Arya Samaj,founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati on April 10, 1875 in Bombay (now Mumbai), is a social reform movement. Contrary to some misconceptions, it is not a religion or a new sect in Hindu religion. Swami Dayanand brought together a number of concerned members of the society to eliminate the ills prevalent within the Hindu Society in the 19th century.
The primary mission of the Arya Samaj is to eradicate Ignorance (Agyan), Indigence or Poverty (Abhav) and Injustice (Anayay) from this earth. This mission is enshrined in the ten Niyams or Principles (listed on the next page). The four Vedas, Rig-Veda, Yajur Veda, Sam Veda and Atharva Veda, are the Source of Guidance (described in the Invocation section). Arya Samaj believes in one God, known by name Om, who is Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Source of all Intelligence and Bliss, Merciful and Just. Arya Samaj does not believe in Idol Worship.
One of the main missions of the Arya Samaj has been education. Arya Samaj is one of the largest providers of education in India, from pre-school to graduate level. Arya Samaj especially emphasizes the education of women. As Indians moved away from the borders of India to settle in other lands, several carried with them the principles of Arya Samaj. They established branches of Arya Samaj in their adopted countries in order to continue the good work, to educate their offspring about the rich history, cultural heritage and traditions of India, and to inspire them to carry on the beliefs and practices of Arya Samaj.
In 1988, Shri Ram Chand Mahajan, the Founder of Arya Samaj Greater Houston, worked with Shri Girish Chandra Khosla, then recently arrived from India, to form a society that would bring together the various Arya Samajs in North America. Arya Pratinidhi Sabha was established in 1990 as the governing and guiding organization for Arya Samajs in the North America, as a direct consequence of their hard work and enthusiasm. For an introspective on the birth of the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, please see an essay by Shri Girish Chandra Khosla.