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
RECALLED TO BOMBAY
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On the Swami�s departure from Bombay, the impression gained ground in the orthodox circles that he had left the place for good, and that there was nothing to fear from him any longer. The Bombay Samaj being yet in its infancy and busy evolving system and order, as it were, out of chaos, the leading orthodox Pandits took in the situation at a glance and thought they could afford to look �big� now, without putting their head into the noose.
Accordingly they gave out that they had been all along only too willing to hold a shastrarth with the Swami and that they have held one but for his leaving the town abruptly. This boldness went so far that notices were actually printed and circulated among the people. The Samaj could appreciate the move on the part of its antagonists, and resolved to please them.
A telegram was sent to the Swami informing him of the state of affairs, and requesting him to come back to Bombay. The Swami came, to the utter dismay or the Pandits, and called upon them to come forward for a discussion. But they shrank from the contest, as they had done before, and refused to come forward. They were not, however, to escape so easily this time. A notice was served upon the famous local Pandit, Kanwal Nain Acharya, through a Pleader, and this brought them to their senses. The 12th June, 1875, was fixed upon for the discussion, and it duly came off on that day.
The Bombay Samachar, for June 17 and 18, (1875) describes the shastrarth as follows:-
As already announced by means of a public notice, the people began to pour into the Framjee Cowasjee Institute at 3 p.m. on Sunday last. Swami Dayanand Saraswati came exactly 3. He was provided with the ancient Shastras of the Aryas, - such as the Veda Samhita, the Brahmanas, the Aranyaks, the Upanishads, the Sutras, the Shikshas, the Kalpas, the Nighantu, the Vayakarna, and so on, all numbering over 150. these were arranged on a table placed in the center of the �stage.� Two chairs were placed on either side of the table for the principal parties, while a little below there were set eight more chairs for the Shastris, who were to take notes of the discussion. There were present at the meeting, among many other learned men, Sethsand Pandits, Rao Bahadur Bechar Das Albai Das, Seth Lakshmi Das Khemji, Seth Mathrua Dasy Loji, Rao Bahadur Daudabhai Pandurang
, Mirasbhai, Shankar nanabhai, Gonga Das Kishore Das, Hargobin Das Nana, Mansukh Ram Suraj Ram, Ranchhorbhai Oodey Ram, Shastri Vishnu Parsram. The place was full to overflowing.
�Swami Dayanand, who was the first to arrive, was, by those with whom the management rested, seated on the chair placed on the left-hand side of the table, the managers reminding one, by their action, of the proverb. - A bad workman quarrels with his tools. Why did not they choose the left side for their party? The chair on the right-hand side of the table was thus reserved for Kanwal Nain, the leader of the Ramanuj System of Faith, and the people began to eagerly wait for the arrival of the Acharya.
The report presently spread that kanwal Nain Acharya had refused to come into the presence of an infidel (yavana) and that, bringing forward the question of Madhyastha, he would prevent the shastrarth from taking place, so that disgrace might not fall upon him (the guru). But while the audience was busy over these and similar other reports, the news arrived that Kanwal Nain Acharya would be at the meeting immediately (3 p.m.). He arrived accompanied by some twenty-five or thirty followers, and, over and above these, by many Marwari Seths and Sahukars. The managers of the Sabha descended some steps to receive him and having conducted him with the greatest respect, seated him on the chair to the right-hand side of the Swami. Seth Bechar Das Albai Das was nominated to the chair.
The Seth made a brief speech, to the following effect: �Brethren we are all idol-worshippers, including myself. Swami Dayanand, however, undertakes to prove that idol-worship is not countenanced by the Vedas. No one need take offense at this; on the contrary, it behooves all to hear the discussion patiently and attentively and to understand it, so that we may derive inestimable benefit from it, and know which is the right path in connection with Dharma. This will further the country�s good and will be conducive to our happiness and peace in the highest degree. Similarly, Kanwal Nain Acharya, of the Ramanuj Faith, being present here and undertaking to prove that idol-worship is in accord with the teachings of the Vedas, we should all hear his speeches and find out therefrom what is the truth.� After saying this, the Seth observed that he had but just come to know that a document had been executed between two laymen, and that it was this document that had called the meeting into existence, adding that the document in question should be read out to the audience by Mr. Bahi Sahnkar Nanabhai without further delay, which would make everything clear to them.
