THE ANCIENT ART OF SOUL TRAVEL
ECKANKAR, also called "The Path to Total Awareness" was introduced to the U.S.A. by a man named Paul Twitchell. He had trained under a Tibetan mystic, Rebazar Tarzs , and received the "spiritual mantle of Mahanta", thus making him the living ECK master. When Twitchell died in 1971, the mantle fell on Darwin Gross. The present master is Harold Klemp.
THE PROMISES OF ECKANKAR
Eckankar's message is spread by flashy advertising displays in public places, and by newspaper ads, etc. Typical of their advertising pitch is the statement on the back of their popular book, "The Tiger's Fang" by Paul Twitchell.
"You are about to enter a strange new world with one of the most astonishing prophets of the century. Come along as Sri Paul Twitchell experiences a unique spiritual revelation. In the Tiger's Fang you will meet Paul Twitchell's teacher, the all-knowing Rebazar Tarz...visit the Sun worlds and the Moon worlds...learn what the Atma Sarup is...discover the fabulous Mountain of Light...explore the Universal Mind...find out how you too, can travel outside of space, time and causation...and much more."
These promises lure the reader on to explore the claims of Eckankar.
ECKANKAR CLAIMS TO BE THE BEST
Eckankar claims to be the fountainhead of all religions and philosophies. "All is One", they proclaim, and each can find "A" way to God. The best way, of course, is to look into the mystical teachings of the East, and pay close attention to the ECK masters.
EMPTY YOUR MIND -STOP THINKING!
In "Tiger's Fang", page 42, we are told,
"By putting a stop to all analytic thinking, in the certain knowledge that there is nothing which has an absolute existence, nothing on which to lay hold, nothing on which to rely, nothing in which to abide, nothing subjective or objective, then they cross the dark region of this world and come to my temple in the pine grove. Then I will give them the true light and send them upward to the region of the great Lord Sohang."
In other words, once you have turned your mind off, and left it blank and empty, you are promised a fabulous experience - soul travel - which will result in " true light" at the end.
THE EXPERIENCE OF SOUL TRAVEL
Eck philosophy teaches that the physical world is an illusion which one needs to escape through a process called "soul travel" This technique is supposed to be taught only by Eck teachers, or masters, but in fact is found in other Eastern mystical groups as well. Believers really do experience experience out-of-body "soul travel" if they will yield to their "spirit-guides" or "spirit-travellers" who take them on trips. These guides are contacted in altered states of consciousness.
From our discussions with Eck devotees, a pattern emerges of initial bliss, followed by increasing control of the "spirit-guides" over the life and soul travels of the person. Often the person ends up being controlled totally by the spirit-guide(s), and can even be forced to take "bad trips". Often, this cycle is broken only when deliverance is performed in the name of Jesus Christ. Christians recognize these "spirit-guides" to be demons.
Christians well know that they are not to have empty minds, as Eck advocates. We are told in 2 Timothy 2:15 to "be diligent, or study". We are to "renew our minds" (Romans 12:2), and we are to even have "the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 21:6). By filling our minds with Bible truths, we are forewarned that Satan can come disguised as an "angel of light". (2 Corinthians 11:14,15). We also find out that what may appear to be light, can, in fact, be darkness. (Luke 11:34,35).
DON'T ASK QUESTIONS!
Page 43 of "Tiger's Fang" tells us
"Questions are needless for they only lead from riddle to riddle..." We are then told to "look within at the static self, the Soul which is there and realizing it alone can answer all questions on Godhood."
Here, then, is basic Hinduism-- turn in on yourself, meditate, don't question, just experience. Turning to the Bible for guidance, we find that intelligent discussions involve both answering and asking questions (Acts 17:1,2). Jesus asked questions as a young boy (Luke 2:46). Eckankar is not an intellectual exercise, but pure escapism.
DISCOUNTING THE CREATOR
"Tiger's Fang", page 44, tells us
The whole secret of God is that if you think that the worlds are created by a supreme being, then you must feel that you are powerless to change anything, thus leaving you at the mercy of that creator. You should know that the worlds are of your own production. You may change that world, rebuild it or improve it to suit your own desire."
However, there is a Creator, and yes, we are at His mercy--and how great is that mercy, since He sent His only Son to redeem us (Colossians 1:3-17).
However noble a man's aims may be, he cannot change the world, since "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19, ad this present world will continue until God, the Creator, brings about new heavens and a new earth.
WHAT DOES ECKANKAR THINK OF JESUS CHRIST?
Jesus is, at best, presented as simply an advanced Eck master. "Tiger's Fang", page 171, says
"Call Him anything you like, Love, the Christ Consciousness, the Nazarene, the Logos, the Bread of Life, but it makes no difference. He is anything that you can think of and more too. However, do not put Him in a Special category, for ALL Saviors and prophets who came to earth to help mankind did their part and passed on the the glory of the heavenly kingdom."
However, Jesus Christ is unique and not JUST another "master" or "prophet". He is revealed in the Bible as truly God (Hebrews 1:8) (John 1:1, He emptied Himself according to Philippians, chapter 2, and took the form of a man (Hebrews 2:9); He was faithful to death, and we live because He lives.
There is salvation in no other name (Acts 4:12). The God of the Bible is a personal God, not an impersonal force as Eck teaches.
ECKANKAR AND THE NEW BIRTH
Paul Twitchell is not above quoting the Bible, when it suits him, and then giving it his own peculiar twist. A typical example is found in "Eckankar Illuminated Way Letters 1966-1971", page 35
"Christ told Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of his sect, "Except that man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God". It means that we must be brought to light from darkness; from ignorance to enlightenment; from blindness into sight, by the action of the Cosmic Spirit within each of us..."
Twitchell has previously explained, "This is the Jivan Mukti, the liberation of Soul, or the birth of the Christ child within one, as many wish to believe."
This is a gross distortion of the Christian experience of the new birth. The Jesus Christ of the Bible who is Almighty God manifest in the flesh, explains that we must be "born again" or "born from above" in John, chapter 3.
This new birth is achieved only by receiving the BIBLICAL Jesus Christ, not the distorted version presented by Eckankar. John 1:12,13, tells us
"But as many as received Him, (Jesus Christ) to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
Eckankar seeks to counterfeit true Christianity, but the real thing is always superior to the counterfeit. Why try to make death "the last great illusion to overcome" as Eckankar teaches? Did any Eck master ever rise from the dead bodily, and appear to many witnesses? Jesus Christ did! Why then trust in an illusion--why not trust in the Living Christ, and become acquainted with Him in the pages of the Bible.
Links to webs are for your convienience only.
Below is a link to Dr. Lane's expose of Eckankar, "The Making of a Spiritual Movement": http://www.geocities.com/eckcult/
A condensed version of this research can be found at:
Plagiarism examples and corroboration of Dr. Lane's research can be found at: http://members.tripod.com/~andrea65/guru3.htm