the establishment of the New Democratic Republic which not only shall exist in name but also in fact, as this shall be the New China that we are creating."43
Mao Tse-tung called it a 'national culture', but what follows from his description is that 'national' does not mean in this context that it should be the reflection of the nation's mind, but a part of the world-culture of communism. "It is the culture," Mao said, "of and for the Chinese people which, although possessing characteristics and peculiarities of its own, yet seeks also to interlink and fuse itself with the national socialist culture and the New Democratic culture of other lands, so that they mutually become the component parts of the new vorld culture." It is, therefore, essential to bring about radical changes in China's old culture, which, Mao felt, cannot fit in the Njw Democracy and new socialist culture. "Without the overthrow of these reactionary cultures, new culture can never be established, nor extended, if the other is not stopped or crushed. The struggle between the two is a struggle of life and death."
Hence the communists under the leadership of Mao Tse-tung, had carried out a determined assault on the aspects of Chinese tradition and society which had been the foundation of Chinese civilization. The family had always been the basis of the social order in China ; society was bound together by ties of kinship. The Chinese family system, in fact, was a community of kindred. Each family had ' its own surname and its law of succession. In every family, there was a temple for ancestor-worship. Ancestor-worship cultivated a sense of unity in that all things are rooted in Heaven and that all men derive themselves from their forefathers. There was a spiritual community between the living and the dead. Confucius said : "In serving his parents, a son may remonstrate with them, but gently, when he sees that they are not inclined to follow his advice, he shows an increased degree of reverence but does not abandon his purposes ; and should they punish him, he does not allow himself to murmur." It may be said, in short, that the family system with ancestor-worship and several other rites strengthened the ties of each member of the same kin, and through this, united the people of the whole country. The necessity of each family having a successor had a great effect on the growing size of population. The communists had denounced these customary relationships as 'feudal', and normal ties of affection had been termed 'reactionary'.
Communes were, in part, intended to weaken the family. Members were fed in mess halls, children were taken from their parents and placed in communal nurseries, and husbands and wives were separated during the day for work in labour brigades. Older people, the focus of influence and respect under the traditional system, were
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sent off to homes for the aged where they were required to do as much work as their strength permitted. Peasants had been ordered to tear down family shrines and allow the communes to plough up grave plots. It was an attitude contrary to the tradition of China; it could conduce only to disruption, tension between the old generation and the new, and unhappiness in family life on a countrywide scale. 205
Also, the Chinese communists had attempted to scrap all Chinese religious faith completely and confine the Chinese mind to the philosophy of 'Dialectical and Historical Materialism'. Socially, the communists regarded religion as the 'opiate of the people'. Christianity especially had served as an instrument of supporting the capitalistic social order, while Confucianism had served for the ruling class for the last 2500 years in China. Mao Tse-tung declared in his New Democracy: "Chinese communists may form an anti-imperialist united front politically with certain idealists and disciples of religions, but can never approve their idealism or religious teachings." The leaders of religious groups had been required to serve communist ends, and many had been irrjjpflsoned, executed, or forced to make public confessions of alleged crime. A steady effort was made to obliterate the local traditions and customs of China's various regions and minority nationalities ; along with the Chinese people, they were being absorbed into a vast, conformist mass culture. It was the party centre in Peking which dictated the form and content of life in 'New China'.
The communist elite had taken advantage of China's tradition of political centralization. Every dynasty had attempted to centralize all power in the capital and eliminate the counter-tendency toward provincial and regional autonomy or semi-autonomy. The communists had gone further in this respect than any earlier regime. Modern techniques of communications and totalitarian political methods had made it possible for the communists to regiment the Chinese people to an unprecedented degree.
'Hundred Flowers5 Experiment
The 'hundred flowers' experiment of 1957 is a practical example of the overriding importance accorded to the party as an entity in the field of expression of ideas. Mao Tse-tung urged Chinese intellectuals to speak out, but they went beyond the limits he had set and criticized the basic assumptions of the communist regime. One purpose of Mao's offer to the intellectuals was to give the world the impression that freedom of speech was possible under communism in China. This propaganda advantage was sacrificed when the communist leaders saw that criticisms were being directed at the party itself. While the world watched with concern, dismay and disappointment, Peking forced its critics to make self-abasing 'confessions', removed them from their posts, and sent many to labour in the countryside.
