Modern History Simplified: Arya Samaj (Dayananda Saraswati) 1875

Arya Samaj (1875)
  1. The movement was a reaction to the result of Western influences.
  2. The first Arya Samaj unit was formally set up by Dayananda Saraswati at Bombay in 1875 and later the headquarters of the Samaj were established at Lahore.
  3. Dayananda’s views were published in his famous work, Satyarth Prakash (The True Exposition) according to which his vision of India included classless and casteless society, a united India (religiously, socially and nationally), and an India free from foreign rule, with Aryan religion being the common religion of all.
  4. He gave the slogan ‘Back to the Vedas’  as he took inspiration from the vedas and considered Vedas as infallible and the original seed of Hinduism. 
  5. He accepted modernity and displayed a patriotic attitude to national problems.
  6. He learnt Vedanta from a guru called Swami Virajananda in Mathura. Also he stressed the significance of individual interpretation of the scriptures and said that every person has the right of access to God.
  7. He criticised later Hindu scriptures such as the Puranas and the ignorant priests for perverting Hinduism.
  8. Dayananda believed in the theory of karma and reincarnation.
  9. Dayananda launched a frontal attack on Hindu orthodoxy, caste rigidities, untouchability, idolatry, polytheism, belief in magic, charms and animal sacrifices, taboo on sea voyages, feeding the dead through shraddhas, etc.
  10. Dayananda subscribed to the Vedic notion of chaturvarna system in which a person was identified as a brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya or shudra not by birth but according to the occupation and merit of the person. Hence he gave a call for a revival of Vedic learning and Vedic purity of religion and not a revival of Vedic times.
  11. Intercaste marriages and widow remarriages were also encouraged.

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