• 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Arya Samaj: It's Contributions
I started this topic to discuss anything related to Arya Samaj. It's contributions to Hindu society have been great and need not be repeated here. Also I just wanted to discuss negative aspects of arya samaj as well (like contributing to the alienation of sikhs by calling Guru Nanak a pretender etc) and also the reasons for the decline of arya samaj. I will start off the topic by giving a short passage from Koenraad Elst's book "Who is a Hindu?" in which he discusses whether Arya Samaj is Hindu:

6.6. Is the Arya Samaj Hindu?

Many Hindus feared that a different outcome in the RK Mission court case might have had a disastrous precedent value for other organizations with a weak Hindu self-identification. Jagmohan, former Governor of Jammu & Kashmir and a hero of the Hindutva movement, comments: “Had the Supreme Court come to the same conclusion as the Calcutta High Court, many more sects and denominations would have appeared on the scene claiming positions outside Hinduism and thereby causing further fragmentation of the Hindu society.”37

Then again, perhaps the effect of a recognition of the RK Mission as a minority would not have been nearly as dramatic as Jagmohan expected, for in several states, another Hindu reformist organization has enjoyed minority status for decades without triggering the predicted exodus. Jagmohan himself has noted a case where “the temptations in-built in Article 30 impelled the followers of Arya Samaj to request the Delhi High Court to accord the status of a minority religion” but “the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court rightly rejected the contention of the Arya Samaj”.38 However, as early as 1971, the Arya Samaj gained the status of “minority” in Panjab. Then already, it had that status in Bihar, along with the Brahmo Samaj.39

In a way, the Arya Samaj is a minority: the Arya-Samajis are fewer in number than the non-Arya-Samajis.40 By this criterion, every Hindu sect is a minority, and every Hindu school which calls itself “Shaiva school” or “Ram bhakta school” would pass as a minority institution, protected by Art.30. But that is of course not how the courts and the legislators have understood it: in principle, all Hindu minorities within the Hindu majority are deprived of the privileges accorded to the “real” minorities.

In Swami Dayananda’s view, the term Arya was not coterminous with the term Hindu. The classical meaning of the word Arya is “noble”. It is used as an honorific term of address, used in addressing the honoured ones in ancient Indian parlance.41 The term Hindu is reluctantly accepted as a descriptive term for the contemporary Hindu society and all its varied beliefs and practices, while the term Arya is normative and designates Hinduism as it ought to be. Swami Dayananda’s use of the term Arya is peculiar in that he excludes the entire Puranic (as opposed to the Vedic) tradition from its semantic domain, i.e. the major part of contemporary Hinduism. Elsewhere in Hindu society, “Arya” was and is considered a synonym for “Hindu”, except that it may be broader, viz. by unambiguously including Buddhism and Jainism. Thus, the Constitution of the “independent, indivisible and sovereign monarchical Hindu kingdom” (Art.3:1) of Nepal take care to include the Buddhist minority by ordaining the king to uphold “Aryan culture and Hindu religion” (Art.20: 1).42 Either way, the semantic kinship of the two terms implies that the group which chose to call itself Arya Samaj is a movement to reform Hinduism (viz. to bring it up to Arya standards), and, not another or a newly invented religion.

The Arya Samaj’s misgivings about the term Hindu already arose in tempore non suspecto, long before it became a dirty Word under Jawaharlal Nehru and a cause of legal disadvantage under the 1950 Constitution. Swami Dayananda Saraswati rightly objected that the term had been given by foreigners (who, moreover, gave all kinds of derogatory meanings to it) and considered that dependence on an exonym is a bit sub-standard for a highly literate and self-expressive civilization. This argument retains a certain validity: the self-identification of Hindus as “Hindu” can never be more than a second-best option. On the other hand, it is the most practical choice in the short run, and most Hindus don’t seem to pine for an alternative.

And the following is a link to an online book by Swami Dayananad Saraswati (founder of Arya Samaj) titled "Satyaprakash":

Excellent site.
Ved Mandir

<b>A Brief Introduction to Arya Samaj </b>

<b>10 Principles of Arya Samaj</b>
1. God is the efficient cause of all true knowledge and all that is known through knowledge.

2. God is existent, intelligent and blissful. He is formless, omniscient, just, merciful, unborn, endless, unchangeable, beginning-less, unequalled, the support of all, the master of all, omnipresent, immanent, un-aging, immortal, fearless, eternal and holy, and the maker of all. He alone is worthy of being worshiped.

3. The Vedas are the scriptures of all true knowledge. It is the paramount duty of all Aryas to read them, teach them , recite them and to hear them being read.

4. One should always be ready to accept truth and to renounce untruth.

5. All acts should be performed in accordance with Dharma that is, after deliberating what is right and wrong.

6. The prime object of the Arya Samaj is to do good to the world, that is, to promote physical, spiritual and social good of everyone.

7. Our conduct towards all should be guided by love, righteousness and justice.

8. We should dispel Avidya (ignorance) and promote Vidya (knowledge).

9. No one should be content with promoting his/her good only; on the contrary, one should look for his/her good in promoting the good of all.

10. One should regard oneself under restriction to follow the rules of society calculated to promote the well being of all, while in following the rules of individual welfare all should be free.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->PRESS RELEASE
<b>Hindus Of Houston Issues Caution About Agnivesh</b>
Hindus of Greater Houston would like to caution members of Houston community about a visit this week by Agnivesh, a touring charlatan who passes for a Swami (Hindu monk) and dresses in saffron robes to hoodwink gullible people. Far from being a Swami, <b>this imposter is  notorious and has been expelled over a decade ago from the Arya Samaj,</b> a world-wide and well respected Hindu organization.

In the February 1994 issue of Hinduism Today, a widely accepted and non-controversial magazine, the Arya Samaj warned its members in India and abroad to be careful about Agnivesh, who had been a disruptive force in the organization. <b>The Arya Samaj General Secretary, Sachidanand Shastri said that Agnivesh a.k.a Vepa Shyam Rao, was expelled "some years back on charges of corruption and indiscipline," adding that published reports of his election to the Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha (World Council of Arya Samaj) are untrue. Calling it a "dirty game" aimed at grabbing Arya Samaj properties and destabilizing the Sarvadeshik Sabha, Shastri promised legal action if this pretender continued in his ways.</b>

<b>Yet Agnivesh claims to be the President of the ˜World Council of Arya Samaj. This is a travesty. He is abusing the freedom of religion in India by claiming to be part of Arya Samaj. In spite of his expulsion, Agnivesh claims to be part of this organization to give him credibility and hijack the Arya Samaj’s spiritual legacy of 130 years. </b>

Rajinder Gandhi, President of the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha America, stresses that Agnivesh will not be invited to speak at any Arya Samaj forum in the USA, for the above reasons and also because the latter’s past actions have created discord between Arya Samaj and other Hindu organizations. Mr. Gandhi points to Agnivesh’s unwillingness to speak against the against the Muslim atrocities against Hindus in Kashmir and other parts of India.

What makes Agnivesh a very dangerous man is his unconditional support to proselytization and Islamist separatism in India. He is now associated with hate-mongering organizations which are anti-Hindu. He has become a favorite poster-boy of anti-Hindu hate-groups in India and abroad.

