To understand the true meaning of this book you must apply the
The four subsidiary means of reasoning:
- Listening or reading most attentively with a calm mind to the lectures of a learned man, and more so if the subjects are a divine Science, because it is the most abstruse and the subtlest of all the sciences.
- Thinking over what one has heard or read in retirement, and in removing doubts if there be any by questioning the speaker. Questions may sometimes be asked even in the middle of a discourse if the speaker and the audience think proper.
- Rationalizing is the next step.
When all doubts are cleared after hearing or reading a discourse and
thinking over it, let the enquirer enter into the superior condition and
see for himself by the help of yoga (self-realization through meditation)
whether it is the same as he had heard and reasoned out or not.
- The result is the correct
knowledge of the nature, properties and characteristics of the desired
At Ajmere - The Agra Durbar
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The next place which Swami Dayanand visited was Ajmere (30th May, 1866). Here, as usual, he commenced exposing the Bhagwat, proclaiming it as an immoral book out and out and false in its teaching. He denounced the temples also, and fearlessly gave it out as his opinion that religious necklace and rosaries were nothing better than so much wood. The Pandits of Ajmere were horror-struck at the views of the Swami, and went into paroxysms of rage over them, but, being unable to meet him to argument, they could do no more than send him the following writing;-
These were the questions though not in the usual interrogative form, and the Swami replied to them in writing, pointing out,
- A Sanyasi should not stay more than three days in an village or city.
- He should never drive a carriage.
at the same time, the mistakes with which the composition of the Pandits bristled.
At Ajmere the Swami had a discussion with the Rev. Mr. Grey, the Rev. Mr. Robinson and Rev. Schoolbred of Biawar, on "God, Soul and the Laws of Nature, and the Vedas." The discussion lasted for full three days, and the Rev. gentlemen found it hard to face their antagonist. As an interchange of civilities, the Swami saw Mr. Robinson at his own house.
On this occasion, Padri asked the Swami if it was true that Brahma, influenced by lust ran after his own daughter.
The Swami replied that the story was a libel on one of the greatest of Rishis, that if the deed, of which the story spoke, was ever done in the world, it must have been done by a depraved mortal, scarcely deserving the name of "man".
Rev. Mr. Robinson was a great admirer of the Swami. He gave him a certificate, stating that the Swami was profoundly versed in the Vedas, and that he had never seen so learned a man in his entire life. Such individuals, wrote the Padri, were rare in the world, and their company could not but be productive of good to all.
The document enjoined upon all who wished to see the Swami to treat him with all possible respect. The Swami also called upon Mr. Davidson, Deputy commissioner of Ajmere, and , in the course of conversation, said to him: "People of false creeds are plundering your subjects. The king being like a father, it behoves the representatives of Government to take steps to remedy the evil."
The Deputy Commissioner's answer to this was that the policy of Government was perfect neutrality in matters of religion.
The Agent to the Governor-General in Council was another European gentleman with whom Swami Dayanand had an interview at this place. The Swami talked to him on the necessity of protecting the cows, setting forth, in detail, the benefits which Government and the people would derive from the adoption of the measure recommended. The Agent admitted thee force of the Swami's arguments but said he was sorry he could do nothing in the matter.
This worthy gentleman gave the Swami a letter, saying that it would secure him an introduction to whom so ever it was shown. He further sent a letter to Raja Ram Singh of Jeypur, in which he expressed regret at His Highness having given but an indifferent reception to a man of the Swami's stamp.
At Ajmere - The Agra Durbar
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Hearing that a grand Durbar was to be held at Agra (November, 1866 A.D.), Swami Dayanand felt that he could not miss such a splendid opportunity for the determination of truth, and consequently left for the place in the company five vidyarthis. The Dubar came off, and was a magnificent affair, all the Native
Rulers of the country with their followers being present on the occasion. The Swami commenced his updesh (lectures), publishing at the same time; in Sanskrit, and eight-page tract, sowing the puerile character of the teachings of the Bhagwat. Thousands of copies of this publication were distributed free among the gathering to the real delight of all true inquires, particularly of those who could understand Sanskrit.
In the meantime, receiving from the Maharaja of Jaipur an invitation for a discussion with Rangacharya, the Swami left for Mathura to have an interview with his guru before obeying the call from His Highness. The meeting between the teacher and the pupil was most cordial. Laying two gold mohars and a muslin-piece at his preceptor's feet, and presenting him, moreover, with a copy of his tract on Bhagwat, the Swami at last asked for leave to depart, informing the great man that he should next preach at the approaching Haridwar Fair,
Virjanand, with his heart overflowing with joy at the work that was being done, blessed his noble disciple, wishing him the fullest measure of success in his mission. The two were not destined to see each other in life again!
From Mathura, the Swami proceeded to Jaipur. The Maharaja expressed a wish to see him early, but before the wish had time to be realized, some on informed His Highness that the Swami was an enemy of Shaivism and of idolatry. On hearing this he was deeply offended and determined not to admit the Swami to an audience. It was, therefore, nothing strange that the Swami, ignorant of the change that had taken place in the Maharaja's mind, should, on reaching the place, be informed that His Highness was 'out'. The swami guessed the truth and observing that a Sanyasi like him could afford to dispense with the company of princes, returned to his quarters.
At Kumbha Fair - Haridwar.
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Haridwar is a place situated amidst surroundings of surpassing beauty, in the midst of a scenery the most glorious and bewitching of its kind. The rock and hill about are covered with the verdure of superb loveliness and generally wrapped in a mantle of clouds developing new shapes and new colors every moment. The river Ganges, round which Nature has wrought itself to such exquisite charm and fascination, lends, as it speeds on its eternal course, an attraction to the locality which is simply irresistible.
No place could be more welcome to a person of a contemplative and devotional turn of mind than Haridwar. The climate is bracing, and as regards the water of the Ganges, it has been testified by men of science that it is the purest imaginable. No disease-germs or bacilli can flourish in it, it kills them immediately after
they are thrown into it.* Epidemics, no doubt, now and then break out even at Haridwar in these days; but man, when acting in ignorance, or under the guidance of a perverted judgment, will turn the best gifts of God into a veritable curse.
The Ganges has always been a favorite with the best representatives of the Aryan nation in Science and literature. Many of those writings which embody the highest and most valuable thoughts of our saints and sages were produced on the banks of the Ganges or in its vicinity, and much of that poetry which bears on it the stamp of true genius and of which we are deservedly proud, was give to us by those who were familiar with the noble stream and its environments.
The name of every grotto and cave, of every tank and fountain in the neighborhood of Haridwar, bears witness to the sincere and genuine character of the regard in which the place was held by the illustrious Aryas of yore.
For ages and ages was Haridwar the residence place of the sage and saint, and of the literary man who taught, and inspired with lofty thought and high resolve, all who came in contact with them, and life in India was a life of happiness and peace, of righteous activity and continual progress.
But a time came when the true thinker, the true instructor, and the true writer had all but ceased to exist in places like Haridwar, and when the impostors of every description sat bold and conspicuous on the vacated seats, in hundreds and thousands. It is difficult to say when precisely the reign of "sham" commenced, but there is ground to believe that it commenced long before the commencement of the Christian Era.
When Heinen Tsang, the Chinese traveler, visited India, and he came here in the seventh century after the death of Christ, he found Haridwar much the same thing as it is in these days. Among thousands of pilgrims that came to bathe at Haridwar in these days, the belief was common that a plunge in the Ganges was sure and certain means of obtaining salvation. There was never perhaps a time when fairs were not held at Haridwar, but while originally the people flocked to the place from motives born of an enlightened.
*Mark Twain, in his recent book, named "Following the Equator," gives the results of the examination of the Ganges' water by Dr. Hankin, Chemical Analyzer to the Government of N.W.P. of Bengal, in the following words:-
"When we went to Agra, by and by, we happened there just in time to be at the birth of a marvel - a memorable scientific discovery - the discovery that in certain ways the foul and derided Ganges water is the most puissant purifier in the world. This curious fact, as I have said, had just been added to treasures of modern science.
It had been long noted as a strange thing that while Benares is often afflicted with cholera, she does not spread it beyond her borders. This could not be accounted for. Mr. Hankin, a scientist in the employ of the Government of Agra, concluded to examine the water. He went to Benares and made his tests. He got water at the mouth of the sewers where they empty it into the river and bathing ghats: a cubic centimeter of it contained millions of germs; at the end of six hours they were all dead.
He caught a floating corpse, towed it to the shore, and from beside it he dipped up water that was swarming with cholera germs to water: at the end of six hours, they were all dead. He added swarm after swarm of cholera germs to water: within six hours they always died to the last sample. Repeatedly he took our well water which was barren of animal life and put in a few cholera germs. They always began to probate at once, and always within six hours they swarmed - and were numerable by millions upon millions.
perception of the real factors in the evolution and development of the soul, - from the consciousness that the company of the wise and good was indispensable for spiritual elevation, they came in the latter ages (which followed soon after the great battle of Kurukshetra had permanently crippled, almost utterly paralyzed, the Indian intellect), to make it their periodical rendezvous mainly led by hankering after a bath in the waters of Ganges, believing, in their ignorance, that no more was required to wipe out all moral and spiritual sins and to secure endless bliss in the world to come.
Swami Dayanand knew what Haridwar once was, and what it latterly had been, and he made up his mind to pay it a visit on the approaching Kumbha Fair (Baisakh, 1924, B.E.), to do all in his power towards exposing imposture, and to disabuse the layman's mind of the impression that Haridwar was a Tirath in the true sense of the word. He was there a month before the actual date of the Fair, and he found place choked with votaries of a thousand-and-one false creeds stiff with self-conceit and engaged in fierce disputation with one another, purely worldly consideration being at the bottom of most of the quarrels.
The Swami fixed upon Sapat Sarover, a palace at a distance of three miles from Haridwar, and right on the path which leads to Rishikesh, and having constructed some thatch-work on the spot chosen, took up his abode therein. He named his quarters - Pakhand Khandni or the "exposers of sham and imposture," telling all who came to hear him that bathing on the steps of Haridwar was, spiritually, entirely, useless, and that the worship of God alone, as taught in the Scripture and the Upanishads, could give them salvation.
