A reformer is always remembered for his contributions in society. Today I would be writing about a social and spiritual leader who has made a long-lasting impact on society culture and beliefs. Former name of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati was Mulasi Dayaram or Dayashankar. At the age of 14, he observed something startling which has taken away his beliefs towards Hinduism practice of idol worshipping. At the night of Maha Shivratri, when ceremonial fasting is observed and Jaagrata(full night waking) is held, he saw a rat taking away the offerings made to Shiva idol. On this, he concluded that idols aren’t supposed to protect us on bad times as they can’t even protect their very own offerings. He decided to come out of all wrongly held beliefs in the Brahman community and search for the actual truth. For the completion of his mission for the search of truth, he set out at a very young age of 21. He travelled very farther places in the Himalayas and conducted his research on the actual truth of life. His life story is similar to Gautam Buddha who even set out at a young age to discover the truth and ultimate path of happiness. 15 years passed in significant search of Dayanand, but he didn’t find the result he was looking for. He met many religious Gurus during his quest, he was very much inspired by the teachings of Guru Vrijananda. Guru taught him the relevance of Vedas and the structures of ancient scriptures. He learnt the transmigration of the soul and the process of Karma and rebirth.
Later on his life, he tried to join some religious community like Brahmo Samaj. On being rejected for his non-acceptance of Brahmans culture and priest life, he initiated his own community called ‘Arya Samaj’. Arya Samaj was based on life history and beliefs of Aryans, the first known civilians of India. He was strongly against idol worshipping, caste system, ritualism, fatalism, infanticide, grooms marketing, and strict orthodox cultures of Brahmans. He advocated liberation of women, upliftment of depressed class, reduction of untouchability and the other lowly crimes inflicted on humans of lower castes. He also started Suddhi Movement for Hindus who were forcibly converted to Islam or Christianity. His major propaganda was to spread the values of Vedic life among each individuals.
His major contributions are ‘Satyartha Prakash’, ‘Veda Bhasya Bhumika’ and journal called ‘Arya Patrika. He has also contributed Gurukuls, Girls Gurukuls and DAV to the society.
He was also very active in social movements and is considered as a great social reformer. He was the first who gave a voice for ‘Swaraj’ in 1876 and later joined by Lala Lajpat Rai and other social reformers for India freedom struggle. His major concern was growth of democracy and National awakening. He gave his heart & soul for the upliftment of society. He was very well recognised and has numerous followers from that period to today’s time. He is also considered as the first to recognize Hindi as a National language of India. He was a true patriot and a builder of Modern India.
According to Dr. S Radhakrishnan “among the makers of modern India who played an important role in spiritual upliftment of people and kindled the fire of patriotism, among them Swami Dayanand occupied chief place.”