Swami Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti is the birthday of Swami Dayanand Saraswati which is celebrated according to the Hindu calendar by his followers. Swami Dayanand Saraswati was the founder of Arya Samaj, the noble society which promotes values and practices based on the infallibility of the Vedas. Born on February 12, 1824, Dayanand Saraswati was a renowned scholar of the Vedic lore, and Swami Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti is held as per the Hindu calendar. Swami Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti is celebrated on the tenth day of Krishna Pasha, in the month of Falgun. This falls on February 21 in this year, 2017. Swami Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti is observed as a dry day in the remembrance of the great Hindu monk who has contributed immensely to the traditions and cultures followed by Hindus in today’s world. Devotees pay last respects to Swami Dayanand Saraswati in Rishikesh.

Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati was one of the first men of spiritual identity to denounce the idolatry and ritualistic worship prevalent in Hinduism and worked on reviving Vedic ideologies. Dayanand Saraswati was often praised for his understanding of the Vedic literature and his set of values. President of India, S. Radhakrishnan and Sri Aurobindo went on to call the philosopher as one of the “Makers of Modern India.” As we celebrate Swami Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti here are seven things you need to know about this modern age philosopher.

1. Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s Name

Known by various names like Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, etc. However, Swami Dayanand Saraswati was born as Mool Shankar Tiwari. Dayanand Saraswati was named Mool as he was born under Mul Nakshatra. Dayanand Saraswati got his better-known name from his Guru, Swami Vrijananda.

2. Early Life of Swami Dayanand Saraswati

Dayananda Saraswati was born to a Hindu family in Tankara Kathiawad. His father was Karshanji Lalji Tiwari, a wealthy tax collector, and mother, Yashodabai. His father also served as the head of an eminent Hindu family of the village. His father was a follower of Lord Shiva and taught him ways to impress Lord Shiva.

3. The questioning of idol-worship

Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati followed his father’s teachings and began to worship Lord Shiva religiously. On the occasion of Mahashivratri, Dayanand Saraswati sat awake the entire night in obedience to Lord Shiva. On one such fast, Dayanand Saraswati saw a mouse eating the offerings and running over the idol’s body. This was when he began questioning idol worship, stating that if Shiva could not defend himself from a mouse how can he be the saviour fo the world. Swami Dayananda Saraswati’s noble efforts towards social reform continue to have lasting impact: PM

4. The religious transformation

Dayanand Saraswati lost his younger sister and uncle to cholera. This incident triggered Dayanand to ponder over the meaning of life and death. He was engaged in his early teens, but he decided marriage was not for him ran away from home in 1846. He went on to spend twenty-five years of his life as a wandering ascetic. He gave up material goods and lived a life of self-denial, devoting himself to spiritual pursuits in forests, retreats in the Himalayan Mountains, and pilgrimage sites in northern India.

5. Dayanand Saraswati’s mission

Swami Dayanand Saraswati had a simple vision in mind, fighting for universal brotherhood by following the path written in the Vedas. He believed that Hinduism had been corrupted by divergence from the founding principles of the Vedas and that the priesthood had misled Hindus for the priests’ self-aggrandizement. Dayanand Saraswati founded the Arya Saman to spread these thoughts and ideologies.

6. Foundation and growth of Arya Samaj

Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj 141 years ago on 7 April 1875 in Bombay. However, that the formal founding took place at Lahore on 24 June 1877 when it became more than just a regional movement based in Punjab. Arya Samaj aimed at teaching the Vedas and its ideologies instead of the largely practised idol practice, with an emphasis on Vedic values, culture, and religion or Satya Sanatan Dharma. Arya Samaj condemns practices of several different religions and communities, including such practices as idol worship, animal sacrifice, pilgrimages, priest craft, offerings made in temples, the castes, child marriages, meat eating and discrimination against women.

7. Books and works of Dayanand Saraswati

Dayanand Saraswati wrote numerous books to make his work and idea immortal. One of his most influential works is the book Satyarth Prakash, which contributed to the Indian independence movement. Madam Cama, Pandit Lekh Ram, Swami Shraddhanan, Lala Rajpat Rai were all followers of Swami Dayanand Swami. Maharshi Dayananda advocated the doctrine of Karma and Reincarnation.