Along with preaching, a katha of the Upanishads was commenced, and the tract on Bhagwat was once more distributed in thousands. Offerings came to the Swami in cash and kind, but these were invariably distributed among the poor at the close of each day. Pretended Sadhus and Sanyasis, the apostles of Vammargism and Jainism and of other kindred systems of faith, whose principal object seems to be more or less to sap the foundation of all that is calculated to raise humanity Heaven-ward, generally kept their distance from the Swami's quarters, calling him all manner of names and denouncing him as innovator of the worst possible type!
Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu and Kashmere was one of those notables who went to see the Swami during the Durbar-days.
A friendly discussion took place on the 11th mantra of the 31st Chapter of the Yajur Veda.
BRAAMHAANO ASYA MUKHAMA ASEEDA BAAHOO RAAJANYAH KRITAH
OOROO TADASYA YADDAISHYAH PADBHYAAM SHOODRO AJAAYATA
The Swami explained the meaning of the mantra at length, showing how the metaphorical language of the Veda, when translated in plain terms, meant no more than that the Brahmans or those well-versed in Divine knowledge occupy the highest position among all the varnas, the Kshatriya the Vaishayas and the Shudras, standing below them, and above or below each other in the order of their varying degrees of merit and sterling worth. Those who held that the Brahmans had proceeded from the mouth of God, the Kshatriyas from His arms, and so on, were
in the wrong for God has neither mouth nor arms, nor thighs, nor feet; he is the incorporeal progenitor of the entire universe.
The Maharaja's spokesman, the famous Vishuddhanand, has to accept the Swami's exposition, though he would not acknowledge as much. It is certainly and utterly futile attempt on the part of the idolators to seek in the Scripture for authority in favor of idol-worship.
The Word of God emphatically declares:-
NA TASYA PRATIMAA ASTI YASYA NAAM MAHAVIDHYASHAH. Yajur Veda 32:3.
"He, the Supreme, of infinite glory, has no likeness, weight or measurement." Other similar discussions took place, the Swami doing his best to give the inquirers an insight into the teachings of the ancient sages and leaving nothing unsaid that would destroy the hold of superstition on their minds. The rich and the poor, the high-born and men of humble birth, were all equally welcome to hear his words of truth, of right and justice.
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The Kumbha Fair had left the saddest impression on the mind of Swami Dayanand. He had gone there with great hopes, had put his whole energy into the work that had carried him thither, but for all that, the Fair left his spirits weighed down and depressed. So much idolatry, so much degrading and debasing adoration of the temporal, so much chicanery and fraud, so much of all that is low and mean, he had never before seen in one single spot, and his soul sickened at the sight.
It was not ignorant and illiterate that clung to and cherished error, that did what should not be done, that followed and worshipped what should not be followed and worshipped, but even learned Pandits, and Sadhus deliberately went in for practices and advocated views that reason and authority alike condemned as objectionable and injurious. Could one individual correct the perverted the judgment of millions, could he cope with any success with the hydra-headed monster of unwisdom and delusion that sat enthroned on the heart of the mighty, myriad-manned Hinduism and regulated its life of thought and action?
The specter of doubt rose in Dayanand's mind and he felt 'despondent' "The nation is leagued against itself, knowingly courting its destruction, and hard it is to help it," mused he. As might be expected, the fit of despondency did not last long, the great man's soul rose above doubt and despair, and he exclaimed, "I must go on; all that I need is more force - moral and spiritual discipline (tapa)." The realization, by the Swami, of the need of having more tapa (force) was followed by his distributing among his followers all he had in the shape of clothes and utensils and cash, sending out of his money Rs. 35 together with a copy
of the Mahabhashya, to his guru at Mathura. Kailas Parvat Swami who happened to be with Dayanand when the distribution took place, asked the meaning of this strange behavior. Dayanand's reply was, that he wanted to be perfectly independent and unencumbered, to be absolutely simple in life, and to teach unhampered and unfettered. All this took place about a week or two after the Fair had come to an end.
Swami Dayanand had now nothing but his kopin on, and his kamandal, and he began to be much alone. But it would not do. Many people who knew him, sought him out and disturbed his devotions. One day, someone, a selfish Brahman, no doubt, writing on a slip of paper in Sanskrit the words - The Vedas are nowhere compared to the Bhagwat, pasted the slip against the door of Dayanand's hut. When the offensive words caught the Swami's eye, his heart filled with indignation and he commenced denouncing and exposing the Bhagwat again. Not that he is in any way affected his recently-formed resolution. He would wander along the banks of the Ganges, he said, till his tapa was complete, and during these wanderings, he would speak in Sanskrit alone.
Leaving Haridwar, Swami Dayanand repaired to Rishikesh, and, after staying there for four or five days, he returned to Kankhal, and following the course of the stream, arrived at Landhora. He had not eaten anything for the last three days and felt terribly hungry. When he found that he could hold out no longer, he asked a peasant for something to eat. The man gave him three baingans (fruit of the eggplant), and with these. he appeased his hunger. Self-denial and self-control of this kind was practiced day after day, and with the greatest cheerfulness.
At the night the Swami would lie down on the bare ground, on the sand, wherever it was to be had. If anybody wanted to speak to him, he would answer him in Sanskrit only. Now and then a shastrarth would be held, and on such occasions also, the remarks he had to make would be made in Sanskrit alone. He would not stop long in one place: on the country, his movements were always rapid, and if he was here to-day, tomorrow he might be found miles away. But wherever he went, his virtue and profound learning drew crowds. He taught Gayatri to all who came to him and gave the Yajnopavit to the "twice-born" in large numbers. At Miranpur ( a village 20 miles from Roorkee) he had a discussion with the Pandits for two days.
At the request of the Thakur Sher Singh of Karmvas (a village) the Swami, assisted by some forty pandits from Anupshahar, Danpur, Karnvas, Ahmednagar, Ramgarh, Jahangirabad, etc., helped in the performance of a "Yajna" on a grand scale. So well was everything managed and so faithfully the ancient ritual followed, that the function produced the happiest effect on the mind of the population in the neighborhood. A desire to tread once more in the footsteps of the sages of yore was aroused in the mind of the Twice-born classes, and Brahmans and Ksahatriyas and Vaishyas thronged around the Swami from all sides, with a prayer to be invested with the "sacred thread." Nothing could give him greater pleasure than to comply with such a prayer. But at the same time
he did positive work, he took care that the negative was not left undone. The preaching of the Gurumantra and the investiture with the sacred thread and similar other things were uniformly followed (provided the Swami's leisure permitted) with a merciless exposure of the Puranas, and of the Tantras, Vammargism, polytheism, and so on.
"Whatever makes you forget virtue in the most comprehensive sense of the word, he would say, addressing the people, in the course of his observations, "whatever makes you take to drinking, to adultery, to stealing, to lying and so on, the same is the destroyer of the soul and must be shunned."At Anupshahara discussion on idol-worship took place with Shastri Hira Vallabha. It lasted for about six days and as the condition of the shastrarth was, that whichsoever of the parties was defeated, the same should accept the beliefs of the other, the Shastri, on finding the victory declare itself for Dayanand, rose from his seat, and, in the presence of the full assembly, acknowledged, in Sanskrit, that the learned Sannyasi taught nothing but the truth, and that the worship of sticks and stones was false.
After this taking up the chauki on which the thakurs (idols) were placed, he flung it into the Ganges. On the same day, on Pandit Tika Ram, who was a priest in a temple situated on the bank of the stream, severed his connection with the temple and idols for good, and got employment for which his literary attainments fitted him. Also. four more individuals renounced idol-worship, and, casting away their necklaces and rosaries, became the worshippers of the one true God!
Well has Mehta Aminchand* sung:-
"The Dandi has appeared, the hypocrites have betaken themselves to their hiding-places, the vain and conceited are in a fright, the vile and the unjust (with them).
"Shining with the effulgence of knowledge, has the sun come forth, dispelling the gloom and ushering in the light.
"The Swami, known by the name of Dayanand, has come into a meeting, with the thunder-roar of the lion.
"He advocates truth and denounces fraud, thus holding up the signs and symbols of superstition to the contempt and ridicule of the world.
*Fragment of a song by the late lamented Arya Poet.
"The idle talkers, the disbelievers in God, and the believers in Mythology are rending the air with their cries.
"Great atheists have become theists and wait upon him with folded hands.
"By his Veda-given strength and his cogent argument he has transformed Kaliyuga into its opposite.
"By the force of unbroken austerity and by the splendor and might of his spiritual power, he has struck terror into the hearts of the wicked.
"He is Yogishwara, a great Rishi, perfect in self-knowledge, one who is triumphant everywhere by the might of his truth."An attempt on the Swami's life.
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The shastrarth at Anupshahar had been far-reaching in its effects. Thakur Mukand Singh, of Chhalesar, a Chauhan Kshatrya by caste, had been, throughout, present at the discussion, and was one of those who, at the termination of the discussion, had been compelled to come to the conclusion, in spite of their long-cherished belief to the contrary, that the worship of idols was degrading and sinful in the extreme.
As soon as he returned to his village he informed his kinsmen that it was his intention to have all the family-temples-some thirty in number and scattered in different hamlets - thoroughly "overhauled" and relieved of the presence of idols for good. And in pursuance of this resolve, he had all the images lying in the temples in question removed from their strongholds and thrown into the Kali Nadi or the Black Stream.
This action was deeply displeasing to his caste-men, as many as sixty villages in the neighborhood actually went the length of indulging in the threat that the perpetrator of such a sacrilege should be out-casted without delay. The threat somehow or other was not carried out, the Thakur's caste-men being wise in their generation, as persecution, in the majority of cases, will only add fuel to the fire and strengthen and invigorate where it seeks to crush. Verily the preacher of truth is mightier and more irresistible iconoclast than kings and princes with unlimited brute force to accomplish their purposes with! While Swami Dayanand was yet staying at Karnvas, the report went around that a remover of the "forehead-mark" has made his appearance in the vicinity, and it was nothing surprising that a conservative man like Rao Karn Singh, a reis of Baroli, a disciple of the Chaivite Rangacharya, who had come to bathe in the Ganges, should, on learning the nature of the doctrines which the Swami preached, become his mortal foe. One day the Rao was condescending enough to pay a visit to the Swami, accompanied by twelve armed men. The Swami received him with great courtesy, though he could not help smiling as soon as the mark on the
Rao's forehead caught his eye, and asking him further, in Sanskrit, why he, a Kshatriya, had put the beggar's sign on his person. This made the already angry Rao still angrier, and he inquired in a gruff voice, "Where shall I sit?" "Wherever you like," was the reply. As he had come with the sole object of venting his rage, he declared that he should sit just where the Swami sat. The Swami answered that he was welcome to please himself, and he made room for him at the same time, on his own seat.
