|Born||Mul Shankar Tiwari or Mulshankar Karasandas Tiwari /Shuddha Chaitanya as Brahmachari
12 February 1824
|Died||30 October 1883
|Philosophy||Traitvad vedic philosophy based on Samhita of four Vedas and its theory derived on Nighantu and Nirukta with six Darshanas supported by Paniniya Vyakaran.|
|Literary works||Satyarth Prakash (1875)|
|Quotation||"Om vishwani dev savitar duritani parasuv yad bhadram tanna aasuva."|
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Dayanand Saraswati pronunciation (help·info) born (12 February 1824 – 30 October 1883), at Tankara was an important Hindu religious leader of his time. He is well known as the founder of the Arya Samaj, a Hindu reform movement of the Vedic tradition. He was a profound scholar of the Vedic lore and Sanskrit language. He was the first to give the call for Swarajya as "India for Indians" – in 1876, later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak. Denouncing the idolatry and ritualistic worship prevalent in Hinduism at the time, he worked towards reviving Vedic ideologies. Subsequently the philosopher and President of India, S. Radhakrishnan, called him one of the "makers of Modern India," as did Sri Aurobindo.
Those who were influenced by and followed Dayananda included Madam Cama, Pandit Guru Dutt Vidyarthi, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Lala Hardayal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Ram Prasad Bismil, Mahadev Govind Ranade Swami Shraddhanand, Mahatma Hansraj, Lala Lajpat Rai and others. One of his most influential works is the book Satyarth Prakash, which contributed to the Indian independence movement. He was a sanyasi (ascetic) from boyhood, and a scholar, who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas.
Maharshi Dayananda advocated the doctrine of Karma (Karmasiddhanta in Hinduism) and Reincarnation (Punarjanma in Hinduism). He emphasized the Vedic ideals of brahmacharya (celibacy) and devotion to God. The Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj were united from 1878 to 1882, becoming the Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj. Among Maharshi Dayananda's contributions are his promoting of the equal rights for women, such as the right to education and reading of Indian scriptures, and his intuitive commentary on the Vedas from Vedic Sanskrit in Sanskrit as well as Hindi so that the common man might be able to read them. Dayanand was the first to give the word of Swadeshi and Harijan to the dalits and Pariahs(Outcastes) long before Mahatma Gandhi.
Dayanand Saraswati was born on 12 February in 1824 in Tankara, near Morbi in the Kathiawad region (now Rajkot district of Gujarat). His original name was Mool Shankar because he was born in Dhanu Rashi and Mul Nakshatra. His birthday is celebrated in Falguna Krishna Dashami tithi (the 10th day of waning moon in the month of Purnimanta Falguna). If he belonged to Mul Nakshatra and his birth tithi was Purnimanta Falguna Krishna Dashami then his birth date should be Tuesday, 24 February 1824 according to astrological calculations. His father's name was Karshanji Lalji Tiwari and mother's name was Yashodabai. Theirs was a Brahmin family. A tax collector, his father was a rich, prosperous and influential person. He was the head of an eminent Brahmin family of the village. When Mool Shankar was eight years old, Yajnopavita Sanskara, or the investiture with thread of the "twice-born" were performed. His father was a follower of Shiva and taught Dayanand Saraswati the ways to impress the Lord. Dayanand was also told the importance of keeping fasts. On the occasion of Shivratri, Dayanand had to sit awake the whole night in obedience to Lord Shiva. One such night, he saw a mouse eating the offerings to the God and running over the idol's body. After seeing this, he questioned himself, if the God could not defend himself against a little mouse then how could he be the savior of the massive world.
Since he was born under Mul Nakshatra, he was named "Moolshankar", and led a comfortable early life, studying Sanskrit, the Vedas and other religious texts to prepare himself for a future as a Hindu priest.
The deaths of his younger sister and his uncle from cholera caused Dayananda to ponder the meaning of life and death and he started asking questions which worried his parents. He was to be married in his early teens, as was common in nineteenth-century India, but he decided marriage was not for him and in 1846 ran away from home.
