Eckankar means Co-Worker with God. It is the destiny of each Soul to become a conscious, living vehicle for God’s love.
ECK is another word for the Holy Spirit, or Life Force, which can be experienced as Light and Sound. It is also known as the Audible Life Stream. Soul can become one with this Life Current—with the Voice of God.
ECK can also be used as a short form of Eckankar.
The teachings, in some form, have been on earth since the dawn of human history. There has always been a direct way for man to reach God.
Many of today’s Eckankar terms trace their historical roots to the Far East; however, they have their own meaning and application in Eckankar.
Eckankar was brought to the modern world by Paul Twitchell in 1965, when many people were ready for a new way to find God.
Spiritual freedom is a central tenet of the teachings of Eckankar. Each Soul is on a journey of Self-Realization and God-Realization. As one moves into higher states of awareness, Soul achieves freedom from the limitations of mind, emotions, karma, and reincarnation. With this freedom comes unconditional love, wisdom, and responsibility.
The ECK path celebrates the individuality and freedom of Soul. As such, spiritual freedom imbues the ethics and values of the Eckankar culture and organization.
All of these descriptions are applicable, yet members most frequently describe Eckankar as a spiritual teaching or path.
Eckankar is based on direct personal experience and transcends philosophy and orthodox religion. It gives practical ways for people to have real spiritual experiences—even the ultimate experience of God—in this very lifetime. Soul is able to discover and become the path of truth itself.
Eckankar has members in over 120 countries around the world, and its teachings have been translated into more than twenty-five languages. It is a nonprofit religious organization and church, legally recognized in the United States and over 40 other countries. There are ECK Temples, ECK Centers, and reading rooms in cities and towns across the world. Eckankar’s worldwide spiritual center is in Chanhassen, Minnesota, USA.
Yes, and more so, they experience God.
There are no words to adequately describe the reality of God.
Eckankar teaches that there is one supreme God, the Creator; neither male nor female. God’s spiritual essence is divine love, and this life-giving current—the ECK—can be experienced as Light and Sound.
Symbolically you can say God is the Ocean of Love and Mercy. Light without shadows. It’s the source of all unconditional love, consciousness, and existence—formed and unformed.
Eckankar teaches these basic beliefs:
- Soul is eternal.
- Soul maintains Its individuality throughout eternity.
- Soul exists because God loves It.
- Soul is on a journey of Self-Realization and God-Realization.
- Soul unfolds spiritually via karma and reincarnation until It reaches the heights of Self-Realization.
- Spiritual unfoldment is accelerated through conscious contact with the ECK, Divine Spirit.
- Direct 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.
Eckankar is a deeply individualized creative practice. You can learn the art of contemplation—an “inner-active” means of awakening the Spiritual Eye to explore the inner worlds of Spirit. Just as each person is a unique individual, so too is each person’s inner experience.
ECKists are encouraged to practice the Spiritual Exercises of ECK twenty minutes a day. Establishing this sacred connection on a regular schedule, like a meal, brings the inner nourishment one seeks.
Approached with love and wonder, these creative exercises uplift Soul and offer a direct experience of the Light and Sound of God.
Each of us is Soul, a divine, eternal spark of God. We come to this world to gain spiritual experience.
Through many lifetimes in the physical world, each of us comes to a full realization of our innate godlike qualities, fulfilling our destiny to love as God loves.
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 resolve karma, making it possible for us to find a balance and accept the full love of God in this lifetime. We gain wisdom, charity, and freedom. We become an individual expression of God’s love.
Eckankar acknowledges the important roles of other religions and religious leaders such as Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad. Paul Twitchell’s book Stranger by the River includes passages that speak with beauty and inspiration about the message of love that Jesus brought.
Eckankar celebrates the freedom and opportunity for each Soul to walk Its own path to God. Each religion and spiritual tradition in the world offers a different experience for Soul’s journey. ECKists are expected to respect the privacy, beliefs, and religious freedom of others.
No. While Eckankar offers itself as the most direct path home to God, it is not 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.
Eckankar teaches that listening to God is at the heart of true prayer. One may ask God questions or for help, yet true prayer involves listening to God as It expresses Itself within you and through life around you.
ECKists practice nondirected prayer. This may be expressed as a sincere offering of “Thy will be done” or “May the blessings be.” This is a way of surrendering one’s cares and concerns to God while opening the heart for greater wisdom.
Whatever one’s approach to prayer, the goal is to open the heart to God’s love.
Various forms of meditation are a popular practice today, yet many people are looking for something more. Eckankar teaches contemplation—an active, creative, and personal approach to connect with Divine Spirit.
There are hundreds of spiritual exercises to use in contemplation and in daily life. You’ll likely find one for every challenge or spiritual desire you may have.
Those who have previously tried meditation report how easily the Spiritual Exercises of ECK fit into the rhythm of life.
Spiritual Leader and ECK Masters
The ECK Masters are God-Realized individuals who have served humanity in every era. Some are well-known historical figures. Examples include Pythagoras, Milarepa, Epictetus, and Shamus-i-Tabriz. Yet most have worked quietly without recognition. They are Masters of life, pure lights of Divine Spirit.