On this Mr. Bhai Shankar nanabhai read out the following document:-
�We, the two undersigned, have gladly read the following document and signed it, and we shall abide by our judge:-
PAGE 109�The document readout, the meeting was formally informed that it was private in its character, but for all that, added the speaker, �What an excellent opportunity it has afforded us! Swami Dayanand, who is present here today, will prove that idol-worship is not indicated in the Vedas, while Kanwal Nain Acharya will prove that the Vedas do enjoin the worship of idols. I venture to express the hope that kanwal nain Acharya will forthwith commence his lecture, for the mere assertion that such a thing is not countenanced in such-and-such a book, will not have weight with those we want to convince till it is substantiated by proof.�
- The Sabha (shastrarth) to be held next Saturday in Framjee Cowasjee Institute, between Swami Dayanand and Kanwal Nain Acharya, - of that, we, the undersigned, shall defray the expenses, and we shall be responsible for police arrangements as well.
�upon this, one of the signers of the document, Marwari Shiv Narain Beni Chand, said that, according to the document, idol-worship was to be proved true on the strength of authorities form both Shruti and Smriti, and he wanted to know why, in reading the document, the word �Smriti� had been left out. In reply to this Mr. Bhai Shankar Nanabhai read out the document over again, observing, in conclusion, that according to the paper, idol-worship was to be proved from the Vedas alone, there is absolutely no mention of �Smriti� therein. Again, Shiv Narain spoke, saying that the names of the Pandits had not been read out, to which Mr. Bhai Shankar replied, that the number of names of the Pandits (to be present) had not been specified. Shiv Narain asked to see the document, which was duly handed over to him by the President. The inspection satisfied him had his friends that he document said nothing on the points in question.
�After this, kanwal Nain spoke:-
�These Pandits who are sitting here, of what sect are they?
For, sectarian Pandits should not be here.�
Hearing these words of Kanwal Nain, the educated and
enlightened laymen, composing the meeting, were greatly surprised, knowing that it was generally understood that Pandits professing to believe in the Vedic Dharma were of four different sects, the Shaivites, the Shaktaks, the Samarts, and the Vaishnav. A Pandit not belonging to any of these four sects was difficult to come across. In the face of this fact, the words of Kanwal Nain did not appear to be reasonable.
�Presently Kanwal Nain Acharya resumed, saying that no one who was a representative of a sect should be given the position of Madhyastha and that not till he had examined the would-be Madhyastha should the latter be nominated as such, - words which ostensibly had no other object than that the time of the meeting should be wasted and the discussion be avoided.
�One of the Pandits, addressed by Kanwal Nain, replied that he was a Vaishnav, and the Acharya requesting him to approach, made him sit near himself, and then addressing the other Pandits said: �Will you swear by Shaligram and theGita to report the truth? Shastri Kalii Das Gobin Das answered that he should report nothing but what appeared to him to be the truth. Vishnu Parsram Shastri, who was questioned next, similarly answered that he should declare only what he knew was the truth, that his brother-Shastris and himself would write down, word for word, whatever the Acharya and the Swami said, and that they would subsequently give their impartial opinion as to the merits of what had been by each party.
Upon this Kanwal Nain asked Parsram what Shastra had studied. The Shastri replied that the question was wholly irrelevant and that if the Acharya was to ask the Pandits such questions, he might as well first tell them what he himself knew. The Acharya attempted a reply but completely broke down in the attempt. The Vaishnav Shastri stood up and, commenting upon the words of Kanwal Nain, observed, that it was wholly undesirable that time should be wasted in useless talk. What was incumbent upon the great Acharya was, that he should prove idolatry from the Vedas. Wasting time is useless to talk instead of proving his contention was not at all commendable.
On the subject of Idol-worship.
