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Dayananda Sarasvati: His Life and Ideas
J. T. F. Jordens
Oxford University Press, 1997 – Biography & Autobiography – 368 pages
A towering personality of his age, Swami Dayananda’s influence over the lives of thousands of people continues to this day through the Arya Samaj movement. This pioneering biography interprets Dayananda in his time as an integral part of the vigorous intellectual atmosphere of nineteenth-century India. Jordens analyses – through a close study of Dayananda’s writings and an investigation of his reading and personal relationships – the development of his ideas and theories and their relationship to both traditional Hinduism and the emerging trends of thought in nineteenth-century India. Dayananda’s involvement in social and religious reform is explored through analyses of its regional and historical contexts, and the classes and castes he influenced. This book provides a well-rounded account of Dayananda’s life, studying both his ideological development and social background with the help of contemporary documents and Dayananda’s own copious writings.
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My review – Edit review
Dayanand Saraswati : His life and Ideas by JTF Jordens is a book that I would like to read again and again. The material published therein is well researched and true to life as it existed in the days of Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
Prof Jordens, a respected scholar and researcher of the National University of Australia took study leave to come to India to meet people who are known Arya Samajists and visit places with which the great ascetic was associated both in his boyhood and adulthood days. One can safely rely on facts and figures given therein because the writer was neither a devotee nor a critic of the Swami who motivated men and women to go back to the VEDAS and spread the Vedic knowledge far and wide.Until the advent of Swami Dayanand Saraswati,the knowledge contained in the Vedas was not available to the common man. It was kept under lock and key by some Brahmins who themselves were not well versed in it. It was Dayanand Saraswati who wrote Hindi Bhashya that attracted the men and women of non-Brahminical order to the Vedas and brought about a revolution in the Hindu society.
It would be pertinent to mention that the writings of Dayanand Saraswati motivated educated men and women to join the freedom movement of India and wrest freedom from the British government.
May I recommend that the present book by Prof Jordens be translated into Hindi so that non-English knowing Aryas too are benefited.
Review by Brigadier(Retd) Chitranjan Sawant,VSM. Email: email@example.com