All my Books Are Now Available in India

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How I Started Writing (And What Became of It), by Stephen Knapp

            I am writing this because many times people ask me how I got into writing, especially after having written so many books and articles. So I have decided to give it a full explanation to reveal how it began, whether my writing be an artistic, intellectual or spiritual expression.
            To begin with, I had always liked writing. I wrote as a means of expression and documentation, and for sharing with others my thoughts, realizations and experiences. I wrote my first science fiction story in my first grade class. As I grew, I tended to be attracted to the arts far more than athletics, even though all my neighborhood friends always played sports. Later, I also wrote poetry. Then in my early twenties I kept a journal for several years, which, later on while reading it, served as an interesting reminder of all the foolish things I’ve tried through the years, and then I threw most of it away.
            I tried writing an adventure novel when I was a teenager when the James Bond series became popular. Needless to say, I never got past 20 pages. I had also taken an interest in music and seriously pursued that for 10 years, when I focused on guitar and especially bass guitar, becoming quite good at it, taking the bass into areas of being a lead instrument rather than merely a part of the rhythm section. This was back in the late 1960s and early 70s before many bass players tried to do that.
            I also took an interest in painting, doing graphic designs in the psychedelic and black light genres in the late 60s. That was fun at the time. Painting lead me into being interested in photography, which started as an artistic expression, later leading me into wedding photography and doing a few hundred weddings over several years. Then I started doing what I call cultural photojournalism, which I still do today when I travel to India, developing a collection of over 18,000 slides and images I’ve taken of Indian holy places, festivals, people, historical sites, etc.
            Only after I took to my spiritual pursuits and reading many books on Eastern philosophy in the early 1970s, especially those of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, did I start writing my own summaries and my own indexes to these books. Some of these were quite extensive and served as excellent reviews and study guides for later research when I needed them. This was long before they had such books on the Vedabase or computer, which made looking up topics much easier. In fact, to this day I still use those indexes that I wrote to look up the relevant references I need in my research for writing.
            Later, in the 1980s, I started to think that many other people, especially westerners like me, would also probably like to have access to this information, but without having to read 20 volumes of books in order to put it altogether and understand it properly. So I started thinking that writing some good, in-depth introductory literature might fill a need, especially at the time when many people were looking more deeply into Eastern philosophy to make sense of things or to add more meaning to their lives.

WHAT MOTIVATED ME TO WRITE
            One thing I saw early on was that bookstores had many metaphysical and new age and philosophical books, but many of these used no real basis of authority, were sometimes without references, and could also be merely someone’s ramblings and speculations that were misleading. And these were published books? My concern was how to get some authorized material out there that could lead people to real spirituality, and also to an accurate view of what is genuine Vedic philosophy.
            Another thing I saw was the genius of Srila Prabhupada who was practically the first to make standard Eastern texts and authorized translations, like the Bhagavad-gita and the more extensive Srimad-Bhagavatam as well as others, acceptable to the general marketplace by making them attractive, both through nice covers and beautiful interior illustrations on the topics described within. He was very particular about how the books were meant to be presented and formatted, and how the interior paintings were meant to look. These were actually able to be placed in some bookstores. Nonetheless, most of these books were still distributed hand-to-hand by the devotees to others. And the activities of selling these spiritual books through the devotees was quite lucrative. But it was not something that I could do very well. The temple president would force me to go out and try, but when I would return, I would have little to show for it.
            I was not very good at doing this sort of book distribution. I had no problem in talking to people who were already interested, but I was rather introverted and did not like approaching people who were strangers to me. I thought that there must be another way through which people would become attracted to this knowledge, a way in which the books would sell themselves, or a way wherein people would be interested to buy the books of their own accord. A way in which I, a shy person, could also participate in distributing this knowledge through books without having to go door-to-door or person to person. Nonetheless, many people appreciated the books that were sold by the devotees. And now there are ways of putting the books of Srila Prabhupada on book stands wherein they are attractive and easily purchased by customers. This is very important, but I also had some ideas. So, what to do?

THE TURNING POINT
            While living in the ashrama and serving in the Denver temple in 1975 and 76 as a manager and treasurer, I would get notices from the Los Angeles BBT (Bhaktivedanta Book Trust) that would include quotes by Srila Prabhupada wherein he would say that he expected his disciples to read all of his books, and then they should also write according to their own realizations. This stuck with me for a long time.
            In fact, I was addicted to his books. The very vibration that the books exuded kept me holding and reading them. I would go so far as to stay up late at night just to get the time to read these books. After everyone else went to sleep in the ashrama, I would light a candle and sit, using my trunk as a desk, and read and take notes. The temple president at the time got angry with me for spending all of my spare time reading. I remember he told me once that reading was for temple presidents and sannyasis, and everyone else should simply serve. I knew that was bhogus because of what I had already read from Srila Prabhupada books and the quotes I got from Los Angeles. However, I was not one to argue, at least back then, but I was also not one to give in to some poppycock. If I could not read these books, especially the new ones that were coming out, along with doing whatever other service I was scheduled to do in the temple, I would have easily left the temple and simply worked outside to feed my habit of reading his books. But I stayed in the ashrama, did my service and sadhana, and kept reading anyway.
            By 1984, I stopped writing my own reviews and indexes to the BBT books, except for any new ones that were published, and started thinking of how I could start writing my own books and articles to introduce this spiritual knowledge to others. By then I was located in Detroit, living in my own apartment, and where the temple did not have a newsletter to offer and send out to their congregation. Many temples did that, but we did not have one at the time. So I volunteered to make one, like a quarterly publication, a simple four page foldout. Even the temple president wanted to have such a newsletter. So I put a few things together, interviewed the temple president on his vision for the temple, made a prototype of the newsletter and about 20 copies to show people. Everyone liked it and agreed this should go forward. So I was set to go. But the temple treasurer at the time told me that, in spite of everyone else’s approval, he was not going to give any money for the project. In an extremely rude manner, he simply said, “Sri Nandanandana, I’m not giving you any money for this.” Then he laughed in my face and smirkingly said, “Good luck.”
            It was right then when I realized that if I was going to do any project that I thought was necessary and that I wanted to do to share in distributing this knowledge, even a simple quarterly newsletter, I should not expect any support from anyone. Certainly not even the temple. I was on my own and would have to do everything myself. (I did not know it at the time, but this was Krishna’s arrangement to direct me in a way to do something far bigger.) And so, even though I was disappointed, rather than getting mad or upset that someone was not supporting me and not allowing me to do this project, even when others thought it was a good idea, I merely thought of how to get around this problem, and then I made a plan.

NOT GIVING UP
            The first thing was to write something. At first I thought I would write a fiction novel that would incorporate the spiritual knowledge people should understand. I had a number of ideas, but the words simply were not coming to mind, and I couldn’t write anything.
            So I started to think about writing non-fiction, and then things simply exploded. I had too many things to say, too many ideas. Finally, I decided to write a home study course, which included a book on the main topics, a few tapes to listen to, a few additional transcripts of songs and things to read, and then a test, which when passed, a person would get a certificate of completion. So I started writing in my spare time. But how to finance this?
            Later, I made up a business plan calculating how much money may be needed and how much income I may get back and presented it to our local GBC or Iskcon authority. Again the response was nil. Nothing was said in return, either positive or negative. Later I learned that he was having his own problems and was soon gone from Iskcon anyway. So now what to do?
            So I again realized that though I knew I had a good idea and a vision of how to do it, no one else had the faith. So I would have to finance it myself. After that I got a regular job, at first as a security guard. This allowed me to do my service around the temple and then work in the evening. It also allowed me to read and study most of the time while at work. So in the morning I would write, and then I would work the evening shift and spend most of my time reading. This worked out great. And then the money I earned went towards publishing.
            I then learned all about the publishing business and how to form my own publishing company, which I did as The World Relief Network. When you are a small business, you need to sound like you are big, global even, so others will be more willing to work with you, or in this case order my books. Plus, I really was trying to relieve the world of its problems by spreading spiritual knowledge. So I registered the name, got my own ISBN numbers for my books and publishing company, and whatever else I needed, so when my first book came out, in 1986, which was “The Secret Teachings of the Vedas,” it was listed in Bowker’s “Books in Print” and other directories, along with my publishing company. I printed only 100 copies at the time, a simple edition which was in rather small print. Then I advertised the home study course in a few publications. It was fun when orders would come in, but to my surprise, most people would order only the book, and only a very few ordered the whole course. That was OK with me, but it was not what I expected.
            Then something happened that really surprised me. A large distributing company, Baker & Taylor, started ordering the book from me. They had obviously gotten orders for it, and they serviced both libraries and book stores. So this put everything into a different perspective. Then I realized that I needed to get more serious about this and do things more professionally.

