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MAHARISHI DAYANANDA

STAVAN SHLOKA

 

Akhandaad aanandaan nigama hima shailendra shikharaat prabhootaa bhootaanaam jani laya krita shankara guroh

Dayaanandasyeyam sakala bhuvanaayaa'mrita padam Dishantee geer gangaa janita Shiva Sangaa Vijayate

The Ganga river containing the inspiring words of Maha Rshi Dayanand Saraswati is achieving victory by inspiring the facility in human mind that are barren and unproductive of noble thoughts. It teaches the path of freedom to all human beings and establishes connections with God.

This Ganga river flows form the peaks of the snow clad Himalayas (Veda Mountain), wherein can be found the eternal bliss of God- He,
who is the origin and dissolution of all creatures.


Extracted from: Recounting the Arya Samaj

Author: Avinash Arya Sriram

Produced by: Guyana Central Samaj

 

 

 

THE LIFE OF DAYANANDA SARASWATI

BY: PRAHLADA V. KULAGERI

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Dayananda Saraswathi: The founder of the Arya Samaj; The great sage who sought to restore to Hinduism its natural radiance and wisdom; The fearless reformer who saved the man who poisoned him - so boundless was his goodness.

This happened about 150 years ago.

Saurashtra of the present Gujarat State consisted of several small states. Among them was Morvi. Tankara was a town in this state. There lived a wealthy Brahmin, Karshanji Lalji Tiwari by name; he was also the tahsildar of Tankara. The ruler of Morvi had granted him a small troop of horses (cavalry) both for protection and as a mark of honour.

Karshanji was a good and just man. He was generous in his dealings. He had faith in religious practices that had come down from times immemorial. His wife, Amrithbai, was a beautiful and virtuous woman. She was like a mother to all the villagers. In 1824, a son was born to the couple. They named him Moolashankar. According to the custom of the place, he was also called Dayaram. This child was to become famous as Maharshi Dayananda.

When he attained the age of five, Moolashankar's education started. At the age of eight, his Upanayana Samskara (being invested with the holy thread) was performed. The boy used to perform religious rites like Sandhyavandana with devotion. He had a very good memory. By the time he was fourteen he had learnt by heart the Yajurveda, the scriptures and the Upanishads.

Karshanji wished that his son should follow in his footsteps by becoming a devotee of Shiva. He therefore used to describe the greatness of Shiva every now and then. He would advise the boy to worship Lord Shiva and only then eat something on days of festivals.

Moolashankar had an uncle whom he loved very much. His uncle himself was a simple man of great learning with a religious bent of mind. He influenced the boy deeply. Moolashankar had a sharp intellect and an extraordinary memory and so his uncle thought some day his nephew would become a great man.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

NOT FOR ME, THIS LIFE

It was Shivaratri. All the devotees gathered in the temple to keep awake all night and worship Lord Shiva. The boy Moola, too, went with his father. By midnight, one by one the worshippers fell asleep. But Moola was determined not to break the rule of the Shivaratri worship, so he sat gazing at the Shivalinga.

It was midnight. Near the Shivalinga a sacred lamp was burning dimly. Just then, some mice appeared from nowhere. They ate the preparations which had been placed before the Shivalinga as an offering, and danced fearlessly on the Shivalinga.

Moola gazed in amazement. The wheel of reflection began to rotate. What is this? The father used to tell him that Shiva was All-Powerful and the very Source of Power. How was it that the Shivalinga kept quiet when the mice moved about on it? The boy's mind was confused. Without knowing what to do, he gently touched and awakened his father and said, "Father, was this the great God about whom you told me? Or is this linga some other substance?"

Irritated, his father cried, "What? If you talk like an atheist, you will lose your power of speech. Beyond doubt this Shivalinga is the great Shiva."

The boy again said softly, "Certainly not, father. The Shiva you speak of is the Life-Force itself. But this Shivalinga is motionless matter."

This answer increased the father's anger. But what his son said was logical. The conversation went on.

Father: Son, what you say is true. It is an idol, and not Shiva.

Moolashankar: Then why should we worship this idol instead of Shiva?

Father: My son, in this age of man's history, in Kaliyuga, Lord Shiva cannot be seen by human beings in His real form. So, if we worship Him with the belief that Shiva resides in the idol, He will be pleased to give us Moksha (salvation).

Moolashankar: In that case, we can also assume we have worshipped Him directly. Why worship the idol?

Karshanji found no answer to this question. But the mind of the child was perplexed.

Once cholera broke out in Tankara. The fourteen-year-old sister of Moola fell a victim to cholera. Parents, brothers and relatives wept in great grief. But Moolashankar alone did not weep. But he sat beside the dead body of his sister and gazed on it. This sudden death, however, set him thinking. Many visitors said, "What a heartless fellow he is!"

In due course, all of them forgot about the death of the girl. But Moola, branded as heartless by all, could not forget it. Death remained a riddle to him.

Three years after this incident Moolashankar's beloved uncle died of cholera. This was a terrible blow to Moolashankar. It was as though he had lost everything in life. This time Moola wept bitterly. His weeping would have melted even a stone.

The death of his sister had made him move away from worldly life. This aversion became stronger after the death of his uncle. The desire not to fall a prey to worldly pleasures but to attain what was enduring took a deep root in his mind.


 

CHAPTER TWO

LEAVING HOME

The desire to give up family ties grew in Moolashankar. What is life? What is death? He wanted to learn the answers to these questions from a perfect sage. With this end in view, Mopolashankar was determined to leave home in search of a worthy guru (teacher). His parents noticed his growing detachment and were afraid that he might run away from home to become a monk. They decided he should soon be married. Even a bride was selected.The preparations for the marriage began in earnest. Moolashankar did not show any opposition, That gave his parents the impression that their son was willing to marry and they were happy. But Moolashankar's mind was firmly set upon renunciation of family life.

