Maharshi Dayanand Sarasvati
by Acharya Harish Chandra
As we approach Deepavali, we are reminded of Maharshi Dayanand Sarasvati who died on the Deepavali evening 1883, having devoted his life primarily to shine the light of the Vedas. He is known for several contributions: 1) social reformer for girl education, widow remarriage, and to propagate the true Vedic Varna-Vyavastha based on the merits of an individual, in place of the birth-based caste system, 2) for initiating the freedom struggle, favoring country made goods, reminding Indians of their ancestors who ruled the world as Chakravarti Emperors, 3) cow protector and advancing a diet void of meat, fish and eggs, and so on. However, those associated with Arya Samaj must remember him primarily as Param Vedoddharak, meaning bringing back the message of the Vedas. His diagnosis for all the ills of the nation was that it had deviated from the message of the Vedas as if they were ‘locked in a steel box’, its key untraceable. The correct method of interpreting the Vedas was not known to anybody and nobody cared about it. In such a precarious condition, he unlocked the mystery using the classical approach called Aarsh, evolved by the great Rishis in pre-MahaBharata period, more than 5000 years ago. This is the singularly most important contribution of his: he unlocked the deep meanings of the Vedas, the revealed word. The day will definitely come when the entire world will breathe in the fresh air of the Vedic message and that will come sooner than later in the present Age of Science when all the false belief systems will crumble one after another. He will be universally recognized not just as the Man of the Century or the Man of the Millennium but the ‘Man in the last 5000 years’, the next Rishi in the series of Rishis ‘Brahma to Jaimini’. Until then we have to work very hard to practice, preach and propagate the Vedas, selflessly and tirelessly.