Dayananda Saraswati spent nearly twenty-five years, from 1845 to 1869, as a wandering ascetic, searching for religious truth. An ascetic is someone who gives up material goods and lives a life of self-denial, devoted to spiritual matters. He lived in jungles, in retreats in the Himalayan Mountains, and at a number of pilgrimage sites in northern India. During these years Dayananda Sarasvati practiced various forms of yoga. He became a disciple, or follower, of a well-known religious teacher, Virajanand Dandeesha (sometimes spelled Birajananda). Virajanand believed that Hinduism had strayed from its historical roots and that many of its practices had become impure. Dayananda Sarasvati promised Virajanand that he would devote his life to restoring the rightful place of the Vedas in the Hindu faith.
Dayanand's mission was not to start or set up any new religion but to ask humankind for Universal Brotherhood through nobility as spelt out in Vedas. For that mission he founded Arya Samaj enunciating the Ten Universal Principles as a code for Universalism Krinvanto Vishwaryam meaning the whole world be an abode for Nobles (Aryas). His next step was to take up the difficult task of reforming Hinduism with dedication despite multiple repeated attempts on his personal life. He traveled the country challenging religious scholars and priests to discussions and won repeatedly on the strength of his arguments based on his knowledge of Sanskrit and Vedas. He believed that Hinduism had been corrupted by divergence from the founding principles of the Vedas and that Hindus had been misled by the priesthood for the priests' self-aggrandizement. Hindu priests discouraged the laity from reading Vedic scriptures and encouraged rituals, such as bathing in the Ganges River and feeding of priests on anniversaries, which Dayananda pronounced as superstitions or self-serving practices. By exhorting the nation to reject such superstitious notions, his aim was to educate the nation to Go back to the Vedas. He wanted the people who followed Hinduism to go back to its roots and to follow the Vedic life, which he pointed out. He exhorted the Hindu nation to accept social reforms, including the importance of Cows for national prosperity as well as the adoption of Hindi as the national language for national integration. Through his daily life and practice of yoga and asanas, teachings, preaching, sermons and writings, he inspired the Hindu nation to aspire to Swarajya (self governance), nationalism, and spiritualism. He advocated the equal rights and respects to women and advocated the education of a girl child like the males.
Swami Dayanand did logical, scientific and critical analyses of faiths i.e. Christianity & Islam as well as of other Indian faiths like Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. In addition to discouraging idolatry in Hinduism, as may be seen in his book Satyarth Prakash. He was against what he considered to be the corruption of the true and pure faith in his own country. Unlike many other reform movements of his times within Hinduism, the Arya Samaj's appeal was addressed not only to the educated few in India, but to the world as a whole as evidenced in the sixth principle of the Arya Samaj. In fact his teachings professed universalism for the all living beings and not for any particular sect, faith, community or nation.
Arya Samaj allows and encourages converts to Hinduism. Dayananda’s concept of dharma is stated in the "Beliefs and Disbeliefs" section of Satyartha Prakash. He said:
"I accept as Dharma whatever is in full conformity with impartial justice, truthfulness and the like; that which is not opposed to the teachings of God as embodied in the Vedas. Whatever is not free from partiality and is unjust, partaking of untruth and the like, and opposed to the teachings of God as embodied in the Vedas—that I hold as adharma."
"He, who after careful thinking, is ever ready to accept truth and reject falsehood; who counts the happiness of others as he does that of his own self, him I call just."
Dayananda's Vedic message was to emphasize respect and reverence for other human beings, supported by the Vedic notion of the divine nature of the individual–divine because the body was the temple where the human essence (soul or "atma") had the possibility to interface with the creator ("Paramatma"). In the ten principles of the Arya Samaj, he enshrined the idea that "All actions should be performed with the prime objective of benefiting mankind", as opposed to following dogmatic rituals or revering idols and symbols. The first five principles speak of Truth and the other five of a society with nobility, civics, co-living and disciplined life. In his own life, he interpreted moksha to be a lower calling (due to its benefit to one individual) than the calling to emancipate others.
Dayananda's "back to the Vedas" message influenced many thinkers and philosophers the world over.
Dayanand is noted to have been active since he was 14, by this time he would was able to recite religious verses and teach about them. He is highly applauded for taking parts in religious debates. His debates were attended by relatively high amount of public.
