The Out of Africa Theory Verses the Vedic View

By Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana dasa)

Many geneticists view that modern man developed and came out of Africa where they migrated across lands to settle in ancient India. From there they spread out in all directions, even into Europe. This is called the “Out of Africa” theory. This certainly helps contradict the Aryan Invasion Theory, which proposes that the Vedic Aryans were not indigenous to the region of India, but came from the Caucasus Mountains, bringing their culture into India. However, over the past several years, an increasing number of finds have been made that suggest modern humans also lived in other regions besides Africa, and at older dates. This is giving rise to the “Multi-Regional Theory,” putting into question the “Out of Africa” theory. This also gives rise to the “Simultaneous Multi-Species” view, in which different species of human-like beings existed at the same times. These two later theories seem to be much closer to the Vedic version as well. So let us take a closer look at this.



Modern views of evolution place the first appearance of apelike beings on the planet during the Oligocene period, from about 38 million years ago. The first apes considered to be in line with humans are said to have appeared in the Miocene period, which is about 5 to 25 million years ago. The first hominids or erect walking humanlike primates appeared in the Pliocene period, which is said to have started about 5 million years ago. The earliest hominid is the Australopithecus, the southern ape, which dates back about 4 million years ago. This near human is said to have stood about 4 to 5 feet tall with a cranial brain capacity of 300 to 600 cubic centimeters. The head appeared somewhat ape-like, while from the neck down appeared more human-like. Once this brain capacity enlarged, it is said to have developed the branch known as the Homo habilis around 2 million years ago. This gave rise to the Homo erectus around 1.5 million years ago, and stood 5 to 6 feet tall with a cranial capacity of 700 to 1300 cubic centimeters, appearing more like modern humans, but the forehead slanted back behind massive eye brow ridges, with large jaws and teeth, and no chin. It is this Homo erectus which is said to have lived in Africa, Asia, and then Europe until about 200,000 years ago (some say 500,000 years ago). It is from this Homo erectus that modern humans, or Homo sapiens sapiens emerged gradually, first appearing around 300,000 to 400,000 years ago. These early Homo sapiens sapiens still had lesser degree of receding forehead from large brow ridges. Examples of this have been found in Swanscombe in England, Steinheim in Germany, and Fontechevade and Arago in France. These are classified as pre-Neanderthals.

It is these classic Western European Neanderthals from the last glacial period which are considered the direct ancestors of modern humans. The faces and jaws were much larger, with low foreheads, and large eyebrow ridges. Remains of Neanderthals have been found in Pleistocene deposits from 30,000 to 150,000 years ago. However, finding remains of early Homo sapiens in deposits far older than 150,000 years effectively removed the Western Neanderthals from the direct line of descent leading from Homo erectus to modern humans.

The Cro-Magnon appeared in Europe around 30,000 years ago, and look anatomically modern. Scientists used to say that modern humans appeared first around 40,000 years ago, but many have changed that view after the findings in South Africa and other places to 100,000 years or more. Thus, again the views are always changing based on new discoveries of fossils. 1

Only gradually, based on increasing evidence, did a consensus grow in the scientific community to accept that possibly modern human beings had existed as far back as the Pliocene and Miocene periods (5 to 25 million years ago), or even earlier. Anthropologist Frank Spencer admitted in 1984: “From accumulating skeletal evidence it appeared as if the modern human skeleton extended far back in time, an apparent fact which led many workers to either abandon or modify their views on human evolution.” 2


Most scientists today think that modern human beings, Homo sapiens sapiens, appeared first on earth in Africa between 200,000 and 500,000 years ago. They first became fully developed in Africa, and then about 80,000 to 125,000 years ago began to expand and migrate out of the continent to the northeast and into the Middle East and to India. As they grew, they out-competed and replaced all other species of humans, such as the Homo erectus, Neanderthal, and archaic humans with no or very little interbreeding.

The Homo erectus supposedly came into existence about 1.8 million years ago and existed up to about 300,000 years ago. At least this is what evidence from the fossils seem to tell us, along with DNA analysis, although the estimation of the time when Homo sapiens sapiens appeared and when the Homo erectus disappeared keeps changing with every new discovery that takes place.

It is explained that some of the oldest known fossils of modern humans had been discovered in Herto, Ethiopia. An international team let by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, found the skulls of two adults and a child dating from 160,000 years ago, 40,000 years earlier than the previous oldest remains of Homo sapiens. The discovery as described in Nature, fills a gap in the human fossil record; the absence of accurately dated hominid remains in Africa between 120,000 and 300,000 years ago. As related by Clark Howell of UC of Berkeley, “The fossils are unmistakably non Neanderthal and show that (modern) humans had evolved in Africa long before the European Neanderthals disappeared. They demonstrate conclusively that there was never a Neanderthal stage in human evolution.” 3

This leads to some serious controversy because not everyone accepts this analysis. Others feel that the Neanderthals were a separate species of humans, and, for the most part, did not interbreed with other species. They evolved through time in a particular direction, distinct from modern humans, but separated about 400,000 years ago from the human lineage, with a separate evolutionary history, and, as many suggest, became extinct about 30,000 years ago.

When it comes to DNA analysis, humans and all mammals have two sets of DNA which do not recombine; it is said that the male sex chromosomes Y, which is passed from father to son and never recombines with its partner the X chromosome (X chromosomes do recombine in women, so these are less useful), and mitochondrial DNA; DNA found outside the nucleus in organelles called mitochondria, and which are always inherited through the female line. It is therefore easy to assess the rate at which these chromosomes have accumulated mutations, making them a prime target for scientists interested in tracing the divergence of human populations.

When scientists examined the X chromosome they came to the conclusion that all humans had a common female ancestor approximately 160,000 years ago. This hypothetical female ancestor is sometimes known as the ‘Mitochondrial Eve’. The Y-chromosomal DNA yielded even more surprising evidence: all male humans apparently shared a single male ancestor 60,000 years ago, sometimes called the ‘Y-chromosomal Adam’.

This was not the end of the DNA story. Scientists were also able to analyze the entire human genome to look for diversity within different groups. By analyzing the DNA of thousands of volunteers from around the world it was possible to build up a rough family tree for humanity. This suggested that the greatest human diversity was found within African populations – all non-African populations, no matter what they look like – are comparatively closely related to one-another.

When we combine the strong belief in Darwin’s evolutionary theories with paleontology, we get a bias that accepts all fossil evidence as proof of mankind’s evolutionary development. And this is basically what the “Out of Africa” theory provides.

However, when depending on nothing but fossils, we have to take something into consideration, and that is that fossils alone may not be a sure way of determining the past, or an evolutionary process of mankind’s development. As Bernard Heuvelmans stated in a letter (April 15, 1986) to researcher Stephen Bernath, who was working for Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson; “Do not overestimate the importance of the fossil record. Fossilization is a very rare, exceptional phenomenon, and the fossil record cannot thus give us an exact image of life on earth during the past geological periods. The fossil record of primates is particularly poor because very intelligent and cautious animals can avoid more easily the very conditions of fossilization–such as sinking in mud or peat, for instance.”

In this way, the most advanced or intelligent beings are the most likely not to be found as fossils. Furthermore, in the Vedic civilization, the common way to deal with the dead was through ritual cremation. Therefore, fossils of humanlike beings from that society is least likely, though there have been some buried bodies that have been found. Nonetheless, when we put all of the evidence together, including whatever fossils have been found from ancient layers of earth, and recent sightings of humanlike beings that wander in the wilderness, the conclusion is that many species of humanlike creatures have been simultaneously existing throughout the world in various environments for millions of years, rather than displaying a sequential pattern of evolution from one type of body or species to the next. So. it may not necessarily be that one species of humanity gives way to another, while the previous species ceases to exist. We will discuss this more as we proceed through this article.


The fact is that up till a few years ago, the “Out of Africa” theory was generally accepted by most scientists. But from 2007 onwards, there have been an increasing number of discoveries that are putting that theory into question. Recently, for example, discoveries of early human remains in China and Spain have done just that. As reported in December of 2010 in England’s The Daily Mail, archeologists from Tel Aviv University say that eight human-like teeth found in the Qesem cave near Rosh Ha’Ayin, 10 miles from Israel’s international airport, are 400,000 years old, from the Middle Pleistocene age, making them the earliest remains of Homo sapiens yet discovered anywhere in the world. The size and shape of the teeth are very similar to those of modern man. Until now, the earliest examples found were in Africa, dating back to 200,000 years. Other scientists have argued that human beings originated in Africa before moving to other regions 150,000 to 200,000 years ago. Previously, Homo sapiens discovered in Middle Awash, Ethiopia, from 160,000 years ago, were believed to be the oldest ‘modern’ human beings.

Therefore, the findings of Professor Avi Gopher and Dr. Ran Barkai of the Institute of Archeology at Tel Aviv University, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology in early December, 2010, suggest that modern man did not originate in Africa as previously believed, but in the Middle East. The Qesem Cave was discovered in 2000 and has been the focus of intense study ever since. Along with the teeth–the parts of the human skeleton that survive the longest–the researchers found evidence of a sophisticated early human society that used sharpened flakes of stone to cut, along with other impressive prehistoric tools.

The Israeli scientists said the remains found in the cave suggested the systematic production of flint blades, the habitual use of fire, evidence of hunting, cutting and sharing of food, and mining raw materials to produce flint tools from rocks below ground. Thick-edged blades, shaped through retouch, were used for scraping semi-hard materials such as wood or hide, whereas blades with straight, sharp working edges were used to cut soft tissues. Thus, a rather developed society is indicated by the findings in the cave, where they expect to continue their research for additional evidence. 4

In the scientific journal called Nature, there was the news that humans seemed to have organized sea journeys as far back as 800,000–880,000 years ago. The evidence was the finding of stone tools on the island of Flores, 340 miles east of Bali. The intricacies of organizing such trips from South Asia would have required the use of language way back then to make it possible. 5

It was previously considered that the first major sea journey took place around 40,000–60,000 years ago, when anatomically modern humans are said to have arrived at Australia from eastern Indonesia.

Another example is that a news item on January 9, 2012, relates that Australian scientists had analyzed the oldest DNA ever taken from human remains, and that the results challenge the theory that humans developed only in Africa. Researchers at Australian National University said they had analyzed DNA taken from remains unearthed in 1974 at Lake Mungo in the state of New South Wales. Dating them in May 1999 put the age of the skeleton at between 56,000 and 68,000 years old. ANU anthropologist Alan Thorne said that neither “Mungo Man’s” completely modern skeleton nor its DNA had any links with human ancestors from Africa found in other parts of the world. Thorne said that there are modern humans in Australia that have nothing to do with Africa at all. These findings, as reported in The Australian newspaper, challenge the prevailing “Out of Africa” theory because “Mungo Man” has a genetic line which has vanished yet his skeleton is completely modern.

The previously oldest human DNA tested from the area came from the Neanderthal remains–a 45,000-year-old specimen in western Germany and 28,000-year-old from Croatia. ANU evolutionary geneticist Simon Easteal told Reuters, “If he [Mungo Man] was part of a wave of modern people that had come out of Africa and spread, eventually reaching Australia, then his mitochondrial DNA would reflect that.” Thorne also said that dating Mungo Man meant that there was no doubt that ancestors of Australia’s Aborigines came to the continent from Asia about 70,000 years ago–some 30,000 years earlier than thought. As he put it, “There’s no question that somewhere in southeast Asia is where watercraft got invented. The first oceanic crossings were to Australia.” 6

For the evolutionists, this means that at least one group of Homo erectus descendants evolved outside of Africa. It could also mean that modern man was a completely separate species who had already been evolved and traveled the globe, remnants of which we are only now discovering. And that ancient India was indeed where watercraft was invented and from where came the earliest residents of Australia.

What this seems to indicate is that modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, have been wandering the earth for quite some time, meaning many hundreds of thousands of years. Many instances of proof can be supplied that can help verify that.

For example, the Ph. D. degree holding geologist Dr. Virginia Steen McIntyre was a fellow of the United States Geology Survey. When in Mexico she carefully presented research conclusions about the stone tools found at Hueyatlaco that dated back to 250,000 years BCE. Then, while using four different methods of dating the material, two other USGS certified members agreed with her. This went drastically against the notion that humans that made stone tools did not appear until 100,000 years ago in Africa.