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�After this Swami Dayanand, most humbly addressing Kanwal Nain, said: �I look upon today as a very happy day, inasmuch as it has given me an opportunity to meet you. I assert that idol-worship is not inculcated in the Vedas, and I am ready to prove it. I have delivered lectures and held discussions on this subject in various places. Of which fact you must also be aware. Hence I shall feel obliged if you will be good enough to inform me as to in which Veda the endowing with life, the invoking, the destroying and the worship of idols are spoken of, and what particular portion of the Veda in question. Let us know, further, how the commentators have commented upon and interpreted the passages dealing with these, and what interpretations of the passages the Brahmana of the Veda has adopted as pre-eminently satisfactory and reasonable. This will allay the restlessness of the audience and will be of great benefit to us. As to Madhyastha, there is no need of one between us. If you would have your way, then let the Vedas, the Brahmanas of the Vedas, and similar other
works, be nominated as such. They are superior to all and will be partial to none. They are all lying before you on the table. Whatever there be in the Veda favorable to your contention, bring the same out, and having translated it, make its purport clear to the audience, so that truth may soon come to be known from untruth. And whatever is spoken by yourself or by me, the Pandits will write that down word for word, and the same shall be subsequently published under the signatures of the two gentlemen who got the aforementioned document executed between them. The Pandits of the whole country will then be in a position to judge the merits of the publication, and the entire Arya world will know what is genuine and what is false in the discussion between you and myself.�
�Kanwal Nain Acharya would not listen to this most reasonable prayer of Pandit Dayanand, and began to talk evasively. Seeing this Seth Mathura Das Logi stood up and thus addressed the audience: �In company with several laymen I, with the permission of Swami Dayanand, waited upon Kanwal Nain Acharya of 6th June, 1875, and informed him that the knowledge of the fact that the Acharya was in Bombay and was strongly resolved to prove that idol-worship was inculcated in the Vedas, had created in the Swami a desire to meet him.
This being the case, it was desirable (I said) that a public meeting should be held in the house of some layman, or in a garden, or in Framjee Cowasjee Institute, or in an open place, just as it should please the Acharya to direct.
The Acharya, when face to face with the Swami, should prove idolatry from the Vedas. It was his duty to do so, millions of people (Hindus) having faith in idol-worship, and the Swami, on the contrary, having openly and boldly announced that the Vedas did not sanction the worship of idols and images. The Swami maintained that Vedas contained no mantras having to do with endowing the images with life and that the mantras employed for the purpose did at all mean what they were made to.
He maintained that the same thing held good in the case of mantras pressed into service for invocations, and in connection with the destroying and worshipping of idols. Similarly, he held that no Sankalpa mantras were to be found in the Vedas, and those made use of for the purpose did not at all bear the interpretation they were given. The mischief had been wrought by the so-called Acharyas, who, influenced by selfish motives, had created myths.
Dayanand believed that no Acharya or Pandit could have the boldness to come forward and prove the reverse of what he maintained was the truth. It was, under these circumstances, clearly the duty of Kanwal Nain and the other idolatrous Acharyas, I declared, to meet the Swami and to prove that idol-worship was enjoined in the Vedas; as, in case of their failing to do so, the Vaishnav Dharma � our own Dharma � would sustain a great blow. Kanwal Nain Acharya was aware he had a large following. Knowing that and asserting that he was well-versed in the Vedic Religion, he was, in duty bound, to come forward and to prove idolatry to be in accord with the Vedic teaching. If he did not do it, no other Pandit could be expected to. Consequently (said I he must take
up the challenge. If he acceded to my request, all necessary arrangements should be made. The problem that faced the Acharya he should solve, he should give an answer to the question, as to in which particular Veda Samhita the mantras employed in connection with the endowing with life, the invoking, the destroying and the worship of idols were to be found. They must be met within the books of the Acharya�s sect, and, if so, he could tell how the commentators had commented upon and interpreted them, and what particular interpretations of the same had been adopted by the Brahmanas of the Vedas as pre-eminently satisfactory.
The answer to the question under reference would end all altercation and would enable everybody to know the truth from falsehood. I assured Kanwal Nain Acharya that in the meeting the might be held, we should so arrange that whatever the Acharya or the Swami should say, the same should be written down at once, and they should run no risk that mere oral speaking is liable to involve one in. unquestionably the Acharya should be expected to point out, without delay, in the Vedas and other Granths, whatever passage he might quote professedly from them in support of his faith, and so should the Swami point out, at once, in the Vedas and other books, whatever he might professedly quote from them in support of his faith or against the faith of the Acharya.
All that was spoken by either party should be faithfully reproduced on paper, should be signed by both the parties, should be attested by the Pandits, and then the manuscript, a copy of which should remain separately in the possession of each speaker, should be published, daily, piece-meal, the printed matter, as the public should be daily informed, representing one day�s work. The procedure would continue till the discussion was finished, and, on the termination of the discussion, the entire manuscript should be signed by the Acharya and Swami Dayanand, and attested by the Pandits, and, having been published, should be sent to all those principal parts of India, where our brethren in faith were to be found in large numbers. The cost of publishing should be met half-and-half by the two parties.
