A REFORMER NAMED DAYANAND SARASWATI
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
Reform, reform and reform your way of life corrupted by fake religions and self-appointed godmen to travel on the road of righteousness prescribed by the Vedas. Vedas are a revelation of Ishwar at the beginning of Creation. Thus can a human being achieve the ultimate aim, the Moksha – liberation from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Reformation can be brought in by Reformers by separating the Truth from the untruth, the grain from the chaff and superstitions from the Dharma.
The Truth has to be told. It has to be dinned into the ears of sleeping humanity. The men and women who were lulled to sleep by fake men of religion by showing them the easy path of being absolved of their sinful deeds by reposing faith in a man born of unwed mother and elevated to the false status of being a son of god. It was the said god who had helped the man’s mother to conceive without being lawfully wedded to a husband. The birth of a baby sired by an unknown man was raised to a mystic status and his coming out of his mother’s normal womb was falsely glorified as Immaculate Birth. What a scientist and an obstetrician would call an impossibility stands today as the corner stone of a religion that has the largest number of votaries on planet earth. Gimmickry, false beliefs and generating false hope of redemption for the hopeless sinners made men and women regard the pure Untruth as the gospel Truth.
Comes a Reformer in the 19th century Indian and finds many of his co-religionists flocking to false god in the false hope of shaking off burden of sins of life. The advent of this Yogi named Dayanand Saraswati sounded a death knell for the false beliefs and stopped to some extent ignorant men and women flocking to be sheep of a shepherd from Bethlehem named Jesus Christ.
What did the Reformer do? He gave the clarion call – Back to Vedas. Vedas do not propound any falsehood like redemption from sins committed by a man or a woman by just accepting the Shepherd as a savior of the soul. This kind of philosophy of life will encourage sinners in all corners as they would take the easy route of confession and redemption. Dayanand Saraswati called a spade a spade and displayed a rare courage of conviction to preach and practice the Vedic Philosophy of life. Every soul is free to act or not act and is bound to receive the reward or punishment for its god actions, inaction or actions amounting to sin. Of course, the concept of penance only strengthens the penitent soul and prevents it from committing acts of sins after penitence. Penitence does not absolve the soul of the sinner from acts already done and for them the sinner has to receive punishment and the good Samaritans indeed receive the reward.
The extensive travels of Dayanand Saraswati throughout the length and breadth of India, from Multan in the Punjab to Pune in Maharashtra, from Kutch-Kathiawar in Gujarat to Kolkata in Bengal convinced him that Reformation at all levels – religious, social and political – was the crying need of the hour. He was also convinced that the path of such a daring Reformer would be strewn with stones and he would never sleep in a bed of roses. There would be a lurking danger of the reformer’s life and lamp of knowledge be extinguished before the end results are noticeable. Nevertheless Dayanand Saraswati had made up his mind to devote his life and time to Reformation of his motherland, come what may. After all this was the parting advice of Dayand’s Guru, Dandi Swamy Virajanand and the disciple was determined to carry out the command. He did it.
DAYANAND A BENIGN REFORMER
Swami Dayanand Saraswati was a benign Reformer. He told the Truth when it had to be told without caring for the consequences. Nevertheless, let it be clearly understood once for all that the great Reformer had the Good of All in his heart and harboured no malice for anyone. He let it be known time and again through his discourses and writings that he considered all men and women from all regions and religions of the world as equals and it was for the good of the humanity that he had launched the Reformation movement.
Satyarth Prakash or Light of the Truth is a major treatise written by the Reformer Dayanand to reform humanity and help all men and women, irrespective of their caste or creed, region or religion, colour or country forsake the untruth and accept the Truth. There have been audible whispers in corridors of Christendom and Islamic domain that Dayanand Saraswati was a militant Vedic preacher who initiated militant form of religion for the Hindus. There can be nothing farther from Truth than this accusation by Christians and Moslems who were indeed shaken by the Arya Samaj, a socio-religious organization founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati in 1875 in Mumbai to carry on his missionary work and let the humanity see the Light of Truth.
Indeed it is true that Reformer Dayanand was the founder of the Shuddhi Andolan that brought back men and women who had strayed to other faiths to the Vedic Dharm. He had done this to two Muslim men, one in Dehra Dun and the other in Lucknow. Later on Swami Shraddhanand Saraswati had taken the Shuddhi Andolan to its peak in and around Mathura where he with the active help of Mahamana Pt Madan Mohan Malviya and under the guidance of His Highness Maharana of Udaipur reconverted the Malkana Muslim Rajputs to the Vedic Dharm. It had shaken those who were poaching on innocent Hindus and converting them to Islam and Christianity in an unabashed manner. It was Rishivar Dayanand who put a stop to this unchecked conversion to foreign faiths by eulogizing the Vedic Dharma and exhorting others to come and join the Movement of undiluted Truth. This shook the Christian missionaries and Moslem Mullahs who started a whispering campaign against Reformer Dayanand. The later writers of foreign faith even said that the present day aggressive Hindutva owed its inception to the discourses of Dayanand Saraswati. Indeed it was a false propaganda against the benign Reformer Dayanand.