UPGRADING THE BUSINESS
            By 1987 I had been to India and had taken lots of photos and gathered lots of information on the spiritual traditions on the holy places of India. So when I sold out of the first edition of my book, I re-edited it with a more readable interior, and professional cover with a color photograph, put in a travel section with 60 or more black and white photographs, and everything else that it needed. I then had 2000 copies printed. Then I re-marketed it under my legal name of Stephen Knapp rather than my spiritual name, which seemed a little difficult for most people to say. Gradually, things started to take off.
            I had divided the original manuscript into two parts. So, a few years later, the second part was made into my second book, “The Universal Path to Enlightenment,” which was a review of the basic spiritual paths and religions around the world, and the factors that were common to all of them that was also the essence of the Vedic path, concluding with the way to enlightenment in this age through chanting the holy names. Putting another travel section in it, I then published this as well. As sales picked up, I realized that this was becoming like a cottage industry.
            The only thing is that publishing is a fast way to make a slow buck. In other words, you have to invest a sizable amount of money, like $5000 at that time, for a good 2000 copies of the 300 page book, which gives you a good discount on the per-book-basis (costing roughly $3 or so per book), and able to still make a profit on each book sale, selling them for $14.95 retail, or $6.93 wholesale at a 55% discount to wholesalers, or a 40% discount to retailers, which is the industry standard. But the money trickles back in according to the number of sales, especially when you are catering to such a small niche market as Eastern spiritual philosophy. People are interested in this topic, but you have to reach the right people and let them know the book is available for them. And unless you are already a big name in the field, sales will take time.
            To do this I had to continue working a regular job to collect the funds, or even take loans from my father, in order to keep publishing more books. My father helped me a lot, several times, but I remember he once told me to stop writing books. He was always proud of my accomplishments, but never thought I would be anything but a starving artist, or in this case a starving author. But writing was now my mission–to spread this knowledge for the benefit of others, and I had too many book ideas to stop, and positive results were happening and I was getting good feedback from readers. Even other devotees were buying my books wholesale and having good luck at selling them to occult or new age bookstores.
            So then I kept writing and stopped telling my father about what I was doing. In fact, at times not many people around me knew what I was doing, except those who bought the books. I kept quiet about it but continued working at it, writing and publishing books as I could, depending on my time and finances. The topics were varied, some books took longer to do than others, but my list of books slowly grew. And some books sold better than others.

MY PURPOSE IN WRITING
            My purpose in writing books was never to be in competition with anyone, especially the books of my own spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada. That is why I do not promote my own books that much to those who are already in the temple ashrama or initiated in the movement. They should simply finish reading all of Srila Prabhupada’s books.
            My purpose was to make this information more marketable and package it in what I thought would make it even more acceptable in today’s market place, meaning bookstores and other outlets where people could be attracted to purchase the books of their own accord. Nowadays, the internet is becoming one of the most effective avenues of distribution available. So my thought was how could I, being merely one guy, develop the most effective plan possible to reach the widest number of people regardless of where they were in the world without much help, and without having to verbally repeat the same message time and time again, especially since my memory is not what I wish it was. Anyway, whether it was perfect or not, this is what I came up with.
            My target audience was those who did not have much exposure to the Vedic spiritual knowledge, or who were looking for something deeper than what they had, and present something in a way that would make them want to take a look at it and see what it had to offer. So, what I wanted to do was to make this deep and sophisticated philosophy easy to understand for westerners like me who wanted to deepen their own spiritual development. I was so glad I had discovered it. It had completely changed my life. So, I figured other people would be happy as well, if they could get an introductory book that they could easily understand, and did not overwhelm them with what could be too many strange words or concepts.
            By the year 2000, I had written several books that were well accepted and I started getting requests to speak at engagements or conferences. This was mostly by other Hindu organizations, not the Iskcon temples, which seemed odd at first. After all, I was a part of Iskcon, but it was other Hindus who appreciated my writing the most. This was not part of the plan. My plan was to write for westerners who were looking for a simplification of this knowledge so they could apply it to their lives. The point was, if they cannot understand it, they will not remember it. If they cannot remember it, they will never apply it to their lives. And if they cannot apply it to their lives, you have missed your purpose. That is why I never wrote using too much Sanskrit or words people cannot understand. Because if people do not comprehend it, or it goes over their heads, and then they get bored, they may put the book down because of that, in which case you never know when they may pick it up again. So you have to be careful of that. So my plan was to make the sophisticated philosophy simple so anyone could understand it. And to my surprise, there were many Indian Hindus who also liked my writing style.
            One of the reasons for that was that I was fairly nonsectarian in my writing. I did not emphasize the superiority of one Vedic path over another, but presented them as all part of a family, something for everyone, but used shastric or scriptural references to make my points and show what was most recommended, and how to apply it in life in a practical way. I simply showed what the Vedic spiritual knowledge could do, what it says, and what it has to offer, especially from my own point of view and the realizations and spiritual progress that I made with it, and why others should also be interested in it. Other people also seemed to like that style of presentation.
            By 2001, I did my first organized lecture tour of India, that time with Professor Subhash Kak. The whole trip was paid for and organized, and it was my first time speaking to full Indian audiences, the size of which averaged from 100 to 200. But it went very well. I got increasingly used to it and began speaking more boldly. You could always tell how well you did by how many people came up to speak with you after the talk. And many were interested to hear the words of a Westerner on the importance of Vedic culture and how it had affected my life, and how I got started through the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. At one point in Vishakhapatnam, I spoke especially strongly about the need to protect and preserve Vedic culture by clearly understanding it and following it. Afterwards a man came up to me and said, “When you were speaking I felt like you were the return of Vivekananda.” Of course, I’m not Vivekananda, but for an Indian Hindu to say that to a Westerner, it is an extremely high compliment.
Various lecture tours continued whenever I was in India. Then in 2009, I did a lecture tour through Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Goa, etc., where I did something like 90 lectures at 76 different institutions, all in 30 days, or about three lectures a day. At this point it has been a privilege to have given hundreds of lectures and talks at other temples, conferences, colleges, universities, Dharma summits, and Hindu youth camps, and more. All this was because of writing books and becoming known as an author and authority on topics regarding different aspects of the Vedic spiritual culture, and for being one who still strongly advises the need and ways to protect, preserve, promote, and to perpetuate the Vedic culture.

