Born: 12, February, 1824
Died: 31, October, 1883
Saraswati was a reformer and believed in pragmatism. He preached against
many rituals of the Hindu religion such as idol-worship, caste by birth,
animal sacrifices and restrictions of women from reading Vedas. He was
not only a great scholar and philosopher but also a social reformer and
a political thinker. Dayanand Saraswati was responsible for the revival
of the Indian educational system by bringing together pupil from
different strata of the society under one umbrella, that is, classroom.
Dayanand Saraswati was born on 12, February, 1824 in Tankara, Gujarat.
His original name was Mool Shankar. His father Karsanji was a tax
collector and 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 Shivaratri, 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.
When Dayanand was fourteen years old, his sister died. He was so
shocked by the sudden demise of his sister that he began to look upon
death as a challenge. He also ran away from home to know the secret of
death. In search of the answer, Dayanand wandered all over the country
for around twenty years. During his course, Dayanand visited temples and
sacred places of religious devotion. He met Yogis living in the
mountains and forests but nobody had the perfect answer Dayanand was
Lastly, Dayanand Saraswati went to Mathura where he found Swami
Vrijananda and became his disciple. Vrijananda asked Dayanand to throw
away all his books and learn directly from the Vedas. After completing
his Vedic-education, Dayanand realized that his purpose of learning the
"secret of death" has been satisfied. On the day Dayanand was
to leave from the ashram, Swami Vrijananda called him and asked to
spread the knowledge of Vedas in the society. The name Rishi Dayanand
was also given by his guru Swami Vrijananda.
On 7 April, 1875 Dayanand Saraswati formed the Arya Samaj at Bombay. It
was a Hindu reforms movement, meaning "society of the nobles".
The purpose of the samaj was to move the Hindu religion away from the
fictitious beliefs. 'Krinvanto Vishvam Aryam" was the motto of the
samaj, which means, "Make this world noble". Today, the Arya
Samaj organization is very active not only in India but also in various
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 Samaj has its branches.
10 principles of Arya Samaj