New Delhi: Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati who was the founder of Arya Samaj. As per the Hindu calendar, it falls on the tenth day of Krishna Pasha in the month of Falgun. This year it will be celebrated on February 18.
Dayanand was one of the first men who opposed social evils like animal sacrifice, caste system, child marriage and discrimination against women.
Dayananda Saraswati was born to a Brahmin Hindu family in Jeevapar Tankara, Kathiawad region. The place is now located in Morbi district of Gujarat. The great leader denounced idol worship and his ‘back to the Vedas’ message influenced many thinkers and philosophers across the world.
Dayananda advocated the doctrine of Karma and Reincarnation. He emphasized the Vedic ideals of brahmacharya, including celibacy and devotion to God.
Among Dayananda’s contributions are his promoting of the equal rights for women, such as the right to education and reading of Indian scriptures, and his commentary on the Vedas from Vedic Sanskrit in Sanskrit as well as in Hindi.
On 7 April, 1875 Dayanand Saraswati formed the Arya Samaj at Bombay. It was a Hindu reforms movement, meaning “society of the nobles”. The purpose of the Samaj was to move the Hindu religion away from the fictitious beliefs. ‘Krinvan to Vishvam Aryam” was the motto of the Samaj, which means, “Make this world noble”.
Due to his radical thinking and approach to the social issues and beliefs Dayanand Saraswati created many enemies around him. In 1883, on the occasion of Diwali, the Maharaja of Jodhpur, Jaswant Singh II, had invited Maharishi Dayanand to his palace and sought the Guru’s blessings.
Dayanand offended the court dancer when he advised the King to forsake her and pursue a life of Dharma. She conspired with the cook who mixed pieces of glass in the Maharishi’s milk.
The Maharishi suffered excruciating pain but forgave the cook involved before he succumbed to death on October 30, 1883, at Ajmer, on the day of Diwali.