In fact, Mao Tse-tung was not a democrat at all, although he posed to be so. He, as a chairman of the communist party, did not tolerate unnecessary discussions, cliques and factions within the party itself in spite of his philosophy of 'hundred flowers'. It was nothing but a smoke-screen which could not hide his real intentions any more. He had an advantage ofhis unchallenged personal ascendancy in China as compared with the pix.'onged discussions and struggle for power in the Soviet Union—a soiree of uncertainty and confusion in Soviet policy which has left the aui>ority of the Kremlin in the communist world seriously impaired. Un J ex the circumstances when the authority of the Kremlin was fighting for certainty, he (Mao), as a prophet of power, found it suitable to attempt for assuming leadership of the communist camp. Outside the communist world he pursued a policy of expansionism and unfriendliness. The Chinese aggression against India in 1962 had proved clearly Mao's intention of territorial aggrandisement, and his philosophy of 'hundred flowers' was but a propaganda to confuse the world opinion. Mao Tse-tung and Lenin
Mao Tse-tung was a figure comparable to Lenin in that he was the founder of the regime of which he was the head, the man who led his party to the conquest of power. He was not a successor to an authority already established ; he was the creator of that authority. He held the position that Lenm would presumably have held had he still been alive nine years after the final victory in 1920 over General Wrangle. But in the U.S.S.R., there have been two demises of the supreme leadership, and each has been followed by a period of 'collective leadership' marked by instability, dissension, and a struggle for power resulting in the emergence of a new personal autocracy. Whatever the theory of 'democratic centralism' on paper, the Communist Party State requires in practice at its apex a single potentate who can be the final arbiter between cliques and factions within the party. Collective leadership simply does not work for more than a brief interval of time. On the other hand, the emergence of a new dictator evokes intense jealousy among those who once happened to be his equals in rank. The context for the succession, thus, becomes extremely bitter, with consequent dislocation and ^uncertainty in domestic and foreign policy. And such a critical period is now evident in China after the death of Mao Tse-tung.
Among the great company of remarkable figures that will appear to the eye of posterity at the head of the Indian Renaissance, one stands out by himself with peculiar and solitary distinctness, one unique both in his type and work. It is as if one were to walk for a long time amidst a long range of hills rising to a greater or lesser altitude, but all with sweeping contours, green-clad, flattering the eye even in their most bold and striking elevation. But pmidst them all, one hill stands apart, piled up in sheer strength, a mass of bare and puissant granite, with verdure on its summit, a solitary pine jutting out into the blue, a great cascade of pure, vigorous and fertilizing water gushing out from its strength as a very fountain of life aDd health to the valley. Such is the impression that one usually may have on the mind by looking at the distinctive personality of Swami Daya-nanda Saraswati.
It was in 1824 that this puissant renovator and new creator, Dayananda, was born at Tankara in Morvi State (Kathiawar-Gujarat). And something of the very soul and temperament of that peculiar land entered into his spirit, something of Girnar and the rocks and hills, something of the voice and puissance of the sea that, flings itself against those coasts, something of that humanity which seems to be made of virgin and undefiled staff of Nature, fair and robust in body, instinct with a fresh and primal vigour, crude but in a developed nature capable of becoming a great force of genial creation. This spirit constantly vibrated his whole self and turned him into a sort of rebel. He rebelled against the married life which made him fleefrom his house to escape its bondage. While he was hardly of thiiteen years (of age), he refused to submit to the authoritarian traditional dictates of his Saivite father in the field of religious conscience ; and after attaining full knowledge of the sacred literature and being enlightened, he rebelled against the leaders of Hindu orthodoxy. His original name was Moolshanker, but on being initiated into sannyasa by Swami Purnananda at the age of about twenty-four years he became Swami Dayananda Saraswati ; and it is by this name that he is now known to the world.
