The Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Queensland Inc (Inc No: IA 08271 ABN 59 083 793 558) (Arya Samaj Queensland) was formed and registered in Brisbane in December 1990. The objectives for this organisation are:
- To establish religious institutions and to appoint ministers of religion and other responsible officers to maintain the institution:
- To promote the tenets of Vedic philosophy within the members and well wishers of the association
- To establish and organise Arya Samajis and to promote Vedic Yaj.
- To promote Vedic teachings, Yoga, Hindi and Music Classes.
The Sabha currently has 150 financial members and performs Yajna at members’ residence and also meets every Sunday at 198 Learoyd Road Willawong.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati was born on the 10th of February, 1824 in Tankara, near Morbi in the Kathiawad region (now Rajkot district of Gujarat). His original name was Mool Shankar. His father’s name was Karshanji Lalji Tiwari and mother’s name was Yashodabai. Swamiji spent nearly twenty-five years, from 1845 to 1869, as a wandering ascetic, searching for religious truth. An ascetic is someone who gives up material goods and lives a life of self-denial, devoted to spiritual matters. He lived in jungles, in retreats in the Himalayan Mountains, and at a number of pilgrimage sites in northern India. During these years Dayananda Sarasvati practiced various forms of yoga. He became a disciple, or follower, of a well-known religious teacher, Virajanand Dandeesha (sometimes spelled Birajananda) Swami .Dayananda Saraswati wrote more than 60 works in all, including a 16 volume explanation of the six Vedangas. – Wikipedia The Arya Samaj is well represented in Australia, New Zealand , Fiji and in countries with an active Indian diaspora. Links of other Samajs can be found here.
“The Arya Samaj was founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati in1875 to counteract the proselytising activities of organised religions and launch social reform programmes,”writes Purushottam Mehra in A Dictionary of Modern Indian History. “The Samaj regards the Vedas as infallible, eternal and divine. It rejects any kind of inequity whether based on caste or gender. The message transformed attitudes towards the depressed classes. We don’t believe in murti puja, because we consider Paramatma as nirakar or formless. The Vedas say: ‘Na tasya pratima asti’ – there is no image of Him. Idolatry, untouchability and child marriage were shunned,” he adds.
There is no avtarvaad in Arya Samaj. “We don’t consider Rama and Krishna as gods; we accept them as maryadapurush or ideal beings – they are to be followed, not worshipped. We believe in charitra (character) puja not chitr (image) puja. This holds true of all devis and devtas. Ramayana and Gita are read as books of knowledge but are not held sacred. The Vedas being Dev Vaani or Divine revelations are considered Supreme,” says the Swami. What is Dayanand Saraswati’s status? “He is a guru, his photographs may be there in temples, but he is not worshipped,” – Prof Sheotaj Singh.
“We light diyas on Deepavali, but there’s no Lakshmi puja since we don’t worship gods. We celebrate it as Swami Dayanand Saraswati Nirvan Diwas – the day he left his body. Similarly, Shivratri for us is Bodh Diwas – the day Swamiji got ‘enlightenment’.
An Arya Samaj mandir looks nothing like a temple. It’s a bare hall – with a few photographs of Swami Dayanand and other leading lights on the wall. There are no deities, no bells, no offerings. Swami Aryavesh says: “Actually, the word mandir is a misnomer, these are more of satsang bhavans where there’s havan and members congregate for discourses.” There are large temples abroad, too. “The one in Toronto can accommodate 2,000 people. There’s an eight-storeyed one in Kenya. Birmingham, Chicago and Houston, too, have big temples. The Bangkok mandir is truly historical – Subhash Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind Fauj had its headquarters there,” informs Swami Aryavesh.
Havan is a vital part of Arya Samaj practices; every ceremony or function starts with it. “It’s not a religious ritual, but a purification process that has scientific basis. We pollute the environment, so we are duty bound to clean it and it’s a sure cure for diseases,” says Prof Singh. Devout Arya Samajis do a 20-minute havan at home, morning and evening, chanting Vedic mantras. From Times of India
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