Arya Samaj (“Noble society”) is a movement that promotes values and practices based on the infallibility of the Vedas. It is not a separate religion by itself, but rather aims to ensure that all human beings lead a righteous life in accordance with the ‘Vedic’ principles. It was founded by Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati in April 1875 as a secular movement, more to unify like-minded individuals (irrespective of caste, creed, religion, gender) under a common umbrella.
Vedas are universally accepted as the oldest scriptures (known to be present since beginning of mankind) and are in a way a ‘User Manual’ prescribing how human beings should lead their lives.
All ‘religions’ followed across the world today are only a few thousand years old. They emerged relatively recently considering that humans have existed for more than a million years. The word ‘Hindu’ indeed was coined only about 3,000 years ago (referring to people living towards the East of the famous river ‘Indus’).
Arya Samaj thus propagates the message – ‘Back to Vedas’, which is based on core values of Knowledge, Equality & Recognizing One Supreme Force, i.e. God. Arya Samaj also recognizes that there are multiple interpretations of the Vedic texts, some of them directly in conflict with each other.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati therefore outlined certain key aspects which form an integral part of the Vedic philosophy.