In recent years, he celebrated the arrest of the Kanchi Shankaracharya and opposed the Indian Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh’s plea for a fair and honest probe of the now-disproved allegations against the Kanchi seer. Agnivesh’s distorted views about Hindus and Hinduism do not end here. He openly calls himself a devotee of Marx and a political swami who doesn't have any religion. Indeed, he is also a scheming Indian politician and a parliamentary candidate of the Janata Dal party which has actively worked to foment social dissension and religious hatred in India.

In 2002, Houston witnessed another con-man, the fake Shankaracharya (Adhokshjanand), an Indian criminal whose American tour was sponsored by anti-Hindu and Islamist organizations. This criminal assaulted Ashok Dhingra, then President-Elect of India Culture Center-Houston with a stick and ran away to India within two days of the incident.

Hindus of Greater Houston strongly appeals to all other Hindu organizations and temples in North America to warn its members about this self-proclaimed ˜Swami” Agnivesh. Such hate-mongers must be prevented from gaining ground, raising funds and garnering publicity amongst unsuspecting members of the American community.

<i>Hindus of Greater Houston is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization active in the community for the last 15 years. For more information, visit the website at: www.HindusOfHouston.org  </i>
While I have no specific quarrel with the Arya Samaj and welcome the Samaj in the propagation of vedic culture and scriptures, it is the restrictive nature of the views of the Samaj, which are the key reasons for its decline.

<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Sep 24 2005, 06:54 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Sep 24 2005, 06:54 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Excellent site.
Ved Mandir

<b>A Brief Introduction to Arya Samaj </b>

<b>10 Principles of Arya Samaj</b>
1. God is the efficient cause of all true knowledge and all that is known through knowledge.

2. God is existent, intelligent and blissful. He is <b>formless</b>, omniscient, just, merciful, unborn, endless, unchangeable, beginning-less, unequalled, the support of all, the master of all, omnipresent, immanent, un-aging, immortal, fearless, eternal and holy, and the maker of all. He alone is worthy of being worshiped.

<b>Formless: A key divergence from main stream Hindu culture. Instead of God is everywhere, where there is dharma and it is OK to invoke God in an Idol as a means of concentration - AS rejects all notions of worship of God in a form.
3. The Vedas are the scriptures of all true knowledge. It is the paramount duty of all Aryas to read them, teach them , recite them and to hear them being read.

<b>Another key divergence. AS treats ONLY the vedas as the scriptures of true knowledge. It rejects the upanishads, puranas, brahmanas and to a degree locks scriptural knowledge down to the vedas only. Main stream hindu culture has no such locks.
4. One should always be ready to accept truth and to renounce untruth.

5. All acts should be performed in accordance with Dharma that is, after deliberating what is right and wrong.

6. The prime object of the Arya Samaj is to do good to the world, that is, to promote physical, spiritual and social good of everyone.

7. Our conduct towards all should be guided by love, righteousness and justice.

8. We should dispel Avidya (ignorance) and promote Vidya (knowledge).

9. No one should be content with promoting his/her good only; on the contrary, one should look for his/her good in promoting the good of all.

10. One should regard oneself under restriction to follow the rules of society calculated to promote the well being of all, while in following the rules of individual welfare all should be free.

I also believe AS bans meat eating and prohibits alcohol and smoking (not sure). DS was also reacting to the prevailing state of hindu society in the late 19th and early 20th century with rampant misinformation about hinduism and as a response to the challenge of the favourite ridicule of the British that Hindus worship idols et al. We do not live under that cloud any more and hence the reaction deemed appropriate at the time is no longer needed.

So in summary it promotes Vedic knowledge and culture, which is a good thing but the rejection of non-vedic sources of our culture are the main reasons, why it is on the decline.

To make a personal point:
I knew all this and still did not object to my sister's wish to hold AS based marriage ceremony. What is needed is for AS to accept idol worshippers like me instead of ridiculing me.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> I also believe AS bans meat eating and prohibits alcohol and smoking (not sure). <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
No ban. First time I have heard this. Beef is banned.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I knew all this and still did not object to my sister's wish to hold AS based marriage ceremony. What is needed is for AS to accept idol worshippers like me instead of ridiculing me.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
They don't ridicule idol worship. With time they have evolved. Santam Dharma followers are welcomed. In North India pundit have twisted Mantras with time, basically pronunciation and way they recite. In Arya Samaj they do Havan and recite same Mantra but they say it in correct Sanskrit and recite like as its done in South India.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->upanishads, BrahmaSutra and Gita<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
They don't reject. Infact its very important to take person to righteous path. They don't blindly read but debate on Sunday/Saturday gathering/parvachan.
North Indian Santam Dharma mainly follow puranas, which is easy to understand as its in story form. During early 18 century people were just following puranas and started departing from vedas after regular attack by Muslims and later British rule.

Yes, they discourage Muhurata etc. Every minute is God given so every time is auspicious.

One should understand when and Why Arya Samaj founded.
I don't think they are declining but they are not growing like they did in 1900-1950.
I do think they have been on the decline since partition, before that they used to be very popular (especially in Punjab) and they used to do shuddhi on a large scale, they had dynamic leaders like Dayananda and later Swami Shraddananda but since partition I think that they have been declining, another reason that contributed is the fact that the Arya Samaj was very influential in West Punjab and had many banks and DAV schools there and when Muslims looted the banks etc during partition I think it failed to recover from that blow.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Arya Samaj was very influential in West Punjab and had many banks and DAV schools there and when Muslims looted the banks etc during partition I think it failed to recover from that blow. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Now they are spread all over India, one can find Arya Samaj even in Bastar and Baramullah in J&K. New reverts join Arya Samaj after shudhi in rest of India and abroad. Recently one imam joined with his follower in Kenya. DAV are spread all over world.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>JEEVAN PRABHAT NOW RENAMED -- "IDRF-JEEVAN PRABHAT" </b>  
<b>Jeevan Prabhat: </b>
As you are aware "Jeevan Prabhat" is a Home for the Homeless. It was started by Arya Samaj Gandhidham in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 26th January 2001. Relief aid came from all over the world, but was mainly concentrated to temporary shelters and food. We also worked to provide all possible help and also thought of providing long term assistance to the society. We felt that widows and orphans were the most affected but least attended section. We immediately planned a project at a cost of Rs. 4 Crores to provide them a permanent shelter with all possible help to boost their morale, rehabilitate and shape up their future to make them self sufficient, and thus we started an orphanage and aptly named it "Jeevan Prabhat" for as the name signifies it is really a new dawn in the lives of these earthquake orphans and widows. At present we have 162 children and 8 widows under our care. We wish to state that our motto and service is towards building the future of children and widows as of our own family members without distinction of Religion, Caste & Creed & totally free of cost.

<b>Construction of the Complex: </b>
To meet the huge construction cost of the "Jeevan Prabhat" complex we contacted many donors without much success. However we are grateful to them for the contributions they have made towards meeting the construction costs. Then in December 2002 Shri. Shekhar Agrawalji of Arya Samaj Houston visited us and then on reaching USA he recommended our case to the President of India Development and Relief fund and then began our saga of long and fruitful partnership with IDRF.

Initially IDRF had given us $25000 but then after their personal visit they were impressed with the quality of our work they have increased their contribution to Rs.2,15,00,000/- .