FINALLY REACHING MY GOAL
            The advantage of having written the books I’ve done is that I have since been to India 10 times to give lecture tours while having someone else pay my way and organize the events. It has opened many doors of opportunity for my own preaching work in ways I never expected. Even now I get invited to more conferences than I can attend, and I have met many other writers and authors who have also been working on spreading this knowledge in their own ways. I have also met many other spiritual authorities from various walks of life, many of whom have appreciated what I do, and I now get emails from people all over the world, some places rather remote and where I never would have gone personally, who express their gratitude for having come in contact with my books or the articles on my website, and to keep up the great work. These are all great to receive and for which I am most thankful.
            Presently, I have now completed 25 books, and a dozen free Ebooks, along with numerous articles on my website, to help people understand many different aspects of Vedic culture and its spiritual philosophy. I have over 5000 Facebook friends, a list of 1800 and growing followers, and other newslists with many people who stay in tune with the writing I do, and what I have to say. My websites (www.stephen-knapp.com or http://stephenknapp.info and https://stephenknapp.wordpress.com) also attract 4000 unique visitors everyday, and get from 15,000 to 20,000 hits a day. I’ve also put out a number of lecture and travel videos on the internet that have been much appreciated as well. Much to my surprise, it all keeps growing.
            My books are all available through Amazon.com and many other outlets, and they sell on a continual basis without much promotion, whether it is only several a week or over 50 a week. The books are also available in Kindle and other E-reader formats, which now sell more than my paperback books. And all of this happened simply because of my decision to make my own plan when I was not allowed to do a simple newsletter for the temple. But there are others who are also doing fantastic work to help spread this knowledge, too. I’m just glad to be a part of it.
            Thankfully, now I no longer need loans, nor do I need to work at outside jobs to get the money I need to keep publishing and writing my books as I did years ago. That is a blessing by itself. Now I can simply focus on my service to God, to humanity, and to Guru. Publishing has also gotten much simpler than before, and the outlets for books make it possible to reach greater numbers of people in more countries than ever before. So things have improved greatly.
            However, I need to remember that this was a slow process of reaching this stage, and has taken years of austerity and hard work. Yet, it is not like I can sit back and relax. I feel I still have more important books to write, and this takes more research, more writing, and more publishing. So I’m far from done yet, though I admit I’m fairly pleased with what I have accomplished so far, even without the support from anyone to help me do this, except my father who helped a lot at first, but later told me I should stop doing this. But my goal was to help as many people as possible and relieve the world as much as possible from the troubles that evolve from a lack of spiritual understanding. That was always my purpose to share what I’ve learned with those who may also be interested. It turned out that there were many more who were interested than I expected. That is a pleasant surprise. I may not be the most popular writer in the spiritual genre, and I certainly don’t plan to be, but I’m happy with what I’ve been able to accomplish, which is now more than I expected. It also gives me great pleasure to hear how my books have assisted various devotees early in their spiritual development. That is what I live for, to help in this way for everyone.
            Nonetheless, what has served me most, besides the encouragement from people who really appreciated and benefitted from my books, was the instructions from my own spiritual master to write according to my own realizations, along with the blessings from God to help me have the strength and perseverance to keep going, and the mantra “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.” I never gave up, but continued to pursue what I thought was a necessary need in the world, to help spread genuine and deep spiritual knowledge and the means to follow the path by which anyone could attain their own spiritual realizations and direct perception of these spiritual truths.
            I still have more work to do, but I’m also happy that at this point I have set up things in a way wherein even if I died today, my work and books will continue to circulate and be available to those who are interested, and benefit those who are looking for this type of deep spiritual knowledge and insight. Who knows how many people I may continue to assist in the coming generations, people I will never know. I am very thankful for being able to help in such a way. Nothing means more to me than this.
            All glories to Guru and Gauranga!
            Sri Nandanandana dasa (Stephen Knapp)

Crimes Against India: And the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition

Crimes Against India

 And The Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition

1000 Years of Attacks Against Hinduism And What to do About it

by Stephen Knapp


 This is an extremely revealing and important book for protecting, preserving, and promoting the profound and ancient Vedic tradition of India. India is a most resilient country, and is presently becoming a great economic power in the world. It also has one of the oldest and dynamic cultures the world has ever known, but few people seem to understand the many trials and difficulties that the country has faced, or the present problems India is still forced to deal with in preserving the culture of the majority Hindus who live in the country. This is described in the real history of the country, which a decreasing number of people seem to recall.

Therefore, this book is to honor the efforts that have been shown by those in the past who fought and worked to protect India and its culture, and to help preserve India as the homeland of a living and dynamic Vedic tradition of Sanatana-dharma (the eternal path of duty, wisdom, and spiritual development).

There are also many people who do not know of the many angles and ways in which this profound heritage is being attacked and threatened today, and what we can do about it. There is much to do to protect this culture, and until we are aware of how it has been assaulted in the past, and how it is threatened in the present, we will not have the motivation to take a stand and defend it for its future.

 Therefore, we should carefully understand:

  • How there is presently a war against Hinduism and its yoga culture.
  • The weaknesses of India that allowed invaders to conquer her.
  • Lessons from India’s real history that should not be forgotten.
  • The atrocities committed by the Muslim invaders, and how they tried to destroy Vedic culture and its many temples, and slaughtered thousands of Indian Hindus. 
  • How the British viciously exploited India and its people for its resources.
  • How the cruelest of all Christian Inquisitions in Goa tortured and killed thousands of Hindus.
  • Action plans for preserving and strengthening Vedic India today.
  • How all Hindus and concerned people must stand up and be strong for protecting the universal spiritual traditions of Vedic culture.

 In the darkest of eras that this world has seen and will see in the future, the Vedic tradition, the culture of yoga, will remain India’s gift to the people who inhabit this planet. It is this spiritual culture of Sanatana-dharma that remains the spiritual guide of humanity. This is the reason why India is here, and for the contribution that she makes, and the reason why we must work to protect it.


Book Review by David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)

             Hinduism remains the most attacked and under siege of all the major world religions. This is in spite of the fact that Hinduism is the most tolerant, pluralistic and synthetic of the world’s major religions. Hindu gurus have more than any other religious teachers in the world tried to find an underlying unity of religion to create peace in humanity. Yet though Hindu gurus have called for respect for all religions, leaders of other religions have not responded in kind by offering any respect for Hinduism. Instead they have continued to promote their missionary agendas and plan the conversion of India to their beliefs.

            Why is Hinduism still so much a target of missionaries and the media? It is really very simple. Hinduism is the largest of the non-conversion, non-proselytizing religions and so offers the greatest possibilities for conversion. It is the vulnerability of Hinduism that makes it a target, not the fact that Hindus are trying to convert or conquer the world for some hostile belief.

After Christianity and Islam, Hinduism is the world’s largest religion and the largest of the non-Biblical traditions. India, where most Hindus reside, has the most open laws allowing in foreign religious groups. While missionaries are virtually banned in China and in Islamic countries, in India they are often tolerated, respected and given a wide scope of activity. Since Christianity is in decline, particularly in Europe, it has a need to find new converts for which India is one of main potential locations, particularly as a comparatively high percentage of Hindu converts are willing to become priests and nuns. Pope John Paul II in a trip to India some ten years ago spoke directly of looking for a ‘rich harvest of souls in the third millennium in Asia’, specifically India.

            Yet most Hindus and groups sympathetic to them are not aware of this ‘siege on Hinduism’ that continues unrelenting as part of the multi-national missionary business. In this context, the book of Stephen Knapp, Crimes Against India: and the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition, is very timely, well written and well documented. The siege on Hinduism has been going on since the first Islamic armies and Christian missionaries entered India as he clearly delineates and has continued in various forms, violent, subversive or even charitably based.

            While people know the history of the genocide of the Jews by the Nazis, the greater and longer genocide of Hindus by Islamic invaders is hardly noticed. Even the genocide in the Bangladesh War of 1971, in which most of the several million killed were Hindus, is not acknowledged as a religious genocide. While people know the history of the Inquisition and the burning of witches in Europe and the genocide of Native Americans by Christian invaders, they don’t realize that India has a similar history in parts of the country like Goa. Knapp fills in these gaps and makes these connections.

            More importantly, people don’t realize that questionable conversion tactics are still being used in India today, where in the South, the rate offered for conversion is around twenty thousand rupies, going up and down with the economy! They also don’t realize that it is now American Evangelicals of the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson line – the religious right that brought George Bush to power – that is spearheading conversion activity and church building in South India, pouring billions into the country.

            Yet Knapp’s book is not just written to make us aware of this assault on Hinduism and its many dangers. He also provides a way forward, showing how Hindu Dharma can be revived, better taught, better communicated and more widely shared with the global audience, which is becoming progressively more receptive to Hindu teachings of Yoga, Vedanta and respect for nature. He documents the Hindu renaissance and the modern Hindu movement, which though small is growing rapidly as a Hindu response to this denigration of its venerable traditions. He shows that Hindus are not responding in terms of becoming another intolerant, exclusivist missionary cult. They are organizing themselves in terms of teaching, service and spiritual practices.

The book is well worth reading and will show any open minded person the Hindu side of a millennial debate on religion that has so far largely excluded the Hindu point of view. That Knapp is a western born Hindu adds to his credibility and conviction. He is not simply defending a tradition handed down by his family or his culture, but one that he has embraced from deep spiritual conviction and profound inner experience.

One hopes that readers in India will listen to his voice and that those outside of the country will recognize the Hindu plight along with the other forms of oppression going on in the world. Religious minorities at a global level are still under the assault of religious majorities, which have long been armed with petrodollars, high technology and control of the media. Yet as the book demonstrates, the tide is beginning to turn.