As soon as the 'big' man was squatted down, he turned his bloodshot eyes towards the swami and exclaimed in wrathful tones: "Mendicant! You are not doing the right things in disbelieving in the Ganges and the Tiraths. If you say anything against them in my presence, I shall deal with you severely." The fearful (!) words failed to move the Swami, and, after the fashion of true Sanyasis, he calmly replied: "If you want to fight, you had better go to the Rajas of Jeypur and Dhaulpur; but if, on the other hand, you want to hear truth sifted and differentiated from falsehood, then invite your guru Rangacharya here, and we shall be ready for him." Having said this, the Swami entered upon a vigorous exposure of the Chakrankit Faith, of which the Rao was a follower.
At this the Rao was beside himself with passion and laid his hand on the hilt of his sword. Before however, he could use the weapon, a follower of his, one Baldev Parshad, a wrestler by profession, stopped him, saying, "don't trouble yourself, Sir; I shall finish with the audacious Sadhu in the twinkling of an eye."
The wrestler raised his hand to strike, but Swami Dayanand was too quick for him. Seizing his arm, he gave him a push which sent him several paces back, reeling! The men around the Swami (there were some fifty of them) were astonished at this sudden attack on an inoffensive person, and that too a Sadhu, and one of them Rao Karn Singh and his band meaningfully in these words: "If you molest this Sanyasi, you will only carry from here a broken skull!" Crest-fallen and gnashing his teeth in impotent rage, Karn Singh rose and beat a hasty retreat, vowing to be even with his enemy at some other time.
After he had gone, many of the assemblies stood up and gave it as their opinion that such conduct should not be left unreported to the Police. The Swami, while thanking them for their regard for him, observed that if Karn Singh had failed to acquit himself as a true Kshatriya should, it did not follow that he too should prove himself false to his Brahminism. "I have, moreover," added he, 'received no hurt. The same thing is enough for the Rao. If he is wise, he won't repeat his feat again."
This was the first attack on the Swami's life, but, as we might suspect, it was not the last, even on the part of Karn Singh. Soon after this, he tried to incite some Bairagis to assault the Swami, promising that if they brought him his head, they should be liberally rewarded. "You are, each of you," said he, to make his persuasion the more effective, "single and alone in the world. If you do what I tell you to, you will have dharma from being defiled." The Bairagis, however, refused to commit such a horrible deed, telling him to keep his money to himself. Foiled here, the
Another dastardly attempt - A shastrarth
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Swami Dayanand was well aware of the value of winning young men over to the Truth, and consequently, whenever he came across these, he made a point of addressing them a few weighty words which never failed to lead, sooner or later, to results of a most gratifying character. One day, while, during his wanderings, he sat on the banks of the Ganges, thinking and enjoying the bracing breeze, two young men, approaching him from behind, commenced rubbing ashes over his naked body. Turning
round, the Swami fixed his piercing gaze on their faces and, pleased with the results of his survey, asked them how they passed their time. They replied that they were students, studying the Bhagvat and the Kaumidi. The Swami, while commending their studious habits, informed them that the books they were reading were utterly worthless productions, and advised them to go on with the Ashtadhayai, the Manu Smriti, and the Upanishads instead. At the same time he spoke to them on the true Vedic religion, showing, in the course of his remarks, how mischievous and false the Chakrankit Faith was.
The students were greatly impressed with the Sanyasi's words, and going into their village, repeated to their elders what had been said to them. They also succeeded in inducing a Pandit of the Chakrankit Faith to accompany them, with a view to holding a discussion the Sanyasi, but the moment the Pandit set his eyes on the Sanyasi, he turned upon his heel, and entering a temple, hid there. Evidently, it was not the first time the Pandit had seen the Swami, he was well aware of how he should fare in a discussion with such a man.
The people were displeased at his precipitate retreat, and the majority were convinced that the Chakrankit Faith, which many of them were going to embrace, was not worth their acceptance. The Swami was unwearied in pointing out the excellence of the Vedic Sanskars to the "twice-born" and, as we have seen, he invested many a member of his community with the "triple sacred thread." Of those who received the Yajnopavit from the hands of the great man, the largest number belonged to the Kshatriya castes, inhabiting the villages situated in the neighborhood of Karnvas.
The priestly class was in despair, and exasperated beyond measure, at finding their tricks exposed and their influence undermined, and they, again and again, asked themselves the question: "Are we really powerless to get this man out of the way, once for all?" Perhaps not as a Brahman of Anupshahar undertook proves very nearly succeeded in proving.
The unsuspecting Swami lectures on "Idol-worship" becoming intolerable, a priest, with his hear filled with hatred but yet suppression his real feelings with a powerful effort, came up to him with a smile and presented him with a betel-leaf. The unsuspecting Swami took the leaf, but before he had eaten it many minutes, the poison swallowed with it began to show its effects. Realizing his danger, he sought the bank of the Ganges without delay, and descending into the water set about doing the Neoli-karm, or swallowing large quantities of water and passing out the same, according to a prescribed method, from the intestines, so as to carry away gradually all hurtful matter from the stomach.
The process was successful, and the Swami's life was saved. But according to the fashion of great men, and in keeping with the traditions of the order to which he belonged, the Swami did not so much as administer reproof to the murderous Brahman. Others, however, were not so forgiving. When Sayyad Mohammad the Tehsildar of Anupshahar, heard of the Brahman's doing, he was very angry and had the scoundrel sent to prison in a case pending in his Court against him, though lighter punishment could have fairly satisfied the ends of justice. The Swami had great regard for the Tehsildar, but when the later came to see him, after the Brahman had been
incarcerated, and told him how the fellow had been dealt with, the Swami felt annoyed and would not talk to the official. On the Tehsildar's inquiring what had done to displease the Swami, the answer was given in these words: " I have come into the world to release people from captivity and not to see them sent to prison. If the Brahman would be base, why then let him have his way; why should I be false to my own self?" It is said that Brahman was shortly acquitted in an appeal.
At Anupshahar, the Swami had also a discussion with Sadhu Krishnanand Saraswati, on "Idolatry." The Sadhu finding himself unable to make good his position on the authority of the Scripture and the ancient Shastras became irrelevant and sought shelter in Nyaya. But the Swami was a greater and truer logician than the Sadhu, had here also he found himself driven to the wall. However learned our Pandits maybe, they set the slightest possible value on 'relevancy.' The fact is, that they are seldom conversant with the works of the sages. No wonder then that the Swami always spoke of the authors of Chandrika, Kaumidi, and other books, in terms of absolute contempt.
Austere in life, seeking, even during intensely cold nights, no better bed than a heap of rice-husks, defying sickness of all sorts or taking in sickness, if he ever did take, his only sovereign medicine, the tulsi leaves ground with pepper, remaining days and nights wrapped contemplation on the bank of the Ganges, giving good counsel to all who came to him, and constantly distributing the Gayatri Mantra*, written with his own hands, among high and low, Swami Dayanand lived out the five years from Samvat 1920 to 1925. He did little in the way of teaching during this period, sending those who seemed really desirous of study to his guru at Mathura, with letters of recommendation. While at Shahbazpur, he received the news of Swami Virjanand's death, and, in tones of deep grief, exclaimed, "The highest authority on Vyakarna is no more." It was after the demise of his revered preceptor that Dayanand set regularly to work, and of this, we shall know in the following pages.
* At Belon (as in other places), mantra was distributed in large numbers.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SCHOOLS.
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It was about the close of the Samvat 1925, that Swami Dayanand, now resolved to have more system and regularity in his work, arrive at Farrukhabad. He had, as the result of prolonged reflection, come to the conclusion that schools and seminaries of a superior type were badly wanted in the country, and that preaching and shastrarth-holding, though extremely valuable in their way and indispensable for the success of his propaganda, could not alone achieve all and everything.
One great object, therefore, which his lectures at Farrukhabad were intended to serve, was to make clear to the people of means and influence, who could be brought to sympathize with his mission, the necessity of providing increased facilities for the acquisition, by promising vidyarthis, of sound and thorough education in Sanskrit.
The words of such a Sanyasi could not wholly fall on deaf ears. Lala Panni Lal Seth, a Vaishya, who had from some time past been building a Shivalaya for the location therein of Shivalinga, was so impressed by the Swami's speeches that, bidding an eternal farewell to idol-worship, had a Pathsahla opened in the newly-constructed building, undertaking further to pay Rs. 30 a month to the Pandit who was put in charge of the institution.
As to the expenses of food of students, some fifty in number, another generous man, Lala Durga Parshad, made himself responsible, for defraying these. The swami himself assisted in teaching the vidyarthis as well as the outsiders, and to many, he gave the Yajnopavit. This Pathshala, in the interests of discipline and good management, was eventually removed to some other building. It remained in existence for about seven years.
The second Pathshala, which the Swami established, was one founded at Kasganj in Samvat 1927, Lala Girdhari Lal, Shopkeeper, undertaking to pay Rs. 1,700 towards its expenses from his charity fund (dharma-khata). A Pandit on Rs. 15 a month was engaged to do the teaching work. This Pathshala remained in existence for about four years, is partially supported by the people in general who sent it donations from time to time on the occasion of joy in their families.
The third Pathshala was established in Mirzapur, in the same year as the second. Thanks to the large-heartedness of the people, it had an income of one hundred rupees a month to defray its expenses. The Pathshala ceased to exist after three years.
The fourth Pathshala was established at Chhalesar, at the
a request of Thakur Mukand Singh, who had gone to Benares to bring the Swami, so that the opening ceremony might be performed in his presence. After a feast given to the Brahmans, on a grand scale, the Pathshala was opened. It drew vidyarthis from distant places, and remained in existence for six years.
