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कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम्

Maharshi Dayananda on Niyoga - Important Notes

Before criticizing Maharshi Dayananda on Niyoga etc. one is expected to consider at least the following interconnected facts:

Swami Dayananda has defined the most ancient Vedic social system in which all the four classes (four varnas viz. Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya & Soodra) are determined according to merits and actions of the individuals (and not based on birth) at the age of the 16th year of girls and 25th year of boys, by the competent authorities viz. preceptors or acharyas of the Gurukulas – the educational institutions, etc.

Swami Dayananda has presented a system of education in which Gurukula (residential seminary type) education is compulsory for all, including the children of the Shoodra class. In this education system top most priority is given to Brahmacharya (self-restraint or celibacy).

According to Swami Dayananda human life can be prolonged even up to 300-400 years. The Vedas also indicate such prolonged human life. Along with so many other essential factors like appropriate diet, physical exercise etc, Brahmacharya (celibacy) and meditation etc. should be strictly practiced to enjoy such longevity. Based on this, as well as evidences of the ancient scriptures viz. Upanishads and Ayurveda etc, Swami Dayananda has recommended the marriage ages for boys and girls in his books.

Only for those students who intend to get married after completion of the study of all the four Vedas, Swami Dayananda has ordained that they should get married at the age of 48. There also he has quoted Chhandogya Upanishad and Sushrut in support of what he has written there in the third chapter of Satyarth-Prakash. Based on the different periods of Brahmacharya (celibacy), he has given various options of the marriage age starting from 25 to 48 in case of male students and 16 to 24 in case of girl students. However, nowhere any compulsions have been stated in the matter. Life long brahmacharya (unmarried life) was the Vedic ideal, thought it has been very difficult for the ordinary persons. Only a very few deserving persons may opt for that most difficult mission of life long celibacy.

In the Vedic system even married life itself was only for a few years – being just a transitional period between Brahmacharya and Vaanaprashtha or Sannyas. The married life was considered as a preparatory phase of next higher orders of Vaanaprashtha and Sannyasa means renunciation – freedom from passions, attachments and worldly pleasures.

In the era of child-marriages, it was Swami Dayananda who fought for marriage at the right and mature age and endeavored to awaken our society.

Moreover, one would surprise to note that Swami Dayananda has mentioned in the very beginning of the forth chapter of his Satyarth-Prakash, which treats “Marriage and Married Life”, that only that student who has not violated his vows of Brahmacharya (celibacy), and has conducted himself righteously according to the advice of his preceptor, and has studied minimum one Veda, is entitled for marriage. He has written this based on Manusmriti: 3.2. This is the criterion Swami Dayananda and Maharshi Manu have set as a prerequisite or minimum qualification for entering in to the married life. Only such highly cultured and educated married persons are expected to honor and comply with the social regulations meant for executing Niyoga.

As stated above, even marriage is not mandatory for all. If a person (man as well as woman) is convinced that he or she would be capable to keep the vow of brahmacharya (celibacy) all along and firmly determined to dedicate the whole life to the pursuit of spiritual knowledge, spread of knowledge and righteousness, practicing science of God-realization, etc., he or she is advised not to enter in the married life.

Swami Dayananda like our other ancient Vedic seers and law-givers like Manu strictly believed that the basic purpose of marriage is procreation, and not any unchecked sensual gratification. Excessive or unrestrained sensual gratification between wife and husband is also viewed as something avoidable. It is considered as a form of adultery and a lapse from the duty of a house-holder. How many children are to be reproduced – one or two or up to maximum 10, this also depends solely upon individual, social or national needs.

Swami Dayananda has defined Niyoga thus: “Niyoga is the temporary union of a person with another of the opposite sex, both parties may belong to the same class or the male may belong to a class higher, for the raising of issue, when marriage has failed to fulfill its legitimate purpose. It is resorted to in extreme cases, either on the death of one’s consort, or when protracted disease has destroyed reproductive power in the husband or in the wife.” (Ref: Statement of My Beliefs and Disbeliefs, appendix to Satyarth-Prakash, Sr. no. 47) This definition should be kept in mind while analyzing Swami Dayananda’s thoughts on Niyoga.

Niyoga is also not mandatory. It is done only to get an issue, if some one desires for it, based on the legitimate reasons. If the concerned person (man or woman) doesn’t wish to have an issue, no one would force him or her to go for Niyoga. Swami Dayananda has given top priority to brahmacharya (celibacy). If a person (man or woman) decides to observe brahmacharya (self-control) and / or to adopt someone’s child and abstain from Niyoga, it is viewed preferable.

As marriage is regulated by laws so is the case with Niyoga also. Scientifically we all know the simple fact that for the generation of a new child, union of reproductive elements of a male and a female is an obligatory requirement. Marriage is the most socially acknowledged system to facilitate this. However for any reasons, if the marriage fails to deliver the goods, and a child or more children are required to meet the need of an individual or society or nation, there ought to have some viable alternatives available. The Niyoga system was such a Vedic alternative to cope such crisis and contingencies. Swami Dayananda thought it essential to mention, explain and redefine it in his books, as he comprehended it, so that the social scientists and other sensible persons of the world could explore its validity and propriety as an alternative means to meet the demand of the human society during crisis.

