A Brief Introduction to Arya Samaj
In order to re-establish the true teachings of The Vedas and Vedic Culture in India, on the 7th of April 1875, Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati laid down the foundation of Arya Samaj in Bombay City, India. The aim of Arya Samaj is to disseminate the true teachings of The Vedas, allowing human beings all over the world to live in peace within themselves, respect their surrounding environment and followers of other religions. The true teachings of Vedas, as propagated by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati and followed by Arya Samaj all over the world, will ameliorate the spiritual, physical and social conditions of human beings all over the world.
By Dr. Narendra Kumar
What are the Vedas?
The very word Veda means knowledge. The Vedas are the fountain head of knowledge.
Hindus believe that at the beginning of creation, nearly two billion years ago, Almighty God gave the knowledge of the four Vedas to four learned Rishis (teachers) named Agni, Vayu, Aditya and Angira. The four Vedas, called Rigved, Yajurved, Saamved and Atharvaved, contain all true knowledge, spiritual and scientific, known to the world. Vedas are not only holy books which tell us how to do Sandhya and Havana and worship one Almighty God, but are full of all kinds of true knowledge known to human beings all over the world. The Vedas are for one and all to read: men, women and children. There are 10,552 Mantras in Rigved, 1975 Mantras in Yajurved, 1875 Mantras in Saamved and 5977 Mantras in Atharved. The total number of Mantras in four Vedas are 20,379.
The entire humanity recognises that RigVed is the oldest book in the library of mankind. The Vedas tell about how human beings should live their lives on this earth in total harmony with their environment.
At the time of revelation of The Vedas there were no other religions in existence in this world. This is why there is no mention of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism etc. in all four Vedas.
Arya Samaj is an expanding movement with a worldwide programme and message.
What is Arya Samaj?
Arya Samaj, founded by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, is an institution based on the teachings of The Vedas for the welfare of the universe. It propagates the universal doctrines of humanity. It is neither a religion nor a sect.
The 10 principles of Arya Samaj
Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati believed that humanity, in its desire of living a comfortable physical life, did make big progress in material matters but lost sight of the fundamental Vedic teachings which provide inner peace and contentment (self-satisfaction) and living in harmony with the environment. In order to correct above anomaly he wrote ten principles of Arya Samaj.
- God is the primary source of all true knowledge and all that is known by its means.(At the beginning of creation, nearly 2 Billion years ago, God gave the knowledge of 4 Vedas to four learned Rishis named Agni, Vayu, Aditya and Angira. Four Vedas called Rig Ved, Yajur Ved, Sam Ved and Atharva Ved contain all true knowledge, spiritual and scientific, known to the world.)
- God is existent, intelligent and blissful. He is formless, omnipotent, just, merciful, unborn, infinite, invariable (unchangeable), having no beginning, matchless (unparalleled), the support of all, the master of all, omnipresent, omniscient, ever young (imperishable), immortal, fearless, eternal, holy and creator of universe. To him alone worship is due.
- Vedas are the scripture of all true knowledge. It is paramount duty of all Aryan to read them, teach and recite them to others.
- All human beings should always be ready to accept the truth and give up untruth.
- All our actions should be according to the principles of Dharma i.e. after differentiating right from wrong.
- The primary aim of Arya Samaj is to do good to the human beings of whole world i.e. to its physical, spiritual and social welfare.
- All human beings ought to be treated with love, justice and according to their merits as dictated by Dharma.
- We should all promote knowledge (Vidya) and dispel ignorance (Avidya).
- One should not be content with one’s own welfare alone but should look for one’s welfare in the welfare of all others.
- In matters which affect the wellbeing of all people an individual should subordinate any personal rights that are in conflict with the wishes of the majority. In matters that affect him/her alone he/she is free to exercise his/her human rights.
The above ten principles of Arya Samaj give a clear impression to the reader about its founding principles and guidelines for a follower of Arya Samaj to practice in his/her day to day life.
Every human being is directly connected to our Almighty God and the correct way of achieving spiritual communion with Almighty God is through STUTI (describing the qualities of God), PRAARTHANA (prayers to God) and UPAASNA (sit closer to God) by reciting mantras from The Vedas.
