|ECK, or Holy Spirit.
The word ECKANKAR refers to the knowledge and experience of God; its definition is "Co worker with
God.' As a Co worker each person can be a conscious participant in creating their own spiritual experience
A key teaching of ECKANKAR is that each human being is an individual Soul, a divine spark of God.
ECKANKAR teaches that through many lifetimes in the physical world each of us progresses to a full
realization and manifestation of our innate God like qualities, especially divine love.
The Living ECK Master serves as the Wayshower and spiritual guide. His only mission is to gather
Souls who are ready and start them on the path to God again. He gives personal spiritual guidance
through dream study, Soul Travel, and the spiritual exercises of ECK.
ECKANKAR's sacred book is The Sharyat Ki Sugmad, a set of religious scriptures which contain the
body of the ECK teachings. Two volumes of The Sharyat KiSuggmad have been published. Although
many of the ECK teachings have been embodied in these and other books,
ECKANKAR is considered a living religion, in that it follows a living spiritual teacher and guide, the
Living ECK Master of the time.
The three basic principles of ECK (ECKANKAR) are:
1) Soul is Eternal. It has no beginning or ending.
2) Whosoever travels in the high path of ECK always dwells in the spiritual planes.
3) Soul lives in the present. It has no past and no future, but always live in this moment.
These three principles are anchored to a fourth: Soul exists because of God's love for it.
PRACTICES AND BEHAVIORAL STANDARDS:
Members of ECKANKAR practice spiritual exercises, usually for twenty to thirty minutes each day.
Through these quiet contemplations one builds a spiritual foundation based on personal experience.
Similar to prayer, the spiritual exercises bring members spiritual strength and understanding.
Members of ECKANKAR also study written spiritual instruction in the form of printed discourses by
the Living ECK Master. These discourses are sent monthly to ECK members.
The ECKist places a high value on the spiritual insight to be gained from dreams, and many
ECKists maintain dream journals or diaries to record dream and Soul Travel experiences.
ECKists regard Soul Travel as another tool to help them experience
Divine Spirit. Soul Travel can be a general expansion of awareness and
knowingness or a conscious experience of the heavenly worlds.
Many ECKists attend monthly or semi monthly Satsang classes discussing the ECK discourses. Another
regular ECK event is the HU Chant, in which ECKists gather to quietly chant or sing the word HU
(pronounced like the man's name, Hugh). HU is regarded by ECKists as an ancient and holy name of God
and the sound within all sounds. ECK Satsang classes and HU Chants are for ECK members, but both
ECKists and the public are invited to attend book discussions and ECK Worship Services (see below).
ECKANKAR presents public seminars ranging from local "Afternoons of ECK" to large scale
international seminars with attendance of several thousand. ECK seminars are spiritual gatherings
featuring talks, workshops, worship services and creative arts. The Living ECK Master attends and
speaks at major ECK seminars.
October 22 is the spiritual new year in ECK. The annual ECKANKAR Worldwide Seminar is held on or
close to this date and is a time of reunion and spiritual renewal for ECKists from around the world.
Individual spiritual progress in ECK is reflected in a series of initiations spanning many years.
Especially significant are the Second Initiation, at which the individual makes a personal commitment
to ECK, and the Fifth, at which one becomes a High Initiate or priest of ECKANKAR.
In his personal decisions, the ECKist follows his inner perception of God and Divine Spirit. He aspires
to live by the highest attributes: total awareness, responsibility, and spiritual freedom. He acts within
the laws of man while placing his attention upon the worlds of God. At the same time, he lives a
responsible, involved existence, paying his own way, serving a useful function in society, and fulfilling
his commitments to himself, his family, his employer, and his country. The ECKist accepts full personal
responsibility for all his decisions and acts.
ECKANKAR imposes no strictures on its members regarding their personal lives. Issues such as abortion,
divorce, sexual conduct, interracial marriage, or the right to die are considered individual decisions, and
ECKANKAR as an organization takes no stance. ECKANKAR, however, strongly discourages the use
of drugs other than for medical treatment. Smoking and the use of alcohol are not encouraged.
Membership in ECKANKAR is renewed annually; at the time of membership renewal, a donation is
requested to help support the general works of ECK.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE: ECKANKAR is a nonprofit religious organization and church
with international administrative headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The spiritual home of
ECKANKAR is the Temple of ECK in Chanhassen, Minnesota, completed in 1990.
