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Death and Suicide
Because of its unique conception of Soul as the root of life and existence, Eckankar understands death not as a finality, but rather as part of the process of spiritual knowledge.
As ECKists understand it, “We are greater than the physical body we now wear…There is no need to fear death, for death is simply a continuum of life and Soul lives forever.”1 After death, John, the tour guide, said, “Soul goes to a plane of existence and before you reincarnate you work out what kind of life its going to be and what your spiritual goals are for that lifetime. Everybody reincarnates.” As a result of this process of reincarnation, “[ECKists] often refer to death as translation. Many ECKists prefer cremation to burial.”2 Eckankar’s positive conception of death appeals to many ECKists. “A lot of the world goes around with the fear of death. That’s something you don’t have [in Eckankar],” said Cheryl Seese, an ECKist from Chaska.3
There is no need to fear death, for death is simply a continuum of life and Soul lives forever.
Although death, in Eckankar, is understood as just a state of being for the Soul, the way one dies is significant in the religion.
“Youth who take their lives are to be pitied only because they threw away on a whim the divine blessing of this life…The teachings of Eckankar view human life on a broader scale. Each human life is a precious gift of God. After all, survival is one of our key teachings. Life is to cherish. Be respectful of all life, especially your own. When someone commits suicide, it’s due to ignorance or a willful disobedience of spiritual law. That person has made a shortsighted choice. The spiritual hierarchy will require that Soul to make amends in another human life, and another, under much more trying conditions. Finally, that Soul learns that suicide is no answer. Just another problem. You will show love and compassion to the survivors.”4
Sandy Di Nanni, “A Question of Faith,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 28, 2003, 7B. ↩
Eckankar, About Eckankar (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 2003), 5. ↩
Sam Barnes, “Members of temple say they have the passport for spiritual travels,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, January 18, 2006, 2W. ↩
Harold Klemp, Youth Ask A Modern Prophet about Life, Love, and God (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 2004), 126-127. ↩