�Kanwal Nain Acharya�s reply to all this was that four Pandits, verse in four different branches of knowledge, were wanted and that these should be examined by him (previous to their attending the would-be meeting). I said that there was no need for such Pandits, fork when the proceedings of the meetings were published, they would be before the Pandits of the whole of India, and the Pandits would pass their opinion on the same. And in the publication 9report of the proceedings) it should be stated that whatever Pandits felt disposed to express their opinion on the same. And in the publication (report of the proceedings) it should be stated that whatever Pandits felt disposed to express their opinion as regards the merits of the Shastrarth, the same should kindly forward their remarks, within three months, to such-and-such a person. Such testimony ( I presented) would be more useful. And as to the kind of Pandits, of whom the Acharya want those that were well up in Nyaya Shastra, or those who were well up in Vyakarna, or hose who knew the uttara Mimansa, or those who were well-versed in Sankya, or those who were masters of the Dharma Shastra? The
Acharya answered that those who were well-versed in the Vedangas were wanted. I said that such Pandit was difficult to be had. To wish to have such was (under the circumstances) very much like expressing a wish to possess a horned hare, no matter if such a creature was to be had nowhere. The number of books which the Vedas, the Vedangas, the Upanga and the Upavedas made up, was something tremendous, and so was their weight. Where could Pandis well-versed in these be had from?
However, if the Acharya aware of the existing one such, he would kindly say where the man was to be found. The Acharya replied that Rang Jeet Totawari was such a one and that he was to be found in Nadia Shanti ( a place, by the by, where the Acharya�s faith has an unusually large following)! I said that I knew none in Nadia Shanti, but that if he would name any Pandit thoroughly verse in the Vedas and the Vedangas in Benares, which unquestionably was the seat of our Dharma par excellence, and rich in Pandits, I would wire to our agent in that city and find out all about the Pandit, though I was convinced that such a learned man could be had nowhere, yea, even one of an inferior type. Indeed, it was a question whether such Pandits were plentiful evening former times.
The Acharya decline to name any Pandits in Benares, adding that he would hold a discussion only if the kind of Pandits mentioned in the public notice, issued 4th June, 1875, were forthcoming at the meeting. Upon this I read out the notice to the Acharya saying that the notice mentioned Friday as the day of the meeting, but that his disciple had signed the notice for Saturday and had further entered into a written agreement with a layman, fixing Saturday, as the day of the meeting. Would the Acharya abide by his disciple�s announcement, according to which, as the notice said, the shastrarth-meeting should be held in Framjee Institute?
The Acharya answered, he was not aware of this, and he would not abide by the announcement. I remarked that I was sorry that the Acharya shirked a duty whose performance was incumbent upon him � a thing that did not at all reflect credit upon him. There could under certain circumstances, be no doubt that what Swami Dayanand affirmed was true, and indisputable even in the slightest degree and were now convinced that the charges which Swami Dayanand has laid at the door of the Acharyas were perfectly well-founded. If Kanwal Nain Acharya would free himself form those charges, he should make shi word good and prove that the Vedas inculcated idolatry, so that his reputation might be preserved. If he refused to attach any weight to my representations, well, not make Kanwal Nain Acharya pluck up the courage to free himself from the charges brought against him.
�Now you all see on what absurd ground the Acharya is trying to back out of the discussion. This must convince you that the Acharya is utterly powerless to prove the worship of idols to be in accord with the teaching of the Vedas.�
�When Thakur Mathura Das Loji had done speaking, Kanwal Nain Acharya, without, in the least, furnishing proofs in support
of idolatry, rose and prepared to depart in silence. The Chairman, Mr. Bechar Das, turning to the Acharya, said; �Sir, it is not right that you should leave a meeting in silence, without having said anything. All the people that are sitting here, are eagerly expecting you to prove that idol-worship is sanctioned by the Vedas. It does not behoove you to depart, all of a sudden, without saying for their conviction that the Vedas do not sanction idolatry.