<b>About IDRF: </b>
India Development & Relief Fund (IDRF) - USA is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious and tax-exempt organization registered under U.S. Internal Revenue Code, Section 501©(3) (Tax ID 52-1555563). The IDRF has been in operation since 1989, and is today considered to be one of the most successful of Indian-American charitable organizations not affiliated with a religious institution. Its low to zero overhead, its all-volunteer, shoestring operation makes it the successful and trusted organization that it is. Its fundraising in 2001 was roughly 3.8 million dollars which is a small fraction of the total funds sent to India annually by the roughly two million Indians and Indian-Americans in the U.S., and since 1989 it has raised about $10 million.The IDRF focuses on five key areas: education, healthcare, women, children, and tribal welfare. In addition to these development projects, the IDRF also works actively for relief and rehabilitation efforts in the event of natural calamities. 

<b>Inception of IDRF: </b>
The IDRF was started in 1988 by Dr. Vinod Prakash, a former World Bank economist. A Ph.D. from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr. Prakash, in founding the IDRF at the age 55, urged non-resident Indians to actively find solutions to the problems of poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, and natural disasters afflicting large sections of the
Indian population. As a social worker and a visionary, Dr. Prakash has dedicated his life to the IDRF cause. Dr. Vinod
Prakash is now 70 years old but is still fully involved in IDRF's efforts to raise money for social and welfare work in India, and he continues to be the president of IDRF. 

<b>Our Gratitude: </b>
We hereby express our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Vinod Prakshji President IDRF and his team members who have so wholeheartedly supported us not only financially but also morally. For without their constant support it would have been very difficult to complete the "Jeevan Prabhat" complex. We also request them to continue their valuable support to the children of "Jeevan Prabhat". 

<b>Our Privilage:</b>
In honour of our long association with them and also the huge amountof fund which they have donated for the construction of "Jeevan Prabhat" complex we have named the complex

We are also pleased to inform you that the construction of the "IDRF - Jeevan Prabhat" complex is nearing completion and will be dedicated to the children shortly.  

<b>Your Help Solicited:</b>
However "IDRF - Jeevan Prabhat" is an ongoing project and regular funds are constantly required for the daily routine expenses of the children and hence we request you to join hands with us in this Humanity Havan and offer your Ahuti.Please draw Cheque/Demand Draft in favour of "Arya Samaj Gandhidham Charitable Trust"

We request our Hon'ble donors residing in U.S.A. to make their generous donations to IDRF for onward transmittal to Arya Samaj Gandhidham. As you may know, the triple benefits accruing to donors are:

1. 100% income tax deductibility
2. Possibility of doubling the donation if donor's employer has a corporate gift matching program.
3. Avoidance of Capital Gains tax if appreciated stocks or shares are gifted to IDRF 

For futher details visit

India Development and Relief Fund


For further details please contact us at:
Arya Samaj Gandhidham,
Mahrishi Dayanand Marg
Near Zanda Chowk
Pin Code: 370201 

Some ignorant people who have no knowledge of history have been throwing mud at Maharishi Dayananda and his Arya Samaj and questioning his contributions to India in social reform and freedom movement, therefore I have compiled a small list of freedom fighters who I know were Arya Samajists or were influenced by Arya Samaji teachings:

1) Sardar Ajit Singh (uncle of Bhagat Singh), the following is taken from his own biographical sketch:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->When I was studying in middle my father, who was a sympathiser of Arya Samaj, took me to all annual gathering of Arya Samaj. There I heard a lecture on the benefits of wearing swadeshi cloth. He [the speaker] explained how the use of foreign cloth was proving a drain on the wealth of the nation. On my return, I called the village weaver, and the whole family took to swadeshi, From that day my feeling went on increasing that the alien rule was undesirable.

S. Dilbagh Singh, one of' my cousins, used to study in a Mission School where the teachers were British missionaries. I used to take it ill. I insisted on my uncle that we must start a school in Jullundur where we should have teachers of our country who should be patriots. The local Arya Samaj wanted to start a school there. Lala Sunder Dass, A prominent Arya Samajist, agreed to become Headmaster. So my uncle started a school in Jullundur. I passed my Matriculation Examinallon from that School. Sunder Dass was a great patriot. He used to preach patriotism in his speeches in school. Being a religious institution, they used to regard the Muslims as foreigners. He wrote a book called Pearl Necklace containing stories of Rajput bravery and heroism, particularly of Rang Pratap, also of Sikh Gurus. In my opinion these religious institutions have done a great harm to the country by creating division among communities of India. Sunder Dass used to preach swadeshi. As a result about 70 per cent of student, in that school took to swadeshi. It was about I893 or 1894. After finishing my education there I came to D.A.V. College. Lahore. Principal Hans Raju was very kind to me and he used to tell us about the history of other countries.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->We did not trust Sikh states. Swami Parkasha Nand (though not openly) helped us a lot by visiting states as a Vedic missionary. Swami Shankara Nand also did some thing in the line.
2) Bhai Parmanand
3) Lala Lajpat Rai
4) Ram Prasad Bismil
5) Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma (to read more about him go here: http://www.hvk.org/articles/0803/193.html)

From Sita Ram Goel:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Congress movement was never strong in my countryside which was dominated by the Zamindara League of Sir Chhotu Ram. But the Arya Samaj movement was sweeping everything before it. Almost all men of note in the village were Arya Samajists, including the half-a-dozen freedom fighters who had been to jail. The preachers and songsters of the Arya Samaj visited our village very frequently. I was very keen to attend these sessions, many a time late into the night. It was from their lectures and bhajans that I learnt my first lessons in nationalism. The point of this nationalism, however, was turned not against the British rulers but against Muslim invaders and tyrants like Mahmud Ghaznavi, Muhammad Ghori, Alauddin Khalji and Aurangzeb. The national heroes were Prithvi Raj Chauhan, Maharana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Guru Govind Singh, Banda Bairagi and Raja Surajmal of Bharatpur. They became a part of my religious consciousness along with the heroes of the Mahabharata and the saints and sufis of the Granth Saheb of Sri Garibdas.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Founded in 1875 by Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the Arya Sabha played a notable role in the development of a new national consciousness among the Hindus. In fact, it became “the foremost agency for planting a sturdy independent nationalism in the Punjab”. Some of the important national leaders such as Lajpat Rai and Hans Raj were staunch Arya Samajists. It also provided a chain of educational institutions which became the centre of patriotic activities in the national struggle. Sir Valentine Chirol commented on the seditious role of the Arya Samaj that it “has sometimes barely disguised more than a merely Platonic desire to see the British quit India. “Sir Denzil Ibbetson was informed that “where-ever there was Arya Sanaj, it was the centre of seditious talk. “Sir Mechael O’Dwyer observed that “<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>an enormous population of the Hindus convicted of seditions and other political offences from 1907 to present day (1925) are members of the Samaj.”</span>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->One of my younger contemporaries who came to me everyday for lessons informed me that the Satyartha Prakasa was one of the several books he had borrowed from his school library in our district town. Copies of this magnum opus of the Arya Samaj were, readily available in private homes in our village as well is in libraries in Delhi. But I had never felt any interest in it. Now suddenly I was eager to study it and find out what it was all about.

I do not remember at this distance in time my reactions to the learned discussions which the Satyartha Prakasa carries on many subjects. But I do remember very vividly the painful shock I received as I read its remarks about Kabir and Nanak. These were two of the most hallowed names I had cherished since my first awakening to a religious consciousness. I concluded that Swami Dayananda had been unnecessarily unkind to these great saints, and that his way of thinking was wrong. That was the end of Arya Samaj for me at that time. It was years later when I read Sri Aurobindo's Bankim, Tilak, Dayananda that I bowed, in repentance and renewed reverence, before that fearless lion of a man who tried his best to rescue and revive the Vedic vision among the Hindus. A true understanding and appreciation of the crucial cultural role which the Arya Samaj played at a critical juncture in our national life dawned on me simultaneously.