Truth About Man
"To be great," says Emerion, "is to be greatly misunderstood." So was the case with Dayananda. "Dayananda was dogmatic and conservative". "He was protestant, heterodox, a merciless critic of
SWAMI DAYANANDA SARASWATI (I824-I883)
SWAMI DAYANANDA SARASWATI
old traditions". "He was a mere Pandit of Sanskrit language". "No, he was a practical man who set before us the highest ideal of karma yoga" "He was a leader of the Hindu reform movement; at most a nationalist, if you please, but nothing more than that". "He was a world prophet, a saviour of humanity". Such are the judgements, so diverse and divergent, passed on the great man of the 19th century. The question arises what is the truth about man ? A man's actions remain unintellgible, and his words convey but vague meaning—the whole phenomenon appears to be a mystifying maze till his central moving impulse is understood. Why did Dayananda early leave his home, his sisters and brothers that were so dear to him, and all the prospects of future pleasure ?
Love is perhaps the strongest emotion that stirs the human heart. All of us, at one time or another, feel its influence. We fall in love, as we all know ; but a time comes when we have to part with our beloveds. For some the shock is much too great to bear, and they break down. Others sigh and sob, and weep for some time : but soon the practical realities of life press upon them, and they gradually forget their grief. Others, again, the mastermen try to seek the solution of the mystery which is called death. And having requisite strength in their bones and marrow they reach their goal. To this last category did Dayananda belong. Early in boyhood, Dayananda lost his uncle whom he loved tenderly and intensely. This was a rude shock. And it was followed by another, the death of his sister. This set Dayananda thinking over : "What is the meaning of the mystery ? Where is God, the all-merciful father ?" Vague misgivings haunted him. Worldly wise men, as in the case of Buddha, suggested marriage as a cure for vain doubt and vairagya (detachment from worldly life). But Dayananda was too cautious to be caught in the snare. As already hinted at, he took an early opportunity to escape ; and thenceforward he became a serious 'seeker after truth'. To seek truth, Dayananda renounced seif. He gave up the desire for riches. He left his home, and gave up all comforts and luxuries. He put on the robe of humility, and wandered about in the dress of a hermit. Above all, he took up the vow of brahmacarya. He had well realized that continence or absolute abstinence is essential to a seeker after truth. Hence, he tried to keep his senses under control throughout his life. To attain this, Dayananda underwent all the austerities spoken of in old Hindu books as tapas (sacrifices).
Dayananda practised asceticism vigorously, which is denounced today as a "gratuitous travail''. The modern man believes in feasts in place of fasts. Well has Count Tolstoy remarked that the present age. is an age of gluttony. But the truth is that in the higher evaluation of life, pleasure is only on a par with pain. This truth is well recognised by Mr. Welton in his book, Psychology of Education, wherein he condemns the modern tendency of making education as.effortless as possible. William James, the great American psychologist, sounds the same note, and strongly advises the modern enervated, soft-civilized man to have a daily dose of even gratuitous asceticism. It is, as he
iii GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS
says, an insurance fee which though it brings us no immediate gain will always stand us in good stead at the time of need.44 The ancient seers of India advise man to follow the path of virtue, though painful, and not the path of pleasure. And Dayananda, a follower of the ancient sages, practised ascetecism to keep his sense of pleasure under control. And so it was that with merely a lion-cloth on, he wandered through the woods, went up hills and down dales, and exposed his body to heat and cold, and practised other austerities.
Thus, Dayananda began his search. Three years, we are told, he passed In the search, visiting different sadhus (ascetics) and priests, the professed possessors and dispensers of drugs that heal sick souls. They taught him yogic practices and instructed him in the ancient Sanskrit, lore. But their methods could not satisfy him, as they seemed to be irrational to him. Then he heard of a blind monk of Mathura, and so his steps turned thitherwards. He lived under the tutorship of the Dandi Sannyasin, and at the feet of this Guru (preceptor) he learnt that the ancient Scriptures neither enjoined the performance of animal sacrifices and nonsensical ceremonial, nor did they embody the babblings of fools and rhapsodies of sheperds but that they were the repositories of the highest truth, that they contained in them the sublimest solution of the proplems of life. And Dayananda thus attained to an intellectual grasp of the mystery of life.
