Wednesday, November 29, 2023




Published in Vedic Magazine for September 1924.

Reproduced by Dr.Vivek Arya

After the release of Mr. M. K. Gandhi his views on Hindu-Muslim Unity were eagerly awaited by disunited India. In the issue of Young India dated the 29th, May 1924, Mr. Gandhi takes up this "question of questions" and writes on it at considerable length covering more than ten pages of his paper.

Discussing the causes of Hindu-Muslim tension, Mr. Gandhi under-estimates  the case for Hindus and over-estimates that for Muslims. It may be due to his modest belonging as he does to Hinduism. But from a great man like him truer apportionment of guilt was expected as it is feared that his position may make the case for Hindus look weaker than it really is.

Discussing the causes of tension he dilates on "growing distrust.   However, while he dismisses Bari Sahib as "A simple child of God" and for that reason would not worry M. Abdul Bari about writings which have been shown to Mr. Gandhi and not understood by him. And while he characterizes Maulana Shaukat Ali as" One of the bravest of men capable of immense sacrifice" and would love the Ali Brothers "in spite of their faults." It is reserved for his pointed shafts to attack Swami Shraddhanand.

This in itself would have been of not much consequence to us as the two Mahatmas - as Swami Ji was also a Mahatma before becoming a Sanyasi-would have settled accounts between themselves. But in dealing with Swami Ji Mr. Gandhi has gone out of his way and uttered numerous obiter dicta (incidental remarks) about the Arya Samaj and its founder. However, similar observations are not made about Islam and its founder while dealing with Muslim personages. But it seems Mr. Gandhi strikes at Swami Shraddhanand as he hopes to strike the Arya Samaj at the same time; as the Punjab Government struck for that purpose at Lala Lajpat Rai in 1907 (as observed by Mr. Nevinson in his New Spirit in India, (Chapter on Arya Samaj). 

The protests from the Arya Samaj only bring forth further reiteration of the charges in the issue of the Young India of 5th June 1924. The first charge against the Swami Ji is" unfortunately he believes in the possibility of bringing every Muslim into the Aryan fold." We rub our eyes to see the possibility of Muslims becoming Vedic Dharmists being characterised as "Unfortunate," and that by a Hindu "Mahatma".  We fail to see where does misfortune comes in this. Does not Mr. Gandhi believe in the possibility of bringing every Indian into the Non-Co-operation fold? Is it unfortunate? And what is non-co-operation as compared with Vedic Dharam that embraces in its loving fold the whole of the Universe. For does not the sacred Veda say:

यथेमां वाचं कल्याणीमावदानि जनेभयः ।

ब्रह्मराजन्याभ्या थं शूद्राय चार्याय च चारणाय ॥

i. e., "as I have given this word which is the word of salvation for all mankind-Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishas, Sudras, women, servants, aye even the lowest of the low--so should you all do i.e., teach and preach the Veda."

The second fault of the Swami is, "He is hasty and easily ruffled." The Swami would have replied to it but in the very next sentence it is said. "He inherits the traditions of Arya Samaj." 

I do not know whence Mr. Gandhi has this idea that Arya Samaj is hasty and easily ruffled. The Samaj was founded in 1875, close upon 50 years ago. Have its actions shown haste? Has it not patiently preached its doctrines, converted people to its way of thinking with systematic and naturally slow propaganda ?

Does it lie in the mouth of a politician, who wanted to remove all ills-political and politico-social including untouchability with which India is suffering, in one single year, to accuse of hasty action against a body of patient and much-maligned people who have been plodding their weary social and religious way these fifty years.

Then there is the charge of being easily ruffled. Mr. Gandhi says in Young India of 5th June that, "I have not written a single word in reference to the Samaj or Rishi Dayanand or Swami Shraddhanand ji without deep consideration." May I humbly ask Mr. Gandhi where is the evidence of the Arya Samaj being easily ruffled? Does he know that in 1897 no less a beloved preacher of Arya Samaj than Pandit Lekhram was assassinated by a miscreant? Was Samaj ruffled thereby? Did it behave improperly? Does Mr. Gandhi remember that the Samaj was hard hit in 1907 when many of the Samajists were imprisoned and one of the most respected of them, I mean Mr. Gandhi's friend Lala. Lajpat Rai, was deported? Was the Samaj ruffled then and did it act ignobly? To my mind the charge of being hasty and easily ruffled against the Arya Samaj is, to say the least baseless.