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Encounter with Maharshi Dayananda

Compared to the intervals between the encounters narrated so far, the next encounter between Hinduism and Christianity took a much longer time in coming.  John Muir had published the third and final edition of his MataparIkshA in 1854.  Before Hindu Pandits could take notice of any new points raised in it, the Great Rebellion broke out in 1857.  Christianity was no longer a subject of public debate.  It became one of the issues in the war that ensued.

After the Rebellion was suppressed, some military brass and civil administrators among the triumphant British were openly advocating the use of the sword in the service of the gospel.  British military success had convinced many missionaries that God was also looking forward to a triumph of the “only true faith”.  Missionary language became more crude and missionary methods more criminal.  Spokesmen for Hinduism, on the other hand, had to lie low.  Even a mild criticism of the imperial creed was likely to be interpreted as attack on the imperial establishment.  It was not easy to bridge the gulf which the war had created between the spokesmen for Hinduism and the standard-bearers of Christianity.

Hindu society was rescued from this slough of despondence by Maharshi Dayananda (1824-1883).  Sir Syed Ahmad Khan rendered the same service to Muslim society.  But there was a world of difference between the two in terms of approach.  Sir Syed advocated servility to the British rulers and slurring over of differences between Christianity and Islam.  Maharshi Dayananda, on the other hand, laid stress on svadeshI and svarAjya and forcefully identified Christianity as a crude cult suited to savage societies.

Dayananda was deeply pained by the humiliations suffered by his people which were caused by the military government’s repression and debased Christian harangues against Hinduism.  His first priority was to restore his people’s pride in their country and their cultural heritage.  Centuries of foreign invasions had sunk Hindu society into poverty, sloth and defeatism.  He mounted a frontal attack on some Hindu sects and systems of thought which he held responsible for this state of affairs.  Hindu orthodoxy reacted by branding him as a hireling of Christian missionaries.  There were certain strains in his thought which sounded like those of the alien creed.  The missionaries themselves watched him for some time, for it appeared as if he was making things easy for them.

It was a matter of principle with Maharshi Dayanand not to speak on a subject which he had not studied and understood in advance.  So he listened patiently to the Christian missionaries whenever and wherever they met him.  There were seven such meetings between 1866 and 1873.  He met J.  Robson at Ajmer in 1866.  During his stay in U.P. he had talks with J. T. Scott who presented to him the Christian position on various themes as well as a copy of the New Testament.  In 1870, he met Dr. Rudolf Hoernle at Varanasi.  On his way to Calcutta in 1872, he met the well-known Hindu convert Lal Behari De at Mughal Sarai and exchanged notes with him on the nature of sin and salvation.  He discussed the nature of God with some English and native clergymen while he was staying at Bhagalpur in the course of the same journey.

By the time he reached Calcutta, the Brahmo Samaj had split into two.  A minority consisting of those who wanted to retain their.  Hindu identity had remained with the Adi Brahmo Samaj led by Debendra Nath Tagore and Rajnarayan Bose.  The majority had walked away with Keshub Chunder Sen who had formed his Church of the New Dispensation (NababidhAna) and started dreaming of becoming the prophet of a new world religion.  Dayananda saw with his own eyes how infatuation with Christ had reduced Keshub Chunder to a sanctimonious humbug and turned him into a rootless cosmopolitan.  He also witnessed how Debendra Nath Tagore was finding it difficult to retrieve the ground lost when the Adi Brahmo Samaj had repudiated the fundamental tenets of Hinduism - the authority of the Vedas, VarNAshrama-dharma, the doctrine of rebirth, etc.  The only consolation he found in Calcutta was a lecture, The Superiority of Hinduism, which Rajnarayan Bose had delivered earlier and a copy of which was presented to him.

Dayananda wrote a critique of Brahmoism soon after he returned from Calcutta.  It was incorporated in Chapter XI of his SatyArthaprakAsha which was first published from Varanasi in the beginning of 1875.  The Brahmos, he wrote, have very little love of their own country left in them.  Far from taking pride in their country and their ancestors, they find fault with both.  They praise Christians and Englishmen in their public speeches while they do not even mention the rishis of old.  They proclaim that since creation and till today, no wise man has been born outside the British fold.  The people of Aryavarta have always been idiotic, according to them.  They believe that Hindus have never made any progress.  Far from honouring the Vedas, they never hesitate in denouncing those venerable Shastras.  The book which describes the tenets of Brahmoism has place for Moses, Jesus and Muhammad who are praised as great saints, but it has no place for any ancient rishi, howsoever great.  They denounce Hindu society for its division in castes, but they never notice the racial consciousness which runs deep in European society.  They claim that their search is only for truth, whether it is found in the Bible or the Quran, but they manage to miss the truth which is in their own Vedic heritage.  They are running after Jesus without knowing what their own rishis have bequeathed to them.  They discard the sacred thread as if it were heavier than the foreign liveries they love to wear.  In the process, they have become beggars in their own home and can do no good either to themselves or to those among whom they live.1

The critique of Christianity which Dayananda had written at the same time and which formed Chapter XIII of the SatyArthaprakAsha was left out of the first edition by the publisher in Varanasi.  He was a deputy collector in the British administration and thought it prudent not to annoy the missionaries.  He dropped Chapter XIV also because it was a critique of Islam and he had many friends among the Muslim gentry of United Provinces.  Dayananda himself became heavily preoccupied from 1876 onwards, first in the Punjab and then in Rajasthan.  The Arya Samaj he had founded in 1875 was being placed on a firm footing.  He had also several other major books in hand.  It was only in 1882 that he undertook a revision of the SatyArthaprakAsha for its second edition.  The copy which was sent to the press in installments included the chapters on Christianity and Islam.  He did not live to see the second edition which was published an year after his death in 1883. But by now the public at large had come to know his position vis-à-vis Christianity.  His two dozen disputations with leading Christian missionaries, mostly in the Punjab, had left nobody in doubt that he had only contempt for the imported and criminal creed.

Dayananda did not know the English language, though he had tried to learn it at one time.  He had to depend on Sanskrit and Hindi translations of the Bible done by some leading missionaries.  Nor was he acquainted with the critique of Christianity which had, by his time, snowballed in the West.  But his handling of the two Testaments shows that these were no disadvantages for him.  His sense of logical consistency was quite strong.  So was his humane and universal ethics derived from Vedic exegesis.

In his examination of the Old Testament, Dayananda concentrated his attention on the character of Jehovah.  He found that Jehovah was not only blood-thirsty, vindictive and unjust but also extremely whimsical. Jehovah alone, said Dayananda, could choose a monster like Moses as his prophet and reveal a barbarous book like the Pentateuch.  Dayanand summed up the character of Jehovah in a Sanskrit Sloka which deserves to be quoted verbatim: kshaNe rushtaH kshaNe tushTaH, rushTatushTaH kshaNe kshaNe; avyavasthitachittasya prasAdo’pi bhayaNkaraH (He is displeased in this moment and pleased in the next.  He takes no time in travelling from dissatisfaction to satisfaction.  His mind is deranged.  Even a favour from such a being is to be feared).  Only a savage society, said Dayananda, can project and worship such a being.  He is no better than a tribal leader who sides with his own gang even if it is unjust and cruel and who reserves his wrath for every other people even if they are just and compassionate.  Such a being should not be sold as the father of all mankind.  Nor can he be entrusted with presiding over the world.

