By Niranjan Shah
My dear Nikita and Sanjna:
We met Stephen Knapp a leading advocate of India’s spiritual traditions, at Rutger University in New Jersey. We both spoke at Dharma Summit, International Vedic Vision, New York, Hindu Heritage Day in Cincinnati, Arshavidya Gurukulam at Saylors-burgh, PA, and many other places. Few Westerners like Dr. David Frawley, Jeffrey Armstrong, Howard Beckman, Michael Cremo, Michael Gressett, Dhan Rousse and Yvette Rosser, are dedicated to the work of preservation and protection of Vedic spiritual traditions. Stephen Knapp grew up in a Christian family. He seriously studied the Bible to understand its teachings. In his late teenage years, however, he sought answers to questions not easily explained in Christian theology. So, he began to search through other religions and philosophies from around the world and started to find the answers for which he was looking. He also studied a variety of occult sciences, ancient mythology, mysticism, yoga, and the spiritual teachings of the East. Finally, after his first reading of the Bhagavad-Gita, the classic summary of Vedic philosophy known as The Song of God, he felt he had found the last piece of the puzzle he had been putting together through all of his research.
This increased his understanding of everything else he had been studying. Therefore, he continued to research all of the major Vedic texts of India to gain a better understanding of the Vedic science, until he became a full-fledged follower and practitioner of Sanatana Dharma. Now he works tirelessly to protect, preserve and promote the deep spiritual knowledge of Vedic philosophy and its traditions. He continued his study of Vedic knowledge and spiritual practice under the guidance of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Through this process, he was given the spiritual name of Sri Nandanandana Dasa and he became initiated into the genuine and authorized spiritual line of the Brahma-Madhava-Gaudiya Sampradaya. This is a discipline-succession that descends back through Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Vyasadeva, the compiler of Vedic literature, and further back to Lord Sri Krishna.
He has been to India numerous times and traveled extensively throughout the country, visiting most of the major holy places and temples, and many minor ones, and gaining a wide variety of spiritual experiences that only such places can give. He has continued to travel to India on a regular basis, giving lectures on the benefits and glories of the Vedic tradition. His life is dedicated to spreading the eternal knowledge of the soul, Sanatana Dharma, and the Vedic teachings. He has especially focused on the sadhana of bhakti-yoga and mantra-yoga to purify the mind and consciousness, and awake one’s love for the Supreme Being.
He is the founder of the World Relief Network. Many of his books are published through the World Relief Network. He is also one of the founders and president of the Vedic Friends Association (VFA), a non-profit organization for networking with other serious writers, researchers and teachers, who help protect, preserve and expand the knowledge and benefits of Vedic culture. The VFA, thus works to maintain a network of people assisting in bringing the world to a higher level of consciousness and a more peaceful and happier existence for one and all.
He has written The Secret Teachings of the Vedas, The Universal Path to Enlightenment, The Vedic Prophecies: A New Look into the Future, and How the Universe was Created and Our Purpose In It. He has written many other books. More information on his research, writing and projects can be found at his Web site: www.stephen-knapp.com. More about the VFA can be found at its Web site at: www.vedicfriends.org.