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Dayananda Saraswati Biography

Dayananda Saraswati Biography

Dayanand Saraswati (12 February 1824 – 30 October 1883) was an Indian social leader and founder of the Arya Samaj, a reform movement of the Vedic dharma. He was the first to give the call for Swaraj as "India for Indians" in 1876, a call later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak. Denouncing the idolatry and ritualistic worship prevalent in India at the time, he worked towards reviving Vedic ideologies. Subsequently, the philosopher and President of India, S. Radhakrishnan called him one of the "makers of Modern India", as did Sri Aurobindo.
Life History
Dayananda Saraswati was born on 12 February 1824 on the tithi to a Hindu family in Jeevapar Tankara, Kathiawad region (now Morbi district of Gujarat). His original name was Mul Shankar because he was born in Dhanu Rashi and Mul Nakshatra. His father was Karshanji Lalji Kapadi, and his mother was Amrutbai. His father was a follower of Shiva and taught him the ways to impress Shiva. Dayananda Saraswati spent nearly twenty-five years, from 1845 to 1869, as a wandering ascetic, searching for religious truth. He gave up material goods and lived a life of self-denial, devoting himself to spiritual pursuits in forests, retreats in the Himalayan Mountains, and pilgrimage sites in northern India. During these years he practiced various forms of yoga and became a disciple of a religious teacher named Virajanand Dandeesha.
Dayananda Saraswati is most notable for influencing the freedom movement of India. His views and writings have been used by different writers, including Shyamji Krishna Varma, who founded India House in London and guided other revolutionaries was influenced by him; Subhas Chandra Bose; Lala Lajpat Rai; Madam Cama; Vinayak Damodar Savarkar; Lala Hardayal; Madan Lal Dhingra; Ram Prasad Bismil; Mahadev Govind Ranade;Swami Shraddhanand; S. Satyamurti; Pandit Lekh Ram; Mahatma Hansraj; Rajiv Dixit; and others.
Dayanand's mission
He believed that Hinduism had been corrupted by divergence from the founding principles of the Vedas and that Hindus had been misled by the priesthood for the priests' self-aggrandizement. For this mission, he founded the Arya Samaj, enunciating the Ten Universal Principles as a code for Universalism, called Krinvanto Vishwaryam. With these principles, he intended the whole world to be an abode for Nobles (Aryas).
Through his daily life and practice of yoga and asanas, teachings, preaching, sermons and writings, he inspired the Hindu nation to aspire to Swarajya (self governance), nationalism, and spiritualism. He advocated the equal rights and respects to women and advocated for the education of all children, regardless of gender.
Arya Samaj allows and encourages converts to Hinduism. Dayananda's concept of dharma is stated in the "Beliefs and Disbeliefs" section of Satyartha Prakash, he says.
Dayanand Saraswati & Arya Samaj
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". The ten tenets of the Arya Samaj are as follows:
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, teach, and 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 wellbeing of all, while in following the rules of individual welfare all should be free.
Assassination attempts
Dayananda was subjected to many unsuccessful attempts on his life.
According to his supporters, he was poisoned on few occasions, but due to his regular practice of Hatha Yoga he survived all such attempts. One story tells that attackers once attacked attempted to drown him in a river, but Dayanand dragged the assailants into the river instead, though he released them before they drowned. Another account tells that he was attacked by Muslims who were offended by his criticism of Islam while meditating on the Ganges river. They threw him into the water but he saved himself because his pranayama practice allowed him to stay under water until the attackers left.
Death
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.
Legacy
Today, the Arya Samaj is very active not only in India but also in other parts of the world. The United States, Canada, Trinidad, Mexico, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Mauritius, Pakistan, Burma, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia are some of the countries where the Samaj has its branches.
Dayananda Saraswati on a 1962 stamp of India,Maharshi Dayanand University in Rohtak, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati University in Ajmer, DAV University in Jalandhar are named after him. So are over 800+ schools and colleges under D.A.V. College Managing Committee, including Dayanand College at Ajmer. Industrialist Nanji Kalidas Mehta built the Maharshi Dayanand Science College and donated it to the Education Society of Porbandar, after naming it after Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
He was a universally revered figure and American Spiritualist Andrew Jackson Davis called Maharishi Dayanand “Son of God", admitting that the he had exerted profound effect on his spiritual beliefs and applauded him for restoring the status of the Nation.
Works
Dayananda Saraswati wrote more than 60 works in all, including a 16 volume explanation of the six Vedangas, an incomplete commentary on the Ashtadhyayi (Panini's grammar), several small tracts on ethics and morality, Vedic rituals and sacraments, and a piece on the analysis of rival doctrines (such as Advaita Vedanta, Islam and Christianity). Some of his major works include the Satyarth Prakash, Satyarth Bhumika, Sanskarvidhi, RigvedadiBhashyaBhumika, Rigved Bhashyam (up to 7/61/2)and Yajurved Bhashyam. The Paropakarini Sabha located in the Indian city of Ajmer was founded by the Swami himself to publish and preach his works and Vedic texts.

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