Beliefs of Arya Samaj
Since the dawn of creation God has showered His mercy upon human beings by revealing the true knowledge, the Vedas. Till the era of Mahabharata, people followed Vedic Dharma strictly, but later on, many contradictory religious ideas were introduced into the Vedic thoughts. These greatly confused the Aryas in all aspects of life, that is, religious, social, political, economic and spiritual aspects.
Basing its beliefs on the Vedas, Arya Samaj believes are as follows.
1. It believes in three eternal existences, God, the soul and nature. These three existences are distinct from each other. God is one, Omnipresent, Omniscient, just, all knowing, imparter of the fruits to the soul according to its Karma (deeds). He has various names according to His attributes and qualities.
He is formless and does not take birth in any form. Therefore, Arya Samaj does not believe in idol worship and incarnation of God.
Souls are many, eternal, limited in knowledge and powers and make effort to obtain happiness. According to Vedic philosophy, salvation is Anand (true happiness) for the Soul. Arya Samaj believes that the main cause of Salvation is the true knowledge of Vedas. According to Maharishi Dayanand and other Rishis, the sixteen Sanskaars (rites of refinement) and the Panch Mahayajna (five main duties) contribute in purifying the mind, hence, preparing the soul to get release from bondage. Matter is also an eternal existence and is the Upadan Karna (material cause) of the universe.
2. It believes that the four Vedas as non-illusory and true. They do not depend on any verbal authority for authenticity as they are self evident. It also believes in Brahmanas relating to the four Vedas, six branches of the Vedas, eleven Upanishads to the extent they are in agreement with the Vedas.
3. It believes that Dharma is that which is just, true, free from bias and not opposed to the laws of God. Adharma is that which is unjust, untrue, biased and opposed to God’s laws.
4. It believes in Yajna (sacrificial acts). Acts of yajna are considered to be Shreshtha Karma (superior act). These includes:
Respect to the learned.
Use of knowledge of science- physics and chemistry for human welfare.
Imparting of right education.
Fire ritual to eradicate pollution of air, water, and rain and plant life.
5. It clearly denounces idolatry, animal sacrifices, ancestor worship, the caste system, Sati system for widows, inequality of women and untouchabilit, on the ground that all these lacked Vedic sanction. The Arya Samaj has set up hundreds of schools and missionary organizations, extending its activities outside India.
Ten Principles of Arya Samaj
When Maharishi Dayanand founded the Arya Samaj, he laid down the Ten Principles that govern Ary
a Samaj and which should be followed by every Arya Samajist in belief and practice.
The Ten Principles are:
1. God is the origin and fountain head of all the truth and material knowledge prevalent in this world.
2. God is truth-being and bliss, formless, all powerful, just, merciful, birth less, infinite, without a beginning, incomparable, base for everything, spread everywhere, all knowing, deathless, disease less, fearless, sacred and creator of the universe. Our devotion is due only to Him.
3. The Veda is the book of all true knowledge. To read and understand the Veda is the supreme duty of all the Aryas.
4. One should always be ready to accept what is truth and reject what is untruth.
5. One should always act according to Dharma, that is, after deliberating over the truth or untruth of an act.
6. The aim of Arya Samaj is to work for the well being of the whole word, physical, spiritual and social.
7. One should treat everybody with love, respect and Dharma.
8. One should work for the eradication of non-knowledge (Avidya) and spread of knowledge (Vidya).
9. One should not be satisfied with one’s own progress but regard everyone’s progress as one’s own.
10. Individually, one is free to follow norms, which are beneficial to him or her. As a member of the society, one is bound by means of social and universal good.
These principles have a universal appeal. They are the basic concepts of good citizenship and morality. There is nothing sectarian in any of these principles. They are simple, straightforward, liberal and universal.