�No reply was forthcoming. For the last time, Swami Dayanand addressed him in these words: �You maintain that idol-worship is allowed in the Vedas, and it was incumbent upon you to prove your assertion. If you are determined not to do this, I must perforce expose idolatry and prove that it is opposed to the teaching of the Veda. You should least hear me.� Kanwal Nain Acharya took his departure. Many idol-worshippers who had flocked to the meeting, eagerly hoping that idol-worship would be proved form the Vedas, were disappointed. Many householders, who had faith in idol-worship, lost all faith in the same, saying to themselves: Our Dharma is so weak and false! That which is the principal article of our faith, even that cannot be proved. How well the proverb applies to it (Hinduism) - Sufficiently capacious throated even to engulf an elephant, but occasionally unable even to swallow an ant.�
Exactly such has been the case with our Dharma this time. Kanwal Nain Acharya understood his interests too well when he declined to stop to listen to the Swami�s speech, being well aware that to hear the exposure in the words of a man like Dayanand, and then to go away without replying to the denunciation, would expose him to the ridicule and contempt of the Believers in the Veda. The meeting was thoroughly satisfied that the Acharya was utterly unable to prove idolatry from the Veda. It was indeed a marvel that he had even gone so far as to put in an appearance at the meeting.
�Subsequently, Seth hargobin Das Baba asked the Swami, whether idol-worship existed in Satyuga, or whether it had come into existence only recently. In reply, the Swami observed that I had no existence in Sat or any other (of the first three) Yugas: it had been fathered upon the believers in the Vedas by the selfish only in the present Kaliyuga, after the birth of the Jain and the Buddhistic creeds. When Shankaracharya exposed the Jain faith, many Jains put their idols underground, and it was these that were now and then found in many places where work of excavation was in progress. The worship of idols, the Swami added, was wholly unknown to our sages, and it had no place in the Vedic teachings. After this reply, Seth Chhabil Das Lallobhai commented freely on the unfair move of Kanwal Nain Acharya and Mr. Moolji Thakarshi also expressed his opinion on the subject.
�At last Pandit Dayanand, speaking on the want of erudition on the part of Acharya, expressed his regret that so many works should have been brought together for a noble purpose but that not a single page of any one of them should have been turned. To be
brief, he commenced his speech, condemnatory of idolatry, by taking, s his text, the mantra - Na Tasya pratima asti yasya anma mahadyasha, and in support of the truth embodied in the mantra he read out many passages from the Vedas, alleged to be concerned with the avahan, pujan, visarjan and pranpratishtha of idols, and explained what these terms severally meant.
The Mantras in question, he made clear, had nothing to do with avahan or any other similar function, and the Vedas said nowhere that they should be applied in connection with such functions. Idol-worship had not originated with the followers of the Vedas, he maintained; and he read out passages from the Vedas in support of his position, translating them for his hearers. He demonstrated the fact that idolatry had never been the faith of the followers of the Veda at any time, and that it would never be proved, and ended by exhorting one and all to renounce it without delay.�
AT POONA AND BACK TO BOMBAY
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The nominal shastrarth being over, Swami Dayanand left for Poona, where he stayed for about two months. Poona is nothing if not a stronghold of idolatry in Southern India, and the Swami�s presence there was deeply resented by some of the idol-worshippers who, in the heat of excitement, went so far as to put up hirelings to create breach of the public peace and to make themselves a positive nuisance to the reformer and his admirers, to the disgust of the really brave and refined portion of the Poona Community. It was inevitable that they should suffer for their misdeeds and two of the miscreants were sentenced to six and nine months imprisonment, respectively.
This had a very wholesome effect upon their fellows, making them behave peaceably in future. The Swami delivered fifteen lectures in all at Poona, five of these more or less historical in their character, one biographical, and the rest dealing with moral and religious subjects, such as God, the Veda , Revelation, the Transmigration of Souls, etc. These lectures were, in substance, published in the Marhatti language, in the form of a book.* In a journal (Loka Hitavadi, February 1883) conducted by a Marhatta gentleman, a complete account of the Swami�s visit to Poona was published. The following passage occurs in the account:-
�In response to an invitation from the influential and learned portion of the Poona community, Swami Dayanand arrived here, staying during the months of June and July (1875). We had occasion to hear some fifteen lectures in the local Hindu Club building. These meetings were always full, and fascinated with the style of speaking of the unique orator and moved by the updesh which his speeches contained, the truth-loving people of the town received him in a manner at once cordial and respectful. One
*An Urdu translation of these bearing the name �Updesh-mangari� has for some years past been in the market. Lala Mushi Ram, the well-known Arya Samajist, is the translator.
