Notes on Dayananda Saraswati article – J.T. F. Jordens article (1)

(1) According to Jordens, Dayananda Saraswati, DS became aware of Xtnty relatively late in life – that is at the age of 42. He at that age met Rev. John Robson at Ajmer in 1866.

This sounds really hard to believe. I mean, I know that he has been wandering around India like an ascetic, but still. Why? Well… for one thing – the Brits have been in India for quite sometime, and they were nominally at least Christians. In addition, the Sepoy Rebellion has taken place in 1857. Religion is implicated in giving a start to this rebellion (the lard on the gun cartridges issue).

(2) Dayananda Saraswati met Swami Virjananda in 1860. Swami Virjananda would be his guru from the years, 1860 to 1863, and would have a major influence on Saraswati. It is Swami Virjananda who helps catalyze the ideas that have already been simmering in Dayanada’s head that idolatry is false, the Puranas are bunk, Hinduism as practiced in his day is corrupt, etc. Sw. Virjananda would go on to train Dayananda in Sanskrit, and also in what constituted a pure and unadulterated Hinduism.

Swami Virjananda is also interesting because he is born blind. How does being blind impact a man’s views on idolatry? Hmmm ….How did he teach Dayananda Sanskrit if he was blind?

(3) Dayananda believed and taught that the Vedas were singularly an absolute and perfect revelation. No other revelation could compare. Having said this, it was incumbent upon him to demonstrate that other works such as the Bible or the Koran, were either flawed or spurious.

(4) In 1877-8, Dayananda went to visit the Punjab. He would spend 16 months there and encounter “intensive and aggressive missionary propaganda activity” here. Apparently there was a battle going on in Punjab, bwtn Hindus and Xtns.

(5) Here, Dayananda would enter into public debates over the Vedas and the Bible. In addition, he also would inaugurate the practice of shuddi. Shuddi was an ancient practice where if a person became unclean or defiled or contaminated, he could then go through the rites of Shuddi and become clean again. Dayananda would mutatis mutandi, turn this practice into a reconversion (back to Hinduism) practice.