Reaching Our Fullest Potential with Vedic Spirituality, by Stephen Knapp

These days fewer people are interested in taking up anything that they cannot immediately apply to their lives. The common question is: “What is this going to do for me?” Or “What am I going to get out of this?” So if we cannot relate the purpose of Vedic culture or its spirituality to people today, especially to the youth, then it is not likely they will take an interest. Yet, everyone is interested in gaining more out of life, or reaching their higher potential, which, actually, has been the purpose of the Vedic system from time immemorial. Yet we have either forgotten that, or have failed to present that purpose properly. So this is one angle we can use to impress the importance of Vedic culture and its spiritual philosophy to people today.

Everyone should want to reach their highest potential. But to do this we also need to focus on our spiritual potential, which is actually a way to become much more refined, developed and useful than merely focusing on our material possibilities, or only developing marketable skills for earning a big paycheck.

The Sri Isha Upanishad, Mantra 11, explains: “Only one who can learn the process of nescience (or material knowledge) and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessing of immortality.”

One point here is that through the advancement of material knowledge we do not solve the problem of our reincarnation or being completely free from repeated birth and death through numerous situations in this material world. We have no idea how many lives we have lived, nor how many more we will go through unless we add the study and application of spiritual knowledge to our lives. What is the point of this human existence if all we do is find better ways to eat, sleep, have sex, produce children, and advance our economic development and living condition? And then we simply repeat this pattern life after life? For what? Animals work in the same way, and often times with fewer problems. So what is the difference?

The way to solve all of the problems of life and to perfect this existence is the prime opportunity of human life, which is to become advanced in spiritual knowledge as well as in our material occupation. One without the other is incomplete. This is the only way we can reach our highest potential and not merely work at attaining success in a temporary material profession.

Spiritual knowledge is also the means to attain real happiness, especially through realizing our true identity, and thus become fulfilled by our real mission in life. It is also the means to attain a permanent blissful life after we leave this body. If we forget our true identity as a spiritual being, we will think that this body and this life, and everything connected with it, is the all in all. We will think that the happiness of this mind, body and senses is the complete goal of everything we are meant to do here in this world. But this is like being caught in a dream, attached to clinging to a hologram, a false conception of life. No one is truly happy in such a fleeting situation since the happiness therein is always being interrupted by different forms of suffering, or stress, anxiety, worry, concern, and of course disease, old age and death. No one wants that because that is not our real nature, it is not our real identity, but it is forced on us from the beginning of simply having a material body. The human body is a wondrous machine, a means to accomplish the goal of life, but it is still a machine that we are situated inside. It is not who we really are, like a driver in a car. We may have a fabulous and beautiful car that we are proud of, or an old clunker we are ashamed to be seen in, but in either case we are only the driver. We are not the car itself. So we must realize who and what we are and regain our spiritual identity beyond the body we have, and also realize our connection with the Supreme.

Real happiness is possible to experience when we rise above the limitations of our material condition and misidentification as a temporary material being. The modern trend of material civilization is to increase our material pleasures, which has brought about the false aim of life and the goal to acquire more money, more facilities, more consumerism, more manipulation of nature, etc. Whatever it takes. This has also brought about more problems in politics, economics, international relations and intrigue, lack of cooperation, and increases in corruption, pollution, the constant threat of war, terrorism, new diseases, a decrease in natural foods, and so on. And people call this progress? Is this any way to live? Is this the trend into the future?

Therefore, it is best to use this body and mind to live simply with an honest career and then cultivate spiritual knowledge and help others do the same.

INDIVIDUAL BENEFITS

1. Everyone wants to find joy and happiness. For what other reason are you working or studying? We are working to acquire money, security, a better future for ourselves or our family, or to make improvements in our occupation. Yet, we need to clearly understand that spirituality is the key to real happiness. And by that I mean the happiness that reaches the soul, and not that which merely occupies the ever-changing demands of our mind and senses. It is through spiritualizing our lives that we can change our attitude to joy, and not look at things with the humdrum attitude of “Another day, another dollar” or something similar. This is not unusual because we often see that without spirituality life becomes empty and without real purpose or any deep meaning. By adding spirituality to our lives, it often improves our attitude and is reflected in every other area of our life, including job performance, relations with others, family cooperation, our flexibility, the way we handle problems or inconveniences, and the way we may even inspire others to do the same.

2. Spiritualizing our lives means to spiritualize our consciousness. It is through such spiritual awareness that we can recognize the transcendental essence of all beings. We are all spiritual in nature, but this remains invisible to us as long as we do not uplift the vibratory level of our consciousness. So if we want respect, and if we feel that people need to increase their appreciation and love for each other, this can easily be accomplished by recognizing the similarity we have with one another on the spiritual level. It is through spirituality that can most easily change the selfish interest we have toward ourselves and our clan to a broad or universal love.

Most problems between people or countries or ethnic groups reflect the lack of love, compassion and understanding we have for each other, which is the essence of the Dharmic principles we need to be follow.

3. Spirituality also offers an uplifting view of life. Once we are truly spiritualizing our lives, whatever troubles we have begin to appear as if they are only an interesting play of energy in which we are temporarily involved. We can see that such difficulties are not actually part of our real identity. They are only going on around us and we take them seriously only to the degree that we feel they are affecting us and our bodily or mental happiness. In other words, they affect us to the degree in which we are in the illusion.

Spirituality gives us the courage and lightheartedness to face the difficult situations in life, or the drama around us, and to realize we are different from such externals. By this I mean that we can perceive that we are spiritual beings that are interacting on the temporary material platform. Therein whatever joy or sorrow we experience comes and goes like the winter and summer seasons. It is temporary and that is all we can expect from it because that is all it can offer. But without spiritual understanding, we take these temporary ups and downs and the pursuit for material happiness very seriously. So if we want more than this, or something deeper, we need to reach our real identity through the spiritual path.

4. Spirituality teaches us the art of living, but also the art of dying. This is the means by which we recognize the temporary nature of life and that we must always be prepared for death and for attaining the best position in our next existence. It is considered that without such preparation our life is not complete and we have not used it properly, regardless of whatever else we may accomplish.

5. Spirituality means that you see the big picture. And what is the big picture? It is that this life is but a moment on our great path toward self-realization. That great path encompasses many lifetimes. Each one is like a flash of lightning in the span of eternity. So our progress through the big picture evolves around and depends on our spiritual development. That is all we carry with us from one life to the next. Whatever material assets we attain in this life ripens in this one existence only, whereas spiritual progress is viewed over many, many lifetimes. Whatever spiritual benefits we are experiencing now may have been developed many lifetimes ago. Similarly, our spiritual practice today may provide us with benefits in this life as well as many lifetimes that may follow.

The big picture is that all you have ever been through, including so many lives before this one, has brought you to this very moment. You are the son or daughter of the past, the product of all your experiences and actions. But you are also the father of your future, starting from this particular point in time. It is up to you to decide what to do and where you will take yourself from this point onward. Your possibilities are endless, and spiritual development only increases the possibilities that you have.