Coming to Jesus, Dayananda found him wanting even as a man, not to speak of as the son of God.  One of the ten commandments required him to serve his parents.  But instead of doing so himself, he made others leave their parents in the lurch.  It was quite fit that he called himself and his disciples the “fishers of men”.  They did ensnare ignorant people in the net of a creed they had invented to serve their own purpose.  Their poor victims also left their homes.  Jesus claimed that he had come with a sword and that his mission was to separate the son from the father, the daughter from the mother, the brother from the brother, and so on.  The missionaries today are only following the example set by Jesus himself.  They too entice ignorant people and separate them from their near and dear ones.  The fraud, said Dayananda, should be exposed and the innocent people saved.

Coming to the miracles of Jesus, Dayanand said that the missionaries should be sent to share the company of sorcerers if they really believe in those miracles.  The least they could do is to stop decrying the far more wonderful miracles mentioned in other people’s books.  Those who denounce other people’s faith as false and sell their own falsehoods as truths, deserve to he described as dolts.

The apostles of Jesus, said Dayananda, were no better. One of them sold his teacher for thirty pieces of silver, others ran away when the teacher was caught and hanged.  Yet we are told that these apostles will sit with Jesus on the day of judgment!  Who could expect justice from judges of this kind?  The missionaries are revealing the Christian standard of justice when they say that those alone who believe in Jesus will be saved and the rest sent to hell to rot there for ever.  We see the same standard of justice in the Christian administration of this country.  If a white man kills a black native, the murderer goes free!  Moreover, is it not a mockery of justice that those who died soon after creation will have to wait to be judged in their graves for a long time while those who die close to the day of judgment will be judged very soon?  All this proves that Christianity is the product of a primitive mind which lacks all sense of justice and fair play.

Jesus had said that the pieces of bread he was distributing were his body and the wine with which he was filling his disciples’ cups was his blood.  Can a civilized man speak this language?  No one except an uncouth savage would command his disciple’s to eat his flesh and drink his blood.  Yet Christians applaud the practice as the Lord’s Supper! Jesus was no lord.  He was only a trickster.  Had he had any spiritual powers, he would have saved himself from a shameful death.  Nor was he a man of honour.  Had he been one, he would have fought back and died a hero’s death.  Yet we are told that Jesus was the Only Son of God and that nobody can reach God except by his recommendation.  God is thus reduced to the status of a servant of Jesus.  The only conclusion we can draw from such statements of Jesus is that he was an impostor.  He can be honoured only in a savage society.  Hindus have a saying that even a castor plant can pass as a tree in a land devoid of real trees.  Jesus can pass as God only among people who have never known what constitutes Godhood.

Dayananda was thus fully equipped when he met the missionaries in a public debate at Moradabad in 1876.  “When the missionaries said that Christ was the only Saviour, the Swami retorted that Krishna and Shankaracharya were men of better caliber and that belief in salvation through the intercession of a man was worse than idolatry.”2 In March 1877, there was a three-cornered contest at Chandpur Mela between Dayananda on one side and Muslim maulanas and Christian missionaries on the other.  The theme was creation and salvation.  Dayananda demonstrated how the literalistic methods which the missionaries employed in attacking Hindu Shastras and saints, could be used more effectively in dealing with the Bible and Jesus.

He had to rush to the Punjab in the same month as a wave of conversions in that province had made the missionaries feel triumphant and alarmed Hindu society.  He met a missionary at his first stop in Ludhiana and silenced him immediately when he criticised Sri Krishna.  A poor Brahmana had found employment in the missionary establishment and started feeling inclined towards Christianity.  Dayananda demonstrated to him the errors of the alien creed and the merits of his own ancestral faith.  The Brahmana was saved, though the missionaries sacked him.

During his prolonged tour of the Punjab, Dayananda faced the missionaries in no less than twenty public debates in different towns.  Luminaries like E. M. Wherry, W. Hooper, W. C. Forman and Robert Clark were pitted against him, but he silenced them all. His performance in public debates not only stopped further conversions but also gave birth to a new movement - shuddhi (purification) of those who had been enticed away from Hindu society at one time or the other.  It sent a wave of consternation through the missionary circles and restored Hindu confidence.  In days to come, the missionaries became more and more reluctant to meet Dayananda in open forums.

Dayananda’s work was continued after his death by the scholars of the Arya Samaj.  They challenged the missionaries again and again to show the worth of Christianity as compared to the Vaidika Dharma. That is a long story which needs to be told in greater detail, and we reserve it for some other time.  For the present, we would like to draw attention to a significant fact.  Compared to the South, the progress of Christianity has been very, very slow in the North.  The credit for reversing the trend in the North goes overwhelmingly to the lead given by Maharshi Dayananda and the Arya Samaj he founded.  


1 Translated and summarised from SatyArthaprakAsha, Delhi, 1975, pp. 330-335
2 J.T.F. Jordens, ‘Dayananda Sarasvati and Christianity’, Indian Church History Review, June 1981, p. 37.


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati (1824-1883) was speaking at a meeting in Calcutta when some stones were thrown at him by some members of the audience disgruntled by his criticism of Hindu orthodoxy. He remained calm and self-possessed. He appealed for a patient hearing in the following words: “The British Government has guaranteed freedom of speech to all of us. Why should I be deprived of that freedom? Please! Let me say what I want to say. Those who disagree with me will also have their turn.”

This part of his speech was reported to the then Viceroy of India. The Viceroy thought that the Maharshi was a great well-wisher of the British Raj. The Maharshi was, therefore, invited to the Government House and given a warm reception by the Viceroy himself. An official interpreter was standing close by to establish communication between the Indian recluse and the representative of the mightiest empire in world history.

After a brief spell of some small talk, the Viceroy broached the subject he had on his mind. He said: “Swami, the people of India have started forgetting the benefits conferred on them by the British Raj. They are being misled by some mischief-makers. You did well to remind the people of Calcutta that it was the Raj which had given them freedom of speech. I hope you will keep on telling the same truth to your countrymen everywhere you go. Freedom of speech is not the only benefit we have brought to India. There are many more. I am sure you known them all.”

The Maharshi found it difficult to hide his embarrassment. He kept quiet and looked away. The Viceroy was puzzled and prodded him for an affirmation. The Maharshi had to break his silence. He said: “Sahebji, I am sorry I have been misunderstood. Forgive me for what I am being forced to say. The reference to freedom of speech was made by me in a specific context. It was not at all my intention to uphold the British usurpation of my country. Make no mistake. I consider the British Raj to be a curse. I stand for svarãjya.”

