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Dayanand Saraswati

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Dayanand Saraswati
Feb 12, 1824 - Oct 30, 1883 = 59 yrs

Dayanand Saraswati (pronounced as Dayaanand Saraswatee) was a reformer from Gujaraat during the 19th century. He was born in a Braahman family in Tankaaraa, near Morbee, Raajkot District, Kaathiyaavaad. Since he was born in Mool Nakshatra, he was named as Mool Shankar. His father's name was Karshanji Lalji Tiwari and mother's name was Yashoda Baaee. His father was a rich man and a great devotee of Shiv. When Mool Shankar was 8 years old, his Yagyopaveet Sanskaar was performed and his father taught him to please Shiv and keep fasts. On the Shiv Raatri Day he had to sit awake the whole night to please Shiv, but his Destiny wanted to take him somewhere else. He got married in his early teens, as was common in those days in India, but he knew that marriage was not for him and in 1846, at the age of 22 years, he ran away from home.

From 1845 to 1869, for 24 years he wandered around as an ascetic in search of religious truth. During this period he became the discile of Birajaanand. Dayanand did logical, scientific and critical analyses of all faiths ie Christianity as well as of other Indian faiths like Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism, but he didn't criticize Islam.

He was born in a Gujaraatee family and was named as Mool Shankar. Being extremely intelligent and observant he saw the degeneration of Hindu religion at a very early age. He noticed that Hindu did not understand the meaning of God's idol and did not properly respect and protect the idols. At the age of 20 his parents w anted him to get married but he left home in search of the truth and God. He traveled all over India and found his Guru in Mathuraa. He not only taught him the contents of Ved, but encouraged him to uplift the Hindu society and spread Ved among them. In 1875, he established Aarya Samaaj. Whereas Ved include Sanhitaa, Braahman, Aranyak and the Upanishad, he regarded Ved as eternal and infallible. He translated the four Ved in Hindi language. While what he wrote in Hindi as translation contained excellent material, much of this material was his own and not the translation of the original. His mission was indeed noble - uplifting the society from mistaken faith based on mythology and fanciful stories of Puraan. His main book is Satyaarth Prakaash.
[Aangiras, p 167]

Incidents Led Dayanand to Founded Aarya Samaaj
(1) The deaths of his younger sister and his uncle from cholera caused Dayanand to ponder the meaning of life and death and he started asking questions which worried his parents.

(2) When he was a little boy, his father took him to a temple on the Mahaa Shiv Raatri day telling him that there would be recitation of Mahaa Rudram, Chamakam and Namakam along with other Shlok in praise of Lord Shiv. The condition was that he should keep himself awake throughout the night on that day so that it would facilitate his attaining Moksh. The ritual started as usual at night and in the beginning everyone was vociferous in reciting. The recitations were repeated and Abhishek took place throughout the night at certain intervals as the tradition was. The Shiv Ling was decorated with flowers, garlands and fruits after the Abhishek was over. The child was eagerly observing everything. It was past midnight, the elders started dozing one by one and the recitation was fading. Some started snoring loudly. The boy suddenly spotted a little mouse which slowly came and climbed over the Shiv Ling. It went to the top and started eating the fruits kept there. After serving itself sumptuously, the mouse pissed over the stone image and ran away.

The boy immediately wanted to go home. He saw his father was also asleep like everyone except him. He left the temple and came home. After he awoke in the morning his father was searching for the boy but could not find him anywhere. He came home to tell his wife about his missing son and go in search again to the temple, but saw the boy the boy in the house itself. He got annoyed. He dragged him and asked him to explain as to why he left the temple without informing him. The boy coolly replied that since his father was in sound sleep, he did not want to disturb him and left for home. His father scolded him and told that he would not get Moksh. By then the boy narrated the story of the mouse and asked - "If that stone had no ability to drive away the mouse that pissed on it, how could it bestow him Moksh?".

His father was aghast on hearing this. The boy then told him that God is everywhere and one need not contain His power in stone. And after this he founded Aarya Samaaj branch of Hinduism which emphasizes only on Ved and Yagya.

Death of Dayanand Saraswati
In 1883 Dayanand was invited by the Mahaaraajaa of Jodhpur to stay at his palace. The Mahaaraajaa was eager to become his disciple and learn his teachings. One day Dayanand went to the Mahaaraajaa's rest room and saw him with a dancing girl named Nanhee Jaan. Dayanand boldly asked the Mahaaraajaa to forsake the girl and all unethical acts and follow Dharm like a true Aaryan. Dayanand's suggestion offended the dancing girl and she decided to take revenge. She bribed Dayanand's cook to poison him. At bedtime, the cook brought him a glass of milk containing poison and powdered glass. Dayanand drank the milk and went to sleep only to wake up later with a burning sensation. He immediately realized 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 bloodstream. Dayanand 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 Dayanand's suffering the cook was overcome with unbearable guilt and remorse. He confessed his crime to Dayanand. On his deathbed, Dayanand forgave him and gave him a bag of money and told him to flee the kingdom lest he be found out and executed by the Mahaaraaj's men.
[From Swadhinta Sangram Ke Krantikari Sahitya Ka Itihas, by Krant'M.L.Verma (Volume-2) Page-347]