6. Genuine spirituality also means that we accept responsibility for ourselves, what we do, how we affect others and our environment, and how we have the power to change our situation. So if we want to improve such things, then we can find that the basis of Dharma and genuine spirituality is also the foundation for the improvement of everything in this world, starting with our own sphere of influence, however big or small that may be. However, we need to emphasize that such spirituality is above the conventional form of religions, which are often dogmatic and based on the emphasis of local traditions and ethnic recognition. This means that their foundations are not the Universal Spiritual Truths that are found in Sanatana-dharma that can be applied to everyone, at anytime and anywhere in this universe. Real Dharma means those spiritual principles that can be applied directly to the soul or real identity of the living being regardless of the temporary material condition or status in which he or she is presently found.

GLOBAL BENEFITS

Just as there are individual benefits to the practice of spirituality in one’s life, naturally there are also blessings that will manifest on a global level.

First of all we have to understand that lust is public enemy number one. Most of the crimes that are committed in the world stems from individual or collective lust. We see around us that many advertising campaigns are based on invoking the desire to acquire something. This desire is based on satisfying the mind and senses for one’s own selfish happiness, and this pleasure is called lust. And we must look within ourselves to see how much lust is there and how to be free of it.

If it is allowed to grow, this lust can develop into a covetousness over land, possessions and power. If we want something, we may work for it honestly, or we may make schemes involving corrupt activities to acquire it. If this sort of lust increases amongst people, the whole planet becomes chaotic. And when the rulers of the planet exhibit such tendencies, then there is no chance for peace in the world, as we can plainly see. Therefore, the collective practice of spirituality can help rid the world of such lust and its various damaging effects.

We must also understand that the two prime factors that keep the world from being united is the presumption of racial superiority and the desire to conquer and convert. These are the antithesis of Dharmic principles. But how many religious paths do we see that incorporate the idea of conquering regions of the world through religious conversions, or that even rejoice in the number of converts they have established? This is not the way of true spirituality.

So it is time for a new breed of humanity, a new species of human beings. This doesn’t mean a new genetic code. It means the appearance of a new level of consciousness, a new level of awareness in which the principle of Dharma is a natural part of life and a natural part of our respect toward each other. And the freedom to pick one’s own level of spiritual development that one needs in this lifetime. This is the world of Vedic Dharma.

Vedic Dharma is full of possibilities. It is open for the individual to develop as he or she needs to. It allows for a person to start at whatever level is best for him or her, and set the goal of one’s spiritual development that they find most suitable. Dharma does not involve teaching a dogma that must be adhered to in order to be saved, or suffer the threat of going to hell and eternal damnation if you don’t fit the mold. That is too limited for the Universal Spiritual Truths found in Vedic Dharma. We have to keep in mind the “big picture,” as previously mentioned. This means that spiritual progress is usually made over many lifetimes, and that this one life is only a small portion of the path we are on.

We also have to be a clear channel through which the unconditional love from God flows through us toward everyone else. To do that we also have to recognize the Divine in all species of life. That can be done only through the serious application of spiritual principles.

The point is that the more spiritual you become, the more you can perceive what is spiritual, and the more the spiritual strata becomes a reality to enter or experience rather than a mystery to solve. Plus, the more you spiritualize your consciousness, the less confused you will be about what is your true identity and, thus, the true purpose of life. It is an automatic process that the more spiritual you are, the more clear is everything else. If society could increase in the number of people who are evolving in this way, naturally the whole world will improve accordingly.

HOW DO WE DO THIS

So how do we manage our time to include the necessary spiritual practice? Spiritual practice means two things, the sadhana and the study. The sadhana itself can mean your meditation, your chanting of japa such as the Hare Krishna mantra, reciting your prayers, or doing your puja or worship. The value of this is often underestimated. What it does is incorporate the spiritual vibration into your consciousness. It raises the frequency level in which you perceive and operate. The next part is to do the study, reading the spiritual books to educate yourself in the tradition and your understanding of spiritual knowledge and of the importance of your Dharmic practice. Such books may include the Bhagavad-gita, Upanishads, Puranas, etc.

So as we do this on a daily basis, we will naturally carry that spiritual consciousness with us wherever we go. For example, you may have a special room where you do your spiritual activities, and if you are burning incense, you might carry the scent with you in your clothes. Then wherever you go and whenever you smell the aroma, it makes you think of the atmosphere in your special room. When that happens you may feel the same uplifting mood that you felt when doing your spiritual practice in your room. So we have to learn how to carry that special atmosphere in our consciousness throughout the day.

So if you are convinced as to why we should spiritualize our lives, then we have to make spirituality as one of the main foundations of our life. It must be viewed as a corner stone upon which we build everything else. So it must be one of the main ingredients in our daily schedule.

You have a life with only so much time, which means you must be careful with how you spend it. An example is that your life can be represented by a glass of water. The glass can only hold so much, and once it is filled, that is it. You can’t put any more into it. So how will you fill it? If you have an assortment of stones, sand and water, what will you begin to put into it first? If you fill it with small stuff, then you will not have any room for the big things, the important items. So first you put in the rocks, or those things which are the most important. These may include school, work, family, but also your spiritual practice. These are four stones. So put those in the glass before you put in anything else. Then in between the stones will fit the sand, the small stuff. And even in between the sand will fit the water, the smaller and less important things. But first always include and make time for the important items, the rocks or foundation of your life, and spiritual practice must be one of them.

So you should set aside a couple hours or more in your daily schedule to do your spiritual practice. If you take an hour, then you can divide it into a half-hour for your sadhana or meditation, and another half-hour for your study. Then as you develop, increase that. Spiritual life is like a train that runs on two tracks, and your sadhana and study together provide the necessary tracks for smooth progress for that train to keep on a rolling. The early morning is always the best time to do this. But some time in the evening also may be suitable for you. However, whatever time you choose, it is necessary to continue with it. Like a daily shower, you can’t stay clean unless you do it everyday. Similarly, you can’t stay spiritually purified or uplifted and enthused unless you are steady at it in your daily schedule.

Furthermore, you may never know when you will need your spirituality. You may need it when dealing with others, settling disputes, carrying out your family duties, and so on. But most importantly, you will never know when you will meet with the final test when you die. That certainly separates those who are prepared from those who are not. I had a friend who spent all of his time on his college studies. Then with only six months left to go before qualifying for his Ph.D., he died in a car crash. Of course, it was completely unexpected. So you never know when death may strike. So the point is that you continue to make your plans for this life and take care of your responsibilities, but also make time for your spiritual development, which prepares you for everything else, this life and beyond.

