The Power of the Dharma
An Introduction to Hinduism and Vedic Culture
By Stephen Knapp
This has been especially written for those who want an easy reference and introduction to the Vedic Hindu philosophy and tradition. This provides a concise overview and quick guide of the major principles found within Vedic culture, and answers the most common questions people have about Vedic customs and its Dharmic teachings. It also offers a good grasp of the essential values and ideology of the Vedic path while keeping it simple to understand. It provides many insights into the depth and value of the timeless wisdom of Vedic spirituality and reveals why the Dharmic path has survived for thousands of years. Not only is it as good introductory book for beginners, but it is also a review of what every Hindu should know.
This reveals why the Dharma is presently enjoying a renaissance among an increasing number of people who want to explore its teachings and see what its many techniques of self-discovery have to offer. In "The Power of the Dharma", you will find:
* quotes by noteworthy people on the unique qualities of Hinduism;
* essential principles of the Vedic spiritual path;
* particular traits, customs, and explanations of Hindu worship;
* descriptions of the main yoga systems;
* significance and legends of the colorful Hindu festivals;
* benefits of Ayurveda, Vastu, Vedic astrology, and gemology;
* important insights of Dharmic life and how to begin practicing it.
This book also serves as an introduction to deeper reading that a person may like to do in considering the more elaborate explanations of the Vedic/Hindu philosophy. And as an introduction or a companion to other books by Stephen Knapp, such as The Secret Teachings of the Vedas: The Eastern Answers to the Mysteries of Life, which is a good in-depth analysis and exposition of the Vedic spirituality and philosophy, and The Heart of Hinduism: The Eastern Path to Freedom, Empowerment and Illumination, which is a complete course in itself for learning exactly what Hinduism and Vedic culture teaches. So if this book piques your interest and you are inquisitive to learn more about the deeper aspects of Vedic spirituality, those are the books that can take you much farther in this spiritual knowledge and awareness.
The Dharmic path can provide you the means for attaining your own spiritual realizations and experiences. In this way, it is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. This is the power of Dharma's universal teachings which have something to offer everyone! This book has now been expanded and republished in July, 2020.
Chapter 1: What is Vedic Culture/Hinduism?
The Simple Definition of Hinduism * What Hinduism is Not * The Versatility of Hinduism * Who Founded Vedic Culture * Vedic Culture Started Before the Beginning of Time
Chapter Two: Quotes by Noteworthy People on the Glories of Vedic Culture
Chapter Three: The Essential Principles of the Vedic Path
Chapter Four: Explanations of the Essential Vedic Principles
Principle One--The Vedic Tradition is a Way of Life * Principle Two--The Universal Truths are for Everyone * Principle Three--Hinduism's Correct Name is Sanatana-Dharma * Principle Four--The Vedic Understanding of God * Principle Five--All Existence is part of the One Great Truth * Principle Six--The Avataras of God * Principle Seven--The Supreme is Found in the Spiritual Dimension and as the Supersoul * Principle Eight--We are All Eternal * Principle Nine--The Soul Undergoes Reincarnation * Principle Ten--The Goal of the Vedic Process * Principle Eleven--We Are Spiritual Beings in the Realm of Matter * Principle Twelve--We Are One Universal Family * Principle Thirteen--Spiritual Progress Does Not Depend on One's Birth * Principle Fourteen--Respect for Individual Freedom of Inquiry * Principle Fifteen--The Wonder and Beauty of the Vedic Path * Principle Sixteen--All Life is Precious * Principle Seventeen--The Law of Karma * Principle Eighteen--The Material Manifestation is Designed and Created * Principle Nineteen--Hindus Worship Many Gods? * Principles Twenty and Twenty-one--The Divinity of the Vedic Texts and Sanskrit * Principles Twenty-two and Twenty-three--What are the Vedic Texts * Principles Twenty-four and Twenty-five
Chapter Five: Sanatana-Dharma: Its Real Meaning
Chapter Six: The Power of the Dharma
Chapter Seven: The Vedic Spiritual Paths to Liberation
Jnana-yoga * Karma-yoga * Raja-yoga * Bhakti-yoga * Mantra Yoga* What is a Mantra * The Significance of OM * The Meaning of Om * The Potency of the Hare Krishna Mantra