 


Contents

 PART ONE

THE WAR AGAINST INDIA’S ANCIENT TRADITIONS

 Chapter One:

The Purpose of This Book and Defending Dharma

 

Chapter Two:

The War Against Hinduism

 

Chapter Three:

Vedic Culture: The Last Bastion of Deep Spiritual Truth

            The Prison of Religion * The Freedom in Vedic Culture

 

PART TWO

INDIA’S HISTORY AND ITS BATTLES TO PROTECT ITS CULTURE

 Chapter Four

Early Invasions and the Weaknesses of India

            The First Attacks of Islam * The Main Failure and Weakness of India * Do Not Miss the Message of the Past

 

Chapter Five

The Real Intentions of Islamic Invaders

 

Chapter Six

Historical Episodes in India’s History that Should Not be Forgotten

            The Attacks of Mahmoud Ghazni * Mahmoud Ghazni’s Attack on Mathura * The Destruction of Somnath * Muhammad Ghuri * The Slave (Mamluk) Sultans * The Khaljis * Warning Signs of Tyranny * The Sacking of Chidambaram and Sri Rangam * The Tughlaqs * The Plunder of Jagannatha Puri * Invasion of Kathmandu * Muzaffar Shah’s Attack on Somnath * Amir Timur * The Sayyids * The Lodis * Sikandar Lodi’s Treatment of Mathura * Dwaraka Destroyed by Muhammad Begrha * The Mughals * The Destruction of the Govindaji Temple in Vrindavana * The Destruction of the Keshava Temple in Mathura * The Muslims Burn Lord Jagannatha at Puri * The Bahamanis * Shivaji and the Marathas * How to Win

 

Chapter Seven

The Portuguese and the Goan Inquisition

 

Chapter Eight

The Real Intention of the British in India

            The Missionaries * Keeping Indians in Poverty * Demeaning the Vedic literature * The Real Good that Came From British India * Interest in Ancient Indian Traditions in Europe * How European Interest in Hinduism Came Back to India Through Gandhi * Historical Incidents of the British in India * The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 * The “Divide and Rule” Policy of the British * On the Road to Independence * The Plague * The Slaughter at Jallianwala Bagh * The Final Struggles for a Free India—in Summary * Jinnah and the Muslim Attitude for Partition 

 

Chapter Nine

The Salt Tax: The Cause of Much Suffering and Many Deaths

            The Need for Salt * Death and Dying Under the British

 

PART THREE

THE STRUGGLES THAT GO ON TODAY

 Chapter Ten

Insidious Ideas

            Belittling the Vedic Literature * The Aryan Invasion Theory * Was There Ever an Aryan Invasion? * TheTerms “Aryan” and “Dravidian” * The Proto-Indo-European Language * The Caste System

 

Chapter Eleven

Casteism: Is It the Scourge of Hinduism, or the Perversion of a Legitimate Vedic System?

            What Casteism is Today * What is the Original Vedic System Called Varnashrama * The Earliest Reference to the Varnas * How the Present Casteism Developed * The Dangers of Casteism as we Find it Today * What we can do to Eliminate the Caste System

 

Chapter Twelve

Condescending Attitudes of India’s Elite

 

Chapter Thirteen

Cultural Preservation in India’s Northeast

            Why Bother with the Northeast? * Traveling in Arunachal Pradesh * The People of Arunachal * The Dangers in the Northeast * Working to Restore Cultural Balance * My Lectures * Preventing Loss of Culture in Nagaland * Christian Conversion Tactics in Other Parts of India * Denigration of the Vedic Tradition

 

Chapter Fourteen

The Threat Against Hindu Temples and Vedic Culture by India’s Government

            Protecting Vedic Temples

 

Chapter Fifteen

Some of the Present Threats and Challenges

Hindus Need to Be and Do More * Lack of Unity * The Waning of Vedic/Hindu Society * Unequal World Press * Terrorism and the Loss of Hindus Around India * Ridiculous Foreign Policy * India’s Politicians * Bureaucratic Corruption * The Legal System * The Threat of Pakistan * Kashmir * Muslim Tactics in Other Areas * China in Tibet 

 

Chapter Sixteen

Social Problems

            Cleanliness of India * Saving the Girl Child * Dowry * Child Labor * Bonded Labor * The Homeless * Malnutrition * Literacy * Overpopulation

 

PART FOUR

WHAT WE CAN DO NOW

 

Chapter Seventeen

Hindus Must Stand Strong for Dharma

What is Vedic Culture

 

Chapter Eighteen

Sanatana-Dharma: Its Real Meaning

 

Chapter Nineteen

About the Name “Hindu”

 

Chapter Twenty

Save Your Culture

            Solutions

 

Chapter Twenty-one

Vedic Culture: As Relevant Today as Ever

 

Chapter Twenty-two

Giving Vedic Culture to the Next Generation

            Monitoring and Reviewing Children’s School Books

 

Chapter Twenty-three

Creating a Spiritual Revolution in India for Protecting the Vedic Heritage

            Focusing on the Villages * Ways of Reaching Out to the Villages Doing Padayatras by Swamis and Acharyas * Organizing and Teaching Villagers * Building Little Temples in Each Village * Establishing an Open-Door Policy of Sharing Culture and Traditions * Villages and Conversion * Providing Spiritual Education and Practice * Book Distribution * Retraining for Temple Priests in the Villages * Providing Assistance for Medical Concerns * Providing Free Food Distribution for Children * Rallies to Protest Government’s Biased Actions * Follow-Up Actions and Organizing Villages 

 

Chapter Twenty-four

Vedic Temples: Making Them More Effective

            It’s all in the Presentation * Using the Universal Language * Temple Classes * Educating the Youth * Mentoring Programs * Training Temple Members in Service * Temple Ashramas * Temples Must be Well Kept * Festivals & Programs for the Local Community * Welcoming Non-Hindus into the Vedic Fold * Book Distribution * Cultural Presentations * Outreach Programs * Temple Tours and Cultural Exhibits for Local Students * Temple Exhibits * Temple Gift Shops * Spiritual Libraries * Temple Restaurants * Support Groups * Pilgrimages to the Holy Places of India * Promotion * Temples Must Share Methods that Work * Temple Must Help Unify People

 

Chapter Twenty-five

A Call to be Vedic Ambassadors

            Being a Vedic Ambassador

 

Conclusion

 Glossary / References / Index

 Ordering Information

 PAPERBACK: $24.95,  Size: 6″ x 9″,  Pages: 370,  ISBN: 978-1-4401-1158-7. To purchase your copy from www.iUniverse.com, do a search for Stephen Knapp to see all of his books presently at iUniverse, or click on the following link for Crimes Against India: http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000115147.

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Seeing Spiritual India: A Guide to Temples, Holy Sites, Festivals and Traditions

Seeing Spiritual India

A Guide to Temples, Holy Sites, Festivals and Traditions

By Stephen Knapp


            This is written especially for anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of the spiritual traditions of India and learn what is the importance and history of the many holy sites that you can visit while traveling within this country. It is written for both those who are new to India and those who are experienced.

            India has one of the most ancient cultures on the planet that is still a living and dynamic tradition. Many of the customs and rituals that we can see today have existed for thousands of years. This is what makes this country so interesting and draws so many people to it. It is the culture of yoga, meditation, gurus, spiritual philosophy, ancient festivals, holy men and women, sacred mountains and rivers, and the potential for becoming more aware of who we are and the purpose of life. This is what continues to attract people from all walks of life, and try to look beyond the veil of its mysteries.  

            This book will certainly help you find your way around India’s mysterious traditions, and the historical and spiritual significance of the major holy places, temples, and festivals that this region has to offer.

        *    This book divides the country into East, Central, South, North, West, the Far Northeast, and Nepal, and describes the best itineraries to take to see the most of each area.

        *    It provides descriptions of the temples and the architecture, and what you will see at each place.

        *    This book provides the significance and traditions connected with each site, the historical legends, and the spiritual benefits a person acquires by visiting each location.

        *    It helps you decide which places are the most interesting for you, where you want to go, and problems to avoid.

        *    It describes the holy places of Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, and Muslims.

        *    Packing lists suggestions and how to prepare for your trip.

        *    How to return from India with the greatest of spiritual wealth.

        *    How to get the best experience you can from your visit to India.

        *    Where you can go to most effectively perceive your own spiritual identity.

