User:Bladesmulti/Influence and legacy of Dayanand Saraswati

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Dayanand Saraswati in 1874

Dayanand Saraswati, 19th century philosopher, and founder of Arya Samaj, remains an influential figure.

Himself, started activism since he was 14.[1] He was against the on going beliefs about superstition, animal slaughter, dowry, idolatry, discrimination, and other described falsehoolds, which made him popular across the world. Between 1869 and 1873, he made his most notable attempt at reform in India. This attempt took the form of the establishment of "Vedic Schools" or "gurukuls" which emphasized the Vedic values, culture and religion to its students, later known as Arya Samaj, the organisation would produce many important individuals of the country.

Due to his support for the Vedic Hinduism the sole religion of ancient Indian, culture, he has been praised by the religious scholars as one of the most important figures of the Hinduism. And for his support for the education, women rights, animal protection, he has been hailed for reforming the Indian society. Today he is variously regarded as the religious figure, freedom fighter, etc. He is also credited for reforming laws and society.

Within the country, his book Satyarth Prakash remains one of the most popular literature.[2] K.P. Jayaswal called him "Greatest Indian of 19th Century."[3]

Theoretical Influence in India[edit]

Notable for influencing the freedom movement of India, his views and writings have been used by different writers. Contrary to the popular thought, Swadeshi word was given by him, not Mahatma Gandhi.

Rabindranath Tagore regarded him as "The great path-maker in modern India."[4]

Shyamji Krishna Varma, who founded India House in London and guided other revolutionaries was influenced by him. Others who were influenced by him included Subhas Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai, Madam Cama, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Lala Hardayal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Ram Prasad Bismil, Mahadev Govind Ranade,[5] Swami Shraddhanand, S. Satyamurti, Pandit Lekh Ram, Ram Prasad Bismil, Jonaicha Khurd, Mahatma Hansraj, Rajiv Dixit and others.

He had notable influence on Bhagat Singh.[6] Singh, after finishing his primary schools, he had joined the Dayanand Anglo Vedic Middle school, of Mohan Lal road, in Lahore.[7] Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, on Shivratri day, on 24 February 1964, said about him:-

Swami Dayananda ranked highest among the makers of modern India. He had worked tirelessly for the political, religious and cultural emancipation of the country. He was guided by reason, taking Hinduism back to the Vedic foundations. He had tried to reform society with a clean sweep, which was again need today. Some of the reforms introduced in the Indian Constitution had been inspired by his teachings.[8]

Industrialist Nanji Kalidas Mehta built the Maharshi Dayanand Science College and donated it to the Education Society of Porbandar and named it after Swami Dayanand Saraswati, to keep people alive of memory of great saint of India.

It has been noted, that he had branches across the country within his period. The places Dayanand had visited in his life were remarked to have been culturally changed. Jodhpur had adopted Hindi as main language, and later the present day Rajasthan adopted the as same.[9] Other admirers included Swami Vivekananda,[10] Ramakrishna,[11] Bipin Chandra Pal,[12] Vallabhbhai Patel,[13] Shyama Prasad Mukherji.

Influence outside India[edit]

Especially during the 19th and 20th century. The works and contribution of Dayanand were translated and reviewed by the proponents of other religions or theories. Dayanand often received praises, while some of notable personalities have described that how much it influenced their own career or life.

Romain Rolland, regarded him as one of the remarkable and unique figure, he said:-

Romain Rolland

Among the great company of remarkable figures that will appear to the eye of posterity at the head of the Indian Renascence, one stands out by himself with peculiar and solitary distinctness, one unique in his type as he is unique in his work. It is as if one were to walk for a long time amid a range of hills rising to a greater or lesser altitude, but all with sweeping contours, green-clad, flattering the eye even in their most bold and striking elevation. But amidst them all, one hill stands apart, piled up in sheer strength, a mass of bare and puissant granite, with verdure on its summit, a solitary pine jutting out into the blue, a great cascade of pure, vigorous and fertilising water gushing out from its strength as a very fountain of life and health to the valley. Such is the impression created on my mind by Dayananda.[14]

Andrew Jackson Davis, about 1900

American Spiritualist Andrew Jackson Davis described Dayanand's influence on him, he called Dayanand a "Son of God", and applauded him for restoring the status of the Nation.[15] Sten Konow, a Swedish scholar noted that Dayanand Saraswati revived the historicity of India, and discovered the very less known about the Indian society, he noted that:-

The ancient Aryan civilization of India came to Europe as a revelation, and was often considered as the common inheritance of the whole Indo-European race, which the European nations must study, in order to understand their own past, and, through this past, their own past, and, through this past, their present. individuality and their future. And it was realised, sometimes with enthusiasm, that the first known beginning was not barbarism, but a society when lofty ideas were conceived and a rich energetic life was led, we do not any more think that we are descended from the Vedic Aryans, but we still apt to feel a certain pride in the achievements of our old Indian cousins. And we understand how the Vedas are regarded in India, now after it has been realized that hey are due to the direct ancestors of Indians of to-day and that their ideals can, moreover, become the foundation upon which India's future can be based. This conviction is apt to strengthen that national self-respect without with no people can hold its own. And when it is gradually spreading in India today, that is largely due to Swami Dayanand Saraswati.[16]

Others who were notably influenced by him, includes Ninian Smart, Benjamin Walker and others.