From Swami Shraddhanand Mr. Gandhi passes on to Swami Dayanand and says, "he made his Hinduism narrow." Let us see if there be any truth in this charge. Happily a picture of the times just before the advent of Swami Dayanand is preserved for us. It is from the pen of a master-mind. Says Keshab Chander Sen the great Brahmo Leader: 

"Look at yourselves, enchained to custom, deprived of freedom, lorded over by an ignorant and crafty priesthood your better sense and better feelings all smothered, under the crushing weight of Look at your homes, your wives and sisters, your mothers and daughters, immured within the dungeon of the Zenana ignorant of the outside world, little better than slaves, whose charter of liberty of thought and action has been ignored. Look at your social constitution and customs, the mass of enervating, demoralizing, and degrading curses they are working. Watch your daily life, where almost at every turn you meet with some demand for the sacrifice of your conscience, some temptation to hypocrisy, some obstacle to your improvement and true happiness. Say, from your own experience whether the spiritual government under which you live is not despotism of the most galling and revolting type, oppressive to the body, injurious to the mind, and deadly to the soul? Are you not yoked to some horrid customs of which you feel ashamed and which to say the least are scandal to reason and have you not often sighed and panted for immediate deliverance? Are you not required to pass through a daily routine of social and domestic concerns against which your educated ideas and cultivated tastes perpetually protest and considering the sum total of mischief and misery caused by Hinduism to its followers, religiously, socially, and physically have you not often wept bitterly in solitude for your hard lot and that of your countrymen ? Has Dayanand narrowed this Hinduism or has he expanded the same?

Swami Dayanand lays down the following as the definition of religion.

"That which is devoid of partiality, which inculcates justice and equity, which teaches truthfulness of thought, speech and deed, in a word that which is in conformity with the will of God as embodied in the Vedas even that I call Dharam."

In Satyarth Prakash which is a disappointing book to Mr. Gandhi Swami Dayanand lays down, "The class and order of an individual should be determined by his merits" (vide Light of Truth, page 622).

A short anecdote from his biography would give a more comprehensive idea of Swami Dayanand's belief on the subject :

"One day when Rev. Dr. Hooper took chair opposite to Swamiji, the Rev. gentleman put two questions to Swamiji..... ........The second question was as regards "caste system "in the Vedas. Swamiji replied that in the Vedas, division of classes was according to guna (qualities) and Karma (actions). The Rev. Gentleman, "If my qualities and actions be good, can I then be called a Brahman?" Swamiji. "Certainly, if your qualities and actions be those of a Brahman you will also be called a Brahman" (vide Biography in Urdu by Pandit Lekhram pages 304-306). Now is it making Hinduism narrow or wider? But we forget, there are political leaders and religious Maulanas who believe and preach that even a saint if he happens to be a Non-Muslim is to be rated lower than the blackest sinner who simply affirms his belief in the prophet of Arabia. These be the leaders who are making nationality and religion wide while Dayanand must be accused of trying "to make narrow one of the most tolerant and liberal of the faiths on the face of the Earth" by opening wide its gates to all and sundry and even regarding non-Hindus good Hindus if their actions are such.

Mr. Gandhi continues "I have read Satyarth Prakash the Arya Samaj Bible." Mr. Gandhi while commenting on the protest of the Arya

Samaj in Young India of 5th: June states, that, consistently with truth he could not suppress his opinion. May I respectfully enquire of the Mahatma on what evidence he states the Satyarth Prakash as the Bible of the Arya Samaj? Pray, can he support this statement from the principles of the Arya Samaj or from any of its authoritative literature? If anything, the protest against Pouranic Hinduism was started by Swami Dayanand's guru Swami Virjanandji regarding the later day works. The only book which is considered स्वतः प्रमाण "Final authority is the Veda and Veda alone. In the 3rd principle of the Arya Samaj  the study of Veda alone is enjoined. Thus Veda alone can be described as the Arya Samaj Bible. The very name shows that Satyarth Prakash brings "to light true meanings" of the Veda. 

However, Mr. Gandhi, "has not read a more disappointing book from a reformer so great."

In the first place,  may I take the liberty of asking Mr. Gandhi if the expression of his opinion was as relevant as it could not be left out consistently with truth-as this is the reason given by Mr. Gandhi in Young India of 5th: June for unburdening himself about Arya Samaj and its founder.

In the second place,  I may point out that this is simply an opinion and Mr. Gandhi has not seen fit to support it by any reasons. His opinion may be matched with scores of others to the contrary from equally eminent persons. It is a well known fact that the late Pundit Gurudatt Vidyarthi M. A., an eminent philosopher-scientist of his times who died young and whose writings attracted attention even in European countries was never tired of saying that he always found more and more precious gems as he repeated his readings of the Satyarth Prakash for 13 times.

 I need not write here that only the last 4 chapters of Satyarth Prakash examine in detail the prevalent religions and to remove whatever questionableis there in them to set up the true religion detailed in the first ten chapters.

The Vedic Dharam being the first religion in the world it is evident that other religions were introduced to meet the contingencies of the time owing to decline of Vedic Dharam. But these later religions  got mixed up with much what was irrational-the truth remaining the same as in the pure Vedic Teachings. Thus the task of Swami Dayanand was to separate the grain from the husk and the chaff. And if the accretions in other religions were pointed out more prominently it was simply to serve the purpose of bringing mankind to the pure primitive religion of the Vedas. Thus Mr. Gandhi's point that Swami Dayanand unconsciously misrepresented other religions loses its force.

