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Relevance of 'Satyarth Prakash' for reforms in Hinduism
Being a student of DAV College (Lahore) Ambala City living in hostel (Vidayarthi Bhawan) during 1971-75, I actively participated in Arya Veer Dal and Arya Samaj and passed out the examination based on Satyarth Prakash.

After 44 years, I recall my association with Arya Samaj with great fondness  and wish to  place on record my understanding of  Satyarth Prakash  (the Light of Truth)  which is still  needed in the present times for reforms in Hinduism as various cults are dividing us on the basis of their vested interest and little knowledge.

The founder of Arya Samaj Maharishi Swami Dayanand is the author of  'Satyarth Prakash' containing fourteen chapters  originally written in Hindi in 1875.After detecting omissions, language and printing mistakes in the first edition, Swami Dayanand published a second revised edition in 1882. The book has been translated into twenty-three different languages including English (four different scholars), Urdu, Sindhi Punjabi, Bengali Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Malyali, Gujarati, Kannada, Nepali, Odia, Assamese, Burmese, Thai, French, German, Swahili, Arabic, Sanskrit and Chinese.

Swami Dayanand was the first person in the modern era, who advocated the questioning spirit to know a thing as he realized the importance of logic in imbibing the spirit of a thing.

This book aims at telling of the true dharma of mankind as per Vedas (four including Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda, and Atharva-Veda). Though, the truth of the Vedas is not for any particular race or creed but people of India, who believed the words of the Vedas to be their dharma for several years, needed this truth to be unveiled. Because of spread of unpopularity of Vedas among masses, there developed many sects with in the Hindu religion. I recall that Arya Samaj taught us that OM  to be the highest and most proper name of God which is the subject matter of  first chapter of Satyarth Prakash. The second chapter provides guidance on the upbringing of children. The third chapter explains the life of Brahmacharya (bachelor), the duties and qualifications of scholars and teachers, good and bad books and the scheme of studies. Chapter 4 is about marriage and married life. Chapter 5 is about giving up materialism and starting to carry out community service. Chapter 6 is about Science of Government. Chapter 7 is about Veda and God. Chapter 8 deals with Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution of the Universe. Chapter 9 deals with knowledge and ignorance, and emancipation and bondage. Chapter 10 deals with desirable and undesirable conduct and permissible and forbidden diet. Chapter 11 contains criticism of the various religions and sects prevailing in India. Chapter 12 deals with the Charvaka, Buddha (Buddhist) and Jain religions. Chapter 13 has his views on Christianity (the Bible).Chapter 14 has his views on Islam (Quran) in beliefs opposite to those of Vedas.

The major portion of Satyarth Prakash is dedicated for laying down the reformist advocacy of Swami Dayanand with the last three chapters making a case for comparative study of different religious faiths.

The word Hindu is an improper word or misnomer- the correct word is Vedantic or Sanathana Dharma, a religion based upon the Vedas. The word Hindu does not appear anywhere in the Vedic texts or even the Bhagavad Gita. The word Hindu is a Persian word, used by the Muslims and the renaming of the Vedantic religion to "Hindu" demonstrates the level of weakening to the Vedantic faith. "Hinduism" needs reforms.

In brief, Satyarth Prakash contains exposition and clarifications of Vedic principles. It advocates Vedic monism based on Advaita Vedanta.  Worship of one God, explanation of the main principles of the Vedas, the relationship between religion and science and between devotion and intellect, elimination of the caste system and of different religious beliefs for the strengthening of society, eradication of superstitions, false notions and meaningless customs, shunning narrow-mindedness and promoting the brotherhood among human beings who can become human capital with knowledge and wisdom from Satyarth Prakash.  

Let Satyarth Prakash be taught to every Indian in India and elsewhere in the world.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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