        *    How the spiritual side of India can open you to your own divine nature.

 This book goes beyond the usual descriptions of the typical tourist attractions and opens up the spiritual venue waiting to be revealed for a far deeper experience on every level.

         “Thanks to the many travels throughout India, as well as his knowledge of the culture and history, the author provides an astonishing amount of details about the subject matter of the book. Readers will delight at finding such a credible tour guide! The majority of information comes from firsthand knowledge. Adding to his credibility, the author cites sources such as Sri Upadesamrita, and better yet, even cites primary source material such as a letter written by Prince Aurangzeb in 1652 to his ruling father, Emperor Shah Jahan.

        “With so much information being presented, it would be easy for the text to become dry and hard to read. But because of personal touches and comments from the author throughout, the reader will be able to more easily visualize the journey and relate to the author.

        “Seeing Spiritual India is impressive both for the large amount of information it presents, and for the ease in which it is presented. Should a reader want to plan a trip to India to see spiritual sites, this book is truly all he or she would need!” Editorial Review from iUniverse.com, and why the book achieved and Editor’s Choice award.

 Contents

 INTRODUCTION

        Purpose and Benefits of Pilgrimage * Taking the Trains * Be Cautious * Avoiding Scams * Being Prepared * Dealing With Ricksha & Taxi Drivers * Currency Exchange * Food Precautions * Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion * Expect Personal Changes in Yourself * What If the Temples Do Not Let Us In?

 SEEING SPIRITUAL INDIA (PART 1):

THE MAJOR HOLY PLACES IN EAST AND CENTRAL INDIA AND NEPAL

        New Delhi * Mathura * Gokula * Vrindavana * Greater Vrajamandala * Agra * Fatehpur Sikri * Gwalior * Jhansi to Archha * Khajurao * Chitrakut * Allahabad * The Tradition of the Kumbha Mela * Varanasi * Sarnath * Ayodhya * Naimisaranya * Gorakhpur/Kushinagar * Going to Nepal at Saunali for Lumbini * Going to Nepal Through Raxaul to Birganj * Lumbini * Pokhara * Muktinath * Going to Kathmandu * Kathmandu * Janakpur * Where to Go Next? * Patna * Vaishali * Nalanda * Rajgir * Pawapuri * Gaya * Bodhgaya * Barabar Hill * Deoghar * Vishnupur * Kolkata * Mayapur * Ekachakra * Ramakeli * Ganga Sagar * Remuna * Jagannatha Puri * Bhubaneswar * Sri Kakulam to Kurmaksetra * Visakhapatnam * Nagpur & Rama Giri * Vijayawada * Mangalagiri * Agiripalli * Hyderabad & Yadagirigutta * Basara * Warangal * Palampet * Vemulawada * Srisailam * Alampur * Nandyal * Ahovalam * Nellore * Going to Tirupati

 SEEING SPIRITUAL INDIA (PART 2):

THE HISTORICAL HOLY SITES AND TEMPLES OF SOUTH INDIA

        Tirupati * Tirumalla * Other Temples Around Tirupati * Kalahasthi * Chennai * Temples in the Chennai Area * Tiruneermalai * Mangadu * Tiruninravar * Tiruvallur * Tiruthani * Sholingar * Thiruvidaventhal * Mamallapuram * Tirukkalikundram * Kanchipuram * Tiruvannamalai * The Story of the Shiva Lingam * Thirukkovilur * Auroville * Tiruvandhipuram * Chidambaram * Sirkazhi * Vaidesvarankoil * Mayuram * Kumbakonam * Gangakondacholapuram * Dharasuram * Swamimilai * Thiruvalamjuli * Suryanarcoil * Tribhuvanam * Other Temples Around Kumbhakonam * Nachiyarcoil * Tirucherai * Thiruvarur * Nagappattinam * Thirukannapuram * Mannargudi * Vedaranyam * Tanjore * Tiruchirappali * Thadicombu * Palni * Madurai * Alagarcoil * Thirupparankundram * Tirumohur * Srivilliputtur * Tiruthangal * Ramesvaram * Tiruchendur * The Pilgrimage to Six Murugan Temples * Sri Vaikuntham * Tirunalveli * Krishnapuram * Kanyakumari * Suchindram * Thiruattur * Trivandrum * Varkala * Kollam to Amritapuri * Haripad * Changannur * Aranmula * Sabarimala * Alappuzha * Ettumanoor * Vaikom * Kaladi * Cranganore * Guruvayoor * Trichur * Karamadai * Udupi * Sringeri * Kollur * Gokarna * Mysore * Srirangapatnam * Sravanabelogola * Belur, Halebid and Somnathpur * Melkote * Subramanya * Brindaban Gardens * Bangalore * Denkanikota * Ending Our Tour Back at Bangalore

 SEEING SPIRITUAL INDIA (PART 3):

THE MAJOR HOLY PLACES OF WESTERN INDIA

        Starting in New Delhi * Karauli * Jaipur * Ajmer & Pushkar * Osian * Chittorgarh * Udaipur * Nathdwara * Kankroli * Charbujaji * Ekalingji * Nagda * Ranakpur * Rikhabdeo * Mount Abu * Ahmedabad * Akshardam * Modhera * Patan * Dakor * Dwaraka * Beyt Dwaraka * Porbander * Veraval & Somnath * Junagadh & Girnar Hill * Bhavnagar & Palitana * Lothal * Baroda & More * Ujjain * From Bhopal to Sanchi and Vidisha * Sanchi * Vidisha * Bhimbekta * Indore and Mandu * Omkeshvara * Aurangabad to Ajanta & Ellora Caves * Ajanta * Ellora * Verul * Nasik * Pandu Lena * Tryambakeshvara * Parali * Mumbai * Karla & Bhaja Caves * Pune * The Ashtavinayaka Pilgrimage * Bhimashankar * Shivpur * Mahabaleshwar * Pandharpur * Kolhapur * Bijapur * Badami * Pattadakal * Aihole * Lakkandi * Dambal * Hospet & Hampi & Anegundi * Harihara * Tadpatri * Puttaparthi * Lepakshi * Tumkur, Shivaganga * Bangalore

 SEEING SPIRITUAL INDIA (PART 4):

THE MAJOR HISTORICAL AND HOLY PLACES OF NORTHERN INDIA

        Shukratal * Haridwar * Rishikesh * Dehra Dun * Mussoorie * Going to See the Char Dham Temples * Yamunotri * Going to Gangotri * Dodital * Uttarkashi * Gangotri * Gaumukh * On the Way to Kedarnath * Srinagar * Rudra Prayag * Okhimath * Guptakashi * Triyugi Narayana * Kedarnath * Visiting the Panch (Five) Kedar Temples * Important Towns on the Way to Badrinath * Karna Prayag * Ranikhet * Nanda Prayag * Joshimath * Vishnuprayag * Govind Ghat * Hemakund * Pandukeswara * Hanuman Chatti * Badrinath * Mana * The Five Badri Temples * Deva Prayag * Nahan * Renuka Lake * Chandigarh and Going North * Shimla * Narkhanda * Rampur * Sarahan * Bilaspur * Mandi * Kullu * Bilji * Bhekhli * Places Along the Way North to Manali * Katrain * Naggar * Bhrigu Kund * Jagatsukh * Arjuna Gupha * Vashisth * Manali * Places Around Manali * From Manali to Leh* Rohtang La * Khoksar * Keylong * Sarchu * Back From Manali to Mandi or Chandigarh * Amritsar * Going to Dharamsala * Chintpurni * Jawalamukhi Temple * Kangra * Masrur * Baijnath * Dharamsala & McLeod Ganj * Chamba * Bhramaur * Jammu * Vaishno Devi * Going to Kashmir * Towns Along the Way to Srinagar * Udhampur * Ramnagar * Sudh Mahadeva * Kud, Patnitop, and Batote * Kishtwar * Verinag * Anantnag * Martand * Avantipur * Parshaspur * Pandrethan * Going to Amarnath * Pahalgam * Sheshnag * Amarnath * The Pilgrimage to Amarnath * Srinagar * Additional Sites Around Srinigar * Khir Bhawani Temple * Burzahom * Pattan * Yusmarg * Gulmarg * The Grave of Jesus * Solomon in Kashmir * Moses in Kashmir * Going to Ladakh From Srinigar * The Dachigan Wildlife Reserve * Sonamarg * Baltal * Zoji La * Drass * Kargil * Zanskar * Sani * Karsha * Stongde * Dzongkhul * Ladakh and the Gompas West of Leh * Shergol * Mulbekh * Lamayurur * Rizong * Saspol * Alchi * Likir * Basgo * Nimmu * Phiyang * Spituk *Leh * Towns and Monasteries South of Leh * Choglamsar * Shey * The Tikse Gompa * Chemre * Thak-Thak * Stakna * The Hemis Gompa * Matho * Stok Palace * Leaving Leh Going Back to Manali * Kuruksetra * Back to Delhi