To show what Satyarth Prakash is I shall content myself by quoting only one paragraph from it. It runs as follows:-

Since the time of Swayambhava to that of Pandavas, the Aryas were the paramount power throughout the world. Thereafter, mutual dissensions among them caused their destruction. For in this world over which a just God presides, the rule of the proud, the unjust and the ignorant (such as the Kauravas were) cannot last very long. It is also a law of nature that the accumulation of wealth in a community out of all proportion to its needs and requirements brings in its train indolence, jealousy, mutual hatred, lustfulness, luxury and neglect of duty which put an end to all sound learning and education whose place is usurped by evil customs, manners and practices like the use of meat and wine, child marriage and licentiousness."

(11th Chapter of Satyarth Prakash.)

These words remind me of similar observations by Lord Morley. Perhaps his works may not be disappointing to Mr. Gandhi. Lord Morley writes in "On Compromise" "under such conditions with new wealth come luxury and love of ease and that fatal readiness to believe that God has placed us in the best possible worlds, which so lowers men's aims and unstrings their firmness of purpose. Pleasure saps high interests, and the weakening of high interests leaves more undisputed room for pleasure. Management and compromise appear among the permitted arts, because they tend to comfort, and comfort is the end comprehending all ends," Such insight into the causes of a nation's downfall as is shown by the observations of Swami Dayanand in the passage quoted above will alone make the book worth reading. But those, who must have unity at any cost even if one of the two communities of which unity is sought is to go to the wall, can see nothing but disappointing reading in the same. Further on, a curious charge is brought against Swami Dayanand. It is said that "Iconoclast though he was, he has succeeded in installing idolatry in the subtlest form. For he has idolised the letters of the Vedas and tried to prove the existence in the Vedas of everything known to Science."

If this be idolatry none can escape being idolater.  Not even the Muslim, who is "brave and " generous and trusting " and is never tired of boasting of his monotheism though coupling the name of God in the same breath with that of the Prophet, can escape being idolater as he believes in the letter of the Quran. So is the case of Christians and what  would you say to this a Sikh who holds Granth Sahib in such veneration and showers flowers on the same.

If believing in the letter of scientific treatise is to be dubbed as idolatry even the most exacting scientist who may be an agnostic or verily an atheist would be styled as an idolater. It is amazing that a clear thinker and a truth-lover like Mr. Gandhi can advance such arguments when pressed to attain his object of 455the? moment.

Mr. Gandhi observes "the Arya Samaj flourishes in my humble opinion not because of the inherent teachings of Satyarth Prakash but because of the grand and lofty character of the founder. "

An irreverent man would say that the observation holds good to the very letter as regards Mr. Gandhi's non-co-operation movement. If there has been any success in it,  it has been due to the grand and lofty character of its founder and not to any intrinsic value of its principles. As regards the Arya Samaj its belief is that its success is mainly due to the sublime teachings of the Vedas. For was not the founder's whole life lived in those teachings.? The Samaj also believes that Satyarth Prakash does its work in introducing the seeker to the true meaning of the Veda.

Mr. Gandhi's parting shot to the Arya Samajists is "having the narrow outlook and a pugnacious habit they either quarrel with people of other denominations and failing them, with one another."

The sentence, without changing a single syllable can be fittingly applied to the disciples of Mr. Gandhi himself both of the Non-changer? and the Swarajist types.

Is this the way of removing Hindu-Muslim tension? A man as well may abuse his relatives to bring about unity amongst his friends. Is it their narrow outlook that compels Arya Samajists to run to meet every misfortune that befalls Indians whether it be a famine or some other devastation? Was it their narrow outlook that compelled them to go to prison in large numbers for the cause of even Khilafat ?

Mr. Gandhi says, "My own experience but confirms the opinion that the Musalman as a rule is a bully, and the Hindu as coward." Now the fact is that an Arya Samajist cannot take anything lying down. He has courage and puts a good doze of it in every Hindu who comes into his contact and makes him able to hold his own against the Muslim bully. But what irony of fate. That even this habit of his is to be characterised as pugnacious. Truly said Adam to Orlando: What a world is this when what is comely envenoms him that bears it." a rule is a?

The Arya Samaj and its founder have consistently preached that Cow-protection is an economic problem and has thus brought it down from religious plane. For this I have to refer Mr. Gandhi to the disappointing book Satyarth Prakash (Light of Truth pages 367-360) Swami Dayanand's another booklet Gokarunanidhi is also on the subject. 

Muslims ought to have been thankful to Arya Samajists for thus taking out the religious sting of this thorny question; but no, Arya Samajists are worst obstacles to the Hindu-Muslim Unity. This is not a new story but an old one. As Arya Samaj stands for the rights and the honour of Hindus-majority of whom are not tolerant and liberal as styled by Mr. Gandhi but only look so as they are inert and pusillanimous and hence must be abused and maligned. 

