Satyarth Prakash (English title: The Light of Truth) is a 1875 book written originally in Hindi by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, a renowned social reformer and the founder of Arya Samaj. It is considered one of his major scholarly works. The book was subsequently revised by Swami Dayanand in 1882 and has now been translated into more than 20 languages including Sanskrit and several foreign languages like English, French, German, Swahili, Arabic and Chinese. The major portion of the book is dedicated to laying down the reformist advocacy of Swami Dayanand with the last three chapters making a case for comparative study of different faiths.
During the Middle Ages of Indian history, many faiths and sects sprang up in religious and social spheres of Hindu society. Their practitioners slowly migrated away from the teachings of the Vedas attaching greater significance to their founders and their preachings. From then onwards polytheism commenced. Great differences developed among the different sects and divided and weakened Hindu society. The caste system based on birth became strong and gave rise to further fragmentation. Like with any aging society without reforms, the customs gave way to superstition and ignorance wherein practice superseded reason and the spread of blind faith threatened degradation of the Hindu society.
It was at this time that Swami Dayanand wrote Satyarth Prakash in order to spread the knowledge of the Vedas and to educate people on the true qualities of God. The Satyarth Prakash contains exposition and clarifications of Vedic principles. The book advocates Vedic monism based on Advaita Vedanta. Some of the important topics in the Satyarth Prakash include worship of one God, explanation of the main principles of the Vedas, the relationship between religion and science and between devotion and intellect, elimination of the caste system and of different religious beliefs for the strengthening of society, eradication of superstitions, false notions and meaningless customs, shunning narrow-mindedness and promoting the brotherhood of man.
The book contains fourteen chapters, the contents of which are detailed below:
|1||The first chapter is an exposition of “Om” and other names of God.|
|2||The second chapter provides guidance on the upbringing of children.|
|3||The third chapter explains the life of Brahmacharya (bachelor), the duties and qualifications of scholars and teachers, good and bad books and the scheme of studies.|
|4||Chapter 4 is about marriage and married life.|
|5||Chapter 5 is about giving up materialism and starting to carry out community service.|
|6||Chapter 6 is about Science of Government.|
|7||Chapter 7 is about Veda and God.|
|8||Chapter 8 deals with Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution of the Universe.|
|9||Chapter 9 deals with knowledge and ignorance, and emancipation and bondage.|
|10||Chapter 10 deals with desirable and undesirable conduct and permissible and forbidden diet.|
|11||Chapter 11 contains criticism of the various religions and sects prevailing in India.|
|12||Chapter 12 deals with the Charvaka, Buddha (Buddhist) and Jain religions.|
|13||Chapter 13 has his views on Christianity (the Bible).|
|14||Chapter 14 has his views on Muhammadism (Quran).|
The book was originally written in Hindi by Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati. After detecting omissions, language and printing mistakes in first edition, he revised it in second edition. The book has been translated into 23 different languages.
|S.No.||Language||Author/ Translator||Publication Year|
|1||Hindi 1st Edition||Swami Dayanand Saraswati (Author)||1875|
|1 a||Hindi 2nd Edition||Swami Dayanand Saraswati (Author)||1882|
|2||English (4 translation by different scholars)||
Dr. Chiranjiva Bharadwaja (Translator) Master Durga Prasad (Translator) Pt. Gangaprasad Upadhyay (Translator) Vandemataram Ramchandra Rao (Translator)
1906, 1908, 1946, 1988
|3||Sanskrit||Pandit Shankardev Paathak||1924(1st Edition)|
1. Aatmaram Amritsari, Bhakt Raimal & Naunihaal 2. Jivandas Pensioner, 3. Pandit Chamupati, 4. Mehta Radhakrishna
1.1898 2.1899 3.1939 4.1905
|7||Bengali||1.Motilaal Bhattacharya 2.Shankarnaath 3.Gaurmohandev Verman||1.1901 2.1911 3.???|
|8||Marathi||1.Shridaas Vidyarthi 2.Shripaad Damodar Saatavlekar 3.Snaatak Satyavrat 4.Shripaad Joshi||1.1907 2.1926 3.1932 4.1990|
|9||Telugu||1.A. Somnaathan Rao "Updeshak" 2.Pt. Gopadev Sastry||1.1933 2.???|
|10||Tamil||1.M.R Jambunaathan 2.Kannaiyaa 3.Shuddhanand Bhaarti||1.1926 2.1935 3.1974|
|11||Malayalam||1.Brahamchaari Lakshman 2.Acharya Narendra Bhooshan||1.1933 2.1978|
|12||Gujarati||1.Manchaa Shankar, Jaishankar Dvivedi 2.Mayashankar Sharma 3.Dilip Vedalankar||1.1905 2.1926 3.1994|
|13||Kannad||1. Bhaaskar Pant 2.Satyapaal Snaatak 3.Sudhakar Chaturvedi||1.1932 2.1955 3.1974|
|15||German||Dr. Daulatram Devgram, Borikhel (Miyanwaali)||1930|
|17||Oriya||1.Shrivatsa Panda 2.Lakshminarayan Shastri||1.1927 2.1973|
During the Nizam regime in British India, the Muslim Nizam banned Satyarth Prakash within its territory. Several groups of Arya Samaj followers from different parts of world descended upon the nizam territory and went on Satyagraha in protest of the decision. Despite the peaceful nature of the Satyagraha, all of the protesters were arrested and jailed where they were brutally tortured. The inhuman atrocities and torture resulted in the death of more than 100 Satyagrahis while in imprisonment and after release. In the aftermath of the Satyagraha and the bloody torture, the ban was lifted by Nizam.
In 2008 two Indian Muslims, Usman Ghani and Mohammad Khalil Khan of Sadar Bazar, Delhi, following the fatwa of Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, the Imam of Fatehpuri Masjid in Delhi, urged the Delhi High Court to ban the Satyarth Prakash. However, the court dismissed the petition and commented "A suit by Hindus against the Quran or by Muslims against Gita or Satyarth Prakash claiming relief... are in fact, meant to play mischief in the society."