- ECK master
ECK Masters, or the Order of Vairagi Adepts, are spiritual figures who assume spiritual leadership of the
ECKANKAR religion, according to Eckankar doctrine. The current Living ECK Master is Sri Harold Klemp.
Overview of ECK Masters
ECKANKAR emphasizes spiritual liberation, and how this relates to the ECK (
Holy Spirit). The Living ECK Master is the one who aids followers in contacting the ECK as Soul( individual, eternalspiritual beings).
The ECK Master "does what he pleases, has what he wants, comes and goes absolutely at his own will... He bows only to God." [Twitchell, 73.] It is the role of ECK Masters to aid the Living ECK Master in carrying out his duties. Followers of ECKANKAR, or ECKists, often speak of having had contact with ECK Masters who have translated. [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/whoaremasters.html Who Are the Spiritual Travelers? ] ]
The spirits of these leaders are associated with
guardian angels, dreams, and invisible friends, and always with positive life changes. ECKists state that the Masters go back thousands of years, [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/ ECK Masters ] ] although ECKANKAR itself is a new religious movementthat was established in the present, modern-day world in 1965. Its founder, Paul Twitchell, or SriPaul Twitchell, whose spiritual name is "Peddar Zaskq", was considered an ECK Master both in his lifetime and after his death in 1971. According to Eckkankar teachings, he was the 971st Living ECK Master in an unbroken line to hold the position. [ [http://www.religioustolerance.org/eck.htm Eckankar ] ] The current spiritual leader of ECKANKAR is Sri Harold Klemp, or "Wah Zee", who by virtue of his position is also known as the "Living ECK Master".
ECKANKAR, also called "The Religion of the Light and Sound of God", draws attention to ten ECK Masters, namely
Harold Klemp, Paul Twitchell, as well as ECK Masters before 1965, including: Kata Daki, Gopal Das, Fubbi Quantz, Towart Managi, Rami Nuri, Yaubl Sacabi, Lai Tsi and Rebazar Tarzs. Outside of ECKANKAR, the existence of ECK Masters predating 1965 is sometimes disputed. Sri Harold Klemp once wrote that some people believed these ECK Masters "must have been figments of Paul Twitchell's imagination". [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Rebazar/Story02.html Personal Experiences with Rebazar Tarzs: A Meeting with Rebazar Tarzs (by Sri Harold Klemp) ] ]
Important ECK Masters
Rami Nuri is from an unspecified time in the past. He now lives in a city called "Retz" on the
planet Venus. Rami Nuri is the guardian of the section of the holy bookof ECKANKAR called the " Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad" or "Way of the Eternal" kept in the third Temple of Golden Wisdom on Venus known as the House of Moksha. [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Rami/ ECK Master Rami Nuri ] ]
Lai Tsi is from a time unspecified on either the website or in Paul Twitchell's 1969 "A Glossary of ECKANKAR Words and Terms" from his book "ECKANKAR: The Key to Secret Worlds"). Lai Tsi was based in
China, but now lives on the Etheric Plane, the fourth level beyond the physical world, where he keeps watch over another section of the "Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad" in the Temple of Golden Wisdom there, of which he is in charge. [Twitchell, 244.]
Gopal Das was the Living ECK Master in 3000 B.C. in
Egyptnear Luxor. He is distinguished by his long, straight, blonde hair. He assisted with the " Reu nu pert em hru", known as " The Egyptian Book of the Dead", established mystery cults for the Egyptian deities Osirisand Isis, [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Gopal/ ECK Master Gopal Das ] ] aided the impoverished and participated in discussions with the agents of the Pharaoh. "A Glossary of ECKANKAR Words and Terms" also lists his having been the Living ECK Master during the twelfth century B.C. under Ramses II(who ruled from 1290 B.C. to 1224 B.C.). Because of the state-established religious climate that developed, ECKANKAR became a hidden art during Gopal Das' life, albeit one that he continued to teach others. It remained so until 1965, when re-introduced in its modern form by Paul Twitchell. [Twitchell, 240.]
Gopal Das now resides on the
Astral Plane, a psychic realm which is the second and adjacent level beyond the physical. He is in charge of the fourth section of the "Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad" housed in the Temple of Golden Wisdom there. The ECKANKAR website has collected and published essays by modern followers who state they have been contacted by him. These include one man who reported that visits by Gopal Das inspired him to break free from a " black magician," [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Gopal/Story02.html Personal Experiences with Gopal Das: Brando ] ] and another person who told of Gopal Das's having foretold their mother's death. [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Gopal/Story07.html Personal Experiences with Gopal Das: Foreknowledge—Burden or Blessing? ] ]
Paul Twitchell has written that chanting the name "Gopal" can actually transport one's inner, true self, i.e., Soul - to this Temple of Golden Wisdom, where one can hear Gopal Das give
lectures. [Twitchell, 58.]
