet these spiritual needs?

Eckankar redefines the experience of religion. It offers an individual the spiritual tools needed to walk one's own journey home to God.

Eckankar gives practical ways for people to have real spiritual experiences—even the ultimate experience of God—in this very lifetime.  Back to top

Does Eckankar believe in God?

Eckankar teaches that there is one supreme God, the Creator, neither male nor female. God's spiritual essence is the Light and Sound. This Light and Sound is the ECK, or Holy Spirit, and connects everyone with the Heart of God.

There are no words to describe the Supreme Being.

Symbolically you can say the home of God is the Ocean of Love and Mercy. In this highest, highest region, all is light. There are no shadows.  Back to top

What are the basic beliefs of Eckankar?

Eckankar teaches these basic beliefs:

  • Soul is eternal.
  • Soul exists because God loves It.
  • Soul is on a journey of Self- and God-Realization.
  • Soul unfolds spiritually via karma and reincarnation.
  • Spiritual unfoldment can be accelerated through conscious contact with the ECK, Divine Spirit.
  • Contact with Divine Spirit can be made via the Spiritual Exercises of ECK and the guidance of the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master.
  • You can actively explore the spiritual worlds through Soul Travel, dreams, and other spiritual techniques.
  • Spiritual experience and liberation in this lifetime are available to all.  Back to top

What is HU?

HU is an ancient name for God. It is also a love song to God. It is the Sound of all sounds. It represents the enormous love that the Creator has for Its creation.

People of any religious belief can sing HU for their spiritual upliftment.

If you like, you can hear a recorded HU song or see a video on HU.  Back to top

What does Eckankar say about reincarnation?

Each of us is Soul, a divine spark of God that lives through eternity. We are sent to this world to gain spiritual experiences.

Eckankar teaches that, through many lifetimes in the physical world, each of us progresses to a full realization and manifestation of our innate godlike qualities, especially divine love.

Karma and reincarnation are primary beliefs in Eckankar. We build up karma as a result of the spiritual Law of Cause and Effect. The ECK (Holy Spirit) helps us purify ourselves of karma (sin), making it possible for us to accept the full love of God in this lifetime. We gain wisdom, charity, and freedom.  Back to top

Where does Jesus Christ fit into the ECK teachings?

Jesus is viewed as a messenger of God who serves as the spiritual guide for Christians, as spiritual teachers and saints have done for other groups throughout time. Paul Twitchell's book Stranger By the River includes passages that speak with beauty and inspiration about the message of love that Jesus brought.  Back to top

Does Eckankar claim to be the only path to God?

No. While Eckankar offers itself as the most direct path home to God, it does not claim it is the only way to establish a connection with the Divine.

All true religions were created by the Holy Spirit, the ECK, to spiritually uplift humanity.  Back to top

How are the Spiritual Exercises of ECK (contemplation) different from prayer and meditation?

Beyond prayer is contemplation.

Contemplation is a method that enables you to begin to go out and actively explore the inner worlds of your own being. It is different than meditation, a passive state in which the practitioner goes within and just quietly waits for the light.

One contemplative technique is to read something inspirational—a biblical verse or a passage from the ECK writings—then shut your eyes and look inwardly, very gently, at the form of an ECK Master, Jesus, or any figure you feel is a spiritual traveler. Ask to be shown the truth. You can ask for love, wisdom, and understanding, but something greater than these three things, which are only attributes of God, is to ask for the realization of God. For more information see Spiritual Wisdom on Prayer, Meditation, and Contemplation in the Eckankar Online Bookstore (link opens in a new window).  Back to top

Do the ECK Masters really exist?

The ECK Masters are real.

People from all over the world and from all walks of life have had personal experiences with the ECK Masters years before Paul Twitchell brought them to the public eye.

Many people who have never heard of Eckankar recognize ECK Masters from their dreams and other encounters.

Here on the Eckankar Web site, you can read some of these stories and see pictures of some of these ECK Masters.

Better yet, meet them for yourself. That's the real proof for any spiritual seeker.

The book Those Wonderful ECK Masters (link opens in a new window) gives spiritual exercises to help you receive personal guidance from an ECK Master.  Back to top

How was the current spiritual leader of Eckankar, Sri Harold Klemp, chosen?

The Living ECK Master is chosen by God (known in Eckankar as the Sugmad). Every Living ECK Master trains his successor.

In 1981, after years of spiritual training, Harold Klemp became the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master. For more on his background, see Biographical Note.  Back to top

Who is the Mahanta?

The Mahanta is the inner, or spiritual, form of the Living ECK Master. It is the highest state of God Consciousness known to man. The Mahanta gives inner guidance through dreams, Soul Travel, and the Spiritual Exercises of ECK.

The Mahanta, the Living ECK Master's role is to serve as the Wayshower and spiritual guide. He teaches Souls who are ready and guides them on the path home to God. He is given deep respect but is not worshipped.  Back to top

What about claims that the modern-day founder of Eckankar, Paul Twitchell, borrowed freely from other authors in writing his Eckankar books?

