To love the creation of God is to love God Himself
Dayanand was born in 1824 in a small town called Morvi in the princely state of Kathiawar in modern day Gujarat. His father Karshanji Lalji Tiwari was a wealthy Brahmin. He was also the tahsildar of Tankara. Dayanand’s mother, Amrithbai, was a virtuous woman. She was like a mother to all the villagers. Dayanand’s parents had named him Moolashankar.
Dayanand’s father was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He wanted his son also to follow in his footsteps. He would therefore describe the greatness of Lord Shiva to his son and also encourage him to worship Lord Shiva.
On the great festival of Shivaratri the followers of Lord Shiva fasted for nearly 36 hours and kept a sleepless vigil on the Shivaratri night. When Moolashankar was 14 years of age on one such Shivaratri festival, he with his father went to the temple on the outskirts of the village to observe the fast and the nightly vigil saying prayers. By midnight, one by one the worshippers fell asleep. But Moolashankar did not want to break the rule of the Shivaratri worship, so he sat gazing at the Shivalinga. Just then some mice appeared from nowhere and ate the preparations, which had been placed before the Shivalinga as an offering. When the boy saw this he was puzzled. His father had told him that Shiva was all-powerful. So how was it that the Shivalinga kept quite when the mice moved about on it? In order to find out he woke his father and asked him this question. The father told him that the image represented Shiva and that Lord Shiva resided in the image. Moolashankar was not satisfied with his answer. He left the temple, went home, broke his fast and went to sleep. When the father saw his son asleep he was furious. Since then the relations between father and son were strained.
Once cholera broke out in Morvi. His fourteen-year-old sister fell a victim to cholera and died. Three years later one of his uncles whom he loved dearly also fell a victim to cholera and died. These deaths of his loved ones made him move away from worldly life. It showed to him the transitory character of life and the vanity of human aspirations. He realized that life on this earth was only a fleeting show. The desire not to fall a pray to worldly pleasures but to attain what was enduring took a deep root in his mind.
His parents noticing his growing detachment and afraid that he might run away from home to become monk, decided to marry him off. A week before the marriage Moolashankar ran away from home and reached a village named Sayala. Here he met a Brahmachari, the head of a religious sect. Moolashankar requested the Brahmachari to admit him into the order of Naishthika Brahmacharya. Moolashankar was given ochre robes and renamed Suddha Chaitanya.
In course of his wonderings, Moolashankar came to the religious fair held at Siddhapur every year. There he met a Vairagi who was an acquaintance of his father. The Vairagi at once wrote to the father about the whereabouts of his son. Moolashankar’s father at once came to Siddhapur and met his son in a temple. He was very much enraged when he saw his son in the ocher robe. He tore away his son’s cloth into pieces and broke his begging bowl. Moolashankar was given new clothes and kept under the watch of a number of servants. The servants fell asleep at night. Moolashankar ascended a big tree and kept himself concealed all night. Next morning the father and the servants searched for Moolashankar, but could not find him. They returned home.
After leaving home Moolashankar traveled to many places in northern India in search of a Guru. He learnt many things about India, its customs, its scriptures, and its beliefs. None of them pleased him. Regular practice of the Hatha Oga and Pranayama made him very strong. At one place he came across Swami Poornanda, a profound scholar and sanyasi. Under him he studied several books on Vedanta. The Swamiji initiated the Oung man into the holy orders. Moolashankar became Swami Dayananda Saraswathi.
During his travels from place to place in search of a Guru, never for a moment did he falter or turn his gaze from the ideal to which he aspired. With his personality, looks, knowledge numerous mahants, heads of religious institutions with huge wealth wanted to nominate him as their spiritual heir but he refused stating that his goal was different, he was not seeking wealth or power. Even though Dayananda wandered for ten years, he could not find an able Guru. This filled him with despair. Then he came to know that perfect Ogis lived in the dense forest near the source of the Narmada. Dayananda walked hundreds of miles towards the south. As he approached the river Narmada, Dayananda met a monk by the name Poornashrama Swamy, in a garden. When he came to know that Dayananda was looking for a Guru, he said, “Dayanandaji, there is only one man on this earth who can fulfill Our desire, and that man is Virajananda Dandeesha. He lives in Mathura.” On hearing this Dayananda at once set out for Mathura.