One day, as it was getting dark, Moolashankar came out of his room. He stood in the spacious courtyard and gazed for a moment at his wealthy home. In his mind he bowed for the last time to his parents and other elders from where he stood. His heart grew heavy. The eyes were full of tears. "I shall never again set foot in this house," he told himself and walked away.

At this time, Moolashankar was only twenty-one years old.

All the efforts of Karshanji to bring his son back home were of no avail.

 

CHAPTER THREE

WANDERING IN SEARCH OF A GURU


After leaving home, Moolashankar travelled to places like Ahmedabad, Baroda, Hardwar, Kanpur and Kashi in search of a guru. He wandered among hills and in forests but nowhere could he find an able guru.

At this juncture, Moolashankar came across Swami Poornananda, a profound scholar and sanyasi. The Swamiji initiated the young man into the holy orders. Moolashankar became Swami Dayananda Saraswathi.

As Dayananda wandered from place to place in search of yogis, on the heights of the Himalayan regions, his life was in danger again and again. He had to wander day and night in forests where wild beasts roamed. And in the midst of his wanderings his devotion to his goal was tested.

While he was staying at Okhi Mutt, the Mahant, who was in charge of that mutt, was impressed by his radiance, and said, "Stay here as the future master of this mutt. All the wealth of this mutt will be yours." But Dayananda, who had given up all desire, very politely declined the offer and said, "Sir, if I had desired wealth I would never have left my wealthy father's house. What I want is not earthly wealth, but the treasure of spiritual knowledge." So saying- he walked away from the place.

Even though Dayananda wandered for ten years, he could not find an able guru. This filled him with despair. He climbed to the top of a mountain to kill himself. As he was about to jump down, a part of his mind said, "Did you leave your house to die like a coward? You left to conquer death and attain enlightenment." This gave Dayananda fresh strength. He came down from the mountain, his mind firmly made up to find an able guru.

Then he came to know that perfect yogis lived in the dense forest near the source of the river Narmada. Dayananda walked hundreds of miles towards the south, disregarding the distance.

As he was approaching the river Narmada, Dayananda had the darshan of a monk, Poornashrama Swami by name, in a garden. He was happy to hear the story of Dayananda's wanderings. After hearing his story he said, "Dayanandaji, there is only one man on this earth who can fulfil your desire, and that man is Virajananda Dandeesha. He lives in Mathura."

This was a ray of hope to Dayananda. Without any delay he set out for Mathura. He reached there on the 14th November 1860.

 

 

CHAPTER 4

THE MASTER AND THE DISCIPLE MEET



Dayananda, a brilliant sanyasi of 36, knocked at the door of Swami Virajananda's school which was on the way to Vishrant Ghat in Mathura. A grave voice spoke to him from within.

Virajananda : What is your name?

Dayananda: Gurudeva, I, your servant, am called Dayananda Saraswathi.

Virajananda: What do you want?

Dayananda: I have come in search of you to beg for spiritual enlightenment.

Virajananda: Do you know grammar?

Dayananda: I have studied 'Kaumudi' and 'Saraswatha' (two famous texts of Sanskrit grammar).

Virajananda: What? Kaumudi? Saraswatha? What useless books! Go away from here. Throw them into the river Yamuna and come back. Then only I will open the door.

As ordered by the guru, Dayananda went to the river Yamuna. Dayananda had journeyed hundreds of miles carrying those books on his head. But now, without any attachment to the books, he threw them into the river and went back and said, "Gurudeva, I have carried out your orders." The door was opened.

Dayananda entered. Before him was Virajananda sitting on a deer’s skin, cross-legged. Although he was mere skin and bone, his face glowed with a matchless radiance. Dayananda fell at the feet of this embodiment of renunciation. Virajananda touched is head to bless Dayananda with affection.

Dayananda looked at his guru in amazement. The master had no eyes and could not read a single letter. But he was the living form of enlightenment and could clear all the doubts of his disciples, quoting passages from all the scriptures. Dayananda felt that this meeting with the great genius had fully rewarded all his hardships for fifteen years. He gladly surrendered himself at the feet of the great master.

 

CHAPTER 5

DAYANANAD'S DEVOTION TO HIS GURU


By his extraordinary devotion and sense of service, Dayananda soon became the most beloved disciple. Every morning, whether it was hot, cold or raining, Dayananda 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. And Dayananda did every kind of work without the slightest hesitation. Several incidents show his extraordinary devotion to his master.

On one occasion, as Virajananda was teaching, something made him angry with Dayananda. Then with his thin hand he hit Dayananda on the back so hard that the teacher's hand began to ache. After a while Dayananda slowly approached his guru and said in all humility, "Gurudeva, my body is hard like stone and beating like this cannot hurt it. Only your hands will ache. Hereafter, when you punish me, kindly make use of a cane instead of your hand."

Dayananda's request was not in vain. At another time, when Virajananda was displeased with Dayananda for some reason, he struck him with a stick. Seeing this, Nayansukha, his schoolmate, said, "Gurudeva, it is not proper to treat such a great sanyasi in this way. He should be treated with respect." When the lessons were over, Dayananda took objection to his friend's disrespectful behaviour and said, "Do you think that our Gurudeva beat me out of hatred? Just as a potter shapes the lump of clay by pounding and beating it, the guru shapes the personality of his disciple by beating him and correcting him. You should not have spoken like that. "


Later on, when Dayananda attained the status of a 'maharshi' and became a teacher of the people, he used show the marks on his shoulders made by Virajananda and say: "These marks always remind me of all that I owe to my master."

