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Article By Pandit Mohinder Bhalla(Reg. Priest)

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I) The Legacy of Swami Dayanand

“ Rishi Bodh Utsav” – Is an unique occasion, an occasion of no comparison in the modern history. On this day we celebrate the creative might and energy of a very lion among men, Mahrishi Swami Day Nanda Saraswati.

My subject is “The Legacy of Swami Daya Nanda” and, I think you’ll agree with me that it is Dayanand’s legacy that we are assembled here in this beautiful Bhawan in Toronto. I felt elated and honoured when I was asked to speak on the Maharishi and, on a second thought I was struck with awe when I realized that I was to talk about a puissant of great stature. I therefore sought help from three great souls, namely Sri Aurobindo, Gurudev Rabindra Nath Thakur and Dr. Radha Krishnan in assembling my thoughts.

It was Kathiawar- India that gave birth to this puissant renovator and new-creator. And something of the very soul and temperament of that peculiar land entered into his spirit, which tempered him to become a great force of genial creation. He knew definitely and clearly the work he was sent to do. He chose his material, determined his conditions and executed his conception with effectual mastery of the born worker for he was an embodiment of spiritual practicality.

Dayananda accepted the Veda as his rock of firm foundation; he took it for his guiding view of life, his rule of inner existence and his inspiration for external work. He regarded it as even more, the word of eternal Truth on which man’s knowledge of God and his relations with the Divine Being and his fellows can be rightly and securely founded. Of course, it was act of grandiose intellectual courage to lay hold upon this scripture defaced by ignorant comment and oblivion of its spirit, degraded by misunderstanding to the level of an ancient document of barbarism, and to perceive in it its real worth as a scripture which conceals in itself the deep and energetic spirit of our forefathers, a scripture of divine knowledge, divine action and divine workshop. Dayanand was a Rishi with a special talent for not returning to the source but bringing back the nectar in its purest form.

Dayanand was a patriot of high degree. His pursuits during the First Battle of Indian Independence in 1857 are well known though not documented in the history books. During his meeting with the Viceroy of India in 1873 the latter asked Swamiji to propgate the goodness of the British Raj. He further suggested to Swamiji to pray for the long life of the British Rule in India at the commencement of his discourses. Dayananda’s reply was that he prayed to the Almighty day & night to rid India of the foreign rule at the earliest. While submitting his report to the Home Office in London the Viceroy recommended that it was necessary to keep an eye on the activities of that revolutionary Saadhu.

The Mahrishi had a dream to bring the entire human race under one faith, the faith of brotherhood, the faith of love and harmony, the faith of noble ideals - Krinvanto . He believed that all of us were children of God. He believed that we were like rose flowers of different colours carrying the same enchanting fragrance as enshrined in the Veda … “SARVE AMRTSYA PUTRAAH”. He strove to convince the leaders of various faiths, who were attending the ‘DILLI DARBAAR’ in 1876 to accept the Veda the ultimate scripture of Divine knowledge, Divine worship and Divine action. Unfortunately his sentiments- as honest and as visionary as they were, were not accepted. And as a result, we have witnessed the partition of our great nation and our great country.

Arya Samaj was his greatest legacy. The ‘Ten Principles’ of Arya Samaj reflect his vision of mankind. In fact, he lived these principles. The first three principles resonate his conviction about the supremacy of the Vedas and the other seven expound his forth sightedness towards peace and harmony. He was a great believer in elevating man and his society. He introduced ‘HAVAN’ as a reminder that it was the moral duty of every human being to leave a legacy in the form of pure water, unpolluted air and unpolluted society. Havan is an excellent source of eradicating man made contaminants from the atmosphere but only if performed on daily basis. And today’s irony is that we who claim ourselves the followers of this great renovator believe that it is sufficient to discharge our obligation by going through this ritual on Sundays only.