As The Vedas speak of God and sacred scriptures, it is clear that Arya Samaj is a spiritual movement. But Arya Samaj is not a religious sect as it does not believe in a human representation of our Almighty God in the form of a prophet, mediator, saviour or Avatar (incarnation). The Vedas are the root of Hinduism as is the case with Arya Samaj movement. But the big difference between the two is that The Arya Samaj movement follows the true teachings of the four Vedas and believes in one Almighty God with attributes as written in the Second Principle of Arya Samaj and as written and explained by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati in his various literary works.
God is one and one alone. God may have many names as well as many attributes and we, the users of different languages have a separate word for each separate attribute. The Oneness of God and the plurality of God’s names, is the key belief of Arya Samaj followers. According to Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, as written in his famous book Satyarth Prakash, the best name of Almighty God is “OM”.
The membership of Arya Samaj is open to all who believe in the Ten Principles of Arya Samaj without any distinction of sex, class, race, nation or country.
Who are Arya?
Arya Samaj is a society of noble people. The word Arya literally means best, devotee, good moral conduct and dutiful.
Some members of Arya Samaj write title of Arya at the end of their names. But Arya is not a caste.
Contrary to some writings Aryans always lived in Aryavrata as India was known in Vedic period. Aryans are the followers of teachings of Vedas. Naturally Aryavrata was their usual place to live in the world.
What are the main aims and objects of Arya Samaj?
The main aim of Arya Samaj is to make the universe a best place by all means for human beings to live in, Krinvanto Vishwamaryam. Best way to achieve this aim is to propagate the true teachings of Vedas to all mankind. This involves to do all things which are beneficial to human beings, animals and environment as written in Vedas. Four Vedas tell in detail about the way all human beings should live their lives which is in harmony with the surrounding environment they live in. This includes Sixteen Sacraments as written by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati in his book “Sanskaar Vidhi”. These Sacraments are performed at various stages in human lives.
Readers who are keen to know about these Sacraments can get in touch with Arya Samaj (Vedic Mission) West Midlands.
Activities of Arya Samaj (Vedic Mission) West Midlands
- Congregation (Satsang) every Sunday Sandhya, Havan, sermons at Arya Samaj Bhavan from 11am to 1pm.
- Day Centre at Arya Samaj West Midlands every Wednesday from 11am. Emphasis is on keeping healthy and fit with yoga and Pranayam. Hot vegetarian Lunch is provided at 1pm.
- Yoga Lesson with Dr. Dheeraj Prakash Joshi – Every Thursday 7.15pm – 8.15pm.
- Ved Prachar by our learned Priest Dr Umesh Yadav on Radio XL 7am to 8am, first Sunday of the month.
- 8 days of Ved Katha starting on Raksha Bandhan and ending on Krishna Janmashtami in August every year.
- Performing marriage, cremation, Mundan, Havan naming, Ved Path and all Sacraments when required and requested by the members of the community at home.
- Monthly bulletin Aryan Voice.
- Library – Vedas, Upanishad, Darshan, Mahabarat, Ramayan and other religious books in Hindi, Sanskrit and English.
Gayatri Mantra is written in three of the four Vedas namely Rigved, Yajurved and Saamved. This is one of the most important Mantra and is recited very commonly by millions of followers of Arya Samaj movement and Hindus all over the world on all religious occasions and daily prayers.
OM BHOOR BHUVAH SWAH! TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM BHARGO DEVASYA DHEEMAHI. DHIYO YO NAH PRACHODAYAAT.
Meaning in text order
- (OM) Is the main name of almighty God, which includes all other names of God.
- (BHUH) He is life of life
- (BHUVAH) He is the protector from all the pains
- (SWAH) He is all bliss and giver of all bliss to His devotees
- (SAVITUH) He is creator of all universe, the illuminator of all the luminous bodies like the Sun etc., the giver of all wisdom and wealth
- (DEVASYA) We establish Him in our heart as most desirable and victorius
- (VARENYAM) Most superior to accept and mediate
- (BHARGAH) He burns all pains and is Holy, sacred and pure by nature
- (TAT) To that Almighty God
- (DHEMAHI) We should accept and hold
- (YAH) That almighty God
- (NAH) Our
- (DHIYAH) Mind in best attributes, deed and nature (habit and temperament)
- (PRACHODAYAT) Inspire Us.
O protector Lord, Life giver, remover of pain and sorrows, Bestower of comforts and happiness, Thou are creator of Universe and worthy of worship. O illuminator of our souls, we meditate thy glory. O gracious Lord lead our intellects to the noble path.