 

CHAPTER 6

TRIUMPH AT KASHI 


After his education, as ordained by his guru, Swami Dayananda undertook to travel to preach Vedic Knowledge among the people. He went places like Agra, Ajmer, Jaipur, Gwalior Meerut, Hardwar and Kanpur. There he discussed the scriptures and the meaning with the pundits and scored resounding victories over them. 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." Without Supporting or opposing any particular religion he pointed out the shortcomings of every one of them. He bitterly criticized the harmful and wicked customs that have come down through the centuries. He explained the greatness of the religion preached in the Vedas and gave a clarion call to all peoples to unite under its banner.

So Dayananda sought to awaken people to their heritage. In the course of his travels, he came to Kashi (Benares) on 22nd October 1869. He took part in debates with the greatest scholars in Kashi. The meeting was attended by fifty to sixty thousand people. At the appointed hour, the president of the gathering, Maharaja Eshwari Prasad Narayan Singh of Kashi, took the chair. On one side was Swami Dayananda all alone. On the other side were twenty seven distinguished scholars of Kashi.

The debate on the interpretation of the scriptures began. The question was whether the Vedas approved image worship. The scholars had to admit defeat in the face of Swami Dayananda's arguments. Just then, a scholar Madhawacharya by name came up with two sheets of paper and asked a question. Dayananda picked up the sheets and began to read. A few minutes must have passed. Suddenly the Maharaja of Kashi declared, "Swamy Dayananda has not been able to answer the questions posed by the pundits." So saying he clapped his hands. The scholars of Kashi shouted, "Dayananda has no answer. Great victory to the Kashi pundits! Defeat to Dayananda!" Rowdies began to throw stones, slippers, cowdung and such things at Dayananda. Some of them hit Dayananda and he was wounded. Blood dropped from some of the wounds. Dayanandaji, who had attained a state of perfect serenity, endured everything and remained as if nothing had happened. But the chief pundits of Kashi Taracharan Tarkaratna, Bala Shastri and others said, "Actually, what Swami Dayananda says is perfectly true. But we do not have the moral courage to go against the prevailing customs and traditions. So we have chosen to oppose him." So they said honestly in public.

The Maharaja of Kashi deeply regretted having taken sides in the debate on the scriptures. With great respect he invited Swami Dayananda to his palace and begged him to excuse him (the Maharaja) for his improper behaviour.

So, from the point of view of both scholarship and morality, it was Swami Dayananda who won a great victory in the true sense in the debates about the correct explanation of scriptural texts.

It was Swami Dayananda's keen desire to unite all people under the banner of a single religion. And he always worked hard towards this end.
 

 

CHAPTER 7

THE PIONEER OF THE CAUSE OF ONE

NATIONAL LANGUAGE


Swami Dayananda was convinced that a common language is a good means of unifying the members of a society. He, therefore, was of the opinion that Hindi should be given the place of the national language.

Swami Dayananda was born in Gujarat and had a fine command over Gujarati language. Still, even in Gujarat, he chose to make speeches in Hindi instead of in Gujarati. He wrote all his looks in Hindi.

 

CHAPTER 8

THE PATRIOT 


Even though Maharishi Dayananda aimed at the welfare of all humanity, he had great love for his motherland, India. Once an English officer was greatly impressed with Dayananda's speech and said to him, "Swamiji, please go to England and teach the way of Dharma (righteousness). I shall bear all the expenses." Thereupon Swamiji 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."

He did not give a thought to the fame he could attain in foreign lands. He chose to stay in his own country and strive to improve the lot of his countrymen. This shows his boundless love for his country.

Once, addressing a huge gathering, Dayananda thundered: "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 your glorious history. Take inspiration from it to mould the present. Shame upon the modern education which fills you with contempt for your ancestors!"
 

 

CHAPTER 9

THE MESSENGER OF ARMED REVOLUTION 


The patriotism of Swami Dayananda was not merely an effusion of words. He was also a man of heroic action. The War of Independence in 1857 was a failure. The Indian National Congress was born in 1885. Swami Dayananda was one of the heroes who, after the 1857 failure, kept the love of freedom alive in the hearts of Indians till the Congress was founded. For this purpose he travelled throughout India. He tried to bring the princes of different states together and so he founded several branches of the Arya Samaj in places like Jodhpur, Udaipur and Shahpur, and many princes became his disciples. Swami Dayananda was fully convinced that only an armed revolution could drive the British out of India. Therefore he sent a noted revolutionary, Shyamji Krishna Varma, to France, so that he might receive inspiration as well as training for his mission.

Arya Samaj and the gurukulas (homes of gurus wheredisciples stayed and received instruction) shaped patriots and gave them training and inspiration for armed revolution. Swami Shraddhananda, Bhai Parama- nanda, Lala Lajapat Ray and Lala Hardayal were Arya Samajists who openly fought to drive the British out of India. Famous young revolutionaries like Gendalal Dixit, Roshanial and Ramprasad Bismil were proud to call themselves Arya Samajists.

From the very beginning the British were suspicious of Swami Dayananda. Therefore, a team of spies followed Swamiji everywhere. It has been rumoured that the British had a hand in the poisoning of Swamiji at Jodhpur.

 

 

CHAPTER 10

A MAN OF STEEL


Swami Dayananda had a wonderful physique. When he was at Kasaganj an incident happened which showed his exceptional strength.

It so happened that two strong bulls were fighting in a street. Hundreds of people watched the fight from a distance, shivering with fear. The fight went on for quite some time but showed no signs of coming to an end. Swami Dayananda pushed through the crowd and walked up to the bulls. The people watching him ware terrified and shouted, "Swamiji, if you go near them, you won't return alive. Come back!"

But the Swamiji did not pay attention to them. He went towards the bulls. Suddenly he took both the huge bulls by their horns and pushed them away with a tremendous force. Without looking back the bulls went away in different directions. The people near by were amazed at the superhuman strength of the obstinate sanyasi.