Virajananda became blind at the age of five on account of an attack of smallpox. He got his education in Hardwar. Later on he migrated to Mathura. Swami Virajananda spent much of his time in meditation. Virajananda hated image-worship, superstition. The pettiness of the Hindu life kindled in him a consuming fire.
When Dayananda knocked on his door and expressed his desire to become his disciple, Virajananda asked him if he knew grammar. Dayananda said he studied ?Kaumudi’ and ?Saraswatha’ (considered to be the two famous texts of Sanskrit grammar). On hearing this Virajananda told him that those books were useless, and asked Dayananda to throw them into the river Yamuna. Only then will he accept him as his disciple. Dayananda had journeyed hundreds of miles carrying these books. But now without any hesitation he threw the books into the river.
Soon Dayananda became his Master’s dearest disciple. Every morning, in cold or rain, he fetched water for his teacher’s bath and for other purposes from the river Yamuna. It was also his duty to sweep the floor and keep the premises clean and tidy. He also washed his master’s clothes.
On one occasion, as Virajananda was teaching he became angry with Dayananda. Then with his skinny hands he hit Dayananda on the back so hard that the teacher’s hand began to ache. Later Dayananda went to his Guru in all humility told him, “Gurudave, my body is hard like stone and beating like this cannot hurt it. Only Our hands will ache. From now on, when Ou punish me kindly make use of a cane.”
On another occasion when Virajananda was displeased with Dayananda he struck him with a stick. Later on when Dayananda became the teacher of the people, he used to show the marks on his shoulders made by Virajananda and say: ?These marks always remind me of all that I owe to my master.’ When Dayananda finished his education, his Guru asked him to take a pledge to devote his life to disseminating the truth, to waging unremitting warfare against the falsehood of the then prevailing Hindu faith and to establish the right method of education as in the pre-Buddhist times.
As ordained by his master, Swamy Dayananda undertook to travel to preach Vedic Knowledge among the people. Wherever he went, he told the people “Idol worship is not mentioned in the Vedas. The rational mind cannot accept idol worship. God is everywhere God has no shape or form.” Dayananda was a veritable genius in learning. His debating style was very forceful and no body could with stand the power of his reasoning. He would literally tear to shreds the opponents arguments. He had no patience with fools and he saw fools everywhere. As a logician, he had no rival; and as a debater had no equal. He was a great orator. He bitterly criticized the harmful and wicked customs that had come down through the centuries. He did not spare even the Christian missionaries.
Of Dayanand the author Romain Rolland said, “He alone hurled the defiance of India against her invaders. Dayananda declared war against Christianity and his heavy massive sword cleft it asunder with scant reference to the scope or exactitude of his blows?” Dayananda did not spare anybody. His favorite criticisms were asabhya, moorkh, jungli, and ganwar. Which means respectively ? uncultured, stupid, uncouth forest dweller and dumb hick from the sticks. Dayananda had no patience with stupid theories of caste or the inferiority of women and some of his noblest writing occurs when he looses his temper on their behalf. Some of his ideas were so far reaching that even today India has difficulty in implementing them. He did not care for popularity or public opinion. Swami Vivekananda used to hold him in the highest esteem.
In course of his travels he came to Kashi (Benaras). Here he took part in a debate with the scholars of Kashi. The question was whether the Vedas approved image worship. On the one side was Swami Dayananda all alone; on the other side were twenty-seven distinguished scholars of Kashi.The scholars had to accept defeat in the face of Dayananda’s arguments. Just then a scholar came up with two sheets of paper and asked a question. Dayananda picked up the sheets and began to read. While he was still reading they began to shout that he could not answer the question. Dayananda protested that he needed to read before he could reply. But the scholars would not listen. They proclaimed that he had “failed”. But the Press faithfully reported what had actually gone on. The official version of events simply did not wash, and Dayananda became a national figure.