The fifth Pathshala was opened Benares, in Samvat 1930, and put in charge of a Pandit, engaged on a salary of Rs. 25 a month. It was soon discovered that the Pandit, afraid of his brethren and influenced by selfishness, was unwilling to work conscientiously and on the lines suggested by the Swami, and he was consequently replaced by a better man. The Pathshala died out after three years.
The rules in force in these Pathshalas were generally these :-
The above are excellent rules, and the Swami took care that the teachers working in the different Pathshalas did not connive at the infringement, by the students, of any rule having for its object the maintenance of discipline; he further did his best to have the right kind of instruction imparted to the students, and to make them eschew entirely the misleading writings of the latter-day Pandits: but for all that he found that the Pathshalas did not show any desirable results.
- No vidyarthi shall be admitted till he has first thoroughly learned his sandhya.
- All Viyarthis shall be instructed in the Vedic Granths only - Ashtadhyai, Mahabhashya, and so on.
- Every vidyarthi shall rise early in the morning and do his sandhya.. the vidyarthi (teacher) who fails to observe this rule shall forfeit his day-meal, care being taken that he does not go into the village (or city), to get from there anything to appease his hunger with. He will get his supper only after he had one his evening sandhya.
- No vidyarthi (from mofassil) shall be permitted to visit the village (or city) except for the purpose of having his meals in response to a causal or permanent invitation.
- The vidyarthis from the mofassil alone shall have food at the expense of the Pathshala Funds, the local ones providing for themselves.
- The intelligent and hardworking vidyarthis shall receive special consideration at the hands of the managers, as regards the quality of food supplies to them.
- The students who acquit themselves well in the examinations shall be allowed an extra quantity of ghee (clarified butter).
- All vidyarthis shall make a point of joining daily in the Agnihotra.
The vidyarthis sent out by the seminaries, after their course of education had been finished, for updesh-work, relapsed, with a few exceptions, into orthodoxy, and commenced the pope-lila of their forefathers. This was most disappointing, and under these circumstances, the Swami had no alternative but to close these schools, one after another. Whatever funds were yet in hand, to the credit of these schools, were merged into the fundraised for the publication of the "Veda-Bhashya."
AT GARHYA GHAT & SWARON
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While the Pathshalas were being established and worked, Swami Dayanand's energies continued to find an outlet in preaching as before. His advocacy of the primeval Vedic Religion and his chastising of modern superstitions provoked, as it had don't already, the fiercest opposition and frequently so maddened an individual here and as to lead him to attempt the daring Sannyasi's life. The discussion which took place at Garhya Ghat, for instance, and which reduced the Pandits defending idolatry and other similar institutions to a state of utter helplessness, soon brought on the Swami the ire of the Thakur of Aheudesar, who would be satisfied with nothing less than with cutting short a career which was proving itself so fatal to the interests of orthodoxy. The Thakur, who had given a daughter to the Maharaja of Jaipur, was haughty in the extreme, and intolerant of everything which did not seem to fit in with the old order of things.
Accompanied by four retainers, two armed with the sword and two with clubs the nobleman came and sat by the Swami, and commence talking after the style of the person having some wicked purpose in view. The Swami, regardless of what he said, severely criticized the Bhagvat, and, on the termination of the speech, rose and entered a mausoleum. Thinking that he had been foiled, the enraged chief from the Etah District ordered his servants to go and seize the Sadhu and bring him into his presence.
The other people had been listening to the Swami's criticism and counsels took objection to such a queer order and requested the Thakur to rescind it. The latter refusing to comply, rough hands were laid on his followers and they were completely disarmed. Livid with passion at the failure of his scheme, the big man retired, making a virtue of necessity and postponing his vengeance to a future date, which, alas for his hopes, never arrived.
From Garhya Ghat the Swami proceeded to the town of Swaron, at the earnest request of many. In this place lived hundreds of Brahmans, who never care to perform their sandhya and gayatri, and with whom self-interest was always the one thing to be consulted. Having reached his destination, the Swami took up his quarters at "Ambagare," and began his work.
A pandit, named Narayan, was so impressed with his teaching that, being thoroughly convinced that the Vedic Religion was the only true religion in the world, he renounced the Charkrankit Faith, of which he had hitherto, been a zealous follower. The incident produced a sensation in the town, and the sole topic of conversation everywhere was the arrival of a Sanyasi who denounced all modern creeds, whether based on the Purana, or Semetic in their origin.
On the third day after the conversion of Narayan Pandit, the wealthiest and most prominent inhabitants of the town, accompanied by several hundred men, waited upon the Swami, with a request that a shastrarth on "Idol-worshipping" might be held. The Swami cheerfully acceded to the request. Pandit Khamai represented the idolators. The pandit had, however, asked and answered but a few questions when he miserably broke down. The followers of the Chakrankit Faith raised a howl at this, to wipe out, no doubt, the
disgrace that had been the portion of their spokesman. Upon this the leading men of the town interfered, saying that the meeting had been convened for holding a shastrarth and not for making a noise. "Argue the thing out with the Sanyasi, if you would," said they, "but do not create a disturbance." No one came forward, the effect of which was that another votary of the Chakrankit Faith, one Pandit Gobind Ram, accepted the Vedic religion.
Finding the shame of the defeat something too much for them (for the common people now began to look down upon them), the Pandits of Swaron appealed to Pandit Angad Ram Shastri, of Badrya, for assistance. This man had the reputation of being the most learned individual in the neighborhood, being especially well up in Nyaya and Vyakarna. The discussion, as before, was on "Idol-worship." After the Pandit had had his say, the Swami refuted idolatry on the authority of the Vedas and Shastras, concluding, his remarks by exposure of the Bhagvat, which, as he proved, was childish in its teaching, and faulty as regards its grammar and composition.
The Pandit was a great admirer of the Bhagvat, but he was also open to truth. When he heard the criticism of the Swami, he could not but feel that it was just and reasonable, and taking hold of his shaligram, which he worshipped daily, he consigned it to the waters of the Ganges, declaring, at the same time, that he should no longer do katha from the Bhagvat or any other Purana. His example was not lost upon others. Gosain Baldevgiri and many of the relatives of the Pandit himself dealt by their images in the same fashion, installing, in their place, the only one Lord of the Universe, on the throne of their hearts. This was the second presentation of the images to the Ganges.
Pandit Jugal Kishore, a fellow-student of the Swami, happening to hear some of his lectures (while Swami Virjanand was yet alive), carried a most unfavorable report of his work of the great teacher. "He is spreading adharma," complained the Pandit, "for, among other things, he says that the worship of shaligram is false." Virjanand answered that the shaligrametymologically meant nothing but a heap of rice, and it was useless to worship such a thing. "But why does he run down the kanthi and tilak?" persisted the discomfited Pandit. Swami Virjanand, in reply, asked the Pandit to quote an authority in support of his contention. No answer was forthcoming, and the Pandit after some hesitation exclaimed, "If the required authority does not exist, then here goes," and tearing his kanthi from his neck he threw it away!
The Swami stayed in the vicinity of Swaron for six months, teaching, preaching and reclaiming people from superstitions. There were readings from the Manu Smriti and the Mahabharta instead from the Puranas, and the Pandits breaking away from the Kaumidi commenced the study of Ashtadhyai, under the guidance of the Swami. The spurious stotras lost their charm, and the Gayatri became, in scores and hundreds of households, the vehicle of meditation and contemplation. The apostles of the Chakrankit and other creeds began to be scarce, Rangacharya, of Brindaban, the most famous member of his fraternity, purposely avoiding paying visits to villages and towns where there was danger of his
being brought face to face with the man he dreaded. Kailasparvat Swami, with whose name the reader is already familiar, was so very angry at what fell from the Swami's lips that, in loyalty to his orthodoxy, he thought it his duty to write a pamphlet in new-fangled creed, and to, in no case, hear his lecture before they had carefully gone through his own production. A glorious testimony this to the sound, irresistible logic of Dayanand!
At Garhi, a village some twelve miles from Swaron, the effect of the Swami's preaching was that a certain Kshatriya, a person of considerable influence, tore off his kanthi, and giving up idolatry, became the worshipper of the one true God. This wealthy man had great faith in the Vairagis, and the latter was in such a passion over his desertion that they made up their minds to kill the Sanyasi who had so grievously injured them. Their plots, however, eventually came to nothing.
A great fair was held at Kakaora, and the Swami preached on the occasion, as usual, shaking, in varying degrees, the belief of his ever-shifting audience in orthodoxy. A large number of men waited upon him and beseeched him not run down idolatry and the Puranas, but their prayers were in vain. His reply was: "The things of the world which yield pleasure to you, have no charm for me. To me, there is pleasure in the contemplation and adoration of God alone, and in carrying out His commandments. I shall work with the one, sole object of disseminating the true Vedic Knowledge." The Swami challenged anyone to come forward and prove that the ancient Aryan Religion was not the purest and noblest of all, but though the votaries of the Chakrant Faith came to hear him in hundreds, not one of them would take up the gauntlet. The Collector, who was present at the fair in connection with his official duties, would now and then come to see the Swami and treat him with marked respect.
THE SHASTRARTH AT FARRUKHABAD
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The leaders of orthodoxy in Furrakhabad, seeing a Sanyasi establishing schools in their midst with avowed object of reviving the study of ancient Sanskrit literature, to the prejudice of the modern productions, and preaching doctrines subversive of Puranic teaching, lost no time in calling upon Pandit Siri Gopal, a native of the Meerut District, to take up the cause of idolatry against the new-comer.
A shastrarth (debate) came off in May 1869. The Pandit quoting a verse from the Manu Smriti, which says that puja is due to the devatas, etc., contended that the worship of idols was inculcated therein. The Swami replied that the word 'puja,' meant honoring or showing reverence, and that in the verse quoted it signified nothing more than the doing of Agnihotra, or treating with respect men distinguished for their learning and virtue. the discussion was prolonged as to the meaning of the verse, and it became every moment clearer that the Pandit was unable to uphold his position, his adversary being
unquestionably a man of superior learning and deeply read in the Shastras. The Pandit perceived the impression which the Sanyasi had produced and dreading lest all should be lost, hurried off to Kashi (Benares), and succeeded in obtaining from them a Vyavasthapatra in Sanskrit, supporting idolatry. The document, signed, among others, by Swami Vishuddhanand, ran as follows:-
The Vyavasthapatra or the Authoritative Document
"The worship of the images of Shiva, Vishnu, etc., of Shivalinga, the Shaligram stone, and so on, which ought to be attended to by men of all the four varnas, is lawful on the authority of many averse in the Puranas. To those who, on the authority of the Shruti and the Manu Smriti, prove the worship in question as false, and who further do not believe in the eighteen Puranas, in Gaya, the Shraddhas, and similar other things, we reply that their contention, that the adoration of Shivalinga, etc., is not in accordance with the teaching of the Vedas, is a mere assertion.