Another item of January 11, 2012 reports that scientists from Germany, Bulgaria and France discovered a hominid pre-molar tooth near the Bulgarian town of Chirpan, which is estimated to be seven million years old. This means that great apes survived in the area two million years longer than previously estimated. It had been thought that they could not have survived because of a lack of food. However, alongside the hominid tooth, scientists found the remains of animals typical of a savannah environment with seasonal changes, such as several species of elephant, giraffes, antelopes, rhinos, and saber-toothed cats. The implication is that hominids had adopted efficiently to the area. They said the discovery may cast doubt on the “Out of Africa” theory. Professor Madelaine Bohme of the University of Tubingen related, “We now also need to rethink where the origin of humans took place. There is increasing evidence… that a significant part of human evolution happened outside Africa, in Europe and Western Asia.”

This brings about what some people call the multi regional theory, meaning that various human species have been developing and existing in many areas of the world at the same time.


The Multi-Regional Theory postulates that various species of humans spread around the globe about 2 million years ago, and that these separate species evolved into modern races of humans, possibly by interbreeding. For example, the Homo erectus has been found in a range that includes eastern Africa, Georgia in southeast Europe, Turkey, India, China, Vietnam, and Java, which is a wide range of territory, though not all scientists accept that all these specimens belonged to the same species. Nonetheless, it would give evidence that not all modern humans may have developed in Africa directly.

For example, in April of 2007 it was reported that the ancient remains of an early modern human found near Beijing, in the Tianyuan Cave in Zhoukoudian in 2003. This suggests that the “Out of Africa” theory may be more complex than first thought. A fossilized remains dated to 38,000 to 42,000 years old makes it the oldest modern human skeleton from eastern Eurasia.

The specimen is basically a modern human, but with a few archaic characteristics in the teeth and hand bone. It is this discovery that casts further doubts on the longstanding “Out of Africa” theory which holds that when modern Homo sapiens spread eastwards from the sub-Saharan Africa to Eurasia about 65,000 to 25,000 years ago, they simply replaced the native late archaic humans, as explained by anthropologist Erik Trinkaus of Washington University. This leads to the growing idea, with respect to western Eurasia, that modern humans interbred with local archaic humans before becoming fully developed. 7

What this also means is one of two things: 1. That it is likely that they interbred to develop the Homo sapien species, or 2. That they were already two separate species that interbred at various places which produced these fossils that display both modern human and Homo erectus characteristics in one skeleton.

As we continue with this line of thought, in November of 2009, an article submitted by Michael Kan, “110,000-year-old Chinese Fossil Poses Challenge to ‘Out of Africa’ Theory” explains that China’s Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology announced the discovery of a human jawbone fragment, found a year previous in southern China’s Guangxi province. Jin Changshu, a researcher with the institute, said the find of the 110,000-year-old jawbone was especially important since very few human fossils from this evolutionary period have been found in China. He added that the jawbone is that of an early modern human, but also bears the traits of our more primitive ancestors.

Wu Xinzhi, a professor with the institute, said he believes the discovery presents evidence to challenge the “Out of Africa” hypothesis. He says that if the “Out of Africa” theory is true, then in China, they should not be able to find a mandible (jaw) of a fossil with modern features older than 60,000 years. “But this Guangxi mandible is 110,000 years old. This means that this ‘Out of Africa’ theory is not true, at least not for China.”

Instead, Wu said the fossil find lends support for another theory called the “multi-regional hypothesis.” Under this scenario, humanity’s ancestors from Africa spread themselves across other continents and developed locally, and possibly interbred with earlier forms of humans, such as the Homo erectus, which gives the reason for the blend of characteristics in the fossil found in China. However, other scholars disagreed that such conclusions could be made from a mere jawbone to determine if it was really a Homo sapien. Still, the discovery presents a challenge to present theories.

However, now a much younger date, possibly as recent as 35,000 years ago, has been suggested for the Solo River site. The Homo erectus species of humanity, which many think became extinct about 200,000 to 500,000 years ago, appears to have survived in Indonesia until about 35,000 to 50,000 years ago at the site of Ngandong on the Solo River. This means that these Homo erectus would have shared the environment with early members of Homo sapiens, who are said to have arrived in Indonesia about 40,000 years ago. This means that they may have been two separate species, not necessarily an outgrowth of one from the other. 8

The existence of the two species in the same area simultaneously has important implications, one of which is that they were indeed separate species and not a sequential development of one from the other.

However, another piece of evidence outdates the above Solo River findings. In June 30 of 2011, in an article written by Daniel Smith, and to show how fast things change in this field of study, it claims that an ancestor of modern humans, the Homo erectus, widely considered a direct ancestor of Homo sapiens, migrated out of Africa 1.8 million years ago. The article claims that by around 500,000 years ago it had vanished from Africa and much of Asia, but until now was thought to have co-existed with their ancestors. The new research suggests this assumption was wrong, and Homo erectus disappeared long before the arrival of Homo sapiens in Asia.

New excavations and dating analysis indicate that Homo erectus was extinct by at least 143,000 years ago, and perhaps more than 550,000 years ago. If this is the case, it again challenges the widely accepted “Out of Africa” hypothesis which holds that modern humans became fully evolved in Africa before emigrating to other parts of the world. The model presupposes an overlap between Homo sapiens and the older species of humans they replaced outside Africa. This late survival of Homo erectus in Indonesia had previously been held up as evidence supporting this theory.

Dr. Etty Indriati, from Gadjah Mada university in Indonesia, who co-led the investigations at two sites on Indonesia’s Solo river, said “Homo erectus probably did not share habitats with modern humans.” In this way, a “Multi-Regional” hypothesis proposes that modern humans evolved from ancestor species in Africa, Asia and Europe. Thus, Africa was not the only place where modern humans developed.

However, here we can also see that the evolutionary idea of Darwin, along with the “Out of Africa” theory, is still itself evolving through many ideas and proposals as time goes by. My prediction is that the “Out of Africa” theory will itself change or even be thrown out as more investigations and discoveries take place.

“In the early 1950s, Thomas E. Lee of the National Museum of Canada found advanced stone tools in glacial deposits at Sheguiandah, on Manitoulin Island in norther Lake Huron. Geologist John Stanford of Wayne State University argued that the oldest Sheguiandah tools were at least 65,000 years old and might be as much as 125,000 years old. For those adhering to standard views on North American Prehistory, such ages were unacceptable. Humans supposedly first entered North America from Siberia only about 12,000 years ago.” 9

This was the standard view, that waves of hunter gatherers crossed into America over the Bering Straights about 12,000 years ago, but now some authorities are willing to place that date back to 30,000 or even 65,000 or more years ago, while a growing few are willing to place that entrance into America back to Pleistocene time frame, beyond 2 million years ago. For humans to reach America that far back in time certainly places the “Out of Africa” theory in doubt that it can continue to hold up under the pressure of newer and newer discoveries.


As we can plainly see, the dates for the development of modern man continue to go further and further back in time. For those of us who are familiar with the Vedic view and its ancient time frame in which it presents on when the creation of the cosmos took place and the development of modern man, this is not all surprising. The ancient Sanskrit texts of India, along with other ancient traditions, agree that humans have existed for many millions of years, going back to the very beginnings of creation, the very beginning of time. I have described the basics of the Vedic view of the process of universal creation in my book, How the Universe was Created and Our Purpose In It, which everyone can read to gain further insights into the Vedic view of this.

Furthermore, in light of the question of whether mankind had sequentially developed or evolved from apes, or whether there were many separate species of human-like beings, the Vedic texts, such as the Padma Purana, explain that there are 8,400,000 species of life throughout the multi-dimensions of the universe. Out of all these, it says there are 400,000 species of humans. What this means is that what are presently called modern humans, or Homo sapiens sapiens, have existed for millions of years along with other types or branches of humans on this planet, though paleontologists and others may call them by so many names.

The Vedic view also includes the premise that evolution (as in Darwin’s theory) does take place, except for minor changes, but that individual living beings, as spiritual entities, evolve through the different species of life that are created in order to acquire the best species or body (a set of senses) that suites the consciousness of that particular living being. Thus, as the living entity grows in consciousness, he or she naturally climbs the ladder of higher and higher species of life to be able to express oneself more appropriately, and to also have the intellect to accommodate the person’s natural search for his real spiritual identity, and to not only understand it, but to actually realize and perceive it. This is essentially the purpose of human life. Then the person can live on that level of understanding and reality, and, thus, attain the spiritual dimension wherein there is freedom from any further existence in the material world or material bodies. (I have written much more about this in my books, such as The Secret Teachings of the Vedas, and others.)


The Vedic texts say that the source of humanity, and all life, is from much higher dimensions, and that we devolve or descend from that higher dimension, namely from the spiritual strata. All living beings are not only physical, but also the subtle body of mind, intelligence, ego, and, ultimately, the spiritual soul which is beyond everything else. Therefore, living beings have not evolved out of matter, or evolved up from the apes, but are only traveling through matter and the various forms that nature provides, meaning each form or species of life that we accept, based on our level of consciousness. This is to acquire all the experiences that this three-dimensional world can provide, and that our consciousness deems necessary for our own growth. Then, once we are finished with this material realm of existence by regaining our spiritual identity and acting on that level, we make our way back to the spiritual domain.

Furthermore, the Vedic philosophy explains that the universal or material creation is a matter of Divine arrangement, not that it merely happened by chance and here we are. There was and is a plan behind everything, which means there was also an original plan-maker. Therefore, the Vedic texts point out that though species can change to some small degrees, all species of life were planned and created at the beginning of time for the purpose they fulfill, and only now have we been discovering, through the excavation of fossil remains, some of the forms of these species that have existed before, and may still be continuing to live somewhere or other, thus confirming the Vedic view. Plus, though we may call them as Homo erectus, or Neanderthal, etc., and consider them to be extinct, they may still be existing around the world in various environments, though they may not be so well known or observable at present, such as the wildmen, Sasquatch, Almas, etc., which we will discuss next.


Combining the Vedic view with the evidence for the various forms of human and human-like beings, there is also the idea of the simultaneous multi-species view, which means that not only were all species originated at the beginning of creation, but they have all been existing together in various environments at the same time. And we can find further evidence for this in other areas of research, for example, as described by Michael Cremo:

“If we look back into the history of hominid paleontology, we find that Louis Leakey rejected Homo erectus and the Neanderthals (and Australopithecus) as human ancestors, just because of their strangely nonhuman brow ridges. He explains in his book Adam’s Ancestors (1960, p. 164): ‘The brow-ridge over each eye is made up of two component parts in Homo sapiens. One part in each case starts just above the nose and extends sideways and slightly upwards to overlap that second part, which on either side, starts at the extreme edge to the right and left of the eye-socket respectively, and extends inwards and slightly downwards. Thus, above the center of each eye-socket, there is an overlap of the two elements.’ The quite different single horizontal bar of bone found in the Homo erectus ‘suggested not an ancestral stage of human evolution, but a side branch that has become more specialized, in this respect, than any Homo sapiens type.’ Leakey thought it exceedingly unlikely that evolution should take the ancestors through a phase where they had no bar-like brow ridge to a phase where they had a massive bar-like brow ridge, and then back again to a phase with no massive bar-like brow ridge. I think Leakey was correct.” 10

This would indicate that this is a separate species of human-like beings that existed and were not merely an evolving form of humans. Not only were separate species of humanity existing at the same time, but they existed with ancient creatures as well, as explained:

“Dr. J. D. Whitney, in his book The Auriferous Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California (1880) published by Harvard University, details numerous discoveries of anatomically modern human bones and artifacts in layers of rock up to 50 million years old. One human skull fragment, which was sent to the Museum of Natural History in Boston, was found by Col. Paul K. Hubbs in the Valentine Mine shaft at Table Mountain, 180 feet below the surface in gold-bearing deposits, next to fossil bones of mastodons. The fossil-bearing layers were sealed off from the surface by thick layers of volcanic deposits at least 9 million years old. Whitney wrote (1880 p. 265): ‘The essential facts are, that the Valentine Shaft was vertical, that it was boarded up to the top, so that nothing could have fallen in from the surface during the working under ground, which was carried on in the gravel channel exclusively, after the shaft had been sunk. There can be no doubt that the specimen came from the drift [gold-bearing gravels] in the channel under Table Mountain, as affirmed by Mr. Hubbs.’ And reports of human skeletal remains go even further back than that. In the December 1862 edition of The Geologist, we find a report that a complete anatomically modern human skeleton was found ninety feet below the surface of the ground in Macoupin County, Illinois, in deposits about 300 million years old.” 11