 SEEING SPIRITUAL INDIA (PART 5):

THE MAJOR HOLY SITES AND TEMPLES OF FAR NORTHEAST INDIA

        Entering the Northeast Region * Darjeeling * Kalimpong * Permits * Gangtok * Rumtek * Pemayangtse * Phodang & Labrang Monasteries * Tashiding Monastery * Assam * Arunachal Pradesh * Meghalaya * Tripura * Nagaland * Manipur

 CONCLUSION

 APPENDIX ONE:

PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP TO INDIA: A SHORT GUIDE

                Get a Passport and Visa * Immunizations * Packing List

 APPENDIX TWO:

SUGGESTED ROUTES FOR SHORT PILGRIMAGES

 APPENDIX THREE:

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS

 TRAVEL BOOKS THAT WERE HELPFUL

 GLOSSARY

 INDEX

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 ORDERING INFORMATION

        PAPERBACK: $33.95,  Size: 6″ x 9″,  Pages: 592,  ISBN: 978-0-595-50291-2. To purchase your copy from www.iUniverse.com, click on the following link: http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-50291-1 

        For international orders, call: 00-1-402-323-7800.

        E-BOOK: It is also available as an adobe e-book (for $6.00) that can be downloaded onto your computer and read anywhere through iUniverse at: http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-61452-3.

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         This will be available through other outlets and distributors, such as:

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The Eleventh Commandment: The Next Step in Social Spiritual Development

The Eleventh Commandment

The Next Step in Social Spiritual Development

 A New Code to Bring Humanity to a Higher Level of Spiritual Consciousness

By Stephen Knapp


             This is some of Stephen’s boldest and most direct writing. Based on the Universal Spiritual Truths, or the deeper levels of spiritual understanding, it presents a new code in a completely nonsectarian way that anyone should be able and willing to follow. We all know of the basic ten commandments which deal mostly with moralistic principles, but here is the Eleventh Commandment that will surely supplant the previous ones and provide a truly spiritual dimension to everything we do. It increases our awareness of the spiritual nature all around and within us.

            Anyone from any background who wants to advance in their spiritual perception needs to seriously study this new code and its deep ramifications that it expects for society to change and grow. This will lift everyone to become a more refined and civilized human being. 

            Society has been evolving for many years, progressing to the degree that its particular knowledge, understanding, and perception allow. Many people are ready and anticipating the next step in the spiritual progress of the planet that could uplift the whole society and bring a new level of peace and understanding to the world. From the various religions that are available, we have acquired certain spiritual codes and rules that we have chosen to live by, and that we have used as tools to guide us, and they have served us well. However, most would agree that there is a need to enhance humanity’s progress, even if it takes new insights and principles to add to what we already have, or even to supersede those codes that no longer provide the necessary clarity for a sharper spiritual perception and more refined awareness. Thus, this new code expects us to sophisticate ourselves to a higher level of civility, to a new dimension of activity, and to adopt progressive changes beyond what we had followed in the past. But it must be understood that its purpose is to assist us in acquiring a higher degree of spiritual perception and personal realization and development.

            Herein is the next step for consideration, which can be used as a tool for guidance, and for setting a higher standard in our society today. This can be used by anyone from any background or culture, and easily suites an interfaith dialog to propel humanity at large toward a closer spiritual unity with each other and with God. With this new principle, we can easily instill within our social structure a mutual respect for one another and a universal understanding of what we are and the spiritual similarities that we all share. The new realizations and vision that we need to attain, in order to achieve this goal, will then become apparent to us.

            This new commandment expects and directs us toward a change in our social awareness and spiritual consciousness. It is conceived, formulated, and now provided to assist humanity in reaching its true destiny, and to bring a new spiritual dimension into the basic fabric of our ordinary every day life. It is a key that unlocks the doors of perception, and opens up a whole new aspect of spiritual understanding for all of us to view. It is the commandment which precepts us to gain the knowledge of the hidden mysteries, which have for so long remained an enigma to the confused and misdirected men of this world. It holds the key which unlocks the answers to man’s quest for peace and happiness, and the next step for spiritual growth on a dynamic and all-inclusive social level.

This is a ground-breaking new code to bring humanity to a higher level of consciousness, and to increase the spiritual awareness of society. When taken to heart, it can change the way we see and interact with each other on numerous levels. It brings us to the stage of understanding that humanity is responsible for its own spiritual maturity and that it is time to manifest a more elevated civilization.

This new commandment instructs us how to alter our often superficial views that we have of ourselves and each other, and bring us to a deeper level of perceiving our spiritual identity and similarities we have among us all. This can transform us in a way that will help us reconsider how we engage in business, politics, take care of the environment, adjust our diet, and give attention for all beings. It also shows how society must recognize our spiritual likenesses in order to have more respect for one another and, thus, bring about real peace in the world.

This 11th Commandment and the explanations provided show the means for curing social ills, reducing racial prejudices, and create more harmony between the races and cultures. It shows how to recognize the Divine within yourself and all beings around you. It shows how we can bring some of the spiritual atmosphere into this earthly existence, especially if we expect to reach the higher domain after death. It also explains how to:

  • Identify our real Self and distinguish it from our false self.
  • Open our hearts to one another and view others with greater appreciation.
  • Utilize higher consciousness in everyday life.
  • Find inner contentment and joy.
  • Attain a higher spiritual awareness and perception.
  • Manifest God’s plan for the world.
  • Be a reflection of God’s love toward everyone.
  • Attain the Great Realization of perceiving the Divine in all beings.

 The world is in need of a new direction in its spiritual development, and this 11th Commandment is given as the next phase to manifest humanity’s most elevated potentials.


Contents

Chapter One: The Search for Fulfillment

Chapter Two: The Eleventh Commandment

            The Great Recognition * The Great Realization * Curing the Global Crisis

 Chapter Three: Identifying the Higher Self

 Chapter Four: Recognizing the Divine Within Yourself

 Chapter Five: Seeing the Divine All Around You

 Chapter Six: Seeing Our Inner Unity

 Chapter Seven: Opening Our Hearts to One Another

 Chapter Eight: Utilizing Higher Consciousness in Everyday Life

 Chapter Nine: Identifying Our False Self

 Chapter Ten: Finding Contentment and Joy

 Chapter Eleven: Politics and Leadership According to the 11th Commandment

 Chapter Twelve: Economics According to the 11th Commandment

 Chapter Thirteen: Nonviolence According to the 11th Commandment

 Chapter Fourteen: Diet According to the 11th Commandment

 Chapter Fifteen: Environmentalism According to the 11th Commandment

 Chapter Sixteen: Being Aware of Reactions to Our Activities and Intentions

 Chapter Seventeen: Being a Reflection of God’s Unconditional Love

 Chapter Eighteen: Manifesting God’s Plan for Humanity and the World

 Chapter Nineteen: Social Change to Manifest a New Paradigm

 Chapter Twenty: Open Up to the Great Life Within 

 Conclusion: Giving the 11th Commandment to Others

 Index

 About the Author

 ORDERING INFORMATION

           PAPERBACK: $13.95, Size: 6″ x 9″, Pages: 128, ISBN: 0-595-46741-5,
        To purchase your copy from www.iUniverse.com, click on the following link: http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-46741-5

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The Power of the Dharma: An Introduction to Hinduism and Vedic Culture

The Power of the Dharma

An Introduction to Hinduism and Vedic Culture

By Stephen Knapp


                This has been especially written for those who want an easy reference and introduction to the Vedic Hindu philosophy and tradition. This provides a concise overview and quick guide of the major principles found within Vedic culture, and answers the most common questions people have about Vedic customs and its Dharmic teachings. It also offers a good grasp of the essential values and ideology of the Vedic path while keeping it simple to understand. It provides many insights into the depth and value of the timeless wisdom of Vedic spirituality and reveals why the Dharmic path has survived for thousands of years. Not only is it as good introductory book for beginners, but it is also a review of what every Hindu should know.

