Question: "What is Eckankar?"
Answer: Eckankar is one of the New Age religions, started in 1965 by journalist Paul Twitchell. Before founding Eckankar, Twitchell was involved in yoga, self-realization groups, and Scientology.
In their own words, “The ECK is spirit. It is the force that sustains and supports all life throughout the worlds or SUGMAD [God]. . . . In ECKANKAR, contemplation is the spiritual exercise that opens the door to expanded awareness. And the Inner Presence of the Living ECK Master [Sri Harold Klemp] is the Spiritual Guide.” According to founder Paul Twitchell, the ECK Master, or Mahanta, is “omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent” (ECKANKAR: A Way of Life).
Eckankar, according to its official website, allows followers to “explore their own spiritual experiences.” It is also called “the Ancient Science of Soul Travel,” which teaches that a person’s soul can transcend the physical universe and visit the spiritual world where God is. Based in a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, Eckankar claims to be mankind’s oldest religion. It has an estimated following of 40,000 to 60,000 members.
The following are the basic beliefs of Eckankar:
God: An impersonal, amoral, pantheistic spirit. Twitchell described God (“Sugmad”) in his book The Tiger’s Fang as ignorant, internally inconsistent, in need of wisdom and education, negative, unawakened, wondering, poor, unhappy, not content with his creation and in need of assistance. Twitchell also said, “You will never find God by searching for Him. He is here and now within you!” One can only wonder why anyone who sees God in this light would want to find Him in the first place.
Sin: Simply karma that must be purged through the process of reincarnation and the work of the ECK.
Salvation: While Eckankar believes it is the most direct path to God, it also teaches that all religions are created by the ECK.
Jesus Christ: Twitchell stated that “Kal [the devil] 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.”
The fall, the second coming, heaven, and hell: All are Christian myths in the view of Eckankar.
There is nothing within Eckankar to provide guidance on moral issues such as abortion, sexuality, or other important issues. Determining what is “right” is left up to the individual. The spiritual practices of Eckankar involve trances, meditation, soul travel accompanied by “spirit guides” (demons), E.S.P., telepathy, mind reading, clairvoyance, and plugging into the “cosmic consciousness.” According to Eckankar, the human soul is on a spiritual journey to discover and improve the true self, thereby realizing its own true inner divinity.
It is clear that Eckankar is a false religion created by Satan and steeped in Hinduism and other Eastern religions. Satan is our “adversary, the devil, [who] walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). When someone gets involved in any type of occult practice, he opens the door of his soul to the devil and his demons. This is why God is adamant in His Word about not involving ourselves in activities such as are promoted in Eckankar. “Let no one be found among you . . . who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord” (Deuteronomy 18:10–12a). Not only do such practices put us in danger of encountering demons, they are detestable to God because they replace worship of Him, the true and living God, with the worship of self.
There is nothing new here. The New Age philosophy of Eckankar is nothing more than Hinduism in another package. Its real purpose is the exaltation of the self, the same old lie Satan has been propagating since the Garden of Eden when he tempted Adam and Eve by telling them, “You shall be as God” (Genesis 3:5). Eckankar may appear peaceful and loving on the outside, but it houses occult doctrines and practices, it rejects the truth of God that He has revealed in the Bible, and it denies that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except by Me” (John 14:6).