“In 1979, researchers at the Laetoli, Tanzania site in East Africa discovered footprints in volcanic ash deposits that were over 3.6 million years old. Mary Leakey and others said the prints were indistinguishable from those of modern humans. To these scientists, this meant only that the human ancestors of 3.6 million years ago had remarkably modern feet. But according to other scientists, such as physical anthropologist R. H. Tuttle of the University of Chicago, fossil foot bones of the known australopithecines of 3.6 million years ago show they had feet that were distinctly apelike. Hence they were incompatible with the Laetoli prints. However, in an article in the March 1990 issue of Natural History, Tuttle confessed that ‘we are left with somewhat of a mystery.’ It seems possible, therefore, to consider a point that neither Tuttle nor Leakey mentioned–that creatures with anatomically modern human bodies to match their anatomically modern human feet existed some 3.6 million years ago in East Africa. Perhaps they coexisted with more apelike creatures.” 12

Even now, after reviewing the fossil hominids of China, there has been signs that humans may have coexisted with more apelike hominids throughout the Pleistocene era. Even today this may be the case when we consider the ongoing sighting of what would appear to be Homo erectus or other humanlike beings around the world. What follows are a few descriptions of these:

“Over the past century, scientists have accumulated evidence suggesting that humanlike creatures resembling Gigantopithecus, Australopithecus, Homo erectus, and the Neanderthals are living in various wilderness areas of the world. In North America these creatures are known as Sasquatch. In Central Asia, they are called Almas. In Africa, China, Southeast Asia, Central America, and South America, they are known by other names. Some researchers use the general term ‘wildmen’ to include them all. Scientists and physicians have reported seeing live wildmen, dead wildmen, and footprints. They have also catalogued thousands of reports from ordinary people who have seen such wildmen, as well as similar reports from historical records. 13

Let us review a few of the cases that are provided in the book, Hidden History of the Human Race:

On June 10, 1982, Paul Freeman, a U. S. Forest Service patrolman tracking elk in the Walla Walla district of Washington State observed a hairy biped around 8 feet tall, standing about 60 yards from him. After 30 seconds, the large animal walked away. Gover S. Krants, an anthropologist at Washington State University, studied casts of the creature’s footprints and found dermal ridges, sweat pores, and other features in the proper places for large primate feet. Detailed skin impressions on the side walls of the prints indicated the presence of a flexible sole pad. 14

The reason why many anthropologists keep quiet about such sightings, or about working with such information, is that they are scared for their reputations or their jobs. Working outside of the mainstream standards of information or accepted theories can cost a person the respect of their peers, even though studying such mysteries is what the business should be in order to get to the truth of such matters.

Nonetheless, another documented example took place in 1963 when Ivan Ivlov, a Russian pediatrician. He was traveling through the Altai mountains in the southern part of Mongolia and saw several humanlike creatures standing on a mountain slope. They appeared to be a family of a male, female, and a child. After watching them with his binoculars until they moved out of his field of vision, his Mongolian driver, who also saw them, said that they were common in that area. Then Ivan talked to the local children in the region, feeling that they may be more open about it than some adults. The children did indeed provide many reports about the Almas, one saying that when he and other children were swimming in a stream, he saw a male Almas carry a child Almas across it. 15

Another most interesting case was when in 1941, V. S. Karapetyam, a lieutenant colonel in the medical service of the Soviet Army, performed a direct physical examination of a living wildman captured in the Dagestan autonomous republic, just north of the Caucasus mountains. He said that he was taken to a shed by two members of the local authorities, and could see the creature before him, barefoot and naked. Its entire shape was human, but the chest, back and shoulders were covered with shaggy hair, one inch in length. The fur was thinner and softer below the chest, and the palms and soles of the feet were free of hair. The hair on its head reached to its shoulders, and was rough to the touch. His face was covered with a light growth of hair but without beard or moustache. Its height was about 5 feet 11 inches, considerably bigger than local inhabitants. He was quite large, and had thick and strong fingers. But his eyes were dull and empty. Such reports like this have led scientists such as British anthropologist Myra Shackley to conclude that the Almas may represent surviving Neanderthals or perhaps even Homo erectus that still live amongst us. It is reported that the Soviet captors shot the creature when they were forced to retreat before the advancing German army. 16

Additional reports similar to this are documented in The Hidden History of the Human Race, and many other books as well, citing such incidents from areas of China, Malaysia, Indonesia, South America, the Himalayas, and Africa. The standard view is that the australopithecines perished more than 750,000 years ago, and the Homo erectus died out around 200,000 years ago, while the Neanderthals vanished about 35,000 years ago. Since that time, only modern humans are said to have populated the earth. However, with sightings like these all over the world, this view may be strongly contested. Some other and older species of humanlike beings still remain amongst us.

Of course, how can science take this seriously when it goes so much against the theories of the day? Nonetheless, there are numerous such incidents that have happened to counter the idea that modern man is but a recent evolutionary development, and that fossils are only of ancient beings that no longer exist.


Considering this evidence we have to admit that regardless of whether you call the various species of humans or human-like beings Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus robustus, Australopithecus boisei, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Neanderthals, Cro Magnons, or Homo sapiens sapiens, and designate and catalogue them according to whatever changes there may be in their physique, whether great or small, the conclusion is that we are only discovering the great varieties of humans and humanlike beings that have existed, or even continue to exist, and that anatomically modern humans have been here for many millions of years, along with the other variations of primates, and have co-existed with each other for tens of millions of years. This also coincides with the Vedic view, regardless of whether evolutionists can ever accept this or not.


1. The Hidden History of the Human Race, by Michael Cremo and Richard A. Thompson, Govardhan Hill Publishing, Badger, CA, 1994, pp. 4-6.

2. Ibid., p. 155.

3. Http://


5. Fission-track ages of stone tools and fossils on the east Indonesian island of Flores, M. J. Morwood, Nature 392, March 12, 1998.

6. Http://


8. New York University, June 29, 2011,

9. The Hidden History of the Human Race, by Michael Cremo and Richard A. Thompson, Govardhan Hill Publishing, Badger, CA, 1994, p.xviii.

10. The Forbidden Archeologist, by Michael Cremo, Torchlight Publishing, 2010, p. 48-49.

11. Ibid., p. 49-50.

12. The Hidden History of the Human Race, by Michael Cremo and Richard A. Thompson, Govardhan Hill Publishing, Badger, CA, 1994, p.xvii.

13. Ibid., p.xix.

14. Ibid., pp.219-220.

15. Ibid., p.225.

16. Ibid., p.227.

When Religions Create Divisions and How to Avoid it

When Religions Create


And How to Avoid It

By Stephen Knapp

Religion is supposed to bring us closer to God, which should certainly uplift us and show us that we are all spiritual beings. In that way we are united. This understanding could give us a central focus for general intentions of goodwill and cooperation. However, this is not how it has gone. This is mostly because each religion implies, or comes right out and says, that it is the best or the only way to God. All others are inferior and should be ignored, dominated, pushed away, or even destroyed by force. In this way, one of the most difficult of all things to break down are the barriers between us that have been caused by our religions.

A first-class religion is not the one that claims it is the highest religion. The first-class religion is that which teaches or trains one perfectly how to love God. That is first-class. And in such a first-class religion, no one will claim to be better than any other. That is because he or she will naturally see that we all have the same Supreme Father. The only difference between any of us is in the level of spiritual understanding we have, and how united we are to the Supreme Being. Otherwise, spiritually we are all the same, and whatever our bodily situation may be is temporary.

If you feel that your religion is the best of all others, it is natural to be loyal or appreciate what it has done for you. However, if you feel superior to others because of being a Muslim, or Christian, or something, then that is where your religion has failed. For you to feel that way means that it has provided you with incomplete knowledge. You have not made much spiritual advancement. If your religion has failed to bring you to the spiritual platform in which you can see the spiritual similarities between you and all other creatures, regardless of caste, creed, culture, or species, then your religion has failed. Or you have failed to follow it properly, or to its ultimate goal. It may have brought you to the path of being pious, but it has not brought you to the point of true love of God and spiritual vision. Real love of God includes the spiritual love for all others, without prejudice, bias, or condescending attitudes. If you have not attained this level, then you still have much progress to make either in your own religion or by adding the help of another more complete source of spiritual knowledge. Those who are not understanding in this way and criticize different systems of religion due to jealousy, envy, malice, or a sense of superiority, are simply revealing themselves to be very immature. They do not cherish love toward their own God, but show more regard for vain quarrels and contentions.

In Ashoka’s Edicts it is rightfully stated, “Never think or say your religion is the best. Never denounce the religion of others. But honor in them whatever is worthy of honor.” After all, what good is a religion which condemns everybody else’s philosophy or symbols for God except its own? Some religions say that if God is represented in a form, beautiful or symbolic, or is established in a Deity, then it is heathen or superstition, so it is bad. But if God comes in the form of a dove, burning bush, or a pillar of fire, it is holy. This is completely contradictory to the understanding of the omnipotent ability of the Supreme.

In all religions throughout the world, the external differences are easily noticed. These may be in regard to rituals, posture, clothing, food, behavior, or sanctity. There will be differences in conceptions of God and the objects of worship, or in the name of God because of differences in language or traditions. So it is natural that religions of the world may become disunited because of these differences. But it is very improper that there should be quarrel among them on the grounds of this disunion. We should, as mature servants of God, think that the religion of others still holds the same worship of the same Highest Entity as my religion, my God. Their practice may be different and I may not understand it, so I appreciate my own religion. However, there is only one God, therefore I also respect this form of worship and offer my prayers to God who is being worshiped in a different way.

For example, the Jewish tradition has always implied that a Jewish soul has an advantage over non-Jews to realize or love God, but Judaism itself provides evidence to indicate otherwise. One quote that affirms that anyone has the ability to realize God, regardless of his race, religion, or sex, is: “Elijah said, ‘I bring heaven and earth to bear witness that any human being, Jew or Gentile, man or woman, freeman or slave, according to his deeds, can become worthy of Rauch HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, the transcendental experience.” (Tana DeBei Eliahu Rabba 9, Bahir II. 94)

God does not favor one sect or religion over another, but monitor’s one’s sincerity, devotion, surrender, and willingness to help and love others. And God reciprocates with one to the same degree of his or her devotion and sincerity. God is not the kind of being who favors only one sect and allows all others to be damned. Everyone is a part of God, otherwise they would not be here, and He cares for all.

In order to show His concern, God sends not just one but as many messengers and representatives as it takes to help guide and deliver all beings from material existence. The essence of that message, and all genuine religion, is the same. They all teach that we should not get stuck in material life, but to keep moving toward pure spiritual existence. The essential method in all religions by which this is accomplished is simple: Love God, love all others as parts of God, and act in that way at all times. The Supreme Being has made it simple. It is only humanity that has created the confusion found in the divisions of religions.

From this it is clear that God is the Lord of all beings, and in many ways. God is a multi-faceted being, unlimited in knowledge, ability, character, and personality. If a person is so narrow that he or she can hold allegiance to one faith while condemning all others, he or she will understand God only through that way. They will not know, nor will they be able to understand, that they can realize different aspects of God through other religions or spiritual paths. It is often seen that the most fundamental religions are the most limited in their understanding of God, and also carry with it the extra luggage of prejudice and condemnation of all other religions and cultures. It goes back to the principle that people who know the least about something are also the most fearful about what they do not understand.

Only religionists who are inexperienced and not conversant with spiritual Truth consider their ways as good and superior while hating the ways of others. They may even destroy the temples and images of God of other religions. Thus, they actually show their hatred of God. All good men will refrain from such actions, and all those who engage in such deeds show their improper and animalistic mentality.