day the seated him on an elephant and took him through the various parts of the city. The greedy, mischievous, hair-brained, thoughtless, selfish and vindictive individuals, in the Poona community, however, could not bear to see this honor shown to him, and they did what the should have abstained from doing. Under these circumstances, the availing of the assistance of the Police became a matter of necessity.�
From the journal it appears that Gopal Krishna Bhandarkar, who enjoyed the reputation of being a distinguished Sanskrit scholar, had come to fall out with the Swami on some point, and was ever writing against him and helping the opponents of the Vedic Faith.
Towards the close of August, 1875, Swami Dayanand returned to Bombay to consolidate, by his presence and co-operation, the good work begun. This time, as was perhaps the only natural, he put up in the Samaj Mandir. The Samajists and other gentlemen had all the benefit of Dharmacharcha (religious conversation and discussion) they could expect to enjoy by associating with the foremost Sanskrit scholar of his time, of a true thinker and genuine reformer.
The Swami told them to be perfectly free with him, and he was never tired of removing their doubts regarding the Divine origin of the Vedas and on other points. The Brahmo gentlemen, with their minds surcharged with ideas embodied in the works of Western Sanskrit scholars, would, again and again, bring forward objections, on one thing and another, connected with the Vedas. One of these concerned the interpretation given to the word �Agni�. They said they could not understand how it could be taken in the sense of �God.� The Swami�s reply was that the word was taken in that sense as well as in the sense of �fire,� etcs., in the Brahmana Granths, and he quoted the passages bearing on the subject.
The internal evidence of the Vedas also on the point was condensing. The word occurred in the eighteenth mantra of the Ishavasya Upanishad, the fortieth chapter of the Yajur Veda, and all the commentators, whether ancient or modern, had interpreted it there as God. Further, in the commentary on the Nirukta, the learned Pt. Satyavrat Samasrmi of the Asiatic Society, had clearly stated that the word �Agni� meant also �God.� And so on.
It was absurd to suppose that the Vedas taught �element-worship.� Mantras like - Indram mitram varunam agni, etc. the eight mantra of the fortieth chapter of the Yajur Veda, and others, too numerous to detail, rendered such a supposition utterly groundlessly, and left no doubt as to the truth of the fact that the adoration of the one only God was taught in the Vedas, and of naught else.
After some eight months' stay at Bombay, Swami Dayanand resolved to visit the N.W.P. again, but just as he was about to depart, a learned of Nadiea Shanti came forward for a shastrarth on � �Idol-worship.� The meeting was duly held, a still more learned Pandit, name Bhojaji Shastri, occupying the chair of Madhyastha. Bhojaji�s verdict, before the breaking up of ht assembly, was that Pandit Ram Lal had failed to prove idol-worship from the Vedas. The Pandit himself acknowledged as
such. His own words were: �The Swami is a Sanyasi, he cares for none. He has studied the Vedas and other Shastras thoroughly, and he is very wise and wields great powers. Whatever he says, is in accord with the Shastras. We have not the strength to oppose him, for we are householders. We have to consult our interests in many things. If we were to say anything against �idol-worship,� our living would be gone, and then how would things get on?�
The effect of this shastrarth was of a very wholesome character. On the 14th April, 1876, a notice appeared from Bhai Jiwan nothing to do with �idol-worship.� For, as the effect of Swmi Dayanand�s updesh, he had renounced it for good. The notice promised a reward of Rs. 125 to anyone who prove idolatry from the Vedas and convince the convert to the Vedic Religion that, is giving up idolatry, he had made a mistake. Who would attempt such a hopeless task?
RETURN TO THE NORTH � LUCKNOW, ETC.
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Leaving Bombay on 1st May, 1876, and visiting Farrukhabad for the fifth time, Swami Dayanand arrives at Benares and put up in the Atamgiri garden. He stayed here for over two months, but no shastrarth was held with the Pandits. It was Benares that the Swami came to make up his mind to engaged to write from dictation, and giving the usual details connected with the work. The book was to be brought out by the well-known local printers, E.J. Lazarus and Company, in monthly parts.
