The Secret Teachings of the Vedas provides one of the best reviews of ancient Eastern philosophy and summarizes some of the most elevated and important of all spiritual knowledge. This timeless and enlightening information is explained in a clear and concise way and is essential for all who want to increase their spiritual understanding and awareness. This is a book that can give you a new perspective of who you are and where you fit into the scheme of things.
This book supplies the straightforward answers to questions that are not resolved in other religions or philosophies, and condenses information from a wide variety of sources that would take a person years to assemble. It also uses many quotations from numerous Vedic texts that will show you the lofty insight and wisdom they have held for thousands of years.
Stephen Knapp has studied the major Vedic texts of India and practiced yoga and the Eastern teachings for over 40 years. He has traveled throughout India and has visited almost every major holy place in India. He has authored over 15 well-received books on Vedic culture and regularly gives lectures. He is also the president of the Vedic Friends Association.
The present work is the first volume of an extensive project of four volumes on The Eastern Answers to the Mysteries of Life contemplated by Stephen Knapp in order to provide an exhaustive understanding of the various aspects of human spirituality and spiritual evolution. This volume is titled the secret Teachings of the Vedas. It focuses specifically on the Vedic and post-Vedic philosophical and religious responses Co the persistent curiosities and inevitable queries of the human mind in its encounter with the spatiotemporal immensity of the universe, about its whence and whither, and the place and purpose of the human person within it, for whose emergence and existence on the earth, the entire universe is but necessary.
Not only the primordial reality, the raison d’etre of the universe, but even the universe itself with its myriad inorganic and organic systems is a mysterium tremendum et fascicans, a mystery ever engaging and challenging the human intellect to unravel its not so impenetrable visage. It opens up its deepest secrets to the probings of the scientific and religious minds, unless the same human mind through its deviant irrationality decides to precipitate a general catastrophe that spells destruction of all its erstwhile achievements.
The author authentically and ably presents the ancient Indian thoughts and insights in dealing with numerous questions regarding life and its origins, the whys of life and the material world surrounding it, the soul and its passage through various life-forms and through various human planes to its ultimate destiny, the nature of God, our spiritual identity, the law of karma and reincarnation, the modes of Prakriti and the consequent character 0f actions, karmic disposition and free will that determine the quality of future existence, the nature of good and bad karmas, vegetarianism, the structure of the universe, including heaven and hell, and the description of Vaikuntha or the spiritual world. The discussion of the brain- mind-consciousness question (pp 59-68) is of special interest.
The book is a labor of love and an act of devotional service. It is a genuine expression of what Stephen Knapp has thought through in his spiritual journey and the conviction he has found in the course of his personal life-experiences. That is the reason why the book is written with such simplicity, lucidity, and accuracy. It is enlivened by examples from practical life to bring home spiritual ideas. The main basis of exposition of these ideas is the Bhagavat Purana which the author copiously cites.
The book is not only a discussion of the issues concerning the mystery of existence and of human life in terms of Indian teachings 0f the Vedic literature, but also a conscious effort to relate those insights to the contemporary age and its ethos.
In conclusion, Stephen Knapp advocates that the Vedic teachings offer us guidance through the maze of modern maladies brought about by the complex industrial and technological civilization, and make human life worthwhile.
The book is a welcome introduction to the teachings of the Vedic and Puranic literature on the various topics of metaphysical and spiritual interest.
There are many books being written these days on spiritual or occult subjects by authors who present their ideas and teachings as if they were facts, but do not provide any traditional references or scriptural evidence to justify what they write. This book, The Secret Teachings of the Vedas: The Eastern Answers to the Mysteries of Life, is written to establish an alternative to the highly speculatory, inconclusive, and often times problematic theories about the universe, the soul, life after death, where we have come from, where we are going, and the various ideas about the Absolute that are presently being spread and accepted today.
The truths that are contained in the ancient texts often hold the clearest understanding of life that can be found anywhere. This will become more apparent as we present various parts of the Vedic teachings to clarify many theories that an increasing number of people are starting to seriously consider. These include such concepts as the eternality of the soul, reincarnation, karma, destiny, who we are, the meaning of life, and all the questions that often go unanswered for lack of knowledge.
We have seen, for example, that many times children will ask their parents questions concerning matters about life and death that the parents hardly understand themselves. The elders may take questions to their own spiritual leaders, such as the local minister or priest, who often leave their congregational members with little more understanding than what they already had. In this way, many difficult questions about life go unanswered and are dismissed because precise information does not seem to exist.