Dayananda'sConception of the Veda
Daynnanda accepted the Veda as his rock of firm foundation ; he took it for his guiding view of life, his rule of inner existence and bis inspiration for external work : but 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 with his fellows can be rightly and securely founded. He seized fully on the Veda as India's Rock of Ages and had the daring conception to build on what his penetrating glance perceived in it, a whole education of youth, a whole manhood and a whole nationhood. He perceived that India's true original seed was the Veda. He had the national instinct and he was able to make it luminous, an intuition in place of an instinct.
Dayananda's interpretation of the Veda was somewhat different from that of others. What is the main positive issue in this matter ? An interpretation of the Veda must stand or fall by its central conception of the Vedic religion and the amount of support given to it by the intrinsic evidence of the Veda itself. Here Dayananda's view is quite clear, its foundation inexpugnable. The Vedic hymns are chanted to the One Deity under many names which are used and even designed to express His qualities and powers. Was this conception of Dayananda's arbitrary conceit fetched out of his own too ingenious imagination ? Not at all; it is the explicit statement of the Veda itself.
swami dayananda saraswati iv
In fact, various gods—Agni, Marut, Indra, Mooni, Sun, etc.—are addressed by different rsis (sages) in the Veda ; but these gods are nothing but the attributes or powers of the One Supreme Dsity. The Vedic god-heads are constantly hymned as Masters of wisdom, power, purity, purifiers and healers of grief and evil, destroyers of sin and falsehood, warriors for the truth, and so on ; and constantly the sages pray to them for healing and purification, to be made seers of knowledge, possessors of the truth to be upheld in the Divine Law, to be assisted and armed with strength, manhood and energy. Dayananda has not brought himself this idea of the divine right and truth into the Veda, the Veda is as much and more a book of divine Law is Hebrew Bible or Zoroastrian Avesta. His theory arises logically out of this fundamental conception. If the names of the god-heads express qualities of the one Godhead and it is these which the sages adored and towards which they directed their aspiration, then there must inevitably be in the Veda a large part of psychology of the Divine Nature, psychology of the relations of man with God, and a constant indication of the Law governing man's Godward conduct. Dayananda asserts the presence of such an ethical element ; he finds in the Veda the law of life given by God to the human being. And if the Vedic god-heads express the powers or attributes of a Supreme Deity who is Creator, Ruler and the Father of the universe, then there must inevitably be in the Veda a large part of cosmology, the law of creation and of cosmos. Dayananda asserts the presence of such a cosmic element, he finds in the Veda the secrets of creation and the Law of Nature by which the Omniscient governs the world. This may also be termed as the doctrine of revelation. To put the matter in a straight way, the Veda reveals to us God, the Law of Nature and the relations of the soul to God and Nature, It is but a revelation of the Divine Truth.
What we metaphysically and concretely to draw from Dayananda's conception of the Veda is that he, as a realist, accepts God and soul as spiritual substances. According to him, there are three eternal and independent entities as God, soul and Nature (Prakrti). Like Samkhya school of thought, he bdieved in an independent eternal Nature, but he also argued that God, the Creator, arranges matter or Prakrti. Dayananda refuted the Vedantic theories which consider soul either as one with Brahman or only partially different from Brahman. He maintained that God and soul are eternally separate and different, and that even in the state of emancipation (moksa) the soul retains its distinction from Brahman due to its being associated with the powers of internal organs.
Dayananda was a true Vedantist, He strongly believed that the Veda contained eternal, pure and pristine knowledge given to hunia-nity at the primordial time of creation. As he claimed to find out in the ancient code of Vedic wisdom the words of God Himself, he justified his roek-like faith in the Veda. Dayananda will be honoured as the first discoverer of the right clues. Amidst the chaos and obscurity of old ignorance and age-long misunderstanding his was the eye of direct vision that pierced the truth and fastened on that which was
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essential. He found the keys of the doors that time had closed and rent asunder the seals of the imprisoned fountains.
