Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I was in a local coffee shop the other day when I happened upon a brochure asking “when your child asks you about God, how will answer them?” This brochure belonged to a small but growing cult known as ECKANKAR, which is supposed to mean “co-worker with God,” but may intentionally be a perversion of “Ek Onkar” the name of the supreme deity of Shabda Yoga.
ECKANKAR, or ECK for short, was founded in 1965 by a journalist and occultist named Paul Twitchell. He claimed to have visited India and the Himalayas where he was made the 971st living ECK master, a mahatma, or living manifestation of God. There was never any verification that Twitchell ever traveled to these places, or that he met the people he claimed to have met while there who supposedly conferred on him his title. On September 17 1971 he died of a heart attack. His successor, who took the mantle of leadership from Twitchell (conveniently in the spirit world after his sudden death) was Sri Darwin Gross.
Doctrinally, ECKANKAR teaches of a detached god, “unconcerned about any being in the universe. He is detached and unconcerned about man.” This is from Twitchell’s book “ECKANKAR- The Key to Secret Worlds.” His successor says much the same when he stated, “Many are teaching the masses to love everyone, to love their neighbors, and that’s fine, if it’s with a detached love. You have to be very careful who you give love to.” This uncaring god can be reached via astral projection, which Twitchell first named “bilocation” and later termed “soul-travel.” According to their founder this technique is necessary to achieve “omniscience…through the release of the soul from the bondage of the flesh.” Astral projection is pure occultism, and would certainly leave one highly susceptible to demonic intrusion either by way of communication with these beings, or possession as one attempts to vacate their body, leaving an open door for something else to occupy it.
The God of the Bible (God the Father) is known as Kal, an ECK term for Satan. Jesus is “a son of Kal, King of the lower worlds.” Twitchell would have to denounce both the Father and Son, since he claimed to be a living embodiment of deity, and Jesus claimed exclusivity in this regard. Biblically, this teaching falls under John’s imprecation when he warns us that those who deny the Father and the Son are inspired by the very spirit of Antichrist, 1st John 2:22, etc.
“Salvation” in ECKANKAR is the result of soul-travel through ascending levels of enlightenment as an ECK master helps the disciple to purge karmic debt from prior lives. Much of ECKANKAR is merely repackaged Hinduism. Original sin, Jesus’ atonement and unique deity, and every cardinal Christian doctrine is essentially rejected. Rather, astral projection will free the disciple from fleshly bondage to ascend to Sugmad (the name of their god) who, even according to their founder, isn’t interested in their arrival anyway. While perhaps well meaning and sincerely deceived in many cases, ECKANKAR and its founder fall under Jesus’ warning of thieves and robbers who climb up “another way” (John 10:8); likewise we are warned of the massive deception that will occur when false christs and prophets claim authority that belongs solely to God, Matthew 24:11, 24.
I wanted to share a little knowledge about this group with anyone who comes across this and might be enticed to join with them, or for fellow Christians who know nothing at all about ECKANKAR and their beliefs. I pray that God may use this to enlighten whom He may.