Eckankar - The World's Oldest Religion?
The claims that Eckankar is the world's oldest religion are disputed by critics and its adherents, but we'll explore its practice and influence on other spiritual traditions in this article. Eckankar was founded in 1965 by Paul Twitchell and has since spread worldwide. The Eckankar Temple is located in Chanhassen, Minnesota. In addition to being an independent religion, Eckankar is not affiliated with any other religious organization.
Eckankar's claims to be mankind's oldest religion
The emergence of Eckankar's claims to be mankinds oldest religion is controversial, especially since its founder Paul Twitchell was involved in the occult for a while. He also continued Eckankar teachings. Ultimately, Eckankar is nothing more than a mashup of copied ideas and beliefs. While Twitchell's background is interesting, the claims of Eckankar to be mankind's oldest religion are unfounded.
Lane's term paper on Eckankar compared Eckankar to Radhasoami, a well-known Hindu sect. Twitchell lied about his background in order to attract Eckankar followers. Several Eckankar books reproduced his articles. These articles cited a variety of Eckankar gurus and a wide variety of sources, but they are all fictitious.
The sect has a small following in the U.S., Europe, and Africa, and Lane estimates that its membership is somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000. Its headquarters moved from Minneapolis to Chanhassen in 1986, where it has been active since then. In fact, it even attempted to establish a campus on the site but was beaten back by the community. Currently, about 400 members live in the Chanhassen area and work at the sect's headquarters.
The core beliefs of Eckankar are contradictory. It believes that each person is a Soul incarnating in a human body. The soul is a spark of God and is on a journey to find its home. Through Eckankar, the initiates link the Soul with the "Eck" (a spiritual source), which manifests itself as light and sound. Eckankar believes that there are many higher planes and realms that we can access through a spiritual practice.
According to ECK, all of mankind has passed through a physical body. There are three main planes: the physical, the Astral, and the Soul. The Astral plane is considered the lowest, with Jot as the ruler and Kal Niranjan as the personification of Satan. The Astral plane is also a place to be married for the sake of aiding another in becoming a Master.
One of Eckankar's practices is the chanting of HU, an ancient name of God. During a group chanting session, participants repeat the name HU for a period of about thirty minutes. The purpose of chanting Hu is to enhance one's awareness, thereby bringing peace and healing. Eckankarists use the chanting for meditation and as a part of a group ritual.
Some people have questioned the authenticity of Eckankar. This controversy started in the early 1970s when Eckankar's teachings were questioned by some. Paul Twitchell, an Eckankar practitioner, claimed that several people had threatened him to stop practicing. However, he claimed to have experienced God-realization in 1956. He had been initiated by a group of Spiritual masters who called themselves Living Eck Masters.
A spiritual practice in Eckankar's teachings involves chanting and singing the HU, a word that means "HU" in Sanskrit. Other practices include trance work and visualization techniques. Many Eckankar practices involve a dream state, and many participants emphasize the importance of dreams as a teaching tool. Eckankar practitioners are also expected to undergo a formal initiation, which consists of fourteen stages.
The founder of Eckankar, Paul Twitchell, a New England resident, claims that the word "Ek onkar" originated in the early thirteenth century. The original meaning is "One God/Power" and the word is probably derived from a hymn written by Guru Nanak, the first set of hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib. In addition to Twitchell, the word "Ek onkar" is actually a Tibetan-Pali word that means "co-worker with God." This movement claims to be the oldest religion in the world and has a worldwide following of approximately 40,000 to 60,000 adherents.
The teachings of Eckankar are thought to have ancient roots but have been lost to history. Eckankar was founded by Paul Twitchell in 1965 and was officially recognized as a non-profit organization in the early 1970s. His age has remained ambiguous, although he has listed several different dates of birth. Eckankar followers claim that Twitchell studied under two Eck Masters, Sudar Singh and Rebazar Tarzs. Some Eck Masters existed before recorded history.
While many of Eckankar's critics are correct in their basic assumptions about the philosophy, others are able to point to evidence to refute these claims. One such case was that Twitchell's book allegedly made false claims about Eckankar. In fact, it was Twitchell who created the Eckankar religion, not Eckankar himself. But what does the evidence say about Twitchell?
A common criticism of Eckankar comes from the fact that the teachings are not a distinct religious tradition. Instead, it is a collection of disconnected practices and rambling thoughts. Some critics claim that Eckankar is a religious cult whose doctrine is not in tune with contemporary culture. But, in reality, Eckankar has no central cult. This is because it is a combination of various philosophies and mystical traditions.
In the 1970s, Eckankar was not even a recognized religion. It had no adherents, no leaders, no sacred writings, and no history prior to Twitchell's book. As such, critics of Eckankar's teachings cited his own personal experience and the teachings of Eckankar founder Sri Harold Kemp. As a result, no one could corroborate Twitchell's claims.
The origin of Eckankar is timeless, and the philosophy behind it is based on many world religions. In fact, Eckankar's founder Paul Twitchell studied a wide range of world religions and combined many of their teachings into one coherent system. Eventually, Harold Klemp joined the group and became its global head. The Eckankar organization is a vast suburban complex, similar to Christian mega churches.
In 2006, David C. Lane, a philosophy professor and Eckist, published a paper based on the article. Lane's findings were not only based on his personal experience, but also on his investigation of Eckankar. In response, Eckists began to leave the movement in droves. Nevertheless, the book was published and was widely distributed among Eck centers around the world. Afterward, he and Lane met in Menlo Park, California, where he presented his findings and asked questions.
The foundations of Eckankar are questionable. Twitchell's book claims that the teachings come from the mystical traditions of India. However, the name 'Ek' is derived from the Hindi/Punjabi word Ek Onkar, which means "One God." The name Eckankar was changed to reflect his claim that it is an ancient spiritual path, which was in fact founded by the ancient saint Rebazar Tarzs. The book claims that the teachings are passed down through the lineage of Gakko, the god-like ascended master who brought true teachings to Earth from the city of Retz on Venus.
Its influence on other spiritual traditions
Despite claims that it is a new religion, Eckankar's influence on other spiritual practices has been considerable. The Eckankar faith has several centers around the world, including a strong presence in Europe and Africa. In addition, Eckankar has spawned a number of new religious offshoots. The Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA), MasterPath, and the Ancient Teachings of the Masters are all influenced by Eckankar.
In addition to its influence on other spiritual traditions, Eckankar has been a source of controversy. This controversy stems from alleged plagiarism, biographical redaction, and claims about Eckankar's antecedents. While Eckankar is widely considered the oldest religion on earth, it predates Christianity and Islam. Jesus and Muhammad can point to antecedents in both of their traditions. Eckankar has no such ancient or documented figure. The only surviving witness is its founder Paul Twitchell.
A central aspect of Eckankar's teachings is that the soul can leave the physical body and travel to other realms. Eckankar members often keep dream journals, believing that dream travel is the gateway to Soul Travel. Eckankar members strive to become conscious "Co-workers" with God. The Eckankar scripture, Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad, contains spiritual meaning and is read during Satsang classes.
Gross's appointment as an Eckankar teacher shocked many Eckists. During the tenure of Eckankar's founder, Gross was sued for misappropriation of funds and copyright infringement. Later, Gross started the ATOM group. After the termination of the relationship between Gross and Eckankar, Gail Atkinson ended their association with Eckankar. However, it was not until later that Gross and Twitchell's widow wed that the dissension began.
The Eckankar movement was founded in 1965. It is a non-profit organization with members in over 100 countries. Eckankar emphasizes the importance of spiritual exercises and the practice of singing the "Hu" (love song to God).