There is an Internet news group called alt.religion.eckankar (A.R.E) where many of the denizens are people who have a great hatred for Eckankar. The following is a letter I wrote to a well-meaning friend who has been participating in it.

Dear Robert,

One of the problems with A.R.E. is that it is a cesspool of anger and recrimination. You cannot stay there for any length of time and not get out of balance. Those people who dwell there are nuts This R.F. Pickett person is obviously one of them.

I used to do battle there back around 1993. I started an e-mail chat group called "Hu-talk" back then, which later evolved into "chela chat". It took me some time to realize that A.R.E. was devoid of rational, respectful discussion, but was instead a vortex of anger.

People who are not rational - who are crazy are... crazy. You cannot reason with them or exchange ideas in an informational way. That's part of what crazy is.

I respect your intent to bring some love and sanity to a corner of the world that is notably lacking in such. And certainly it is of concern when someone uses anger and worse in the name of Eckankar. But y'know, there's nothing we can really do about it ourselves.

Do you know that this R.F. Pickett person is really an HI (Higher Intiate)? There are instances of people making various claims to being Eck Masters and such, and then using this assumed position to pass judgement and/or exert some authority. They only have the authority we grant them.

There will always be people like this out there making weird statements purporting to be Eck clery/Masters/Mahanta-in-training. I really wouldn't worry about it if I were you and I'll tell you why.

The Eck doesn't need us to defend it.

The Eck, Truth, Sugmad simply are. That's what Paul said, n'est pas?

Regaredless of what anyone says about Eck or Eckankar, ultimately it is the individual who has to examine for themselves what it is and isn't. If someone is going to read A.R.E. and decide that Eckankar is a cult full of wackos like R.F. Pickett, then they have let A.R.E. make their decision for them. A person who is actually ready for the Eck teaching is one who has to know Truth for himself or herself personally. We don't have to worry that someone will get the wrong idea about Eckankar. Their experience is theirs and is as it should be.

I don't know if there is any kind of mechanism in Eckankar for review of the personal behavior of HI's. Is anyone here from the Eckankar Police? If an HI is acting in an improper manner as a representative of Eckankar, I'd think that the local RESA (Regional Eck Spiritual Aide) would be the person responsible for dealing with it. Certainly there is a formal procedure for assessing people and offering them new initiations, especially the 5th! So I suppose there must be some sort of review process for behavior unbecoming of an Eck HI.

On the other hand, consider what it is to be an HI. Think of the amount of Eck flowing through each of us and what it would do to us to dwell in the well of anger that R.F. Pickett lives in. I think this person must be suffering greatly to be so angry, not to mention the karmic burden that is being carried and built.

The Eck teaching transcends any human organization, which Eckankar most certainly is. Yes the LEM (Living Eck Master) is the clear channel for the Eck teaching, but the LEM was underground for millennia and will likely go underground again at some time in the future. The kinds of things like an R.F. Pickett wacko foaming at the mouth on A.R.E., or some other nutcase claiming to be an Eck Master, or even claiming to be the LEM... all these are part of the lower world and are to be expected.

R.F. Pickett has made his/her choice and should be the only one to have to live with it. You can take on this issue/karma if you wish, but I would like to suggest that it will be a lose/lose/lose proposition for you.

Stay cool man.
Stay Eck.

Russ Button