Chapter Eight: Particular Traits of Vedic/Hindu Worship
Basics of Vedic Philosophy * What is Meant by Spirituality * What is Self-Realization * What is Spiritual Culture * Who is God * How a Formless God can be Reconciled With a Personal God * Seeing God Everywhere
Vedic Temples and Items Within * Purpose of Temples * The Significance of the Vedic Temple * Purpose of Circumambulating Temples or Deities * The Purpose of Touching Our Head to the Floor * What is Prasada * The Potency of Charanamrita * What are Bhajans and Kirtans * Appropriate Dress in Temples * What is a Sari * What is a Dhoti * Why Many Devotees Wear White * Why Non-Hindus are Not Always Allowed to Enter Temples in India
Points About Vedic Worship * Why Hindus Worship Images * Hindus Do Not Worship Idols * Basic Techniques in Vedic Worship of God * Why Devotees Have Prayer Rooms in Their House
Facts on Symbols and Traditions * What is "Namaste" * Why Red Dots are Worn on the Forehead * What is Tilok or Forehead Marks * What is the Holy Ash * Significance of the Red Thread Tied Around the Wrist * What the Swastika Represents * The Significance of the Shiva Lingam * The Significance of a Shalagrama Shila * Why the Ganga (Ganges River) is Considered Sacred
Vedic Rituals * Purpose of Vedic Rituals and Rites * Why Ring Bells in Temples * The Reason Lamps are Used * The Importance of the Deepak (The Sacred Oil or Ghee Lamp) * The Significance of the Aarati Ceremony * Significance of the Conch Shell ( Shankha) * Why Shanti is said Three Times * Why Coconuts are Offered * Purpose of Offering Food to the Lord Before Eating * Significance of the Kalash or Sacred Pot * Why Worship the Tulasi Tree * The Purpose of the Agnihotra Ritual * Why the Lotus is Sacred * Purpose of Fasting * Purpose of Pilgrimages
Other Characteristics of Vedic Culture * Why Many Swamis Wear Saffron Cloth * The Significance of the Shikha (Tuft of Hair) * The Meaning of the Sutra or Sacred Thread * The Significance of the Saffron Flag * Why the Cow is Considered Sacred
Points About Vedic Dharma * What is Dharma * The Difference Between Dharma and Religion * What is the Definition of Hindutva * Hindutva and Other Faiths * Definition of Hindu Rashtra * The Emphasis on Our Relationship With India
Taking Care of the Deceased * Why Hindus Cremate Their Dead * The Purpose of Immersing the Ashes of the Dead into Sacred Rivers * The Meaning of the Pinda (Pind Daan) Ceremony * The Purpose of the Shraddha Ceremony * The Significance of Tarpan for the Benefit of the Deceased
Chapter Nine: The Dharmic Festivals
Makara Sankranti * Vasant Panchami * Maha Shivaratri * Holi * Gaura Purnima * Shri Rama Navami * Ugadi and Vishu * Hanuman Jayanthi * Guru Purnima * Onam * Raksha Bandan * Krishna Janmashtami * Ganesh Chaturthi * Navaratri * Dusshera * Karva Chauth * Deepavali * Gita Jayanthi
Chapter Ten: Other Important Traits of Vedic Dharma
The Vedic Path has a Most Developed and Complete Spiritual Philosophy * The Purpose of Having a Guru * The Purpose of Spiritual Initiation or Diksha * Nonviolence * Compassion is a Prime Principle of Vedic Dharma * Vegetarianism * Vedic Dharma Promotes Seeing God in All Living Beings * Genuine Hindus and Vedic Followers do not Practice Animal Sacrifice * Vedic Scriptures Do Not Condone Abortion * The Vedic Path Views All Religions as Portions of the One Truth, and Ways of Understanding God * Truth is One, the Names are Many, But All Religions are not the Same * Vedic Dharma has no Concept of Jihad, Holy Wars, Crusades, or Martyrdom on its Behalf * Hindus are not Interested in Converting Others * This is Why the Followers of the Vedic Path can Live Peacefully With Those of Other Religions * Hindus or Dharmists Prefer to Share the Vedic Knowledge Freely * Sanatana-Dharma Has Spiritual Knowledge Found Nowhere Else * If Hinduism Dies Out * Vedic Dharma is Not Poverty Based * Where Charity Fits into the Vedic System * Vedic Dharma Teaches That the World is Real but Temporary * The Dharma Teaches that Desires Merely Need to be Spiritualized * Hindus Practice Monogamy * Hindu Dharma Does Not Teach that There is a Competing Evil Force * V edic Dharma Teaches We Should Achieve Godís Grace * The Position of Women in a Truly Vedic Society * In Essence, Vedic Dharma Opens the Door to the Real Potentials of Life
Chapter Eleven: Who May Be a Hindu or Practice Sanatana-Dharma
Sharing the Dharma * Becoming a Dharmist or Devotee is Easy * The Basics of a Daily Routine
Conclusion: The Future
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