It was because of this extraordinary physical strength that Dayananda could live for a month even after drinking deadly poison.

 

CHAPTER 11

SOCIAL REFORMER


Although a sanyasi, Dayananda had a sensitive and compassionate heart that melted at the sufferings of the poor. "To love the creation of God is to love God Himself" - so he taught people.

To awaken people from lethargy, Swamiji travelled all over India. Wherever he went, he roundly condemned the caste system, idol worship, child marriage and other harmful customs and traditions. He preached that women should have equal rights with men and laid stress on pure conduct in life. This created a stir among the people. Over the centuries, with the passing of time, some wicked customs had crept into Hinduism. These customs stood out prominently and therefore the real power and greatness of Hinduism were dimmed. With the teachings of Swami Dayananda true Hinduism came to shine forth. Thousands of young people who had been influenced by Western Culture and were about to accept Christianity turned back and became the staunch followers of Vedic religion. Some times Hindus who had gone over to other religions wished to come back. But the Hindus would not permit this. Swami Dayananda took the Christian and Muslim converts back into the Hindu fold by performing purification rites for them. So it may be said that Dayananda brought about a revolution in the social life of Indians.

He laid particular emphasis on the equality of women. He used to say that India had fallen to such a miserable condition precisely because women were not given education but were kept in ignorance. As long as women were prisoners of foolish customs like the purdah, progress was beyond reach like the reflection of a bundle of jewels in a mirror. They should throw away their purdahs. Seeta and Savitri are remembered not because they were behind the purdah, but because of their chastity and virtue. So he went on preaching.

Dayananda was bitterly opposed to Untouchability. "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." So he preached.

Dayananda was fully convinced that the nation cannot prosper unless education spreads. But our education system should not be a mere carbon copy of the western type of education. There should be a law to compel the parents to send every boy or girl who is eight years old to school. Every boy and every girl should be sent to Gurukulas where they stay with their gurus. There should be separate Gurukulas for boys and girls. The King's son and the farmer's son should be equals in a Gurukula. They should all be made to work alike. The Gurukula should be situated far from the town and the city, and should enjoy calm and serenity. Our culture and our great books like the Vedas should be introduced to our students. Side by side, mathematics, geology, astronomy and other sciences which are important in modern life should also be taught. Swamy Dayananda founded gurukulas at various places to fulfil these objects. Among them Kangadi is famous even to this day.

 

 

CHAPTER 12

THE FOUNDER OF THE ARYA SAMAJ


Dayananda wished that his work of social reform should continue even after his death. So he founded an institution called Arya Samaj at Bombay on the 10th of April 1875. Gradually it grew into a huge institution and spread even beyond the shores of India.

Millions of Hindus were influenced by the Arya Samaj. Arya Samaj has rendered boundless and unequalled service to society through its religious centers, its gurukulas, schools and colleges, educational institutions for women, orphanages and asylums for widows.

 

CHAPTER 13

'SATYARTH PRAKASH'- A GREAT WORK


Another very important contribution of Swami Dayananda is his work 'Satyarth Prakash' (The Light of Truth). It contains fourteen chapters. It is a great book. It explains the true meaning of the Vedas and therefore is 'Satyarth Prakash'. And it is based solely on the Vedas.

All the teachings of Swami Dayananda are clearly explained in this work. He has shown that his teachings have the support of the Vedas. He has clearly pointed out the harmful customs and practices not only of the Hindus but also of the followers of other religions. He gave a hero's call to the people of India to shake off their slavery. He declared that it was not sufficient for any religion to teach a man how to attain salvation after death; it must also show a man how to live usefully in this world. The Vedic religion has shown every man the right path, by placing before him the four-fold ideal of righteousness, wealth, enjoyment and salvation.

In those days the people were ignorant of the Vedas. Swami Dayananda strove hard to dispel this ignorance among the masses. His teaching was this: man's main aim is salvation - but if we do not live worthily on the earth we cannot attain this salvation. This teaching he supported with passages from the Vedas. And he exhorted people to turn to the Vedas.

 

CHAPTER 14

THE SANYASI WHO KNEW NO FEAR


Dayananda was a fearless sanyasi. Whatever he believed to be the truth he spoke out without fear. Once a priest - Shulbred by name - threatened him saying, "If you criticize Christianity, you will have to go to jail." Dayananda, replied at once, "My friend, was not Jesus Christ crucified for speaking the truth? But I fear no one enough to prevent me from speaking the truth."

Dayananda used to point out flaws in other religions just as he pointed out the flaws in Hinduism. Because of this, he had to incur the wrath of the followers of other religions several times. While he was giving a discourse at a Jodhpur meeting, the relative of a Diwan there placed his hand on a sword and said, "Be careful! Don't criticize our religion." The Diwan even said, "You should be cut to pieces."

Dayananda said, "I shall point out defects wherever I find them. I am not a rabbit to be frightened by the cries of jackals like you," and he pin-pointed the flaws in his religion, as well.

 

CHAPTER 15

MERCY TO THE MAN WHO POISONED HIM

Dayananda argued that God has no shape, and therefore, that idols should not be worshipped. This was not acceptable to the majority of Hindus. But none of them could answer his arguments. So some of them began to secretly plan his murder. Thousands of Hindu converts were taken back into Hindu fold by purification rites conducted by Dayananda. This made the followers of these religions angry. So Dayananda was in danger both from the followers of his own religion and from the followers of other religions. And he had to walk along this path full of dangers.