ECKANKAR has a hierarchical structure. As noted above, the Living ECK Master is the spiritual leader
of ECKANKAR. Some seventy five volunteer regional leaders, known as Regional ECK Spiritual Aides
(RESAs), report to the main ECKANKAR office. A RESA oversees ECKANKAR activities within the
state, province, or country assigned to him or her, assisted by an organization of volunteer workers who
coordinate regional and local ECK activities.
Subordinate churches chartered by the parent church have been established in almost every state in the
U.S., and are being established in other countries. These subordinate churches, each led by a RESA, are
known as Satsang Societies.
ROLE OF MINISTERS:
An ECKist who attains the Fifth Initiation is ordained as a priest of ECKANKAR and is known
within ECKANKAR as an ECK High Initiate, ECK priest, or Mahdis.
Any High Initiate in good standing is able to lead ECK Worship Services and perform ECK wedding,
memorial, and consecration (similar to baptism) ceremonies. Some High Initiates receive further training
and appointment as Initiators, enabling them to officiate at ECK initiations; others may be appointed
and trained as ECK Spiritual Aides, enabling them to assist ECK members and others with problems of a
personal spiritual nature. The head clergy for a region is the RESA, as described above.
The ECK Worship Service is a one hour service featuring a brief reading from one of the ECK books, the
singing of the HU and silent contemplation, and an open discussion of a spiritual topic. Guidelines for
these services are provided to ECK clergy by the ECKANKAR International Office. An ECK Worship
Service may be conducted by any ECK priest in good standing. In certain cases, a Fourth Initiate may be
given permission by ECKANKAR to lead a service as a lay officiator. The officiator of the service is
responsible to the Regional ECK Spiritual Aide for the region in which the service is held.
DIETARY LAWS OR RESTRICTIONS:
No restrictions. ECKists who have received the Second Initiation are encouraged to fast on Fridays but
may choose the kind of fast that best suits them. Rather than a full fast, one may choose to eat lightly or
to simply keep one's attention on God and the Holy Spirit throughout the day.
FUNERAL AND BURIAL REQUIREMENTS:
No restrictions. Both autopsy and cremation are permitted. Many ECKists prefer cremation. Memorial
services may be performed by an ECK priest using material from the ECK books. ECKANKAR plans to
offer a full memorial service.
In case of illness the individual is encouraged to seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health
practitioner, but the final decisions related to medical treatment are a matter of individual choice.
ECKANKAR regards military service and bearing arms as a matter of individual choice and
responsibility and does not encourage or condone resistance to service or non participation in the armed
forces. Many ECKists either currently serve in armed forces or are veterans of past service.
ECKANKAR acknowledges the important spiritual role of other religions and recognized religious
leaders, including Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad. Members are expected to respect the privacy and
beliefs of others when discussing religious matters.
GENERAL SOURCE BOOKS:
Ellwood, Robert S., and Harry B. Partin. Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988. 328pp.
Klemp, Harold. The Golden Heart, Mahanta Transcripts, Book 4. Crystal, MN: Illuminated Way Pub.,
_________, How to Find God. Mahanta Transcripts, Book 2. Minneapolis: Eckankar, 1988). 375pp.
_________, The Living Word Crystal, MN: Illuminated Way Publishing, 1989. 269pp.
_________, Soul Travelers of the far Country. Minneapolis: Eckankar,1969. 241pp.
Paul Twitchell. Eckankar: The Key to Secret Worlds. Minneapolis: Eckankar, 1969. 249pp.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
ECKANKAR International Office
Attn: Spiritual Services
P.O. Box 27300
Minneapolis, MN 55427
Fax: (612) 544-3754
|Black Rose Spiritual Center, Inc : Belief Systems
ECKANKAR International Office
Minneapolis, MN 55427 U.S.A.
Harold Klemp is the current spiritual leader of ECKANKAR
Members in over one hundred countries and facilities in North America,
Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia.
The ECK teachings have ancient roots, but the religion of ECKANKAR
became known to the modern world in 1965 when Paul Twitchell began
writing and speaking about it. In his many articles and books, Paul
Twitchell emphasized the importance of the personal experience of God
via the Light and Sound of God.
Harold Klemp, the present Living ECK Master, continues and extends
the work begun by Paul Twitchell.
ECKANKAR is a nonprofit religious organization and church with
international headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
ECKANKAR teaches that a spiritual life current, the Light and Sound,
connects everyone with the Heart of God. This Light and Sound is the