Explain the call “back to the Vedas”.

Dayananda’s “Back to the Vedas”

Dayananda was a sannyasi who believed in the infallibility of the Vedas and cherished a very peculiar interpretation of the Vedas. He not only upheld the absolutism of the Vedas but also propound the philosophy of dynamic realism. The Vedas contain according to him the seeds of all sciences and knowledge. His book “Satyartha Prakash” (Light of Truth) contains his major ideas, interpretation of the Vedas and other religions. His Vedic exposition mostly derived from the Rig-Veda reflects the vision and mission of Dayananda’s religious and social reform programme. He was averse to Gurukulas and the traditional idol worship (murthipuja) and asked the students to do sandhya (a meditative prayer chanting mantras from the vedas). They had also to participate in the agnihotra (fire sacrifice) practice twice a day. He allowed also the non Brahmins to study the Sanskrit texts. The authority of the Vedas remained supreme which should pave way for the social regeneration of Hindu society.

Dayananda undertook a tour across the country, condemned the caste system, idolatry, and child marriages. His theology welcomed the advances of sciences and technology. To him, the Vedas as the source book contained the seeds of science and technology. He initiated a number of reform programmes starting with a Vedic school in contradistinction to other public schools at that time in order to propagate and impart the Vedic values and religion to youth. He emphasized the theory of karma and samsara and extolled the ideals of brahmacharya and sanyasa.

Unlike the universalistic outlook of Raja Rammohun Roy he was critical of other religions especially Islam and Christianity as his major work Satyartha Prakash indicates. The whole world must accept Vedism! The Hinduttwa movement, inspired by him, accepts as Dharma whatever is in full conformity with the Vedic infallibility and his ideology. Some of his major works are Bhratnivaran, Sanskarvidhi, Ratnamala, Vedabhasya. The Paropakarini Sabha located in the Indian city of Ajmer was founded by the Swami himself to publish his works and Vedic texts.

(Source: BPY005/Block 3/Unit 3/Page 41)

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