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Eckankar is a New Age monotheistic religion which teaches that each human is a "particle of God" with the goal of "spiritual freedom" by following the "light and sound of God". Adherents of the religion are called Eckanists.
The religion includes a belief in what it calles "Soul Travel", and which appears to be the same thing as astral projection. The name "Eckankar" comes from the Punjabi Ik Oankar (ਇੱਕ ਓਅੰਕਾਰ), the opening words of the Mul Mantar, one of the holy texts of Sikhism. Notwithstanding this borrowing, Eckankar has no historical links with Sikhism.
Eckankar was founded by Paul Twitchell in 1965 in the United States. Apparently, Twitchell plagiarized at least some of his writings on Eckankar. Despite these facts, Eckists maintain that their teachings have existed since the beginning of humanity, when they were brought from Venus by some guy named Gakko.<refgroup=note>Seriously, it's in the Shariyat ki Sugmad.</ref> Apparently, no Eckist knew this until 1965. After Paul Twitchell died,[note 1] the movement was taken over by Darwin Gross. Darwin Gross's successor, Harold Klemp, excommunicated him and stripped him of all his titles after some issues with money. The headquarters of Eckankar is now in the area of Menlo Park, California. A splinter group, claiming to base itself on Twitchell's teaching and calling itself Vardankar, turned up in 2013.
- Eckankar: The Religion of the Light and Sound of God, The Ancient Science of Soul Travel by Vexen Crabtree - thoroughly researched excellent starter resource on Eckankar with sources & references.
- In accordance with his beliefs, we believe he was reincarnated as a goat.
- Soul Travel, eckankar.org
- Klemp, Harold. A Cosmic Sea of Words, The ECKANKAR Lexicon. Minneapolis: Eckankar, 2009. ISBN 978-1-57043-286-6
- Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America - Volume 5 - Page 113, Eugene V. Gallagher, W. Michael Ashcraft - 2006
- The Amazing Truth About Paul Twitchell and Eckankar