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Dayanand Saraswati - Founder of Arya Samaj

Feb 15, 2023

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Context

Probable Question

About Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883)

Biography

Believes

Initiatives

Works

Contribution to Society 

Recognition

About Arya Samaj

Frequently Asked Question:

Dayanand Saraswati - Founder of Arya Samaj

Context

Recently the Indian Prime Minister paid tribute to Dayanand Saraswati on the 200th birthday of the social reformer, hailing his contributions to the fight against social discrimination and untouchability.

Probable Question

What prompted Dayanand Saraswati to lead a reform movement within Hinduism? (150 words, 10 marks

About Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883)

Biography 

  • Dayanand Saraswati was born on 12th February 1824 in Tankara, Gujarat.
  • He left home at the age of 19 to search for true knowledge. 
  • He received his education from Guru Virjanand Dandi Ji at Mathura. 
  • After deeply understanding the contemporary problems of the country he started putting his fearless words on all of them. 
  • Dayanand Saraswati was one of the most influential figures of 19th-century India.
  • Dayanand Saraswati died under suspicious circumstances in 1883, after his public criticism of the Maharaja of Jodhpur.
  • After the demise of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Ji in 1883, DAV College Lahore was established to commemorate his memories.

Believes

  • Dayanand Saraswati was a believer in the supreme authority of the Vedas.
  • Among his various beliefs included, the rejection of idolatry and the overly ritualistic traditions of Hinduism, support for women’s education, denunciation of child marriage, and opposition to untouchability.
  • He believed that the brahmans had corrupted the Sanatan Dharma to maintain and grow their own status and influence in society.  

Initiatives

  • A major part of his mission was to address the fragmented nature of Hindu society.
  • Dayanand Saraswati established the Arya Samaj in 1875, leading a reform movement within orthodox Hinduism. 
  • He preached the supremacy of the Vedas and harkened to a “better time” when true Sanatan Dharma was prevalent.
  • Even before the establishment of the Arya Samaj, Dayanand Saraswati had founded multiple Vedic schools modeled on missionary schools. These Gurukuls provided an Indian alternative, based on the principles of the Vedas.
  • He is credited to have first used the term swaraj (self-rule) in 1875, which would later be picked up by the likes of Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi.
  • He was among the first to advocate ‘conversion’ into the Hindu fold, a very popular movement by the early 20th century. This provided lower caste converts with a higher social status and self-esteem under the more egalitarian Arya Samaji philosophy.

Works

  • His magnum opus, Satyarth Prakash (1875), emphasized the “return to Vedic principles” that Dayanand Saraswati believed “had been lost” over time. 
  • The book uses the language of religious revivalism, hearkening back to a ‘better’ ancient past.

Also read: UPSC Essentials: Women Freedom Fighters of India

Contribution to Society 

  • Swamiji removed many evils that were falsely attributed to religion, with the light of religion itself.
  • Dayanand Saraswati preached respect and reverence for other human beings, supported by the Vedic notion of the divine nature of the individual.
  • His views on women were also against the grain of orthodox Hindu thinking at the time. 
  • He campaigned for the education of women as well as against ‘regressive practices’ such as child marriage.

Recognition

  • Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, India’s second President, and an influential educationist called Dayanand Saraswati “a maker of modern India”.
  • His most popular phrase was “go back to the Vedas”, his influence on modern India is unquestionable.

About Arya Samaj

  • Foundation: Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Ji founded the Arya Samaj Organization in 1875 in Bombay for the continuous expansion of his work. 
  • Objective: Arya Samaj organizes all the academic, cultural, intellectual, and physical development and activities of service to mankind.
  • Tiers: Arya Samaj is a 3-tier organization. The local Arya Samaj is at the base. Above this is the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of the province and at the top is Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. 
  • Development: Arya Samaj began to be established in different cities across the country. He made rules and regulations for this. 
  • Current status: There are approximately 10000 Arya Samaj Temples in total in more than 32 countries of the world. Approximately 2500 Schools, Colleges, and Universities are being operated by Arya Samaj including DAVs.

News Source: The Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/dayanand-saraswati-8442625/

Frequently Asked Question:

How Did Swami Dayananda Saraswati contribute to our Society?

Swamiji removed many evils that were falsely attributed to religion, with the light of religion itself. Dayanand Saraswati preached respect and reverence for other human beings, supported by the Vedic notion of the divine nature of the individual. His views on women were also against the grain of orthodox Hindu thinking at the time. He campaigned for the education of women as well as against ‘regressive practices’ such as child marriage.

Who was the father of Swami Dayananda Saraswati?

Swami Dayananda Saraswati was the son of Karshanji Lalji Tiwari.

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