In the Devi, the Atharvashirsh, the Gopal and other Upanishads of the Atharva Veda, the worship of idols is allowed, even as the worship of the Linga is allowed in the Villw Upanishad. And in the Devi and Atharvashirsh it is written that man who worships the Atharvashirsh, not knowing him, regains purity after ten million recitations! Recitations unite a deity with a new idol, and the chanting of mantras for endowing the idol with paranas (life), does establish, in the image, the pranas. And in the Gopaltapni it is written, the Narayan Dev said, 'Just as there are seven regions on the summit of the Meru Mountain, even so, there are seven regions or cities in this resolving world, the true region among these latter being the Brahma Gopal Puri - Mathura.'
On the authority of this quotation there are, on this earth, twelve forests, such as the Pradhaban, and twelve images of the twelve Lingas - Bhadreshwar, etc. Here (i.e. in this world) whatsoever people worship the forms or figures, they cross the ocean of death and obtain salvation.
Again, it is written in the Adbhudhshanti of the Vinshiti Brahmana of the Sama Veda, that the temples of the gods tremble, and that the idols laugh, weep, sing and feel pain.
Similarly, it is written in the Kaushak Grah Parishishta of the Sama Veda that the images of gods dance, shine and move. It is also written there that eight months after the weeping and roaring of the idols in a Shivala, the king dies and the fact is undoubted. It is further written there that the king is destroyed when the flags erected in honor of Devraj (chief deity) fall or are broken, or when the wild beast invade the temples, etc.
"And in the Ashvalayam Grah parishishta there is the injunction that in the Naugrah Yajna a copper image of the sun, a crystal image of the moon, and a ruby or sandal-wood image of Mangal (Mars), should be established, on a singhasan. Further after giving instructions as regards the establishment of particular idols, the book says that the householder should do havan daily and worship the deities, for by worshipping the deities alone does the householder obtain good desires. Again it is written there that the householder is at liberty to worship Hari-Har, Ganpati, Skandh, or any other deity he likes. Deities are summoned into the and dismissed
from idols. One having established them in a fire, in the sun, in one's own heart or on a raised platform, should worship them. The idols which do not possess the exact forms of the deities they represent, into or from them their respective deities cannot be summoned or dismissed.
The deities are near unto the idols which represent their exact forms. As regards movable idols, the presence or disappearance of deities in or from them is a matter of imagination one ay or the other, and with respect to the every-being, the deities can be made to come into or depart from them at pleasure.
The worship is done by the worshipper standing before the idol facing the east, his won face being towards the west, and the temple in which the worship is done should be facing the east. And in the Villw Upanishad it is written that Shiva said to Sanka, 'Just as there are leaves on the tree, even such leaves should be offered unto me.'
"Now we shall speak of the worship of Mahadeva: 'The worshipper after having bathed and cleaned himself, and having made an idol of clay or some other thing, should take his seat on a spot plastered over with cow-dung, etc." These words clearly prove that Bodhayana was a believer in the worship of idols."
"And in the Manu Smiriti the worship of deities, the bringing of fuel, etc., is enjoined. Kuluka, commenting on the verse containing the injunction, says that in the idol, etc., Hari-Har, etc., should be worshipped, and gain it is written therein - Mridangam daivtam, etc., which also refers to idol-worship. Hence Kuluka also speaks here of a stone-image, etc. It is, further, written therein (i.e. in Manu Smriti), - 'Jirna devayatan, etc.'
"The shadow of devas, raja, and guru, etc." Only images can have a shadow. 'The being near to the devas and the Brahmans." This too can hold good of images only (i.e., the presence of the word deva shows that idol-worship is sanctioned, for being near to an idol implies the worship of the idol). Again, it is written (in the Manu Smriti): 'Temples should be erected where the boundaries meet.' What do all these thins mean? Only, that the worship of idols is perfectly allowable.
"If it be asserted, in connection with the foregoing quotations in support of idolatry, that the method of doing the worship not having been described, the worship of idols cannot be attended to (for the injunction is as good as useless), then we reply that your objection is equally telling against Ashtika Agnihotra, etc., for the Manu Smriti is silent as to the method of construction or performing this also.
If it be asserted that the method of doing the Agnihotra is set forth in the Kalpa Sutras, then we say that the method of doing idol-worship has also been described in the Bodhayana Kalpa, and this is why the Manu Smriti says nothing on the point. Bodhayana's Sutra has already been quoted. Hence the worship of Shivalinga being a source of progress has been enjoined in the Shruti, the Smiriti, and in other Shastras, and this is the reason why good men do idol-worship in all the four quarters of the world. This is known to all. To assert that the
Puranas, Gaya, Shradhas, etc. have no authority to back them, is to give a proof of one's own stupidity.
In the Taittireya, Aranyaka it is written: 'Brahmannanitihasan puranani, etc.,' which proves that the Purananas are authoritative. Similarly, the words in the Atharvashirsh are: 'Itihaspurananam.'
"Manu also has said: 'In the pitrikarm, he should read to his class-fellow.' In the Mahabharata too it is written: 'Let him know the Veda by means of the ithasas and the puranas.' In the Anushashan Parab it is written: 'That whatever reward is obtained by reading the eighteen Puranas, etc.'
"On strength of the foregoing authorities, the Puranas are proved to be authoritative. Hence Gaya, Shradhas, etc., must be accepted indisputably authoritative institutions. Similarly, idol-worship is also lawful on the authority of Shruti, Smriti, Kalpa Sutras, etc. This had been written briefly."
The foregoing document speaks for itself. It contains two authorities from the Vedas in support of idol-worship, and any passages that it may be said to embody in support of idol-worship from the Shastras, either do not, in point of fact, uphold idolatry, or, being at variance with the teaching of the Scripture, are spurious and unauthoritative, and must be rejected as such by all impartial minds. The document, however, was a rare acquisition to Pandit Siri Gopal, the more so, as it had been obtained without incurring much expense, and he could not make too much of it. A copy of the document was shown to the Swami, and he could not help laughing, observing at the same time, "Is that the learning of the Kashi Pandits?"
Siri Gopal had the Vyavasthapatra nailed to a bamboo near the place where the Swami was putting up, and the sight attracted thousands of ignorant men, who, at a word from the Pandit, began to drench it with water, being under the impression, no doubt, that the bamboo, for the time being, represented some deity, Shivalinga perhaps! When the Pandit was asked to repair to the Swami's quarters and have a shastrarth (debate), he replied: "If I go there, I shall be defeated, and if the Swami comes to me, he will be defeated. He has placed his abode under the influence of a charm!" As to the Swami, his answer to those who wasted a shastrarth to be held was: "What would be the good of my going and holding a shastrarth with a man who cannot so much as tell the masculine from the feminine gender!"
The excitement and enthusiasm of the illiterate mob, however, was tremendous, so much so that the authorities thought there was going to be a breach of the peace. One of the information furnished by Munshi Bakhtawar lal, Superintendent, the Collector was sent the Head Constable to the Swami, to inquire what the uproar meant. The Swami replied that he was not responsible for it, being in his own quarters and that it was not for him to bid the mob dispersed. Upon this, the Constable went to the Pandit and called upon him to clear the spot of the multitude. A few words from the Pandit, and as many from the Police
official sternly bidding the gathering to be off, brought about the desired consummation. Two policemen were appointed to prevent over-zealous followers of idolatry from breaking into the Swami quarters and creating a disturbance.
The second shastrarth which Swami Dayanand held at Farrukhabad, was that with a Pandit named Haldar, who at the request of the orthodox Farrukhabadis, had come all the way from Kanpur for the purpose. The discussion came off on the 19th June, 1869, and was, as might be expected, on "Idol-worship."
Ere the parties had spoken much, Haldar, who was a Tantrik (believer in the Tantras), and held that indulgence in flesh and intoxication liquors, the unlawful gratification of the lower passions, and other like things, were far from being objectionable perhaps positively essential to the attainment of salvation, leaving the subject under discussion commenced defending "drinking," contending that the use of alcoholic drinks was justifiable on the occasion of a Sautramani Yajna.
In reply the Swami pointed out the word sura, when employed in connection with such Yajnas, did not mean alcoholic liquors, but the juice of healthy and delicious fruits. It was samaras, he added, that was imbibed on the occasion of aSautranmani Yajna, and not an intoxicating liquor. The Swami's remarks on "drinking" certainly did not tend to advance idolatry in the affections of an audience!
Finding the ground slipping from under his feet, the Pandit Hladar asked the Swami the definition of "Sanyasi"." The Swami furnished the required definition, asking the Pandit, in his truth, the definition of "Brahman". No satisfactory answer was forthcoming, for, being aPuranic, the Pandit would not commit himself, and drifted into irrelevant matters. The Swami did his best to bring him to the point originally under discussion, but it would not do. Quoting a Sutra of the Mahabhashya, the spokesman for the orthodox commenced a discussion thereon, and the Swami had no, alternative but to send for the book and show to the people assembled how the Pandit was wrong here also. The discussion lasted till one O' clock in the night.