SATYARTH PRAKASH DISPROVES DAYANAND’S ACCUSERS
Why did Dayanand Saraswati expose falsehood in other fake faiths? Ridhivar himself writes in the Preamble of his magnum opus and I quote:
“ If false beliefs are not exposed, many pernicious things find currency in the world”
So to check fake faith and save innocent men and women from falling into traps of missionaries and mullahs, Dayanand Saraswati laid bare their falsehood and propagated the Shuddh Sanatan Vaidik Dharm by relying on the Ved mantras and let people see the rays of Sun of Truth. Now those who saw the sunlight forsake falsehood preached by poachers who basked in limelight.
It is interesting to note that Rishi Dayanand made a major attempt to bring proponents of all major religions of Bharat on one platform at the time of Delhi Durbar in 1877. Besides Dayanand Saraswati other stalwarts who heeded his call to submerge their differences of faith and arrive at Commonality of Faiths were Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, founder of Mohemdan Anglo-Oriental College( later Aligarh Muslim University), Reverend Scott, a Protestsnt preacher of repute, Pundit Alakhdhari , a Sanatani of Punjab and prominent Brahmos of Bengal. Unfortunately, Dayanand’s efforts came to a naught because the Christian and Moslems refused to accept the Vedas as the Divine Revelation. Of course, Dayanand Saraswati could not demolish the basic teaching of the Vedic Dharma that relied on the infallibility of the Ved Samhitas. Thus any further progress to find commonality in all major religions of Bharat had nothing important to write home about.
Nevertheless the good intentions of Dayanand Saraswati to end religious discord merited notice of history researchers. This great event of Lord Lytton’s Durbar days demolishes the false charge that Dayanand Saraswati was the precursor, indeed founder of militant Hindutva. The Rishi was out and out a proponent of Dharma based on the Vedas. Period.
Let us return to the Satyarth Prakash and read the views of Dayanand Saraswati in original. Of course, the book in original was written by Dayanand Saraswati in Hindi and the present excerpts in English are from the authentic translation done by Pt Ganga Prasad Upadhyay, my mentor and an eminent Vedic scholar.
In the sub-preface of chapter 13 of the Satyarth Prakash, Rishivar writes:
“ it is the duty of all men to study all religions and put down in black and white what their views are on the subject….Just as reading makes a man scholar so does hearing widens his information….In this book we have taken a brief notice of all religions prevalent, so that people may know what is Truth and what is Untruth.”
In the fourteenth chapter of the Satyarth Prakash, that stood the test of time and successfully met challenges in courts of law, Swami Dayanand Saraswati says that there is no ill will that guided him to write on Quran and bring out the contradictions therein. Let us take a view after reading the Reformer’s words:
“The only object of our writing this criticism is the welfare of humanity and ascertainments of Truth… We wish that all men may regard as Good what really is Good and bad what really is bad..”
Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati was so just to the Readers that he left it to them to take a view in the matter. He said:
“ Think and accept what is desirable and reject what is undesirable”
How else could a seeker of Truth give the right of final judgement to the Reader than by saying finally at the end of this sub-preface to the chapter on the Quran:
“ A word to the wise is enough.”
ISHWAR AND VEDAS
Indeed Swami Dayanand Saraswati was a staunch believer in ISHWAR. The first chapter of the Satyarth Prakash begins with one hundred names of Ishwar and explaining that names may be many but Ishwar is ONE. The first and second Principle of the Arya Samaj, of a total of ten, make the Vedic concept of Ishwar abundantly clear. HE isOmniscient, Incorporeal. All pervading, Uncreated, Infinite, Omnipotent, Merciful, Just, Creator, Maintainer and Dissolver of the whole universe, the fruit-giver of actions of all souls with strict justice. This is my concept of Ishwar.
On the four Vedas, the great Reformer Dayanand writes:
“ The four Vedas are full of knowledge, virtue, and God revealed. Samhita i.e. only the Mantra part – I( Swami Dayanand) regard them Infallible and of Primary Authority. They are authority in themselves and do not depend upon other books for their authoritativeness…”
Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati writes the last sentence before closing his Treatise with a Ved mantra and the sentence is indeed meaningful:
“ SO MUCH IS SUFFICIENT FOR THE WISE.”
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