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The Arya Samaj was founded on April 7th, 1875 at Bombay, India, by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati. He was a renouncer who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. The purpose was to move the Hindu Dharma away from all the fictitious beliefs and go back to the teachings of Vedas. Arya Samaj rejects all forms of ritualistic superstition such as idolatry, ancestor worship, pilgrimage and animal sacrifice, as well as all forms of social oppression such as the caste system, untouchability and child labor. It proclaims equal entitlement under the law between men and women, strives to reduce poverty and to protect the weak and the disadvantaged, denounces the consumption of meat as well as the use of intoxicants and recreational drugs, and promotes a healthy community, family and private life in tune with the cycles of nature.
The Arya Samaj stresses the universal and comprehensive nature of Vedic Knowledge and it’s capacity to rejuvenate and redeem a troubled and wearied humanity. This capacity rests above all else in it’s an emphasis upon the correct understanding and worship of the one true God, who is the Supreme personification of Existence, Intelligence, and Bliss. Dayananda advocated the doctrine of karma and reincarnation and emphasized the ideals of brahmacharya (chastity) and sannyasa (renunciation).
Ten Principles of Arya Samaj
When Maharishi Dayanand founded the Arya Samaj, he laid down the Ten Principles that govern Arya Samaj and which should be followed by every Arya Samajist in belief and practice.
The Ten Principles are:
- God is the origin and fountainhead of all the truth and material knowledge prevalent in this world.
- God is truth-being and bliss, formless, all-powerful, just, merciful, birthless, infinite, without a beginning, incomparable, the base for everything, spread everywhere, all-knowing, deathless, diseaseless, fearless, sacred and creator of the universe. Our devotion is due only to Him.
- The Veda is the book of all true knowledge. To read and understand the Veda is the supreme duty of all the Aryas.
- One should always be ready to accept what is true and reject what is an untruth.
- One should always act according to Dharma, that is, after deliberating over the truth or untruth of an act.
- The aim of Arya Samaj is to work for the well being of the whole word, physical, spiritual and social.
- One should treat everybody with love, respect, and Dharma.
- One should work for the eradication of non-knowledge (Avidya) and spread of knowledge (Vidya).
- One should not be satisfied with one’s own progress but regard everyone’s progress as one’s own.
- Individually, one is free to follow norms, which are beneficial to him or her. As a member of the society, one is bound by means of social and universal good.
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