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It seems to me that attention to religious values has diminished around the world. The new heroes are the pop stars, and the new values are materialism, leisure activities, and social networking. These seem to be today’s “golden calf.” Most people are curious but don’t want to be more involved spiritually.

Is this trend something that will last forever?

You have put your finger squarely upon the current situation. There is more societal “noise” than ever.

But listen carefully. Amid the din there come the scattered cries of a few Souls: “Is this all there is?” Their minds say yes, but their hearts say no. So they keep holding out their cups, hoping against improbable hope to one day find the gold coin of love and truth in it.

The growing distractions around us are Kal’s finest attempts to stymie our efforts to reach these desperate Souls. Kal is worried about a prison breakout.

Our challenge is great. We must be on social networks to let seekers know that the Mᴀʜᴀɴᴛᴀ, the Living ECK Master—the spiritual liberator—walks among them.

I like people, and so do you. My honest question to the curious would be, “Why are you hesitant about the path of ECK?” Just listen; don’t counter; thank them. (We are now simply gathering information.)

Please send your findings to Vahana Services or your RESA. We must really work together on this.

I am very excited about the move to offer The Easy Way Discourses and Satsang to newcomers a lot more quickly than we used to. I wonder if you would offer some guidance about language. I am having difficulty with the concept of “signing people up.”

Perhaps I am being too mental here, but I see the commitment to membership being between the newcomer and the Mᴀʜᴀɴᴛᴀ. My role here would be to offer the discourse and Satsang so that people can experience the Mᴀʜᴀɴᴛᴀ, the ECK, and ECKANKAR and make an outer choice as the Second Initiation approaches. Do you have a comment?

Your point is well taken. A commitment to ECK membership is like a spiritual pact between the Master and an individual. That is to be the real focus.

Signing a piece of paper to set the wheels in motion to receive the many benefits of ECK membership is necessary, of course. Then the new chela’s date of becoming a member is recorded for, among other things, when he or she will be eligible for the all-important Second Initiation. That name, then, is further added to the mailing list. This ensures the sending of an ECK discourse, the Mystic World, and info about other spiritual aids available from ECKANKAR.

By the way, the words “signing people up” are not a part of the Easy Way program.

It seems to me that too often, speakers at regional ECK seminars are not as considerate of the newcomers as they could be. It’s almost as if the presenters forget there are newcomers present. Can you share any insights about the importance of presenting ECK in a way that is beneficial to both the newcomer and chela alike? Any ideas about how we can help newcomers feel more welcome at our regional seminars? Thank you so much.

Your concern is one of mine too—when it appears. Fortunately, there are now many ECK speakers who keep the whole audience in mind, from the newcomers to those who’ve been in ECK for years.

Why are the good speakers good?

Perhaps they best understand the two opposing, but necessary, sides of any spoken or written ECK message. These two sides are (1) the spiritual benefits of ECK to a seeker and (2) the features, the means by which the spiritual benefits may come into his hands. These means include the ECK brochures, books, tapes, seminars, classes, and other presentations.

A good speaker first addresses the spiritual benefits. The whole audience wants to see how the ECK teachings will give them more fulfillment. Some may want a continued assurance of it.

Will the listener find in ECK more joy, peace, and understanding? Will he have help in gaining these benefits? Where’s the proof? He’d appreciate strong stories and examples about people who realize a change for the better in their day-to-day doings.

Good speakers key in on the spiritual benefits of ECK. Then, and only then, do they follow up with the many features available in ECKANKAR.

The correct order of presenting these two sides is at the very core of an above-average ECK talk.

First, benefits; then, features.

Of course, a good speaker also places stories above philosophy (opinion in a long, windy talk that uses few memorable images). For now, I’ll leave to you the solution to this vexing concern. A direction: ask newcomers.

—Sri Harold Klemp

Each of these Q&As highlights key factors that lie at the heart of being a Vahana. What are your takeaways? The Inner Master will be giving you a chance to practice your skills!