Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati was a great reformer, rather greatest in last 25 centuries. He stood for Truth. He stood with the Vedas. He stood with the weaker sex. He stood with the weaker sections. And in all these fields, he was unparallel.
Trust in God and belief in Vedas are the two grounds on which Dayanand stands firmly. In the first Principle of ‘Arya Samaj’ he says that God is the first (agental) cause to all true knowledge and substances known from such knowledge. He knows that God is omnipresent, formless, unchangeable and free from hunger, fatigue, sin, touch, smell etc. So he discards the idol-worship, theory of His re-incarnation and many Gods. He also rejects the Monistic theory of Shankaracharya, although he has much regard for him due to his social endeavour. He just cannot accept the religions that are against Vedas.
He is not emotional in choosing truth out of untruth. Rather he is reasoning and principled when he vows to speak the truth even if his fingers are made to burn like candles. He realises that the unscientific commentaries on Vedas have created confusion and differences among the people. So he takes the heavy work of Veda-Bhashya into his busy hands. He makes it clear on each and every step that only Vedas are self-evident, being the word of God, and that the Rishis and their books are acceptable to the extent that they are in accordance with the Vedas. He advocates the Vedic System of four Varnas but he is against the prevalent caste system based on birth. At this point his stand has been shared by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as well. The Vedic System, to which he vows, says that the Brahmins are the men and women of Vedic and spiritual knowledge. Kshatriyas are men of administration and warfare. Vaishyas are the traders. The rest are known as Shudras, but this name does not show any smallness: it is just an indication of physical labour.
For individual accomplishment and self-actualization, he advocates the four ashramas: Brahmcharya upto education, Grihastha upto family involvement, Vanaprastha upto renunciation and Samnyasa upto the last breath. He was a samnyasin. He had a loin for himself and the rest of his flesh, bones and breaths were for society.
He did more than all persons combined in 25 centuries for the upliftment of women and the down troden. He quotes the Shrauta Sutra ‘Imam Mantram patni pathet’ to prove that women have an equal right to study Vedas as men have. He also quotes a mantra from Yajurveda, ‘Yathemam Vacham’ to prove that Vedas are for all persons, men or women, high or low, rich or poor, all alike. He asks whether God is partial to allow the Brahmins to study Vedas but to prohibit the lower classes? He criticizes the rule-makers that forbidding women from education is out of their greed and foolishness.
Dayanand was an inspiration for Hindi and Sanskrit languages. He has prescribed only ancient Sanskrit books in the syllabus for students and authored his books in Hindi.
He has reminded his countrymen that India was once a Golden Bird, and inspired them to develop the small scale industries even with the help of foreigners. He has also calculated how cow is valuable in the country’s economic progress.
In any of the ancient India’s Sanskrit books, there is no indication that Aryans have immigrated from somewhere. So. Dayananda declared that Aryans’ original home is India, and they have not come from outside India. He stands for a Chakravarti raj of Aryans. He has mentioned such a desire repeatedly in his commentaries on Vedas. While asked, he replied that the British raj in India was a Su-Raj (good government) but Swaraj (self-government) is always better than Su-Raj. He was the first person to use the word ‘Swaraj’ in modern India.
Dayanand was a great philosopher. He has condemned the no-God, many-Gods and only-God theories of Philosophy. He has presented on the basis of Vedas the Doctrine of three Eternals- God, Souls and the Matter. He has also reproduced on the basis of Upanishads that there is a reversion of souls from emancipation to life again.
The rishi founded the Arya Samaj in Mumbai (then Bombay) on Chaitra Shukla 5, Vikram-year 1932 i.e. Saturday 10th April, 1875 A.D. It has since opened its new branches all over India and the world. More than a crore of people lead their life in accordance with Arya Samaj. He has also set up the Paropkarini Sabha at Ajmer and it works as the successor to him.
Let us remember him for his services to the land and guidance to us on all matters of life and after. He was the greatest man on earth after Krishna.