On the 135th Foundation day of Arya Samaj.
The whole Aryan world is celebrating the 135th foundation day of Arya Samaj on 20th March 2010 with great zeal and fervor. It was on 10th April in 1875 that Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, the great revolutionary, social reformer, reviver of our great Vedic culture founded Arya Samaj in Bombay. Although a number of reform movements started in the 19th century to reform the religion and society of India. Arya Samaj was the most successful of them all in bringing about a renaissance in Hindu society.
The meaning of the word ‘Arya’ is the best, excellent, dynamic, dutiful, cool-minded, righteous and noble people. The word ‘Samaj’ means the group of persons. Thus the word “Arya Samaj” means the group of noble persons. The word Arya does not indicate any particular caste or species.
Aryans are men of noble qualities, actions and nature. Thus the aim of Arya Samaj is to let the whole world be made noble, the world of Aryans, men of noble qualities deeds and nature. Arya Samaj is striving hard to achieve this goal through organization. There is no religion greater than truth. There is no knowledge better than truth and there is no sin greater than falsehood. This is the main objective of Arya Samaj. Thus Arya Samaj is not a sect, nor any religion or faith based on any new ideology of any caste, creed or class. It is a movement of reform and the renaissance in all the fields of life it is the society of noble person propagating the eternal truth of the Vedas to make the life of human beings more purposeful and full of happiness.
Arya Samaj’s point of view is based on Vedas. It is the philosophy of realism. This world is not a delusion or an empty dream or an illusion or non existing or a mirage. It is a reality.
Up to the time of Mahabharat India was a world teacher. After the Great War there came the age of decline and downfall, blind faith and superstition. Ignorance was rampant. This resulted in the development of various sects with different religious symbols, text and gurus that divided the Indian nation into separate communities. Even the sects which worshiped the same lord created different mythologies with conflicting views and the choice of power. This resulted in division of the nation into sects and communities. Some critics even said that Hinduism is no religion, since there is no book and no ideology.
In the later part of Indian History, hordes of invaders came like tidal waves, one after the other. Hindu Samaj broke down under this constant pressure, and their open, kind and generous society became a victim of its own virtues. Mindless barbarism of these new breed of arrivals caused rapture in the very fabric of Hindu Society. Virtues turned into vices and confusion. The whole country was in a complete state of chaos because of illiteracy and foreign rule. The whole Hindu society was divided into different groups based on caste and creed. Many unholy practices in the field of religion were prevalent in the name of Vedic sanctions. There was a total disintegration in all fields of life-social, religious and political.
At this crucial time Maharishi Dayanand, a strong hearted man of determination appeared on the scene who had taken a vow to rectify and started a campaign against all the prevalent ill in the society and what ever that was unholy and unvedic.
Maharishi Dayanand while departing from Mathura, his Guru Swami Virjanand ordered him “Go thou, my child, and spread the message of the Vedas! There is ignorance in the land. The people know not the right from wrong. They quarrel about castes and creeds and know not the Vedas. Go though and give the great message of one God and the Vedic Wisdom.” So to spread his message and to eradicate the ills of the Hindu society he established Arya Samaj as a conduit.
The primary aim of the Arya Samaj is to eradicate Agyan (Ignorance), Abhaav (Scarcity, Poverty, Indigence), and Anayay (Injustice) from this Earth and to re-establish and revive the Vedas as revealed by Rishis as infallible truth .He gave a carrion call (Back to Vedas). It is generally believed that principles of Arya Samaj are based on teachings and views of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, but in reality the teachings of Arya Samaj are based on the gospel of four Vedas- Rig, Yajur, Sam and Atharva- our main source of Guidance. They contain the entire knowledge needed for the attainment of righteousness, wealth, desires and salvation. The Arya Samaj movement began to revive the study of the Vedas and the worship of one GOD. Swamiji exposed many major and serious errors in previous translations and interpretations of the Vedas and wrote many commentaries in Hindi so that the general masses can understand them. The Arya Samaj opposes all the acts that were weakening the Hindu society, such as idolatry, ancestor worship, (Moorti Puja) and temple offerings, Child marriage, Polygamy, Prohibitions for widow re-marriage, Sati (burning of young widows) and Purdah, animal sacrifice, a caste system based on birth rather than merit, un-touchability, It upholds the sanctity of the cow, the importance of the individual sacraments samskaras, and social reform and to further female education Arya Samaj has also built and established a network of schools and colleges, , and homes for widows, and has undertaken famine relief and The Arya Samaj also focuses greatly on the welfare of all humanity through Altruism and Charity. The Arya Samaj organization has helped to rebuild the lost faith amongst the Indians. It came into being for full development of the nation, the protection of birth rights of all, development of body, mind and soul through Yoga and open-heartedness, open-mindedness, total destruction of all evils and for the propagation of Truth.
Arya Samaj, like a number of other modern Hindu movements, allows and encourages converts to Hinduism, since Dayananda held Hinduism to be based on "universal and all-embracing principles" and therefore to be "true." "I hold that the four Vedas," he wrote, "the repository of Knowledge and Religious Truths- are the Word of God …They are absolutely free from error and are an authority unto themselves. In contrast, the Gospels are silly, and "no educated man" could believe in their content, which contradicted nature and reason.
It is, however, greatly regrettable that despite the efforts of Rishi Dayanand, Hindus are again out of the Vedic track and are confused on what the reality is. Even many who label themselves as Arya Samajists have not been spared by this negative wave. It was on this observation that Pandit Lekhram ji once said that “Arya Samaj activities should not only be run in the Arya Samaj buildings, but should as well be run at the homes of Aryas and in the school.” Learned Parcharaks should go to different parts of the world and spread the message of Arya Samaj. According to him, this alone can help to achieve the goal of Arya Samaj. It is also a great shame that our children and youth have not been introduced into the tradition of attending Arya Samaj functions due to reasons probably known better to their parents. It is therefore imperative that the parents and elders face and undertake the challenge of managing and performing religious and social ceremonies at their homes regularly, thereby actively involving the youth. In this way Aryas should consider and firmly believe that their homes are the sacred Arya Samaj temples and this will take Arya Samaj a step forward.
Of late we observe great retardation in Arya Samaj’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 of Swami Ji, that the young generation of today who have a rational approach to life will come forward to lead this mission. Arya Samaj is still acutely faced with the problems highlighted by Swamiji and 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. “May we all 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”.