Dayanand Saraswati’s life is an inspiration for Modi government : Shah

Context: “The Prime Minister is working for national awakening, a concept originally based on the philosophy and teachings of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati,” said Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the 148th Foundation Day celebrations of Arya Samaj.

Basic information about Dayanand Saraswati

  • Born in 1824 at Tankara, Gujarat. 
  • Associated Movement: Arya Samaj, Shuddhi Movement, Back to the Vedas
  • Relevant Publications: Satyarth Prakash (1875 & 1884); Sanskarvidhi (1877 & 1884); Yajurved Bhashyam (1878 to 1889)

Early Life and Education

As a Brahmin, he was taught religious rituals, piety and purity, importance of fasting from a very early age. 

Spiritual Indoctrination 

After his sister’s death, he began asking questions about life, death and the afterlife to his parents, to which they had no answers. 

On being asked to get married following societal traditions, Mool Shankar ran away from home. He wandered all over the country for the next 20 years. 

At last he arrived at Mathura where he met Swami Virajananda. Mool Shankar became his disciple and Swami Virajananda directed him to learn directly from the Vedas. He found all his questions regarding life, death and afterlife answered during his study of Vedas. 

His belief system

  • He was a believer in Hinduism just as the Vedas have outlined, devoid of any corruption and embellishments. 
  • Preserving the purity of the faith was of utmost important to him. 
  • He advocated the concepts of Dharma which he believed to be free from any partiality and as an embodiment of truthfulness. 
  • To him Adharma was anything that did not hold true, was not just or fair and was opposed to the teachings of the Vedas. 
  • He believed in reverence of human life irrespective of anything and condoned the practice of Ahimsa or non-violence. He advised people to direct their energy towards betterment of mankind as a whole and not waste away in unnecessary rituals. 
  • He revoked the practice of idol worship and considered them a contamination introduced by the priests. 
  • He was against other social evils like superstitions and caste segregation. 
  • He advocated the concept of Swarajya, meaning a country free of foreign influence, resplendent in the glory of fair and just participants.

Arya Samaj

  • When: On 7 April 1875 at Bombay. 
  • What: A Hindu reforms movement, meaning “society of the nobles”. 
  • Objective: To move the Hindu religion away from fictitious beliefs. 
  • Moto of Samaj: ‘Krinvan to Vishvam Aryam” meaning “Make this world noble”. 

Views of Arya Samaj:

  • God is the efficient cause of all true knowledge.
  • God is existent, intelligent, blissful, formless, omniscient, just, merciful, unborn, endless, unchangeable, beginning-less, unequalled, the support of all, the master of all, omnipresent, immanent, un-aging, immortal, fearless, eternal and holy, and the maker of all. He alone is worthy of being worshiped.
  • The Vedas are the scriptures of all true knowledge. 
  • One should always accept truth and renounce untruth.
  • Every action should be based on Dharma.
  • Promote the physical, spiritual and social good of everyone.
  • Conduct should be guided by love, righteousness and justice.
  • We should dispel Avidya (ignorance) and promote Vidya (knowledge).
  • Condemn ritualistic practices like idol worship, pilgrimage and bathing in holy rivers, animal sacrifice, offering in temples, sponsoring priesthood etc.

Important contributions of Samaj:

  • Working to promote widow remarriage and women education
  • Launched programs to support widow remarriage in the 1880s. 
  • Maharishi Dayanand also underlined the importance of educating the girl child and opposed child marriage.

Shuddhi Movement

  • By: Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati
  • Meaning: Purification
  • Objective: to bring back the individuals to Hinduism who were either voluntarily or involuntarily converted to other religions like Islam or Christianity. 

Educational Reforms

  • Maharishi Dayanand set up a number of Gurukuls to teach his followers the knowledge of the Vedas and for them to spread the knowledge further. 
  • His disciples established the Dayanand Anglo Vedic College Trust and Management Society, after his death in 1883. 
  • The first DAV High School was established at Lahore on June 1, 1886 with Lala Hans Raj as its headmaster.

Prelims Practice MCQ:

Q. With reference to the life of Dayanand Saraswati, consider the following statements:

1. He established the Dayanand Anglo Vedic College across India.

2. He founded Arya Samaj to move Hindu religion away from fictitious beliefs.

3. Shuddhi movement was started by him to promote cow protection.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 2 and 3 only

Answer: (b)

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