During the Middle Ages of Indian history, many faiths and sects sprang up in religious and social spheres of Hindu society. They drifted away from the teachings of the Vedas and attached 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. Superstition, ignorance and blind faith spread and caused the degradation of the Hindu religion and society.
It was at this time that Swami Dayanand wrote the 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. Some of the important topics in the Satyarth Prakash are 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 was later translated in 23 Languages by different people.
|S.No.||Language||Translator/ Author||Publication Year|
|1||Hindi 1st Edition||Dayanand Saraswati (Author)||1875|
|2||Hindi 2nd Edition||Dayanand Saraswati (Author)||1882|
|12||Malayalam||(Acharya) Narendra Bhooshan|
Bans & Legal Battles 
During Nizam Regime in British India, Nizam banned Satyarth Prakash in its Territories. Several Groups of Arya Samaj Followers from different part of world reached there and performed Satyagrah. All of these were arrested and put into the Jail. They were brutally torchured there. Due to the atrocities in Jails more than 100 Satyagrahis died in Jail and after release. As a result of Satyagrah 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."