The final point to remember is that any path of accomplishment requires self-sacrifice, no matter whether you are attempting to acquire material benefits or spiritual advancement. We are always looking to develop our future, no matter whether it is with a better job, a nicer home, or financial security for our family, or other things. But if you can reach that strata where there is no more sacrifice, no more war, no more difficulties, but instead find universal love and understanding and cooperation, don’t you think that is a sacrifice worth doing? Don’t you think that is an endeavor worthy of attempting? Don’t you think the knowledge of this is worth spreading to let the whole world know of it or how to reach it?

There is no reason why we cannot bring an increasing amount of the spiritual atmosphere to this earth planet. We can indeed change things here and bring improvements in so many ways. But we need to start with ourselves first, and that depends on our spiritual practice and the spiritual principles we incorporate into our own lives, which can bring about deep and personal spiritual realizations and insights. From there it can spread through our sphere of influence, however big or small that may be. We all want peace and cooperation, but you will never get that as long as we see and operate according to our differences, which will always be there on the material platform. So we must rise above that to a higher level of reality, the higher dimension. And this dimension is all around us. All we have to do is train our mind and consciousness to be able to tune into it so that it opens up to us. Then through our continued spiritual development we can enter into it. That is the ultimate advantage of spiritualizing our lives and making time for it. And to do that most effectively is why the process of yoga has been provided and described by the great rishis and Vedic literature.

Plus, the easiest yoga to perform, especially in this age of Kali-yuga, is bhakti-yoga, the yoga of devotional love aimed at the Supreme Lord. This also includes the Yuga Dharma, which means the most effective path for this age, which is the chanting of the Lord’s holy names, especially as found in the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra. This is what should be studied, practiced and shared to provide the most practical level of spirituality for everyone. Then our higher potential in life can be attained and our superior purpose can be accomplished.

The Power of a United Hindu Community, By Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana dasa)

        [This is the strong keynote lecture that I gave at the Hindu Unity Day Festival (Hindu Sangathan Divas) onJuly 10th, 2011at the Hindu Temple Auditorium inFlushing,New York. This was very well received by everyone who wanted to meet me, shake hands, have photos taken, or talk to me about what I had to say. The event was shared with Dr. Subramanian Swamy as Chief Guest and Kamal Kumar Swami as the additional speaker, both of whom I had met before at an event in Tirupati for protecting Hindu temples from government control. However, this is the complete version, which is a few paragraphs longer than what I presented at the festival.] 

          Namaste. It gives me great pleasure to be here, and I especially thank the organizers of this important event for inviting me, namely Arish Sahani and Narain Kataria. I am honored to be here. And I thank all of you for attending.

          First of all, for those who may not know that much about me, I’m a Hindu, a follower of Sanatana-dharma, or what I prefer to call a Dharmist, and aKrishnabhakta. And I will be one until the day I die. No one can stop that.

          Vedic culture and its spiritual knowledge saved me, it saved my life and gave me the real purpose for being here and what to do while I am here in this world. And now this is all I do—my spiritual sadhana and practice, my speaking engagements, and writing over 20 books so far to help spread and explain the importance of this Vedic spiritual knowledge to as many people as possible. This is all I’m living for. This is my only motivation. I also help manage my localKrishnatemple inDetroitas the Chairman of the Board, which can involve all kinds of things. I’m also the president of the Vedic Friends Association. I’m also a direct disciple of His Divine Grace Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, which is how I got my name Sri Nandanandana dasa. So I’ve been doing meditation and chanting the Hare Krishna mantra for over 40 years. And all of this has only deepened my conviction of the profound nature of the Vedic system of spiritual realization.

          And I will tell you, I love what I do. I love being a Hindu, I love being aKrishnabhakta, a follower of Santana-dharma. I love following the Bhagavad-gita, and I love writing books about various aspects of Vedic culture and telling other people about it and what it has done for me, and what it can do for them.

So, I like to share with others the good things I have found in life, and now that I=ve found Vedic Dharma, I like letting others know more about it. But I=ll also fight to keep it, and to keep my freedom to follow it. Why should I let anyone else take it away from me when it took 20 years of my life to find it? I wasn’t just born into it, I had to look for it. It is a karmic privilege to be born into Vedic culture, so do not take it for granted. But by working to preserve and protect it is also my way of being a good Hindu. And this is what I call being a Vedic Ambassador.

          We need more Vedic Ambassadors, or those who can easily and willingly share the good points about Vedic culture and its philosophy, traditions, and its deep spiritual knowledge with others, especially those who are curious, and there are many who are looking for this spiritual knowledge, but they just don’t know where to look. So we need those who can also tell their story of how Vedic culture has improved their lives or had a positive affect on them. That is not so difficult, and many people like to hear the story of someone’s life and how they have grown or developed.

          So, in this way, let us all be Vedic Ambassadors, persons who are not afraid to say they are Hindu and then share it with others.

I’m also aKrishnabhakta becauseKrishnawanted action from Arjuna, not a passive and apathetic person that runs away from battle or does nothing. But he wanted Arjuna to stand up and take a stance for defending Dharma. This is the whole reason whyKrishnaspoke the Bhagavad-gita, to motivate Arjuna to become free from the illusion and stand up and fight for defending and preserving Sanatana-dharma so others can also take advantage of it. This is my motivation.

          Everyone can do something and we need to understand that if everyone does a little, then something great and miraculous can happen. Because let’s face it, being a follower of Sanatana-dharma is also a freedom. This is a freedom, and sometimes you have to work to protect your freedoms or you will lose them when someone else takes them away. History has shown this time and time again.

Some people, however, ask how I can feel so strongly about this when I was not born inIndia, not born a Hindu. But that is only because they do not see the big picture. And what is the big picture? That this is not our first or only life in this material world, and that I obviously had a previous birth inIndia. Anyone who knows me knows that I must have been a Hindu, aKrishnabhakta inIndiain a previous life. Now I’ve taken birth inAmericato continue my mission of helping preserve, protect and promote Vedic Dharma. I=m only taking up where I left off from my previous existence. That is why I=m so comfortable when I go to India, and so far I have traveled through all of India except for the three small states of Tripura, Meghalaya, and Mizoram. That is also why I=m so comfortable around all of you. You are my Indian and Hindu family.

However, now it is time to increase our efforts to work together and make Hindus a concerted force that is recognized by everyone. Of course, we know this is not easy and is going to take time, but the sooner we all get started, the sooner we can accomplish it. But there are those of us, such as those I am sharing the stage with, who have already been working on this for years. We only ask that you all make a stand to join together, to make a powerful and strong Hindu community.

          Vedic culture has been changing the world throughout the ages. For example, many have offered their respects to the Vedic culture, such as Henry David Thoreau who said: “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.”

          Or Arthur Schopenhauer: “There is no religion or philosophy so sublime and elevating as Vedanta.”

          And, of course, Ralph Waldo Emerson who mentioned, “I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-Gita. It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.”

Many other quotes could be included but you get the picture. Vedic culture will continue to change the lives of many people, but we can accelerate this positive change the more we unite and the more we work together. Let us all move forward in this direction and become the great force we were meant to be, and that this world needs.