Dayananda and Classical Revival
In the 17th century India saw a great intellectual and social movement, which is often styled by historians as the Bhakti movement. It was movement of devotion and reform. It laid the foundation of Gurumukhi literature in the Punjab. To this, we trace the beginning of Bengali literature. This period is marked by the writings of Kabir, Nanak, Chaitanya, Surdas and others. But though the movement resulted in a great development of vernacular literature, it can in no way be called a classical revival.
The 18th century was a unique period in this respect. It was essentially the period of revival of the study of Hindu literature. It also marked the introduction of Sanskrit into Europe and the foundation of Sanskrit Chairs in various Occidental universities. In India, the Hindu classical revival commenced about the beginning of the 18th century and reached almost the climax under Swami Dayananda, the founder cf Arya Samaj. Though not exactly the herald of Indian classical renaissance, he stood as its last and greatest representative who accomplished more than any of his predecessors for Hindu revival.
The revival ushered in by Dayananda was extensive and comprehensive. It was not merely a revival of ancient learning, language and literatue ; it was a revival carried to the extreme. It was a revival of ancient religion and mode of worship, of ancient traditions and ideals of life. The movement for revival was a radical one and it penetrated deep, entirely changing the Indian ideals. By this revival, Dayananda restored the unity between ancient and modem Indian civilization. Unity of ancient aud modern history was also the greatest triumph of Italian classical rtnaistance oi the Iith century. Bui how was this unity aftected in Jndia ? The 19th century was a period of mighty European influences in India. The lime was ringing out the old and ringing in the new. The Indian leaders like Ram Kiohan Hoy and Keshav Chandra Sen, full oi zeal and enthusiasm, anxious to see India a powerful and glorious nation, attributed her existing position to her Oriental civilization. They threw away almost everything oriental whether religious, social, literary or political. At this stage, Dayananda appeared as a (divine) champion of Aryan civilization He proclaimed and proclaimed successfully that the new light was not to replace the ancient civilization, but we were to work out a beautiful proportionate unity of the two civilizations as it would make our civilization loftier and richer than even the European. And for the cause of this unity, he accomplished for India what Humanists did for Europe.
Another effect of this classical renaissance was a sudden revolution in the system of education. Not only Sanskrit got a more important position in the studies at the universities, but in some quarters people departed from the prevalent university system altogether. They
swami dayananda saraswati
reverted to the ancient system of education in which the pupils remained with their teachers from their 7th upto their 25th year. New types of educational institutions designated as Gurukulas were founded all over northern India. These institutions exhibited the magnitude of the great Hindu classical revival.
The third effect of this movement had been the great impetus that it had given to the vernacular literature. There was a time when some mad, denationalized individuals in our educated community used to talk of adopting English as their mother-tongue. Even today we sometimes meet fanatics making a similar utterance. But the Indian classical revival, to our great relief, had dispersed these ignoble illusions. The vernacular literatures of India are progressing by leaps and bounds. Bengal has got a splendid literature. Other vernaculars also are daily gaining strength. The whole literature of Arya Samaj, which has before it this splendid mission of Hindu classical revival, is in vernacular.
The fourth great achievement of this revival was that it enabled us to encounter our religious and social evils. We have been complaining of social evils of Hindu society, of early marriage, of the position of widows, of the position of depressed classes, and of a lot of other social institutions. We have also been complaining of our religious belief, the stone worship and idol worship, the priest worship and the omen worship. In fact, we have been crying over the major portions of the existing system of Hindu religion. Neither the times nor the Western influences could cure them. Hinduism, as we find it, is a firm rock of ages which we can neither reform nor demolish easily. We cannot build up a new Hinduism, a purer, nobler and higher Hinduism, a rational and scientific Hinduism by merely an appeal in the name of the West. We can appeal to the mass of Hindu population only in the name of the East, in the name of their traditions, in the name of Scriptures which they revere. To average Hindu mind, the most authoritative argument is not frcm utility or from a theory of sociology but from his Scriptures alone. To cure our social and religious evils, we require a revived study of our Scriptures which would bring home to our people the fact that their present beliefs were in contradiction to the teachings of their saints and philosophers. This is the key to all our work of social and religious reforms. This is what Dayananda did through bis re-interpretation of the Vedas. A classical renaissance is an unavou able preliminary to our work of Hindu Reformation.