Dayanand Saraswati's role in reforming the society has been largely discussed, his support varied from religion, animal protection, made him one of the most important reformer. He also supported women rights, which included the women right to vote, to re-marry after husband's death, abolition of Purdah, child marriages, dowry. Later the Sharda Act, prohibited the child marriages for everyone within the country. The bill itself was sponsored by H.B. Sharda, one of his disciple.[17] Then Prime Minister of Great Britain, J. Ramsay MacDonald described;-

He was a limb of the Church militant; austere; independent, dogmatic, and puritanical was his character, and he imparted those qualities to his followers. You meet then, therefore, today in Lahore, their capital city, dour and determined, ready to sacrificed, propagandists of an accomplished order. They are indeed the puritans of Hinduism - and it is well for us to remember that puritanism became political only under an intolerable Government.[18]

Charles Freer Andrews noted "He embodied the ideal of ancient India, the soul of the motherland."[19]

Arya Samaj[edit]

By the start of 20th Century. The Arya Samaj became a powerful movement in number of regions. In Punjab alone, it had doubled it's members in period of 10 years. i.e. 1,00,846 Aryas in 1911, by 1921 it was 2,23,153. After the government itself, the Arya Samaj is notable for being most important organisation in the terms of providing education to masses, during this period.[20] According to one estimate, Arya Samaj had about 2 million followers by 1947, and by 2011, it was over 10 million. Outside India, it remains popular outside India, in countries such as Fiji, South Africa, Suriname and others.

ओ३म् O3m (Aum), considered by the Arya Samaj to be the highest and most proper name of God.

Jawaharlal Nehru remarked Arya Samaj as one of the most notable reform movement, and credited it for it's influence;-

It has done very good work in the spread of education both among boys and girls, in improving the condition of women, and in raising the status and standards of the depressed classes.

Some memorable members of Arya Samaj includes Lala Lajpat Rai, Pandit Lekh Ram, Vishnu Deo, Madame Blavatsky,[21] Badri Maharaj.

Modern world[edit]

In 21st century, Dayanand Saraswati has been regarded a notable religious leader, as well as freedom fighter. Number of politicians, writers have described his importance in their own words.

Narendra Modi, on 2013 included him in his speech, he said:-

Swami Dayanand Saraswati's preachings and Arya Samaj movement has impacted the nation bringing about a change in the lives of lakhs of people for the better.[22]

Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan on October 2013 wrote about him:-

His contribution to the society and our freedom movement is remarkable.[23]

Named after him[edit]


  1. ^ "Remembering Our Leaders: Dayanand Saraswati by A.K. Srikumar", by Bhavana Nair, p. 5
  2. ^ "Remembering Our Leaders: Dayanand Saraswati by A.K. Srikumar", p. 27-28, by Bhavana Nair
  3. ^ "Swami Dayananda Sarasvati: A Study of His Life and Work", p. 330 by Krishan Singh Arya, ‎P. D. Shastri
  4. ^ "France Looks at Modern India", p. 4, by Basdeo Bissoondoyal, year =1966
  5. ^ "Mahadev Govind Ranade: Emancipation of women". 17 May 1996. Retrieved 2012-09-17. 
  6. ^ "Swami Dayanand Saraswati", by Dhanpati Pandey, p. 8, year = 1985
  7. ^ Encyclopaedia of eminent thinkers, Volume 7, by K. S. Bharath, p. 188
  8. ^ "World Perspectives on Swami Dayananda Saraswati", p. 198
  9. ^ "Perspectives on Ethnicity" by Regina E. Holloman, Serghei A. Arutiunov, p. 344-345
  10. ^ "Contemporary Indian Philosophy" By Basant Kumar Lal p. 3
  11. ^ "Ramakrishna and His Disciples", by Christopher Isherwood, p. 159
  12. ^ "Indian religious historiography, Volume 1", by Narendra Nath Bhattacharyya, p. 58
  13. ^ "Swami Dayananda Sarasvati: A Study of His Life and Work", p. 327, by Krishan Singh Arya, ‎P. D. Shastri
  14. ^ "Resurgent India", by Sisirkumar Mitra, ‎Aurobindo Ghose, year = 1963, p. 166
  15. ^ Beyond the Valley: A Sequel to "The Magic Staff", by Andrew Jackson, p. 383
  16. ^ "Dayanand Commemoration Volume: A Homage to Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, from India and the World, in Celebration of the Dayanand Nirvana Ardha Shatabdi", p. 164, year = 1933
  17. ^ "Women Education Through the Ages", by Natthūlāla Gupta, p. 71
  18. ^ "Life of Dayanand Saraswati, World Teacher", p. 258, by Har Bilas Sarda (Diwan Bahadur)
  19. ^ "Social contents of Indian religious reform movements", p. 330
  20. ^ "Punjab, the Crucial Decade" By Subash Chander Sharma, p. 130-131
  21. ^ "Arya Samaj and philosophy of Swami Dayananda", by S.R. Bakshi, P. 321
  22. ^ "Gujarat CM visits birth place of Swami Dayanand Saraswati". 
  23. ^ "MP polls: What is CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeting?". 2013-10-31. 

See also[edit]

Category:Indian culture Category:Arya Samaj