Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s life introduction, birth, education, death
Swami Dayanand Saraswati
Date of Birth: February 12, 1824
Place of Birth: Tankara, Gujarat
Parents: Karshanji Lalji Tiwari (Father) and Yashodabai (Mother)
Movements: Arya Samaj, Shuddhi Movement, Return to Vedas
Religious Thought: Hinduism
Writing and Publishing: Satyarth Prakash (1875 and 1884); sacramental law (1877 and 1884); Yajurveda Bhashyam (1878 to 1889)
Died: October 30, 1883
Place of Death: Ajmer, Rajasthan India
Swami Dayanand Saraswati was more than just a religious leader of India who left an indelible mark on Indian society. He founded the Arya Samaj which brought a positive change in the spiritual perception of Indians.
He raised his voice against the idolatry and rituals practiced in Hinduism as futile, and man-made and ordered that women are not allowed to read the Vedas.
His idea of denouncing the caste system he had inherited by virtue of his birth was nothing short of radical. He completely overhauled the education system by introducing Anglo-Vedic schools to offer Indian students an updated curriculum to teach both contemporary English education as well as the knowledge of the Vedas.
Although he never actually got directly involved in politics, his political comments during India’s freedom struggle were a source of inspiration for many political leaders. He was given the title of Maharishi and is regarded as one of the makers of modern India. He gave the slogan that India is for Indians.
Early life and education
Dayanand Saraswati was born on February 12, 1824, in Tankara, Gujarat, his childhood name was Mul Shankar. His father’s name was Darshanji Lalji Tiwari and Yamata’s name was Shodabai.
His affluent and influential Brahmin family was an ardent follower of Lord Shiva. The family being deeply religious, Mool Shankar was taught the importance of religious rituals, piety, and worship, fasting from a very young age.
Mool Shankar’s sacrificial ceremony or “Dwija” consecration was performed when he was 8 years old and which ushered him into the world of Brahmanism. He used to follow these rituals very sincerely. On the occasion of Shivratri, Mool Shankar used to stay awake the whole night worshiping Lord Shiva. On one such night, he saw a mouse eating the food offered to the Lord and running over the body of the idol. After seeing this, he questioned himself, if God cannot protect himself from a small mouse then how can he be the protector of this vast world?
Spiritual teachings of Dayanand Saraswati
Mool Shankar was drawn toward the spiritual realm after the death of his sister when he was 14 years old. He started asking his parents questions about life, death, and the afterlife, to which they had no answers.
Moolshankar ran away from home when asked to marry by social customs. He spent the next 20 years visiting temples, pilgrimage centers, and holy religious places across the country. He met yogis living in the mountains or forests and asked them about their dilemmas, but no one could give him the right answer.
Meeting Swami Virjanand
Wandering around to satisfy his religious curiosities, he finally reached Mathura where he met Swami Virajananda. Mool Shankar became his disciple and Swami Virjanand instructed him to learn directly from the Vedas. He found answers to all his questions about life, death, and the afterlife during his studies. Swami Virjanand entrusted Mool Shankar with the task of spreading Vedic knowledge throughout the society and rechristened him as Rishi Dayanand.
Spiritual thoughts of Dayanand Saraswati
Maharishi Dayanand believed in Hinduism, as outlined by the Vedas, devoid of any corruption and embellishment. It was extremely important for him to maintain the purity of the faith. He strongly advocated the concepts of Dharma, which he believed to be free from any bias and the embodiment of truth.
For Dayanand, Adharma was all that was not true, not just or fair, and opposed to the teachings of the Vedas. He believed in respect for human life irrespective of anything and condemned the practice of ahimsa or non-violence. He advised his countrymen to channel their energy for the betterment of mankind as a whole and not waste it on unnecessary rituals.
Opposition to Hindu rituals and caste system
He called the practice of idol worship futile and regarded them as a business started by the Brahmins for their own benefit. He was against superstition and other social evils like the caste system. He advocated the concept of Swarajya, a country free from foreign influence, resplendent in the glory of fair and just participants.
