A prophecy carries many definitions, inspired utterances of a prophet, the inspired declaration of the divine will and purpose, a prediction of something to come.
It is often, but not always, based upon experience or knowledge. There is no universal agreement about the exact difference between the two terms, a prediction or a forecast: different authors and disciplines ascribe different connotations.
In most religious and cultural traditions there are records of prophecies by persons with vision into the future. In Hinduism, we have many recorded predictions of events that have later unfolded, or yet to take place. Ancient Hindu sages have left us predictions of events. Most of these predictions are in Sanskrit, the Hindu ancient language.
These ancient Sanskrit predictions have come down to us in the form of “mantras”, (word formula) which are now being translated by western scholars. One of the more well-known western writers and student of Hinduism is Stephen Knapp.
American born Stephen Knapp began research and study of Eastern Cultures and Philosophy in 1971, after more than five years under the spiritual tutelage, guidance of Swami Prabhupada. In 1976 he was given the spiritual name Sri Nandanadana Dasa, Sri (beautiful), Nanda (Maharaja Nanda), Nandana (Son of) and Dasa (Servant of), so it means The Servant of the beautiful son of Maharaja Nanda, ‘father of Krishna.’
In 1986, he founded the World Relief Network, a publishing company for the dissemination of accurate information on Vedic philosophy, Vedic culture, Vaishnavism and the process of Bhakti-yoga. In May 2022 at the ‘Festival of Bharat’ he proclaimed, “I was a Hindu in my previous life.”
In his book titled, “The Vedic Prophecies,” New Look into the Future, The Eastern Answers to the Mysteries of Life, Knapp not only deals with the Vedic predictions, but also writes about the predictions of Nostradamus, the Mayan prophecies and the Biblical Apocalypse.
Nothing gives a religious or spiritual text more credit, recognition, or trust than when its prophecies become reality. There are many prophecies in the Vedic literature, many of which have already happened, and many more are presently unfolding before our eyes. We just need the knowledge to recognise them as they happen around us.
One of the earliest prophecies features Buddha. Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini [modern day Nepal]. Siddhartha is a Sanskrit name meaning ‘One who has accomplished a goal’ and Gautama is the family name.
He was raised in great luxury, one night wandering the palace, his mind reflected an old age disease and death that would overtake the bodies of the merrymaking of the palace’s musicians and dancing girls turning their bodies into dust, he was no longer contented with these luxuries and left changing into the clothes of a beggar, he thus began his quest for enlightenment.
The Vedic literature not only describes histories of events on this planet, but also describes a variety of histories and future events of other planets. Therefore, the Vedic texts are universal in nature, dealing with important spiritual events that may happen in any part of the universe. Thus, they are also non-sectarian. They belong to no single culture; although on this planet they are based primarily in the area of India.
The Vedic literature also provides descriptions of the various incarnations or avatars of God that have appeared on earth and in other areas of the universe, along with their purpose and pastimes. It also describes avatars or incarnations that will appear in the future. It is said that we can verify an avatar of God according to the descriptions provided in the Vedic literature.
There will be times, especially in this age of Kali, when many people may be bold or foolish enough to declare that they are an incarnation of the Supreme. Unfortunately, there will also be those ignorant enough to accept such impostors. If they had knowledge of the Vedic descriptions, however, they could tell which incarnations are scheduled to appear according to the timetable given in the Vedic texts with their names and characteristics.
The Hindu religion does not claim any One Prophet, it does not worship any One God, it does not follow any One act of religious rites or performances, in fact, it does not satisfy the traditional features of religion or creed.
There are four Purusharthas (object of human pursuit), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire), Dharma (righteousness) and Moksha (liberation). These are said to be the four main goals of all Mankind.