A VISIT TO KANPUR
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Leaving Farrukhabad and visiting Kanauj, Bathora and Madarpur on his way, Swami Dayanand reached Kanpur with the commencement of the rainy season (Samvat, 1926 A.D. 1869), the local paper (Sho'la-i Toor of 27th July, 1869), noticed his arrival in the following words:-
"For some days past one Maharaj Swami Dayanand Saraswati Swami has been in our midst. He is putting up at the newly-constructed ghat of Lala Sargahi Lal, Pleader, Civil Courts, on the bank of the Ganges. He will not speak in any language other than Shastri or Sanskrit - neither in 'Nagri' nor in any foreign tongue. He is a recluse, avoiding bustle and crowd. His appearance is that of a true saint. He is wholly opposed to the worship of idols, and to the erection of temples for purposes of idolatry. He maintains
that idol-worship is not inculcated in the Vedas. This Swami is a scholar among the Pandits of India, a man of unique erudition. In the Vedic and Shastric grammar and in logic he is deeply versed, and one of the chose Pandits. He gives himself out to be a native of the Deccan. When he was five years old, his father commenced teaching him the Veda. At Mathura he perfected his knowledge of Sanskrit, For some time he stayed at Jeypor also, and there he had a discussion on the Hindu Faith, after that he went to Gwalior and to Farrukhabad, and there also he had discussions with the Pandits.
Now ever since he has been at Kanpur, his fame has been going forth. We hear that a large meeting will be held at the Ghat referred to on 31st July 1869. Maharaj Haldar Ojaha, a native of the village Hola, who has been staying for some days past in the newly-constructed temple of Maharaj Guru Parshad and who is perfect in the Sanskrit language, will attend the meeting and will hold a discussion with Swamiji."
Almost simultaneously with reaching Kanpur, the Swami had a manifesto put up in Sanskrit, in which speaking of the contents of the twenty-one Shastras, - the Vedas, the Upavedas, the Vedangas, the Upanishads, he acknowledged them as authoritative, adding that whatever in the Rishi Granths (the composition of the sages) too was opposed to the teaching of the Veda, to Vyajarana and to virtuous conduct, was also rejectable. An illustration of his position he said: "There are eight gups (things that injure and debase), which ought to be rejected, and eight true things which ought to be done or accepted." These respectively, enumerated as follows:-THE EIGHT GUPS*
- All the works published by common mortals - the puranas, such as Brahmavaivarta, etc.
- The worship of stones, etc., in the belief that they represent devtas (gods).
- Shaiva, Shaktik, Vaishnav, Ganpatya, and other orders and sects.
- Vammargism, taught in the Tantras.
- The use of intoxicating drugs and liquors, such as bhang, etc.
- Fraud, conceit, lying, etc.
THE EIGHT TRUE THINGS
THE KANPUR SHASTRARTH
- The twenty-one Shastras, - The Rigveda, etc., of Divine origin, or works coming from the Rishis and Munis.
- Serving the Guru from the commencement of the Brahmacharya Ashrama and the study of the Veda, in keeping with the behests of Dharma.
- The performance, in keeping with the Vedic Varna and Ashrama, of the practical duties, sandhya, agnihotra, etc.
- Conjugal faith, base don't the teaching of the Shastras, the performance of the five daily maha-yajnas (great duties), sexual connection with the wife in proper season, regulation of conduct in conformity with the behests of Shruti and Smriti.
- The practice of tapa (severe contemplation), etc.) of Yama (self-control, etc.), rising gradually to the trance stage of upasna, and the observance of the Vanprasth Ashrama, in the company of, and under instructions from, the righteous.
- Meditation, introspection, indifference towards the temporary and transient, the cultivation of spiritual knowledge, the non-desire of the fruit of action on being initiated into Sanyas.
- A constant effort to subdue and conquer by science, mundane and spiritual, birth and death, joy and grief, lust, anger, avarice, partiality, and the evils of bad company.
- The destruction of all pain - resulting from ignorance, self-conceit, love and hate, fear of the dissolution of the body, from tamas, rajas, and satva and the realization, after shaking off the hold of the Five Elements (panch mahabhuta), of the nature of moksha (salvation) and the bliss attendant thereon.
The pasting up of the foregoing manifesto in different parts of Kanpur, and the presence of the author of the manifesto in the population of that town, produced the result that might naturally be expected. The entire Hindu community was in a ferment, and the representatives of orthodoxy, its leaders, were in a state of positive alarm.
A man named Brahmanand Saraswati was put forward to try conclusions with the 'heretic' Sanyasi, and duly waited upon the latter with a large following, but all his arguments taking the form of invective and anathema, the discussion proved nothing but a disgusting farce, and evidently extremely disappointing to his admirers, as, without much delay, they appeared at the Swami's quarters with their favorite Pundit Haldar Ojha, perhaps the most astute and learned champion of the Puranic Faith in their city, at the time.
It was a tremendous gathering that was to hear the shastraarth, being composed of no less than twenty thousand persons, or thereabout. The official element was fully represented. Mr. W. Thaine, Joint Magistrate of Kanpur, and a tolerable Sanskrit Scholar being
nominated madhyastha. The discussion commenced at 2 P.M.. (31st July, 1869), and parties spoke in Sanskrit only.
At the unset Pandit Haldar Ojha, addressing the Swami, declared that the manifesto he had issued was grammatically faulty. To this, the Swami replied that the Pandit was talking after the manner of school-boys and not after two serious and grave men of advanced years, who, in the hearing of thousands, was to speak on a subject of greatest importance. "If you think," he added, "my manifesto grammatically faulty, come to me tomorrow, when we are both at leisure, and I will make everything clear to you."
The rebuke had its effect and the Pandit came to the point without any longer beating about the bush. Asking Swami Dayanand if he believed in the Mahabharata, and getting an answer in the affirmative, the Pandit quoted a verse from the book, saying that a "Bhil learned archery by practicing in the presence of an image of Dronacharya," and the observed that idol-worship was justifiable on the authority of the great Epic.
To this, the Swami replied: "I want you to quote a passage which enjoins idol-worship. That which you have quoted contains no injunction whatever: all that it says is, that a certain Bhil did such a thing, as the ignorant and illiterate will always do. The Bhil was not a Rishi or a Muni, nor had he been taught to do what he did by a (saint or sage)."
To this no answer was forthcoming, and the next question, which the Pandit asked, was: "If the Veda does not enjoin idol-worship, where does it condemn it? Let the Swami Show it." The Swami made an exhaustive reply, and as soon as he had done speaking, Mr. Thaine, taking a piece of paper containing something from the Pandit's pen, handed it over to the Swami and asked him to decipher it. The Swami did as desired, thereby removing the Joint-Magistrate's doubt, as to whether the Sanyasi, though such an eloquent speaker, could actually read.
Next Mr. Thaine asked the Swami: "What do you believe in?" "In the one, only God," was the reply. Upon this dropping a courtesy to the Swami, he rose and, taking up his hat and stick, left the assembly. This was a signal for dispersion, but the mob, inspired by the leaders, would not disperse quietly. "Hail, mother Ganges, hail!" they shouted out at the top of their voice, and an admirer of the Pandit went so far as to throw pice over his head, bawling out at the same time that the Swami had been defeated!
That the imaginary victory of the Pandit might have all the weight of a genuine fact, a man named Guru Parshad waited upon the Editor of the Shoal-ai-Toor on the following day, with an account of the discussion, for insertion in the Paper. The Editor declined to accede to his request, on the ground that the account was a one-sided statement, and that, in the event of its appearance in the Shola-ai-Toor complications might arise, which might place the press in a serious position and cause it a heavy loss. "The officials, you know, were present at the discussion," he observed, "and their testimony would have weight in a Court of law." Guru Parshad told him not to fear, adding that, if it came to the worst,
he should be ready to spend as much as ten thousand rupees from his own pocket to shield the Paper. The assurance had its effect, and the following lines in connection with the shastrarth appeared in the Shola -i-Toor of 3rd August, 1869:--
"In our last issue we announced the arrival in this city of Dayanand Saraswati Sanyasi, and the fact that a shastrarth had been arranged between him and the Pandit Haldar Ojha, to come off on the 31st of July (1869). The discussion did take place on the date specified. From the very day, Dayanand Saraswati, in the disguise of a Sanyasi, came and took up his quarters at the newly-constructed ghat at Lala Dagahi Lal, Pleader, near the Ganges, a stir has been created in the city and its neighborhood. The high and low have all come to see him, and he was warned everyone against 'idol-worship,' saying that it is unjustifiable.
"Coming to hear of this teaching of the Swami, the reises of the city, as well as its learned Pandits, went to the Swami and gave him proofs of every description, on the authority of the Shastras, in support of 'Idol-worship.' Upon this the Swami declared that twenty-one Shastras alone were o9f Divine Origin, and the rest nothing but idle gossip and unworthy of being followed.
In as much as it is objectionable in all creeds and among all classes to speak harsh of a deity or God, the practice being nothing short of 'hellish' according to the Hindu creed, it was this unanimous opinion of Messrs. Guru Parshad Shukal and Prag Narain Tiwari that a shastrarth ought to be held, so that proofs in support of idolatry might be furnished.
With this object in view the name of an Englishman, who is thoroughly versed in Sanskrit, etc., was proposed as that of a person who could act as madhyastha. It was no other than Mr. Thaine, the Assistant Collector, Kanpur District, who possess a sound and perfect knowledge of Vyakarna, etc., on whom this responsibility devolved. Lachhman Shastri of atora was also summoned and appointed to act as madhyastha of the shastrarth between Halsdaree Ojha and Dayanand Saraswati.
"The discussion was take place at 2 p.m. on 30th July, 1869. at the hour fixed, the learned Pandits, the reises, the official of the city and others present at the ghat made up a huge crowd, and the people from the neighborhood had also thronged there. The shastrarth commenced between Haldar Ojha and Dayanad Saraswati on 'Idol-worship.' Whatever statements the Saraswati made in condemnation of idolatry, to the same the Ojha replied by quoting from the Shruti, Smriti, the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bharta, the Manu Smriti and other works which, as the Swami in his printed manifesto says, constitute the 'Vedas.'*. He further showed to the Englishman and the other madhyastha the pages on which the authorities quoted were to be found, and they read out the same. From these it was fully apparent that the worship of idols was absolutely necessary for the Hindus. After this the Sanyasi was asked to show, from the Shastras, authorities condemning
*This is a misstatement. All the Swami said was, that these Shastras were authoritative, but that the four Vedas alone, being Divine origin, were infallible.
idol-worship. The Saraswati observed, in reply, that these Shastras also contained many false things, upon which the Ojha (in continuation of his remarks) observed that 'the shadow of a devta (God) and of a guru (preceptor') should never be crossed. A devata having no shadow, the line in the Shastra should be taken as referring to the shadow of an idol.'
