Dayananda Saraswati: Founder of Arya Samaj

who is dayananda saraswati

About Dayanand Saraswati

The word Dayananda literally means the compassionate one.

Swami Dayananda Saraswati was born in a village in Kathiyawadi Morbi, in a Brahmin clan of Uttar Pradesh on 12th February 1824.

Sanyasis don’t reveal their identity and original name to the public.

Hence, his early life is still a mystery.

Yet, there are contentions regarding his early life.

According to many, his childhood name was Moola Shankara while father’s name was Ambashankar.

His father was an orthodox Shaivite Pundit, a renowned zamindar, landlord and a civil worker.

Dayananda Saraswati’s early life

At the tender age of 5, Mula Shankar began his schooling.

His thread ceremony happened when he was eight years old.

Thereafter, he memorized the Gayatri mantra, Sandhya Vandana, and Rudrashtadhyayi shloka.

His father wanted Mula Shankar to be a great devotee of Lord Shiva.

Hence he would take him for Shiva mahapuran discourses.

Thus, Moola Sankara did Shiva puja, fasts, and rituals.

School life of Dayananda

Dayananda possessed sharp intelligence.

Soon, he learnt sanskrit grammar and vedic mantras.

At the age of 14, he had already learnt the entire Yajur veda samhita, a few vedic excerpts, and verb paradigms.

Since childhood he showed signs of dispassion and thirst for truth.

Dayananda rejects deity worship

Once, during Shivaratri, he saw rodents climbing over the deity.

Since then he lost faith in deity worship.

Tragic turn of events

Immediately two years later, his adorable sister died of cholera.

Three years later another tragic event occured.

His guide and mentor, Uncle too, died of the same disease.

Hence, the bereaved Dayananda developed detachment and sought means to cross the cycle of rebirth

Plans of Dayananda’s marriage

Thereafter, his father decided to wed him off to a suitable bride.

However, the marriage was postponed for a year.

Mula Shankar requested a leave for further studies in Kashi.

However, his parents objected to this.

Hence, they sent him to a pandit 54 miles away from their local village for studies.

On hearing Moola Shankar’s ideologies, the pandita stood astounded.

He immediately advised his parents to get him married at the earliest.

That very year, they made preparations for his marriage.

He was 21 years old at that time.

Dayananda leaves his home

One night, Dayananda sneaked out of his home.

Next morning countless horsemen looked for him.

However, Dayandana cautiously took his steps.

He preferred narrow lanes over broad streets.

It is hard to sacrifice one’s family for spirituality.

Therefore, this depicts heights of detachment.

He spent his first night, 72 miles away from the village. 

Next day he walked 15 miles more and rested in a hanuman temple.

However a few con men stole his belongings midway.

Dayananda takes Diksha

Thereafter, Dayananda accepted brahmacharya in Shaila Village.

His new name was ‘Shuddha Chaitanya’.

Thus, hewore saffron robes.

Dayananda Caught

Once Dayananda accidentally encountered an acquaintance.

The man immediately informed his parents of Dayananda’s current residence.

Thereafter his entire family imposed home-confinement on him.

Sad at this unexpected turn, Dayananda sneaked out of his room when all the soldiers fell asleep.

It was daybreak.

Luckily, he found a dense peepal tree under which there was a Shiva temple.

Immediately, Dayananda climbed up the tree and disappeared in its dense leaves.

Next morning the soldiers searched everywhere, but returned disappointed.

At dusk, Dayananda quietly moved ahead.

Dayananda’s further spiritual life

Finally he reached Badauda via Ahmedabad.

There, Swami Brahmananda taught him Vedanta.

By his grace, he understood the similarity between Jiva and Brahma.

Thereafter he went to Kashi and familiarized with the Panditas.

He then moved to Chanod Karnali situated near the Narmada river.

There he became the disciple of Paramananda Paramahamsa and learnt Vedanta.

Meanwhile Swami Purnananda Saraswati of the Shankaracharya mutt arrived.

Dayananda takes Sannyasa

Finally he took sannyasa from Swami Purnananda Saraswati and got the name ‘Dayananda Saraswati’.

He travelled to Vyas ashram and learned yoga from Swami Yogananda.

Then he learnt the remaining mysteries of yoga from two yogis near Ahmedabad.

Thereafter he went to learn a new yoga technique in Abu.

Dayananda goes for satsanga

In 1855 AD, Dayananda attended the Kumbha mela to interact with sadhus.

There he met numerous realized souls and assimilated their teachings.

Dayananda against non-vegetarian

While returning, he saw a few nonvegetarian brahmins. He felt deep compassion for the animals and said- “I cannot eat a single morsel cooked by non-vegetarians.”

From there he directly reached Shri nagar.

Staying in the Kedar ghat temple he learnt Darshan-Shastra.

He even debated with pundits on the scriptures.

Search for sadhus

Searching for enlightened men, he reached Rudraprayag, Agastya Ashram, Kedar Ghat and Gupta Kashi.

However, mostly he lost his way and faced environmental difficulties.

Yet, he smilingly endured all the trouble.

In fact, hard work and sacrifice finally pays.

