Showing posts with label Saraswati Dayanand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saraswati Dayanand. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Was Saraswati Dayanand?

(1824–1883) Arya Samaj, a reformist Hindu organization, was founded by a nineteenth-century reformist ascetic. 

Northern India saw significant social, economic, and theological transformation in the late nineteenth century, and the Arya Samaj was an authentically Hindu reaction to these changes. 

The Arya Samaj's purpose was to reform and rejuvenate Hinduism by removing the "false practices" that had crept in through time. 

Swami Dayanand's primary idea was that only the ancient books known as the Vedas had ultimate religious authority, and that all current religious rituals not contained in the Vedas were incorrect, repulsive, and should be abandoned. 

This stance allowed him to criticize many of the "social evils" that plagued nineteenth-century Hinduism, including child marriages, sati (the rite of a widow being burned on her husband's funeral pyre), "idolatrous" image worship, untouchability, a ban on widow remarriage, and women's unequal status. 

Dayanand had discovered not just a realistic technique for reform, but also a means to undermine Christian missionaries' arguments that such rituals were proof that Hindu religion was inferior to Christianity. 

The Arya Samaj, unlike its predecessor, the Brahmo Samaj, which was significantly inspired by Christianity, was a Hindu reaction based solely on Hindu sources. 

Dayanand was a member of the first generation of Hindus who sought to reaffirm Hinduism's glory in the face of Christian missionary challenge, and much of his literature is vehemently anti-Christian. 

His advocacy for the cleansing rite (shuddhi), by which Hindus who had become members of other religious organizations were welcomed back into the Hindu society, is one example of his crusading attitude. 

Although the Arya Samaj claimed to be merely returning to the Veda, the ultimate goal was to construct a type of Hindu religious life that was more suitable with "modern" circumstances, rather than to restore a long-gone age. 

Dayanand was bold in urging that the Vedas be made available to all people, including women and the shudras, or lowest social category, who had hitherto been banned to read or even hear them. 

Dayanand traveled across India during his ministry, criticizing all faiths that were not based on the Vedas, including modern Hinduism. 

His eloquence, charm, and dedication won him a lot of success, but also a lot of enemies, and he was eventually poisoned. 

Dayanand Saraswati, Autobiography of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, K. C. Yadav (ed. ), 1978; Ganga Prasad Upadhyaya (trans. ), Light of Truth, 1960; and Arvind Sharma, "Swami Dayananda Sarasvati," in Robert D. Bai 

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