Yaubl Sacabi was a Living ECK Master of the
Mycenaeans, c.2000 B.C. to c.1700 B.C. In his lifetime, he is said to have played a pivotal role within ancient Greek religions. [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Yaubl/ ECK Master Yaubl Sacabi ] ] There are modern-day followers who tell of having met Yaubl Sacabi, including one who said that when he was five years old and an automobile crushed his foot and that Yaubl Sacabi appeared and healed it; allowing the five-year-old to walk home. Yaubl Sacabi appeared again to help heal the foot after a well-meaning family member dumped tincture of iodineon it, causing still more pain. [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Yaubl/Story02.html Personal Experiences with Yaubl Sacabi: Miracle Healing at Five ] ]
Fubbi Quantz was an ECK Master based in Persia at
Tabriz, a contemporary of Buddha c.500 B.C. [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Fubbi/ ECK Master Fubbi Quantz ] ] and also a tenth century figure. [Twitchell, 239.] He personally taught the tenth-century poet Firdusias ECK Master, and is also credited as having had contact with Christopher Columbusthrough King Ferdinandand Queen Isabella. Fubbi Quantz is said to have believed the discovery of America would be beneficial for Europeans, who needed nutrientsto aid in their collective recovery from plague, famine, and the generally poor state of the average person's diet, and thus helped to inspire Columbus's voyage. He is in charge of the Katsupari Monastery in Tibet, and guardian of the first section of the "Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad" kept there. [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Fubbi/ ECK Master Fubbi Quantz ] ]
Despite the powers of ECK Masters, Fubbi Quantz taught that worshiping ECK Masters as gods is a fatal error, and on this point Paul Twitchell quotes him with evident approval: "I am but a servant of God, and whoever shall regard me as the Lord shall meet with destruction." [Twitchell, 219.]
Twitchell also relates that in modern times, Fubbi Quantz once appeared on a highway along the Mediterranean coast and stopped an automobile driven by some of his followers to save it from plunging off a washed-out bridge ahead. [Twitchell, 136.]
Rebazar Tarzs, typically described as wearing maroon
robes, is credited as the first ECK Master to transform ECKANKAR from a hidden art into an "open" religion, in the fifteenth century. Paul Twitchell gave Rebazar Tarzs the credit of being the ECK Master who introduced ECKANKAR to him. Afterwards, Rebazar Tarz visited Twitchell's home many times to aid in the writing of spiritual texts.
Rebazar Tarzs presently resides in the
Hindu Kushmountains, and, given that he is "the emissaryof ECKANKAR in the physical universe". [Twitchell, 22, 24, 136, 249.] There are several essays by ECKANKAR followers who report having met him, including one who describes Rebazar Tarzs's guiding him to herbs that cured his heart condition, [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Rebazar/Story12.html Personal Experiences with Rebazar Tarzs: A Visit from an ECK Master ] ] and one who tells of receiving a gift from Rebazar Tarzs during the Korean War, the gift later being traded for desperately needed food. [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Rebazar/Story06.html Personal Experiences with Rebazar Tarzs: Encounter with an ECK Master ] ]
There is a story of a
taxicabdriver who picked up Rebazar Tarzs in Milwaukee, Wisconsinin around 1952, and during the ride, Rebazar Tarzs was able, among other things, to read the driver's "secret prayers." In a second incident, Rebazar Tarzs miraculously repaired the driver's automobile. [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Rebazar/Story03.html Personal Experiences with Rebazar Tarzs: Thirty Years Becoming an ECKist ] ]
Rebazar Tarzs is said to preach "
loveand humility" [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Rebazar/Story04.html] and has taught that "It is better to give than to receive." [Twitchell, 159.]
According to Paul Twitchell, the first Living ECK Master was a Tibetan. The word "Adi", in ECKANKAR doctrine, means "The beginning; the unknown Deity." [Twitchell, 229.]
Shamus-i-Tabriz is an ECK Master on the Causal Plane, the second level of existence beyond the physical, specifically in charge of another Temple of Golden Wisdom. [Twitchell, 250.]
In his "A Glossary of ECKANKAR Words and Terms", Paul Twitchell refers to Sato Kuraj as "An ECK Master." [Twitchell, 251.]
Towart Managi is an ECK Master not listed in Paul Twitchell's 1969 glossary, but who is noted in the website. He was a Living ECK Master in ancient Abyssinia, and is now in charge of another Temple of Golden Wisdom, on the "Mental Plane,". He is also called the "Koji Chanda". [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Towart/ ECK Master Towart Managi ] ]
Sudar Singh was a contemporary and trainer of Paul Twitchell, and his predecessor as Living ECK Master. [Twitchell, 251.] Paul stated that Sudar Singh taught the religion in at least two places,
Paris, Franceand Allahabad, India. [ [http://www.religioustolerance.org/eck.htm Eckankar ] ]
Darwin Grosssucceeded Paul Twitchell to become the Living ECK Master in 1971. In 1981 he passed on the leadership of ECKANKAR to the current Living ECK Master Harold Klemp. Gross then became entangled in various legal disputes, regarding the copyrightstatus of various facets of ECKANKAR.