Dayananda had great love for his motherland, India. Once an English officer who was greatly impressed by Dayananda’s speech told him, “Swamiji, please go to England and teach the way of dharma. I shall bear all the expenses.” There-upon Dayananda said, “In the few years of life left to me I shall try to spread the knowledge of the Vedas among my countrymen. Once the lamp of wisdom is lighted here, its light is bound to spread towards the west too.”
Once, addressing a huge gathering, Dayananda said, “Your ancestors were not uncivilized men living in forests. They were great men who enlightened this world. Your history is not a bundle of defeats. It is the eulogy of the conquerors of the world. Your Vedic Scriptures are not the songs of cowherds. They are the immortal truths, which shaped mighty souls like Sri Rama and Sri Krishna. Awake! Arise! Be proud of Our glorious history. Take inspiration from it to mould the present. Shame upon the modern education which fills Ou with contempt for Our ancestors!”
In 1875 Dayananda founded the Arya Samaj, the Noble Society. Two years later the Samaj took its final shape at Lahore. From 1877 to 1883 Dayananda spent his time preaching, writing books and in establishing Arya Samajes in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajesthan and Gujarat.
Dayananda’s heart was full of compassion. His heart melted at the sufferings of the poor. He taught the people that ?To love the creation of God is to love God Himself’. Wherever he went, he condemned the cast system, idol worship, child marriage and other harmful customs and traditions. Dayananda was opposed to Untouchability. He said, “Untouchability is a dreadful curse of our society. Every living being has a soul, which deserves affection; in every human being there is a soul worthy of respect. Any one who does not know this basic principle cannot understand the true meaning of the Vedic religion.” He stressed that women should have equal rights as men. He said that India had fallen to such a miserable condition precisely because women were not given education but were kept in ignorance. He felt as long as women were prisoners of foolish customs like the purdah, progress was beOnd reach. According to Dayananda Seetha and Savithri are remembered not because they were behind the purdah, but because of their purity, chastity and virtue. Dayananda was convinced that in order for the nation to prosper it must have a strong educational system. Every boy and girl must get an opportunity to go to school. At school our culture and our great books like the Vedas should be introduced to the students along with mathematics, geology, astronomy and other sciences, which are important in modern life.
Dayananda was never afraid to speak the truth. He not only pointed out the flaws in Hinduism but also the flaws in other religions. Because of this he incurred the wrath of not only the followers of Hinduism but also the followers of other religions. Many attempts were made on his life.
Once Dayananda was invited by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, to stay at his palace. The Maharaja was eager to become his disciple. Unfortunately the Maharaja was in love with a low-character woman. One day when the Maharaja and this woman were together, Dayananda happened upon them. Seeing them together, Dayananda boldly reprimanded the Maharaja thus, “Oh King, what is this I see? A lion in the company of a she-dog? This is unbefitting of an Arya. Your duty is like that of a father to his children. Your people look up to Ou for protection and guidance. But Ou are keeping the company of a street bitch and bringing defame to Our name, Our family, and the human race. Throw away Our selfish and degrading habits! Awaken from the coma of ignorance and hearken to the call of Our soul! You are Arya Putra, a son of God–be true to Our name and stand on Our own two feet like a man of God! Stop making excuses for Our selfish habits and leave these crutches of Our ego! You are not a four-legged animal–then why do Ou cuddle at the feet of this fallen mother, like a little puppy dog? Utishtha! Arise and be true to Our nature–follow Our Dharma like Our forefathers; polish and preserve Our character and become a shining gem in the crown of the Almighty.”
The Maharaja felt ashamed and broke off all contact with this woman. The wicked woman decided to take revenge. She bribed Dayananda’s cook to poison him. The cook overcome by greed carried out the task. One evening when Dayananda was about to go to bed he brought him a glass of milk containing poison and ground glass. Dayananda took the glass of milk and went to sleep only to wake up later with a burning sensation. He realized immediately that he had been poisoned and attempted to purge his digestive system of the poisonous substance, but it was too late. The poison had already entered his blood stream.