One of the remarkable debate occurred on 22 October 1869 in Varanasi, where he had won a debate against 27 scholars and about 12 expert pandits. The debate was attended by over 50,000 people. The main topic was "Do the Vedas uphold deity worship?"
Swami Dayananda's creations, the Arya Samaj, unequivocally condemns practices of different religions and communities that are noted to be prevalent, such as idol worship, animal sacrifice, pilgrimages, priest craft, offerings made in temples, the castes, child marriages, meat eating and discrimination against women on the grounds that all these lacked original Hinduism. The Arya Samaj discourages dogma and symbolism and encourages skepticism in beliefs that run contrary to common sense and logic.
Dayanand Saraswati is noted to have thoroughly studied about religions other than Hinduism, such as Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Sikhism, and others. He has described these religions in the chapters of his book Satyarth Prakash. However his analysis seemed critical to some, in its nature, while to some he presented perfect understanding.
He viewed Islam to be waging wars and immorality. He doubted if Islam has to do anything with the God, as he questioned that why a God would be hating every non-believer, allowing slaughter of animals, non-merciful and command Muhammad to slaughter innocent people, animals.
He further described Muhammad as "imposter", and one who held out "a bait to men and women, in the name of God, to compass his own selfish needs." He regarded Quran as "Not the Word of God. It is a human work. Hence it cannot be believed in."
He described Christianity as "bad religion, and a 'false religion' believed in only by the people " His analysis of bible is based on the comparison with on scientific evidences, morality, and other properties. He included that Bible contains many stories and precepts that are immoral, praising cruelty, deceit and encouraging sin.
He opposed the Perpetual virginity of Mary, he added that such doctrines are simply against the nature of law, and that God will never break his own law because God is Omniscient and infallible.
He regarded Jesus as one "great thing in a country of uneducated savages", he wrote;-
All Christian missionaries say that Jesus was a very calm and peace loving person. But in reality he was a hot-tempered persons destitute of knowledge and who behaved like a wild savage. This shows that Jesus was neither the son of God, nor had he any miraculous powers. He did not possess the power to forgive sins. The righteous people do not stand in need of any mediator like Jesus. Jesus came to spread discord which is going on everywhere in the world. Therefore, it is evident that the hoax of Christ’s being the Son of God, the knower of the past and the future, the forgiver of sin, has been set up falsely by his disciples. In reality, he was a very ordinary ignorant man, neither learned nor a yogi.
He asserted that Jesus wasn't an enlightened man either. Dayanand further states that if Jesus was a son of God, God would have saved him at the time of his death, and he wouldn't had suffered from mental severe physical pain at last moments.
He noted that Bible writes that women held the feet of Jesus and worshiped him, he questions:-
Was it the same body which had been buried? Now that body had been buried for three days, we should like to know why did it not decompose?
He regarded Guru Nanak as "rogue", who was quiet ignorant about Vedas, Sanskrit, Shashtra, and otherwise Nanak wouldn't be mistaking with words. A Sikh wrote a response, to which Dayanand Saraswati answered that his opinion had undergone a change when he visited Punjab, and the remarks about Sikhism would be deleted in the subsequent edition of his work. However, these remarks were never removed after the untimely death of Dayanand Saraswati, and later editions of Satyarth Prakash were even more critical of Sikhism.
He further pointed that followers of Sikhism are to be blamed for making up stories that Nanak possessed miraculous powers, met Gods. He slammed Guru Gobind Singh, and other Gurus to have been "invented fictitious stories", although he also recognized Gobind Singh to be "indeed a very brave man."
He regarded Jainism as "the most dreadful religion", he writes that Jains were intolerant and hostile towards the non-Jains.
Dayanand described Buddhism as "anti-vedic" and "atheistic." He noted that the type of "salvation" Buddhism prescribes to, is attainable even to dogs and donkeys. He further criticized the Cosmogony of Buddhism, that earth was not created.
Dayananda was subjected to many unsuccessful attempts on his life.
He was poisoned on few occasions, but due to his regular practice of Hatha Yoga he would succeed to throw out the poison. One story tells that he was once attacked by some proponents of different religion, and tried to drown him to river. Although Dayanand would drag these attackers into river instead and release when they would be near to fully drowned.