This means that we must be good Hindus, good Dharmists, followers of Vedic Dharma. And that means that we must follow our principles, uphold the yamas and niyamas, and observe our traditions. Is that so difficult? I don=t think so. But that means we also need to be educated in them. Let us not relinquish or let go of our standards because of too much Western influence. We must know what they mean and their real purposes. Let us interact with Western society, as we already do, but let us not forget who we areBwhat is our real identity. The fact is that more Westerners than ever before are adopting the ways and philosophy of Vedic culture, whether it is through yoga and meditation, or adapting the philosophy of karma and reincarnation. Many are those who want to follow this path. I=m an example of that, and there are many more out there, and many more who want to but don=t know it yet. We need to be willing to share it with them. That itself is a great contribution to the world from the Vedic path. The more we uphold our principles and let others know why they are important, the more they will also adopt our ways.

For example, I have one Indian friend who is a strong vegetarian and would always hide his meal when he took it to work so no one would see it. But then someone started asking questions about it, so he had to explain why he was a vegetarian, and included information about the Ayurvedic reasons and benefits about the spices we use, like tumeric, cumin, and others. In a short while, most of his work crew, which consisted of 80 other workers, became wild about Indian vegetarian cooking. Then he also did the same thing with explaining the benefits of doing the Surya Namaskar, after which nearly half of his co-workers started practicing it. So what is the difficulty? All you have to do is share what you already know, and people will become interested. 

This is also why real Hindus need to be educated in their culture to realize how profound, deep and special it is, and what knowledge it contains. Then they will be proud of their culture and follow it. After all, we have nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to be afraid of. We are representations of and participants in the most profound and oldest of all spiritual traditions and cultures, and it has the deepest of all spiritual knowledge. The only thing is that many people don=t know that. I dare say that many Hindus also do not fully know how deep and profound it is because of lacking the education of their own path. This needs to change. And this lack of knowledge is the prime reason why Hindus inIndiamay convert to some other religion.

To help make this change, we also need to understand that it is a fact that without proper measures of defense and promotion of our culture, you cannot give proper protection to it. It is a tough world and things have changed. Most wars in this world are now 80% intellectual. We now have to use our intelligence to show what our culture is in order to really protect and preserve it from those who are always trying to demean and criticize it. We must understand that apathy is an enemy. Apathy, the tendency to do nothing, is our greatest enemy. We must conquer our own apathy where we find it. This, in fact is the teaching of Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita, as previously stated. Are you are follower of the Bhagavad-gita? Are you a follower of Sanatana-Dharma? Then we must conquer our apathy and take a stand for doing something to maintain Vedic Dharma.

We have to be fearless to protect and promote Vedic Dharma. I am honored and proud to be on the same stage as Dr. Subramanian Swamy and Kamal Kumar Swami, who are examples of the fearlessness of which I speak. I am honored and proud to be in front of all of you, and I am honored and proud to be called a Hindu, aKrishnabhakta, a follower of Sanatana-dharma. We should all be honored and proud in the same way and willing to work together. We don=t have to proselytize, but we can all share the benefits of what our culture has given to us and to the world.

For example, in Secunderabad nearHyderabad, a few years ago there was aKrishnatemple the government wanted to move in order to widen the road, but all the local Hindus came together with a big demonstration to protest, and the state government backed down. This shows what can be done and what has been done when Hindus unite, and shows what we must continue to do. Then people will take us more seriously and reconsider before they simply get up to offend Hindus and think there will be no reaction. People will hesitate before taking Hindus lightly or making us upset. But we have to have the determination to make a stand. And once we begin to work in this way, we cannot stop but must continue for the long-term, and never stop until the goal is reached.

          Sometimes just by doing a little endeavor we don’t know and may even be surprised at what doors of opportunity will open for us. Sometimes all it takes is that we just start, step one foot in front of the other, and suddenly we step into a force, a current of energy that lifts us along like nothing we have experienced. Like a reciprocation from something that is far greater than we are that assists us to do things in ways that far exceeds our own expectations.

          You have no idea how many times this has happened to me, and I’m sure many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. So can you imagine what would happen if all of us stepped forward in unity for the Dharma and open ourselves to that opportunity to make a difference? Plus, the more we all step forward to do something together, the easier it gets for everyone.

It is one thing to say we are united, and quite another to work and act united, engaged in concerted efforts as one community to protect, defend and properly promote our culture. It should not matter whether we are Vaishnavas, Shaivites, Brahmanandis, Shaktas, or Bengalis, Gujaratis, Tamils, Rajasthanis, or Americans, or any ethnicity, because when one aspect of the Vedic tradition is threatened, demeaned or unnecessarily criticized, then it is to the whole culture that is under attack. We must see it that way. We must step forward and be strong Dharmists, and make a stand for our tradition and its future.

          Sanatana-dharma is universal. It is actually beyond the universe, it is spiritual. We are essentially all Dharmists. It goes beyond all materialistic labels and definitions, and that is how we should act as united Hindus, followers of Santana-dharma.

          Such materialistic labels and identities are part of the illusion, maya, and Sanatana-dharma is meant to lift us out of the illusion and into reality, the ultimate and supreme reality. Working in this way and helping each other as well as all is real unity.

So, let us also support each other in friendship, in Dharmic brotherhood and sisterhood. Let us not become divided by minor or superficial differences or labels, but let us gather and see our unity, our similarities as spiritual beings, all parts of the Supreme Spirit. That is the ultimate teaching of Bhagavad-gita and the Vedic shastra. That perception of reality is becoming increasingly rare these days in society, but it is an inherent principle and basic reality of Vedic Dharma and Dharmic civilization. That is why I call it the Last Bastion of deep spiritual truth. It goes beyond basic moralistic ethics and gives you the higher principles of self-realization. It gives you direct access to the Absolute, the Supreme, not only by descriptions but by offering the methods by which we can perceive and directly experience it by spiritualizing our consciousness. It gives us one of the last hopes for world peace. Let us not forget that and also help each other raise our consciousness and maintain that spiritual vision of who and what we really are. That will also pave the way for a truly united Hindu society.

There is no greater need for Hindu unity than right now, since there are forces that are also gathering that are trying to work against us. The problem is that it is in our nature to respect everyone, but not everyone wants to return the same respect back toward us. In fact, there are those who would like to see our complete extinction, the complete demise of Hinduism or Vedic culture if they could, such as we have seen inPakistan,Bangladesh,Kashmir, and so on. How long does it take before it becomes obvious that we must stand together even if only to preserve and protect what remains of our culture, and preserve and protect the homeland of our culture, Mother India, Bharathvarsha.