The Viceroy was taken aback as the message of the Maharshi was conveyed to him. He walked away in a huff, without so much as saying a good-bye to his great guest. The rest of the viceregal retinue melted away in the next few moments. The Maharshi walked out of the Government House, alone but unrepentant. His gait was akin to that of a lion who had dared a dangerous adversary in the latter’s own den.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->CHAPTER VIII


The Punjab, the Land of the Five Rivers, differs as widely both from the
Deccan and from Bengal as these two differ the one from the other. It
has been more than any other part of India the battlefield of warring
races and creeds and the seat of power of mighty dynasties. Among its
cities it includes Imperial Delhi and Runjit Singh's Lahore. It is a
country of many peoples and of many dialects. It is the home of the
Sikhs, but the Mahomedans, ever since the days of the Moghul Empire,
form the majority of the population, and the proportion of Hindus is
smaller than in any other province of India, except Eastern Bengal.
Owing to the very small rainfall, its climate is intensely dry--fiercely
hot during the greater part of the year, and cold even to freezing
during the short winter months. Nowhere in India has British rule done
so much to bring peace and security and to induce prosperity. The
alluvial lands are rich but thirsty, and irrigation works on a scale of
unparalleled magnitude were required to compel the soil to yield
beneficent harvests. At the most critical moment in the history of
British India it was against the steadfastness of the Punjab, then under
the firm but patriarchal sway of Sir John Lawrence, that the Mutiny
spent itself, and until a few years ago there seemed to be no reason
whatever for questioning the loyalty of a province which the forethought
of Government and the skill of Anglo-Indian engineers were gradually
transforming into a land of plenty. Least of all did any one question
the loyalty of the Sikhs. Many of them believed that British rule was
the fulfilment of a prophecy of one of their martyred _gurus_, and the
Sikh regiments were regarded as the flower of the Native Army.

Yet it was in the Punjab, at Lahore and at Rawal Pindi, that the first
serious disturbances occurred in 1907 which aroused public opinion at
home to the reality of Indian unrest, and stirred the Government of
India to such strong repressive measures as the deportation of two
prominent agitators under an ancient Ordinance of 1818 never before
applied in such connexion. Local and temporary causes may to some extent
have accounted for those disturbances. An increase in the land revenue
demanded in the Rawal Pindi district was very strongly resented. The
regulations issued with regard to the tenure of land in some of the new
irrigation colonies were probably unwise and carried out with some
harshness. Famine in the unirrigated tracts, and especially the plague,
which had desolated parts of the province, had created much misery and
bitterness. Other and more remote causes of a social and economic
character had also been at work. Nowhere had Anglo-Indian legislation
and the introduction of elaborate forms of legal procedure produced
results more unfortunate and less foreseen by their authors than in the
Punjab. The conversion of the occupants of the land into full
proprietors was intended to give greater stability and security to the
peasant ownership of land, but the result was to improve the position of
the moneylender, who, owing to the thriftlessness of the Indian _rayat_
and the extravagant expenditure to which he is from time to time driven
by traditional custom in regard to marriages, funerals, and other family
ceremonies, has always played a disastrously important part in village
life. As M. Chailley remarks in his admirable study of these problems,
"the agricultural debtor had now two securities to offer." He had
always been able to pledge his harvest, and now he could pledge also his
land. On the other hand, "a strict system of law and procedure afforded
the moneylender the means of rapidly realizing his dues," and the
pleader, who is himself a creation of that system, was ever at the elbow
of both parties to encourage ruinous litigation to his own professional
advantage. Special laws were successively enacted by Government to check
these new evils, but they failed to arrest altogether a process which
was bringing about a veritable revolution in the tenure of land, and
mainly to the detriment of an essentially peaceful and law-abiding class
that furnished a large and excellent contingent to the Native Army. The
wretched landowner who found himself deprived of his land by legal
process held our methods rather than his own extravagance responsible
for his ruin, and on the other hand, the pleaders and their clients, the
moneylenders, who were generally Hindus, resented equally our
legislative attempts to hamper a process so beneficial to themselves.

But all these were only contributory causes. There were still deeper
influences at work which have operated in the Punjab in the same
direction as the forces of unrest in the Deccan and in Bengal, but
differ from them nevertheless in their origin and in some of their
manifestations. In the Punjab too the keynote of unrest is a spirit of
revolt not merely against British administrative control, but, in theory
at least, against Western influence generally, though in some respects
it bears very strongly the impress of the Western influence which it
repudiates. The motive force is not conservative Brahmanism as in the
Deccan, nor does it betray the impetuous emotionalism of Bengal. It is
less rigid and purely reactionary than the former, and better
disciplined than the latter.

Orthodox Hinduism ceased to be a dominant factor in the Punjab when the
flood of Mahomedan conquest swept over the land of the Five Rivers. Even
Islam did not break the power of caste, and very distinct traces of
caste still survive amongst the Mahomedan community itself. But nowhere
has caste been so much shaken as in the Punjab, for the infinity of
sub-castes into which each caste has resolved itself gives the measure
of its disintegration. Sikhism still represents the most successful
revolt against its tyranny in the later history of Hinduism. Hence the
relatively slight ascendency enjoyed by the Brahmans in the Punjab
amongst the Hindus themselves, even the Brahmans having split up into so
many sub-castes and sub-sub-castes that many a non-Brahman Hindu will
hardly accept food cooked by the lower order of Brahmans--and, next to
inter-marriage, food is the great test of caste. Nevertheless it is
amongst the Hindus of the Punjab that one of the earliest apostles of
reaction against the West has found the largest and most enthusiastic
body of followers. Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of the Arya
Samaj, was a Brahman of Kathiawar; he was not born in the Punjab, and it
was not in the Punjab but in Bombay, where, however, it struck no roots,
that he founded the Arya Samaj. Only in the later years of his life did
the Punjab become the chief centre of his activities. The doctrines he
taught were embodied by him in his _Satyarath Prakash_, which has become
the Bible of his disciples, and in his _Veda Bashya Basmika_, a
commentary on the Vedas. He had at an early age lost faith in the Hindu
Pantheon, and to this extent he was a genuine religious reformer, for he
waged relentless war against the worship of idols, and whether his
claims to Vedantic learning be or be not conceded, his creed was "Back
to the Vedas." His ethical code, on the other hand, was vague, and he
pandered strangely in some directions to the weaknesses of the flesh,
and in others to popular prejudices. Nothing in the Vedas, for instance,
prohibits either the killing of cattle or the eating of bovine flesh.
But, in deference to one of the most universal of Hindu superstitions,
Dayanand did not hesitate to include cow-killing amongst the deadliest
sins. Here we have in fact the keynote of his doctrines. The sanctity of
the cow is the touchstone of Hindu hostility to both Christian and
Mahomedan, and the whole drift of Dayanand's teachings is far less to
reform Hinduism than to rouse it into active resistance to the alien
influences which threatened, in his opinion, to denationalize it. Hence
the outrageously aggressive tone of his writings wherever he alludes
either to Christianity or to Mahomedanism. It is the advent of
"meat-eating and wine-drinking foreigners, the slaughterers of kine and
other animals," that has brought "trouble and suffering" upon "the
Aryas"--he discards the word Hindu on account of its Persian
origin--whilst before they came into the country India enjoyed "golden
days," and her people were "free from disease and prosperous and
contented." In fact, "Arya for the Aryans" was the cry that frequently
predominated in Dayanand's teachings over that of "Back to the Vedas,"
and Lajpat Rai, one of his most zealous disciples, has stated
emphatically that "the scheme of Swami Dayanand has its foundation on
the firm rock of _Swadeshi_ and _Swajati_."