         This reveals why the Dharma is presently enjoying a renaissance among an increasing number of people who want to explore its teachings and see what its many techniques of self-discovery have to offer. In “The Power of the Dharma”, you will find:

    * quotes by noteworthy people on the unique qualities of Hinduism;

    * essential principles of the Vedic spiritual path;

    * particular traits, customs, and explanations of Hindu worship;

    * descriptions of the main yoga systems;

    * significance and legends of the colorful Hindu festivals;

    * benefits of Ayurveda, Vastu, Vedic astrology, and gemology;

    * important insights of Dharmic life and how to begin practicing it.

          This book also serves as an introduction to deeper reading that a person may like to do in considering the more elaborate explanations of the Vedic/Hindu philosophy. And as an introduction or a companion to other books by Stephen Knapp, such as The Secret Teachings of the Vedas: The Eastern Answers to the Mysteries of Life, which is a good in-depth analysis and exposition of the Vedic spirituality and philosophy, and The Heart of Hinduism: The Eastern Path to Freedom, Empowerment and Illumination, which is a complete course in itself for learning exactly what Hinduism and Vedic culture teaches. So if this book piques your interest and you are inquisitive to learn more about the deeper aspects of Vedic spirituality, those are the books that can take you much farther in this spiritual knowledge and awareness.     

         The Dharmic path can provide you the means for attaining your own spiritual realizations and experiences. In this way, it is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. This is the power of Dharma’s universal teachings which have something to offer everyone!

 Book Contents

 Introduction

 Chapter 1: What is Vedic Culture/Hinduism?

        The Simple Definition of Hinduism * What Hinduism is Not * The Versatility of Hinduism * Who Founded Vedic Culture * Vedic Culture Started Before the Beginning of Time

 Chapter Two: Quotes by Noteworthy People on the Glories of Vedic Culture

 Chapter Three: The Essential Principles of the Vedic Path

 Chapter Four: Explanations of the Essential Vedic Principles

        Principle One–The Vedic Tradition is a Way of Life * Principle Two–The Universal Truths are for Everyone * Principle Three–Hinduism’s Correct Name is Sanatana-Dharma * Principle Four–The Vedic Understanding of God * Principle Five–All Existence is part of the One Great Truth * Principle Six–The Avataras of God * Principle Seven–The Supreme is Found in the Spiritual Dimension and as the Supersoul * Principle Eight–We are All Eternal * Principle Nine–The Soul Undergoes Reincarnation * Principle Ten–The Goal of the Vedic Process * Principle Eleven–We Are Spiritual Beings in the Realm of Matter * Principle Twelve–We Are One Universal Family * Principle Thirteen–Spiritual Progress Does Not Depend on One’s Birth * Principle Fourteen–Respect for Individual Freedom of Inquiry * Principle Fifteen–The Wonder and Beauty of the Vedic Path * Principle Sixteen–All Life is Precious * Principle Seventeen–The Law of Karma * Principle Eighteen–The Material Manifestation is Designed and Created * Principle Nineteen–Hindus Worship Many Gods? * Principles Twenty and Twenty-one–The Divinity of the Vedic Texts and Sanskrit * Principles Twenty-two and Twenty-three–What are the Vedic Texts * Principles Twenty-four and Twenty-five

 Chapter Five: Sanatana-Dharma: Its Real Meaning

 Chapter Six: The Power of the Dharma

 Chapter Seven: The Vedic Spiritual Paths to Liberation

        Jnana-yoga * Karma-yoga * Raja-yoga * Bhakti-yoga * The Significance of OM * The Potency of the Hare Krishna Mantra

 Chapter Eight: Particular Traits of Vedic/Hindu Worship

        Why Hindus Worship Images * Hindus Do Not Worship Idols * Basic Techniques in Vedic Worship of God * Why Devotees Have Prayer Rooms in Their House * What is “Namaste” * Why Red Dots are Worn on the Forehead * What is Tilok or Forehead Marks * What is the Holy Ash * Why Shanti is Said Three Times * Why Ring Bells in the Temples * The Reason Lamps are Used * The Significance of the Aarati Ceremony * Why a Conch Shell is Blown * Why Coconuts are Offered * Purpose of Offering Food to the Lord Before Eating * Why a Kalasha (Pot) is Worshiped * Why Worship the Tulasi Tree * Why the Lotus is Sacred * Purpose of Fasting * Purpose of Temples * The Significance of the Vedic Temple * Purpose of Circumambulating Temples or Deities * Why Non-Hindus are not Always Allowed to Enter Temples in India * Purpose of Pilgrimages * Why Hindus Respect the Cow

 Chapter Nine: The Dharmic Festivals

        Makara Sankranti * Vasant Panchami * Maha Shivaratri * Holi * Gaura Purnima * Shri Rama Navami * Ugadi and Vishu * Hanuman Jayanthi * Guru Purnima * Onam * Raksha Bandan * Krishna Janmashtami * Ganesh Chaturthi * Navaratri * Dusshera * Karva Chauth * Deepavali * Gita Jayanthi

 Chapter Ten: Other Important Traits of Vedic Dharma

        The Vedic Path Has a Most Developed and Complete Spiritual Philosophy * The Purpose of Having a Guru * Nonviolence * Compassion is a Prime Principle of Vedic Dharma * Vegetarianism * Vedic Dharma Promotes Seeing God in all Living Beings * Vedic Scriptures do not Condone Abortion * The Vedic Path Views all Religions as Portions of the One Truth and Ways of Understanding God * Truth is One, the Names are Many, But all Religions are not the Same * Sanatana-Dharma has Spiritual Knowledge Found Nowhere Else * Hindus are not Interested in Converting Others * Vedic Dharma has no Concept of Jihad, Holy Wars, Crusades, or Martyrdom on its Behalf * This is why the Followers of the Vedic Path can Live Peacefully with those of Other Religions * Hindus or Dharmists Prefer to Share the Vedic Knowledge Freely * If Hinduism Dies Out * Vedic Dharma is not Poverty Based * Vedic Dharma Teaches that the World is Real but Temporary * The Dharma Teaches that Desires Merely Need to be Spiritualized * Hindus Practice Monogamy * Hindu Dharma Does not Teach that there is a Competing Evil Force * Vedic Dharma Teaches that we Should Achieve God’s Grace * The Position of Women in a Truly Vedic Society * In Essence, Vedic Dharma Opens the Door to the Real Potentials of Life

 Chapter Eleven: Who May Be a Hindu or Practice Sanatana-Dharma

        Sharing the Dharma * Becoming a Dharmist or Devotee is Easy * The Basics of a Daily Routine

 Conclusion: The Future

 Glossary

 Index

 Ordering Information

         PAPERBACK: Price: $15.95, Paperback, Size: 6″ x 9″, Pages: 170, ISBN: 0-595-39352-7.

        You can order the paperback version straight from www.iUniverse.com through the following link: http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-39352-7   European orders will be shipped out of England. International orders can also call: 00-1-402-323-7800.

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 The Power of the Dharma, as illustrated on the left, is also published and distributed in India by Rasbihari Lal & Sons, at Loi Bazar, Vrindaban  281121, U.P., India.  Phone: 91-565-2442570. Email: brijwasi2001@hotmail.com.

170 Pages, Rs. 175, Quantity Orders get 20% discount.

Vedic Culture: The Difference it can Make in Your Life

Vedic Culture:

The Difference It Can Make In Your Life

Edited by Stephen Knapp


            This new book shows the advantages of the Vedic paths of improvement and self-discovery that you can use in your own life to attain personal spiritual awareness, happiness, and fulfillment. It also provides a new view of what these avenues have to offer from some of the most prominent writers on Vedic culture in the West, who discovered how it has affected and benefited their own lives.

            For the benefit of individuals and for social progress, the Vedic system is as relevant today as it was in ancient times. Discover why there is a growing renaissance in what the Vedic tradition has to offer in this new book.