Under the heading Shuddhi and Tabligh, Mr. Gandhi states that "the Arya Samaj preacher is never as happy as when he is reviling other religions."

Will the great Mahatma be pleased to give instances when he observed this tendency. Or is it based all on hearsay, as is his other statement that Arya Samajists virtually kidnap women and try to convert them. Again no instances are given. If it would have been true that Aryas and Hindus try to convert women to their faith it would have been welcomed. As it would have saved so many Hindu girls being kidnapped and turned into Moslems and Christians, because then the non-Hindus would have learnt that the same game would be played by Hindus as well. The only misfortune is that-thank to caste prejudices amongst Hindus-such is not the thing. There are several other points which deserve examination but I leave them all except one for want of space at my disposal.

The one that I consider very important is Mr. Gandhi's opinion, "There is no such thing as proselytism in Hinduism as it is undersood in Christianity or to a lesser extent in Islam. The Arya Samaj I think copied the Christians in planning its propaganda."

 It is strange that of all persons Mahatma Gandhi wants to make Hinduism a close preserve for those who are born as such. Can this make Hinduism a Universal religion. On the point I quote from a Muslim writer of some reputation in Northern India. Writes the late Khan Bahadur Mohammed Zakaullah Khan in a learned thesis on, Religious Progress under British rule":

The Samaj (Arya) has washed away from skirts of Hinduism the stain of non-admittance of men of other religions into its fold. In 1852 when Professor Ram Chandra was to accept Christianity renouncing Hinduism, then was at Delhi a learned Pandit from Benares staying at the garden of Madhodas. The Hindus requested the Professor to see the Pandit and have a discussion with him. The Professor with a large multitude of Hindus went to the Pandit who asked him to explain the objection as he had against Hinduism. The latter replied that he could not believe that the Hindu religion was on behalf of God because God's religion ought to be the same for the inhabitants of the whole world and every man could be admitted into it. But the Hindu religion was monopolised by the Hindus of Bharat Khanda (India) only and no man of any other religion could enter it. The Pandit gave a shillyshallying reply that carried no weight. This stain the Arya Samaj has removed and it admits any and every body into its fold." (Translation of an extract taken from Urdu Vernacular Matriculation text prescribed for Allahabad University Matriculation, year 1909, 1910. Third edition pages 68-71).

This is what a Muslim writer of note observes.

Does Mr. Gandhi consider Jains and Budhists to be Hindus? Did they carry on no proselytism? If they were not Hindus did not Hindus reconvert thousands of Buddhists of India to Hinduism ? The Modern Review has recently published a case of reconversion of a Muslim in the times of Shivaji. Were Christian Missionaries carrying on their propaganda of proselytism at the time in India ? Is there any proof of the Samaj copying Christian methods in this respect? Or is any argument good enough to discredit the work of the Arya Samaj ?

Even if there was no proselytism in Hinduism-and that might be for the reason that there was no other religion in India, or for the matter of that in the world older than Hinduism, an intrepid reformer like Mr. Gandhi should not object to new ways and means being found for the people to once more come into the fold of their forefather's religion.

I have presented the facts according to my humble light. May I hope that Mr. Gandhi be pleased to revise his views and do justice to a community that is bearing the brunt of reformation in India without requesting any special concessions in the shape of reserved seats in councils or services of the country.

In 1907 there was an effort to crush the Samaj. It came out unscathed of the same. In 1924 there is again an effort to crush it out and this time the services of the most popular leader in India have been enlisted for the purpose.

But the Arya Samaj has always believed in the religion of love and devotion. For does not the great God command in his Veda

समीक्षामहि सर्वाणि  i. e. "Look upon all with the eye of a friend.

It has always thought with Lord Morley that "Morality is the nature of things" ( सत्यमेव जयति नानृतम)

And these convictions of its in addition to giving it a giant's strength have rendered useless to have Tokios and Angeras to fall back upon in times of need.

Surely those who think that the Samaj wonld succumb to this new peresecution are destined to be woefully disappointed. For so long as the Samaj walks in the footsteps of its great founder.

"One who never turned his back but marched breast forward Never doubted clouds would break, Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph, Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake"- For so long I say even the worst vilification would have no terrors for its members.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023



Dharamdev Vidyamartand 

(Published in Vedic Magazine September 1924, Ashwin 1981)

 My Brahma Samaj friends with whom I generally come in contact now, while admitting that Arya Samajists are rational in most of their doctrines, find fault with us mainly in the matter of using sacred thread. They fail to understand why we, who are deadly opposed to all sorts of idolatry, attach so much significance to the use of the Yajnopavita, which according to them is superstitious thing (irrational), denoting a particular caste? Even amongst us, the majority do not know why the authors of Smrities have regarded Yajnopavita as a sacred symbol. Let me explain today the significance of this sacred symbol as I understand it.

