We are happy to announce the long-anticipated release of Sri Dharma Pravartaka
Acharya's ground-breaking new book "The Vedic Way of Knowing God".
Author: Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya
Foreword: Dr. David Frawley
Preface: Professor Klaus K. Klostermaier
Publisher: Dharma Sun Media
Published: November 7, 2010
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
Available for purchase here:
By Dr. David Frawley
(Sri Vamadeva Shastri)
The Vedic tradition is primarily one of knowledge, going back to the four Vedas
as books of knowledge, the term Veda deriving from the root `vid', meaning to
see, to know, to directly experience, or to realize within one's own awareness.
The Vedic tradition is further defined as Sanatana Dharma or a universal and
eternal (Sanatana) tradition of truth and natural law (Dharma). What Veda is
seeking to know is the nature of things, ultimately the nature of our own being
that is connected to the Divine presence or higher consciousness which pervades
As such, the Vedic tradition is not content merely with belief in God or even
communion with the deity as its ultimate aim. Its goal is to know the deity
within our own minds and hearts in the sense of this higher knowledge born of
direct perception, not as a mere mental or emotional connection, but one that
engages our entire being to its immortal core.
Such inner knowing is not a speculative venture or a matter of salvation through
faith. Vedic Dharma teaches specific philosophies or ways of knowledge about the
deity. For these to really work, specific sadhanas or spiritual practices,
largely yogic in nature are required. Vedic Dharma does not rest upon faith at a
mass level, but spiritual practices at an individual level for achieving the
ultimate goal of life described as moksha, or liberation from the cycle of birth
Other religious, spiritual and philosophical systems in the world also have
their concerns with and their means of gaining such inner knowledge of the
deity, often put under the banner of the `religious experience' or the `mystical
experience'. Such experiences are also commonly referred to as `unity
consciousness', though they have considerable varieties.
The pursuit of mystical experiences has been a sidelight or rarity in western
religious traditions, and has sometimes been suppressed by them, particularly
when it challenges the authority of existing institutions. Yet it has been
widely encouraged in India since the most ancient times. Each follower of a
particular spiritual path in India is usually encouraged to take up such a
sadhana to contact the deity within. At the same time, since there are clearly
defined paths to higher realization in the Vedic tradition, there is less danger
of the practitioner falling into the confusion that mystical experiences can
sometimes create for those who stumble upon them, rather than are trained to
Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya (Dr. Frank Morales) is a rare western teacher who
knows both the philosophies and the practices of the Vedic tradition and has
firsthand experience of how they really work. He is a highly qualified teacher,
or Acharya, of Vedic Dharma, the first western Acharya of a western Hindu
temple, not merely an academic looking at Vedic thought with little practical
experience of how it is applied. He has also studied in depth other religious,
spiritual and philosophical traditions. This provides him a much deeper level of
insight into the Vedic tradition than normally found in the vast majority of
teachers today. He takes the discussion out of the mere speculative realm to the
domain of spiritual practice, making his discussion relevant to those involved
in meditation and devotional disciplines as well.
Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya focuses on the issue of pramanas or proofs, the
complex yet central issue of epistemology. If we want to know something, the
first question that arises is: "What are our available means of legitimate
knowledge?" The issue is particularly important relative to spiritual studies.
If something Divine, infinite and eternal does exist, through what special means
can it be known? Obviously, our ordinary mind and senses are designed to know
limited, finished and transient objects, though they can speculate about
something beyond. Is there some other more direct means that we can develop in
order to do this?
In western philosophy the means of knowledge are largely limited to reason and
the senses, and what can be extrapolated from them, though theologies regularly
bring in faith and scripture as well. The Vedic tradition has also accepted
samadhi, or yogic perception born of the meditative mind, as a legitimate means
of knowledge. This not only includes the mystical experience, but allows a
practical and scientific approach to it through yogic disciplines.
The Vedic tradition includes the idea of scripture, or shruti, not as books to
merely believe in, but as indicators and guidelines to a higher realization that
should be employed in the context of sadhana, or spiritual practice. The Vedic
shruti is linked to the idea of shabda, or sacred sound, and mantra, reflecting
the Divine Word and cosmic creative vibration. Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya
examines the issue of scripture and sacred sound quite clearly from a Vedic
Most modern Vedantic studies have focused on the Advaita Vedanta of
Shankaracharya and his modern proponents since the time Swami Vivekananda over a
century ago. Recently, the Dvaitic and Vishishtadvaitic forms of Vedanta have
also received attention, which adds another dimension to these studies. Sri
Dharma Pravartaka Acharya has taken a view that can embrace and honor all these
systems, without losing their specific value and different approaches.
For this examination, he has focused on one primary thinker, the work of Jiva
Goswami, an important figure in the Vaishnava tradition about whom much has been
written in recent years with the development of the Bhakti Yoga movement
throughout the world. Yet he grounds his study of Goswami in a greater analysis
of all six Vedic philosophies as well as their connections with other
philosophical and theological traditions East and West. This affords the book a
relevance beyond India to the global issues of spiritual knowledge.
Goswami's work, like that of many Vaishnava Hindus, in turn is based on the
Bhagavata Purana, which is regarded by many Hindu scholars as the greatest of
the Puranas, as well as an important extension of the thought and insight of the
Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita. Western scholarship has often ignored such
texts, focusing on the prime Sutras and texts of the six systems of Vedic
philosophy, as if there was nothing more to be considered. This has limited
their scope and vision in understanding Vedic philosophy, a situation that the
author seeks to correct.
The book reflects an academic rigor in orientation, approach and expression. It
demands profound thought on the part of its reader. Yet the book also represents
a new type of experiential scholarship from westerners trained in authentic
Eastern traditions. This provides a different view than what is normally found
from academics looking at Eastern traditions from the outside.
Such `inside the tradition' views provide a good alternative and help us frame
the focus of a new debate, which is not simply about different philosophies or
theologies, but about the ultimate truth of our own existence and what our true
nature as conscious beings really resides in. With "The Vedic Way of Knowing
God", and his own personal spiritual example, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya
leads us forward in this new adventure in consciousness.
Dr. David Frawley
(Pandit Vamadeva Shastri)
American Institute of Vedic Studies
Sante Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.
"The Vedic Way of Knowing God", by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya, is available
for purchase here:
Revealing the profound philosophical insights of the world's most ancient
spiritual philosophy, this book not only boldly answers the question "How do I
know God?" from the distinctly Vedic (Hindu) perspective, but also explores the
further issues of what it even means to be able to know God. With greater detail
than any other book ever written to date, it reveals the precise mystical
mechanisms employed for knowing the Divine; the psychological conditions
necessary for such a spiritual endeavor; the transformative cognitive
experiences that occur within the spiritual practitioner upon achieving
God-realization; the integral relationship between transcendent Word,
spiritually revealed literature, and the important role of living teachers; and
the vast implications of the Vedic world-view on contemporary global philosophy
and religion. If you have ever asked the question "How do I know God?", this is
the book that will give you the precise road-map!
"The Vedic Way of Knowing God", by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya
Please forward this message to all sincere spiritual seekers.