Arya Samaj

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Saraswati, Dayananda

Saraswati, Dayananda (däyənŭnˈdə särŭsˈwətē), 1824–83, Indian religious reformer, founder of the Arya Samaj movement. He was a Brahman from Gujarat who became the major spokesman for the 19th-century Hindu revival that placed exclusive authority in the Vedas. He condemned idol worship, untouchability, child marriage, and the low station of women, which he said were not sanctioned by the Vedas. In 1875 he founded the Arya Samaj [society of nobles] in Bombay (now Mumbai) to spread the doctrines of the newly reinterpreted Vedas. Although he was little concerned with politics, his message reawakened the Hindu traditionalists and reinforced the division between Muslim and Hindu in India.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Arya Samaj


(in Hindi, Society of the Aryans), a religious, reformist, and educational society in India, which originated in 1875 and was basically composed of members of the petit bourgeois intelligentsia. Its founder was Dayananda Sara-svati. The Arya Samaj called for the independence of India and the rebirth of its national culture. It fought against the caste system and espoused the advancement of enlightenment and the enactment of religious and customary social reforms. The activity of Arya Samaj prepared the ground for the awakening of national consciousness and the development of the national liberation movement. In 1891 the society had about 40,000 members. In contemporary India it exists as a small religious group.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Satyapal Singh, the Minister of State for Human Resource Development, in his speech on the occasion of Akhil Bhaaratiya Vaidika Sammelan on Jan 19 at Aurangabad, declared that the Darwin's theory of evolution is scientifically wrong and need to be removed from the curriculum of schools and colleges.
He said the proclamation, made during a meeting attended by famed 'vaidika sreshtar' (Hindu scholars and priests) of that time, had called for accommodation of all as priests on the basis of their karma (deed) and not varna (caste).
He divides the language of the Aryans into two classes: Vaidika and laukika, the latter being referred to as Samskrta--Sam+krta meaning "refined".) Patanjali further following the Vedic authority, observes that there are four categories of language that these Brahmanas know (and use) whereas the common man speak only the fourth category, i.e., Vaikhari, the category that Bhartrhari (5th c.
Immediately following upon this description, the poet reveals a flaw within this society and a tension is introduced: Dasaratha, the perfect vaidika king, has no son.
Their children, coming of age in a time of cultural transition, are "Selecters," who must make choices between "Vedic" (vaidika) and "worldly" (laukika) modes of living.
As the editors observe, this rite is seldom seen in Agamic literature, but rather belongs to the Vedic tradition; Vaidika brahmans are even brought in to help recite.
Thus, alternative modes of life (asramas) were reinterpreted as sequential, meat-eating could be permissible but "disapproved," and ownership was classed as a worldly (laukika, purusartha) status (and thus one that can be inherited at birth), since it is a prerequisite for sacred (vaidika, kratvartha) endeavors.
"Tantrika" in this new sense is usually contrasted with "Vaidika" (which latter term here is not so much "Vedic" as something like "conventional" or "traditional").
But the insider Vaidika Brahman today who continues the multimillennial task of oral transmission regards the Vedas as unitary and eternal, surely a perspective that is crucial to outsider understanding, but one that no outsider scholars, Indian or non-Indian, can afford to take in the academic world of historical-critical scholarship.
This suggestion has no plausibility, for, since no one would ever mistake the epic's "Vedic style" tristubhs for vaidika tristubhs, there is no obvious motive for "archaization." If, however, one postulated that the freer tristubhs might be a feature of a prior oral tradition (with the corollary that more uniform tristubhs and other uniform quatrain stanzas signify the use of writing), a motive for literate poets to compose such tristubhs would appear.