Since Dayanand's death the Arya Samaj has split up into two
sections--the "vegetarians" who with regard to religious doctrine may be
described as the orthodox, and the "meat-eaters," as the
latitudinarians. It is difficult to differentiate between the precise
tendencies of these two sections, whose feuds seem to be waning. In both
are to be found not a few progressive and enlightened Aryas who,
whatever their political activities may be, have undoubtedly applied
themselves with no small success to the carrying out of that part of
Dayanand's gospel which was directed to the reforming of Hinduism. Their
influence has been constantly exerted to check, the marriages between
mere boys and almost infant girls which have done so much physical as
well as moral mischief to Hindu society, and also to improve the
wretched lot of Hindu widows whose widowhood with all that it entails of
menial degradation often begins before they have ever really been wives.
To this end the Aryas have not hesitated to encourage female education,
and the Girls' Orphanage at Jalandhar, where there is also a widows'
home, has shown what excellent social results can be achieved in that
direction. Again in the treatment of the "untouchable" low-castes, the
Arya Samaj may claim to have been the first native body to break new
ground and to attempt something akin to the work of social reclamation
of which Christianity and, in a lesser degree, Islam had hitherto had
the monopoly. Schools and especially industrial classes have been
established in various districts which cannot fail to raise the _status_
of the younger generation and gradually to emancipate the lower castes
from the bondage in which they have been hitherto held. These and many
other new departures conceived in the same liberal spirit at first
provoked the vehement hostility of the orthodox Hindus, who at one time
stopped all social intercourse with the Arya reformers. But whereas in
other parts of India the idea of social reform came to be associated
with that of Western ascendency and therefore weakened and gave way
before the rising tide of reaction against that ascendency, it has been
associated in the Punjab with the cry of "Arya for the Aryans," and the
political activities of the Arya Samaj, or at least of a number of its
most prominent members who have figured conspicuously in the
anti-British agitation of the last few years, have secured for it from
Hindu orthodoxy a measure of tolerance and even of good will which its
social activities would certainly not otherwise have received. That the
Arya Samaj, which shows the impress of Western influence in so much of
its social work, should at the same time have associated itself so
intimately with a political movement directed against British rule is
one of the many anomalies presented by the problem of Indian unrest.

Many Aryas, indeed, deny strenuously that the Samaj is disaffected, or
even that it concerns itself with politics, and the president of the
Lahore branch, Mr. Roshan Lal, assured me that it devotes itself solely
to moral and religious reform. I do not question that assurance, as far
as Mr. Roshan Lal is himself personally concerned, and it may be true
that the Samaj has never committed itself as a body to any political
programme, and that many individual members hold aloof from politics;
but the evidence that many others, and not the least influential, have
played a conspicuous part in the seditious agitation of the last few
years, both in the Punjab and in the neighbouring United Provinces, is
overwhelming. In the Rawal Pindi riots in 1907 the ringleaders were
Aryas, and in the violent propaganda which for about two years preceded
the actual outbreak of violence none figured more prominently than Lala
Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh, both prominent Aryas. The immediate effect
produced by their deportation in restoring order is in itself
corroborative evidence of the share they were believed to have taken in
producing lawlessness. Ajit Singh himself is at the present moment a
fugitive from justice, against whom proceedings _in absentia_ were
instituted this winter in Lahore for translating and publishing
seditious books that dealt with the making of bombs, the taking of life,
the destruction of buildings, &c. In the course of these proceedings
letters from Lajpat Rai were produced in Court showing that just about
the time of the disturbances he had been in communication with Shyamji
Krishnavarma, of _Indian Sociologist_ fame, for a supply of books
"containing true ideas on politics" for the students of Lahore, as well
as for assistance towards defraying the cost of "political
missionaries." In one of these letters also Lajpat Rai, after remarking
that "the people are in a sullen mood" and that "the agricultural
classes have begun to agitate," adds significantly that his "only fear
is that the bursting out may not be premature." Lajpat Rai's
correspondent was another prominent Arya, Bhai Parmanand, who, whilst he
was Professor at the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College, was found in
possession of various formulae for the manufacture of bombs, including
the same manual that was discovered in the Maniktola Garden at

In Patiala, one of the Sikh native States of the Punjab, Aryas
constituted the great majority of defendants, 76 in number, and many of
them officials and persons of position, who were put on their trial last
December for seditious practices. So seriously were the charges felt to
reflect upon the Arya Samaj as a whole that one of its leading legal
members was briefed on its behalf for the defence. From the speech made
by counsel for the prosecution in opening the case it appears that some
of the defendants were schoolmasters, who were charged with preaching
revolutionary doctrines in their schools and carrying on correspondence
of the same character with old pupils; others were charged with
circulating papers of the _Yugantar_ and _Swarajiya_ type; others with
holding secret meetings and delivering inflammatory lectures; others
again with distributing pictures and photographs of well-known
revolutionists, including Khudiram Bose, the Muzafferpur murderer. Not
only were most of these defendants Aryas, but they were very prominent
Aryas, who had founded local branches of the Samaj or been members of
committees in the State of Patiala. How far the evidence outlined by
counsel would have borne out these charges it is impossible to say,
though one may properly assume it to have been of a very formidable
character, for after the case had been opened against them the
defendants hastened to send in a petition invoking the clemency of the
Maharajah. They expressed therein their deep sorrow for any conduct open
to misconstruction, tendered their unqualified apology for any
indiscreet acts they might have committed, and testified their "great
abhorrence and absolute detestation" of anarchists and seditionists and
their diabolical methods. His Highness thereupon ordered the prosecution
to be abandoned, but at the same time banished the defendants from his
State and declared their posts to be forfeited by such as had been in
his service, and only in a few cases were these punishments
subsequently remitted.

The large number of Aryas who have unquestionably taken part in the
political agitation of the last few years certainly tends to corroborate
the very compromising certificate given only two years ago to the Samaj
by Krishnavarma himself in his murder-preaching organ. He not only
stated that "of all movements in India for the political regeneration of
the country none is so potent as the Arya Samaj," but he added that "the
ideal of that society as proclaimed by its founder is an absolutely free
and independent form of national Government," and Krishnavarma, it must
be remembered, had been appointed by Dayanand to be a member of the
first governing body in the lifetime of the founder and, after his
death, one of the trustees of his will.

What makes the question of the real tendencies of the Arya Samaj one of
very grave importance for the future is that it has embarked upon an
educational experiment of a peculiar character which may have an immense
effect upon the rising generation. One of its best features is the
attention it has devoted to education, and to that of girls as well as
of boys. But it was not till 1898 that the governing body of the Samaj
in the Punjab decided to carry into execution a scheme for restoring the
Vedic system of education which Dayanand had conceived but had never
been able to carry out. Under this system the child is committed at an
early age to the exclusive care of a spiritual teacher or _guru_, who
stands to him _in loco parentis_ and even more, for Manu says that "of
him who gives natural birth, and of him who gives knowledge of the
Vedas, the giver of sacred knowledge is the more venerable father, since
second or divine birth ensures life to the twice-born, both in this
world and eternally." In the _gurukuls_ or seminaries founded by the
Arya Samaj pupils or _chelas_ are admitted between the ages of six and
ten. From that moment they, are practically cut off from the outer world
during the whole course of their studies, which cover a period of 16
years altogether--i.e., ten years in the lower school and six years in
the upper, to which they pass up as _Brahmacharis._ During the whole of
that period no student is allowed to visit his family, except in cases
of grave emergency, and his parents can only see him with the permission
of the head of the _gurukul_ and not more than once a month. There are
at present three _gurukuls_ in the Punjab, but the most important one,
with over 250 students, is at Kangri, in the United Provinces, five
miles from the sacred city of Hardwar, where the Ganges flows out of a
gorge into the great plain. A large and very popular _mela_ or fair is
held annually at Kangri, and it is attended by the _Brahmacharis,_ who
act as volunteers for the maintenance of order and collect funds for the
support of their _gurukul_. The enthusiasm is said to be very great, and
donations last year are credibly reported to have exceeded 300,000