Dayananda was bedridden and suffered excruciating pain. Many doctors came to treat him but all was in vain. His body was covered all over with large bleeding sores.
On seeing Dayananda’s suffering the cook was overcome with unbearable guilt and remorse. He confessed his crime to Dayananda. Dayananda forgave him and gave him a bag of money and told him to flee the country lest he be found out and executed by the Maharaja’s men.
The great Dayananda Saraswati died on October 30, 1883.
Dayananda Saraswati attracted praises from far and wide, Madame Blavatsky, Max Mueller, The Theosophical Society of India. Excerpts from their tributes ” It is perfectly certain that India never saw a more learned Sanskrit scholar, a deeper metaphysician, a more wonderful orator, and a more fearless denunciator of any evil, than Dayananda, since the time of Shankaracharya”. ” A master spirit has passed away from India. Pandit Dayananda Sarawati is gone, the irresistible, energetic reformer, whose mighty voice and passionate eloquence for the last few years raised thousands of people in India from lethargic indifference and stupor into active patriotism, in no more”. ” We bear in mind his life long devotion to the cause of Aryan regeneration, his ardent love for the grand philosophy of his forefathers, his untiring zeal in the area of social and religious reforms. A patriot in the true sense of the word, SDS labored from his wariest years for the recovery of the lost treasures of Indian intellect. Certainly there was no greater orator in Hindi and Sanskrit than in India”.
Excerpts from Dayanand’s book Satya Prakash (The True Exposition):
” My concept of God and all other objects in the universe is founded on the teachings of the Veda and other true Shastras and is in conformity with the beliefs of all sages from Brahma down to Jamini. I offer a statement of these beliefs for the acceptance of all good men. I do not entertain the least idea of founding a new sect or religion. My sole aim to believe in the truth and help others to believe in it, to reject falsehood and to help others do the same “. -Dayananda
1. He, who is called Brahm or the most High; who is Parmatma, or the Spirit who permeates the whole universe; who is Truth, Intelligence, and Happiness; Whose nature, attributes and characteristics are holy; Who is omniscient, formless, all pervading unborn, infinite, almighty, just, and merciful; Who is the author of the universe, sustains and dissolves it; Who awards all souls the fruits of their deeds in strict accordance with the requirements of absolute justice; and Who is possessed of other like attributes – even Him I believe to be the Lord of creation.
2. The four Vedas, the repository of Knowledge and Religious Truth, are Word of God. They comprise what is known as the Samhita – Mantra Bhag only. They are absolutely free from error, and the supreme and independent authority in all things. They require no other book to bear witness to their Divine origin. Even as the sun or a lamp is, by its own light, an absolute and independent manifested of its own existence – yea, it reveals the existence of things other than itself even so are the Vedas.
The commentaries on the four Vedas, viz. The Brahmanas, the six Angas, the six Upangas, the four Up Vedas, and the eleven hundred and twenty-seven Shakhas, which are expositions of the Vedic texts by Brahma and other great Rishis I look upon as works of a dependent character. In other words, their authority is to be followed only so far as they conform to the teachings of the Vedas. Whatever passages in these works are opposed to the Vedic teaching, I reject them entirely.
3. That which inculcates justice and equity, which teaches truthfulness in thought, speech and deed – in a word, that which is in conformity with the Will of God, as embodied in the Vedas, even that I call Dharma. But that which is intermixed with what is partial, which sanctions injustice, which teaches untruthfulness of thought, speech or deed – in brief that which is in antagonism to the Will of God, as embodied in the Vedas, that I term Adharma.
4. The immortal, eternal Principle which is endowed with thought and judgment, with desire and hate, which is susceptible of pleasure and pain, whose capacity for knowledge is limited – even that is ?Soul’.