We must also recognize those people or groups who mean to do us harm, or even wish for our extinction, and then defend ourselves and our culture from their attacks, whatever they may be. But we need to be pro-active and develop plans, not merely wait for something to happen and then show some knee-jerk reaction. There are many who know this and already working in this way, but can you imagine if the whole Vedic community acted in this way together and supported such plans? It would have profound effects. We must look to see what we need to do and where we need to be in our measures to preserve and protect Vedic Dharma in 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years, and make pro-active plans to accomplish those goals. Major industrial companies do this, other religions do this, so there is no reason why we should not do this. Many of the more detailed action plans I have developed can be found in my book, “Crimes Against India: And the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition.”

We still have a sizable population of nearly one billion Hindus around the world, but have you ever wondered why we are still not as formidable a force as we should be? In places likeAmerica, Indians, most of which are Hindus, are one of the wealthiest ethnic groups in the country. We are certainly gathering influence here in many ways, and many are those who are entering politics and gaining influential positions, but we still have not become as formidable a force in the world as we could be. Why is that? It’s simple really. It’s because of a lack of organized effort, too much apathy, but primarily a lack of unity amongst us.

With a united force, we could more easily see to it that laws in government are passed that help defend Hindus rather than take our freedoms away. If we were a united and pro-active force, politicians would be scrambling to get our favor. We would get respect from politicians. We would create a greater recognition on the importance for them to acquire the Hindu vote, especially inIndia. We could also have more control over the media that today thinks that being secular means to be anti-Hindu. We would get non-Hindus or critics of Hinduism to feel that they cannot just say any damn thing against us because we won’t do anything about it. We need to be a force to be reckoned with, a force that is watching what others are doing for or against us, and listening to what they are saying about us, and be ready to stand up and do something about it when it is unjust.

          We must unite around a common set of values, concepts and traditions that can be the universal uniting factors for all Hindus. This does not mean we give up our distinctions, lineages or paramparas, but that we focus on uniting on the basis of what we can all easily agree on, such as the basis of the Bhagavad-gita. Everyone knows the Bhagavad-gita, and should know it. There are all kinds of knowledge within it. But the thing that many people seem to forget is that the Bhagavad-gita is a call to defend Dharma. It is a call to action. That was one of the motivating factors for Arjuna from Lord Krishna. That Arjuna must not run away to the forest simply to meditate, which is what he wanted to do, but he must stand up and fight to defend Santana-dharma. And we must do the same because as we can plainly see all around us, that without it the whole world is falling into hell and confusion. As exhibited by the Mahabharata, sometimes when all else fails, you have to stand up and fight to protect Dharma and its spiritual principles.

          We must also have the attitude that no Hindu is left behind, at least no sincere Hindu. A true Dharmic leader or Vedic Ambassador will feel this in the core of his heart. Everyone is a part of the whole, the complete. We merely have to awaken that completeness within ourselves. When everyone shares this vision amongst the whole community, then it becomes extremely powerful. When everyone is imbibed with spiritual unity, then the spiritual vibration is no longer something to seek or acquire, but it is something to witness, to experience, and we should bring together all like-minded people to work in that unity and to expand that spiritual vibration, that higher energy that exists within us all. 

          Everyone in the Vedic community must see all other Hindus as Dharmic brothers and sisters who are eligible to make the same spiritual progress as anyone else. Why? No Hindu left behind. That means everyone is eligible to enter the temples, everyone is eligible to practice its customs, everyone is eligible to participate in the core identity of being a Dharmist. Everyone should feel they have a place and are valued and have something to contribute. This is the basis of enthusiasm, which everyone should feel. This is the power a united Dharmic community. No Hindu is left behind. When this is established, it creates a most positive atmosphere in all who participate, it creates a very positive future, and it creates a winning team in which many others want to join. Everyone wants to be on a winning team, and then feel they can stand up and do their part. Then we all become very powerful in our ability to change this world, and bring in and manifest the spiritual vibration for one and all. Then we all become a part of that uplifting force, which is the ultimate destiny for all humanity, which is also described in the Vedic shastra, like Bhagavad-gita.

          This is also, if I may say so, one of the main principles of what Kamal Kumar Swamiji is doing on his padayatras inIndia. He goes everywhere, whether it is the villages, the streets, the dusty roads, even the houses of the Hindus, anywhere it takes to inspire everyone to remain a part of the Vedic family, and then work together to help preserve it. I have seen it. I have been with Kamal Kumar Swami in Tirupati for this very reason, and I applaud his work, and many others should be going out to reach the people in similar ways.

          This is the ideal of no Hindu left behind, and the Dharmic leader and Vedic Ambassadors know how to instill this unity for everyone to take a stand, become involved and to defend and preserve the culture and all who participate in it. Any apathy amongst Hindus is what must be given up and left behind as we all gather momentum to make sure we all have our freedom and facilities to follow the principles, the customs, and the traditions of the Vedic path. 

So to wrap this up, we have covered a number of points, such as:

We all need to be Vedic ambassadors.

We must be educated in the profound nature of our culture.

Practicing the Vedic tradition is a right and a freedom which must be protected.

Apathy is an enemy.

Everyone can and must do something.

The Bhagavad-gita is a call to action.

No sincere Hindu left behind.

We must become united and work in concerted efforts, and become a formidable force for Vedic Dharma.

          So how do we do this? We must become united under common principles, such as the teachings of Bhagavad-gita, united for stopping cow slaughter, united to stop the deceitful conversion practices that try to take people away from Vedic culture, united for such things as saving the sacredYamunaRiver from all the pollution that is killing it. We should also be united to stop the corruption in Indian politics, and united to keepIndia the homeland of a dynamic and thriving Vedic tradition, united for preserving all aspects of the Vedic spiritual knowledge, and for passing it to the next generations. We should be united for the protection and promotion of the glorious character of Vedic culture that everyone can appreciate. Who among us cannot join and be united for these points? And the more people who participate and work together, the easier it is for all of us. The more we work in such concerted efforts, the more we establish a unified, global Vedic community.

It is said that the war of Kurukshetra, the war to uphold Dharma, lasted 18 days, which changed the world. If all Hindus, Dharmists, gurus, sadhus, bhaktas, etc., etc., all over the world ever really and truly united and worked together as a single force, we could change the world in 18 days. Isn’t that a goal worth working for? Isn’t that a goal worth fighting for? That, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Dharma, is one of the primary purposes of my life. This is all I’m living for. This is my vision, but we all have to share the vision. And I will work with anyone who shares that vision. In this way, we can stand united, and in this way we stay united.

          So, if you help me and I help you, if you wish me well and I give you my best wishes, and we all work together like that, it creates an atmosphere of strength and positivity. It makes our future very bright and full of potential. And if everyone does a little something to help, fantastic things can happen. Many people will become attracted and want to be a part of it. So let us all work together, encouraging each other and become more united as Hindus, followers of Sanatana-dharma, and show the world the great contributions that the culture of Vedic Dharma has given and continues to give to all of humanity. If we take care of Dharma, Dharma will take care of us. But we have to take the first step. Together as united Hindus we can do this. That is the potency and power if we stay together, stand together and work together as a united, global Vedic community.

