Shiv Narayan Agnihotri

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Shri Satyanand Agnihotri (born as Shri Shiv Narayan Agnihotri)
Born20 December 1850
Sri Akbarpur (Uttar Pradesh) India
Died3 April 1929
Nationality India
Known forFounder of Dev Dharam (Dev Samaj), a science-grounded religion

Sh. Shiv Narayan Agnihotri was born at Sri Akbarpur, U.P. on 20 December 1850 to Rameshwar Agnihotri and Mohan Kunwar. He had his basic education at Sri Akbarpur and for further education enrolled in the Thompson Engineering College at Roorkee (Now IITRoorkee) in 1866. On 9 July 1871, he accepted Pandit Shiv Dayal singh as his personal guru. After completing his education he took up various jobs. In 1873 he moved to Lahore. He became an active member of Brahmo Samaj in 1875 and worked tirelessly for various reformist movements started by it. On 20 December 1882, he left his job and took Jeevan Vrat जीवन व्रत (life Vow). This day he acquired a new name Sh Satyanand Agnihotri. (श्री सत्यानंद अग्निहोत्री).

His Life Vow

सत्य शिव सुंदर हि मेरा, परम लक्ष्य होवे;

जग के उपकार हि में, जीवन यह जावे |


May beautiful Truth and Goodness, My Foremost aim represent;

And in the service of the world, May My life be Fully spent.

He left Brahmo Samaj in 1887. He formed Dev Samaj in February 1887. Dev Samaj or Dev Dharam holds the following

  1. Dev Dharma holds it to be its glory that it permits its beliefs to be revised if scientific method so demands it. No theistic religion, traditional or modern, makes this commitment to the scientific method. Therefore, Dev Dharma avoids conflicts between science and religion for it accepts with it that scientific verification is necessary for a belief to be true. This is the first offering that Dev Dharma makes to modern man in search of a religion which does not compromise his scientific make up
  2. The second offering that Dev Dharma makes to modern man is that it offers him evolutionary vision in religious life. We owe this evolutionary vision to the patient and imaginative labours of thousands of physicists, chemists, biologists, psychologists, archaeologists and historians
  3. The third offering of that Dev Dharma makes to religion is that it makes moral life central to it. It is not beliefs, however noble, that can save man. It is life achieved that makes a man religious which contributes to his moksha. Dev Dharma, therefore, does not lay exclusive emphasis on faith in some deity or avtar. It awakens man to the realisation that the first condition to be religious is to build moral life.
  4. Dev-Dharma teaches the scientific truth that human soul is part of Nature. It is under the law of change, of growth and decay. It grows under certain conditions, just as our body grows under certain conditions. It decays under certain conditions as body decays under certain conditions. It gains in vitality and vigour when it develops altruistic motivations. It loses in vitality and health when it develops low-loves and low-hates which make it think and do harm to others. Spiritual knowledge is knowledge of the laws of the life and death of soul. It is clear from this account that it is wrong to identify Dev-Dharma with morality only. In spite of its insistence on developing altruistic motivation towards all relations as the meaning of morality, it enlightens the soul to see its origin, its nature, and the conditions of its life and death...No other religion in the world holds that we have moral duties towards the physical and the vegetable worlds because of our intimate, inseparable, and evolutionary relationship with them.
  5. A man must go beyond morality to enter the world of spirituality. What is spirituality? First, it is knowledge of soul, its origin, nature and the laws of its change, growth and development and death. Science Grounded Religion offers scientific knowledge of soul. It is wrong to identify spiritual knowledge with the super-natural beliefs about soul, as it is foolish to identify knowledge of Physics with the animistic Aristotelian Physics. Soul is part of the natural world. To think of it as having its origin outside the evolutionary process in Nature is to deny the incontrovertible facts of evolution. Man has evolved from the life-forces in the animal kingdom. Human soul is life-force like life-forces in the animal kingdom. Its distinct name is in view of certain evolved powers it has, which are different from the life-forces of the animal world ... However, we do not become religious in life when we merely know the spiritual truths about soul. This knowledge must turn into spiritual wisdom. A man is religious if he thinks and acts in terms of the good of his soul, just as a man loves health when he thinks and acts in terms of good of his body. The Founder of Dev-Dharma makes this explicit. He says : "So long a man... possesses no true desire or deep longing : 1. to get true freedom from various kinds of low-loves of sensual pleasures, egotism, wealth, property, children etc., and their resultant low-hates, false faiths, perverted vision, falsehoods and various forms of other degrading evil deeds; 2. to obtain true purification from their evil effects ; 3. to evolve unselfish and higher or altruistic forces, for the service of others ; and 4. does not get true satsang (higher environment or society) and perform true sadhanas (devotional exercises) which may help him in the attainment of the above three things . (Experts from ' What Dev Dharm Can Offer You')


External links[edit]

  • [2] The Sikh Encyclopedia