However, those religions with real faults–such as being atheistic, materialistic, rejecting the soul or the existence of the Supreme, or using evil methods in its worship–should not be regarded as genuine religions. Their doctrines are antagonistic to true spiritual love and can never please the Supreme Being.

We also need to understand that there is no such thing as two Supreme Beings, or a God of one religion and a God of another. Such distinctions are made through ignorance. God is one. The Absolute Truth is one. So how can there be two religions? When followers of different religions quarrel about Truth, it is a sign that they have yet to experience Truth. Rather than seeking an experience of the Truth, they spend their time in quarrels, nurturing their prejudices against others. They are still far away from God. The word religion comes from the Latin religio, which means to bind to God. If a religion does not teach how to directly link with God, to love, respect, and have regard for all others as His parts and parcels, then it can hardly be called religion.

Once again, God is one. There cannot be two. If there is another, then there is competition. And the one God is neither Hindu, Muslim, Christian, or anything else. Such classifications relate only in the way God is worshiped. Real religion does not mean that we stamp this person a Christian, someone else a Muslim, or Hindu, or a Jain. Such designations are names that have nothing to do with the reality of the soul. Unity between us will never be established by emphasizing such designations on the material platform. So if God is one, why should there be quarrels between those who worship the one God in different ways? There should be no such quarrels, unless they think they are worshiping a different God and feel their God is superior to the God of others. Such a mentality is childish.

Religion means to understand God and to abide by His laws. It means to understand the nature of the soul, which is to love and be loved, and to serve the ultimate lovable object, the Supreme Lover–God. In this way, every living being is a servant of the Supreme Being. Religion means to understand that God is great. We are subordinate. It means to understand that God is the greatest friend and proprietor. He takes care of us. Furthermore, the ultimate purpose of religion is to regain your love for God and to return to God. This means you rise above earthly desires and designations and transcend material life. This is the real unity and purpose of life that we all share. Based on this essential principle, we should all serve, understand and love God. There is no difference. We may pursue different religions, but that is diversity in unity because we all worship the same God. When we realize that, then there can be peace and harmony.

Another way of looking at our unity is in the concept described in the Vedas that explain that one form of the Lord is the universe. We all exist within this universal form of God. None of us are disconnected from Him. Furthermore, none of us are disconnected from each other. Each and every one of us has a particular function in relation to the universal form of God. Although each one of us may have different responsibilities, nonetheless, carrying out our functions within this world in relation to the universal form of God gives unity and harmony between all living beings throughout the world. However, the disruption of discharging our spiritual nature is the cause of disharmony between the living beings. So in order to achieve real peace and unity, we should recognize the fact that everything in this world and everyone is a part of this universal form of the Lord. Everything is an expansion of the Supreme’s energy. No one is independent. Everyone and everything is connected. There are many diverse manifestations of God’s energy. And although our bodies may not all look and act the same, we are all one in the Supreme’s universal form. This is unity in diversity. When life is based on living in this truth by understanding the universal nature of the Supreme and His creation, then embracing universal love and compassion is a normal state of being.

This unity in diversity can be seen in observing the essence of any culture or religion. What we first notice are the superficialities, such as the dress, the outward formalities, the customs, rituals, and festivals. But deeper than this we find the basis of the culture’s origin, the history of its development, the explanation of its philosophy, and the meaning and purpose of its rituals and customs. Still deeper is the essence and goal of the religion. As already pointed out, that essence is based on the principle that the follower should learn and engage in the process of serving, glorifying, and loving the Supreme Being. So, on the essential platform, there is really not much that differentiates the ultimate goals of the world’s major religions. The only difference in the authentic religions is the time in history in which they appeared, the place where they existed, and the people who were taught. But due to these factors there may be lesser or greater differences in doctrines, beliefs, and rituals. And depending on the intellectual ability of the people who were taught, there may be more or less spiritual knowledge that was provided. Thus, there are different levels of scripture. Some are more direct and complete than others in the same way an unabridged dictionary is more complete than one that is abridged; though they both contain the same type of information. So once again we find the basis of unity in diversity.

The most important difference, however, is the depth of philosophical understanding and spiritual knowledge each particular religious process has to offer, and the level of spiritual realization the aspirant can attain by following the process. It is a fact that all true religious paths can lead to God, but such deep experience is beyond the grasp of fundamental and materially motivated religions that are based on national or cultural traditions and feelings of superiority because of race or geographical region. Such religions fail in their attempts to promote universal or spiritual brotherhood because they lack the spiritual knowledge and potency necessary to do so. Furthermore, because of this deficiency, they cannot give their followers the process that will enable them to become fully spiritually realized. So they remain biased against others because they cannot rise above the materialistic vision that causes them to focus on superficial differences, such as race, creed, cultural background, sex, or dress.

So how do we solve this problem that keeps people of different religions or cultures from accepting each other and working together? It is both easy and difficult. The easy part is to understand that the people merely have to be willing to share their spiritual knowledge with each other. They can all keep their own traditions, holidays, festivals, and rituals, but the essential knowledge and science of the individual souls, the Supreme Soul, and the relationship between them is what is important and what can be easily shared. This spiritual science is not explained more thoroughly than in the Vedic literature (as has been summarized in one of my previous books, The Secret Teachings of the Vedas). In fact, comprehending this knowledge of the Absolute Truth is necessary for everyone’s spiritual advancement, regardless of which spiritual process one is inclined to accept. There must be this kind of open and respectful exchange across global and cultural boundaries in order for peace and unity between all societies to exist. The hard part is to get people to agree to do this. But in some cases you have to look at other cultures and their philosophical systems to get answers that are not provided elsewhere.

In fact, the Bible agrees with the idea of researching other scripture for answers. In II Timothy (3.16-17) we find the following quote: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished in all good works.” Therefore, it is without a doubt that all scripture everywhere is meant to uplift our consciousness. Such being the case, it is not contradictory to see similarities in various scriptures and spiritual cultures, and it actually adds to and proves the glory of God amongst all nations. The following quote elaborates on this point:

Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth My word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? . . . Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all My words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, 29.7, 10-11)

The above quote is not unlike the Bible verse in Romans (10.12-13): “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

We herewith have the reasoning why all our petty quarrels, whether between Catholics and Protestants, Hindus and Muslims, nation and nation, are nothing more than a sign of our ignorance and animalistic tendencies which actually disqualify us from making any spiritual advancement. We may think we are a chosen people, but if we have no spiritual vision to see the unity between all people, then the “promised land” is a lot farther away than we think. For God remembers all of us and, indeed, supplies all nations the knowledge by which they can spiritually advance and live peacefully, depending on their ability to understand and use it. After all, those who are sincerely trying to advance are all sons of God, as verified in Romans (8.14): “For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” A similar statement is in John (1.12): “But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Thus, we are all God’s children, as also confirmed by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad-gita (9.17-18) in which He says that He is the father of the universe, the mother, the grandfather, the object of knowledge, the purifier, the sacred om, and the Rig, Sama, and Yajur Vedas. He is the goal, the support, the master, the witness, the abode, and the most dear friend. Krishna also says (Bg.7.6) that He is the origin and dissolution of the entire universe, and (Bg.4.35) by knowing the Truth you will see that all beings are a part of Him and belong to Him. Thus, by understanding how we are all spiritually related, all sincere souls will find no difficulty in harmoniously working together and helping one another to understand the laws of the Supreme and advance accordingly, whether we are brother and brother, or nation and nation.

So if we are all spiritually related and can find similarities in the basic law of all religions, then what is the difficulty in cooperating with each other within the essential principles of all religions? And what is the essential principle we are all meant to follow? The essence of the law, as found in the Vedic, the Judaic, the Christian, the Islamic, and other cultures, instructs us to surrender to God and work together to please Him according to His instructions. For example, when the Pharisees asked Jesus which was the great commandment in the law, he told them: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22.37-38) Lord Krishna taught the same thing in Bhagavad-gita: “Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall protect you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Bg.18.65-66)

In the Koran (9.112) we find it said that those who turn to God in repentance and serve and praise Him, and engage in devotion to God, who bow down and pray, who do good and avoid evil, will rejoice. So proclaim these glad tidings to the believers. We also find it said (19.65) that everyone should worship the Lord of the heavens and the earth and be patient in constant worship. For who is worthy of the same name as God?

In Zoroastrianism it is believed that a person must live according to the religious tenets if one hopes to joyfully go before the Creator in the next world. The best of all practices is the worship of God, for all are servants of God. So one must lead a righteous life since it is one’s thoughts, words, and deeds that determine one’s next life after death. Similarly, in Sikhism we find the precept that a true follower serves the Supreme Soul alone.

All of this information makes it clear that regardless of which religious system you choose, they all have the same purpose, and they all give the same principles. In this way, they are all united in their essential goals, the most important of which is to bring the living beings to the stage of cooperation in love of God. Obviously, our love for God will be shown by how much we cooperate with one another.

Unfortunately, before we reach this advanced stage we are in the lower levels of understanding. This immature level of love can take on the characteristics of a blind and fanatical allegiance to a particular process of religious expression rather than attachment to real love for God. In this situation, one may proudly and unnecessarily feel that he is on the highest path, and then will denounce every other process and culture without the proper spiritual understanding of himself or others. This is nothing more than sentimentality and fanaticism. Real love of God, which also displays love for all other living beings, will not develop within a person if he or she harbors such a divisive mentality. People who show their love for their own religion by hating all others will spiritually stagnate and cause disharmony and quarrels between those of their religion and those of others. Someone may be a kind, generous, and devout person amongst those of his own culture, while ready to howl, insult, hate, and do injury to those of another. This is love of the lowest level, similar to the way a dog may love its master and will show it by snarling at anyone else. Only those individuals and dry forms of religion that are bereft of real spiritual knowledge look at all others with hate and suspicion.

Only when one’s consciousness becomes mature does this form of fanaticism or immature enthusiasm subside. Then real love and respect for all will naturally emanate from that person. As one becomes closer to the all-loving Supreme Being by the development of his own love for God, no longer can he be an instrument of hatred or prejudice because he sees everyone equally with spiritual vision. Thus, he walks away from the animalistic quarrels and wars that others take so seriously due to their ignorance of spiritual reality.

We have to remember that we are in this world but not of it. We are all spiritual beings who are temporarily residing in the material creation. It is futile to try and make a permanent home here, or attempt to be fully content and happy by being absorbed in material pleasures. This world does not and never will offer that kind of accommodation. A spiritual being in the material world, which is what we all are, is like a fish out of water: It is an incompatible situation. So we must understand the reality of our circumstance, that we are all transients evolving in a temporary situation on our way from one point of existence to another. So what is this life? It is nothing more than a moment on our great path towards full enlightenment. The world primarily is a field for activity which we can use to evolve to a higher state of being, and the body is the tool or vehicle in which we engage in those acts. But if we forget that, then we get caught in the illusion that this world is the cause and basis of our happiness, and our temporary body is the basis of our identity. Nothing can be further from the truth, and anyone with some proper understanding will see this.

By uplifting our consciousness, one will realize his or her spiritual identity and know that the immaterial realm pervades everything within as well as outside this material creation. Therefore, one who has become evolved and detached from the material focus of life knows that he is a spiritual being and a part of the divine strata. In this sense, wherever he goes, he is already home. A person who lives in this consciousness knows that there are only three things that are eternal: (1) the Supreme Being, (2) all the individual spiritual entities, and (3) the relationship between them, which is based on divine love. This spiritual love is all that has to be reawakened. This is the real goal of life. The spiritual strata, or fully enlightened consciousness, is where that love can manifest to the fullest degree.

If somehow or other the people of the world could give up their superficial differences and join together in genuine spiritual activity, the consciousness of society in general could change to such a degree that this very planet could become spiritually surcharged. It is not that we have to work for a specific change to bring about solutions to the world’s problems, but when the consciousness of the people becomes purified, the solutions to the problems will become obvious and the necessary changes will automatically begin to manifest. The process starts from within, as the Bible states: “And when he (Jesus) was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17.20-21) Therefore, entering the spiritual realm, or changing the world in which we presently live, is simply a matter of reawakening our dormant divine consciousness. It is not a matter of outward observation, but it is an inward process of transformation and development.

