Intro

Arya Samaj (Arya Society or Society of the Noble) is among the most popular reform movements in Hinduism, founded by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati on April 7th, 1875 in Bombay, India. The followers of this movement call themselves Arya Samajees. The word Arya means a noble human being, one who is thoughtful and charitable, who thinks good thoughts and does good deeds - he or she is an Arya. Dayanand strongly believed in the inerrant authority of the Vedas and propagated the philosophy of karma (the sum of all that an individual has done, is currently doing and will do; that impacts the past, present and future) and reincarnation, and the ideals of sanyasa (renunciation) and brahmacharya (chastity). He vehemently opposed all beliefs that he believed had no foundation in the Vedas.

Doctrine

Hence the Arya Samaj unequivocally condemns iconolatry, animal sacrifices, ancestor worship, pilgrimages, priestcraft, offerings made in temples, the caste system, untouchability and child marriages, on the grounds that all these lacked Vedic sanction and had no basis in Vedic scriptures. The pursuit of Dharma, which is the underlying order in nature that signifies 'the way things are' and ethically means 'right way of living' or 'proper conduct,' especially in a religious sense, is at the centre of the Arya  Samaj. It strives to do good to all and promotes physical, spiritual and social wellbeing. The goal of the Arya Samaj is, Krinvanto Vishvam Aryam - Make This World Noble.

Arya Samaj Today

The Arya Samaj always aimed at becoming a worldwide church with its sole basis in the authority of the Vedas. Dayananda once remarked that his desire was ‘to make the whole world Arya’. As a result, the Arya Samaj is a missionary and evangelical form of Hinduism, in direct contrast to the majority of other Hindu faith. Arya Samaj is a global organisation having about 8000 odd Arya Samaj units popularly known as Arya Samaj Temples, but not with an orthodox appearance. They are rather offices to enable philanthropic activities undertaken by the team in the society.

In the UK, Arya Samajees are in London and Birmingham, and consequently this is where majority of the followers of Arya Samaj in Britain can be found. Unfortunately, no statistics exist on exactly how many adherents of the faith live in Britain.

 

 

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