Shri Maharshi Swami Dayananda Saraswati Maharaj (1824-1883)
Size: 18 x 14.2 in (45.7 x 36.1 cm)
Date of printing: 1890s
The philosopher Dayananda Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj, a Vedic reform movement denouncing idolatry and ritualistic worship. He was the first to call Swaraj “India for Indians” in 1876, later popularized by Lokmanya Tilak. The two philosophers Sri Aurobindo and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, President of India from 1962 to 1967, called him one of the “Makers of Modern India”.
Dayanand spent nearly twenty-five years as a wandering ascetic, searching for religious truth. He gave up material goods and devoted himself to spiritual pursuits in the forest. His views and writings influenced many like Subhash Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai, Ram Prasad Bismil; Mahadev Govind Ranade, Madam Cama, Vinayak Savarkar, Madan Lala Dhingra, Bhagat Singh and others. This further fuelled the freedom movement in India.