The Vedic Ambassador Study Course
Based on the Book
The Power of the Dharma
An Introduction to Hinduism and Vedic Culture
By Stephen Knapp
Presently there is a need for what could be called Vedic Ambassadors. These are people who are followers of Vedic Culture, or Sanatana-Dharma, and who are also knowledgeable enough to be able to explain the basics of Vedic culture to those who are sincerely inquisitive, or even critical, and show how their involvement in Vedic culture has helped them and how it can help others. The idea of being a Vedic Ambassador is more fully explained in my article, “A Call to be Vedic Ambassadors”.
This course, which is especially meant for Westerners everywhere, is provided in connection with the international organization known as The Vedic Friends Association (VFA) (http://www.vedicfriends.org). It is designed to present the basic philosophy and principles of the Vedic culture and Hindu tradition. Since the test is based on the book, “The Power of the Dharma”, you will need to purchase a copy of the book so you can read and study it. The questions of the test are arranged in the order of the topics in the book to make it simple and easy to do.
The test is fairly simple and is an open book test. Some of the questions are fill in the blanks, so you merely fill in the words from the book. Others may require you to summarize some points. This is done simply by writing in the explanations from the book, or paraphrase the main points as best you can. You can acquire the test and send it back after you have filled in the answers through email.
Naturally, when you send in the test, the answers are checked for accurateness. However, you do not get a grade, you either pass, upon which you get your certificate along with the sheet with the correct answers so you can check over them, or you get to do it again. The one time cost of the test includes all correspondence and the processing and mailing of the certificate and membership card.
By going through the test and filling in the answers, it shows your dedication to understand and also learn and practice these principles, and thus be able to explain them to others. This is the object of the title “Vedic Ambassador”. This qualifies you through The Vedic Friends Association to receive the attractive certificate that we offer upon the completion of this course, along with a card that you can keep in your pocket or wallet.
The certificate is for your own personal display, but it is also meant to show others your dedication to the Vedic path, and that you are thus eligible to participate in various aspects of Vedic practices, such as going into various Hindu temples for darshan (seeing the deities) and puja (worship). This is not an issue in the United States, but this does occasionally become an issue in some temples in India. Naturally there are many temples in India that allow devoted Westerners into the temple sanctum, but some do not, or they want to see some sort of certificate to verify one’s devotion to and understanding of the Vedic principles before allowing just anyone to enter the main shrine. So this will help in this regard. Therefore, it is suggested that you make a copy of the certificate to carry with you if you travel to India, along with your pocket membership card that you can carry at any time.
The certificate is also a sign of your devotion to the Vedic path and is a way of recognizing you as a follower of the Vedic tradition. However, it does not replace the initiation process that you may want to take from a guru or spiritual teacher as when or if you decide to join a particular sampradaya, lineage or ashrama, or when you may get a spiritual name. That is another step if you decide to take it.
To get started, simply email me (at Srinandan@aol.com) your request and I will email you the test. Let me know what format works best for you. After you go through the book and fill in the answers on the test, you simply email or send back to me the answer sheet with a check for $25. This will cover all costs for checking the answers along with any further correspondence and sending you your certificate and membership card.
We thank you for your interest and encourage you in this learning process into the basics of the Vedic tradition.