An Anupashahar, a certain Hindu deceived the Swamiji and gave him pan-supari (betel leaf and nuts) containing poison. Afterwards Dayananda realized that he had been poisoned. He went to the river and with the help of Yoga, he removed the poison by vomiting all the food he had swallowed and saved himself. Even then he did not utter a single word to the man who poisoned him. But he felt sad that the Hindus could not understand their true well-wisher. Syed Saheb was the tahsildar of the place and a devotee of Dayananda; he came to know what had happened and arrested the poisoner. When he learnt this, Dayananda was angry and said, "Sir, I have come here to free people from bondage and not to put them in bondage." On hearing this Syed Saheb was moved to tears. He felt that the Swamiji was in every way worthy of his name 'Dayananda' (one who delights in mercy).

At last the killers gained the upper hand. Once Swami Dayananda went to Jodhpur. Maharaja Jaswant Singh, the prince of the state, was a man of bad character. He was in love with a girl called Nanhi Jan. Many a time the Maharaja had brought shame upon himself by his conduct. Dayananda told him clearly that his action was morally wrong and shameful. So Nanhi Jan came to hate the Swamiji bitterly.

It was the night of 20th September 1883. As usual the Swamiji drank some milk and went to bed. At about midnight he felt a severe pain in the stomach. When he woke up Dayananda realized that poison had entered his stomach. Immediately he vomited a couple of times, but it was of no avail. The poison had already entered the blood and spread throughout his body. It caused a burning sensation in his stomach and chest. On the next day, a doctor, Dr. Alimardan Khan, was called in. But his medicine only made Dayananda's condition worse. His body was full of sores. And blood was oozing out. This hellish torture lasted several days. The Maharaja, too, was very sad; but he could do nothing. However, he arranged to send Dayananda to a different place for treatment. And he himself was one of the bearers of the palanquin for a short distance.

One day, when there was no one near by, Swami Dayananda called his cook Dhaul Mishra. Seeing the blood oozing out of Dayananda's body, the cook could not control his grief. He said, "I listened to traitors and mixed powdered glass with your milk. My God, I have committed a heinous sin! Please forgive me." So saying he broke down. Dayananda consoled him with the words, "It was my fate. How are you to blame?" He then placed two hundred rupees in his hands and said, "If the Maharaja comes to know this, you will be in trouble. So go away to distant Nepal and hide yourself. Let this money be with you for your journey." So saying he sent away the Cook to a place of safety.

Afterwards Swami Dayananda was removed to Mount Abu for further treatment, and from there to Ajmir. But no effort could save him. The 30th of October 1883 was Deepavali day. He had a shave and bath, and lay down on his bed in a white loin cloth. Afterwards he called his disciples to his bedside and took a last look at them all with a benevolent smile. He then recited the Gayathri mantra and closed his eyes in Samadhi. It was six in the evening. The word 'Om' came from his mouth; and then his breathing stopped.

Dayananda was a great philosopher, a mighty logician, a magnificent speaker, a great man of letters, social reformer, patriot, philonthropist and sage, and a precursor of armed revolution; he was the embodiment of pure and noble conduct. He taught people to think independently and fearlessly.

Dayananda was a great Rishi (a sage). He sacrificed the great joy that would have been his by observing yoga practices. He chose a very difficult life for the well-being of mankind. But what did he get in return for all this? Beatings, insults, abuses and poison. He accepted all this with a smile. And he always wished the well-being of all mankind.

Extracted from: Hindunet (Visit)
 

 

 

THE ADVENT OF MAHAA RISHI

DAYAANANDA SARASWATI

(1824-1883)

 

THE RISHI'S LIFE- PRINICIPAL EVENTS

AT A GLANCE 



Moolshankar - as was the Rishi’s childhood name - was born on February 12, 1824 in the village of Tankaaraa, Morvi, in Kathiawar, Gujerat. His father, Amba Shankar (also known as Karsan Tiwari) was an orthodox Shivite Brahmin. The following summarizes principal events of the Swami’s life:
 

 

DATES & PRINCIPAL EVENTS



Feb. 12, 1824 - Moolshankar born in Tankaaraa - home education begins

1832 - Invested with sacred yajyopaveet thread

1837 - Participates in Shivaratri fast - loses faith in idol worship

1841 - Sister dies – excessive emotional disturbance - mourns in silence

1842 - Uncle dies - cries bitterly - resolves to seek means to conquer death

1846-1855 - Leaves home in search of learned yogis – initiated into Brahmacharya as Shuddha Chaitanya - later caught by father and brought home - escapes again. Tours length and breath of Northern India - speaks with several yogis, scholars, teachers. Initiated into Sannyaas as Dayananda Saraswati by Swami Poornananda. Taught Yoga by Jwalanand Puri and Sivanand Giri

1855 - Attended Kumbha Mela at Haridwar for the first time

Nov. 14, 1860 - Arrives in Mathura and gains admission to Gurukul of Swami Virjanand Saraswati to study Sanskrit Grammar

April, 1863 - Completes education - undertakes a solemn vow to teach Rishi-written books – takes leave of Guru Swami Virjanand

1863-1865 - Lives at Agra – devotes his time to study and reflection in preparing for his life mission

Jan. 24, 1865 - Commences his public ministry at Gwalior City

1865-1866 - Visits several cities in North India, conducting lectures and disputations

Dec. 1866 - Visits Guru Virjanand in Mathura - presents him with gifts - reports on his reform work

March 12, 1867 - Attends the Kumbh Mela at Haridwar. Hoists his famous Paakhand Khandani Flag

1867-1868 - Continues lectures and diputations in many Cities

Sept. 14, 1868 - Guru Virjanand passes away - Swami Dayananda exclaims: “Alas! The sun of Sanskrit Grammar has set today!”

