Present in the program are the Governor of Gujarat Shri Acharya Devvrat ji, President of Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha Shri Suresh Chandra Arya ji, President of Delhi Arya Pratinidhi Sabha Shri Dharampal Arya ji, Shri Vinay Arya ji, my cabinet colleagues. Kishan Reddy ji, Meenakshi Lekhi ji and Arjun Ram Meghwal ji, all the delegates, brothers and sisters!
This occasion of Maharishi Dayanand ji's 200th birth anniversary is historic and also an opportunity to write history for the future. This is a moment of inspiration for the future of humanity for the whole world. Swami Dayanand ji’s model was- "Krinvanto Vishwamaryam". That is, we should make the whole world better and we should communicate the best thoughts and humanitarian ideals in the whole world. Therefore, when the world is engulfed in many controversies, violence and instability in the 21st century, the path shown by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati instills hope among crores of people. In such an important time, Arya Samaj is going to celebrate Maharishi Dayanand ji's 200th birth anniversary for two years and I am happy that the Government of India has also decided to celebrate this grand festival. I also got the opportunity to participate in the yagna for the eternal welfare of humanity just now. Acharya ji was telling me that it is my good fortune that I also got the privilege of being born on the holy land on which Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati ji was born. The values and inspiration that I got from that soil continue to draw me towards the ideals of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati. I respectfully bow down at the feet of Swami Dayanand ji and wish you all from the bottom of my heart.
When Maharishi Dayanand ji was born, the country, weakened by centuries of slavery, was losing its aura, glory and self-confidence. Numerous attempts were made every moment to destroy our values, ideals and ethos. When the inferiority complex prevails in a society due to slavery, then it becomes natural for pretension to replace spirituality and faith. We often see a person who lacks self-confidence tries to live on pretension. In such a situation, Maharishi Dayanand ji came forward and revived the understanding of Vedas in social life. He gave direction to the society, proved it with his arguments and repeatedly stressed that the fault is not in India's religion and traditions, but we have forgotten their true nature and are fraught with distortions. You imagine, at a time when attempts were being made to fabricate foreign narratives of our Vedas, many scholars tried to degrade us, corrupt our history and tradition on the basis of those fake interpretations, these efforts of Maharishi Dayanand ji became a universal cure and infused a new life in society. Maharishi ji launched a vigorous campaign against social discrimination, untouchability and other perversions and evils that had taken root in the society. You imagine, even today if I have to point out some evil in society and if I urge people to walk on the path of duty, then some people scold me and say that you talk about duty and not about rights. If this is my condition in the 21st century, then you can imagine the difficulties faced by Maharishi ji 150, 175 or 200 years ago while giving direction to society. Swami ji removed the evils which were blamed on religion with the light of religion itself. And Mahatma Gandhi ji made a very important statement and he took great pride in it. Mahatma Gandhi ji said that- “Our society owes a lot to Swami Dayanand ji. But the declaration against untouchability is the greatest contribution among them”. Maharishi Dayanand ji also emerged as a logical and effective voice against the stereotypes that had flourished in society regarding women. Maharishi ji rejected discrimination against women and launched a campaign for women's education. And it was about 150, 175 or 200 years ago. Even today there are many societies which deprive daughters of education and respect. Swami Dayanand ji had sounded this bugle when equal rights for women was a distant thing even in western countries.
Brothers and sisters,
The arrival of Swami Dayanand Saraswati in that period, his courage to stand up to the challenges of that era, was unusual. In no way it was ordinary. It is because of his presence even today in the journey of the nation that such a huge ocean of people not only from India, but from across the world is taking part in this ceremony. What can be a greater importance of life than this? In the race of life, it is impossible to remain alive in memories even after ten years of death. But Maharishi ji is still among us even after 200 years, and therefore, when India is celebrating the ‘Amrit Kaal’ of independence, the 200th birth anniversary of Maharishi Dayanand ji is a virtuous inspiration. Today the country is religiously moving ahead with the mantras given by Maharishi ji at that time and his dreams for society. Swami ji had appealed then - 'Return to the Vedas’. Today the country is invoking pride in its heritage. Today the country is determined to enrich our traditions while embracing modernity simultaneously. The country is racing towards new heights on the track of heritage as well as development.
Generally, when it comes to religion in the world, its scope is limited only to worship, faith, rituals, etc. But, in the context of India, the meaning and implications of religion are completely different. Vedas have defined religion as a complete way of life. For us, religion is interpreted as duty. Father’s duty, mother’s duty, son’s duty, duty towards nation, religion, period etc are our sentiments. Therefore, the role of our saints and sages was also not limited to worship only. They took upon themselves the responsibility of every aspect of the nation and society with a holistic, inclusive and integrated approach. Sages like Panini enriched the field of language and grammar in our country. Maharishis like Patanjali expanded the field of yoga. Acharyas like Kapil gave a new impetus to intellectualism in philosophy. Many sages from Mahatma Vidura to Bharthari and Acharya Chanakya had defined the ideas of India in policy and politics. Even if we talk about mathematics, India was led by the greatest mathematicians like Aryabhata, Brahmagupta and Bhaskara. None can match their reputation. In the field of science, there are countless names from Kanad and Varahmihir to Charak and Sushrut. When we look at Swami Dayanand ji, we find how big a role he played in reviving that ancient tradition and how wonderful the self-belief must have been in him.
