Swami Dayanand Saraswati


    In Context

    • Recently, Prime Minister paid tribute to Dayanand Saraswati on his 200th birth Anniversary.

    About Dayanand Saraswati

    • Born as Mul Shankar Tiwari, Swami Dayananda was a social reformer, hailing his contributions towards the fight against social discrimination and untouchability.
    • Birth: He was born on February 12, 1824, at Tankara located in Gujarat.
    • Education: He learnt Sanskrit and the Vedas in his childhood.
    • He stressed the importance of education for all children and preached respect and equal rights for women.
    • He spent 25 years as a wandering ascetic and travelled to the Himalayas, he also started practising Yoga during this time. 
    • He also preached against the giving of donations to priests. He also challenged established scholars and won debates against them through the strength of the Vedas. 
    • He was staunchly against rituals and superstitions.
    • He also exhorted the importance of cows for the prosperity of the nation and encouraged the adoption of Hindi for national integration.
    • Literary Works: He wrote many books. His major contribution is Satyartha Prakash. Other books include Sanskarvidhi, Rigved Bhashyam, etc.
    • Death: He was poisoned during his stay at the palace of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, Jaswant Singh II. He succumbed to the injury suffered at Ajmer, where he was sent for better treatment on 26th October 1883. He was 59.

    Arya Samaj

    • He founded Arya Samaj in 1875 to counter social inequities. 
      • Arya Samaj is said to have played a crucial role in social awakening through its emphasis on social reforms and education.
    • Arya Samaj led a prolonged movement against untouchability and advocated the dilution of caste distinctions.
    • He issued the slogan, “Back to the Vedas.”
    • He was unconcerned with the Puranas. Swami learned Vedanta from a blind instructor named Swami Virajananda in Mathura. His viewpoints were similar to Ram Mohan Roy’s.
    • The Arya Samaj’s social values include, among other things, God’s fatherhood and Man’s fraternity, gender equality, total justice, and fair play between man and man and country and nation.
    • Intercaste marriages were also promoted, as were widow remarriages.
    • Disbelief in polytheism and image worship, hostility to caste-based limitations, child marriage, opposition to the ban of sea journeys, and advocacy for female education and widow remarriage were all key programs shared by Brahmo Samaj and Arya Samaj members.

    His Reform Movement

    • He stressed on One God and rejected idol worship. He also advocated against the extolled position of priests in Hinduism.
    • He opposed the multiplicity of castes.
      • He also established Vedic schools for the education of girls and boys of all castes. The students of these schools were given free books, clothing, lodging and food, and were taught the Vedas and other ancient scriptures.
    • Dayanand anglovedic trust and Management society in Lahore in 1886 , was an attempt to unite the samaj and its activities.
    • They also worked for the protection of widows and other social work like providing relief to victims of natural or manmade calamities.
    • People he inspired include Shyamji Krishna Varma, MG Ranade, VD Savarkar, Lala Hardyal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Bhagat Singh and many others. He was also admired by Swami Vivekananda, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bipin Chandra Pal, Vallabhbhai Patel, Romain Rolland, etc.
    • According to S Radhakrishnan, some reforms included in the Indian Constitution were influenced by Dayananda.