Oct. 26, 1869 - Arrives in Banaras. Challenges Hindu Pandits

Nov. 16, 1869 - Famous Kaashi Shaastraarth, the debate with 21 front-line Pandits of Banaras in the presence of approximately 50,000 people on the question of whether idol-worship is sanctioned in the Vedas. The Pandits lose the debate and create pandemonium. Swamiji suffers bodily harm

1869-1872 - Continues lectures and disputations in many Cities

Dec. 16, 1872 - Visits Calcutta and meets with Keshav Chandra Sen and Maharshi Devendranath Tagore of the Brahmo Samaj

Dec. 26, 1873 - Visits Aligarh on the invitation of Raja Jaikishen Das. Raja suggests that Swamiji publish his ideas

May, 1874 - Swamiji delivers first lecture in faltering Hindi at Banaras

June 12, 1874 - Begins dictating the contents of the Satyaarth Prakaash

Jan. 16, 1875 - Seeks to convert the Prarthana Samaj at Rajkot into Arya Samaj

April 10, 1875 - Establishes the Arya Samaj in Bombay

June, 1875 - First Edition of the Satyaarth Prakaash published by Star Press, Banaras

January, 1877 - Visits Delhi on occasion of the Imperial Darbar held on the eve of Queen Victoria becoming the Empress of India. Convenes a meeting of leaders of different faiths to exhort them to work unitedly for the nation. Present were Sayyad Ahmad Khan, Keshav Chandra Sen, Munshi Indramani, Naveenchandra Rai, and others.

March, 1877 - Visits Chandaapur Inter-Faith Fair - seeks to unite all Religious Leaders. Present were Rev. T.J. Scott, Rev. Noble, and Moulvi Mahammad Kasim

March 31, 1877 - Swamiji arrives in Ludhiana, Punjab

Feb. 27, 1879 - Visits Kumbha Mela at Haridwar for the third time

May 1, 1879 - Colonel H.S. Olcott and Madame Blavatsky visit Swamiji for the first time.

Sept. 1879 - Swami Shraddhaanand (Munshi Raam) sees Rishi Dayananda for first time. Rishi sends his autobiography to be published in the Theosophist

Feb. 12, 1880 - Swamiji establishes Vedic Yantraalaya Printing Press at Banaras

Aug. 16, 1880 - Establishes Paropkaarini Sabha, a Charitable Trust

May 5, 1881 - Pandit Lekh Ram sees Rishi Dayananda for first time

Feb. 27, 1883 - Swamiji registers his Final Will

March 28, 1882 - Presents a letter of protest against cow slaughter to Queen Victoria through the Viceroy. Letter signed by 250,000 people.

Sept. 26, 1883 - Swamiji poisoned in Jodhpur

Oct. 30, 1883 - Diwali Day - Swamiji breathes his last with the words - Lord! Let Your Will Be Done!

 

Extracted from: Arya Samaj Today (Visit)

Author: Arya Samaj Today Online

Produced by: Maharishi Dayanand Gurukul

 

 

A STATEMENT OF

MY BELIEF

A BELIEF IN HARMONY WITH REASONING

BY: MAHARISHI DAYANAND SARASWATI



I believe in a religion based on universal and all-embracing principles which have always been accepted as true by mankind and will continue to command the allegiance of mankind in the ages to come. Hence that religion in question is called the primeval eternal religion, which means that it is above the hostility of all human creeds whatsoever.

Whatever is believed in by those who are steeped in ignorance or have been led astray by sectaries is not worthy of being accepted by the wise. That faith alone is really true and worthy of acceptance which is followed by aptas i.e., those who are true in word, deed and thought, who promote public good and are impartial and learned. But all that is discarded by such men must be considered as unworthy of belief and false.


My conception of God and all other objects in the universe is founded on the teachings of Veda and other true Shastras, and is in conformity with the beliefs of all the sages, from Brahmadown to Jaimini. I offer a statement of these beliefs for the acceptance fo all good men. That alone I hold to be acceptable which is worthy of being believed by all men of all ages.

I do not entertain the least idea of founding a new religion or sect. My sole aim is to believe in truth and help others to believe in it, to reject falsehood and help others to do the same.

Had I been biased, I would have championed any one of the religions prevailing in India. But I have not done so. On the contrary, I do no approve of what is objectionable and false in the institutions of this or any other country, nor do I reject what is good and in harmony with the dictates of true religion, nor have I any desire to do so, since a contrary conduct is wholly unworthy of man. He alone is entitled to be called a man who possesses a thoughtful nature and feels for other in
the same way as he does for his own self, does not fear the unjust however powerful, but fears the truly virtuous, however weak. Moreover, he should always act worthily towards them even though they be extremely poor and weak and destitute of material resources.

On the other hand, he should constantly strive to destroy, humble, and oppose the wicked sovereign rulers of the whole earth, though men of great influence and power they be. In other words, a man should, as far as it lies within his power, constantly endeavor to undermine the power of the unjust and to strengthen that of the just. He may have to bear any amount of terrible suffering, he may have even to quaff the bitter cup of death in the performance of this duty, which devolves on him on account of being a man, but he should not shirk it.

King Bhatri Hari and other wise men have composed verses on the subject which I subjoin with the hope that they will prove useful:-


  • "The worldly-wise may praise one or censure him; fortune may smile on him or frown on him; death may overtake him immediately or he may live for ages, but a wise man does not swerve from the path of justice." BHARTRI HARI.

  • "Let a man never renounce dharma (righteousness) either through lust or through fear, or through greed or even to save his life, since dharma is imperishable, while pleasure or pain is perishable, the soul is immortal, while the body is mortal." MAHAABHARAAT.

  • "There is only one true friend that accompanies one ever after death. All others desert one as soon as death has overtaken him." MANU.

  • "It is truth that conquers, not error. It is the path of rectitude alone that men of learning and piety have trodden, and it is by following this path that the great sages of righteous desires have reached the highest citadel of truth - (namely) God." UPANISHAD.

    "Verily there is no virtue higher than truth; no sin blacker than falsehood. Verily there is no knowledge higher than truth; let a man therefore, always follow truth." UPANISHAD.

