The Brahmo Samaj was a defensive movement. This organisation did useful work in reforming society and Hindu religion. Swami Dayananda Saraswati and his Arya Samaj made a direct attack on Western culture and played a prominent role in championing the cause of Hinduism. It is a socioreligious organisation and preached aggressive and militant Hinduism.

Dayananda was born in a Brahmin family in 1824. The childhood name of Swami Dayananda was Mul Sankar. His father was a devotee of Siva. Dayananda learnt Sanskrit and studied the Vedas. During his childhood days, though he observed all rituals, doubts began to crop up in his mind. On one Sivaratri day, after midnight, when everybody had gon to sleep, Dayananda kept himself awake. He saw a mouse eating the offerings made to Lord Shiva by the devotees. Doubts began to arise in his mind about the reality of God.

He thought that, when God could not protect himself, how can he protect the whole world ? He came to realise that idol worship was of no use. He also lost his faith in the traditional religious practises and beliefs. At the age of twenty he left home. He became a sanyasi. He understook pilgrimages to many places in India, practised Yoga and became a disciple of Swami Birajananda. To fulfil his mission of condemning blind beliefs in the Hindu religion and preaching the Vedas and the Vedantas, he founded the Arya Samaj in 1875 at Bombay. He died in the year 1883.

His Religious views :

He regarded Vedas as the fountain head of all truth and supreme knowledge. He emphatically said “Go back to the Vedas”. He disregarded all other scriptures and puranas. He was apposed to idol worship, rituals and priesthood. He wanted to remove all superstitions from the minds of people and Hindu religion.


Swamiji was opposed to the caste system. He wanted to provide equal rights to untouchables. He believed in female education. He also wanted women to enjoy equal rights. He opposed polygamy and the purda system and child marriage. But he supported widow remarriage. The purification system of the Arya Samaj (Shudhi) was his notable achievement.

Principles of the Arya Samaj :

1) The Samaj would accept only the Vedas as the final truth.

2) God is omnipresent, formless and is the maker of the universe.

3) The Samaj would perform religious rites through havanas and yajnas.


4) It should focus on the expansion of education.

5) It would lay stress on the theory of Karma.

Swami Dayananda accorded priority to the establishment of the branches of the Arya Samaj and educational institutions. The Gurukuls and D.A.V. Schools and Colleges were the most significant achievements of the Samaj. It added to progress and development in the field of education.

Arya Samaj also wanted to bring about a political awakening in India. It has been said that Swami Dayananda Saraswati was the first man to use the term Swaraj. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai and Gopal Krishna Gokhale were influenced by the philosophy of Swami Dayananda. Aurobindo Ghose has remarked, “In this strange creation of God, Swamy Dayananda Saraswati was an unique warrior and wonderful architect to give a living shape to human and humanlly institutions”. The Arya Samaj continues to be a living movement, which seeks to benefit common and downtrodden people in India.