Eckankar was organized as a religious movement by Paul Twitchell in 1965. The personal experience of the “Light and Sound of God” is one of the aims of the many spiritual exercises that are delineated in the numerous books available to the general public as well as in the discourses accessible to members only. Eckankar followers believe it provides an individual spiritual path to an understanding of self as eternal Soul and the development of higher states of consciousness. Followers of Eckankar commonly refer to themselves as “Eckists”.
Eckankar’s international headquarters are in Chanhassen, Minnesota, southwest of Minneapolis. The Temple of ECK, an outdoor chapel, an administrative building, and the ECK Spiritual Campus are located at this site. Between the 1970s and 1980s, Eckankar had an estimated yearly paid membership of 40,000 – 100,000 and 500,000 to 3 million followers worldwide. In 2013 Eckankar’s website says “There are tens of thousands of ECKists around the world”.
Noy, Michael (interviewee)
Boykin, Aaron (interviewee)
Interview with Noy (Midwest representative of Eckankar) and Boykin (local representative).