What is Eckankar?

by mike@cellbio
Eckankar is a religious cult founded by Paul Twitchell in the mid 1960s. It is a hodgepodge of Sant Mat, Scientology, Theosophy, and Twitchell's own fertile imagination.

Twitchell invented an historic context for his religion based on the fictitious vairagi eck masters. Research by Professor David Lane and others has demonstrated the eck masters were invented by Twitchell as an attempt to produce an aura of uniqueness and mystery around his religion in order to sell it in the marketplace. Paul's young wife (40 years his junior) was the real driving force behind the creation of this religion. She apparently wanted a better life style and pushed Twitchell into using his knowledge of the occult and eastern religion to make some money.

The sacred works of eckankar "written" by Twitchell, including the eck bible, the Shariyat-ki-Sugmad, have been demonstrated to be plagiarized from a number of other sources, most notably the works of Julian Johnson written in the 1930s. This is significant because it demonstrates that Twitchell was lying when he claimed that these works were obtained from the "inner planes" or dictated to him by some fictitious eck master. Present day eckists have to come up with all kinds of fantastic excuses in order to rationalize Twitchell's blatant literary transgressions.

David Lane's book, The Making of a Spiritual Movement, is an extensively documented expose of Twitchell and eckankar. Anything worth knowing about the cult can be found in it.