The first question that presents itself before us in this connection is whether there is any sanction for the use of Yajnopavita in the Vedas or not. In answer to it, I have only to say that in Yajurveda Ch. 16 verse 17 the words "उपवीनिते पुष्तानां पतये नम:' clearly occur which means Let us bow before using  Yajnopavita who is powerful. The adjective "उपवीति" has a clear reference to the use of the sacred thread for good people. In the Rigveda also "युवा सुवासा: परिवीत आगात्" these words we come across in 318 where परिवित may be interpreted as either wrapped in clothes or wearing Yajnopavita as Rishi Dayananda has explained it in the Satyarth Prakash. Then in the Brahmacharya Sukta of the Atharvaveda (11/5), we read about the Upanayana ceremony as follows: -

आचार्य उपनयमानो ब्रह्मचारिणं कृणुते गर्भमन्तः ॥ Atharva 11-5-3 i. e. The Acharya while performing the Upanayana Sanskar of a Brahmachari investing him with sacred thread and initiating him into Gayatri keeps him, so to speak, in his own womb. Unmistakable reference to the Upanayana can not be denied in this Mantra. It is not for the Veda Sanhitas to give details of the Sanskaras. That is the function of Brahmanas and Grah Sutras which all agree in giving a prominent place to the use of the sacred thread in Upanayana ceremony. So much for sacred thread from the standpoint of the original Veda. As for the Brahmanas and the Sutras, the sanction for the use of the Yajnopavita there, is beyond the least shadow of a doubt. The well-known verse quoted in the Sanskarvidhi from the following Mantra  is worth mentioning. 

यज्ञोपवीतं परमं पवित्रं प्रजापतेर्यत्सहजं पुरस्तात् ।
आयुष्यमग्यं प्रतिमुञ्च शुभ्रं यशोपवीतं बलमस्तु तेजः ॥

In this verse the Yajnopavita has been regarded as a sacred symbol and the cause of longevity, strength and vigour. Let us see now who are entitled to use this sacred symbol. In northern India the right of the first three Varnas for using sacred thread is not called into question even by the most orthodox people. According to the orthodox section or the Hindu community those, persons born in the Shudra or the untouchable castes and females - are not entitled to use the sacred thread and to study the Holy Scriptures-the Vedas. Here in Southern India Brahmanas alone have tried to monopolize the Vedic lore. They claim that they only are entitled to study the Vedas and also to use sacred thread which is a symbol there of as subsequently explained. In Bangalore and other places I have challenged the Brahmanas to quote even a single authority from the Shastras in support of their claim but none has yet ventured to take up the gauntlet thrown by me. They admit that their claim is founded not on the Shastric authority but on tradition. What I have to say on this subject is, that all persons of good character who are intelligent enough to understand the Vedas have a right to use the sacred thread. In the Parashar Grihya Sutra we are told "शूद्रा णाम दुष्ट कर्म णामुपनयनम्  " i. e. the Upanayana of even the persons born in the Shudra family who are of good character is sanctioned by the Shastras. Wherever there is a prohibition, it is for Shudras who may be characterized as follows:

सर्वभक्षरतिर्नित्यं, सर्वकर्म करोऽशुचिः | त्यक्तवेदस्त्तवनाचार: स वै शूद्र इति स्मृत:||.

Mahabharat, Shanti Parva, Ch. 189.

That is to say-The Shudra is he who eats all sorts of things and does all sorts of works; who is unclean and without character who has given up the study of the Veda. In whatever family such a man may be born he is a Shudra. Yes, indeed such persons are not entitled to study the Holy Scriptures. Even if they are taught the sacred books, they will try to fulfil their self interest and nothing else. As for the females, it is needless to say that in ancient times, that in ancient India they were enjoying not only the right to  study the Vedas but also of being seers and propagators of Vedic truths. That they used the sacred thread after their Upanayana ceremony is clear from the following passages found in the Harita, Yama and some other Smritis.

द्विविधाः स्त्रियो ब्रह्मवादिन्यः सद्योवध्वश्च । तत्र ब्रह्मवादिनीनामु. पनयनमग्नीन्धनं वेदाध्ययनं स्वगृहे भिक्षाचर्येति । पुराकाले कुमा रीणां मौञ्जी बन्धनमिष्यते । अध्यापनं च वेदानां, सावित्रीबचनं तथा ॥ i. e., women are of two kinds, Brahma Vadinis and Sadyovadhus. In the case of the Brahmavadinis, Upanayana Sanskar is to be performed and then they are to be taught the Vedas, perform Agnihotra and to beg alms at their own homes. In ancient days such a thing was commonly  practiced. In the Gobhil and Parashar Grihya Sutra also we come across passages like ' प्रावृतां यज्ञोपवीतिनीमभ्युदानयन् जपेत सोमोऽद्द् गन्त्रवयिति स्त्रिय उपनीता अनुपनीताश्च' where the words यज्ञोपवीतिनी and  उपनीता used as adjectives for females clearly indicate that in good old days they had every right to the sacred thread. It is also important  to note here, that among the Parsis even to this day both males and females use sacred thread which they call as Kushti. 