The final achievement of the classical renaissance was that it laid down the lines on which our civilization was to develop. There was a time when the older generation had set up to develop on purely Western lines. Swami Dayananda diverted us from the old path. He declared that we were to retain the substructure of Hindu civilization on which we were to build up the super-structure of our new civilization. He pointed out that our new civilization must be a national civilization, and that we must preserve our Aryan character. Accor-
ding to him, we are trustees and inheritors of our past civilization which we have to preserve at all costs. If we throw it away or even if we diminish its brightness, we will then betray not only our ancestors, not only the coming generations of the Indian people, but the whole humanity. We must supply our quota to the world civilization.
Dayananda wasnot a political thinker in the modern sense. His. primary concern was to re-interpret the Vedas intheir true sense and revive the old civilization of India. However, we can get a clue of his political views by reading his works, Satyarthaprakasha and Rgvedadibhashyabhumika. He was not a speculative thinker, but was an aggressive exponent of Hindu revivalism. He was a man of action and change, and his philosophy of theA'edas gave an inspiration to the manifestation of the strength of the country. He found the solution to the problem of India's dependence in Vedic idealism.
Dayananda though that India's downfall was due to certain perceptible weaknesses in Indian character. He, therefore, strongly pleaded for the quality of assertiveness, strength and fervour, and a dynamic sense of responsibility in place of indolence, inertness, passivity and dependence on fate. He explained in his book, Satyarthaprakasha, that India's downfall is "due to mutual feud, differences in religion, want of purity in life, lack of education, child marriage in which the contracting parties have no choice m the selection of their life-partners, indulgence in carnal gratifications, untruthfulness and other evil habits, the neglect of the study of Veda, and other malpiacti-ces". Hence, he insisted on the moral purification of the individual as well as on the necessity of social reconstruction. He maintained that his (own) programme of dynamic spiritualism must be spread out not only in India but also throughout the world. And his ideal of Vedic revivalism laid stress on the necessity of moral and social uplift of Indians.* Dayananda frankly admitted thai the British rulers in India had "superior social efficiency, belter social institutions and better obedience to authority and patriotism",* and he urged upon the Indian people the urgent necessity of refoiming their individual and social character. He declared that unless the Indians raised their social and moral character and learnt to work with zeal and a sense of dedication, it was not possible either to achieve national emancipation or to have any social and national regeneration or advancement.45
Zacbarias, H. C. E., Renascent India, George Allen and Unwin, London (1933), p. 38.
Ibid., p. 40.
