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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
The Periyatirumuti Ataivu says that Paravastu Bhattar Piran Jiyar was a vaidika brahmin.
They refer to "supreme vaidika (Vedic) Srivaisnava brahmins (paramavaidikasrivaisnavabrahmana);" evidently emphasizing either that Srivaisnava brahmins are Vedic or that some Srivaisnava brahmins (others [Sattadas?] are not).
One problem with this "Velala hypothesis" is the fact of hard evidence for brahmin Sattadas and, for a time, their exercise of the distinction "vaidika" and "non-vaidika." Recognizing this together with the possible impact of Lokacarya's bhagavata theology, we must recognize the possibility that certain brahmin Srivaisnavas gave up the thread and top-knot and, along with them, the performance of Vedic rituals, in favor of a life of service in the temple and as purohitas and acaryas.
In the course of time, given the weight of vaidika tradition and the slackening of Vijayanagar patronage, the Sattadas, perhaps never considered the equal of vaidika brahmins, lost ground.
The term sattada must have arisen as vaidika and non-vaidika traditions joined battle for control of the temples.