The Mahrishi laid the foundation of Arya Samaj in the Month of Chaitra (March/April) in 1875 with the purpose of propagating his mission, which was two-fold. Firstly, to educate the people to accept the supremacy of one godhead who is Creator, Ruler and father of the Universe, and secondly, to free the mankind from the shackles of ignorance and the ethos of superstition. Yes, ignorance and superstition go together. It is a global issue. Let’s concentrate locally and introspect ourselves honestly. Do we have any programme, any project - even a will to carry his mission in the direction he guided us to? He handed a torch to us together with his written testament in the belief that we will fulfill his lofty objective. No doubt, we have carried that torch from the land it was lighted to various parts of the world. But is it enough? Have we discharged our moral duty – our obligation to the man who even gave his life for the mankind? Do you think that a weekly congregation – assembling on a Sunday – performing Havan in the half-hearted manner- as a ritual is a befitting contribution towards the Mahrishi’s mission? Have we ever given a thought as to how we can dispel ignorance from among the mankind? I think, you will agree with me that ignorance as darkness can only be dispelled by lighting a candle. We have inadvertently placed Swamiji’s torch in a safe corner and have conveniently forgotten about it. For God’s sake move it to a place where it is needed the most, move it to a place which is engulfed in darkness and move it to a place where ignorance is breeding in the company of AVIDYA. And the best such place in my opinion is the field of education.

The Rishi has left a legacy for us. We have to prove ourselves worthy of his trust in us. Listen to his soul still crying to us with our insufficient action. Let’s shake the slumber and determine in the light of his inspiration to what direction we are heading to.

We are to kindle that spirit of swami Shradhanand - that commitment of Mahatama Hansraj – that convictionof Pundit Lekh Ram. Is it too much to ask to open the door towards establishing an educational institution to honour this great soldier of light? Let’s prepare numerous candles, numerous torches aglow with education glaced with the Vedic knowledge as a tribute to this great master.

May his spirit act in us pure, unspoilt, unmodified and help to give us back that of which our life stands especially in need, pure energy, high clearness, the penetrating eye, the noble and dominant sincerity.


Pundit Mahendra Bhalla
Registered Vedic Minister of Religion, Ontario, Canada

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Before we discuss about the ‘Vision of Arya Samaj in the 21st. Century, I would like to peep into the vision of the 21st century. We have lived through the 20th century and, have witnessed development in the technological field and changes in values of life. We are ushering into a new, entirely new order wherein the dominant factors are going to be a) a techno-spiritual era, and b) the baby boomers’ influence.

I would like to visualize the Arya Samaj in this context. Again, before delving into the future activities of the Arya Samaj, I would also like to evaluate the past performance of the movement. Maharishi Swami Daya Nanda Saraswati ji Maharaj was a very sensitive visionary. In fact, he was a seer who could foresee events clearer than an ordinary person. He founded Arya Samaj in order to serve humanity not for 125 years, not for a century, not for a millennium but for a ‘Yug’, even after that. He gave us a mission, yes, a mission: ‘INDRAM VARDHANTO APTURAH, KRINVANTO VISHAWAMARYAM’

I think, this is an appropriate forum to discuss as how far we have fulfilled this mission. For I believe that our past deeds culminate in the future. Let’s reflect if we have deposited any deeds which are maturing in the 21st century. ‘ O KRATU, KRITAM SMARA’.

I have been actively involved in the Arya Samaj movement for more than half a century and, being a dedicated observer, I have noticed that during this period the movement has suffered a set back rather than making progress. I have noticed lack of commitment amongst its workers and leaders, alike. I have noticed a sense of self esteem, a sense of individualism amongst its Parchaaraks, Samyasis and Purohits. A number of Arya Samaj Samyasis have confided in me that they have been able to perform better being independent of the Sarvadeshak Arya Pratinidhi Sabha because there doesn’t seem to be readiness on the part of the Arya Samaj to recognize their good work. We must forego our egotistic attitude and emulate the challenge thrown to the Americans by President Kennedy, ‘Think not what the Arya Samaj is doing for you but think what you can do for Arya Samaj.’ Yes, we have to put our house in order before we evisage the Vision of Arya Samaj in the 21st century. For this we have to get our priorities right as, believing - commitment, sharing and serving.

