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Beliefs of Arya Samaj

This article takes a detail look into the beliefs of Arya Samaj, the society founded on April 10, 1875 in Mumbai by Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1824 – 1883) to reform Indian society on the basis of Vedas and thus to propagate Vedic Dharma.

Beliefs of Arya Samaj

  • Arya Samaj believes in the existence of God and as the controlling power of the universe.
  • Because God has many attributes and performs various tasks, God has been called by many names.
  • God evolves this universe out of matter.
  • The self of an individual derives pleasure from the universe.
  • Matter and self are both beginning less and eternal. Thus God, the Self and Prakriti are beginning less.
  • Prakriti is the material cause of the universe.
  • God and the self are two distinct entities by virtue of their being different in nature and of their being possessed of dissimilar attributes and characteristics. They are however, inseparable from each other, being related to each other as the pervader and the pervaded. God and the Self are to each other as the space and an object in space.

Arya Samaj And Vedas

  • Arya Samaj also believes in the knowledge of God. Humans first acquired this knowledge from God in the form of Vedas. This knowledge was first revealed by God to the Devas Agni, Vayu, Surya and Angira, who imparted it to humans. Thus the four Vedas are the word of God.
  • Vedas are absolutely free form error and are an authority in themselves. They do not stand in need of any other books to uphold their authority.
  • Vedas comprise what is known as the samhita or the mantra portion only. The Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads, six Vedangas, six Upangas, and the four Upavedas are all expositions of the Vedic texts. Therefore they are works of a dependent character. They are to be held authoritative only in so far as they conform to the teachings of Vedas.
  • Vedas do not contain falsehood that they may lead to blind faith. They do not contain anything which contradicts the laws of nature or science or our physical well being so has God given us the Vedic knowledge for sharpening our intellect and showing us the path of truth. By following the Vedas intelligently, the individual and society can attain happiness.

Arya Samaj And Society

  • Arya Samaj is opposed polytheism , murti (idol) worship and animal sacrifice. It stands for cow protection.
  • It is opposed to Shraddha ceremonies, caste based on birth, untouchability, child marriage, purdah (veils) and female backwardness.
  • Arya Samaj grants equal status to men and women.
  • It permits the remarriage of widows.
  • It revives the faith of the Hindus in their ancient religion by making them aware of the meaning of formalities, rituals and social ceremonies. As against the orthodox view about foreign travel as a sin, Arya Samaj believes that one of the causes of India’s downfall was the prohibition of foreign travel. It allows the followers of other religions to become Hindus.
  • The followers of Arya Samaj hold that India is the fountainhead of all cultures, both material and spiritual, and that Sanskrit is the parent of all languages. The religions of the world are the later variants of the primal Vedic revelation.

Arya Samaj Rites

  • The Arya Samaj rites include Sunday worship, reading, preaching, and teaching of the Vedas.
  • Vedic rituals such as yajnas (sacrifices) and havans (fire worship) are performed before their weekly meetings or before ceremony.
  • Two Sandhyas with the recitation of Gayatri Mantra are a must for a follower of Arya Samaj.
  • There are no regular priests and the organization is run on democratic lines.
  • Members of the Arya Samaj have to pay one percent of their income to the Samaj and subscribe to the ten principles. 
Source - 
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume I page 433 - IHRF
An English Translation of the Satyarth Prakash (1970) Durga Prasad - Jan Gyan Prakashan New Delhi
Modern Religious Movement In India (1967) J N Farquhar - Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers New Delhi
World Perspective on Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1948) Ganga Ram Garg - Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers New Delhi