If the people of the world would be more inclined to recognize that spiritual advancement is a process of inner transformation and participate in this process, and share with each other the different levels of higher knowledge from other cultures rather than merely accepting one particular religious dogma and rejecting all other forms of spiritual growth, then it becomes possible for all of humanity to be a united people. After all, a true religion respects whatever level of universal truth is found in any other culture and religion. Everyone could band together with a common cause of helping each other become enlightened: A universal religion based on hearing about and glorifying the Supreme. Every religion does this, so why not do it together? The only difference then would be whether people were theists or atheists, and atheists are simply those who have no spiritual experience or cannot fathom the depths of divine knowledge.

Otherwise, a world full of isolated religious cultures and doctrines is a world full of scattered and incomplete portions of the universal path to the Absolute Truth. Thus, we must seek to unite these paths by finding the common source from which these portions have sprung, as I have tried to point out in my books, The Secret Teachings of the Vedas, and The Universal Path to Enlightenment. When you find that source, you will find the doorway that leads to full realization of the Absolute Truth and the clear consciousness through which we can see that all living beings share the same immaterial identity. Spiritually we are all one family. And on this level of consciousness it becomes obvious that all temporary material differences are superficialities. It is only people’s own immature prejudice, caused by their spiritual ignorance, that stop people of the world from being united and cooperating together. Remembering that God is in everyone, and everyone is here by the will of God, and that God cares for all beings, you can respect anyone.

Vedic Culture is the Parent of Humanity

Vedic Culture is the Parent

 of Humanity

By Stephen Knapp

The title of this page may seem like a bold statement, but there is some very interesting evidence to consider. As we established in the chapter on the creation of the material world, when the Supreme Being created the universe He also provided the Vedic knowledge and terminology by which humanity could live peacefully as well as advance spiritually. Even the Bible (Genesis 11:1) describes how originally during pre-Christian times, “the whole earth was of one language and one speech.” And, as we can see from the evidence in the previous chapters, that language was Sanskrit.

Theologians in general agree that despite diverse scriptures and tales of various people experiencing or hearing the voice of God, the immanent Divinity is One. Even physicists agree that the ultimate source of all elements has to be one. History too began from a single point. This means that the origination of the universe as well as the beginning of mankind was a purposeful and arranged event. It was not a chance encounter, a random, freakish, or spontaneous beginning, but an expansion from the Absolute Truth.

Since there is but one ultimate source of everything, all human activity started from that divine beginning. And activity means thought and speech. As the Vedic texts explains, the original language was Sanskrit, as taught by the Supreme Himself. We find that even the 1951 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (P. 70, Vol 13) describes that some scholars gave up attempts to explain the origin of language and have fallen back to the religious explanation that the first language was given by God to man.

Some people, however, feel that ancient man was able to only slowly develop a language of his own. This is thought to have started from grunts and noises like animals until it somehow shaped into the different languages we find today. So does that mean that babies will also develop some kind of language of their own if they are given enough time and not taught one? As described in P. N. Oak’s book, World Vedic Heritage (p. 130), the 16th century Moghul emperor, Akbar, had also questioned this. Being in such a position of authority, he was able to indulge in a heartless experiment. He ordered several infant children to be taken away from their mothers and be confined to a house. No one was permitted to speak anything to the children, even when clothed and fed. The result was that they all grew to be dumb adults. They could speak no language at all. Neither did they develop any form of communication between themselves. Therefore, the idea that man will eventually educate himself or even develop a language on his own is mistaken. All knowledge must be given by a superior, which is exactly what the Vedic literature says happened at the beginning of time. The Vedic references explain that human civilization began by the arrangement of the Supreme. Man was given an original consciousness by which he had knowledge of the Sanskrit language and was guided by Vedic information, as taught by Lord Brahma and the numerous sages that followed. Thus, the ancient Vedic culture is the primordial culture of the whole world and not exclusive to India, Arabia, or Sumeria. It is universal.

The philosopher and researcher Edward Pococke also wrote about this conclusion in his book India in Greece (page 251). He states: “Sir William Jones concluded that the Hindus had an immemorial antiquity with the old Persians, Ethiopians and Egyptians, the Phoenicians, Greeks and Tuscans, the Scythians or Goths, and the Celts, the Chinese, Japanese and Peruvians.” The observance of this global connection between India and the rest of the world is actually an indication that the whole world was once under the influence of the Vedic culture. Thus, it was India who nurtured the rest of the world with her wisdom and Vedic knowledge.

Pococke continues in this vein in his observation: “Now the whole of the society of Greece, civil and military, must strike one as being eminently Asiatic, much of it specially Indian. . . I shall demonstrate that these evidences were but the attendant tokens of Indian colonization with its corresponding religion and language. I shall exhibit dynasties disappearing from India, western India, to appear again in Greece, clans who fought upon the plains of Troy.” Therefore, since Greece is supposed to be the origins of European culture, and since Greece displays much of the same culture as India, we can say that the pre-Christian culture of Europe was Vedic.

In fact, it may be the case that without the connection with India, Greece may not have been a major contributor to the advancement of Europe. Godfrey Higgins writes in his book The Celtic Druids (p. 112), “In science the Greeks were pygmies. What would they have known of science if their Platos and Pythagorases had not traveled into the East! In science and real learning they were inferior to the Orientals [Indians], and were the greatest liars upon earth. They willfully mis-stated everything or they foolishly confounded everything.”

William Durant, author of the 10-volume Story of Civilization, wrote, “India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of European languages. She was the mother of our philosophy. . . of our mathematics. . . of the ideals embodied in Christianity. . . of self-government and democracy. . . Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.”

Interestingly, Sir Isaac Tailor, the author of The Origins of the Aryans, wrote in a similar way (page 1), “Adelung, the father of comparative philosophy. . . placed the cradle of mankind in the valley of Kashmir, which he identified with paradise. To Adelung we owe the opinion, which has prevailed so widely, that since the human race originated in the East, most westerly nations, the Iberians and Celts, must have been the first to leave the parent.”

As explained in World Vedic Heritage (p. 115), this is also the conclusion of Mr. B. C. Chhabra, who is the ex-Assistant Director General of Archeology under the British administration in India. He writes, “I do not want to go deep into the larger question of the theory of evolution which is today at the base of archeological interpretations, but I must need say that the history of Indian civilization begins with knowledge and not barbarism. The kind of knowledge that has been preserved therein has stood the test of time and is still unsurpassed in certain respects. It believes in an evolution of limited extent only and that for a definite period of time in the history of man’s life as also in that of a nation. To base the entire history of mankind, down to the present-day, on the ape-man and the archeological ages of Paleolithic, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron is a travesty of facts. Even in the present age of great scientific achievements the ape-man cannot produce the homosapiens, obviously because they are two different species. Recent archeologists have proved abundantly that these ages have no meaning because different cultural ages are found in different regions, and that sometimes they co-existed in the same region which cannot be explained on the basis of the theory of evolution.” Thus, regardless of the classifications made by archeologists about the ancient history of mankind, as confirmed by the prehistoric records of the Vedic literature, India was the center from where spread the intellectually superior Vedic culture, and is, therefore, the source of humanity’s spiritual heritage.

The Preface of Vol. VI of Indian Antiquities (pp 11-13) also points one in this same direction: “The Hindu religion probably spread over the whole earth; there are signs of it in every system of worship. . . the arithmetic, astronomy, astrology, the holidays, games, names of the stars, and figures of constellations, the language of the different nations bear the strongest marks of the same origin.”

The discerning and honest Christian author Godfrey Higgins wrote in his book, The Celtic Druids (p. 61), about the basis of all human civilization originating from India and the Vedic culture. “The peninsula of India would be one of the first peopled countries, and its inhabitants would have all the habits of progenitors of man before the flood in as much perfection or more than any other nation. . . In short, whatever learning man possessed before his dispersion. . . may be expected to be found here; and of this Hindustan affords innumerable traces. . . notwithstanding all. . . the fruitless efforts of our priests to disguise it.”

The above quotes would indicate that the Vedic culture was a global faith, a world influence. This may be given further credence in the remarks of Ctesias, the Greek writer (as found in Historical Researches, Vol. II, p.220), “The Hindus were as numerous as all the other nations put together.”

This is further corroborated in P. N. Oak’s World Vedic Heritage (p. 506) in which he presents evidence that, “In pre-Christian times the temples of Vedic Deities such as Vishnu, Shiva, the Mother goddess, Rama, Hanuman, and Krishna used to abound in all regions of the world. Evidence of this is found in the works of ancient authors such as Megasthenes, Strabo, and Herodotus. All those names are of Vedic origin, too. The term Megasthenes is Megh-Sthan-eesh, i.e. the Lord of the Region of the clouds. The name Herodotus is Hari-dootus, i.e. Messenger of [Hari] God.”

In Some Missing Chapters of World History (p. 134), P. N. Oak also explains that Shiva was worshiped all over the world, even in the Vatican. The word vatican comes from the Sanskrit word vatica, which means a bower or sylvan hermitage. He explains that even the premises of the Vatican have many Shiva emblems buried in their walls and cellars. Many such emblems have been dug up in other parts of Italy as well. And some of those found in the Vatican are still preserved in the Vatican’s Etruscan museum.

Another point is that the original worship of the Mother Goddess can be traced back to India. Whether this Goddess is called Ma, Uma, Mata, Amba, Shakti, Durga, Bhagavati, Parameshvari, Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Astarte, Venus, Ceres, Mother Mary, Mariamma, Madonna, Notre Dame, etc., it can be traced to the Vedic culture where such worship originated.

Albert J. Edmonds, in his book Buddhist and Christian Gospels, also explains that, “Strabo considered all Asia as far as India to be consecrated to Bacchus where Hercules and Bacchus are called Kings of the East. The last religions of Babylon and Egypt were born there. Even the Greeks and the Romans were debtors thereto for the cult of Bacchus and Mithras.”

Bacchus refers to Bakesh or Tryambakesh, Shiva. Hercules refers to Hari-culeesh, Lord Krishna. They were known as Kings or supreme deities of the East. Since the religions of Babylon and Egypt were born in Asia, and Greeks and Romans observed a similar version of the Bacchus cult and one of Mithras, the sun, it is obvious the whole world followed, or was influenced by, Vedic culture. The reason is that all of these deities can be traced back to India, or are directly Vedic deities. From this information we can begin to understand that Vedic culture was a cause of worldwide unity, or the parent culture of all humanity.

Spirituality Beyond Religion: The Concept and the Conference

Spirituality Beyond Religion

The Concept and the Conference

By Stephen Knapp


            Spirituality Beyond Religion: What does that mean? It means to enter a realm of spirituality that connects you with God, with your fellow living beings, with the environment, with the earth and the universe. A level of spirituality that is beyond a mere dogma that counts its profits in terms of converts, and a spirituality that directs one to see the true unity between all of us, and provides a respect for all traditions whose goals are the same as those listed above, in whatever form they may be.

            There is a joke that says, God gave us genuine spirituality for all humanity. But then the devil came along and organized it and called it religion.

            In this way, my point is that spirituality existed before it became codified. So if the major religions we find today are primarily based on the idea of adhering to a codified or organized dogma, and then trying to push it on everyone else as much as possible as if it is the one and only way to some kind of salvation, while taking only a secondary consideration for a person’s genuine spiritual development, then let those religions go back to the devil and let us utilize our right to practice a genuine form of spiritual development that unites us rather than divides us. Those paths that can bring forth genuine spiritual experiences are beyond the limitations of time and space, or the label or name of any one particular religion. Such spiritual paths that can bring a universal spiritual realization of the Absolute Truth also invoke the perception of the same divinity embodied in everyone. This is what the world needs today. Instead of dividing us into various forms of “sinners” or “saved”, or various religions, subsects or ethnic groups, we need a spirituality that connects us with each other, with the universe, the world and the environment, and to see that it is all a part of the Divine.