In 1883 Dayananda was invited by the Maharaja of Jodhpur to stay at his palace. The Maharaja was eager to become his disciple and learn his teachings. One day Dayananda went to the Maharaja's rest room and saw him with a dance-girl named Nanhi Jaan. Dayananda boldly asked the Maharaja to forsake the girl and all unethical acts and follow dharma like a true Aryan. Dayananda's suggestion offended the dance-girl and she decided to take revenge. She bribed Dayananda's cook and asked him to poison Dayanand. On 29 September 1883 while he still was the royal guest of Jaswant Singh II, the cook brought him a glass of milk containing powdered poison at bedtime. Dayananda drank the milk and went to sleep only to wake up later with a burning sensation. He immediately realized that he had been poisoned and attempted to purge his digestive system of the poisonous substance, but it was too late. The poison had already entered his bloodstream. Dayananda was bedridden and suffered excruciating pain. Maharaja quickly arranged doctor's services for him. However, by the time doctors arrived, his condition got worse and had bleeding sores. On seeing Dayananda's suffering the cook overcame with unbearable guilt and remorse. He confessed his crime to Dayananda. On his deathbed, Dayananda forgave him and gave him a bag of money and told him to flee the kingdom lest he be found out and executed by the Maharaja's men. Later Maharaja arranged for Swamiji to be sent to Mount Abu upon advice of Residency, however, after staying some time in Abu, Swamji was sent to Ajmer for better medical care on 26 October 1883. There was no improvement in his health and he died on the morning of 30 October 1883 at 6:00 am, chanting mantras. The day coincided with Hindu festival of Diwali.
Shyamji Krishna Varma, who founded India House in London and guided other revolutionaries was influenced by him. Others who were influenced by him included Subhas Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai, Madam Cama, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Lala Hardayal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Ram Prasad Bismil, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Swami Shraddhanand, S. Satyamurti, Pandit Lekh Ram, Ram Prasad Bismil, Jonaicha Khurd, Mahatma Hansraj, Rajiv Dixit and others.
He had notable influence on Bhagat Singh. Singh, after finishing his primary schools, he had joined the Dayanand Anglo Vedic Middle school, of Mohan Lal road, in Lahore. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, on Shivratri day, on 24 February 1964, said about him:-
Swami Dayananda ranked highest among the makers of modern India. He had worked tirelessly for the political, religious and cultural emancipation of the country. He was guided by reason, taking Hinduism back to the Vedic foundations. He had tried to reform society with a clean sweep, which was again need today. Some of the reforms introduced in the Indian Constitution had been inspired by his teachings.
Industrialist Nanji Kalidas Mehta built the Maharshi Dayanand Science College and donated it to the Education Society of Porbandar and named it after Swami Dayanand Saraswati, to keep people alive of memory of great saint of India.
It has been noted, that he had branches across the country within his period. The places Dayanand had visited in his life were remarked to have been culturally changed. Jodhpur had adopted Hindi as main language, and later the present day Rajasthan adopted the as same. Other admirers included Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Bipin Chandra Pal, Vallabhbhai Patel, Syama Prasad Mookerjee.
American Spiritualist Andrew Jackson Davis described Dayanand's influence on him, he called Dayanand a "Son of God", and applauded him for restoring the status of the Nation. Sten Konow, a Swedish scholar noted that Dayanand Saraswati revived the historicity of India, and discovered the very less known about the Indian society.
Dayananda Saraswati wrote more than 60 works in all, including a 16 volume explanation of the six Vedangas, an incomplete commentary on the Ashtadhyayi (Panini's grammar), several small tracts on ethics and morality, Vedic rituals and sacraments and on analysis of rival doctrines (such as Advaita Vedanta, Islam and Christianity). Some of his major works are Satyarth Prakash, Sanskarvidhi, RigvedadiBhashyaBhumika, Rigved Bhashyam (up to 7/61/2)and Yajurved Bhashyam. The Paropakarini Sabha located in the Indian city of Ajmer was founded by the Swami himself to publish and preach his works and Vedic texts.
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