Let all men have the same kind of firm faith (in the power of truth and justice) as has been expressed by great souls (in the above verses).

Now I give below a brief summary of my beliefs. Their detailed exposition has been given in this book (Satyarth Prakash) in its proper place.

  • He, who is called Brahma or the Most High; who is Paramatma, or the Sprit who permeates the whole universe; who is Truth, Intelligence and Happiness; whose nature, attributes and doings are holy; who is omniscient, incorporeal, all-pervading, unborn, infinite, almighty, just and merciful; who is the Author of the universe, its Protector and Destroyer; who weighs the merits and demerits of individuals according to the requirements of absolute justice and equity, - even Him I believe to be the Lord of the Creation.

  • The four Vedas, the repository of Knowledge and Religious Truth, are the Word of God. They comprise what is known as the Samhita – Mantra portion 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 manifester of its own existence, - yea, it reveals the existence of things other than itself – even so are the Vedas.

  • The commentaries of the four Vedas, viz., the Brahmanas, the six Angas, the six Upangas, the four Upavedas, and the eleven hundred and twentyseven Shakas, 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 contrary to the Vedic doctrine, I reject them entirely.

  • That which is devoid of partiality, which inculcates justice and equity, which teaches truthfulness of 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 and deed - in a word, that which is antagonistic to the Will of God, as embodied in the Vedas, that I term Adharma.

  • 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 - that I term Atma, Soul.

  • God and Soul are two distinct entities. Each has certain attributes which are not and cannot be predicated 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. 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, nor shall ever be one and the same, even so God and Soul are (in relation) to each other. Their mutual relation is that of the pervader and pervaded, of father and son. The one worships and the other is worshipped.

  • 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 remain eternally the same.

  • Things, properties, and functions, which result from combination, are destroyed on the occurrence of a separation. But the power or force, by virtue of which a substance unites with anther or separates from it, is eternally inherent in the substance, and that power will compel it to seek similar unions and disunions in the future. The unions and disunions, as well as the power by virtue of which they take place, are also eternal, in consequence of the regularity of their succession.

  • That which results from a combination of a primary elements compounded together consistently with a thorough 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.

  • The Purpose of Creation is the essential and natural exercise of the creative energy of the Deity. A person once asked, “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 be exercised. The enjoyment of the fruit of their actions by Souls, and so on, is also the Purpose of Creation.

  • The Creation has a Creator, and that is no other than the aforementioned God. 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.

  • Earthly Bondage (Samskara) has a cause. This cause is Ignorance (Advidya), 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 everyone wants to escape but which he must undergo.

  • The Emancipation of the soul from pain and suffering of every description, its enjoying, unburdened by the gross physical body, a career of freedom in the all-pervading God and His immense Creation for a stated period, and its resumption of earthly life after the expiration of that period - this I term Moksha, Salvation.

  • The means of Salvation are the worship of God (Havan) or the contemplation of His nature and attributes with concentrated attention (Sandhya), the practice of virtue (Dharma), a thorough control over the passions during the period of study (Brahmacharya), the society of the wise and learned, the love of true knowledge, purity of thought, active benevolence, and so on.

  • Artha is wealth acquired by honesty and fair-dealing; but that which is the fruit of dishonesty and fraud, - that is Anarth or unrighteous wealth.

  • Kama or true enjoyments are those which are the combined fruit of uprightness of principle and honestly-acquired wealth.

  • The ‘caste’ of an individual is determined by merit and sterling worth only.

  • He alone deserves the title of ‘king’ who is endowed with exalted qualities and benevolent intentions, who delights in virtuous deeds, whose mind is free from bias and partiality, who follows the dictates of justice, who loves and treats his subjects as his own offspring and who, as such, is ever engaged in promoting their interests and their happiness.

  • He alone deserves to be called as ‘subject’ who, possessed of excellent qualities and actuated by good motives, delighting the virtuous deeds, free from the influence of prejudice and following the behests of justice, is ever engaged in furthering the happiness of his fellow subjects and that of his sovereign, whom he regards in the light of a parent, provided the said sovereign is not an enemy of the empire.

  • He who always thinks and judges for himself, who is ever ready to accept truth and reject falsehood, who puts down the unjust but patronizes the just, who has as much regard for the happiness of others as his own – even him I call Just.

  • Devas 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.

  • Devapuja consists in showing honor and respect to the wise and learned, to one’s father and mother, to the imparters of knowledge, to the itinerant preachers of the true doctrine, to just and impartial sovereigns, to lovers of righteousness, to the women who are chaste and faithful to their husbands, to the men who are devoted and faithful to their wives. The opposite of this is called Adevapuja or the worship of demons. To respect the good (as explained and detailed in this para.) is real worship, but he worship of dead, unconscious objects I utterly abhor.

  • That, of which the fruit is the acquisition of knowledge courteousness and good behavior, uprightness of principle, and purity of thought, which dispels ignorance, -even that is Education.

  • The Puranas (ancient commentaries of the Vedas and other works on theology) are the Aitreya Bahmana and similar compositions by the great Rishis like Brahma and others. In Itihas or history I include the Kalpa, Gatha, and Narashansi. The Bhagvat and other books of that sort are not Puranas.

  • Tirth is that by means of which the ‘sea of pain’ is crossed. It consists in truthfulness of speech, in the acquisition of true knowledge, in cultivating the society of the wise and good, in the practice of morality, in contemplating the nature and attributes of the Deity with concentrated attention, in active benevolence, in the diffusion of education, and so on. Bathing-places, etc., are no Tirths.

  • An energetic and active life is preferable to passive acquiescence in the decrees of fate, inasmuch as destiny is the consequence 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 maker of destiny, virtuous activity is superior to passive resignation.