Lachhman Shastri, madhyastha* quoted largely from the Vedas, the Vedanta, the Mimansa, from the Dharma Shastras, etc., and from these quotations it appeared that the worship of idols was right. All the madhyasthas accepted this verdict and praised the Ojha. The statements of the madhyastha Lachhman Shastri, as also statements and arguments of the Ojha, were acknowledged to be true and sound, and hence the European madhyastha gave it as his judgment that since the Sarwasti had failed to furnish proofs and to give answers according to the Shastras, it was perfectly allowable for the Hindus to do idol-worship, and further, that idolatry was inculcated in the Shastras.
as soon as the judgment. Hence the Ojha was vitorisous and the Saraswati defeated.
As soon as the judgment was given, the reises, who were present there, burst into shouts of joy, declaring that the Ojha had won the field. At this time, Mr. Prag Narain Tiwari threw, as charity, rupees and pice over the head of Ojha, and then all returned to their homes. This shastrarth was due to the energy and high-mindedness of Messrs. Shukal Parshad and Prag Narain Tiwari. Both these gentlemen have constructed, in the city of Kanpur, grand and magnificent temples at an enormous cost, and have thus done themselves good in this and fore the next world. It was proper that a shastrarth should take place in this town, and one did take place, resulting in additional glory to 'idolatry.'
as soon as the Paper was in the hands of the people, they went to the Swami and read out the account to him. He observed that he was neither glad nor sorry at what had been written; none but the foolish would recognize victory or defeat as the end of a shastrarth. The reply was far from being satisfactory to the Swami's well-wishers, and, annoyed at the want of fairness which the writer in the Paper had displayed, they waited upon Mr. Thaine, and respectfully asked him what he thought of the account, Mr. Thaine having heard the statement from beginning to end, wrote, the following letter and handed it over to them:-
"At the time in question I decided in favor of Dayanand Saraswati Faqir, and i believe his arguments are in accordance with the Vedas. I think he won the day, If you wish it, I will give you my reasons for my decision in a few days."
(Sd) W. THAINE.
"One of the arguments advanced by this gentleman was that God being all-pervading, was present in idols and images too, and hence idol-worship was "right." The Swami's reply was: "God is present in everything, and why should He be taken to be specially present in idols of stone, etc.? And, further, Why should be lifeless and unconscious be worshipped rather than the conscious and intelligent?" The Pandit was silent. -ED.
The above letter was printed with a complete refutation of the assertions in the Sho'la-i-toor, and scattered broad-cast in the city. But valuable though Mr. Thaine's letter was, it was hardly indispensable. The worshippers of idols themselves furnished a stronger testimony to the truthful character of the Swami's doctrines. Snatching up their idols, they commenced throwing them in the bazaars or into the river - a procedure unquestionably annoying to the Ojha and his supporters. Unable to see the images treated with scant respect, the Ojha had a Notice printed and copies of it pasted in scores of places, requesting the people, in Sanskrit, Hindi, and Urdu, to cease from throwing idols in the bazaars or into the river, and to restore them to their places in the temples! The Notice ran as follows:-
"Many Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, in accordance with the religion of Dayanand Saraswati, giving up their own family faith, are throwing the images of deities into the river Ganges, a practice which is most objectionable. This notice is issued in order to convey to the people, who have accepted or should come to accept the religion of the Swami, the request that they would get any idols they may have, taken into the temple belonging to Maharaj Guru Parshad Shukal, or into that belonging to Maharaj Prag Narain Tiwari. If they cannot find leisure to do it themselves, they should send us information, and we shall arrange to have removed. The sin of throwing away the images or flinging them into rivers is pointed out in Sanskrit."
-- OJAHA HALDAR.
The editorial which appeared in the Sho'la-i-Toor of 3rd August 1869, in connection with the Ojha's Notice, might be given verbatim here:-
"Through the wholesome influence of the Swami's company many people have commenced throwing their idols into the river. The Ojha has, therefore, issued a notice, declaring that the practice is objectionable according to the Hindu Shastras, and adding that whoever be disposed to throw idols into the river, the same should have them sent to the Pandit and not incur the penalty attending the sin of throwing them into the river."
Such is the might of truth. No amount of sophistry of underhand dealing or prejudice can suppress it: it must eventually vindicate its majesty and prevail in spite of them. As an illustration of the truth of this fact, we may give here the following story* :-
"My younger brother," says a gentleman, "having bought some publications of the Swami, brought them home. I took him severely to task for having done such a thing. The books, however, having a winning look about them, I could not resist the temptation of looking into them. And once begun, I could not leave them unfinished. The inevitable result came - I renounced
*The event referred to in the story happened much later probably in the Samvat 1930
the worship of idols and became a humble follower of the Vedic religion"! The story is one of the many similar ones that might be told!
THE FIRST SHASTRARTH AT KASHI
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For ages, the centuries untold has Kashi (Benares) been the seat of learning in India, and the center of religious influences. No European city, ancient or modern, not even Rome, has ever been or is so powerful with the student or with the religious inquirer as Kashi in this continental country. It has all along been a conglomeration of teaching and examining universities, without system and without method, no doubt, according to the present-day conception of a teaching or an examining university, and its theology, pure and ennobling, or adulterated and debasing, has made itself felt among millions and millions from an antiquity dating back thousands of years.
There is reason to believe that the earlier periods of its existence Kashi was an educational locality of the highest scientific value and the inculcator of the purest religious sentiment. Its observatory and the fact that the Puranic literature, the necessary consequence of the ascendancy of Jainism (the child of Buddhism) had absolutely no existence in those days, lead to no other conclusion. As time went on, and the genuine thinker and teacher became every day a scarcer commodity, the great city degenerated into a "sham" of its former self, and the reign of imposture set everywhere.
It may be grand even in these days, but its grandeur is the grandeur of the fabled "tree of knowledge," offering an inviting and delicious fruit no doubt, but leading to the eater's banishment from Paradise once and forever! Or its grandeur may be likened to that of a certain temple mentioned in the history of Nanak's life, attractive from without but within presided over by a hypocrite, whose only business was to plunder and fleece the traveler who happened to take shelter within its walls.
Kashi gives knowledge, but a knowledge that fills the mind with superstition and leads the soul astray. It extends a hearty welcome to every wayfarer that would travel Heaven-ward, but instead of showing him the way, it strips him of all his store and compels him to tread the path of destruction, which can only lead to darkness (in the life to come!)
Ever since the birth-hour of Jainism Kashi has been the stronghold of Puranism, and greater and more learned champions of idolatry and kindred institutions will be found nowhere. Swami Dayanand felt that if he was to deal Puranism a blow from which it would find it hard to recover, if he was to bring home to the orthodox world the truth (though it might never acknowledge it) that the worship of sticks and stones was absolutely false and degrading and opposed to the teaching of the Scripture and the ancient Shastras, he must assault the "citadel of myth and marvel
itself." With this conviction in his mind, he quietly left Kanpur in the Kartak of Samvat 1926 (22nd or 23rd October, 1869), and reaching Kashi took up his quarters in Anandbag, right on the road leading to Durgakund. His shastrarths at Farrukhabad and Kanpur had already made him widely known in the leading orthodox circle at Benares, and the news of his arrival spread like wild-fire in the city. Pandits and vidyarthis flocked to him from all sides, displaying their learning and their powers of argument, but invariably returned discomfited and crest-fallen.
The public at large heard the Sanyasi's arguments with wonder and astonishment, tried to say a word in favor of idolatry, but finding themselves compelled to be silent, returned home in doubt and despair. And as the Swami was, from the very first, bent upon being the aggressor, to bring matters to a crisis in this great city of idol-worshippers, he, one day, wrote down a question connected within the Mahabhashya on a piece of paper, and sent the slip to the famous Pandit Raja Ram for an answer.
The Pandit sent back the reply: "Let a knife be placed between us before I answer your question. If I can satisfactorily answer the question, I will cut off your nose, but if I fail, you may cut off mine!" When the answer was conveyed to the Swami, he said: "By all means. Put two knives instead of one. If you are for a shastrarth (weapon-contest), instead of a shastrarth (Shastric contest), we might as well go in for it."
The place where the Swami had put up one of the most frequented ones. It was visited by thousands of vidyarthis daily, and Vairagis in huge crowds. A party of the latter one day waited upon the Swami, but perceiving that they were wholly unable to maintain their ground against their adversary, they took to abusing him. This was a species of argument which the Swami would not condescend to answer, and his opponents finding themselves baffled (how they wished they had a member of their own order to reply to!), retired, indulging in still more foul language.
Somebody carrying. The news of this most unbecoming behavior to the Maharaja of Benares, he administered a severe rebuke to the offenders, observing that everyone was welcome to have a shastrarth with Dayanand, but that no one was to abuse him under any circumstances.
The Swami's fearless and thorough exposure of idolatry at last aroused the Maharaja of Kashi to a sense of the danger which menaces the dominance of orthodox belief under his very nose. He called together a meeting of his Pandits and emphasized the necessity of their holding a shastrarth with him without further delay.
After much deliberation the necessity of a discussion was admitted, but it was hinted that a discussion with Dayanand could not be held till it had been first ascertained what books he believed in. "He is in the habit of setting down this and that book as utter nonsense," complained the Pandits, " and who knows but hat he may try with us the same trick just when we are on the point of running him to earth!" Very modest this of the Pandits, but, for all that, the Maharaja could not but admit the justness of their contention, and authorized them to take the necessary steps
towards finding out what constituted authoritative literature and Dayanand's opinion. Accordingly, five Pandits - Shalig Ram Shastri, Dhondi Raj Shastri, Damodar Shastri, Bharadwaj and Ram Krishn Shastri were deputed for the purposes. When these gentlemen put in an appearance, someone from among the numerous students, who surrounded the Swami at the time, gave out that vidyarthis from the opposite party were approaching, and the result was, that when the Pandits disclosed their errand, the Swami indifferently replied that the discussion should come off in few days, and under the supervision of the City Kotwal. As to what Shastras he believed in as authoritative, he would give a written answer to the question as soon as the Pandits from the opposite party saw him.