Now to come to the main question of the significance of the Yajnopavita. The reason why I have discussed the subject of the right of using the sacred thread at such a length is to show that it does not denote a particular caste. Why then do we regard it as a sacred symbol? It is because the Yajnopavita reminds us of our duties and responsibilities. I need not say again that the custom of using the Yajnopavita of six threads that is in vogue in some parts is not Shastric. It is all fabrication of the Pauranic age when women were debarred from the study of the Vedas and the use of the sacred thread. It seems the householders took upon themselves the right of their wives and even to this day are seen wearing Yajnopavita of six threads though it is not sanctioned by the Shastras as far as I can say. What I am going to say, therefore, is based on this conception of the Yajnopavita of three threads. In my opinion the Yajnopavita mainly denotes the following things. 

(1) The study of the Vedas  chiefly deals with knowledge.  The Vedas are four in number and are also referred to as त्रयी विद्या. Everyone who is invested with sacred thread must make it a point to study the Vedas to the best of his ability.

(2) Yajnopavita is a symbol to remind us of our duty of preserving threefold purity, involving the purity of (1) body (2) mind and (3) tongue. It is enjoined upon every Arya to keep up this threefold purity without which he is no Arya at all. 

(3) Yajnopavita is a sacred symbol to put us in mind of three sorts of debts or obligations (ऋण) which are known as देवऋण, ऋषिऋण and पितृऋण. God has created Sun, Moon, Stars, and these wonderful things for our benefit, so we are under His obligation, to get rid of which we have to devote heart and soul to His contemplation and to please Him by our selfless actions done for the good of the humanity at large. Seers and sages  have put us under their obligation by bequeathing to us Sacred Books like the Upanishads by reading which we can attain the knowledge of the Brahman to a certain extent. We are highly indebted to our parents who have undergone many discomforts and inconveniences in bringing us up.

(4) Yajnopavita is a symbol denoting threefold peace. Peace is of three kinds which is known in the Shastras as अध्यात्मिक, आधिभौतिक  and आधिदैविक or representing respectively individual, social and cosmic peace. It is the duty of every Arya who claims to be the follower of the Vedic Dharma and for that purpose uses Yajnopavita, his utmost to establish this threefold peace. Though it is not entirely in our hands to establish cosmic peace, yet if individuals and societies follow the righteous path, the cosmic peace will surely be established, as cyclones, floods and earthquakes etc. are the results of national or social collective sins. Nothing happens arbitrarily in this world. The whole world, material as well as moral is being governed by the Supreme Power and Intelligence by whatever name men may call Him.

(5) Yajnopavita is a sacred symbol that may remind us of our duty of developing ourselves harmoniously. Harmonious development consists in the growth of body, mind and soul going side by side. It should be the aim of every Arya to develop himself harmoniously by adopting all possible means for the growth of the physical, mental and spiritual powers.

(6) Yajnopavita is a sacred symbol which reminds us of . ज्ञान (knowledge) कर्म (selfless actions or Yajnas) and भक्ति (devotion).  Though generally these three are supposed to be quite separate paths independent of each other, yet according to the Vedic Dharma all  three are essential and they are not opposed to each other. None of them is sufficient to lead us to God separately. Knowledge without action and devotion is like a lame person. Action and devotion without knowledge may be compared to the blind persons who are not in a position to lead us to our destination. Let then all the Aryas while using sacred thread remember each day that it is their primary duty to aim at attaining God by following this threefold path of knowledge, action and devotion that must go side by side, never in opposite directions.

To sum up-these and similar other duties of the Aryas are symbolized by three threads of the Yajnopavita. We are entirely mistaken if we think that the mere use of the sacred thread raises us to a higher level or is in itself a meritorious act of any value. Manu - the Law giver warns us against such a notion saying in clear terms 'न लिङ्ग धर्म कारणम्' i.e. a symbol is not the cause of Dharma. I may even say that not to use sacred thread and such other symbols does not make a man sinner only on that account. But  in view of the significance of this sacred symbol as indicated above, I would like to boldly say that it helps us to lead a pure life and discharge our duties to a certain extent and is to be used by us for that reason. But are not idols or images helpful in the same way to remind us of God someone boldly questions me?. My answer is in the emphatic 'no.' An inanimate object like an image which is the making of an artist, prepared out of clay. stone, iron or gold has not the least similarity with God who is All-Bliss, All-Knowledge and All-Power. Sun, moon, stars, mountains and seas etc. which are the direct wonderful creation of God can remind us of their creator in a far better way than the making of an artist. Moreover, God being Omnipresent and Formless cannot have any image at all. But in the case of the Yajnopavita no such objection  can be raised with any sense. Ordinary human beings who are apt to forget their duties and responsibilities so often can not altogether dispense with symbols. Even to persons of higher type symbols are often helpful. It is not without any reason that all nations and people of all denominations use symbols of some sort. What is after all a National flag? Is it not a symbol of simplicity, unity and peace as explained by Mahatma Gandhi? What is a Cross which Christians generally use to remind them of their Master? Is it not a symbol ? Undoubtedly these are useful symbols and we should not find fault with the people of other nations and religious denominations so far as they make use of symbols that are innocent in themselves with no evil motives. Persons like Vedic Sanyasis who have risen far above the necessity of being reminded of their duties and responsibilities by outward symbols can (according to the Shastras) easily dispense with even such sacred symbols as the Yajnopavita. This exposition of the significance of the sacred thread, I believe will satisfy even the most sceptic people and will convince them of its utility as a sacred symbol if only they are not intent upon rejecting every such explanation.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