The golden threads of the ECK teachings had been scattered around the world down through the ages. Some were in books and manuscripts no longer remembered or known by the general public.

Remote writings, little-known truths, and the most accurate parts of what had been given in the past were gathered up by Paul Twitchell—honed, refined, and focused so the public could benefit directly from the pure ECK teachings today.

He was a master compiler. Because of his work and his writings, the ageless teachings of the Light and Sound are now at your fingertips.

Yet Paul's works are only a fraction of the many books of Eckankar. Sri Harold Klemp, the current Mahanta, the Living ECK Master, has authored over seventy-five books on the teachings since he became the spiritual leader of Eckankar in 1981. His writings are the most current expression of Eckankar.

For more about Paul Twitchell and the history of Eckankar, visit The Legacy of Paul Twitchell and the Paul Twitchell Archive.  Back to top

Do women have leadership roles in ECK? Can a woman become an ECK Master?

Yes. Women and men serve at all levels of the Eckankar organization in clergy and leadership roles.

Both women and men can become ECK Masters. The ECK teachings recognize that the true identity of each individual is Soul, which, like God Itself, has no gender.

The Mahanta, the Living ECK Master (the living spiritual leader of the teachings) always serves as a male. Soul needs the atom structure of a male body in the physical world to become the spiritual leader. Every Soul who is in training for the role of the Living ECK Master in that lifetime chooses a male body. The choice is made before birth.  Back to top

What happened with Darwin Gross, who was the Living ECK Master before Harold Klemp?

Darwin Gross became the Living ECK Master in October 1971 after Paul Twitchell passed away in September 1971. Gross announced Harold Klemp as the new Living ECK Master in October 1981. But Gross failed to accept that he was no longer the spiritual head of the teachings and was discharged from Eckankar. God gives sole responsibility for the leadership of ECK to the new Living ECK Master.

You can read more about this period in Eckankar's history in Sri Harold Klemp's book Soul Travelers of the Far Country (link opens in a new window), chapter 11.  Back to top

What moral and ethical values does Eckankar stand for?

ECKists believe in personal responsibility for every thought and action. The Law of Karma (cause and effect) teaches Soul right from wrong.

For a moral and ethical compass in everyday life, Sri Harold Klemp has recommended the "Two Laws" distilled by historian Richard Maybury from the ethical, legal, and religious traditions of humanity:

  • Do all you have agreed to do, and
  • Do not encroach on other persons or their property.

Above these is the high spiritual law—the Law of Love—because God is love.  Back to top

Is Eckankar a cult?

No.

The ECK teachings are based on compassion, respect, personal responsibility, and giving others freedom. It is against spiritual law to push one's beliefs on others or to hold anyone to a spiritual path.

ECKists take responsibility for their lives, paying their own way and fulfilling their commitments to family, employer, and country. They do not embrace a communal lifestyle. They come from all walks of life and live in the mainstream of society in over 120 countries around the world.

Diet and lifestyle are personal choices.

ECKists respect but do not worship the Living ECK Master. While he is the wayshower and teacher for those who study Eckankar, the individual is fully responsible for his or her own choices and actions in life.  Back to top

Does Eckankar oppose abortion?

Eckankar respects individual opinions on abortion, while offering the perspective that Soul enters the body upon the first breath of life.

Individuals make their own decisions about personal matters like abortion.  Back to top

Does Eckankar recognize same-sex relationships?

Yes.

Same-sex couples may register as family members in ECK. And, where legally recognized, same-sex marriages may be performed with the ECK Wedding Ceremony by ordained ministers of Eckankar.  Back to top

What does membership in Eckankar involve?

ECK membership is a yearly cycle of personal study which includes inner and outer spiritual training:

  • Study of the ECK discourses. These are written by the Living ECK Master and carry a power and wisdom far beyond the written word. These monthly lessons can be studied privately at home, or in a class.
  • Practice of the Spiritual Exercises of ECK, for about twenty minutes daily. Each monthly discourse gives a new technique to try.

There's no need to make any dramatic changes in lifestyle. The individual continues to live life in his or her own unique way, retaining full personal responsibility and choice in everyday life.   Back to top

Is there a cost or a donation for yearly membership in Eckankar?

There is no charge for membership, but there is an annual suggested donation. For first-year members, the suggested donation begins at $60 for an individual or $120 for a family ($50 for an individual or $75 for a family in developing countries).

You can read more about ECK membership or apply online.  Back to top

Can I practice Eckankar without becoming a member?

Yes. The Mahanta, the Living ECK Master will work spiritually with all who look to him for guidance and protection. However, the ECK initiations are only available for someone who undertakes the spiritual training provided by the Living ECK Master via membership.  Back to top

Eckankar, Religion of the Light and Sound of God
Last modified September 25, 2014    120924