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Religon of the Light and Sound of God

"By choosing different bodies and different life experiences, the Soul learns to view life from all sides. Living as male or female, as black or white, as rich or poor, for example, the Soul tests and purifies itself "

Basic Beliefs

The teachings of ECK define the nature of Soul. Each person is Soul, a particle of God sent into the lower worlds (including earth) to gain spiritual experience. Purified by the spiritual exercises, he comes into contact with the Holy Spirit. His goal is spiritual freedom in this lifetime, after which he becomes a Co-worker with God, both here and in the next world. Karma and reincarnation are primary beliefs.

Key to the ECK teachings is the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master. He has the special ability to act as both Inner and Outer Master for ECK students. He is the prophet of Eckankar, given respect but not worship. He teaches the sacred name of God, HU, which lifts one spiritually into the Light and Sound of God, the ECK.

The ECK (the Holy Spirit) purifies one of karma (sin), making it possible for him to accept the full love of God in this lifetime. Then he gains wisdom, charity, and freedom.

Personal experience with the Light and Sound of God is the cornerstone of Eckankar. Of all the religions on earth today, Eckankar believes that they offer the most direct teachings on the Light and Sound of God. People who truly find these two aspects of God undergo a complete spiritual change. Life becomes fresh and new again, as it was in early childhood.

Eckankar teaches people spiritual exercises that will help them experience the Light and Sound of God (the Holy Spirit). Those exercises also seek to help people enter higher states of consciousness; something ECKists call Soul Travel. The goal of the exercises is the heightened awareness that each person is a soul or a piece of God. Recognizing the presence of the Holy Spirit is an important aspect. ECKists call the Holy Spirit the ECK, that which sustains all life.

Karma and reincarnation are primary beliefs in Eckankar. ECKists believe karma is the spiritual form of the physical law of cause and effect. Every action creates an equal and opposite reaction. According to "Eckankar-Ancient Wisdom for Today" published by Eckankar, "Most ECKists want to be free of karma. They would like to balance their karmic account by the end of their present lifetime ... By practicing the Spiritual Exercises of ECK, they drop the attitudes and habits binding them to the past. They can fulfill their spiritual destiny without having to be reborn."

Historic Origins

The ECK teachings of the Light and Sound have been passed on to spiritual seekers by ECK Masters since before recorded history. Although the ECK teachings have ancient roots, Eckankar was introduced as a modem-day religion in 1965 by Paul Twitchell. A seeker from an early age, Twitchell was introduced to a group of spiritual masters who would change the course of his life. These were the Vairagi ECK Masters. While they trained him to become the Living ECK Master, he explored a wide range of spiritual traditions under different teachers. The high teachings of ECK had been scattered to the four comers of the world, and Twitchell gathered them and made them available to all. By 1965, he was offering Soul Travel workshops to the public on how to move into greater states of consciousness.'

In his many talks, articles, books, and discourses, Twitchell emphasized personal spiritual unfoldment via direct experience with the Light and Sound of God. As the spiritual leader of Eckankar from 1965 until his death in 1971, he was the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master. Twitchell was followed by Darwin Gross, who served from 1971 to 1981. In 1981 Gross passed the spiritual and temporal leadership of Eckankar to Harold Klemp.

Eckankar is a living religion. Each Living ECK Master keeps the teachings pure and carries the outer works of ECK to new levels to reach people of the time. Harold Klemp, the current Living ECK Master is responsible for the continued evolution of the Eckankar teachings. He says his mission is to help people find their way back to God.

Worship Service

The ECK Worship Service is a one-hour service. Typically a service begins with a brief reading from one of the ECK books, followed by singing HU (pronounced like the word hue) for a few minutes. HU is an ancient and holy name of God and is sung as a love song to God. Next is a brief period of silent contemplation and then an open discussion of a spiritual topic. Services may also include music, group singing, and talks. An ECK Worship Service is led by a member of the ECK clergy.

Another regular ECK event is the HU Song or HU Chant, which consists simply of singing HU for a longer period of time, usually for fifteen to thirty minutes, followed by a silent contemplation period. The HU Chant is mainly for ECK members.

There are four ECK celebrations of life:

(1) The ECK Consecration Ceremony is for infants and very young children and celebrates new life and the beginning of a new phase in Soul's journey home to God;
(2) The ECK Rite of Passage is for youth on the threshold of becoming adults, at about age thirteen; (3) The ECK Wedding Ceremony celebrates the marriage bond and commitment of the couple to bring a deep spiritual awareness to their life together;
(4) The ECK Memorial Service honors the journey of Soul and celebrates a loved one's life and passage to a new life in the spiritual worlds. These ceremonies are conducted by ECK clerics.

Terms used by ECKists

Eckankar - Religion of the Light and Sound of God. Also means Coworker with God.
ECK - The Divine, or Holy Spirit; the life force; the essence of God which supports and sustains all life.
ECKist - A member of Eckankar.
Light and Sound of God - The Holy Spirit. The two aspects through which God appears.
The Living ECK Master - Eckankar always has a living master. He or she makes sure the spiritual essence of the teachings remains pure even though the outer form of Eckankar may change. The Living ECK Master is not idolized or worshipped, but is given respect.
Mahanta - The inner form of the Living ECK Master who guides the spiritual students on their inner paths.
Soul Travel - A way to expand consciousness; experiencing self as soul through spiritual exercises.

Eck contacts:

Maritimes, Norman Beaupre 1-506-992-2914;
PEI Pat Orlowski (902) 368-8326;
Moncton Henri LeBlanc 1-506-758-2461;
Nova Scotia, Angela Hood 1-902-681-1638

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