हैदराबाद सिंध में क़ुरान शरीफ के जलने की घटना


हैदराबाद सिंध में क़ुरान शरीफ के जलने की घटना 

हकीम वीरूमल हैदराबाद सिंध में आर्यसमाज के प्रमुख कार्यकर्ता थे। 1947 के पश्चात आप अजमेर आ गए और आर्यसमाज नला बाजार, अजमेर की आपने स्थापना की थी। क़ुरान शरीफ के जलने की घटना 1933-34 की है। हकीम जी इस के शब्दों में इस घटना को पढ़े:

'मेरा औषधालय हैदराबाद के ख्यान्तेटंडे में था और घर था फुलेली के तट पर । घर और अस्पताल के बीच की दूरी लगभग 2-3 किलोमीटर थी। लगभग रात के 10 बजे तो कुछ आदमियों ने उस समय के हैदराबाद के कलेक्टर श्री गोल्प को जा कर बताया कि ख्यान्तेटंडे में एक मस्जिद में कुरान शरीफ जलने की दुर्घटना हुई है और मुसलमानों में बहुत जोश है। कलेक्टर महोदय ने एकदम ख्यास्तेटंडे पर पुलिस का पहरा लगा दिया और मिलेट्री को भी तैनात रहने की आज्ञा दे दी गयी । परन्तु हम इस बात से एकदम अनभिज्ञ थे। हम दोनों दूसरे दिन सवेरे जब अस्पताल में आये तो वहां के आस-पास के मित्रों ने आकर इस घटना की सूचना दी और यह भी बताया कि इस घटना का सारा दोष वीरूमल ( मुझ पर ) पर थोपते हैं ।

सवेरे होते ही शहर में मानो आग लग गयी । जोश इतना बढ़ गया कि मुसलमान भाई लाठियां, तलवारें, कुल्हाड़ियां आदि हाथों में लेकर टोलियां बनाकर श्री ताराचन्द के अस्पताल के नीचे आकर इकट्ठे हुए । शोर बढ़ता गया । परन्तु कलेक्टर महोदय भी कम सावधान नहीं थे। उन्होंने बढ़ते हुए शोर गुल को दबाने के लिए तीन मशीनगन, दो वायुयान और कुछ मिलिट्री तथा हैदराबाद की पूरी पुलिस तैयार रखी थी । साढ़े दस हुए तो मुसलमान भाई अल्लाहो अकबर के नारे लगाते हुए आगे बढ़े। वे अपने स्वभावानुसार कत्ले आम और लूटमार करना चाहते थे। परन्तु बाजारों और रास्तों पर तैनात पुलिस ने उनके मन की आशा पूरी करने के लिये आज्ञा न दी । अब वे जुलूस बनाकर आगे बढ़े और मेरे अस्पताल के सामने आकर पथराव करने लगे । कई पत्थर आकर अस्पताल में गिरे । पर मुझे एक भी नहीं लगा। पुलिस के आने से भीड़ तीतर बितर हो गई। 

रात को मुसलमानों ने जुलाहों के चौक में एक सभा की। जिसमें हजारों मुस्लमान उपस्थित थे । कलेक्टर साहब तथा D.S.P. स्वयं कुछ ऑफीसरों और पुलिस के साथ वहां उपस्थित रहे । उस सभा में मुसलमानों के कुछ नेता लोग जैसे शेख अब्दुलमजीद, नूरमुहम्मद, अब्दुलजबार आदि ने खूब विषैले व्याख्यान दिए ।

रात को 8 बजे महाराज द्वारका प्रसाद, हूंदराज, दीवान कोमल और कुछ अन्य सज्जन मेरे पास आए। उन्होंने आते ही बताया  'हकीम जी आपका बचना मुश्किल है । मुसलमान लोग साफ कह रहे हैं कि कुरान शरीफ को जलाने का काम मुसलमान तो नहीं करेंगे और न तो अन्य हिन्दू ही कर सकते हैं । निश्चय ही यह कार्य किसी आर्यसमाजी ने किया है । और ख्यान्ते टंडे में केवल एक ही आर्य वीरूमल जिसने यह काम किया है।'

