The nation is paying tributes to the social reformer and founder of Arya Samaj Swami Dayananda Saraswati Ji on his 198th birth anniversary.
Dayananda Saraswati (12th February 1824 – 30th October 1883) was an Indian philosopher, social leader and founder of the Arya Samaj, a reform movement of the Vedic dharma.
He was the first to give the call for Swaraj as ‘India for Indians’ in 1876, a call later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak.
Denouncing the idolatry and ritualistic worship, he worked towards reviving Vedic ideologies.
Subsequently, the philosopher and President of India, S. Radhakrishnan called him one of the ‘makers of Modern India’, as did Sri Aurobindo.
Those who were influenced by and followed Dayananda included Madam Cama, Swami Shraddhanand, Shyamji Krishna Varma, Bhagat Singh, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Lala Lajpat Rai etc.
He was a sanyasi (ascetic) from boyhood and a scholar. He believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Dayananda advocated the doctrine of Karma and Reincarnation.
Among Dayananda’s contributions were his promoting of the equal rights for women, such as the right to education and reading of Indian scriptures, and his commentary on the Vedas from Vedic Sanskrit in Sanskrit as well as in Hindi.