Sometimes it is taught that, “It’s not meant for us to know,” or “God will tell us when we are fit to receive it.” Or we may even be told that we will not know the answers until after we die, so just keep the faith. But this b00k is an attempt to show that this is hardly the case. There are many answers awaiting us, especially in the area of Eastern philosophy. And any person is fit to receive this knowledge when they care enough to search for it. However, to receive full understanding you must approach that source of complete knowledge in the proper way, which is in a mood of respect and humility. A challenging attitude will not do. After all, we are born in ignorance and, regardless of whatever technological skills we may acquire, we can easily die in spiritual ignorance unless we qualify ourselves with spiritual knowledge. When this knowledge and the laws of the universe become known, then the mysterious reasons and causes for the present day problems of the world become obvious. Then the reasons why we are in this world and why we go through the things we do are also understood.
For those, however, who feel hesitant to consider alternative viewpoints due to a feeling of allegiance to a certain religion or philosophy, I hope you will read this book with an open mind. If, for example, you are a Christian, you should have the attitude of following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ while reading this, since there are many recorded references of his traveling through the East and studying the Vedic writings. However, some people may say that they have their own religion, so what more do they need? Why should they study the philosophy of the East or the science of yoga? The point is that the word religion comes from the Latin word nigio, which means to bring back or to bind, while the Sanskrit word yoga means to connect with or to unite. To bind or unite with what? The Supreme, of course. Thus, there is no difference between the purpose of religion and the goal of yoga: they are the same. Yet it has been shown that the knowledge of the Vedas is much expansive and deeper than that found in most conventional religious philosophies. It is like the difference between an abridged dictionary and one that is unabridged. They are essentially the same; yet, one is more complete. Therefore, one can get a much better understanding of whatever spiritual philosophy he or she follows by studying the Eastern texts. It brings one to a high level of consciousness.
In fact, for many hundreds of years, the East, especially India, has been the focal point when it comes to spiritual knowledge. As we will see in Chapter Two, many great writers, poets, theologians, etc., have increased their understanding of themselves and their own viewpoints of life simply by investigating the wisdom of the East. So now let us begin the grand adventure of examining the essential, universal, spiritual truths as presented in this discourse on Eastern philosophy.
This book takes information that is widely scattered throughout many volumes of Vedic literature and condenses it into the present work for an in-depth introduction to the Vedic teachings. For the average person, it would take many years of study to acquire or assimilate what is presented here. Thus, the purpose of this book is to supply the reader with clear and concise knowledge and references of spiritual topics that normally would be difficult to find, or would be reached only after many years of research through dozens of various books texts. I recognize that in this age not everyone has time to do everything he or she would like, and our priorities may require so much of our day that there is no time left to do anything but work for our essential needs. In light of this, I save tried to compile this book so that with a limited amount and expense one could still have access to some of the most elevated knowledge and spiritual realizations ever recorded or known to man.
This book, however, is not meant to be read and digested in a few days like an adventure novel, Of course, one may try to do that if they wish and will still get much insight from it. But I suggest that readers go through it and absorb it at their own pace, reading certain portions of it each day and meditating on various parts of it that they may find especially enlightening.
In supplying this information, I have tried not to write too extensively, but only enough to make things clear for the reader without being vague. I have also used direct quotations from the Vedic literature whenever possible to allow them to speak for themselves, and to let the reader get a better understanding of the kind of knowledge and wisdom the Vedas and its literature contain. The reader may want to study some of these chapters more than once, since it is well-known that Vedic knowledge remains ever-fresh and reveals newer and newer insights as one advances in spiritual understanding. Of course, if you are only looking for specific information, the chapters are divided into segments by sub-titles making it easier for you to find those references in which you may be particularly interested.
Each chapter is complete in itself and will convey a thorough understanding of the topic with the most essential information in the beginning portions of the chapter. As one continues through the chapter, deeper knowledge is revealed. For the beginner in Eastern philosophy, the most important chapters in this book are Chapters One and Four, which give clear insights into who and what your real identity is and how the Vedic texts offer guidance that help us understand the real purpose of life. The information in these chapters also provides a better understanding of other spiritual philosophies. Chapters Two and Three explain how the Vedic literature has influenced many of the great men of our times, and give information on the background of the Vedas and how they were compiled. Chapter Five gives a thorough view of what the law of karma and incarnation is and how it affects us. Chapter Six may seem a little detailed but the information is an integral part of understanding how we incarnate into different types of bodies in different lives. Chapter Seven describes a little about the structure of the universe and the heavenly and hellish planets, and shows how there are many levels of existence and consciousness throughout this universe. Chapter Eight puts it together and discusses the theory of evolution and describes he Vedic concept of spiritual evolution and how the living being goes up and down through the higher and lower planets and species of life according to his or her consciousness, and how to get out of this cycle of repeated birth and death. Chapter Nine explains why we have to go through all of this and why we exist at all. Chapters ten and Eleven explain how God is not only an impersonal force that pervades everything, is also the Supreme Person whose influence can be recognized in all areas of our everyday life. Chapter Twelve, which is all about the spiritual world, provides information that found no where else in such detail except in the Vedic literature.