महराज ने बात को साफ करते हुआ कहा "इस से सिद्ध है कि मुसलमानों ने आपको मारने की योजना तैयार कर रखी है। अपनी रक्षा के लिये जो कुछ करना चाहें वह कर लो। हम आपको हर प्रकार का साथ देने के लिये तैयार हैं ।"

उन्होंने ही परामर्श दिया कि सवेरा होते ही मैं अकेला कलेक्टर साहब से भेंट करू और उन से अपनी रक्षा की मांग करूं। प्रात: मैं कलेक्टर से मिला। उस समय कलेक्टर साहब ने तथ्य पर पहुंचने के लिये मुझ से भी कई प्रश्न किये । एक प्रश्न था "आप आर्य समाज के मंत्री हो कर रहे हैं। आप ने इस समय तक कितनी शुद्धियाँ की हैं ?” मैंने साफ बताया कि मैंने इस समय तक कई शुद्धियाँ की हैं और शुद्धि करते समय हृदय प्रफुल्लित हो जाता है ।” दूसरा प्रश्न था लिये आप कुरान शरीफ को घृरणा की दृष्टि से देखते होंगे और हो सकता है कि इस घृणा की वजह से आप ने कुरान शरीफ को जलाया हो ?” यह प्रश्न सुनते ही मैंने एकदम कहा "श्रीमान यह विचार आप का एक दम गलत है । मैं महर्षि दयानन्द का अनुयायी हूँ। मैं घृणा करना नहीं जानता। मैं तो प्रेम करना ही सीखा हूं। दूसरी बात तो शुद्धि कार्य घृणा फैलाकर नहीं हो सकता, वह तो प्रेम से ही होता है । इसलिये कुरान जलाकर मैं घृणा का फैलाव कैसे कर सकता हूँ ?

कलेक्टर साहब को में यह विश्वास दिलाने में सफल हुआ कि "वीरूमल ऐसा घृणित कार्य कदाचित नहीं कर सकता है । उसके बाद कलेक्टर साहब ने कुछ पुलिस कर्मी मेरी सुरक्षा में लगा दिए। कलेक्टर ने मुझे बम्बई जाने की सलाह दी। मैंने कहा कि यदि मैं हैदराबाद को छोड़कर बम्बई चला जाऊं तो मुसलमान भाई समझेंगे कि कुरान शरीफ को वीरूमल ने ही जलाया था।  वह बम्बई भाग गया । फिर इस का परिणाम यह निकलेगा कि एक तो यह घृणित कार्य मेरे मस्तक को काला करेगा, दूसरा मैं जब भी हैदराबाद लौट कर आऊंगा तब फिर से यह तास्सुब की आग जल जायगी।

खेद केवल इस बात का है कि मैं जिस कार्य को वृति कार्य -समझ रहा हूं वह मेरे माथे पर क्यों थोपा जा रहा है हकीम जी इतना कहकर गहरे सोच में पड़ गये। फिर बोले "मैंने यह कार्य नहीं किया है और ना ही मुझे मालूम है। मुझे पूर्ण विश्वास है कि यह प्रभु की ओर से मेरी एक परीक्षा है। मैं इस परीक्षा में अवश्य पास होऊँगा। मेरा कुछ नहीं बिगड़ेगा। केवल हैदराबाद के मुसलमान क्यों विश्व के मुसलमान भाई भी मेरे विरुद्ध क्यों न हो जायें, परन्तु मेरा कुछ नहीं बिगाड़ सकेंगे।"

इस आत्मविश्वास से हकीम जी की आखें एक अनोखे परन्तु शान्त मुद्रा में चमकने लगीं। हकीम जी का यह आत्मविश्वास देखकर हम दंग रह गये।

 इस दुर्घटना का वास्तविक दोषी खोजने के लिये बम्बई से गोरे C. I. D. वाले बुलाये गये थे । उन्होंने दूसरे दिन पूर्ण जांच करके पूर प्रमाणों के साथ सरकार को रिपोर्ट दे दी – “एक मुसलमान भाई ने एक कुलटा से मस्जिद शरीफ में रंगरेलियां मनाते हुए जली हुई बीड़ी का टुकड़ा बेपरवाही से फेंक दिया और जिससे कुरान शरीफ जल गया ।"

यह रिपोर्ट प्रकाशित होते ही मुसलमान भाई शान्त हुए । कई -मुसलमान भाई उसी दिन ही हकीम साहब के पास आये और सच्चे दिल से हकीमजी से माफी मागी । इस प्रकार सत्य की जय हुई।

(सन्दर्भ ग्रन्थ- कर्मवीर की कहानी, हकीम वीरूमल आर्य प्रेमी का जीवन चरित्र, लीलाराम छत्तूमल तोलानी प्रभाकर, आर्य प्रेमी कार्यालय, अजमेर , 1971, पृ. 11-17)