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कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम्

A write-up on Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883)

An article "Swami Dayanand
Saraswati(12. 02.1824-30. 10.1883) by B.D.UKHUL was
published in the journal "BRAHMARPAN" dated
NOVEMBER,2007 (Vol.1,No.3) and the same is being
appended below to mark the birthday of the great soul.

Swami Dayanand Saraswati was one of the great gifts of
Providence to India. He was the greatest reformer of
the nineteenth century as well as the saviour of the
Hindu India. He was born and brought up in his home in
Kathiawar, Gujarat. His father was a devout Shaivite
and he was eager to groom his son to tread his
footsteps and imperatively demanded that besides other
rituals, he should begin practising Parthiva Puja, the
worship of the clay-linga- representing Shiva. At the
age of 14, the child observed fast which resulted in
his urge to discover the real Shiva - a turning point
in his life. Like Gautam Buddha on seeing deaths of
his sister and uncle, he became curious to find as to
how men could avoid death and obtain salvation. One
evening, in the year1846 A.D., he secretly left his
home and wandered from place to place and temple to
temple throughout Northern India, studying the Hindu
scriptures with a voracious appetite. He devoted 20
years to serious study and meditation and his roaming
life brought him in contact with men from all walks of
life from priests to princes. He was pained to see the
prevailing situation and found Hindu society divided
into numerous castes and fractions. He observed Hindu
India lying prostrate, with all her pristine glory
gone and her religion, arts and science dishonoured
and vilified.

On 14th November, 1860 he arrived at Mathura and
discovered his Guru Sw.Virjanand Saraswati with whom
he served for two and a half years as his pupil. While
departing from Mathura, the Guru sought a pledge from
Dayanand to devote his life to disseminating truth, to
wage war against the falsehood of the prevailing Hindu
faith and to re-establish the ancient religious
methods of pre-Mahabharata times. In the course of
five years, the Northern India was completely changed
but there were also several attempts on his life.
Before millions of assailants, all eager to bring him
to knees, he argued for hours together alone against
three hundred pundits-the whole front line and the
reserve of Hindu Orthodoxy. He stood fast on his
ground and applied yardstick of Vedas to all the
prevailing faiths/beliefs. He was a ruthless critic of
all who, according to him, had falsified or profaned
the true Vedic religion. In the domain of
interpretation of Vedas he stole a march over all his
predecessors as he grasped its true spirit and while
referring to this aspect, a great saint-philosopher
Sri Aurobindo Ghosh stated “In the matter of Vedic
interpretation I am convinced that whatever may be the
final complete interpretation, Dayananda will be
honoured as the first discoverer of the right clues.
Amidst the chaos and obscurity of old ignorance and
age long misunderstanding his was the eye of direct
vision that pierced to the truth and fastened on that
which was essential. He had found the keys of the
doors that time had closed and rent asunder the seals
of the imprisoned fountains”.

From 1877 to October, 1883 his time was spent in
preaching, teaching and writing books including Ved
Bhashya. In his lifetime thousands of Aryasamajs were
set up in Bombay, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan,
Bihar and other places. He upheld the right of all
human beings to learn and study the Vedas He denounced
the superstitions, harmful and misleading beliefs,
customs and practices of Hindu society e.g. child
marriage, denial of education to women, idolatry,
untouchability, caste-system etc. He opened the eyes
of his countrymen and wrote his great book
Satyarthprakash (The Light of Truth) which was
published in 1875. It is a unique book to dispel all
doubts and it is in fact the beacon light leading
people from darkness to light, irrationality to
rationality, irreligion to religion. It embodies the
teachings of Swami Dayanand Saraswati on all matters –
religious, social, educational, political and moral,
also his beliefs and disbeliefs and the way of life as
envisaged by the Vedas and the Vedic culture, which
prevailed throughout the whole world about 5000 years
back (This book refers to 377 books, quotes 290 books
to prove the facts and cites1542 Vedic hymns and the
total number of inferences is estimated to be 1886).
In introduction to this book, Swamiji wrote: “The
world is fettered by the chain forged by superstition
and Ignorance. I have come to snap asunder that chain
and to set slaves at liberty. It is contrary to my
mission to have people deprived of their freedom”. He
pleaded that Hindi should be link language of the
entire country and he was the first crusador to raise
voice against cow-slaughter and wrote the booklet
“Go-karunanidhi” on 24th February,1881 underlining the
utility and economy of the cow.