Dayanand Saraswati and Arya Samaj
On April 7, 1875, Dayanand Saraswati established the Arya Samaj in Bombay. It was a Hindu reform movement, meaning “society of nobles”. The aim of the Arya Samaj was to distance Hinduism from imaginary beliefs. ‘Krinvan Se Vishvam Aryam’ was the motto of the Samaj, which means, “Make this world great.” The ten principles of Arya Samaj are as follows:
1. God is the efficient cause of all true knowledge and all that is known through knowledge.
2. God is existent, intelligent, and blissful. He is formless, omniscient, just, merciful, unborn, infinite, immutable, beginningless, unequaled, the basis of all, the master of all, omnipresent, immanent, eternal, immortal, fearless, eternal, and holy. Everyone’s creator is worthy of worship.
3. The Vedas are the scriptures of all true knowledge. It is the ultimate duty of all Aryans to read, teach and recite them and to hear them read.
4. One should always be ready to accept the truth and give up the untruth.
5. All actions should be done according to dharma i.e. considering right and wrong.
6. The main objective of Arya Samaj is to do the welfare of the world, that is, to do the physical, spiritual, and social welfare of all.
7. Our conduct towards all should be guided by love, righteousness, and justice.
8. We should remove avidya (ignorance) and promote vidya (knowledge).
9. One should not be satisfied with merely promoting one’s own goodness; On the contrary, one should seek one’s own good in promoting the good of all.
10. To promote the welfare of all the self should be considered restricted to following the rules of society, while everyone should be free to follow the rules of personal welfare.
These 10 founding principles of Arya Samaj were the pillars on which Maharishi Dayanand sought to reform India and asked the people to return to the Vedas and its pure spiritual teaching.
The Arya Samaj instructs its members to condemn ritual practices such as idol worship, pilgrimage, bathing in holy rivers, animal sacrifice, making offerings in temples, sponsoring priesthood, etc. The Arya Samaj encouraged followers to question existing beliefs and rituals rather than blindly follow them.
The Arya Samaj not only sought a spiritual restructuring of the Indian psyche, but it also worked towards the elimination of various social issues. Widow remarriage and women’s education were prominent among them. The society began programs to support widow remarriage in the 1880s. Maharishi Dayanand also underlined the importance of educating the girl child and opposed child marriage. He declared that an educated man needed an educated wife for the overall benefit of society.
Purification(Suddhi Andolan) movement
The Shuddhi movement was started by Maharishi Dayanand to bring back people to Hinduism who had either voluntarily or involuntarily converted to other religions like Islam or Christianity. Shuddhi or purification was granted to those who tried to return to Hinduism and the Arya Samaj did an excellent job of penetrating the various strata of society, bringing the downtrodden classes back to Hinduism.
Maharishi Dayanand had full faith that lack of knowledge is the main reason behind adulteration in the Hindu religion. He established several Gurukulas to teach his followers the knowledge of the Vedas and for them to spread the knowledge further. Inspired by his beliefs, teachings, and thoughts, his disciples established the Dayanand Anglo Vedic College Trust and Management Society after his death in 1883. The first DAV High School was established on June 1, 1886, in Lahore with Lala Hans Raj as the headmaster.
Death of Dayanand Saraswati
Due to his revolutionary thinking and approach toward social issues and beliefs, Dayanand Saraswati created many enemies around him. In 1883, on the occasion of Diwali, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II of Jodhpur invited Maharishi Dayanand to his palace and sought the guru’s blessings. Dayanand angered the court dancer when he advised the king to abandon her and lead a life of dharma. He conspired with the cook who mixed pieces of glass in Maharishi’s milk. The Maharishi suffered excruciating pain but forgave the cook involved before dying in Ajmer on October 30, 1883, the day of Diwali.
Arya Samaj and its legacy
Today Arya Samaj is very active not only in India but also in other parts of the world. The United States, Canada, Trinidad, Mexico, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Mauritius, Pakistan, Burma, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia are some of the countries where the society exists. its branches.
Although Maharishi Dayanand and the Arya Samaj were never directly involved in the Indian freedom struggle, his life and his teachings influenced many important personalities such as Lala Lajpat Rai, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Madam Cama, Ram Prasad Bismil, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Madan Had a great impact. Lal Dhingra, and Subhash Chandra Bose. Shaheed Bhagat Singh was educated at DAV school in Lahore.
He was a universally respected figure and American spiritualist Andrew Jackson Davis called Maharishi Dayanand “the son of God”, acknowledging that he had a profound influence on his spiritual beliefs and commending him for restoring the state of the nation .