Darwin Gross

Darwin Gross

Darwin Gross (1928–2008) was an American spiritual teacher who succeeded to the leadership of Eckankar in 1971 at the death of its founder Paul Twitchell. Gross officially took up the position of "Living ECK Master" on October 22, 1971 and appointed his successor Harold Klemp as Living Eck Master on October 22, 1981. Darwin continued afterwards as a spiritual teacher and musician.



Darwin Gross was born in 1928 in Denhoff, North Dakota. As a child, Darwin was brought up in the Mennonite faith. As a young man, he served with the US 11th Airborne Division in Japan following World War II. Later, Gross worked as an engineer, acquiring gigs on the side as a jazz musician. He described in his books a childhood filled with encounters and learning from many of the spiritual teachers of Eckankar. The moment he found the writings of Paul Twitchell, he recognized this as the same teaching he had been receiving inwardly since a child. He began studying Paul's mail-order discourses and soon wrote to Twitchell asking how he could help set up classes in the Portland, Oregon area where he lived. Paul wrote back in November, 1969, encouraging Darwin to start some of the first Eck Satsang classes in the Northwestern United States. Darwin continued taking on greater responsibilities with Eckankar and on many occasions traveled with Paul Twitchell to Eckankar Seminars. Gross gained the Eckankar title of leadership, the "Living Eck Master", upon Twitchell's death in October 1971.

On October 22, 1981, Darwin Gross publicly appointed Harold Klemp as the Living Eck Master due to physical health problems. Darwin continued on with management responsibilities, running the corporate organization of Eckankar until 1983. During these final two years, differences in vision and management direction grew between Gross and Klemp. It became increasingly difficult for the Eckankar movement to have two leaders. In 1983 Gross was voted out of his position by the Eckankar Board of Directors under controversial circumstances involving unproven charges against Gross of misappropriation of Eckankar corporate funds[1]. As Klemp entered an exclusive leadership role, the Eckankar corporate structure was changed in the State of California creating a new State precedent. This gave Klemp new authority in leadership as the only voting member of the Eckankar corporation[2][3]. This change, considered by Gross as a "hostile takeover" of the corporation, was formally filed in the State of California on June 20, 1985. The policies giving Klemp exclusive powers were changed in Eckankar's Minnesota corporate papers on January 30, 1987 and were also changed in the Eckankar Nevada corporate papers on December 21, 1987[4].

Following the rift in Eckankar leadership in 1983, the majority of ECKists chose to follow Harold Klemp, but a number joined Darwin Gross and continue to learn under his new organization: "ATOM: Ancient Teachings of the Masters," [2] which includes many ideas and concepts outlined by Eckankar's founder Paul Twitchell.

In 1988, "The John Ankerberg Show" interviewed Gross in reference to the use of the term as he said, "I always looked at myself as not the Mahanta but a vehicle for it[5][6]."

On Saturday, March 8, 2008, at 10:35 a.m. PST, Darwin Gross died at the age of 80, leaving behind a legacy of spiritual knowledge. According to the ATOM website, "Darwin’s Living Trust provides that his writings, music and unpublished works shall be held in trust to carry on his memory and life’s work as well as his predecessor’s, Sri Paul Twitchell. The Teachings will continue to be made available to those who are interested in this most direct path to God."

Quotes from Darwin Gross on the ATOM website include:

“As one unfolds spiritually, there is nothing to give up physically nor spiritually. The only things that you give up are the little things within yourself, that the mind constantly haggles over and the grievances you might have that the mind sets forth."

"One learns in ATOM to accept and allow the Divine Spirit to come in and unite with the small point of light or seed of knowing and revolve around it and adhere to it but allow it to flow and do its work to assist you, for you have taken the initiative to bring it forth. You can't help but grow spiritually."

“The one thing we as human beings must learn is to get above the astral and mental thoughts and their forces, and allow the one God to lead us, then we will not be misled.… All the answers to questions the individual might have can be found at the temple within.”


During the decade of his leadership of Eckankar, Gross expanded the physical organization and membership of Eckankar substantially. His leadership was considered important for the followers of Eckankar during the time, prior to his spiritual fall.

Current ATOM students of Darwin Gross, who still study his discourses and books, consider Gross to be a very ancient master. Gross, like his teacher Paul Twitchell - the originator of Eckankar, is considered a spiritual master who has descended from an ancient and direct line extending into a history that is said to predate the early history and existence of our planet and solar system.

Darwin Gross's writings and talks are, available from the ATOM web site [3] and through on-line bookshops such as Amazon.com.


  • From Heaven to the Prairie, an autobiography (published while Eck Master)
  • Your Right to Know (published while Eck Master)
  • Power of Awareness
  • The Atom
  • Awakened Imagination
  • Forbidden Knowledge
  • You Can't Turn Back
  • Hero by Gross's lifelong secretary and former Eckist, Bernadine Burlin
  • Consciousness Is Life


  1. ^ [1] United States District Court Oregon 1984 - Sri Darwin Gross vs Eckankar Corporation
  2. ^ http://law.justia.com/california/codes/corp/9220-9226.html California corporate law code 9224(a)- Selection, Removal and Resignation of Directors
  3. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20080626010318/http://www.geocities.com/bill_flavell/SriDarwinGrossHaroldKlemp10.14.89LetterPg5.jpg Darwin Gross letter Oct. 11, 1989
  4. ^ http://www.hoovers.com/free/search/simple/xmillion/index.xhtml?what=4&what=4&query_string=Eckankar+Inc.&which=company&page=1&x=59&y=19&hoovcountry=us&bcl=1&state=NV Company Search Portal - Eckankar Inc Las Vegas, NV
  5. ^ 1988 Darwin Gross interview John Ankerberg TV
  6. ^ John Ankerberg TV show archive

External links

  • ATOM Darwin Gross's books and music for sale.

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