 

Thank you very much.

Dharma Rakshati Rakshita

Jai Sri Krishna

Jai Hind

The Vedas Say They MUST be Shared With Everyone, by Stephen Knapp

For those of us who have traveled the length and breadth of India, there are many temples that have allowed us in and left indelible and inspiring memories for our spiritual progress. There have also been some temples who have kept us, as Westerners, out, or even kicked us out after we have already entered, as if they do not want to share their culture with us, or anyone they feel does not meet their requirements. I can understand that to a degree. But with a little research, I have found that even the Vedas say they should be shared with everyone, regardless of race, caste, ethnicity, etc., as long as the people are respectful and sincere. And when I say Vedas, I’m talking about those early books such as the Atharva and Yajur Vedas that many seem to regard as being more authoritative than the more recent texts, like the Itihasas or Puranas. And here is what they say:

First of all it is explained that the Vedas spring from God: “The verses of the Rig Veda, the Sama Veda, the Atharva Veda, and the Yajur Veda, along with the verses pertaining to the creation and dissolution of the universe, all the luminous objects in heaven, and all emancipated souls spring from God.” (Atharva Veda, Book 11, Hymn 7, Verse 24)

Not only does it establishes that the Vedic knowledge originates with God, but: “In the enjoyable realm of God, full of manifold powers, do the emancipated souls, calm and sedate, sing in a sweet voice the glory of the knowledge of the Vedas.” (Atharva 5.6.3)

Therefore, having originated with God, the Vedic knowledge is the greatest fortune that one can acquire, a spiritual vibration that pervades both the spiritual world, as well as the material creation. It is, thus, the rarest good fortune for anyone to come in contact with it, as confirmed, “Of all the beautiful forces, which the investigators after truth have accepted as excellent, elevating themselves through the contemplation of God, comradeship and charity, the sagacious learned person deems the Vedic knowledge to be the most developed and majestic.

“Scholars considered in doubt whether Vedic knowledge was a desirable or undesirable object. The wise learned persons declared it as the most desirable of desirable objects.” (Atharva 12.4.41-42)

One of the reasons for this view, as also explained, is that the highest understanding of life, namely God, can be realized through Vedic knowledge. This means that God is not merely a belief, but is the highest truth that can be realized or perceived through such knowledge and practice. “The Divine God, who is the Lord of the world, should alone be honored and worshiped by the people. I realize Thee, O Divine Lord, through the knowledge of the Vedas. May I enjoy Your company in the highest stage of liberation. My obeisances to You.” (Atharva 2.2.1)

As with most Vedic knowledge, what is said in one place is often corroborated in another within the Vedic texts. And here we have the above point also made in the Yajur Veda (29.29) but it also says that such God realization removes all miseries: “O men, in this world, the Immortal God, all-pervading space, beyond the light of day, early in the morning before dawn, grants to the learned and immortal soul happiness that removes miseries and is most excellent. Know and realize Him by following the instructions of the Vedas.” 

This is an important point, that humanity’s search for happiness does not rely on catering to the needs of the body as much as it does on the realization of and attaining unity with God: “O yogis, unite the soul with God and enjoy happiness. Always expand the delight of salvation [spiritual liberation]. Employ your acts of devotion, and arteries full of breath [prana], in the worship of God. Having thus purified the mind, sow the seed of knowledge in it through yoga. May we soon acquire the fruit of all yogas. May we, through God’s grace, obtain the mature fruit of pure joy. Yogic functions act like sickles in allaying [cutting down] sufferings. May they be endowed with peace and prosperity. Practice union with God through them.” (Atharva 3.17.2)

However, who can actually attain this knowledge, this happiness and freedom from miseries through unity with God? Only a devotee, obviously, because without a receptive consciousness, a doubter remains cut off from the means of spiritual realization. “A devotee alone beholds that Highest God, who lies hidden in the inmost recesses of the heart, in whom this whole universe remains in one form and fashion. From Him hath matter milked life and brought into existence many objects. The learned who know God, extol Him in a respectable way.” (Atharva 2.1.1)

Yes, only devotees can acquire the means to approach God, but, nonetheless, God is equal to all and gives everyone the opportunity to approach Him. “God is He who is equally kind to each. God is He, who specially treats each according to his deserts. God is He, who generally pervades each place. God is He who is present in each place, with His special characteristics. God is He who loves the learned as well as the ordinary mortals.” (Atharva 4.16.8)

Therefore, God being equal to everyone allows everyone to be benefitted to the degree to which  they use the spiritual knowledge found within the Vedas. As it is explained, it is through the Vedas, and all supporting Vedic literature, that God preaches to humanity. “God, who is the controller of the universe, is the Creator and Knower of all objects. He preaches through the Vedas, the different modes of creation of all the forces of nature, like the sun, earth, etc. From Him comes the knowledge of the Vedas. Hence, self-existent, He pervades all places low and high.” (Atharva 4.1.3).

As it specifically says in the Veda, “The God-created Vedic knowledge belongs to those who come to ask for it.@ (Atharva 12.4.11) Or, as it is more clearly stated in the Yajur Veda (26.2) AI do hereby address this salutary speech for the benefit of humanity, for the Brahmanas, the Kshatriyas, the Shudras, the Vaishyas, the kinsfolk, and the men of the lowest position in society.”

Therefore, this Vedic knowledge is for everyone and it is through it that God has educated all of humanity: “O men, God is the Creator and Protector of all. Praise Him with your speech. He has educated humanity through the Vedas. God is the guardian of the Vedas and the Lord of all. He has revealed the Vedas, full of knowledge…” (Yajur Veda 14.28)

“God is all-pervading, lustrous, bodiless, flawless, sinewless, pure, unpierced by evil. He is Omniscient, knower of the hearts of all… He truly reveals through the Vedas all things for His subjects from His immemorial attributes, free from birth and death.” (Yajur Veda 40.8)

In this way, it becomes clear that the Lord has provided this spiritual knowledge to educate and guide all of humanity. Thus, the Vedic knowledge is meant for everyone who seeks it, regardless of their position, status, social class, or background. If they are faithless, then they will go their own way, but those who respect and wish to obtain the Vedic knowledge should not be disregarded. And those who know the wisdom of the Vedic tradition must be willing to allow the same privilege to others, or as it is said, “He whose knowledge of the four Vedas is like four horns, who studies and enjoys the Vedas, is perfectly well versed in them all, preaches them to humanity and listens to their teachings from others, is the praiseworthy embodiment of knowledge. It is our duty to propagate it to others, and act upon it in our domestic life with words of veneration.” (Yajur Veda 17. 90)

If this is not clear enough, then this is further corroborated in the Atharva Veda (5.17.10): “The sages, mortals, and the kings, the lovers of truth, have verily given the knowledge of the Vedas to others.”

