Arya Samaj movement for instilling pride of their religion and self confidence in themselves, paved way for the rise of a national movement against the British rule in India. Mrs Annie Besant of the Theosophical Society said, "It was Dayanand Saraswati who first proclaimed that India was for the Indians".
Ideals of Arya Samaj
Both Raja Rammohan Roy and Swami Dayanand Saraswati wanted to reform Hinduism by removing its futile practices. They also wanted to adapt Hinduism to the needs of the times by incorporating in it the scientific approach and Humanism of the West. But while Raja Rammohan Roy drew inspiration mainly from Christianity and modern European ideas of humanism, Swami Dayananad Saraswati drew inspiration from the Vedas. Raja Rammohan Roy held that all religions were basically the same. The Swami, on the other hand, was of the firm belief that only the Vedic religion was the true religion. Both these reformers wanted to prevent Hindus from converting to other religions.
- Vedas are the revealed wisdom and they are the only source of religious knowledge.
- There is only one God who is omnipresent and all powerful.
- The Arya Samaj condemns superstitions, idol worship and the caste system.
- The Hindu Religion, based on the Vedas, is superior to all other religions. Thus the Arya Samaj prevented conversion of Hindus to other religions.
- Started a counter movement called Shudhi to bring the Hindu converts back to Hinduism.
- To raise the standard of Women, it opposed child marriage and the purdah system. It advocated widow remarriage and opened orphanages. Special schools and colleges were also opened for girls.
- The Arya Samaj helped to establish Dayanand Anglo-Vedic (D.A.V.) schools & colleges in North India to impart education in western sciences and Sanskrit. In 1886, the first D.A.V. college was established in Lahore. The educational institutions established by the Arya Samaj blended the scientific approach of the west and the spiritual philosophy of the East.
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