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Arya Samaj

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Arya Samaj/Arya Pratinidhi Sabha was founded by Mula Sankara or Dayananda who took a reform view on traditional Hinduism by rejecting such practices and beliefs as polytheism, idol worship, animal sacrifice, ancestor veneration, pilgrimage, caste system, divine avatars and child marriage all of which lack Vedic sanctions.

However there are observances which are recognized by Arya Samaj which are considered borderline in respect to these abolished practices such as oblations to the fire (Havan) and the sanctity of the cow.

Anyway Swami Dayananda Saraswati had an exclusive view regarding the absolute authority of the Vedas which caused him to forsake many of these traditional beliefs and rituals; yet contrary to his own position he took a post-Vedic view of certain doctrines as it applies to karma and reincarnation. Thus if the Vedas are the ultimate source of truth as being the inspiration of god then he is no different than those who have supposedly polluted the sacred waters of Hinduism with their extra Vedic doctrinal views. If the Vedas are perfect and infallible then adding ones recipe to the pot only makes it just another dish being served in the  smorgasbord of spiritually based on personal taste. Furthermore there have been so many gurus with various ideas of do’s and dont’s that my question is which one is right if any of them. Additionally his concept of removing the caste system is personally challenged as he assumes his role as the overseer of this sect and in this sense he has exercised the priestly craft even though he was a renunciate to his Brahmin heritage.  After all why not allow someone else to be his mouthpiece or spokesperson  to propagate the faith? So instead of setting himself apart “from” the priestly duties he has set himself apart “unto” the priesthood to become an elitist among other gurus or spiritual leaders.

In respect to this being a social movement there have been many positive changes made by Arya Samaj which supports a moral agenda that is pragmatic in its humanitarian efforts contrary to certain oppressive practices of traditional Hinduism. However its actions to remove the caste system is praiseworthy but practically speaking it has been difficult to “cast” off this label from among its own membership. Furthermore in respect to Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati’s views of tolerance concerning universalism towards other faiths; this is primarily recognized by conversions into the brotherhood of its own movement and for those who are considered non members they are targeted and discriminated against just like those who are under the varna system.

Ironically their platform for social reform is limited due to their nationalistic allegiance to obtain cultural purity.This stance has even caused them to violate some of the tenets of the faith in respect to their 10 basic principles which in essence is supposed to promote the goodness and love for all humanity. Unfortunately this zeal for religious supremacy has resulted in the persecution of Christians and Muslims. Thus they have idolized the concept of patriotism to such a point that acts of terrorism and hostility have been integrated within the scope of their religious expression especially towards those movements which are considered non Indian in origin.

This aggressive intolerance promotes an ideology that the institution and cultural preference is more important than the sanctity of human life.  Moreover to bow down and worship this extremist view is immoral, unsocial and inhumane.  Finally we must remember that ethnically many of these people are culturally related as brothers and sisters; who share a common heritage even if they are of a different faith. Furthermore  Arya Samaj is a small group in respect to the size of the orthodox Hindu community and as much is it wrong for them to feel isolated and rejected by mainstream Hinduism it is equally as erroneous to treat others who also suffer under their non-traditional ways.

Anyway the bigger question to these arguments or controversies is whether or not this movement measures up to the standard as being the ultimate source of truth especially since the founder and his followers have been inconsistent in areas of their belief system?

I think it would be wise to consider the words of Dayananda who claimed that he is only human in having a limited amount of knowledge. He further states that his information and material may be wrong and therefore alterable by future generations.

So even though this may be a humble and honest statement; what confidence does a person have with this kind of message? I think this opens the door to the possibility of self deception which may have started with his mentor Swami Virajananda and has carried all the way down to the present day movement. I am not saying that there is no truth to his positions or that there aren’t some benefits to his views but how can a  person make such exclusive claims about truth with these kind of doubtful statements and therefore perhaps his beliefs are as fallacious as his comment about the Vedas mentioning electricity.

Anyway I am not versed on the particulars of Dayananda’s views on karma and reincarnation but it seems that it would be difficult to prove that this philosophy does not attribute to or promote the caste system since being a social misfit or outcast could be a result of reaping the effects of a former or previous life. Therefore what right does Dayananda have in eliminating the caste system if he is acting contrary to the debt of karmic forces? Furthermore his brand of karma states that enlightenment or moksha is really only temporal in which the individual is eventually recycled back into the same system.  So what freedom is there in this momentary liberation knowing that one day you will return to the hamster wheel of life?

I have previously written a blog about the shortcomings of reincarnation which may not necessarily represent the views of Dayananda but maybe it shares some similar points.

Anyway contrary to this the bible indicates that a person dies and then faces the judgment and thou at first this may seem like a devastating statement for someone who has messed up their present life; it is really only a judgment against those who have  rejected the provisional grace of God who helps others clean up their mess. That’s because there is no act or sin which is so great as to exhaust the willingness of God who is able to completely and efficaciously bring eternal salvation or moksha. It is through Jesus that you can be redeemed in the here and now and therefore there is no excuse for condemnation as a moral failure when the gift of God’s forgiveness and restoration is freely received and actualized apart from being earned or merited.


1 John 1:9

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.


John 11:25

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;


Matthew 11:28-30

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


In closing a noble or honorable person should be willing to follow the path of truth wherever the evidence may lead them even if it contrary to ones preconceived ideas or bias towards their cultural preferences.

Furthermore I would simply ask that you would pray to the Supreme Being or God to decisively show you if Jesus really is the source of ultimate truth.


John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.



How to know God

Arya Samaj Resources



Religions of the world: a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices/ J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann, editors; Todd M. Johnson, World Religious Statistics; Donald Wiebe, Introduction-2nd ed., Copyright 2010 by ABC-CLIO, LLC. Reproduced with permission of ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, CA.

Encyclopedia of Religion Second Edition, copyright 2005 Thomson Gale a part of The Thomson Corporation, Lindsay Jones Editor in Chief, Vol.1, pgs.515-516, Thomas J. Hopkins

Encyclopaedia Britannica,Inc., copyright 1993, Vol.1, pg.611, Arya Samaj

Encyclopaedia Britannica,Inc., copyright 1993, Vol.3, pg.925, Dayananda Sarasvati