Thus, it becomes the duty and responsibility of those who know the Vedic wisdom to supply it and teach it to others because it can become like a mighty and uplifting force in the way it affects society. And for those who do not know it but still have faith in it, it becomes their highest good to make arrangements by which others can become learned in this knowledge, as confirmed in the Atharva Veda: “Preached freely, it acts as a powerful force. Held in high esteem it acts as a benefactor of humanity like a leader. It acts as a thunderbolt completely annihilating the usages and practices of a sinner. It acts as a conquest-loving hero throwing light on all topics.” (Atharva 12.5.18-19)

Therefore, it is wrong to think that the Vedic knowledge is only meant for a small section of society, while these verses proclaim that everyone can benefit from it. This is especially the duty of a learned Brahmana: “Even if ten former guardians, none of whom is a Brahmana, espouse the cause of Vedic knowledge, they are no match for a Brahmana who takes into his hand the task of propagating her [the Vedic knowledge]. He alone is her true guardian.” (Atharva 5.17.8) Thus, the Brahmanas, gurus and acharyas, if they are true to the Vedic cause, cannot keep the Vedic knowledge to themselves, but must go out of their way to make it available for the benefits of humanity. Otherwise, it is the lack of Vedic spiritual knowledge that corrupts society and misleads people onto the wrong path of ignorance. And those who know the Vedic sciences and withhold it from society become responsible for the godless nature that civilization exhibits, as confirmed as follows:

“In ancient times the sages who practiced penance through the seven vital forces, verily thus declared about this divine Vedic knowledge, ‘Dreadful is the result of neglecting divine knowledge, which causes confusion and calamity, where its teachings are violated.’ When infants die, [or are] untimely born, when herds of cattle waste away [from drought or death by other causes], when heroes strike each other dead [as in useless wars], the neglect of Vedic knowledge destroyeth them.” (Atharva 5.17.6-7)

“Ignorance that overtakes a village is spoken of as a star with contradictory light. Lack of Vedic knowledge disturbs the kingdom where fall a lot of [inauspicious] meteors and shooting stars.” (Atharva 5.17.4)

Herein it should become obvious to all that society needs the higher wisdom of the Vedic spiritual knowledge to keep itself on the right path to attain the proper qualifications, insight, cooperation, humility, strength, and the means to work in harmony with each other and nature. Without that, life becomes increasingly complex, and a struggle for existence. Without that, society becomes lost, as well as do those who do not promote it, as also explained in the Vedas:

“They perish who do not preach the Vedas. He who hoards the Vedic knowledge loses renown. Their houses are burnt who withhold the Vedic knowledge. He suffers utter destruction who preaches the Vedic knowledge without the support of Nirukta [word meanings] and Grammar.” (Atharva 12.4.3)

“If a violent [or selfish] man or woman disregards the wealthy store of knowledge of this Vedic speech, he or she gets the stain of inseparable infamy, due to that sin…  The God-created Vedic knowledge belongs to those who come to ask for it. The learned call it an outrage on Vedic scholars when one retains Vedic knowledge as his own precious heritage.” (Atharva 12.4.9, 11)

In this way, it actually becomes dangerous not to help or assist in the spread of Vedic knowledge, or to think that it belongs to only one class of man only, as is typically thought in India. It is like ahimsa or non-violence, when a person knows he can help someone in reducing the other person’s suffering but refuses to do so, then he is actually practicing violence, and that will come back to haunt him in the end and create future sufferings of his own. Similarly, “It [Vedic knowledge] wounds like an arrow him who obstructs its free spread. It brings calamity on him who reviles and abuses it. It is fearfully venomous when it is down-trodden by its foe. It brings death-like darkness on him who has degraded and dishonored it. Pursuing him, Vedic knowledge extinguishes the vital breath of its injurer.” (Atharva 12.5.25-27)

“It weakens physically him who torments its preachers. It destroys the wealth of him who snatches it away from the learned. It brings misery when it is suppressed, and ill repute when it is shown disrespect. . .  It is sinful to try to spoil it. Its destruction is distressing like an evil dream. . .  It brings loss of power to its opponent who forcibly retards its progress, and humiliation when its spread has been retarded. . .  It brings poverty when it is being outraged. . .  Vedic knowledge, when desecrated, cuts off the injurer of the learned from this world and the next.” (Atharva 12.5.29, 32, 35, 37, 38)

“If in his house alone one preserves the Vedic knowledge received from an acharya or acquired otherwise, but imparts it not to others, such a dishonest person, doing wrong to the learned and the Brahmacaris [those worthy of receiving the Vedic wisdom], departs from this world in a miserable plight.” (Atharva 12.4.53)

Herein we can see that if we have acquired this Vedic knowledge from an authorized teacher or guru, or have grown up with it and have become well acquainted with it, then, in the end, our spiritual advancement and securing the spiritual progress of others is all that really matters. All else is temporary and comes and goes.

Therefore, if we have benefitted from the spiritual knowledge that we have acquired from the Vedic tradition, then it behooves us to share that blessing with others, and provide a means for others to also benefit and become blessed. If, however, we do not do that, then it is but a sign of selfishness, and, indeed, a disqualification for having attained such knowledge. “He who wants to derive full advantage from this Vedic knowledge should aspire after this life-infusing knowledge. This knowledge, when not given, however, harms a man who does not impart it to others when they ask for it. . .   However, unavoidable adversity overtakes him who does not like to part with Vedic knowledge even when it is asked for. His wishes and hopes, which he would like to gain, are never fulfilled when withholding Vedic knowledge.” (Atharva 12.4.13, 19)

Thus, we can see what may happen to those who restrict the flow of Vedic wisdom, or who selfishly hold it as if it is their property alone and not for others. However, it is even more damaging to a leader, king, or ruler who denigrates it, neglects it, takes it cheaply, or does not work to protect its existence and the lives of those who know and teach it.”Vedic knowledge preached in all parts of the world attains to fame and dignity. It brings misery and suffering on the king who restricts its spread.” (Atharva 12.4.39) Thus, for anyone who teaches the Vedic wisdom, or for the country who provides for such activities to go on, great well-being can be given. But for a king or ruler who neglects it, great misfortune can follow for himself and his whole family, either in this life or the next. “Whosoever looking on Vedic knowledge as fruitless, or defames it at home, God, the Lord of mighty worlds, reduces his sons and grandsons to extreme poverty.” (Atharva 12.4.38)

