Swami Dayananda Saraswati

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Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati (Devanagari:स्‍वामी दयानन्‍द सरस्‍वती, Gujarati: મહારીશી દયાનંદ સરસ્વતી) (February 12, 1824 – October 31, 1883) was an important Hindu religious scholar, reformer and the founder of the Arya Samaj, a Hindu reform movement, founded in 1875. He was the first man who gave the call for Swarajya[1] – "India for Indians" in 1876 which was later furthered by Lokmanya Tilak[2][3]. Denouncing idolatry and ritualistic worship prevalent in Hinduism at the time, he worked towards reviving Vedic ideologies, subsequently philosopher and President of India, S. Radhakrishnan, later called him one of "makers of Modern India" as did Sri Aurobindo[4][5][6].

One of his notable disciples was Shyamji Krishna Varma who founded India House in London and guided other revolutionaries. Others Who were influenced and followed him were Madam Cama, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Lala Hardyal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Bhagat Singh and others. His other disciples were Swami Shraddhanand[7], Lala Lajpat Rai[8][9]. His book Satyarth Prakash contributed to the Indian independence movementis one of his great contributions. He was a sanyasi (ascetic) from his boyhood, and a scholar, who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas.

Dayananda advocated the doctrine of karma, skepticism in dogma, and emphasized the ideals of brahmacharya (celibacy and devotion to God). The Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj were united from 1878 to 1882, when the former adopted the name Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj[10].

Among Maharishi Dayananda's contributions are his promoting of the equal rights of women – such as the right to education and reading of Indian scriptures – and his translation of the Vedas from Sanskrit to Hindi so that the common person may be able to read the Vedas.

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