Swami Dayandand Saraswati

Swami ji was born in Tankara, Gujarat in 1824 in a devoted Shivaaite family. His childhood name was Mool Shankar. At a young age of fourteen or fifteen, an incident known to all, took place in the temple when he was asked by his father to fast. He found that the idol of Lord Shiva was defenseless against rodents. An intense desire arose in his heart to look for real Shiva, real God. He left home, and was wondering all over the nation for many years. He met many different people, personalities and faces, only to find that none of these people could satisfy his curiosity. Finally, in 1860, he reached Mathura. For about two and a half years, he was a student of the blind sage, Swami Virjanand Ji. He studied vyakaran (grammar), including nirukt and other scriptures. Few incidences need be mentioned. One is: In his initil arrival there, when he knocked the door of Virjanand Ji’s small hut, Virjanand Ji asked him “who are you” and Swami Ji replied, “this is exactly what I have come here for to find out.” Swami Virjanand Ji asked Dayanand Ji, “what have you learned so far”, and Swami Ji narrated all that he had learned. Upon hearing this, Virjanand ji asked his student to throw all of his books away into River Yamuna and start fresh on a clean slate. This is exactly what he did. During his stay with Virjanand Ji, since his guru was blind, occasionally he was irritable and used to beat him up. The story goes that upon one of these beatings, Swami Ji asked his guru, “I hope you are not getting hurt by beating me”. And he actually massaged his hands and feet. This made Virjanand Ji feel very bad, and never beat him up again. In another incidence, while he was departing from Virjanand Ji at the end of his learning, he acquired a bowel of cloves from somewhere and wanted to give that as a gift of appreciation to Virjanand Ji. Virjanand Ji said, “This is not what I need. The nation and this world need a commitment of lifetime service from you.” Swami Ji made a promise to his guru, and did follow through. Swami Ji toured the nation and met leaders of different religious groups – including Hindus, Christians and Muslims. He was committed and fearless. No one could intimidate or bribe him nor could any one take away his resolve to reform the society. His pakhand khandani pataka in the Haridwaar mela is known to all. Kashi Shastrarth and Delhi Darbaar were two other well-known incidences and meetings. In the April of 1875, he established the first Arya Samaj in Mumbai, followed by establishment of Arya Samaj in Lahore. The three famous books he wrote were Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhoomika, Satyarth Prakash, and Sanskaar Vidhi. His final fateful journey was to Jodhpur, where he was poisoned since he challenged the local ruler about his character and relationship with a prostitute. This level of morality by a ruler was unacceptable to Swami Ji. When swami ji found out that it was the cook Jagannaath who had mixed poison in his milk, he gave him money so that he could run away to Nepal and save his life from punishment by the ruler for his crime. Look at the greatness of our Swami ji.? It is quite sad that even such a great soul could not escape maliciousness and mistreatment in his final moments. Through bad treatments in the hands of cruel individuals, the day finally came when he sat down in the lotus position, on the evening of Deepawali, October 31, 1883, in Ajmer, Rajasthan, and allowed his soul to peacefully depart on its onward journey. All those who were present at that time were intensely moved; special among those was Gurudatt Vidyaarthi, who was sent as one to serve Swami Ji by the committee of Arya Samaj Lahore. The scene of total peace on the face of Swami Ji, when he should have been in complete pain, transformed Gurudhath Vidyaarthi to follow Swami Ji directions and he devoted rest of his life in moving the Arya Samaj in the forward direction. A poet once said:

Gine jaye mumkin hai sehrah ke zare

Samudra ki katare, falakh se sitare

Magar e dayaanand Swami aasanh tere

Gine jaye namumkin hein tere sare ke sare