            I personally am of the contention that it is not enough to merely respect each other’s spiritual path, but if we go back to a time before the world was interrupted by the major monotheistic religions of today, we can go back to seeing the real similarities that existed within all of the indigenous traditions and cultures of the world. We can see how they are like branches of the same tree of spiritual truth, called in Sanskrit as Santana-dharma. Thus, Sanatana-dharma is not a part of every religion, but every genuine religion is a part of Sanatana-dharma. Therefore, more than merely respecting each other, by looking at the roots of the indigenous cultures around the world and recognizing their similarities, we can see that we are like each other’s brothers and sisters, sharing the same roots and principles of spiritual purpose. Thus, there is no reason to work for converting each other from one path to another. There is only the organic and natural progress from one level of understanding to a deeper level. In this way, we are not divided into those who are sinners and saved, or those going to heaven and those going to hell. We, meaning those of us who are sincere, are all working for similar goals of spiritual understanding, and can give each other the respect and encouragement to continue on the road of spiritual progress and development, and even gain insight by sharing the similarities that exist between us and the cultures from around the world. It is indeed “Spirituality Beyond Religion”, which I feel needs to be the way of the future if we are really going to have peace in the world, since most of the violence, war and terrorism on the planet today is due to the superficially perceived religious differences.

            This is one of the reasons why there was a recent conference by the name “Spirituality Beyond Religion” in Jaipur in February of 2006, by the World Council of the Elders in partnership with the World Council of Ethnic Religions based in Europe. These elders are those who still participate in a variety of the world’s oldest cultures, traditions and indigenous spiritual paths. There are presently over 750 members of the World Council representing more than 75 different cultures from over 60 countries worldwide. This conference was sponsored by the International Center for Cultural Studies ( in India and the U.S.

            From the ICCS there were many volunteers who did an excellent job in assisting the attendees. Especially my friend Yashwant Pathak, a key person in the ICCS and another member of the Vedic Friends Association, who is a dynamo in organizational abilities. Plus, for me it is always a happy occasion to see so many old friends that I have met before in my travels through India or at other conferences that we have attended. It is always a time to catch up with their activities and reflect on the progress that has been made or yet needs to be accomplished for the upliftment of Dharma in the world. So it is wonderful to see familiar faces but to also make new friends who may be from different parts of the planet, yet who share the same concerns. Thus, we leave the conference with a positive feeling that our family of concerned and active friends is certainly growing. So I encourage everyone to investigate further the activities of the ICCS and become a part of it.

            The conference was a grand success with delegates from 33 different countries coming together to share and respect their spiritual and cultural similarities. These countries included: 1. Australia, 2. Bangladesh, 3. Belgium, 4. Bhutan, 5. Canada, 6. Costa Rica, 7. El Salvador, 8. France, 9. Germany, 10. Ghana, 11. Guatemala, 12. Guyana, 13. India, 14. Indonesia, 15. Israel, 16. Kenya, 17. Latvia, 18. Lithuania, 19. Malaysia, 20. Mauritius, 21. Mynmar, 22. Nepal, 23. Poland, 24. Scotland, 25. South Africa, 26. Sri Lanka, 27. St. Lucia, 28. Suriname, 29. Sweden, 30. Switzerland, 31. Trinidad and Tobago, 32. Ukraine, and 33. USA.

            Now you may ask, how could people from so many different countries and cultures get together and cooperate so well if they had focused on religious differences rather than reasons for uniting? The point is that by understanding our spiritual similarities, I can say that we naturally felt like brothers and sisters that were coming together again after hundreds of years of being separated, mostly because of the damage that has been done by dogmatic views in monotheistic faiths. However, now we were able to be free to gather with the elders of all of the old cultures and see how they are rising in numbers as the world is increasing its interest in the old and indigenous ways. It was a great celebration! After all, many of these ancient cultures and traditions of the world have survived only by their own inner strength in spite of the massive efforts that invaders have used to try to eliminate these wonderful customs or convert them all into another religion.

            While we were there, we acknowledged and recognized such things as:

●          The spiritual experiences of the elders in different traditions.

●          The rituals and purpose of the expressions of the ancient customs.

●          Roles of the individuals seeking higher understanding.

●          The inter-relations of spiritual experiences of different cultures.

●          Incorporation of the ancient spiritual values in modern life.

●          Using the holistic approaches that are found in the indigenous traditions for solving modern problems.

●          The similarities in symbolism of the various ancient cultures.

            Many of us roomed at the OTS campus where the conference was held. The typical daily schedule was to have an early Indian style breakfast. All meals were great vegetarian food. This was followed by being bused to the Jawahar Kala Kendra cultural center for morning ceremonies and rituals performed by various delegates from a few of the different cultures. Then back the OTS campus for a keynote address by a noted personality. Then a few hours of lectures and talks on various topics by some of the delegates. Then a delicious vegetarian lunch, followed by another four hours of interesting and sometimes controversial talks and lectures, sometimes on the ways of the ancient spiritual paths, and sometimes others on how to maintain the freedom to practice the old ways. By six PM there would be a yoga and meditation session by one of the noted teachers who were attending the conference. Then there would be another great multi-course vegetarian dinner with numerous Indian preparations, after which we would be bused to the Jawahar Kala Kendra for evening cultural programs. These were often put on with the help of the Rajasthani Tourist Department and provided an assortment of folk dancers and singers from various parts of Rajasthan. These were most entertaining and the dancers would always amaze the audience by their moves and colorful clothes.

            Not all days were alike. On some days we went out on field trips that included visiting schools in the area to show the students the similarities they could share with other cultures of the world. We also went for a visit to the Jaipur Sanskrit college, and later a tour of the beautiful and elaborate Amber Palace. One evening we had dinner, an extravagant buffet, in the attractive and royal Sisodia Rani Gardens, while Rajasthani folks dancers performed on a central stage in the grounds. The whole five-day conference was not only an opportunity to interact with other elders of the old traditions, but also to experience various aspects of Indian culture that the usual tourist would never be able to witness without special arrangements. So we all felt especially privileged to have been a part of this conference.

             Also from this conference was developed the noble intentions of the “Spirituality Beyond Religions Manifesto”, an extract of which follows:

            As we emerge in the new millennia, let all societies following the ancient polytheistic religions and traditions come together. Let all those of us who acknowledge diversity of faiths as the base of the human spiritual path, who are committed to interfaith acceptance and who desire to practice the principle of live and let live, come together for a common endeavor to propagate these very basic needs of the human society. Let us pledge:

*          We, who worship the divine, are committed to follow the path of true “Spirituality Beyond Religions”. All of us shall strive to honor the diverse spiritual and nature worship traditions that uphold the dignity of human beings, transcending the barriers of language, race, caste, creed, color, economic status and technological developments.

*          This congregation considers any type of religious and/or dogmatic conversations to be a travesty of truth and defying the very basic urge of spirituality. We commit ourselves to help fellow beings and societies who have been swept away, oppressed or converted to other faiths while under duress, to come back to their own ancient faiths and follow the religious practices that enhance peaceful co-existence.

*          In today’s enlightened world, use of the terms such as “kafir”, “followers of heathenish faiths”, “devil’s emissaries”, etc., while referring to non-believers, has to be regarded as not only anti-democratic and utterly insensitive, but also dogmatic and anti-humanitarian and a great sin in the moral sense. Damning a human being or a society in such manner goes against the philosophy of tolerance and dignity of human beings.

*          This gathering undertakes the task of upholding ancient spiritual traditions and will devote all its energies and resources to help those individuals and societies to bring back in practice, resurrect and re-enact the ancient spiritual traditions which would enhance mutual understanding at a global level.

            We all sincerely pray to the Divine to:

1. Bestow on us the life of peace, prosperity, freedom and amicable living.

2. Let the crookedness and hate and anger in the minds of fellow human beings vanish.

3. Give us the strength of mind and body to work for making our Mother Earth as Your abode of peace, divinity and sublime love.

Metakuye Oyasin (We are all related), Til Ars Ok Fridar (Prosperity and peace for years).

Accepted and signed by 250 delegates from 42 different countries, February 10th, 2006.

[Numerous photos from the conference was posted under the same article at]

Religious Unity: Why There Could be a One World Religion

Religious Unity:

Why There Could Be a One

 World Religion

By Stephen Knapp

Is religious unity a dream that can never be fulfilled? Can it never be a reality? I feel that it can be.

If we are mature enough to see the purpose of each religion or spiritual path, we will recognize that there is very little difference between them. Once we get past the superficialities and variations, like dress, language, rituals, diet, or architectural styles of churches or temples, we can see that the essence of each religion is the same. That is to pray to God, sing His praises, discuss His pastimes and instructions, study the guidance of the prophets or messengers of God, and to think of God or meditate on Him in any number of ways. The process is the same, summarized as hearing about God, chanting or singing about Him, and remembering and serving God. That’s it. Anything else is an expansion of these items. The goal is the same: To learn how to surrender to God and love Him with all our hearts and minds, and then to treat and love others as parts and parcels of God. Simple.

Why do we gather at temples, churches or mosques? Simply to learn and practice how to do this, and associate with others who wish to do the same. Thereby we all help each other in this direction.

Though the essential spiritual process is no different, there may be regional variations. There may be differences in dress, but that often depends on climatic necessities and customs. However, in religious dress, though it may be dissimilar from one religion to the next, it is nonetheless for the same purpose: To remind each other of God, and to indicate one as a man or woman of God, or to show that the human body is the original temple of God. Thus, by this means we all become more conscious of God. Some also shave their heads, or leave a tuft of hair on top, or put markings on the forehead. This is also to indicate that the body is a temple, or that one may be a monk who is following a particular code of conduct or school of spiritual thought. Every religion has particular marks or expressions to indicate the same meanings. It is merely a matter of understanding them. Once something is understood, it no longer seems so strange.

Rituals may also be different, and people of another culture may misunderstand what they see. Nonetheless, all of it is actually worship of the same God, or different ways to acquire spiritual merit or blessings. Naturally, there is only one God. Every religion says that.

However, we also find that the names of God may change according to locality. Yet, when interpreted, they invariably have similar meanings. We also may see different images or representations of God in temples or churches. In Christianity, you have the cross, images of Jesus, or even his servants and devotees like Mother Mary, the apostles, etc., who are all given worship or respect in the church. While in the Hindu temples you may have Deities of Krishna or Vishnu and His incarnations, all of which represent or are expansions of the same God. You may also see images of the demigods, the Lord’s administrative assistants and servants, who are given respect because they can also give blessings to one on the road to devotion and spirituality. Thus, these religions are not much different. It only requires the open-mindedness to recognize the similarities.

Therefore, a sincere Christian or sincere Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, etc., can easily get along with one another because they can see that they are all men of God with the same purpose. And that is to help one another toward greater heights in their understanding and devotion to the Supreme Being.

In this way, we can see that the purpose of each religion is the same, and there is no need to make everyone of the same particular faith. There is no reason to make a conversion campaign. Everyone can stay loyal to the religion of their own preference while recognizing and being open to understanding the ways of other cultures and spiritual paths. Being open-minded to learning about other religions will actually increase our understanding of God. Each religion essentially has the same purpose, but they may also have different levels of knowledge and realizations of the nature of God. Some are more aware of His fearsome and controlling aspects, and may refer to Him as an angry or jealous God. Other religions, such as the Vedic path, are more aware of God’s loving pastimes, and elaborate on them. So, each religion points toward God but may provide a different view of His character, personality and traits. Thus, as we study the different religions, our understanding of God increases.

The core differences between any genuine religion is the time in history it appeared, the place where it originated, and the people who were involved. According to the people who were taught and their ability to comprehend spiritual topics, they were given different levels of understanding God. These are the reasons for the cultural differences and varying levels of spiritual knowledge between them. However, from a spiritual perspective these differences are not very deep. They all point in the same direction and are for the same purpose. So every path shares a greater common ground than most people are aware of until they begin to understand each other better. As I’ve said, take any religion and you will see that the customs may be somewhat different, yet the essential purpose is the same. That’s what we must focus on. When we do that we will see that we are all children of the same God, and, thus, we are all spiritual brothers and sisters of the same Supreme Father. In essence, everyone is a spiritual being. We are all the same. And any religion is meant to reawaken that realization and perception. When we actually see that, then we should be able to reconnect ourselves to God, or express our devotion, no matter whether we go to a Christian church, Hindu temple, Muslim mosque, or Sikh gurudwara. We will see that they all offer the same opportunity, in essence, and that is, as I’ve said, to pray to God, sing His praises, discuss His pastimes and instructions, study the guidance of the prophets or messengers of God, and to think of God or meditate on Him in any number of ways.