As of 2006 the ECKANKAR website's overview of ECK Masters does not mention him, since he is no longer recognized as an ECK Master. [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/ ECK Masters ] ] [Olson, Roger E. America's Alternative Religions. 366. [http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/ecka.html] ]
Women as ECK Masters
While published accounts have revealed only a small number of ECK Masters to the world, it is generally conceded that there are thousands of beings who have attained Mastership, most of them being male. However it is not uncommon to find personal accounts of individuals reporting experiences with female ECK Masters.
Anyone can obtain Mastership in ECKANKAR. However there are few women Masters noted in the Eckankar Teaching in comparison to male. Kata Daki is the most recognised. She is ancient but does not appear so, and it is not specified when she served as an ECK Master. [ [http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Kata/ ECK Master Kata Daki ] ]
When asked if Kata Daki was the only woman ECK Master, Harold Klemp replied in the negative and gave a second name, that of "Simha", the "Lady of ECK", considered the mother of all the ECK Masters. He also speculated that since certain ECK Masters have been unknown but are still having their names revealed, more women ECK Masters might come to light later. [Klemp, 195.]
Historical figures as ECK Masters
Some other individuals identified by Paul Twitchell as ECK Masters have a noted historical presence and reputation. These include:
Pythagorasof Samos (569 B.C.-475 B.C.), mathematician, astronomer, musictheorist, philosopher, and teacher at Crotonain Sicily
Phidiasor Pheidias, fifth century B.C. Living ECK Master during the rule of Periclesin Athens, designer, architect and sculptor of the Parthenonand its renowned statue of Athena, widely considered the greatest sculptor of ancient Greece
Aristocles, known as Plato, ancient Greek philosopher and teacher (c.427 B.C.-c.347 B.C.), who was student of Socratesand teacher of Aristotle, founder of the Academyin Athens, best known for his Dialogues
* Ancient Roman Senator Priscus Hevidius, who seems to have been the historical senator
Francis of Assisi(1181 A.D.-1226 A.D.)
Origins of the ECK Masters
ECKists state they see the Living ECK Master as the embodiment of the Mahanta Consciousness. The Mahanta originates outside the boundaries of matter, energy, space, and time; Harold Klemp refers to this aspect (not the physical) as being "
eternal". He also wrote that it is based in the "Ocean of Love and Mercy." [Klemp, 186-187.] Ford Johnsonclaims that the true origin of the ECK Master can be found in various other spiritual theories or religions. Johnson believes Twitchell adapted these in 1965, lifting the word "Mahanta" from the Hindiand Pali cultures, where it means "head of a monastic establishment" and "big" respectively.
According to Johnson, the concept of the ECK Master's "Rod of Power" likely came from
theosophy. Johnson notes that a Rod of Power is an idea that existed in Egyptian culture and Christianity. [Johnson, 175, 177.]
Many ECK Masters predated the establishment of ECKANKAR as a movement. In January 1964, "
Orion Magazine" published a piece by Paul Twitchell that mentioned Sudar Singh, placing him in Allahabad, India and describing him as a teacher of Shabda Yoga. There was a spiritual leader named Sudarshan Singh, in Allahabad, and some believe Sudar Singh is this figure. Additionally, Rebazar Tarzs' name was first published in 1964. [Johnson, 133.]
An ECK Master who has charge of a Temple of Golden Wisdom, "Asanga Kaya", shares the name
Asangawith a fourth or fifth century Indian Buddhist leader. [Johnson, 135-136.]
The name "Gopal Das", meanwhile, could be related to "Gopal", a synonym for "
Krishna", and "Dasa", which means "disciple." [Johnson, 135-136.]
The first ECK Master is said to have appeared at the dawn of humanity, as well as ECKANKAR being the modern version of the oldest religion in existence, so it can be seen that claims of some for its derivativeness would stand out as an example of
hysteron proteron, the logical reversal of the natural order of occurrence (such as the Cartesiandeclaration found in the Discourse on Method" Cogito, ergo sum," or, " I think, therefore I am".)
References and notes
* Twitchell, Paul. "ECKANKAR: The Key to Secret Worlds." With a forward by Brad Steiger. San Diego: Illuminated Way Press, 1969, ISBN 1-57043-154-X.
* Klemp, Harold. "Ask the Master: Book 1." Minneapolis, MN: ECKANKAR, 1993, ISBN 0-88155-127-9.
* Johnson, Ford. "Confessions of a God Seeker: A Journey to Higher Consciousness". "One" Publishing, Inc., 2003, ISBN 0-9728835-8-4.
* [http://www.eckankar.org/ "ECKANKAR: Religion of the Light and Sound of God" Official website] Retrieved
13 August 2005.
* Morris, Peter. [http://www.warren-wilson.edu/~religion/newifo/religions/alternative/index/eckankar/essay.shtml "ECKANKAR." "InterFaith Online"] Retrieved
1 September 2005.
Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. [http://www.religioustolerance.org/eck.htm "ECKANKAR: Religion of the Light and Sound of God."] (1998-2005) Retrieved 1 September 2005.
* [http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/ "The Religious Movements Homepage Project @The University of Virginia"] (
22 May 2005) Retrieved 14 August 2005.
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