Swami Dayanand Saraswati
Swami Dayanand Saraswati was born in 1824 in Tankara, Gujarat, India to a rich family devoted to Lord Siva. He was named Moolashankar and had a pet name Dayaram. From very early age he was religious but he was not happy with superficial rituals. He traveled wide through forests and mountains all by himself in search of the true meaning of the Vedas and in search of a suitable Guru and faced several ordeals, causing harm to his body. He met Sanyasis in various places, and one Swami Poornanada initiated him into the order of Sanyasis and he was named Swami Dayananda Saraswathi. He was offered positions for managing Mutts where he lived but he refused saying he wanted Spiritual wealth and not Material wealth. So he wandered further to find a true Guru, at last he found a blind Guru Virajananda Dandeesha in 1960 at the age of thirty six.
In spite of harsh treatment, he found great inspiration in his Guru’s teachings and knowledge even though he was blind. The Guru was impressed by the earnestness and enthusiasm of Swami Dayananda and ordered him to go and preach true Vedic knowledge to people. With the help of some princes he founded the Arya Samaj in 1876 with the main object of eradicating evils and dogmas of the Hindu Society and slowly established several centres, schools, gurukulas etc.
He worked for the emancipation of women, he joined the Indian Freedom Movement and several leaders became his followers in Punjab and Gujarat. He was poisoned by the British but he got rid of it through his yogic powers. There are many stories of his miraculous strength and will power, he had a command of the Gujarati language but wrote many books in Hindi. He refused to go abroad and hoped the Light of India will automatically spread to other places. He was a great reformer, who for the first time introduced conversion into Hinduism to those who wanted to embrace it, and prevented many Hindus to embrace other religions out of ignorance and material greediness. He believed in the fundamentals of the Vedas and not in superficial rituals of religion. He died in 1883 with the words OM on his lips during the last moments with many of his disciples by his side.