Arya Samaj is a sleeping giant and, it has been in a state of slumber for a long time. It is time it woke up in order to play its proper role on the world stage in the 21st century. This is the age of electronic communication and this technology is developing rapidly. This is the age when spirituality is going to take centre stage. A few weeks ago the International Monetary Fund - I M F invited scholars from all religious denominations to study the life style of people in almost all countries of the world in relation to spirituality. A Hindu is also a member of this study group. You are right in thinking that he is not from Arya Samaj and, how could he be? Arya Samaj is not on the world map. Buddhists, Hare Krishna, Vedanta and even Osho have made places for themselves. Where has Arya Samaj failed? I would say, in two major areas. One, Public Relations and secondly by sticking to the past glories. Yes, our past has been superlatively glorious but that was the ancient past - almost pre-historic. Our very survival in the 21st century will be at stake if we do not come out of this cocoon. We will have to face changes without compromising our principles. We will have to sharpen our image and, we will have to engage in aggressive Public Relations’ exercise in order to showcase our profile. The best arena for all this is ‘MAHARISHI VYAS BHOOMI”- North America. American soil, it appears, is the most fertile land for the propagation of eastern philosophy. Sarvadeshak Pratinidhi Sabha, though a resourceful body doesn’t have the will to exercise its role and give direction to the movement. Moreover, they are not alive to the needs of Arya Samajes in foreign countries perhaps for want of a vision. I am of the firm opinion that Arya Pratinidhi Sabha North America should take it upon itself to project itself as a guiding stars for ‘Paar Deshiyee’ Arya samajes. We will have to have a unified front in order to forge ahead. We will have to pool our resources in order to translate Rishi’s mission into action. Fortunately, we have managed to acquire a number of properties, which I think, should induce responsibility in the society. Now that we have our fixed abode, we need to utilize the facilities to the best of our needs. The foremost demand of the 21st century is that Arya Samaj becomes a high - tech society. The other day my attention was drawn to an article published in a local weekly, criticizing Arya Samaj and Mahrishi Daya Nanda and his works, especially Satyarath Prakash. The article was written by Osho - Bhagwan Rajnish, and was circulated in the cyber space ( that is what the editor of the weekly said that he had picked it from). A latest addition to the Saturday TV religious programmes in Toronto, Canada is ‘Christ in Vedas’. Since the knowledge of Vedas is being widely acknowledged as true knowledge, various denominations are trying to hijack this true source of knowledge. No doubt, Internet is a powerful medium of propaganda and is now readily available through cable at our television sets at home. Sh. Bhuvnesh Khosla deserves a pat on his back by providing an Internet page for Arya Samaj, but it requires more aggressive approach and more meaningful material relevant to the new - look Arya Samaj - Arya Samaj of the 21st century. Print media and television should be extensively used to propagate the message of the Rishi. Based on my broadcasting experience I can firmly state that television programmes, if produced professionally, can easily fetch sponsors.

My vision of the Arya Samaj in the 21st century is of a high tech Arya Samaj with no boundaries. The ten principles of Arya samaj are as good today as they were in yester years, and they are going to remain good for the 21st century, also. These principles when conjoined, pose a statement that this movement is a socio-politico-econo-spiritual organization and, it should project itself as such. It has a vast jurisdiction and should embrace any field which concerns the welfare of humanity. It should operate in a high profile by young technocrats. We must refuse to accept stereotypes and we must use this opportunity to stimulate urgent thought about long term awareness patterns. We need to find some way of giving voice to the youth - our children. We must create a responsible organization, not failing in its vocation to serve the whole people. We need leaders in our society who will unite and not divide the Pariwar. We must bequeath a fragrant legacy to our children that they feel proud of. My vision of the Arya Samj in the 21st century is that it is run by people who are noble to the letter and who live the ten principles of the Arya Samaj and; that it is an accessible society which inculcates good faith, tolerance and respect for opinions which we do not share. My Arya Samaj in the 21st century is a society which believes that it is an ethical way where we have to treat other people as friends or potential friends. My vision of Arya Samaj is that it gains a position of intellectual might in that it takes over the true representation of Vedic Religion in the 21st century.

Pundit Mahendra Bhalla
Registered Vedic Minister of Religion, Ontario, Canada

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