Contributions of Dayanand Saraswati
(1) He was the illustrious founder of the Aarya Samaaj. He became the most important revolutionary kind of leader of Hinduism of his times.
(2) For this he wrote Satyaarth Prakaash to write what he wanted to say to Hindu society. It contributed to Indian Independence Movement also.
(3) His another contribution is his intuitive commentary on the Ved from Vaidik Sanskrit in normal Sanskrit as well as in Hindi so that the common man might be able to read them.
(4) He was first to give a call to Swa-Raajya (own kingdom - India for Indians) in 1876, taken up later by Lokmaanya Baal Gangaadhar Tilak.
(5) He was the first to give the word of Swadeshee long before Mahaatmaa Gandhi gave it.
(6) His other contribution is his promotion of the equal rights for women, such as the right to education and reading of Indian scriptures,

He has written about 60 books (taken from Wikipedia)

1. Sandhya (Unavailable) (1863)
2. Bhagwat Khandnam OR Paakhand 3. Khandan OR Vaishnavmat Khandan (1866)
3. Advaitmat Khandan (Unavailable) (1870)
4. Panchmahayajya Vidhi (1874 & 1877)
5. Satyarth Prakash (1875 & 1884)
6. VedantiDhwant Nivaran (1875)
7. Vedviruddh mat Khandan OR  Vallabhacharya mat Khandan (1875)
8. ShikshaPatri Dhwant Nivaran OR SwamiNarayan mat Khandan (1875)
9. VedBhashyam Namune ka PRATHAM Ank (1875)
10. Ved Bhashyam Namune ka Dwitiya Ank (1876)
11. Aryabhivinaya (Incomplete) (1876)
12. Sanskarvidhi (1877 & 1884)
13. AaryoddeshyaRatnaMaala (1877)
14. RigvedAadibBhasyaBhumika (1878)
15. Rigved Bhashyam (7/61/1,2 only) (Incomplete) (1877 to 1899)
16. Yajurved Bhashyam (Complete) (1878 to 1889)
17. Asthadhyayi Bhashya (2 Parts) (Incomplete) (1878 to 1879)
Vedang Prakash (Set of 16 Books)
1. Varnoccharan Shiksha (1879)
2. Sanskrit Vakyaprabodhini (1879)
3. VyavaharBhanu (1879)
4. Sandhi Vishay
5. Naamik
6. Kaarak
7. Saamaasik
8. Taddhit
9. Avyayaarth
10. Aakhyatik
11. Sauvar
12. PaariBhaasik
13. Dhatupath
14. Ganpaath
15. Unaadikosh
16. Nighantu
1. Gautam Ahilya ki katha (Unavailable) (1879)
2. Bhrantinivaran (1880)
3. Bhrmocchedan (1880)
4. AnuBhrmocchedan (1880)
5. GokarunaNidhi (1880)
6. Chaturved Vishay Suchi (1971)
7. Gadarbh Taapni Upnishad (As per Babu Devendranath Mukhopadhyay) (Unavailable)
8. Hugli Shastrarth tatha Pratima Pujan Vichar (1873)
9. Jaalandhar Shastrarth (1877)
10. Satyasatya Vivek (Bareily Shastrarth) (1879)
11. Satyadharm Vichar (Mela Chandapur) (1880)
12. Kashi Shastrarth (1880) Note:- For other miscellaneous Shastrarth please read 1. Dayanand Shastrarth Sangrah published by Arsh Sahitya Prachar Trust, Delhi and 2. Rishi Dayanand ke Shastrarth evam Pravachan published by Ramlal Kapoor Trust Sonipat (Haryana).
13. Arya Samaj ke Niyam aur Upniyam (30-11-1874)
14. Updesh Manjari (Puna Pravachan) (04-07-1875) (Please see point 2 of note for some more Pravachan)
15. Swami Dayanand dwara swakathit Janm Charitra (During Puna pravachan) (04-08-1875)
16. Swami Dayanand dwara swakathit Janm Charitra (For The Theosophist Society's monthly Journal: Nov & Dec 1880)
17. Swikar Patra (27-02-1883)
18. Rishi Dayanand ke Patra aur Vigyapan


Tenets of Aarya Samaaj
He was a Sanyaasee (ascetic) from boyhood, and a scholar, who believed in the infallible authority of the Ved. He advocated the doctrine of Karm (Karm Siddhaant in Hinduism) and Reincarnation (Punar-janma in Hinduism). He emphasized the Vaidik ideals of Brahmacharya (celibacy) and devotion to God. Dayanand’s concept of Dharm is stated in the "Beliefs and Disbeliefs" section of Satyaarth Prakaash.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 01/31/13