Birth and Childhood:
Swami Dayanand was born in Gujarat in a Brahman family. His parents were religious people. They worshipped the image of Lord Shiva.
Light on Shiva Ratri:
When he was a boy, he was taken to the temple of Shiva to worship the Lord. He kept awake the whole night on the Shiva Ratri festival day. At midnight Mool Shankar, as he wear then called, saw a rat leaping on the Lord. Seeing this, he thought to himself, “How can this image be the God when it is unable to stop the mischief of a small creature like the rat.” Many doubts arose in his mind. Next morning he asked his father about it. He could not get a satisfactory answer.
So one day he suddenly left his home. He wandered from place to place. He went to the sages and the hermits and tried to find an answer to his questions. But none could satisfy him. He lived in the forests and on the Himalaya Mountains. He tried his best to find some able teacher.
His Teacher Virjanand:
At last he reached Mathura where he found a deeply learned Sanyasi. He was blind and his name was Virjanand Swami. Virjanand was much impressed by his disciple’s sharp intelligence. He started to teach him with interest. Mool Shankar found answers to all his doubts and was satisfied. He studied all that he wished; he took leave from his teacher and got his blessings. He made up his mind to drive away ignorance and superstition from the country.
Now he went from place to place and delivered his speeches. Many people were impressed by the lectures and became his followers. But the old orthodox people became his enemies because he spoke against idol worship and in the favor of widow marriages. But Swami Dayanand was a bold and fearless man. Whenever he went he challenged the learned pandits to hold debate with him on the oneness of Gods idol worship, widow marriage and any other thing of the Vedas. He said that the Vedas were true book of knowledge and the Purans contained only false stories.
He established Arya Samaj wherever he went. He made a tour of the whole country. He wrote a commentary on the Vedas in Hindi and named it Satyarth Prakash. Thus he was the first man to speak in favor of Hindi. He was against untouchability and other evil social customs.
At last some enemies poisoned him. He could not bear the effect of position. He lost the hope of life. He died with a smile on his face at Ajmer. He was really a great sage and social reformer. Back to the Vedas was his motto. India cannot ignore his service which he rendered for the betterment of his country at the cost of his life. He added a lot to the dignity of India.