  • The most approved behavior of one man towards his fellow-creatures lies in his treating every one according to his worth, in sympathizing with him, from the core of his joys and sorrows, in his losses and gains. The contrary conduct is reprehensible.

  • Sanskar or ceremonial is that which contributes to man’s physical, mental, and spiritual improvement. The Sanskars (ceremonies), from conception to cremation, 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.

  • The performance of Yajna is a most commendable duty. It consists in showing honor and respect to the wise and learned, in the proper application of the principles of the chemistry and physical science 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 the healthy growth of vegetables, directly tends to promote the well-being of all sentient creatures.

  • Aryas are men of exalted principle, the Dasyus those who lead a life of wickedness and sin.

  • This country is called Aryavarta, because it has been the residence of the Aryas from the very dawn of creation. It is bounded on the north by the Himalayas, on the south by the Vindhya mountains, on the east by the Attak, and on the west by the Brahmputra. The tract within these limits is alone Aryavarta, and those that have been living in it from times immemorial are Aryas.

  • He alone is an Acharya who can teach the sciences of the Vedas and their commentaries, who inculcates, both by example and precept, the practice of virtue and the avoidance of what is impure and immoral.

  • He alone is Shishya (Pupil) who has the capacity for assimilating knowledge and grasping truth, whose moral character is impeccable, who is eager to learn, and devoted to his teacher.

  • By the term Guru is meant father or mother. It also applies to all those through whose instrumentality the mind is grounded in truth and weened from falsehood.

  • He is a Purohita or Priest who wishes well to his Yajmans, and preaches to them Absolute Truth.

  • An Upadhya or Professor is one who can teach certain portions of the Vedas, or who can teach the Angas.

  • Shishtachar consists in accepting Truth and rejecting untruth, realized and detected after deep and prolonged study, carried on in perfect purity of heart, and after a careful examination of the laws of nature. The man who practices shishtachar is called a gentleman.

  • I admit the validity of proof based on ocular demonstration, and with it the remaining seven kinds of proofs.

  • I call him Apt whose veracity is unimpeachable, who is man of pure moral character, and who labors for the good of others.

  • Those are really principles of truth that can satisfy five tests:

     

    • They must not militate against nature and attributes of God.
    • They must be in accord with the teachings of the Vedas.
    • They must be in keeping with the well-known eight kinds of proofs based on natural laws.
    • They must be consistent with the thoughts and ways of men of pure lives.
    • They must be approved of by the internal spirit.
    Every doctrine must be subjected to these five tests, and accepted if it can satisfy them all.

  • That is Paropkar or philantrophy which reclaims men from their vices and alleviates their sufferings, which implies them on in the direction of virtue, and thus promotes the general weal.

  • The Soul is a free agent, at liberty to act as it pleases, but it is dependent on God for the enjoyment of the fruit of its actions. God is free and independent in dispensing justice and in enforcing every one of His just and righteous law.

  • Swarga is a prolonged enjoyment of happiness and the possession of things which conduce to this happiness.

  • Narka means prolonged suffering suffering and everything that contributes to pain and suffering.

  • Janma or birth is the Soul’s assumption of the gross, visible body. Viewed in relation to time its existence is three-fold, viz., past, present and future.

  • Birth means the union of the Soul with the body, and death their separation.

  • When according to the rules prescribed by the Shastras, a person bestows, as the result of reciprocal affection, his or her hand upon one of the opposite sex and in a public manner, he or she is said to contract marriage.

  • Niyoga is a temporary union of a person with another of the opposite sex belonging to his or her plane or moving in a higher sphere 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 productive energy in the husband or wife.

  • Stuti (or praise) is the enumeration of Divine attributes and qualities, with the view to fix them in the mind and realize their meaning. Among other things it inspires us with love towards God.

  • Prarthana is praying to God, after one has done his own best, for the gift of knowledge and similar, other blessings which result from a communion with Him. Its principle fruit is humility and serenity of mind.

  • Upaasanaa is conforming uourselves, as far as possible, in purity and holiness to the Divine Spirit. It is feeling the presence of the Deity in the Soul by ther realization of His all-pervading nature. Upaasanaa extends the bounds of our knowledge.

  • Sagun Stuti is praising God by the enumeration of 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; Nirgun Prarthana is imploring the Deity to cast out from us that which is evil.

  • Saguna Upaasanaa is the realization, in the Soul, of the presence of God as possessing attributes which are inherent in Him, while Nirguna Upaasanaa is the realization, in the Soul, of the presence of God as distinct from what is foreign of His nature.



In other words I believe what is worthy of belief in the eyes of all, such as verity of speech; while I do not believe what is considered wrong by all, such as untruthfulness. I do not approve of the mutual wrangling of the sectaries, since they have, by propagating their creeds, led the people astray and turned them into each other's enemy.

The sole aim of my life, which I have also endeavored to achieve, is this: help to put an end to this mutual wrangling, preach universal truths, bring all men into the fold of one religion whereby they may cease to hate each other and, instead, may firmly love one another, live in peace and work for their common weal.

May this doctrine, through the grace and help of God, and with the support of all truthful, honest and learned men who are devoted to the cause of humanity (aptas) reach every nook and corner of this earth so that all may acquire righteousness, wealth, gratify legitimate desires and attain salvation and thereby elevate themselves and live in happiness. This alone is the chief object (of my life).


A Word To The Wise

"Mayest Thou, O God (AUM), Who art Friend of all (Mitra), Holiest of all (Varun), and Controller of the Universe (Aryama), be merciful unto us. Mayest Thou, O God Almighty (Indra), Lord of the Universe (Vrihaspati), Support of All, endow us with knowledge and power, Mayest Thou, O Omnipresent (Vishnu) and Omnipotent Being (Kurukrama), shower Thy blessings all around us."

OM