The only thing we have to do is to increase our own spiritual understanding and relate to all people and all beings in that way. To practically see the Divinity of God in all, without judgmental bias or prejudice, is the true way to establish peace and harmony on earth. It is the essence of all religions in which we can all practice and participate. In this spiritual direction, which has been recommended the world over, other than one’s own immature prejudice, there are no superficial differences, such as race, creed, nationality, tradition, sex, age, etc., that can interfere or stop the people of the world from being united and engaging in this process together, for this is the One World Religion.

(Read my article, “When Religions Create Divisions and How to Avoid It” for more thoughts on this matter.)

Jesus Taught Bhakti-Yoga


By Stephen Knapp


Another aspect of understanding the Vedic teachings in Christianity is to simply look at what is written regarding the teachings of Jesus. By studying the teachings that are ascribed to Jesus, we can easily recognize that the essence of what Jesus taught was an elementary level of the Vedic process of bhakti-yoga and karma-yoga. Both of these systems are much more deeply developed and elaborated in the Vedic texts, and more fully explained by many of India’s acharyas spiritual masters.

Jesus taught that everyone should love God with their whole heart and mind, which is the quintessence of bhakti-yoga. Bhakti means devotion and surrender to God. As stated in Matthew (22.36-40): “Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? He answered, Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. That is the greatest commandment. It comes first. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. Everything in the Law and the prophets hangs on these two commandments.” These two rules are the heart of the processes of bhakti and karma-yoga.

In this way, Jesus taught people the most basic portions of God’s law and gave the most simple commandments, such as, “Thou shalt not kill,” and “Thou shall not steal,” and so on. These rules deal only with moral standards. They do not deal with the higher principles of spiritual discipline or transcendental realization. This is a sign of the kind of people Jesus was dealing with. They were very primitive and had to be taught the most basic of spiritual knowledge. Obviously, one cannot comprehend advanced spiritual topics if he or she does not have any understanding of simple moral values. Therefore, Jesus was very limited in what he could teach the people of that era. As Jesus said, (St. John 16.12-13, 25):

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into the truth: for he shall not speak of himself: but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. . . These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.

Thus, Jesus could not reveal the whole truth to the people of that era, but promised that there would be a time when the whole truth would be open to everyone. But whether the people accept it or not is another thing.

Jesus also taught that one is judged by his works and the way they behave. This is also the same process as found in bhakti and karma-yoga. Without good works and sincere devotion, one cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Yet, we find in modern Christianity an emphasis on faith, not on works. But this is not upheld in the Bible, as we can see in this verse: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead.” (James 2.20) Jesus never said that faith alone was all it took to enter the promised land. The way one works is a sign of his faith. And those that do claim allegiance to the faith and preach in the name of Christ yet do various duplicitous activities in private are still bereft of attaining the favor of Christ, as stated in Matthew (7.21-23):      

Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

This, therefore, is the essence of Jesus’ teachings that, as we can see, include the same basic principles of bhakti-yoga and karma-yoga (loving God, upholding God’s law in all our actions, and doing good for others), which is fully explained in the Vedic literature. Jesus never presented anything new or invented, but taught what God had taught and gave all credit to God, as verified as follows:

The son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do. (John 5.19). . . When ye have lifted up the son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (John 8.28). . . I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I. (John 14.28)

In these verses we have the words of Jesus from the Bible that explain that he taught only what God had spoken and was not himself God, but was the son of God the Father. Furthermore, in Bhagavad-gita (9.17), Krishna specifically explains that He is the Father of all living entities, and (Bg.7.6, 10.8) is the origin of all that is material and spiritual. Therefore, no contradiction exists in the understanding that Jesus was a son of God, and Krishna is the supreme Father and Creator of all. In this way, we can see that the essence of Christianity is the basic teachings of the Vedic philosophy which was developed much earlier and more deeply than that which is presently found within the philosophy of Christianity.

Jesus Predicted in the Vedic Literature?

Jesus Predicted in the Vedic Literature?

By Stephen Knapp


            Every once in a while someone writes in to ask me what I know about Jesus being mentioned in the Vedic literature, specifically the Bhavishya Purana. So I’ve decided to make the information that I know available to everyone.

            Dr. Vedavyas, a research scholar with a doctorate in Sanskrit, discusses some important prophecies from the Bhavishya Purana, which he says dates back to 3000 B.C. He states that one prophecy describes the future appearance of Isha putra, the son (putra) of God (Isha)(Jesus Christ), born of an unmarried woman named Kumari (Mary) Garbha Sambhava. He would visit India at the age of thirteen and go to the Himalayan Mountains and do tapas or penance to acquire spiritual maturity under the guidance of rishis and siddha-yogis before going back to Palestine to preach to his people. So, if Jesus was trained by the sages of India, this would explain why he was able to perform various miracles (siddhas). It also explains why there are so many philosophical similarities between early Christianity and Hinduism.

            Dr. Vedavyas goes on to say that the Bhavishya Purana describes how Jesus would visit Varanasi and other Hindu and Buddhist holy places. This is also corroborated by the manuscript on the life of Isha (or Issa), discovered by Mr. Notovich in 1886 at the Hemis monastery in Ladakh, India as well as by the Hebrew inscriptions found in Srinagar, Kashmir at the Roza bal, the tomb of Yuz Asaf [Isha or Issa]. The Bhavishya Purana also predicted how Jesus would meet Emperor Shalivahana who established the Shalivahana or “Saka” era. Dr. Vedavyas describes this in his Telegu book, Veerabrahmendra Yogipai Parishodhana.

            However, I should also point out that this prophecy of Jesus in the Bhavishya Purana is found in no other Puranas. Furthermore, not everyone gives the Bhavishya Purana pure confidence. It is known that as many as 200 pages from this text had become lost or misplaced, and various interpolations are likely to have occurred in this text while India was under the British administration. So, we should be somewhat cautious about accepting this on face value.

            The description that is taken to be of Jesus is found in verses 17-32 in the 19th chapter of the Chaturyuga Khanda Dvitiyadhyayah of the Bhavishya Purana. Nonetheless, to get a clearer understanding, here is what the verses say:

Texts 17 – 21

pitr-rajyam grhitavan
jitva sakanduradharsams

tesam kosan-grhitva ca

sthapita tena maryada
mleccharyanam prthak-prthak
sindhusthanam iti jneyam
rastramaryasya cottamam

mlecchasthanam param sindhoh
krtam tena mahatmana
ekada tu sakadiso
himatungam samayayau

            “Ruling over the Aryans was a king called Shalivahana, the grandson of Vikramaditya, who occupied the throne of his father. He defeated the Shakas who were very difficult to subdue, the Cinas [Chinese], and the people from Tittiri and Bahikaus who could assume any form at will. He also defeated the people from Rome and the descendants of Khuru, who were deceitful and wicked. He punished them severely and took their wealth. Shalivahana thus established the boundaries dividing the separate countries of the mlecchas [low classes] and the Aryans. In this way Sindusthan came to be known as the greatest country. That personality appointed the abode of the mlecchas beyond the Sindhu River and to the west.”

Text 22

ekadaa tu shakadhisho
himatungari samaayayau
hunadeshasya madhye vai
giristhan purusam shubhano
dadarsha balaram raajaa

            Once upon a time the subduer of the Sakas went towards Himatunga and in the middle of the Huna country (Hunadesh – the area near Manasa Sarovara or Kailash mountain in Western Tibet), the powerful king saw an auspicious man who was living on a mountain. The man’s complexion was golden and his clothes were white.

Text 23

ko bharam iti tam praaha
su hovacha mudanvitah
iishaa purtagm maam viddhi
kumaarigarbha sambhavam

            “The king asked, ‘Who are you sir?’ ‘You should know that I am Isha Putra, the Son of God’, he replied blissfully, and ‘am born of a virgin.’”

Text 24

mleccha dharmasya vaktaram
satyavata paraayanam
iti srutva nrpa praaha
dharmah ko bhavato matah

            “‘I am the expounder of the religion of the mlecchas and I strictly adhere to the Absolute Truth.’ Hearing this the king enquired, ‘What are the religious principles according to your opinion?’

Texts 25 – 26

shruto vaaca mahaaraaja
praapte satyasya samkshaye
nirmaaryaade mlechadeshe
masiiho ‘ham samagatah

iishaamasii ca dasyuunaa
praadurbhuutaa bhayankarii
taamaham mlecchataah praapya
masiihatva mupaagatah

            “Hearing this questions of Shalivahana, Isha putra said, ‘O king, when the destruction of the truth occurred, I, Masiha the prophet, came to this country of degraded people where there are no rules and regulations. Finding that fearful irreligious condition of the barbarians spreading from Mleccha-Desha, I have taken to prophethood’.”

Texts 27 – 29

mlecchasa sthaapito dharmo
mayaa tacchrnu bhuupate
maanasam nirmalam krtva
malam dehe subhaasbham

naiganam apamasthaya
japeta nirmalam param
nyayena satyavacasaa
manasyai kena manavah

dhyayena pujayedisham
acaloyam prabhuh sakshat-
athaa suuryacalah sada

            “Please hear, Oh king, which religious principles I have established among the mlecchas. The living entity is subject to good and bad contaminations. The mind should be purified by taking recourse of proper conduct and performance of japa [meditation on the chanting of the holy names of God]. By chanting the holy names one attains the highest purity. Just as the immovable sun attracts, from all directions, the elements of all living beings, the Lord of the Surya Mandala [solar planet], who is fixed and all-attractive, and attracts the hearts of all living creatures. Thus by following rules, speaking truthful words, by mental harmony and by meditation, Oh descendant of Manu, one should worship that immovable Lord’.”

Text 30

isha muurtirt-dradi praptaa
nityashuddha sivamkari
ishamasihah iti ca
mama nama pratishthitam

            “Having placed the eternally pure and auspicious form of the Supreme Lord in my heart, O protector of the earth planet, I preached these principles through the mlecchas’ own faith and thus my name became ‘isha-masiha’ (Jesus the Messiah).”

Text 31

iti shrutra sa bhuupale
natraa tam mlecchapujaam
sthaapayaamaasa tam tutra
mlecchasthaane hi daarune

            “After hearing these words and paying obeisances to that person who is worshiped by the wicked, the king humbly requested him to stay there in the dreadful land of mlecchas.”

Text 32

svaraajyam praaptavaan raajaa
hayamedhan ciikirat
raajyam kriitvaa sa shashthyabdam
svarga lokamu paayayau

            “King Shalivahana, after leaving his kingdom performed an asvamedha yajna and after ruling for sixty years, went to heaven. Now please hear what happened when the king went to (the heavenly region of) svargaloka.”

            Thus ends the second chapter entitled, “The Age of Shalivahana” of the story of Kali Yuga of the Chaturyuga Khanda also called Pratisarga-parva of the wonderful Bhavishya Maha Purana.


            As we can read here, this relates that the grandson of Bikrama Jit, Shalivahana, was the ruler of the Kushans. Some estimate that he ruled from 39 to 50 A.D. It is also said that he vanquished the attackers from China, Parthia, Scythia, and the Bactrians. After establishing a border between the Aryans and the mlecchas, he ordered all the mlecchas to leave India. Once when Shalivahana went to the Himalayas he reached the land of the Hun, or Ladakh, and saw a man who was fair and dressed in white, looking very saintly. The powerful king asked who he was. The man replied that he was called a son of God, born of a virgin, a teacher of the nonbelievers, and was earnestly searching for the truth.

            The king asked his religion. The man replied that he came from a foreign country where there was no truth, only unlimited evil. He had appeared as the Messiah but the terrible demon Ihamasi [illusion] of the barbarians appeared and he had ended up in her realm.

            The man explained to the king that his religion was to purify the consciousness and impure body, after which, seeking guidance in the Naigama [a scripture], man could pray to the Supreme. By acting in truth and justice and engaging in meditation and spiritual unity, man will return to Isa, the Supreme Being. God will one day unite with all wandering spiritual beings, and Ihamasi [the evil of illusion] will be destroyed. Then man will be absorbed in the ecstatic image of Isa who exists in the heart and is the source of happiness. The man then told the king, “I am called Isa-Masih [Jesus the Messiah].” After the king heard the man speak, the king sent the teacher of the faithless back to his land of nonbelievers.