Furthermore, a leader who is influenced by those who hate Vedic culture will bring ruin to the whole country, and such a person will depart this life heading toward ultimate darkness in the next. This may be more prophetic than we think, for is not the next statement what is happening in India? “They who seduce the king [or ruler] and say, ‘Propagate not Vedic knowledge,’ encounter through their lack of sense, the missile shot by a powerful person. . .   For the Kshatriya [or leader] who usurps this Vedic knowledge and oppresseth the Brahmanas, the courteous language, heroism, and auspicious fortune all depart. The energy, vigor, patience and might, the knowledge and mental strength, the glory and virtue, devotion and princely sway, kingship and people, brilliance and honor, splendor and wealth, long life and physical beauty, and name and fame, food and nourishing edibles, right and truth, hospitality and acts of public utility, and children and cattle, all these blessings of a Kshatriya depart from him when he oppresseth the Brahmanas and usurps the Vedic knowledge.” (Atharva 12.4.52, & 5.5-11)

“The sages, O King, have not bestowed this [Vedic] knowledge on thee [or society at large] for abuse! Seek not, O King, to destroy the Brahmana’s Vedic knowledge, which is unworthy of destruction. A voluptuous, sinful, spiritually degraded king, who destroys the Vedic knowledge of a learned person may live for today, but not tomorrow.” (Atharva 5.18.1-2)

In conclusion, it should now be clear that:

1. The Vedic knowledge must be made available and open to all of society who sincerely wish to participate in it.

2. If the Vedas must be shared, then the temples also must be open to all who are respectful and sincere, regardless of caste, status, social background, race, or ethnicity.

3. No one who respects Vedic knowledge and seeks its blessing should be denied access to it.

4. It does not belong to only one class or section of society, and such concocted restrictions or barriers must be broken down.

5. Those who know Vedic wisdom must teach it to others and pass it along, or provide and support the means for its distribution by those who can do so, otherwise they leave this world like one who is but a thief, heading toward darkness. (I have many action plans that explain ways in which this can be done in my book “Crimes Against India: And the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Culture” and on my website: http://www.stephen-knapp.com.

6. Any national leader or politician must pave the way to protect and preserve the Vedic tradition and those who work in this way, or, if he works against the Vedic tradition, he or she loses all that is good and brings a curse on him or herself and to their family for generations.

This is evidence merely from the Vedas, while much more could be found that supports this by investigating the Vedic texts that follow, such as the Upanishads, Bhagavad-gita and Puranas. For example, the Bhavishya Purana explains what portions of the Vedic literature were especially made and meant for everyone in society:  

“O distinguished member of the Kuru dynasty, the narration of the transcendental characteristics of Lord Ramachandra, who appeared in the Raghu dynasty, is very glorious within the eighteen Puranas, and it has been presented with the aim of awarding the three objectives of life to all classes of human beings.

            “O hero, the great epic, Mahabharata, which embodies all of the Vedic purports and instruction of all kinds of religious scriptures, was composed by the supremely intelligent son of Parashara, Vyasadeva.

            “The compassionate Vyasadeva had compiled the Mahabharata-samhita, which is like an excellent boat for delivering the members of all the four varnas [classes of men] who are drowning in the ocean of material existence, after conceptualizing the eighteen Puranas and eight grammatical works.

            “O King, simply by hearing this transcendental literature, human beings can be liberated from the reactions to even grave sinful activities, including killing a Brahmana. . .” (Bhavishya Purana, Brahma Parva, 1.55-59)

            “. . . Then there are [the] eighteen principal Puranas. These include the Brahma, Padma, Vishnu, Shiva, Bhagavata, Narada, Markandeya, Agni, Bhavishya, Brahma-Vaivarta, Linga, Varaha, Skanda, Kurma, Matsya, Garuda, and Brahmanda.

            “O lion-like king of the Kuru dynasty, this literature was compiled by greatly learned scholars for the eternal benefit of all classes of human beings. O foremost of kings, all these religious scriptures are meant to be heard by the members of all the four varnas [classes of society].”  (Bhavishya Purana, Brahma Parva, 1.61-66)

So, herein it is clear that these Vedic texts are not exclusive but are meant for everyone. Furthermore, in the Bhagavad-gita (18.69) Lord Krishna explains, “For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me. There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.” So, we can understand how much the Lord appreciates those who take the time and endeavor to help spread this information to others.

Also, Lord Krishna continues in the Bhagavata Purana: “One who liberally disseminates this knowledge among My devotees is the bestower of the Absolute Truth, and to him I give My very own self. He who loudly recites this supreme knowledge, which is most lucid and purifying, becomes purified day by day, for he reveals Me to others with the lamp of transcendental knowledge. Furthermore, anyone who regularly listens to this knowledge with faith and attention, all the while engaging in My pure devotional service, will never become bound by the reactions of material work.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.29.26-28)

However, one must be careful not to give it to the ignorant or those who hold disrespect for it, or who would mistreat it. “Whoso imparts this beautiful Vedic knowledge not to the learned [those who respect and request it] but to the ignorant, Earth, with the sages, is hard for him to win and rest upon.” (Atharva 12.4.23)

Nonetheless, Lord Krishna clarifies this point as He continues to speak in the Bhagavata Purana: “However, you should not share this knowledge with anyone who is hypocritical, atheistic or dishonest, or with anyone who will not listen faithfully, who is not a devotee, or who is simply not humble. This knowledge should be taught to those who are free from these bad qualities, who are dedicated to the welfare of the spiritual, and who are saintly and pure. However, if any common people are found to have devotion for the Supreme Lord, they can also be accepted as being qualified to listen. When an inquisitive person begins to understand this knowledge, he or she has nothing further to know. After all, one who has drunk the most palatable nectar cannot remain thirsty.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.29.30-32)

This is the message of the Vedas, and of Lord Krishna. Any follower of Sanatana-dharma, the Vedic tradition, should take this seriously. The Vedic knowledge is supplied by God to fulfill the spiritual needs of the people. As it is explained:

            “Hearing the Mahabharata awards one devotional service, which gives pleasure to the demigods, exalted personalities, the personified Vedas, qualified Brahmanas, and above all, the Supreme Lord Vishnu.” (Bhavishya Purana, Brahma Parva, 1.22)

“Therefore, it is to be understood that the members of all four varnas and ashramas [all social divisions of society] are either directly or indirectly entitled to take advantage of what is taught in the Vedic literature.” (Bhavishya Purana, Brahma Parva, 9.14)   

Thus, it is the responsibility of every Dharmist, devotee, or Hindu to be pro-active and spread this opportunity to others as a service to God and to themselves. Everyone should put their differences aside and work together in this way to spread the nectar of the Vedic spiritual knowledge to all who are inquisitive, who are in search of it, or seeking the means to solve their problems, or the way to attain a closer connection with God. There is no higher welfare work than this. This will preserve the culture, and pave the way for higher spiritual progress for generations to come.      

 REFERENCES

Atharva-veda, translated by Devi Chand, Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1980.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is, translated by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, New York/Los Angeles, 1972.

Bhavishya Purana, translated by Bhumipati Prabhu, Rasbihari Lal & Sons, Vrindavana, India, 2007.

Srimad-Bhagavatam, translated by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Bhaktivedanta Book trust, New York/Los Angeles, 1972.

Yajurveda, translated by Devi Chand, Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1980.