It would be a great mistake to suppose that Swami Dayananda was the originator of this system of Niyoga. He has just presented it in our times based on the Vedas and Vedic scriptures and ancient tradition of the Aryas. He was well aware of the critical and delicate nature of this issue and therefore he has taken utmost care in presenting it in his various books and lectures. He has tried his level best to explain it in such a way that the most probable queries could be solved in advance. That is why he has described this issue with various questions and answers in the Satyarth-Prakash. Still if any thing is found lacking in his treatment of the subject, the sensible readers are expected to take and understand it in light of the spirit and purpose of the great Sannyasi author.

We, the members of Arya Samaj, do also believe that the current way of living or life style of the majority of people in the world is not conducive to observance of the brahmacharya or self-restraint. On the contrary, the air of Western materialistic way of living is getting hold on the minds of the people. There is no Vedic ruler existing any where. Under such circumstances the practice of Niyoga is obviously not workable in the society. It works legitimately only when other basic essential social regulations and rule of the land in accordance with the Vedic political philosophy are there and all other ancillary requirements are duly fulfilled including Vedic system of education and citizens with the noble character and high moral values.

Swami Dayananda should at least be praised by his critics for his boldness and sincerity to put forward this most ancient Vedic method of social utility and value in this so anomalous era of ours. It appears that if the problems of barrenness, impotency and infertility keep on rising in times to come, the subject of Niyoga would definitely draw attention of the great minds of the world.

Along with Niyoga, let me include one more point here: Swami Dayananda Saraswati has explained in his books the process through which the wife is impregnated by his lawful husband. It is questioned since then by some of his adversaries that how the Swami himself being a recluse and celibate, could and should write such a thing. Here I would like to submit as follows:

Swami Dayananda was a multi-faceted personality wedded with the zeal of a social reformer. He visualized a society fully developed in all aspects and governed by the Vedic high ideals and practices. That is why he attached the highest importance to the elevation of human race and in doing so it is obvious that the issue of impregnation could not be overlooked. So he gave it due importance. If we aspire for a highly developed and cultured human society, we have to ensure that from the very foundation of the life of a new-comer all essential care and precautions are observed; then only further desired progress and development could be anticipated. Therefore, the brief elucidation of the scientific procedure for impregnation carried out by the legitimate partners i.e. husband and wife with the sole objective of anticipating a new member of the human family should not be viewed as some thing obnoxious, hateful or disgusting. We all have been here on this mother earth through such process only. The Vedas are the repository of all true knowledge, and as believed in the Indian tradition the knowledge contained in the Vedas is Divine means God-revealed. Therefore, even in the Vedas (e.g. 14th Volume of Atharva-Veda) we see the verses in which the process of reproduction has been hinted. In Aitarey Upanishad (2.1), Ayurveda (Charak-Sushrut Samhitas, Shareera-shastra) and other ancient Sanskrit books this subject has been dealt with. Even in the modern medical science this has been an integral and most important part of the curriculum. Swami Dayananda has just followed our ancient Vedic tradition. For the betterment of the human race he thought it imperative to present a brief outline of this process as given in the Vedas and books of great seers of yore, in very well-thought and balanced words. Whatever he has written on the subject has been written as a part and parcel of the Vedic sacrament of Garbhaadhaan – Impregnation, the very first sacrament among the 16 famous Vedic sacraments. So targeting Swami Dayananda on such an issue is not at all reasonable.

It is obvious and very imperative that the discussion on such issues demands from all of us certain social discipline and restraint.

Bhavesh Merja

महर्षि

महर्षि दयानन्द की आलोचना करने वाले नादान हैं, वो महर्षि को नहीं समझ सकते |

राजेन्द्र आर्य‌

ॐ.. " We, the members of

ॐ..
" We, the members of Arya Samaj, do also believe
that the current way of living or life style of the
majority of people in the world is not conducive
to observance of the brahmacharya or self-
restraint. On the contrary, the air of Western
materialistic way of living is getting hold on the
minds of the people. There is no Vedic ruler
existing any where. Under such circumstances the
practice of Niyoga is obviously not workable in
the society. It works legitimately only when other
basic essential social regulations and rule of the
land in accordance with the Vedic political
philosophy are there and all other ancillary
requirements are duly fulfilled including Vedic
system of education and citizens with the noble
character and high moral values."

Bhavesh Merja ji...
Sadar Namaste,
Vedas are not timebound texts. Vedas are called Traikal badhya texts. so niyog should be applied today also. In all times Vedas can be followed. SO I SUPPORT NIYOG SYSTEM today also. Arya Samaj should made a rule regarding Niyog.