5. God and Soul are two distinct entities. Each has certain attributes, which are not and cannot be predicable of the other, and each performs certain functions which the other does not and cannot perform. They are, however, inseparable one from the other, being related to each other as the pervader and the pervaded, and have certain attributes in common. Even as a material object is, was and shall always be, distinct from the space in which it exists and as the two cannot, were not, and shall never be, one and the same, even so God and the Soul are to each other. Their mutual relation is that of the pervader and the pervaded, of father and son. This worships and that is worshipped.
6. Three things are eternal, namely God, Soul, and Prakriti-the material cause of the universe. These are also known as the eternal substances. Being eternal, their essential qualities, their functions, and their
natures are essentially the same.
7. Substances, properties, and functions, which result from combination, cease to exist on dissolution. But the power or force, by virtue of which a substance unites with another or separates from it, is eternally inherent in the substance, and this power will compel it to seek similar unions and disunion’s in future. The unions and disunion’s, as well as the power by virtue of which they take place, are also eternal, in consequence of the regularity of their succession.
8. That which results from a combination of primary elements, compounded together consistently with a through and complete knowledge of the distinctive properties of every separate element and with all the perfection of design – even that, in all its infinite variety, is called creation.
9. The purpose of creation is the essential and natural exercise of the creative energy of the Deity. A person once asked some one: “What is the purpose of the eyes?’ ?Why’ to see with, to be sure,’ was the reply. The same is the case here. God’s creative energy must
have play, and the souls must reap the fruits of their karma.
10. The creation has a Creator. The existence of a design in the universe as well as the fact that dead unconscious matter is incapable of forming itself into seed or any other thing endowed with life and vitality, shows that it must have a Creator.
11. The earthly bondage of the soul has a cause. This cause is ignorance, which is the source of sin as, among other things, it leads man to worship things other than the Creator and obscures his intellectual faculties, whereof pain and suffering is the result. Ignorance is termed bondage, as it involves the Soul in pain, which everybody wants to escape, but which he must suffer if he is ignorant.
12. The emancipation of the soul from pain and suffering of every description, and a subsequent career of freedom in the all-pervading God and His immense creation, is termed Salvation. Salvation lasts for a period only, on the expiration of which the saved soul again assumes a body.
13. The means of salvation are the worship of God or the contemplation of His nature and attributes with concentrated attention, the practice of virtue, the acquisition of true knowledge by the practice of Brahmcharya, the company of the wise and learned, the love of true knowledge, purity of thought, active benevolence, and so on.
14. The ?caste, of an individual is determined by merit and sterling worth only ???..
15. Devas (gods) are those who are wise and learned, asuras, those who are foolish and ignorant; rakshas, those who are wicked and sin loving; and pishachas, those whose mode of life is filthy and debasing.
16. Devapuja (or the worship of the gods) consists in showing honour and respect to the wise and learned, to one’s father, mother and preceptor, to the preachers of the true doctrine, to a just and impartial sovereign, to lovers of righteousness, to chaste men and women.
7. The Puranas (ancient commentaries on the Vedas and other works on theology) are the Aitreva Brahmanas and similar compositions by the great Rishis
like Brahma and others. In Itihas or history I include Kalpa, Gatha, and Narashansi. The Bhagwat and other books of that sort are not the Puranas.
18. An energetic and active life is preferable to passive acquiescence in the decrees of fate, inasmuch as destiny is the consequence of acts. A life of virtuous activity will secure the soul a good destiny, as a life of wickedness will produce the opposite result. Hence acts, being the makers of destiny, virtuous activity are superior to passive resignation.
19. The most approved behavior of one man towards his fellow-creatures lies in his treating everOne according to his worth, in his treating him as he would wish himself to be treated by others, in sympathizing with him, from the core of his heart, in his joys and sorrows, in his losses and gains.
20. Sanskar, or sacrament, is that which contributes to man’s physical, mental and spiritual improvement. The sanskars are sixteen in number. Their due and proper observance is obligatory on all. Nothing should be done for the departed after the remains have been cremated.
