India has one of the oldest and most dynamic cultures in the world. Yet, many people do not know of the countless attacks, wars, atrocities, and sacrifices that Indian people have undergone to protect and preserve their country and spiritual tradition over the centuries. Neither do many people know of the numerous ways in which this profound heritage is being attacked and threatened today, and what we can do about it.
Therefore, we should carefully understand:
- How there is presently a war against Hinduism and its yoga culture.
- The weaknesses of India that allowed invaders to conquer her.
- Lessons from India’s real history that should not be forgotten.
- The atrocities committed by the Muslim invaders, and how they tried to destroy Vedic culture and its many temples, and slaughtered thousands of Indian Hindus.
- How the British viciously exploited India and its people for its resources.
- How the cruelest of all Christian Inquisitions in Goa tortured and killed thousands of Hindus.
- Action plans for preserving and strengthening Vedic India today.
- How all Hindus and concerned people must stand up and be strong for protecting the universal spiritual traditions of Vedic culture.
The first thing that needs to be established is that this book is not produced to bring out old hatreds, or to invoke new anger toward old incidents. What has happened in the past is a matter of history, and we intend to discuss the real history of India to see how far the country and its culture has come, the many challenges it has endured, and how the greatness of India and its culture has remained, in spite of how much it has been attacked through the years. But the culture and people of India (Bharata Varsha) remain only after many courageous episodes, sacrifices, trials and tribulations of the common residents of the land. But such determination to never give up their culture and traditions makes them highly uncommon and commendable. It is also due to the credit of the heroes who fought and died for the privilege and freedom we have today that allows us to practice and take advantage of the Vedic culture that still exists. Why should we review the history and development of India over the past 1000 years? To help show how fortunate we are and how important and relevant Vedic culture has been and still is to humanity at large. Plus, to show that only through our concerted efforts will there be the continuation of the Vedic traditions, Sanatana-dharma, or Hinduism as many people call it today. Thus, we should not take this lightly, but reflect on and learn the significance of India’s ancient traditions, and also participate in upholding them. That is what Dharma means, the natural laws that maintain all else, and Dharma is our duty to act in a way to help maintain Dharma. There are two parts to Dharma: the state of Dharma and the path of Dharma. The state of Dharma, or Sanatana-dharma, is our eternal Dharma, or our natural state of being as an eternal spiritual entity. Whereas the path of Dharma means the appropriate thoughts, words, actions, and attitude in the varying situations of life that help us enter into that state of Dharma. There is now a growing interest in various aspects of Vedic culture in the West. For example, there has been a revival of the ancient medical system of Ayurveda, not only within India but also in the West, which is one of the greatest medical systems ever devised. This system is free from the allopathic medicines that often have harmful side effects and force the user to be dependent on drugs that merely make the huge foreign companies wealthy. The yogic sciences, such as pranayama, hatha-yoga, meditation, etc., that have been practiced for the development of body, mind and soul for thousands of years are also found nowhere else but in this great Vedic culture. Kerala’s kalaripayat system of martial arts is the great ancestor of the Asian techniques of karate, judo and others. This is because it was taken to the orient by Buddhist monks who had become familiar with it and then developed their own systems. The kalaripayat martial arts brought many instruments together, such as swords, knives, spears, flexible two-sided swords, etc., into a single system. Though these arts and practices are still used and alive in the ashramas across India, and in the homes of numerous people, they are not recognized by the government, nor promoted in a way wherein the people in general can be proud of what India and its ancient rishis have provided. Furthermore, the “secular” government even demeans many of these Vedic sciences and practices as ancient myths or remnants of the old ways as if they should be given up or left behind. Nonetheless, if children were trained in such things as hatha-yoga, pranayama, meditation, and Ayurveda, they would grow to be some of the healthiest and strongest individuals on the planet. And those that are trained in such a way are often just that, extremely intelligent, healthy, and strong individuals. This is what needs to be preserved. Therefore, this book is to honor the efforts that have been shown by those in the past who fought and worked to protect India and its culture, and to help preserve India as the homeland of a living and dynamic Vedic tradition of Sanatana-dharma (the eternal path of duty and wisdom). Yet, there are many people who do not know of the many angles and ways in which this profound culture is being attacked and threatened. There is much to do to protect this culture, and until we are aware of how it has been assaulted in the past, and how it is threatened in the present, we will not have the motivation to take a stand and defend it.
Stephen Knapp has studied the major Vedic texts of India and practiced yoga and the Eastern teachings for nearly 40 years. He has traveled throughout India and has authored over a dozen well-received books on Vedic culture and regularly gives lectures. He is also the president of the Vedic Friends Association.