From Kashi and the Swami went to Jaunpur and thence to Ayudhia, which he left for Lucknow towards the close of September, preaching and holding discussions. The conversation which took place between him and Lala Brij Lal, Reis, is worth reproducing:-
EXPLAINING THE CASTE SYSTEM.
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Q. What are Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras? When did they come to be classified, and who was it that parceled out mankind into four classes or Castes?
A. ~ The four classes came to exist by reason of the diversity of men�s occupations or professions. For example, the teachers of the science of divinity came to be called �Brahmans;� the conductors of military affairs, �Kshatriyas;� the traders in commodities, �Vaishyas;� and menial servants, �Shudras.�
He is not a Brahman, who follows the profession of arms, and so forth, with the rest.
Thus the classification of men into castes is based upon their callings and not, as is now regarded, upon birth. Hereditary castes, irrespective of professions, came into existence after the Great War.
Q. Were not Brahmans born from God�s mouth, and Kshatriyas from His arms?
A.The true meaning of the Vedic text, divested of the metaphor which has given rise to such absurd notions is, that men versed in Divine Knowledge and in Sciences hold the same position in the society of God�s creatures as the head does in the structure
of the body, - that is to say, they are the foremost of men by virtue of their superiority in knowledge. In like manner, the origin of the other Classes may be explained away.
Q. Why do the Brahmans wear the �sacred thread?�
A. ~It is the outward mark of their proficiency in knowledge.
Q. What kind of deeds should be done?
A. ~ Virtuous deeds alone should be done?
Q. What are these?
A. ~ Veracity, benefiting others, and other similar acts having for their object � the promotion of general good.
Q. What is veracity?
A. ~ It is telling the truth and avoiding giving expression to what is untrue. The tongue should express what is in the heart.
ANSWERING THE PRACTICE OF IDOLATRY
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Q. What do you think of idolatry?
A. ~ It is a thing, wicked and sinful. People should never worship images. The spread of mental darkness is due to the prevalence of idolatry.
Q. How can we contemplate God without an object or idol?
A. ~ We should think of God just in the same way as we think or form a notion of pleasure and pain. Thus images are not required for contemplation.
Q. What actions are most praiseworthy, and should be performed?
A. ~ The doing of Sandhya morning and evening, the practice of truth, the exercise of benevolence, and so on.
Q. Should not Sandhya be performed thrice a day?
A. ~ No. The morning and evening are the only times for devotion.
Q. Is the act of repeating God�s name or mantras, the performance of a tedious ceremonial, as done by the modern Brahmans, proper?
A. ~ People should try to know God, and imitate Him in their works. Mechanical repetitions and ceremonials are of no use.
Q. Has God any form or color?
A. ~ God has neither form nor color. He is incorporeal and infinite. Whatever is seen in the world, shadows forth His greatness. The universe is made by Him may be allegorically regarded as a means for allaying the mental thirst for a sight of Him.
Q. Why is God
A. ~ Were God to make His appearance in the world, everyone would turn up to Him and importune Him to decree a gratification of his desires, and thus disorder and confusion would spread everywhere. At the same time, by means of the elements of which the human body is composed, the vision of God is impossible. How indeed can a man see Him who has created him?
Q. How can God be known when He is not seen?
A. ~ Seen He is. All these things, men, animals, trees, etc., seen upon the face of the earth, point to their Maker. In this way, He is seen through all His works. And he can be recognized even as we recognize pleasure and pain.
Q. Is or is not Brahma (God) in all of us?
A. ~ He is in all of us. He is known to us just in the same way as we know pleasure and pain.
Q. Is the uniform everywhere, or is He more in some and less in other objects?
A. ~ He is everywhere alike, only that He is manifested in us in proportion to the glory of the divine intelligence in our mind, i.e. wisdom.
Q. What are devatas (gods)?
A. ~ The are called devatas (gods) who are learned and intelligent, i.e., who are true pandits.
Q. Is it a sin to see the Ramleela or Rasleela?
A. ~ Yes it is a sin, equal to the commission of a thousand crimes. Similarly, the worship of idols is sinful; for not likeness can be taken when there is no form, and where there is no form, there can be no image. It is allowable to take photos or execute other kinds of pictures of persons to have them before us for being looked at or for remembrance. But it is improper to take pictures of images of God and thus caricature Him.
On origin of language
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Q. How long as Sanskrit been in the world and why is called �good�?
