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ARYA SAMAJ FOUNDATION DAY – 2024

Today is April 10, the 149th Foundation Day of Arya Samaj. As I think of today’s day, the following comes to my mind:

I personally feel motivated to aim for freedom from all types of bondage when I read the life-details of Rishi Dayananda Saraswati.  I strongly believe that many others feel the same motivation.

I am thankful that, through the vigorous efforts of the Arya Samaj, mankind has discovered a simple path to achieving peace and harmony both in their hearts and in society through the five daily Yajnas and the sixteen Sanskaars.

For ages, a lot of doubt used to surround Sanskrit literature beginning with Vedas and ending with the Satyarth Prakash.  Some examples are as follows:

  • Is the Sankhya Darshan of Kapila an atheistic text? 
  • Is beef-eating sanctioned in Vedas?
  • Does the Manu Smriti consider women and Shudras to be low-born and so, they should be denied essential freedoms?
  • Does birth alone determine a person’s caste?
  • Was Hanumaan truly a monkey, and was Rishi Valmiki ever a robber before he wrote the Ramayana?
  • What was the true character of Shri Raam and Shri Krishna?

Arya Samaj scholars, through extensive interpretive writings, have removed much of that doubt.  The origin and contents of texts like Vedas, Upanishads, Darshanas have become much clearer, and people can now read and comprehend these texts.  

Scholars outside of the Arya Samaj have confused issues like God, Soul, Matter, Karma, Mukti etc.  Even University scholars, both in and out of India, when teaching Hinduism, fail to conclusively explain these concepts.  The etymological writings of Arya Samaj scholars have succeeded in presenting these ideas in comprehensive terms.       

In most countries of the world, Arya Samaj has associated with mass movements organized to free people from political, social, and educational challenges.  A careful reading of history shows that Arya Samaj was in the forefront fighting for political independence in countries like India, Fiji, Mauritius, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad, Burma, Nepal, and perhaps some others I am not fully aware of.  

Based on inspirations from the Satyarth Prakash, Arya Samaj leaders opened up schools to educate children of disadvantaged homes.  Education for women in the earlier days was inconceivable.  Even now, girls are prohibited from being given Janeo (the Hindu baptismal thread) because they are considered inherently unclean.  In struggling for social justice, Arya Samaj has fought for the emancipation of girls and women and so, succeeded in breaking that taboo. 

I do not want to make this post unduly long, but the foregoing are some of the reasons why I feel blessed to be part of the Arya Samaj, a movement that Rishi Dayananda bequeathed to us 149 years ago.  The Arya Samaj is essentially a society that seeks to bring together people dedicated to teaching time-tested eternal codes called Vaidik Satya Sanaatan Dharma.  Let all Arya Samajists, Sanatanists and even others pledge to unite on this day to work for the liberation of mankind.

DR SATISH PRAKASH