Dayananda intensely loved freedom, and his whole, being yearned for it. It was in quest of emancipation of the soul that he refused to bear the burden of married life and he left his home and wandered for a number of years from place to place. Similarly, he
swami dayananda saraswati
loved national freedom and asked bis countrymen to come out of obscurantism and ignorance, to understand trie teachings of the Vedas, to realize the greatness of their own culture and dharma, to raise their moral and social character, and to fight against the foreign rule. Dayananda was of the viewthat unless man was mentally free, he could tiotexert for his physical orpdlifical freedom. Assessing -his contributions to the cause of mental freedom, K.P.Jayaswal writes : "The Saiinyasi Dayananda gave freedom to the soul of the Hindu, as Luther did to the European. And he forged that freedom from inside, that is,
from Hindu literature itself. Dayananda was not only the greatest
Indian of the nineteenth century In the nineteenth century there was nowhere else such a powerful teacher of monotheism, such a preacher of the unity of man, such a successful crusader against capitalism in spirituality."4
Dayananda was passionately attached to India and had a tremendous love for the country. He called India Aryavarta. In his famous work, Satyarthaprakasha, he strongly maintains that a foreign government* howsoever efficient, kind, just and impartial though it may be, can never render perfect justice and happiness to its subJect-people.• The whole drift of his teachings was to reform Hinduism and lead India to active resistance to the alien influences which had threatened to denationalize her past culture and values. And his main importance as a prophet of aggressive nationalism lies in his formulation of the powerful slogan of Swarajya (independence or self-government) with an appreciation of the glories of the magnificent p: ,\
Dayananda considered the Vedas to be the source of kncwledg-~both metaphysical and worldly. It was from them that he drew his concept of political authority. The primary Vedic concept of political authority is that Ksetra (authority) must always function under the able guidance of Brahmana (moral and spiritual authority). Hence, he always pleaded for the guidance of political leaders by the moral and spiritual leaders. His main argument was that unless the authority is exercised cautiously under the guidance ofvirtuous men, it cannot Work for the good of all and rccdei proper justice and happiness to lhe people. Dayananda was never found ready to accept any political authority which remained devoid of moral and spiritual considerations.
K.P.Jayaswal's article in Dayananda Commemoration Volume, pp.162-163 (quoted from V.P.Varma's Modern Indian Political Thought, Lakshmi Narain Agarwal, Agra (1980), pp. 45-46,
Satyarthaprakasha, Chap. 6.
He believed in perfect democracy. And his love for democracy may be well proved by bis organization of Arya Samaj which was entirely based on the principle of election. He strongly supported the democratic principle of election in the various bodies which he considered to be the legitimate organs of the government in an ideal policy outlined by him. He defined the structure and functions of three bodies-thc Dharmarya Sabha, the Vidyaryasabha and the Rajarya-
ix GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS
sabha. These bodies were to work in accordance with the principle of checks and balances.46
Dayananda, as a prophet of democracy, pleaded for the construction of a vast Commonwealth, starting from the village as its smallest and yet the most important unit. He painfully regretted the decline of village polity and economy, and drawing the threads of his ideal polity from Manusmriti, he put forth the idea of microdemo-cracy by integrating villages into the administrative system or mechanism. Dayananda thus seemed to visualize a political system which though may appear to be monarchical in its external form, but which will certainly have the essence of ideal democracy.
Dayananda, in his personal life, appeared to be a sort of anarchist as he was always found opposed to authority, may it be of the father or of anybody, and moved freely from place to place in search of a- true higher knowledge ; but in the national life he pleaded for national partriotism. However, he considered the authority of God and His Divine Laws superior to any human authority and laws enacted by it. Nevertheless, he did not visualize a political system characterized by the absence of authority and coercion. By this he meant that when a choice was to be made between obedience to Divine Laws and the laws of the political superior, adherence to the former must always carry weight. The sovereignty of God and obedience to His authority, according to him, was to be universally accepted. He remarks : "Let all understand, we axe the subjects to the Lord of the Universe—the King of kings. He is the true King and we are ail his humble subjects." May we in this world, through His mercy, be privileged to occupy kingly and other high offices and may He make us the means of advancing his Eternal Justice."47L'ayananda openly stated that though he was born and lived in Aryavarta, he stood for the emancipation of mankind. Thus he put forward s idea of humanitarian universalism.
Dayananda : Arya Samaj acd Social and Religious Reforms
There have been a thousand controversies concerning Swami Dayananda, and a thousand details might be brought forward to prove this or that about him. But 1personally believe that in the conception of him as a living personification of the Vedic culture, we are at the very centre. In this view of his character, the whole picture is in focus. The perspective is true and not false. If Dayananda had been merely a great scholar and controversialist, there would have been little or no progressive life in his community after his departure. If, again, his message bad been merely antiquarian and traditional, then there would have been no present vitality and progress of the Arya Samaj, which he so fondly founded. In fact, his message was immensely more than antiquarian, and he himself was more than a
SWAMI DAYANANDA SARASWATI x
great scholar. The personality of the great Dayananda, as he lived the actual life of the Vedic past in all the glowing majesty of his heroic spirit, was so magnetic, so virile, so passionately sincere and brave that others easily caught his inspiration before he died and carried on his message in his true spirit. It is for this reason that the Arya Samaj has lived and still lives on today. His personality was like fire, which enkindled others ; and others, in their turn, have carried the flame forward.
