Swami Dayanand Saraswathi

The founder of the Arya Samaj. The great sage who sought to restore to Hinduism its natural radiance and wisdom. A fearless reformer. He saved the man who poisoned him – so boundless was his goodness.

The Arya Samaj was founded by Maharishi Swami Dayananda Saraswati, a sanyasin (renouncer) who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. He advocated the doctrine of karma and reincarnation, and emphasised the ideals of brahmacharya (chastity) and sanyasa (renunciation). The motto of the Arya Samaj taken from the Vedas is “Krinvanto Vishwam Aaryam” (Rig Veda) – Make all men Aarya (noble and cultured).” A similar echo from the Atharva Veda states “Krinvantu vishwe deva”. Another text quotes: “Aano Bradrh: Vishvam Aaryam” which means “Let noble thoughts come from all quarters.” Hence, by being a part of a Noble Society (Arya Samaj), you enjoin with a commitment to becoming an Aarya (Noble Person), who gathers in religious assemblies to propagate the teachings of the Vedas so that you can ennoble (make noble) those who aren’t noble – Making the Universe Noble.

Swami Dayananda rejected all non-Vedic beliefs altogether. Hence the Arya Samaj unequivocally condemns idolatry, animal sacrifices, ancestor worship, priestcraft, the caste system, the sati system for widows, inequality of women, untouchability and child marriages, on the grounds that all these lacked Vedic sanction. It aims to be a universal organisation based on the authority of the Vedas. The Arya Samaj has set up schools and missionary organisations, extending its activities outside India. It now has branches around the world.