More than “Just a Religion”
I believe the first book I read by Paul Twitchell was called “The Tiger’s Fang”. The title was based on a spiritual proverb about having enough courage to extract a fang from the tiger without being killed.
In the story, Twitchell meets his spiritual teacher, Rebazar Tarzs, the great Tibetan ECK Master, who takes him to different planes of existence, outside time and space, all the while instructing him on how to “BE”. It was an eye-opener for me, because up until that time (the early 70’s) my spiritual journey had been limited to orthodox Christianity. This book opened up vistas that I had not even imagined possible.
“Whether The Tiger’s Fang is a record of an actual spiritual journey or the vivid impression of a vision that has been granted to few mortal men, must remain a matter for the individual reader to judge. Whatever The Tiger’s Fang may be, it is certain that the book is a most remarkable work, a volume that has few peers in its array of challenging concepts, provocative thoughts, and inspirational wisdom.”— Brad Steiger, from the Foreword
Co-worker with God
According to Wikipedia:
‘Eckankar (meaning Co-worker with God), called “the Path of Spiritual Freedom”, is a new religious movement founded by Paul Twitchell in 1965. It is a non-profit religious group with members in over one hundred countries. The spiritual home is the Temple of Eck in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
‘Eckankar is not affiliated with any other religious group. Followers believe its purpose is to help individuals find their way back to God through direct personal spiritual experiences. The movement teaches simple spiritual exercises, such as singing “Hu“, called “a love song to God”, to experience the Light and Sound of God and recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit.’
A Rose by any Other Name…
‘ECK is another word for the Holy Spirit, also known as the Audible Life Current, Life Force, or Light and Sound of God. The term is also thought to be an alternative spelling of the Sikh Ik Onkar.’ (Wikipedia)
So, here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter what you want to call it, the Holy Spirit is our true instructor, teacher, guide and comforter. My “What the Eck?!” subtitle was meant as a subtle (OK, not so subtle) joke, but not a slight to the spirit behind the name.
Twitchell wrote about the seven levels of Heaven, and each passage brought with it a certain energy that I recognize now, but didn’t then. The description of a boat floating on a still lake with the empty shell of a human body in it was very powerful for me.
I saw, in an instant, that the spiritual path, as one gets closer to the ultimate destination, is a solitary one. That spoke volumes to me.
The story of how Paul Twitchell ‘created’ Eckankar is explained in this video:
In the words of George Harrison:
“But oh Lord we pay the price with a
Spin of a wheel with the roll of a dice
Ah yeah you pay your fare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there.”