Every new faith has its own attraction, and it is no wonder that the teachings of Swami Dayananda had a marvellous impact upon the mind of the people, particularly in Punjab, where the Arya Samaj had its greatest effect. Apart from the great charm of the principles themselves which Swamiji preached, his magnetic personality and his eloquence could not be without their effect. Himself a Brahmin, he did not stand for Brahminism, but for Hinduism in its widest sense. He protested against a narrow interpretation of caste and founded his vindication of the religion of the Aryas upon the widest basis. Unification was the dominant note of his teaching and the havoc played by Mohammedanism afforded a strong motive for the Hindus to unite and to disregard the destructive specialization of the caste system. There was but one community, the community of Aryas or the Hindus, and there was but one bond to tie them all together, the Vedas. The loss to the community by conversion was to be secured at any cost, and even those who had already been lost by conversion were to be readmitted to Hinduism.
The Arya Samaj, founded by Swami Dayananda (April, 1875), was a kind of protectant church. It denounced idolatry and aimed at establishing the Aryan or the Vedic faith in its purest form that was discoverable in the Vedic Scriptures. But it was not eclectic like the Brahmo Samaj, and consequently it appealed more to the human mind of the Hindus. The human mind not only wants a religious label, out also a label that would proclaim the continuity of culture and tradition in which its own ancestors for thousands of years were brought up before, The pride of ancestral culture and tradition is the greatest factor in the scheme of nationality, and the belief or even the pretence that all that is worth knowing or having has been recorded in the Vedic Scriptures was calculated to take the roots of nationality to depths from which it would be impossible to take out.
We are not concerned here with the vexed question of Dayananda's methods of interpretation, but one cannot but notice the passionate patriotic cry of 'Back to the Vedas' making a double appeal both to the instinct of nationalism and to the spirit of religious fervour and reform. The sequel we know, and today educated and enlightened Hindu, particularly in nothcrn India, is more or less the product of the activities of the great Arya Samaj, free from idolatrous practices and chains of superstitions, actively engaged in the spread of educatiou both among boys and girls, young men and women in towns, cities and villages, in the hills and in the plains of northern India, impressing upon the youth of India, the poor and the rich
GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS
alike, that to live in the future, we must not lose touch with the Vedic past of India. To one who has studied the condition of Hindu life, in all its various phases, of about a century ago, the tyranny of caste, the superstitions, and the wrong practices which were and are still cherished and encouraged under the name of religion, the Swamiji's call is full of significance. Swami Dayananda has played a noble part in the history of his motherland and has led it a distinct step forward in the way of a far deeper and truer spiritual life and of a far better and truer realization of truth, social justice and humanity which is still to come.
Dayananda Saraswati was and no doubt still is one of the greatest reformers and spiritual forces India has known in recent times. His dominant personality had found extraordinary reflection in the virility of the Arya Samaj moveir.em, and in almost every one of its adherents. The Arya Samaj has done a commendable work in the field of education. The establishment of educational institutions, particularly in the northern and eastern parts of India, and the formation of the Gurukula Academy at Hardwar exemplify the very rightful eagerness of many Samajists to revive the ancient ideals and traditions of Hindu education. The members of Arya Samaj movement are also in the forefront of other public services of the country. This is evident from the number of members of the Samaj who have attained public eminence and have won the gratitude of the Indian nation. Not the least among these stands the name of Lala Lajpat Rai, a prominent Congress leader, who sacrificed his life in the 'thirties righting for the emancipation of his motherland. The spirit and message of Swami Dayananda will remain alive in the country so long as the Arya Samaj exists and continues its activities of religious and social reforms.