For some readers, the information in this book may seem so different that it may border the fantastic and be quite controversial. For others, it may make a lot of sense and provide an understanding of life for which they have long been looking. For others, it may kindle a reawakening of what, deep in their carts, they already know but could not quite remember.
Spiritual knowledge is meant as much for women as it is for f it seems like I use the words “he” or “him” a lot in ok when referring to the individual, the aspirant, or yoga practitioner, it actually means anyone, he or she. I use the word “he” mostly for ease of writing, not to show some bias.
Further information on the knowledge of the East will be supplied in future volumes, such as The Heart of Hinduism. This book will explain the real purpose of the yoga systems, how they work, the conclusion of Vedic knowledge, and how to follow the path for spiritual self-realization that is meant for this age. It also contains an explanation of mystic abilities, the qualifications of a true spiritual leader, and much more. In books such as Proof of Vedic Culture’s Global Existence, we see the connections of modern religion to the Vedic tradition based on the linguistic and archeological evidence, and how they expanded from one ancient but common source: which is the Vedic Aryan culture. It is a volume that provides important information and much enlightenment for those on the path, or those seeking a path to the Absolute.
The Vedic Prophecies, is another important book based on the ancient Eastern texts which will explain such things as the Vedic predictions of the near and distant future, how the worlds are finally annihilated, how we fit into this cosmic plan, and the reason for it. How the Universe was Created explains the Vedic process of universal creation, how the cosmic manifestation and all the species within it are formed, what is the purpose of it, and how we fit in and can find individual fulfillment according to the process as described in the Vedic literature.
In my spiritual guide book Seeing Spiritual India we will journey through various parts of India and go on important pilgrimages to many of the holy places. We will visit many of the important temples and hear about the ancient legends that make these places sacred. Many of the temples are like none you will see anywhere else in the world, and are held in high esteen by followers of the Vedic philosophy.
|Foreword by Professor Mahesh Mehta||ix|
|Chapter I||Why study the Vedas in our search for Happiness||1|
|Finding the answers – Guidance from the Vedas|
|Chapter 2||What are the Vedas||30|
|The Influence the Vedas have bad on the West – Rediscovering Vedic science|
|Chapter 3||The History and Traditional Source of the Vedas||44|
|The Compiling of the Vedas, Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda, The Puranas, Srila Vyasadeva Was Still Dissatisfied|
|Chapter 4||Our Real Identity: The Science of the Soul||70|
|Finding ourselves, Review of Western philosophies, Problems with scientific theories of consciousness, Vedic recognition of the soul’s presence, The soul is eternal, The Vedic description of the soul, The nature of the soul, Supersoul: the unifying factor, Description of the Supersoul. Relationship between the soul and Supersoul, Being ignorant of the self, The cause of suffering, Achieving peace for he individual and for the world, Attaining the highest happiness|
|Chapter 5||Reincarnation and the Law of Karma||129|
|Reincarnation in Christianity, Other references and believers in reincarnation, Approaching death, Rebirth, The law of karma and destiny, Free will and choice, Getting free of karma|
|Chapter 5 (Part B)||Avoiding Activities that cause Bad Karma||164|
|Being truthful, Practicing austerity, Inner and outer cleanliness, The issue of abortion, Sex or no sex, Showing mercy and being vegetarian, Biblical quotations about meat-eating, The Karma of the nation|
|Chapter 6||The Modes of Nature: Determining Your Future Existence||206|
|What are the modes of nature, How the modes of nature work, Action and consciousness in various modes, Where the modes take us, Becoming free from the modes|
|Chapter 7||Heaven and Hell and the Basic Structure of the Universe||231|
|The basic universal structure, Description of hell, Description of heaven, The opportunity in this earthly existence|
|Chapter 8||The Soul’s Evolution through Life, Death and Beyond||253|
|Darwin’s theory, The Big Bang Theory, Our ignorance of life, The five basic stages of human evolution, Life in the womb and birth of the living entity, Life in the material world, Old age and death, The afterlife – heaven, hell, or beyond|
|Chapter 9||Why is there anything?||299|
|Why the material world exists, Why there is life at all|
|Chapter 10||Personal God or Impersonal Force?||311|
|God is personal and impersonal, The Absolute, Truth is a person, Descriptions from the Brahma-samhita|
|Chapter 11||Recognizing the Existence of God||327|
|The universal form|
|Chapter 12||Description of the Spiritual World||344|
|About the Author||398|