21. The performance of yajna is most commendable. It consists in showing honor and respect to the wise and learned, in the proper application of the principles of chemistry and other physical sciences to the affairs of life, in the dissemination of knowledge, in the performance of Agnihotra, which by contributing to the purification of the air and water, and the healthy growth of vegetables, directly tends to promote the well-being of all sentient creatures.
22. All truth must satisfy five tests: (1) It must not militate against the nature and attributes of God; (2) it must not be opposed to the teaching of the Vedas; (3) it must stand the test of the well-known eight kinds of proofs based on natural laws; (4) it must have the sanction of ?apt purshas’ (i.e. men learned, true and holy); and lastly (5) it must be in consonance with the dictates of one’s own conscience. Every doctrine must be subjected to these five tests, and accepted if it fulfils them ?????
23. The soul is a free agent-at liberty to act as it pleases, but it is dependent on God’s grace for the enjoyment of the fruit of its actions. God is free as well as just.
24. Swarga (heaven) represents the state of happiness.
25. Narka (hell) represents pain and suffering.
26. When, according to the rules prescribed by the Shastras, a person bestows, as the result of reciprocal affection, his or her hand upon of the opposite sex and in a public manner, he or she is said to contract marriage.
27. Stuti (or praise) is the enumeration of Divine attributes and qualities, with a view to fix them in the mind and realize their meaning. Among other things it inspires us with love towards God.
28. Prarthana is praying to God for the gift of knowledge and similar other blessings which result from a communion with Him. Its principal fruit is humility and serenity of mind. Prayer does not dispense with effort.
29. Upasna is conforming, as far as possible, in purity and holiness to the Divine Spirit. It is feeling the presence of the Deity in the Soul by the realization of His all-pervading nature. Upasna extends the bounds of our knowledge.
30. Sagun Stuti is praising God by the enumeration of the qualities and attributes which He possesses, but Nirgun Stuti is praising God by those qualities and attributes which are foreign to His nature.
“Sagun Prarthana is praying to God for virtuous qualities; but Nirgun Prarthana is imploring the Deity to cast out from us that which is evil”.
“Sagun Upasna is the realization, in the soul, of the presence of God as possessing the attributes which are inherent in Him, while Nirgun upasna is the realization, in the soul, of the presence of God as distinct from what is foreign to His nature.” We have omitted some articles as unimportant, or because they were included elsewhere.
Following are the principles and rules of the Arya Samaj:
1. Arya Samaj shall regard the Vedas alone as absolutely authoritative. For the purposes of understanding, testimony, all the four Brahmanas, the six Vedangas, the four Upavedas, the six Darshanas and 1,127 Shakhas or expositions of the Vedas, shall by virtue of their being ancient and recognized works of the Rishis, be also regarded as secondarily authoritative, in so far as their teaching is in accordance with the Vedas.
2. The principal Samaj shall have various works in Sanskrit and Aryabhasa or Hindi for the dissemination of true knowledge.
3. The Samaj shall do stuti, pratharna and upasana i.e. shall glorify, pray to and hold communion with the one God in the manner commended by the Vedas. They believe God to be formless, almighty, just, infinite, immutable, eternal, incomparable, merciful, father of all, mother of the universe, all supporting, all truth, all
intelligence, all happiness and the supreme and the only lord of the universe, as also all pervading, knower of all hearts, indestructible, deathless, everlasting, pure and conscious, the bestower of happiness, the giver of righteousness, wealth, comfort and salvation – to speak of him as endowed with such attributes i.e. to do his stuti (glorify and praise him). Asking his help in all righteous undertakings is identical with prarthrana (praying to him) and to become absorbed in the contemplation of his essence, which is absolute happiness is termed upasna i.e. holding communion with him.
4. In the interests of the country, spiritual and worldly reform shall receive the attention of the Samaj. Welfare of the entire mankind shall be the objective of the Samaj.
5. The Samaj shall believe only in what is right and just i.e. in true Vedic Dharma, free from prejudice and tested by all tests laid down by the ancient authorities.
6. In the interest of education of both males and females, separate schools shall be established, if possible at all places.