Swami Dayanda’s entire life shows deep earnestness for knowledge.

Hence he unhesitantly abandoned his house in his spiritual quest. Such was his zeal.

Swami Dayananda develops habit of smoking

Unfortunately he developed an addiction to smoking Ganja in Chanod.

Dayananda Saraswati quits addiction

Once with the resolve of quitting drug addiction, Swami Dayananda entered a Shiva temple.

There he saw an opening in the Nandi deity’s stomach.

A man cozily slept in it. On seeing Dayandana he immediately fled.

So Dayananda took his place and slept for a while.

Suddenly an old woman appeared with some offerings.

She thought-

“This man is so comfortably seated inside Nandi Devata.

He appears to be the deity personified.”

Hence in her joy she offered him some curds.

On consuming it, Dayananda’s addiction disappeared for good.

Dayananda and the bear

Finally Dayananda reached the banks of river narmada. To exit the place he crossed the jungles and trekked upwards.

Suddenly, a ferocious bear stood with it’s mouth wide open. For a few moments, he stood still.

Then he slowly raised his stick. Astonishingly the bear disappeared in the woods.

Meanwhile a few men arrived with wild-dogs for his protection.

They advised him to discontinue his dangerous journey, but Dayananda was resolute.

Dayananda’s courage

During his journey, he saw numerous impediments.

In the dense forests, he crossed the narrow patches with great difficulty.

Many times his clothes would tear due to thorns.

Thorns would stick to his feet. His body would bleed at many places.

Still he kept going.

At night, he camped near a few huts. The village chieftain poured some milk in his Kamandalu.

In fact, the entire night two tribes vigilantly held lit-torches in their hands.

Likewise, Dayananda fearlessly roamed in dangerous zones.

Diet of Dayananda

Initially he subsisted on grains and milk.

Now, he completely stopped grains and lived on milk.

Many times he starved due to food-shortage.

Still his body looked very comely and strong.

One Maharashtrian pandit commented-

“Dayananda’s body has the strength of five powerful wrestlers.

He also possesses the knowledge of 5 learned scholars.”

Dayandanda visits Mathura

Near the Narmada river he stayed with Swami Virajananda, a renowned logician of Mathura.

For three years, he assimilated the Ashtadhyayi, Mahabhashya, Nirukta, Nighantu, Vedanta and Darshan Shastra.

Though blind, Swami Virajananda was an exceptional scholar.

Subsequently, he transferred all his knowledge to Dayananda.

Anger of Swami Virajananda

However, when angry, Swami Virajananda would beat Dayananda with his stick.

One such mark existed on Swami Dayananda’s head. On asking, Dayananda would say “This is my guru’s blessing.”

Hence we see Swami Dayananda’s humility.

His devotion towards his spiritual master is praiseworthy.

After his training, Swami Virajananda sent him on a Vedic mission.

Swami Dayananda’s Preaching resolve

In 1876 AD, Dayananda preached his theory for the very first time in the Kumbh Mela of Haridwar.

Later he visited Bengal. Uttar pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and proclaimed the worship of one single god.

Teachings of Dayananda Saraswati

Swami Dayananda openly rejected the prevalent superstitious norms.

1) He spoke strongly against the mindset of untouchability.

2) He instilled patriotism in youth

3) A man’s caste depends on his actions not birth

4) He encouraged women and shudras to study the Vedas

5) He claimed Vedas as the topmost and propagated its teachings.

Thus, he established the foundation of Arya Samaj.

Establishment of Arya Samaj

Dayananda Sarawati laid the first foundation of Arya Samaj in Mumbai and Lahore.

Interestingly, he preached the vedas in his own unique style.

He strongly fought against the anti-hindus and stood by Sanatana Dharma.

In other words-

“Arya Samaj is the gatekeeper of the Hindu Dharma”

Swami Dayanada was bold, fearless, and an influential orator.

In fact, swamiji was an empowered being.

Swami Dayananda’s struggle

Swamiji debated with numerous maulvis and pundits on the scriptures. Indeed, he used bold words against superstitious belief.

However, he never maligned his enemies. This is the beauty of our Sanatana Dharma.

Death of Swami Dayananda Saraswati

The bogus gurus however grew envious and became his rivals

They attacked him numerous times, poisoned him and maligned him.

Finally on Swami Dayananda’‘s visit to Jodhpur palace, the king’s mistress cunningly mixed poison in his milk.

Swami felt restless and vomited. He tried all yogic means for recovery, but failed.

He was then taken to Ambu and then Ajmer for treatment, but his disease worsened.

Finally, on 30 October 1883, evening 6:00 clock at the age of 61, on Deepawali he breathed his last.

On seeing Swami Dayananda’s departure, an atheistic Pandit Gurudatta became a staunch believer of god.

Spread of Arya Samaj

Arya Samaj grew in Punjab during Swami Dayananda’s lifetime.

Besides, many preach the core values of Arya Samaj in reputed schools and colleges.

In fact it is impacting the lives of countless youths.

Numerous professors scientifically present the Vedas for future generations to learn.

Thanks for reading!