            Another thing Dr. Vedavyas says is that there is evidence that it was not Jesus Christ whom they crucified on the cross but his double. The last words, “Oh Lord, why have you forsaken me?” refers to Jesus having left him on the cross after Jesus went to the “promised land” of Kashmir. Of course, there are other theories on this. Among other scholars, some say Jesus did not die on the cross but was crucified, suffered and was later revived. Others also say his ascent into heaven was actually his journey up to the heavenly land of Kashmir, where he eventually died and was buried in Srinagar at the Roza bal, the presently known grave of Yuz Asaf, a name known to be that of Jesus.

            Dr. Vedavyas goes on to say that the coming of Lord Kalki, as described in the Bhavishya as well as many other Puranas, is the avatara equivalent to the second coming of Christ as described in the Bible. Lord Kalki will be the next great world leader many years from now and will establish a world government and bring back the Vedic culture in a new Satya-yuga, a new kingdom of God. However, before this will happen, Dr. Vedavyas says the Bhavishya Purana describes a great tribulation and global disaster. It has been suggested that when this may happen, or when the events that will begin to trigger the event, could be sometime after the year 2000 A.D. Some people also say that there will be a planetary effect of great magnitude striking the earth at that time which may cause widespread earthquakes or tidal waves, or even what may become a shifting of the north and south poles. The fact is, there has been an increase in earthquakes, and on December 26, 2004 the planet felt the impact of a mighty tsunami that greatly affected the people of the region of Indonesia and East India. This could only be a sign of what more may come. Such things have also been described in Nostradamus’s predictions. However, we know these things have happened before many years ago. So what may or may not continue to happen remains to be seen.

            The Bhavishya Purana also relates the likelihood of a great war of wars which could change the entire map of the world, at least politically, and possibly even geographically if nuclear weapons are used. This has been further corroborated by other psychics and astrologers.

            Aside from all of this, the Bhavishya Purana also contains quotes relating to various personalities, such as Adam, Noah, Allah, Shankaracarya, Jayadev, Kabir, Nanak, Aurangzeb, Shivaji, and on up to the rule of Queen Victavati, meaning Queen Victoria. It even describes how the British will build factories in Calcutta. Most of these quotations are rather short with little elaboration, thus leaving the reader with few details to further the confirmation of what is described. An example of one such quote is that which describes the appearance of Mohammed, which is merely two lines with few details.


            One point we must clearly understand, is that if we do accept that Jesus was predicted in the Bhavishya Purana and traveled to India, and if Jesus did study under the Vedic brahmanas and priests before returning to his homeland to preach, which some evidence indicates, then I’m sure it would come as a shock to most Christians that Jesus was an initiate of the Vedic wisdom of India. Thus, he naturally based much of his own teachings on Vedic knowledge, as anyone who is familiar with Eastern philosophy can see. This would also explain why there are so many similarities between early Christianity and the Dharmic wisdom, much of which seems to have been lost from the Christian fold through the ages.

            It is obvious that Christianity is but a modified form of Sanatana-dharma. Yet, since Jesus spoke in parables on many occasions, the connection with Vedic knowledge and the deeper meaning of his teachings are not always made clear. In fact, there have been numerous diversions and misunderstandings made because of this, as shown by the hundreds of sects that have developed within the Christian community. So, essentially, this would also mean that you cannot comprehend the deepest aspects of Jesus’ teachings without understanding Vedic scripture or the philosophy of Sanatana-dharma, since those are really the roots of Christianity and the basis of the teachings of Jesus. Therefore, it makes sense that we all look into, study and learn this Vedic knowledge and follow its principles for a higher degree and more complete form of spirituality that we can add to our lives, for this is the foundation of most of the spiritual knowledge that has spread throughout the world into its many forms that we find today.



            Though some people have become convinced that Jesus went to India, or is predicted in the Vedic literature, there is also another view to this. With the help of the research done by B. V. Giri Swami, based near Mysore, India, he relates that a closer look at the prediction of Jesus found in the Bhavishya Purana strongly suggests foul play or interpolation on the part of Christian missionaries in India during the late 18th century.

            The Bhavishya Purana is considered to be one of the major 18 Puranas of the Vedic canon. As the name suggests, it mainly deals with future events (bhaviysati). The Bhavishya Purana is also mentioned in the ancient text of the Apastambha-dharma-sutras, so it is to be taken as an original Puranic literature dating from the time of Srila Vyasadeva, who is said to be its original author.

            However, there are presently four known editions of the Bhavishya Purana, each having different predictions from the other, but suspiciously having one consistent prediction – that of Jesus. One edition contains five chapters, one contains four, another contains three and yet another contains only two. Additionally, the contents in all four editions differ in various degrees – some having extra verses and some having less. Due to these circumstances, it is difficult to ascertain which of the four is the original text of the Bhavishya Purana, if indeed an original text still exists, but suspiciously, as mentioned, all four editions do mention Jesus.

            The Venkateswar Steam Press edition of the Bhavishya Purana printed in Bombay in 1829 (and reprinted by Nag Publishers in 2003) is probably the most complete version available, containing all the main features of the four manuscripts. Since none of the four editions of the Bhavishya Purana predate British Rule in India, this further suggests a discrepancy. The fact is that the British tried to monopolize the publishing of all Sanskrit literature during the British Raj. They bought or confiscated any Sanskrit literature they could locate. And that is why you practically cannot find any Vedic literature that is published before 200 years ago. It is further known that they liked to publish their own translations, as if India could not produce its own Sanskrit scholars to translate the Sanskrit themselves. Plus, they would also try to interpolate various verses here and there to have the reader draw a different conclusion of the personality or traits of the characters described in the texts. Most were quite noble, but by slipping in verses that said certain persons had less than admirable qualities, or that questionable practices were used, it would change the reader’s disposition and attitude toward the Vedic culture, even if they were Indian born followers of it.

            Therefore, the consistent prophecy of Jesus in all four editions of the Bhavishya Purana, in spite of the differences in the editions found, seems to indicate an interpolation regarding the so-called meeting of Maharaja Shalivahana and Jesus. This is found in the 19th chapter of the Pratisarga-parva. However, as B. V. Giri Swami relates, in examining this section, certain flaws can be found which betray its dubious origins.

            For example, at the very outset of this description of Jesus meeting Shalivahana, this section is fraught with historical inaccuracies. Shalivahana was the king of Ujjain (in modern day Madhya Pradesh), and while it is not surprising that Shalivahana traveled to the Himalayas, the enemies that he supposedly vanquished in battle before he went should be looked into more thoroughly. Historical research tells us that the only invading force that Shalivahana actually subdued were the Sakas, who entered India from the north-west regions. But as for his defeating the Cinas (Chinese), Bahlikas (Bactrians), Kamarupas (Assamese), Romas (Romans) and the Khurus (Khorasans, or Persians), there is no historical evidence that validates Shalivahana doing this, nor is their any historical proof of the Romans and the Chinese ever invading India at that time. The Bactrians (Greeks) came earlier during the Gupta Period and the Persians (Moguls) came later. The people of Assam were simply a small hill-tribe during this period of Indian history [conquering which would not have warranted a mention in Vedic verse].

            Later, the king asks Jesus “Who are you?” and Jesus answers that he was born of a virgin. However, the Christian idea that Jesus was born of a virgin is based on the following verse found in the Christian version of the Old Testament in the Book of Isaiah: “Behold, a virgin has conceived and bears a son and she will call his name Immanuel.” But the original Hebrew text of the Book of Isaiah does not mention anything about a virgin. The original text being: hinneh ha-almah harah ve-yeldeth ben ve-karath shem-o immanuel, “Behold, the young woman has conceived – and bears a son and calls his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7.14)

            The Hebrew word for virgin is betulah yet it appears nowhere in this verse of Isaiah. The word used is almah which simply means “a young woman”. Isaiah only uses almah once. However, the word betulah is used five times throughout the Book of Isaiah, so Isaiah obviously made a distinction between these two words.

            After Jesus has introduced himself to Shalivahana, he explains that he is teaching religion in the distant land of the mlecchas and tells the king what those teachings are, in which he says: “Please hear from me, O King, about the religion that I have established amongst the mlecchas. The mind should be purified by taking recourse of proper conduct, since we are subject to auspicious and inauspicious contaminations – by following the scriptures and concentrating on japa (meditation on the repetition of God’s names) one will attain the highest level of purity; by speaking true words and by mental harmony, and by meditation and worship, O descendant of Manu. Just as the immovable sun attracts from all directions the elements of all living beings, the Lord of the Surya-mandala (sun globe) is fixed and all-attractive, and attracts the hearts of all living creatures.” (19:27-29)

            However, nowhere in the Gospels do we find in the ministry of Jesus the above teachings to his followers, unless they had been removed from the Gospels and somehow preserved in the Bhavishya Purana. Furthermore, in this passage, Jesus is advocating the worship of the sun-god (again, something that is absent in his instructions to the apostles). Japa, meditation, the negation of both good and bad karma, are all concepts that are familiar to eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, but not to the Abrahamic religions of the west, unless Jesus had already been trained by Vedic brahmanas and Buddhist priests at that time. In such a case, the Bhavishya Purana may have preserved some of the concepts of the teachings of Jesus that were never included in the Gospels, or were later deleted from them because of manipulating politics.

            Considering the above anomalies and the fact that no edition of the Bhavishya Purana can be found prior to the British period in India, we can deduce that the Bhavishya Purana may have been tampered with by the Christian missionaries who added the chapter on Jesus. Their motive would be obvious — to make the personality of Jesus acceptable to the Hindus in order to convert them to Christianity.

            In 1784, the famous Indologist Sir William Jones wrote the following letter to Sir Warren Hastings, Governor General of India, confirming our suspicions that this was indeed part of their program:

            “As to the general extension [spreading] of our pure faith [Christianity] in Hindoostan [India] there are at present many sad obstacles to it… We may assure ourselves, that Hindoos will never be converted by any mission from the church of Rome, or from any other church; and the only human mode, perhaps, of causing so great a revolution, will be to translate into Sanscrit… such chapters of the Prophets, particularly of ISAIAH, as are indisputably evangelical, together with one of the gospels, and a plain prefatory discourse, containing full evidence of the very distant ages, in which the predictions themselves, and the history of the Divine Person (Jesus) is predicted, were severally made public and then quietly to disperse the work among the well-educated natives.” (Asiatic Researches Vol. 1. Published 1979, pages 234-235. First published 1788).

            What better way to translate into Sanskrit whatever they could of predictions of the Christian prophets and then disperse them among the well-educated natives than to slip such translations into some of the Vedic texts themselves? Plus, we often see that Christians, especially in India, tell Hindus that since Jesus is supposed to be predicted in the Vedic texts, then they should accept Jesus as their ultimate savior. But the Vedic texts are much more open and inclusive than that and also describe so many more avataras and incarnations of Lord Vishnu. So why shouldn’t the Christians also accept Lord Vishnu or Krishna as the Supreme Person, or at least aspects of the Supreme Being? After all, it was proclaimed that Jesus was the son of God. And who is the Father? So Vishnu or Krishna must have been the Supreme Father as the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic texts clearly state. And if Jesus did go to India, then he was familiar with this concept, which he thus expressed in his own teachings in his homeland. This is not going against the Biblical tenants. After all, the Bible does not exactly describe who is the Supreme Person, but only gives Him a name, such as Yahweh, etc. The Vedic texts, however, give God innumerable names and describes much more about Him, such as His character, personality, pastimes, and so on.

            Swami B.V. Giri concludes that it may also be noted that throughout the Pratisarga-parva of the Bhavishya Purana we find the stories of Adam and Eve (Adhama and Havyavati), Noah (Nyuha), Moses (Musa), and other Biblical characters. These he also considers to be likely additions by zealous Christians. The Bhavishya Purana may well be a genuine Vedic scripture prophesying future events, but from the above analysis we may want to reconsider how likely it is that the Jesus episode of the Bhavishya Purana is an authentic Vedic revelation.