The Dark Age
The epic battle of Mahabharat saw many savants, Dharmacharyas, Vaidik Vidwans perish on the battlefield. Those who survived were not well versed in the Vedic Studies and could not properly guide the ordinary Grihastha in matters religious or temporal. It became a matter of the Blind leading the Blind. Thus there was utter chaos and confusion in ecclesiastical matters.
The semi literate men played Purohit and locked up the Vedas denying access to the Divine Knowledge to the Common Man. Even their own women folk and the so called Shudras were forbidden from reading the Veic Samhitas. “Stree shudrau nadhiyatamit Shruteh” became their slogan and it Ruined the Vedic social order.
It was the Common Man who bore the brunt. The high and the mighty were the least bothered about the socio-religious order going topsy-turvy. “ Samrath ko nahin dosh Gusain” so said the saint-poet Tulsi Das many centuries later.
With the advent of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati in the 19th century India, the Common Man could see light at the end of the tunnel. Rishivar, a great socio-religious reformer and founder of the Arya Samaj did the Ved Bhashya in both simple Sanskrit and Hindi. Indeed it was a revolutionary step forwar that brought the Vedas closer to the Common Man.
The lower division government employees, the small time shop keeper, the teachers, lawyers, doctors, soldiers and sailors got an opportunity to read the Ved mantras and understand their meaning in Hindi. It made a tremendous impact on the Vedic ( read Hindu) society.
The floodgates of Vedic Knowledge were opened to the Common Man and He as well as She were elated to realize that they were the inheritors of the rich realm of the Divine Knowledge. Maharishi Dayanand invited one and all to the fold of the Vedic Dharma. Women and the neglected sections of our society were the biggest beneficiaries of this peaceful revolution in the realm of religion.
The International Vedic Confluence was held at the Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, India recently. I was pleasantly surprised to see and here a large number of ladies go up the stage and recite Ved Mantras as a part of their Paper on one Vedic topic or the other.
I silently remembered Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati and admired his revolutionary move to admit the women folk and deprived sections of the social order to the class of Ved Pathees. The brillian result of the Rishivar’s bold decision has brought smile and sine on the faces of the Commoners even two centuries thereafter.
Vedic Impact Today
Many raises the question of utility of acquiring Vedic knowledge to-day. Do we gain anything by reading the Ved Mantras and meditating on them to-day. There is a cut throat competition in every walk of life today. One has to take recourse to untruth and do scheming to survive in this cruel world. Well, the questions are genuine. The answers are equally genuine and are soothing and comfort giving.
The Common Man derives the knowledge about ISHWAR from the Vedic Studies. Our faith in Parmatma sustains us when the chips are down and an individual is depressed. Depression may lead to fatal results.
However, it is preventable by steeling your nerves through chanting of Ved Mantras, Panayam, and leading a regulated life. The control on diet and drinks go a long way in equipping an individual with self-confidence and providing him with steel nerves. It is true of all sections of society including the commoners.
The Common Man is promised a lot by the politicians but is not adequately provided for. At the election time he is the King when politicians of all shades make him feel that he is the King maker. Once the polling is over, the common man is as uncared for as soldiers after the war is over.
When his mind is puzzled by the dazzle of riches elsewhere and his inability to make both ends meet, he takes recourse to Superstitious beliefs. If there is sickness in the family and some illiterate Tantric advises him to go in for a meaningless ritual like offering a shawl to the grave of a dead man, he does it. The result is a Zero. But by the time he wakes up it is too late.
It is here that an Arya Purohit steps in. He helps the man whose morale is down in the dump with the Knowledge that the grave worship is a meaningless ritual. There are some persons among the semi-literate masses who start believing in the existence of ghosts, she-devils and jinns. It is here that the common man is helped with the knowledge given in the Satyarth Prakash written by Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
This magnum opus may be called as the primary school that leads us to the College of Vedic Studies. In the second chapter of that Yreatise, it is mentioned that what is past is Bhoot and Bhoot does not mean an evil spirit wandering around to pounce on us. Remember, we are living persons, how can a dead fellow or a Bhoot harm me or you who are living in the Vartman.
It is the Common Man who becomes an easy victim of wily predators in the guise of Dharm Gurus. It is the Common Man who is made aware of pitfalls of that course prescribed by false gods. The Common Man is strengthened by the study of the Satyarth Prakash, a resume of the Ved gyan. Thus the Common Man is the biggest beneficiary of the enlightenment brought about by the VEDAS.
It is the solemn duty of the Arya Samaj to attract the youth of today to its fold and prevent them from going astray. It is possible by making available to the youth Vedic literature in a language that they understand. Let us make a resolve that we will strive to make the Vedic knowledge available to the Common Man of today.