Tribute to one of the greatest social reformers of all time – Swami, who spent his whole life reforming and educating Hinduism.
Swami Dayananda Saraswati was born in Tankara village, near Morbi, Gujarat Rajkot, on 12 February 1824. Initially, he was named Mool Shankar Tiwari. His father was Karshanji Lalji Kapadi, and his mother was Yashodabai.
Swami Dayanandananda Saraswati was a philosopher, social activist and founder of the Vedic dharma, “Arya Samaj”.
Swami Dayanandananda condemned social evils such as the slaughtering of animals, caste system, child marriage and oppression of women. The renowned Dayananda also opposed the worship of idols and pilgrimage. He strongly believed that Hinduism has deviated from its core principles and values. He devoted his entire life to restoring the Vedic philosophies.
Establishment of Arya Samaj.
The Arya Samaj was established in Bombay by Dayananda Saraswati on 7 April 1875. It was a Hindu reform movement, which meant “society of the nobles”. The Samaj intended to distance the Hindu faith from fiction. The motto of Samaj is ‘Krinvan to Vishvam Aryam,’ which carries forward the meaning of ‘Make this world noble’.
Arya Samaj was a monotheistic Indian reform movement that promotes values and practises based upon the belief of the unfailing Vedas. The Arya Samaj criticized rituals of various religions and cultures, including the devotion of gods, the sacrifices of animals, pilgrimage sites, the art of priests, temple contributions, caste system, child marriage, consumption of meat and oppression of women. He argued that rational thinking and understanding of the Vedas were opposed to all these practices.
The Samaj began widow remarriage assistance in the 1880s. The importance of education of the girl child was also stressed by Swami Dayananda. He said that a learned man wants to educate his wife to support society as a whole.
Shuddhi Movement Reform.
Initiated by Maharishi Dayananda, the shuddhi movement brought back people who had willingly, or accidentally, transformed into other religious sects such as Islam or Christianity from Hinduism.
Many who wanted to return to Hinduism would simply perform a Shuddhi or purification. The Arya Samaj was doing excellent work by entering the community and meeting its people. Thereby bringing the depressed classes back to the folds of Hinduism.
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History of Dayananda Saraswati.
In his childhood, he learned Sanskrit and the Vedas. After the death of his sister and uncle, he began thinking about the purpose of life. At his young age, he decided to live an ascetic life and ran away from home. He spent 25 years as an ascetic, roaming across the Himalayas and wandering all around Northern India. Where he found the truth about life and in this spiritual search he gave up all materialistic things.
He preached not to give priests donations. He questioned well-known intellectuals and had debates with them through the Vedas. He rejected rituals and myths completely. He praised spiritualism and nationalism. He also urged cows to be important for the nation’s prosperity and supported the adoption of National integration.
Dayananda Saraswati also set up Vedic schools for girls and boys of all social classes. The students in those schools were taught the Vedas and other ancient doctrines and given free books, clothes, housing, food. He also tried to support widows and other humanitarian work, such as to aid victims of natural or human disasters.
Shyamji Krishna Varma, MG Ranade, VD Savarkar, Lala Hardyal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Swami Vivekananda, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bipin Chandra Pal, Bhagat Singh and many others were amongst those who considered Swami Dayananda Saraswati as their inspiration. According to S. Radhakrishnan, Dayananda has strongly affected certain reforms and included them in the Indian Constitution.
The unheard legacy of Swami Dayananda.
The Arya Samaj is currently very active not only in India but also everywhere in the world. Some countries in which Samaj has its branches are the United States, Canada, Trinidad, Mexico, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Mauritius, Singapore, Burma, Thailand, Hong Kong and Australia.
Although the Indian Independence Movement was never directed by Arya Samaj and Maharishi Dayanandanand. Still, Dayananda Sarswati has influenced several personalities like Lala Lajpat Rai, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Mrs Cama, Ram Prasad Bismil, Govind Ranade, Madan Lal Dhingra and Subhash Chandra Bose.
In his residency in the palace of Maharaja of Jodhpur, Jaswant Singh II, Dayananda had been poisoned and resulted in suffering and injury in Ajmer.
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