The five Pandits not quite clear as to what the reply meant, returned to their chiefs, but soon discovering the mistake that had been committed in ignorance, they once more waited upon the Swami and informing him of their status, begging for an answer to their question. This time the Swami, gave them the needed answer, telling them to put down, in writing that he believes in, as authoritative the four Vedas, the four Upavedas, the six Angas, the six Upangas and the Manu Smriti. The Pandits asked on what authority the Swami believed these books to be authoritative. "I will answer this question at the time of the shastrarth," replied the Swami, "if you Pandits desire to have its answer." Again the Pandits asked to be informed as to what particular verses in the Manu Smriti the Swami regarded as meaningless interpolations, and false. The answer to the Swami was the same as before.
The leaders of orthodoxy could not reasonably take exception to their opponent's reply, and consequently, they set about making preparations for a "tussle." Monday, November 16, 1869, was fixed as the date of the shastrarth, by mutual consent. Knowing how much depended upon the issue of the struggle, the Pandits resolved that the learning of the city should be completely represented on the occasion. The news of the discussion was received in the various parts of the city, and in the neighborhood of Benares, with mixed feelings, profoundly stirring whatever side arrayed, that a crisis was at hand.
The officials of the city, yielding to natural curiosity, sharpened by the intense prevailing excitement, suggested an alteration in the date fixed, but the Maharaja of Benares, for reasons of his own, expressed his inability to adapt their suggestion, and desired that the shastrarth should come off on the day specified instead of on - Sunday.
The specified day came, and at the hour appointed Anandbag presented a spectacle superbly grand and imposing. Some affirm that no less than fifty thousand persons were present on the occasion, while others put the number at a considerably lower figure, asserting that the gathering did not exceed ten thousand souls. Whatever the actual number, there is the reason to believe that it made up the biggest assembly of its kind ever witnessed in Benares.
Besides many other famous Pandits there were many of the richest and most influential local men, many Thakurs from the villages around, and several ministers of the Gospel (Bible) who formed part of the surging mass of humanity assembled. The police arrangements were satisfactory, the Kotwal with fifty of his men being in attendance, but in spite of all that they could do, a large number of the rowdies of the town, notorious characters, out and out, found their way to the very spot where they were least wanted, - the spot reserved for the controversialists and the pick of cream of the locality.
The well-wishers of the Swami, apprehending personal violence, made known their anxiety to him, adding that had the discussion taken place at Farrukhabad, there would have been no fear of a disturbance. At this, the Swami burst out laughing and replied. "It is always the firm conviction of genuine Yogis that the sun of truth is stronger than any forces which darkness can muster. He, who following the Will Divine, is above all partially and preaches the truth, what has he to fear? Men of truth hide not the truth through fear. They will risk their lives rather than be false to a Divine Commandment. I have nothing to be afraid of, for I live for the Ishwara (God) and the Dharma (duty). Let us wait and see what happens." After uttering these words the Swami desired a barber to summoned and having got himself thoroughly shaved, he had a bath and spent some moments in contemplation and meditation, and then taking his meal repaired to the meeting.
The Maharaja of Kashi and his son soon followed. As soon as His Highness entered the assembly, the orthodox Pandits rose and give him their blessing, and disregarding all discipline, followed at his heels and surrounded the Swami, thus largely usurping the place which, in all fairness, belonged to the Swami's supporters. They further had an order issued by the Maharaja that no more men should be allowed to come near the Swami or the Pandits, which meant nothing less than the exclusion of the Swami's admirers from where they had every right to be present! Of this move, the Swami was duly informed, and he, in his turn informed the Kotwal of what had been done.
That good official perceived the justice of the complaint, and at once conducted Pandit Jyoti Saroop and other sympathizers and followers of the Swami to him. The latter received them with every mark of respect and desired them to take a seat near himself. Nothing could be more distasteful to the orthodox Pandits, who made a significant sign to the Maharaja, as much as to say that the addition to Dayanand's ranks was wholly undesirable, as Dayanand alone was more than a match for them all! The chief understood the sign, desired that the Pandits should take the front places, and the Jyoti Saroop should retire to a distant seat. Similar shameful treatment was meted out to the other supporters of the Swami, but it was no time to grumble, for a shastrarth must be had at any cost, and so he kept quiet and let the Maharaja and his Pandits please themselves.
Before the Shastrarth began, Swami Dayanand asked the Maharaja of Benares if he had brought the Vedas with him. The reply was, that the Pandits present knew the Vedas by heart, and hence it had been deemed unnecessary that they or the Maharaja should come provided with the Books of question. Upon this the Swami observed that, in the absence of the Vedas, the import and drift of an authority could not be fully understood, as the passages preceding and following a quotation cited had often an important bearing on the quotation, and minimized the chances of it's being twisted and distorted to suit a present purpose.
Presently after this remark from the Swami, the rule was laid down and proclaimed by the Kotwal, Pandit Raghu Nath Sahay, that only one Pandit Tara Charan Naiyayak came forward to open the discussion. On his admission that all who were faithful to the requirements of varna and ashrama believed in the Vedas as the final authority, the Swami desired him to cite, from the Scripture, a passage which enjoined the worship of Shaligram and other images, and to declare, if no such passage existed, the truth.
To this the Pandit making no satisfactory reply - indeed, he did little more than seek to evade the question, Swami Vishuddhanand cried out: "Vyas says in a Sutra that the Creator of the world is a conscious, intelligent Being and not inanimate; where is the authority for this in the Vedas?" The Swami answered that the question wash wholly irrelevant, adding that nothing should be said by either party that hand, not something to do with the subject under discussion.
Vishuddhanand, compelled to come to the point, rejoined that since the worship of Brahma was allowable in the mind in and the sun, there could be nothing objectionable in worshipping the Shaligram also. To this the Swami replied that, although such expressions as - mano Brahm iti upasit and aditya Brahm iti upasit, were to be met within the Brahmaans (which, in the opinion of the orthodox, were identical with the Vedas!), no such injunctions -pashan Brahmiti upasit, were to be found in these works, and under these circumstances, how could the worship of Shaligram be justifiable?
Swami Vishuddhanand made no answer to this, but another Pandit Madhvacharya came forward and, quoting a mantra asked what it dealt with. "With clouds, wells, tanks, etc." was the reply, and the Swami cited authorities from the Nirukta and Brahmanas in support of his reply. On being thus answered the Pandit turned his attention to the word 'Purana', asking of the words was to be found in the Vedas. The Swami replied in the affirmative, adding that although the world occurred in many places in the Vedas, yet nowhere had it any reference to the Bhagvat or any other so-called Purana.
Many minutes were spent in discussing this point, Swami Vishuddhanand, Pandit Bal Shastri and others, speaking one after another, and Swami Dayanand replying to each all alone. Once while the Swami was quoting a passage from the Upanishads, the orthodox Pandits in a body shouted out that the passage was nowhere to be found in the Upanishads, upon which their opponents observed that if what the Pandits asserted should be found to be true, he would acknowledge that he was defeated.
The Pandits readily signed the agreement, but it was on their part of a huge blunder, as they found out a minute later. The Swami opened the Upanishads and showed them the passage, covering them with shame and convincing those present that their knowledge of the Shastras was far from being perfect. Finding themselves checkmated everywhere and displaying lamentable ignorance of the Shastric teaching (the great Swami Vishuddhanand could not tell so much as what dharma and adharma consisted in), and discovering further that their adversary could quote whole chapters of the Vedas and other works by heart, and could furnish lucid and comprehensive expositions of the same, the Pandits made haste to sound the Swami's knowledge of Vyakarna, and, upon their arrogating superiority in that branch of Science, the Swami asked "What is the Kalma Sangya (retained object?") Vushuddhanand remained silent, but Bal Sahstri essayed to make an answer, only to fall back crest-fallen. Baffled at every point exasperated beyond measure, the Pandits now hit upon a plan, which was nothing but a foul trick, to circumvent Swami Dayanand.
It was now 7 P.M. and rapidly growing dark. Madhvacharya, seeing his opportunity, took out two leaves from a manuscript, and placing them before the Pandits said: "This is the Veda (Samhita), and here it is written that on the tenth day after the termination of yajna, the yajman should hear the Purana read. What the word 'Purana' means here?" Swami Dayanand desired him to read out the passage, but before he could do it, Vishuddhanand (in accordance, no doubt with a pre-concerted plan) took the leaves and handed them to the Swami.
The Swami desired him to read out the passage, but before he could do it, the famous man of Kashi excused himself from doing it, on the ground that had not his spectacles with him, and begged the Swami to take the duty upon himself. Suspecting no deceit, the Swami took up the leaves and silently began to go over them.
He had hardly been looking them two minutes, and was just going to reply, when Swami Vishuddhanand exclaiming that he was being unduly detained, the whole host of Pandits, with the Maharaja of Kashi at their head, stood up, and, clapping their hands, shouted out, at the top of their voice, that the dearly-earned victory might be celebrated in a becoming fashion, the notorious characters in attendance commenced raining down stones, old shoes and dung on the Swami. The life of the Swami was in jeopardy, but thanks to his own activity and the vigilance of the Police, the place was soon cleared of the scoundrels.
Thus ended the first shastrarth at Kashi. Swami Dayanand did not leave the town at once. On the contrary, he stayed for three months longer, proclaiming the falseness of idolatry with the beat of drums, and preaching to all the true doctrine. Perhaps the Maharaja of Kashi and the Pandits were not prepared for this they sought vengeance in sending forth the flat that henceforth no true follower of orthodoxy should visit the Swami under pain of incurring the penalty that attends the omission of a great crime. Foul-play was also had recourse to.
Once the Swami narrowly escaped being poisoned. A
Brahman bringing victuals for him, the Swami declined accepting the offering inasmuch as he had already had his meal; but not to disappoint the Brahman entirely, he took the betel-leaf from him and put it into his mouth to chew it. The taste was curious, and the Swami knew at once that it was poisoned. He spat out the deadly leaf, and, in order that the fact of its being poisoned might be fully authenticated, his well-wishers had it sent to the hospital and analyzed. The Swami's suspicions turned out to be well-founded.<<< Prev---------------------Next >>>
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"The man who resolves, to stick to the truth at
all costs, steadily rises in virtues. When his virtues raise his reputation
and prestige, he becomes all the more a devotee of truth. This devotion to
truth becomes an unerring source of power and greatness." Swami Dayanand
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