Very aptly, Sir Jadunath Sarkar described Swamiji as
“A true statesman – who could set the forces at work
which will go on influencing the lives and thoughts of
unborn generations.”

Swami Dayanand breathed his last in Ajmer on Deepawli
day, the 30th October, 1883. In September, 1883 he had
gone to Jodhpur as the guest of the Maharaja where he
was poisoned which proved fatal despite varied
efforts. The final moments of his life are worth
description when he asked all those present in the
Bhinai House (the last resting place at Ajmer) to
stand behind him. After blessing all present there, he
recited the Gayatri, engaged himself in Samadhic
meditation for a few minutes and then lay down. The
last words he uttered were: “Merciful Father! Almighty
God! This is thy will! Let thy will prevail. Wonderful
are thy ways.” Saying this, he turned on his side,
drew a long breath and threw it out and that was his
last breath.
This very sight converted Gurudutt a staunch atheist
to be a great believer in God and a missionary to
carry out the master’s task was born.

The movement of Aryasamaj was very strong initially in
North India and there was social awakening in every
sphere. Swami Shradhanand (1856-1926) founded gurukul
at Kangri, Haridwar in 1902 ; Mahatma Hansraj
(1864-1938) was a pioneer of D.A.V. movement; Shri
Gurudutt Vidyarthi (1864-1890), initially an atheist
got transformed by mere witnessing the spectacle of
Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s death at Ajmer . He
contributed his efforts with such intensity that he
sacrificed his life by overworking and neglecting his
own health. Pt. Lekhram (1858-1897), a fearless and
undaunted soldier of his master worked for Shudhi
movement (re-conversion into Hinduism) and became a
martyr at the hands of a fanatic. It is a matter of
pride that 80% of martyrs of Indian freedom movement
belonged to Aryasamaj. Shyamji Krishan Verma (1857-
1930) played important role off Indian shores in this
respect. Lala Rajpat Rai
(1865-1928), a staunch Arysamajist played a glorious
role against British empire and sacrificed his life
for this cause. Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru,
Sukhdev, Madan lal Dhingra, Pt.Ram Prasad Bismal, Bhai
Balmukund, Bhai Parmanand(1876- 1947), Mahasha
Rajpal(1885- 1929) etc. were inspired by Aryasamaj and
like these patriots, innumerable people contributed in
the struggle for freedom. Aryasamaj will continue to
be remembered for its contribution to Indian
Independence by way of the Hyderabad Satyagrah against
Nizam of Hyderabad under the leadership of Mahatma
Narainswami in 1939. In the words of Sw.Dayanand
Saraswati “self-rule is far better than any sort of
foreign rule however well governed it may be.”
(Sw.Dayanand Saraswati was the first person to use the
word swarajya in 1874-75, followed by Dadabhainaroji
in 1906, Shri Lokmanya Tilak in 1916 and the Congress
in 1926)

Of late we observe great retardation in Aryasamaj’s
march owing to infighting and absence of zeal and
spirit but there are always hurdles in the path of
success and it is earnestly hoped that with proper
introspection and resolve to fulfill the mission, the
young generation who have a rational approach to life
will come forward to lead it and rid the society of
its ailments. Our country is still acutely faced with
the problems highlighted by Swamiji and presently
efforts are being made to tackle them with various
legislative measures but to achieve results, committed
people are required and leaders of various sects and
religions have to discard their rigidity and non-Vedic
beliefs and identify the universal interests and draw
inspiration from Vedas which preach Universal
brotherhood as enunciated in RgVeda X.191.2: “May you
move together, speak together in one voice; let your
minds be of one accord; and like the ancient sages,
may you enjoy your assigned share of fortune”.
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