 From the Foreword by David Frawley:

“The following book, Vedic Culture: The Difference It Can Make In Your Life, is meant to provide a new view on Vedic Dharma from those inside the tradition, particularly from westerners who have made their home and found their true identity in a Vedic vocation. Such first hand and personal accounts are hard to find and seldom clearly articulated in available books today. Academic studies of the Vedic tradition are usually done from the outside, from people who do not have a first hand experience, and who often come from a world view which prevents them from really understanding the Vedic approach. They do not take you into the Vedic life but view it with their own colored glasses at a distance.

“This book presents statements from a broad array of individuals active in Vedic culture. It consists of different chapters by notable individuals in their respective fields, each one of which has imbibed the true spirit of Vedic Dharma and put it to work in their own particular life. Such living expressions of Vedic knowledge help us adapt it today to the circumstances of our own lives. These individuals are pioneers and prototypes for Vedic careers for the future and for the types of insights that a Vedic renaissance is likely to foster.

“Yet the purpose of the book is not simply to extol the value of Vedic culture, it aims at showing its relevance for everyone today, including for those who may not have previously considered it to be important. Vedic culture presents a remarkable array of teachings and practices that have value for all of us because they address the critical issues of life from how to eat and breathe, to how to think and feel, to how to be healthy, happy and responsible citizens of the entire world. Taking these teachings up is a matter of more conscious living, not of simply following some ritual or dogma. They only require that one is willing to look deeper into one’s own nature and into the nature of the universe as a whole.

“Please look into these Vedic systems that so many talented writers have presented with such personal insight. See if this knowledge can work for you, not in the mere outer sense of affording more personal happiness, but in the inner sense of giving you more spiritual fulfillment in life, greater self-knowledge and self-awareness. The Vedic prescription is always practical, reflecting the wisdom of life, not mere concepts, and can help you in many ways, including how to deal with the many karmas that all of us have to deal with.

“This book also presents the approach of a remarkable new organization, the Vedic Friends Association (VFA), whose main purpose is to promote this true Vedic culture in the modern world. VFA is not limited to any particular guru or sect, nor does it focus on only one branch of Vedic learning. It offers a doorway to all the resources of Vedic knowledge for the benefit of all sincere seekers. The book’s editor, Stephen Knapp, also the director of the VFA, has done a great job and service by organizing this project and bringing it out to the public.

“Vedic Culture: The Difference It Can Make In Your Life can spearhead a new literature on Vedic Dharma and bring a new view of it to the world as a whole. There is certainly much that Vedic Dharma has to offer the world today, particularly in this time of planetary crisis in which we must recognize the greater conscious universe and can no longer take a species centered view of life.

“May that wisdom of the Vedas come to you through these pages, not simply as a lofty philosophy, but as the profound life experience of these different writers who have so eloquently embodied it!

 Book Contents

 

Foreword by Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri)

The Conscious Universe * The True Meaning of Culture * Vedic Teachings and the West * This Book

 Introduction by Stephen Knapp

 Part One: The Vedic Spiritual Paths

 1. Vedic Culture: The Last Bastion of Deep Spiritual Truth, By Stephen Knapp

 2. The King of Knowledge, By Robert Taylor

            Discovering the Divine Self

  3. Vishnu, the Wish for Sustainability, By Jeffrey Armstrong

 4. Introduction to the Roots of Kundalinin and Kundalini Yoga, By Yogi Harinam Baba Prem Tom Beal (Vedakovid)

Roots of Kundalini * Is the Kundalini Sleeping * Illusory Kundalini Awakening * Challenges of Kundalini Awakening * Kundalini Manifestation in Other Cultures * Conclusion

5. Transcendence Through Story In the Age of Kaliyuga, By Andy Fraenkel

6. Yoga and Cooking, By George Vutetakis

The Roots of Civilization * Effecting Change With Food * Principals of Culinary Yoga * Sensuality and Indulgence * The Magic of Food & Cooking * Cooking as Yoga * Perspective * Saddhana * Breath * Cooking Meditation * Cleanliness * Taste & Touch * Sound & Light * Aroma * The Sixth Sense * Spirituality * Love and Yoga * Applying Bhakti-Yoga * Charity * Accepting Charity * Revealing One’s Mind * Inquiring Confidentiality * Accepting and Offering Prasada

 7. The Main Vedic Spiritual Paths: Something for Everyone, By Stephen Knapp

The Purpose of Religion * Hatha-Yoga * Karma-Yoga * Jnana-Yoga * Yoga * Raja-Yoga * Bhakti-Yoga * Mantra-Yoga * Conclusion

 8. Vedic Sociology: An Arrangement for Everyone’s Highest Potential, By Parama Karuna Devi

Society as the Body of God * The Central Points of a Vedic Society * The Four Purposes of Human Existence * The Four Social Categories * The Four Ashramas of Society * The Function of the King * The Function of the Guru * Conclusion

 9. The One World Religion, By Stephen Knapp

 10. The Vedic Process for World Peace, By Stephen Knapp

            Our Real Identity * Being Free of All Designations * Seeing the Divinity in Each of Us

 Part Two: The Vedic Arts and Sciences

 11. The Scientific Worldview—Truth or Consequences? By Dhan Roussé

Finding the Truth With Science * The Scientific Method * Science as a Legitimizing Tool * The Failure and Transgressions of Modern Cosmology * Are Chemicals the Origin of Life? * Scientific Make-Believe * Botany * Linguistics * Indology * Archeology * Connecting the Dots * Establishment Denial and Control * Failure of Modern Science * Controlling the Debate—To What End? * What is Matter and What is Life? * What Path Will We Take to the Future?

 12. How I Discovered Vedic Science, By Subhash Kak

Surprising Ideas in the Vedic Texts * Vedanta and Physics * Evolution and Religioin * Driving Forces in Evolution * Alienation and Health

13. Human Devolution: A Vedic Account of Human Origins, By Michael A. Cremo

14. Ayurveda: The Living Tradition of Vedic Medicine, By Pratichi Mathur

15. How Vedic Astrology Can Assist Us, By Chakrapani Ullal

 16. The Use of Gems in Vedic Astrology (Jyotish) and Ayurveda, By Howard Beckman

Gems Transmit Vibrational Energy * The Seven Rays * Planetary Gemology * Medicine for the New Millennium

17. Vastu Shastra: The Divine School of Architecture, By Arun Naik

The Definitions and Purpose of Vastu Shastra * Vastu Shastras and Vedas * The Vastu Literature * The Vastu Mandala * A Symbol of Cosmos * Marma * Theory of Shapes * The Deities of Vastumandal * East * South-East * South * South-West * West * North-West * North * North-East * The System of Measurement in Vastu Shastra * Manushyapramana * The Calculations in Vastu * Ayadi Calculations for the Owner’s Suitability to the Plot * Yoni Calculation: Direction of Energy Flow * Conclusion

18. Divine Nature: Practical Application of Vedic Ethical Principles in Resolving the Environmental Crisis, By Michael A. Cremo

Conclusion: by Stephen Knapp

Glossary / Index / The Writers

 Ordering Information

        PAPERBACK: It is now published as a paperback book, 6″x9″, 312 pages, $22.95. This can be ordered through stores (ISBN: 0-595-37120-5) or easily ordered directly through www.iuniverse.com/bookstore. Simply go directly to the book details page by using this link: http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-37120-5  European orders will be shipped out of England. International orders can also call: 00-1-402-323-7800.

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        IN INDIA, this book is available in a hardcover edition through Sundeep Books in New Delhi, at Sundeep Prakashan, 6191 / 1, Block-1, Dev Nagar, Karol Bagh, New Delhi, 110 005 India. Phone:25718903, 25734149. Email: books@vsnl.com. . The book can be ordered through their website at: http://www.sundeepbooks.com/servlet/suhome and the details of the book can be viewed at: http://www.sundeepbooks.com/servlet/sugetbiblio?bno=005995.  ISBN : 8189320149.
 

        Also available in India from Eastern Book Corporation for $18.71 or 795 rupees at,  http://www.easternbookcorporation.com/moreinfo.php?txt_searchstring=11865.

         This book is also sold in India through the online Indian bookstore at www.firstandsecond.com, or just click on: http://www.firstandsecond.com/store/books/info/search.asp?ied=0&sob=&styp=ath&ath=Stephen%20Knapp&cp=1.

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