Life in the _gurukuls_ is simple and even austere, the discipline
rigorous, the diet of the plainest, and a great deal of time is given to
physical training. As the _chelas_ after 16 years of this monastic
training at the hands of their _gurus_ are to be sent out as
missionaries to propagate the Arya doctrines throughout India, the
influence of these institutions in the moulding of Indian character and
Indian opinion in the future cannot fail to be considerable. Some five
years more must elapse before we shall be able to judge the result by
the first batch of _chelas_ who will then be going forth into the world.
For the present one can only echo the hope tersely expressed a few
months ago by Sir Louis Dane, the Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, in
reply to assurances of loyalty from the President of the Arya Samaj,
that "what purports to be a society for religious and social reform and
advancement may not be twisted from its proper aims" and "degenerate
into a political organization with objects which are not consonant with
due loyalty to the Government as established." But neither the spirit of
Dayanand's own teachings nor the record of many of his disciples,
including some of those actually connected with the _gurukuls_, is in
this respect encouraging.

There has been, however, no recurrence of serious disturbances in the
Punjab since 1907, and if the native Press lost little of its virulence
until the new Press Act of this year, and numerous prosecutions bore
witness to the continued prevalence of sedition, the province has been
free from the murderous outrages and dacoities which have been so
lamentable a feature of the unrest in Bengal and in the Deccan. None the
less there is still a very strong undercurrent of anti-British feeling.
It has partly been fostered in the large cities by Bengalee immigrants
who have come into the Punjab in considerable numbers, and thanks to
their higher education have acquired great influence at the Bar and in
the Press, but it is rife wherever the Arya Samaj is known to be most
active, and the Arya Samaj has already proved a very powerful
proselytizing agency. Its meeting houses serve not only for religious
ceremonies, but also as social clubs for the educated classes in all the
larger towns where they congregate. Access to them is readily given to
Hindus and Sikhs who have not actually joined the Samaj. They are
attracted by the political discussions which are carried on there with
great freedom, and having no such resorts of their own, they are soon
tempted to obtain the fuller privileges of membership. In this way the
Samaj has made many converts among the educated classes and even among
native officials. But its influence is by no means confined to them. It
makes many converts among the Sikhs, and not a few among _Nau-Muslims_
or Mahomedans who have embraced Islam in relatively recent times and
mainly for the purpose of escaping from the tyranny of caste. For the
same reason it attracts low-caste Hindus, for though it does not
ostentatiously denounce or defy caste, it has the courage to ignore it.
Though the Arya leaders are generally men of education and sometimes of
great culture, they know how to present their creed in a popular form
that appeals to the lower classes and especially to the agricultural
population. One of the most unpleasant features has been the propaganda
carried on by them among the Sepoys of the Native Army, and especially
among the Jats and the Sikhs, with whom they have many points of
affinity. The efforts of the Aryas seem to be chiefly directed to
checking enlistment, but they have at times actually tampered with the
loyalty of certain regiments, and their emissaries have been found
within the lines of the native troops. Sikhism itself is at the present
day undergoing a fresh process of transformation. Whilst it tends
generally to be reabsorbed into Hinduism, the very remarkable movement
for sinking the old class distinctions--themselves a survival of
caste--and recognizing the equality of all Sikhs, is clearly due to the
influence of the Arya Samaj. The evolution of the Arya Samaj recalls
very forcibly that of Sikhism, which originally, when founded by Nanak
in the early part of the 16th century, was merely a religious and moral,
reform movement, and nevertheless within 50 years developed under Har
Govind into a formidable political and military organization. It is not,
therefore, surprising that some of those who know the Punjab best and
the sterner stuff of which its martial races are made look upon it as a
potentially more dangerous centre of trouble than either the Deccan or
Bengal. One of the most mischievous results of the Aryan propaganda, and
one which may well cause the most immediate anxiety, is the growing
antagonism which it has bred between Hindus and Mahomedans, for the
Mahomedans are convinced that the Arya Samaj is animated with no less
bitter hostility towards Islam than towards British rule.

what was the extent of the attack and influence that arya samaj faced from the westerners and missionaries.

punjab wasnt exactly the epicentre of the british presence in india (just like say madhya pradesh wasnt the epicentre of the portuguese presence, or tamil nadu wasnt the epicentre of the muslim presence unlike say a lucknow or a delhi), so i wonder, to what extent and degree of christian/western influence was the arya samaj actually subjected to.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->what was the extent of the attack and influence that arya samaj faced from the westerners and missionaries.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
It was other way round. Arya Samaj was and is very aggressive. Western infulence is non-existing. Even in Surinam, South Africa, Kenya etc it is very well preserved.
Recently, Arya Samaj converted Imam along with his herds in Africa and reverted some Pakis along with family back to Vedic Dharma. Arya Samaj is missionary front of Hindus. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
er.. i didnt ask if the arya samaj HAS elements of western influence in it, like say the Brahmo samaj does.

i asked if about the extent of western and missionary influence/extent they FACED.

for example it would be fair to say that the people of goa faced a lot more of portuguese onslaught than say the people of bihar or the people of tamil nadu faced a lot less muslim influence than say people of uttar pradesh or hyderabad.

just how much was the arya samaj up against??
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->just how much was the arya samaj up against?? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
It was other way round; they were able to stop conversion into Islam, Christianity and Sikhism. Initially, RSS, orthodox Sanatam Dharma was against them. Only during Khalistan terrorism days they suffered some attacks. Otherwise smooth sailing.
Arya Samaj was formed in 1875. Lot of rulers, small estates was against them. Arya Samaj movement was combination of Independence, Nationalism, and unification of Hindus and revival of Vedic Dharma. In early 20th century they used to recruit students in schools and colleges. They never used violence for conversion but they use aggressive persuasion.
arrey, i am asking, arya samaj ke against mein KITNA bada missionary machinery tha?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->arrey, i am asking, arya samaj ke against mein KITNA bada missionary machinery tha? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
How many times I have to say <b>NONE</b>
so, nehi tha right??

oosi liye-hi shayed they werent at all influenced by monotheistic and/or western beliefs.
Don't forget another major contribution of Arya Samaj - promoting Hindi.

Maharshi Dayanand was a visionary who had foreseen the impact of Macaulay' education policy upon Indian masses, and had therefore openly advocated instructions in Indian Languages. He was behind starting of various Gujrati, Panjabi and Hindi presses, news papers and magazines. He was also behind setting up Gurukul philosophy based schools, inter colleges and degree colleges. He was the inspiration behind Gurukul Kangdi Vidyalaya in Uttaranchal.
Sri Maithili Sharan Gupta - the national Poet of India - was an Arya Samaji too - or at least heavily influenced. He was a stalvart of modern Hindi literature revival, together with Sri Jay Shankar Prasad and others literary giants of Hindi.

In South, especially Karnataka and Nizam's Hyderabad, Arya Samaj was the symbol of north-south unity, and has done lot of work for promoting the learning of Hindi and translations.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)