Brothers and sisters,
Swami Dayanand Saraswati ji not only made a way in his life, but he also created many institutions, institutional arrangements and I would say that Swami ji practiced revolutionary ideas in his lifetime and also inspired people to practice the same. But he systematized every idea, institutionalized it and gave birth to institutions. These organizations have been doing many positive works in different fields for decades. Maharishi ji himself had established the Paropakarini Sabha. Even today, this institution is carrying forward the Vedic tradition through publications and Gurukuls. Institutions like Kurukshetra Gurukul, Swami Shraddhanand Trust, or Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Trust have created many youths dedicated to the nation. Similarly, various organizations inspired by Swami Dayanand ji are working for the service of poor children, for their future and this is our culture and tradition. When we see the footage of Turkey's earthquake on TV, we get restless and are in pain. I remember when there was an earthquake in Gujarat in 2001, it was the worst earthquake of the last century, at that time I myself saw the social work of Jeevan Prabhat Trust and its role in relief and rescue work. Everyone worked with the inspiration of Maharishi ji. The seed that was planted by Swami ji is giving shade to the entire humanity today in the form of a huge banyan tree.
During the ‘Amrit Kaal’ of independence, the country is witness to the reforms, which were also the priorities of Swami Dayanand ji. Today we are seeing the policies and efforts of the country without any discrimination. The service of the poor, backward and downtrodden is the first yagna for the country today. Preference to the underprivileged, house for every poor, respect for him, medical care for every person, better facilities, nutrition for all, opportunities for all, this mantra of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas' has become a resolution of the country. The country has taken rapid steps in the direction of women empowerment in the last nine years. Today the daughters of the country are involved in nation building in every role ranging from defence and security to start-ups without any discrimination. Now daughters are being posted in Siachen and they are also flying Rafale fighter planes. Our government has also removed the ban on the admission of girls in military schools. Along with modern education, Swami Dayanand ji had also advocated the education system molded in the Indian environment through Gurukuls. The country has now strengthened its foundation as well through the new National Education Policy.
Swami Dayanand ji had given us another mantra on how to live life. Swami ji had in very simple words defined who is mature after all? Who would you call mature? Swami ji made a very poignant remark: “The person who receives the least and contributes the most is mature”. You can imagine how he defined such a serious issue in a very simple manner. His life mantra offers solutions to many challenges today. It can also be seen in the context of the environment. How did Mararishi ji contemplate this in that century when nobody could imagine global warming and climate change? This lies in the religious texts of our Vedas. Many scriptures in the Vedas, which are considered to be the most ancient, are dedicated to nature and environment. Swami ji deeply understood that knowledge of Vedas and expanded their universal messages during his period. Maharishi ji was a disciple of the Vedas and a saint of the path of knowledge. Therefore, his realization was far ahead of his time.
Brothers and sisters,
Today, when the world is debating sustainable development, the path shown by Swamiji puts the ancient philosophy of life of India in front of the world and offers it as a solution. India is playing the role of a torchbearer in the field of environment for the world today. Based on this vision of harmony with nature, we have established 'Global Mission LiFE' and it means Lifestyle for Environment. This Lifestyle for Environment is also the beginning of a life mission. It is a matter of pride for us that the countries of the world have entrusted the responsibility of the G-20 presidency to India in this important period. We are taking forward the environment as a special agenda for the G-20. Arya Samaj can play an important role in these important campaigns of the country. You can easily take up the responsibility of connecting people with modern perspectives and duties along with our ancient philosophy. As described by Acharyaji, we have to take the comprehensive campaign related to natural farming to every village. Acharyaji is very devoted to this issue. We have to take natural farming, cow-based farming, again to villages. I would urge that a sacrifice should be made for this resolution in the Yagna of Arya Samaj. Another such global appeal has been made by India and that is millets, coarse grains, bajra, jowar etc. with which we are familiar. In order to make millets a global identity, we have coined ‘Shri Anna’. This year, the United Nations is also celebrating the International Millet Year. Since we believe in the Yagna culture, we offer the best in sacrifice in Yagna. Coarse grains like barley or Shree Anna have an important role in our Yagnas. We use in Yagna which is best for us. Therefore, along with Yagna, we should also make the new generation aware to include all coarse grains – ‘Shree Anna’ as a part of their daily diet. You can do this easily.
Brothers and sisters,
We get to learn a lot from the personality of Swami Dayanand ji. He ignited the flame of patriotism in many freedom fighters. It is said that an English officer came to meet him and asked him to pray for the perpetuity of British rule in India. Swami ji's fearless answer was: "Independence is my soul and the voice of India, this is what I love. I can never pray for a foreign empire”. Numerous freedom fighters and revolutionaries like Lokmanya Tilak, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Veer Savarkar, Lala Lajpat Rai, Lala Hardayal, Shyamji Krishna Verma, Chandrashekhar Azad, Ramprasad Bismil were inspired by Maharishi ji. Many personalities, including Mahatma Hansraj ji who started Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School, Swami Shraddhanand ji who founded Gurukul Kangri, Bhai Parmanand ji, Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, got inspiration from Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Arya Samaj has the legacy of all those inspirations of Maharishi Dayanand ji. You have inherited that legacy. And therefore, the country also has a lot of expectations from all of you. There is expectation from every Aryaveer of Arya Samaj. I am sure Arya Samaj will continue to organize these yagnas for the nation and the society, and will continue to spread the light of the yagna for humanity. It will be the 150th year of the establishment of Arya Samaj next year. Both these occasions are important occasions. And Acharya ji also mentioned the 100th death anniversary of Swami Shraddhanand ji. In a way, it is the confluence of three rivers. Maharishi Dayanand ji himself was the light of knowledge. May we all become the light of this knowledge! May the ideals and values for which he lived and spent his life continue to be part of our life and inspire us for the welfare of Mother India and crores of countrymen in the future! Today I also congratulate all the great personalities of Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. I had the privilege to see the arrangements for this program for about 10-15 minutes. You deserve appreciation for the planning and management of this program.
Many best wishes to all of you!
Thanks a lot!