In the 19th century when India was passing through an age of superstitions and Vedic dharam was reduced to a set of meaningless rituals, Satyarth Prakash was written by Swami Dayanand Sarawasti in Hindi. Now, it is availbale in German too.
1875 WAS indeed an important year in the historical calendar of the great socio-religious movement that made an impact on mankind across the seven seas. The Arya Samaj was founded in Bombay, now Mumbai, on a Saturday afternoon in Kakarwadi residential area in the presence of no less a person than Swami Dayanand Saraswati. One hundred members were enrolled and the process of electing office bearers was absolutely democratic. Despite members beseeching the great Swami to become the Pradhan or the President of the Arya Samaj, the ascetic declined and remained firm on his decision.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati was following word for word, letter by letter what he had written in his magnum opus, the Satyarth Prakash, First Edition comprising twelve chapters, a few months earlier in 1974 that saw the light of the day in print in the year 1975. The science of governance and the art of war were dealt with in Samullas sixth or chapter sixth, based on Manusmriti and now Swami Dayanand Saraswati was emulating what the Vedic Aryans had practised in running their Ganrajyas. The Satyarth Prakash, First Edition, was published in the Hindi language and Devnagari script.
The Seer from Gujarat could see the distant future and surmise that the Hindi language would be the lingua franca of all Indians in times to come. How right was he. The constitution of India
promulgated on 26 January 1950 enshrined the Hindi language in Devnagari script as the National language as well as the official language. The Arya Samaj has all along been using Hindi as its language of prachar-prasar and day to day work. The second edition of the Satyarth Prakash comprising fourteen chapters and an annexure spelling out the beliefs of its writer was ready in 1883 but was published in 1884. Thus both the first and second editions of the Satyarth Prakash were rendered in Hindi.
LANGUAGE EDITIONS GALORE
The impact of the Satyarth Prakash was indeed tremendous in North-western India. The Arya Samaj followed suit and enveloped undivided Punjab of British India. Lahore was the capital and it was there in the gardens of Dr Rahim Khan that Swami Dayanand himself led the forward march of Ved prachar and founded the Arya Samaj in 1877. Urdu was the official language of undivided Punjab and there was no way but to publish the Urdu edition. Mahashay Rajpal, a fearless publisher of later period who championed the cause of freedom to publish was in the forefront of furthering the cause of the Ved prachar. Defending his right to publish what he wished to, Mahashay Rajpal became a martyr but upheld the right to publish till his last breath.
The Urdu edition of the Satyarth Prakash reached every Hindu home and the enlightened Muslims and Christians, not forgetting Sikhs wished to lay their hands on the revolutionary book and read it from their own angles. Satyarth Prakash was sold like hot cakes in undivided Punjab and was instrumental in attracting the youth to the portals of Arya Samaj.
Even at the risk of being accused of repetitive writing (King of Repetitions as a blood relative calls me but I don’t care), I must mention that it was an Urdu edition of Satyarth Prakash that had entered the portals of our house via the battlefields of France and Flanders in the First World
War where my grand uncle had fought shoulder to shoulder with soldiers of the British Empire against the Germans and Turks. The entire thought process of the Sawant family was changed by the Urdu edition of the Satyarth Prakash and we never looked back. VEDIC was the creed from the Garbhadhan sanskar to the Antim sanskar, then to now. The future is bright too. An old edition in Urdu adorns our bookshelf even now. It feels outnumbered by the Hindi books, though. New lords, new laws, I guess!
The Gujarati edition, I am told, is quite popular in India and abroad. Of course, I have not seen one, reading is a different question altogether. Our Gujarati compatriots travel all over the world and those who happen to be under the wings of the Arya Samaj do not forget to pack a Gujarati edition of the Satyarth Prakash along with other essential items of travel.
GERMANS ARE COMING
World War One and World War two were dominated by the German armies in the initial stages. Europe was indeed scared of the German panzers rolling over their home and hearth. German engineering and German soldiering made a name for themselves. Of course, they lost both the wars, that is another story.
Satyarth Prakash in German language also made news in Arya Samaj circles. Not many Aryas had heard of it before. Nor had I. The other day I was channel surfing looking for some fresh raw material about the Arya Samaj that I could work on and develop into a modest article for an International Arya Maha Sammelan but not much exiting material came my way. Sheer waste of time that channel surfing was, so I thought.
Lo and behold! If Mohammad does not go to the mountain, the mountain comes to Mohammed – so goes an old saying in English language. The Internet searched, identified and fished for me the entire Satyarth Prakash in the German language. Amazing, I thought and my joy knew no bounds. I was bouncing like a ball. I even shrieked the way Archimedes had done when he discovered a theory in Science and came out of the bath in the nude. I behaved in a saner manner. However, my loud exclamation of pristine joy on finding Satyarth Prakash in the German language brought the family scurrying to my study to know what it was all about. They were rather disappointed as our perceptions differed. They stayed back for celebrations on this discovery because our daughter and son-in-law are based in Berlin and would find the book useful to be read aloud to other German friends on Sundays.
Dayanand Saraswati – His Life and Ideas- by JTF Jordens, a former professor in the National Australian University, was borrowed from me by my son-in-law, Krishna Dev Ji and he found it so interesting and informative that he wants to have more Vedic literature to keep by his bedside to read every night. I e-mailed to him Satyarth Prakash in the German language and he found it so illuminating that he made copies and gave to his parents and uncle-aunty. The result of the Prachar is positive.
If Germans come, can the Chinese be far behind? Keats, the Romantic poet of England would please forgive me for twisting his eternal lines. I just could not resist. Of course, I was talking about the Chinese edition of the Satyarth Prakash. I had seen a copy on the shelf of the Savadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Dayanand Bhawan, Ramlila Maidan, New Delhi in happier days when Arya Samajists were happy to meet each other and compare notes. It was written in the old script of the Chinese language before the Communist party came to power, renamed their country as People’s Republic of China and simplified the sript so much that it is Greek to the older generation. Anyway, the rest of the world has no option but to accept what the Beijing government decrees about the mainland. Taiwan is a different story but it matters little as it has no seat in the United Nations either.
The new language and the script are called Putung Hua or the People’s language. In China everything is done for the people but that may be for namesake. The real beneficiaries are the big bosses of the ruling communist party. May be, we talk about that later. Now the point at issue is presenting the Satyarth Prakash to the Chinese masses in the Chinese language in simplified script. Of course, a study in depth is required to assess the people’s requirement in China, availability of good translators who know both Chinese culture and Vedic Dharm, the cost involved and soon. Indeed assessing cost effectiveness is the most important point.
Our predecessors in the Arya Samaj did a lot in having the Satyarth Prakash translated in different languages. It is now our duty to see that we move forward and carry the lighted torch to be passed on to the youth of the new generation of Aryas to make the mission of Dayanand Saraswati a success. With the meagre means available to us, we have to ensure that we spend less and get more in return. Giving away Satyarth Prakash to students in olden days was considered to be a good policy. May be, it holds water even today. So, we have to identify our target, zero in over there and finally make a kill.
May I suggest that the Aryan leaders at the helm of affairs have a preliminary exchange of views on the subject. It may be thrown open to a larger gathering of Aryas where all pros and cons are taken into account. When the decision is made by the senior leaders of the Arya Samaj, the bugle may be sounded and we march forward non-stop until we reach our destination.