People from all over the world have had personal experiences with the ECK Masters before they ever heard of Eckankar. Common experiences include dreams, help in a crisis situation, or childhood “imaginary” friends. The ECK Masters do not enter your world without your invitation.
You can read some of these stories and see pictures of some of these ECK Masters. Better yet, meet them for yourself via inner experience. That’s the real proof.
Spiritual guides like the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master have a special connection with the Holy Spirit. A true spiritual master is an instrument for the Voice of God. He appears in human form to serve people in a way they can understand, to reveal to them the workings of Divine Spirit in everyday life.
In Eckankar, Divine Spirit expresses Itself through the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master. Because he can assist and teach Souls out here and also in the inner worlds, he serves in the dual role of Outer Master and Inner Master. He is given deep respect but is not worshipped.
The Mahanta, the Living ECK Master can alter an individual’s fate depending on their spiritual progress. This is a remarkable benefit. In this way, excess karma can be burned off in the dream state, for example.
The Mahanta is the inner, or spiritual, form of the Living ECK Master. It is the highest state of God Consciousness known to man and an expression of the Spirit of God that is always with you. 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, or spiritual guide. He teaches Souls who are ready and guides them on the path home to God.
The selection of each new Living ECK Master originates with the Sugmad (Eckankar’s name for God). The Living ECK Master trains and names his successor.
In 1981, after lifetimes of spiritual training, Harold Klemp became the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master. He was announced by his predecessor at the 1981 World Wide of ECK seminar.
Yes. Paul Twitchell was a master compiler. Different religions held bits and pieces of the original ECK teachings, but they had attached their own conditions. For example, they said one had to be a vegetarian, or needed to meditate a given number of hours a day to be a true disciple of a given path to God. Earlier teachings drawn from the original ECK works were geared for the spiritual needs of earlier cultures.
Paul’s task was to gather the time-tested, most accurate parts of what had been given in the past. He gathered up the golden teachings strewn around the world and released them from cultural trappings and social aims which limited their spiritual radiance. Paul reoriented these fragments to show the direct path home to God, making it readily available to all.
Any woman or man can attain God-Realization and become an ECK Master in this lifetime. The ECK teachings recognize that the true identity of each individual is Soul, which, like God Itself, has no gender.
Every Soul who is in training for the role of the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master in that lifetime chooses a male body. Soul needs the atom structure of a male body in the physical world to become the spiritual leader. The choice is made before birth.
After Paul Twitchell passed away, in September 1971, Darwin Gross served as an interim Living ECK Master for ten years from October 1971. Gross announced Harold Klemp as the 973rd Living ECK Master in October 1981. But Gross failed to accept that he was no longer the spiritual head of the teachings, and he was discharged from Eckankar. Sri Harold wrote about the spiritual lessons to be learned from this period in Eckankar’s history in his book Soul Travelers of the Far Country, chapter 11. Sri Harold Klemp continues to serve as the spiritual leader of Eckankar today.
Advanced Spiritual Living
Membership is an annual cycle of inner and outer spiritual exploration. This commitment to higher spiritual unfoldment involves two key things:
- Practice of the Spiritual Exercises of ECK for about twenty minutes daily. These are creative techniques for direct contact with Divine Spirit, to bring the higher awareness of Soul into daily life.
- Self-discovery courses for private study, with optional classes. These are written by the Living ECK Master and carry a power and wisdom far beyond the written word.
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.
As much as possible, Eckankar makes the teachings accessible to people, regardless of their financial situation. Members are invited to donate to the ECK mission. Their decision to donate is private and respected. All donations are received with gratitude.
Individuals’ spiritual unfoldment is in no way linked to how much they donate.
Yes, you can test out the ECK teachings to see if they’re a good fit for you. There is no ongoing commitment, and you have the freedom to discontinue at any time.
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.
Ethics, Morals, and Lifestyle
ECKists believe in personal responsibility for every thought, word, 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.
These laws are key to spiritual freedom.
Service is something Soul gives naturally in gratitude for the gift of life.
The destiny of each Soul is to become a Coworker with God, to serve all life in Soul’s own unique way. This is the pulsebeat of the ECK path.
There are many ways to give of yourself. It can be the conscious giving of love and care to your family, or to your social, civic, or religious community.
Members of ECK give according to their own personal agreements with Divine Spirit. The entire reason for Soul’s journey is to learn the spiritual need for giving.
No. It is against spiritual law to push one’s beliefs on others or to hold anyone to a spiritual path. The ECK teachings are based on compassion, respect, personal responsibility, and giving others freedom.
ECKists do not embrace a communal lifestyle. They take responsibility for their lives, paying their own way and fulfilling their commitments to family, employer, and country. ECKists come from all walks of life and live in the mainstream of society in over 120 countries around the world.
Eckankar respects individual opinions on abortion, while the ECK teachings offer the perspective that Soul enters the body upon the first breath of life.
Individuals make their own decisions about personal matters like health care, euthanasia, and abortion.
Yes. Same-sex couples may study as family members in ECK. And, where legally recognized, same-sex marriages are performed, in the form of the ECK Wedding Ceremony, by ordained ministers of Eckankar.