A.~ Sanskrit is from eternity, it is pure and correct, it has no match. For example, ba in Persian is expressed or represented as Bay, and in English as Bee; but ba (unencumbered with ay or ee) is only represented truly in Sanskrit.
Q. The Vedas contain praise of God. Has He written His own praise?
A. ~ As parents instruct their children to serve their parents and teachers and obey their elders, even so has God, by way of instruction, given us the Vedas.
Q. When God has neither form nor body, how can He have mouth to utter the Vedas with?
A. ~ God inspired them in the hearts of the four sages, - Agni, Vayu, Aditya and Angira.
Q. It is clear that these sages wrote the Vedas, is it not?
A. ~ No, they are from God; for the sages then had no knowledge whatever.
Q. How did God communicate to them the Vedas?
A. ~ Out of His mercy and power He inspired the �supreme knowledge� in their hearts. As they were first at creation, they had no means of gaining knowledge, so god inspired them with it and thus it is God/s knowledge.
Q. Is the soul one or many?
A. ~ The soul is uniform in its nature, but its entities are many.
The Swami took his departure from Lucknow on 1st November, 1876, and, passing through Shahjahanpur, arrived at Bans Bareilly, where he stayed for about a month, and whence, on the expiration of this period, he proceeded to Karnvas. Here Thakur Muksand Singh received him with his usual hospitality and took care that he had every facility to make known is a mission to all around. As the results of a debate with the missionaries, a Samaj was established at Muradabaad, but lack of moral courage and energy in those who had accepted its membership soon made it a thing of the past.
THE IMPERIAL DURBAR
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While the Swami was busy with this Bhumika and with his updesh, he heard of the importance of the coming Imperial Durbar at Delhi, and, wishing to be present on the occasion, if he could help it, he left for the scene of the approaching function in company with Thakur Mukand Singh and other Thakurs. Reaching Delhi, he took up his quarters in Sher Mal�s Anar Bag, which had already been put in a fitting condition to receive him. Anar Bag was close to the plot of land on which the tents of the Rajas and Reises of Oudh stood, and over the gate of the garden hung a placard with the words � Residence of Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
The Swami had notices pasted in front of the tents of the Rajas and Maharajas, and to draw the attention of these magnates all the better to the contents of his manifesto had a copy of the same sent to each of them, with a request that they would bestir themselves to arrange for a shastrarth between him and the Pandits, so that truth might be known from what was false, and the great land of the Rishis should once more return to the primeval Vedic Faith.
It could be expected that the Rulers and Chiefs would think much of a shastrarth at such a time; they were thinking of other things and were otherwise occupied. The Maharaja of Indore was the only one who did make an effort to convene a meeting of his brother-Rulers and of the Pandits, but the effort was a signal failure. For all that, however, the work of updesh vigorously went on, and Hindus and Muhammadans and Padris thronged under his Shamianas all day long.
Occasionally, the Reises and Rajas of Oudh also would stop to hear him and would have conversations with him. Of the great ones of the Punjab, Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu and Kashmir sent his Vizier, Anant Ram Diwan, and his Musahib, Babu Nilambar, to wait upon the Swami, with a request that he would see His Highness; but before the Swami could comply with His Highness�s request, the State Pandits had changed his mind, and the interview never came off.
On the occasion of the Durbar, the Swami, failing to get the Rajas and Maharaja to come together and to hear his lectures, convened a meeting of some enlightened well-wishers and reformers of India, with the object of finding out, by discussion and deliberation, if co-operation in the work of reform was possible among them. The Sabha was composed of the following gentlemen:-
Baboo Ghanaya Lall Alakkhadahri, Baboo Navin Chandra Roy, Baboo Keshva Xhandra Sen, Munshi Indramani of Muradabad, Sir Sayyad Ahamad Khan, Baboo Harish Chandra Chintamani and Swami Dayanand Saraswati. The Swami�s own solution of the problem before the Sabha was in these words: �If we have the same set of principles to believe in, and work on the same lines, I have hope that the country can be soon reformed.� This solution could not be appreciated by the others, for there were differences in a religious belief that could not be got over, and thus nothing was practically accomplished. Baboo Navin Chandra Roy speaking of the meeting in his Journal Gyan Darpan (1885) wrote: Inasmuch as we differed with him on fundamental principles of belief, the sort of union he sought to bring about could not be affected.�<<< 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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