Chapter – 10 Religious Reform Movements in Modern India: The Ramakrishna Mission and Swami Vivekananda

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Attend a meeting of the Arya Samaj any day. They are also performing yajana and reading the scriptures.

  • This was the basic contribution of Mool Shanker an important representative of the religious reform movement in India from Gujarat.

  • He later came to be known as Dayanand Saraswathi. He founded the Arya Samaj in 1875.

Image of Swami Dayanand Saraswathi and Arya Samaj

Image of Swami Dayanand Saraswathi and Arya Samaj

Image of Swami Dayanand Saraswathi and Arya Samaj

  • The most influential movement of religious and social reform in northern India was started by Dayanand Saraswathi.

  • He held that the Vedas contained all the knowledge imparted to man by God and essentials of modern science could also be traced in them.

  • He was opposed to idolatry, ritual and priesthood, particularly to the prevalent caste practices and popular Hinduism as preached by the Brahmins.

  • He favoured the study of western science. With all this doctrine, he went about all over the country and in 1875 founded the Arya Samaj in Bombay.

  • Satyarth Prakash was his most important book. The use of Hindi in his writings and preaching made his ideas accessible to the common people of northern India.

  • Arya Samajis opposed child marriages and encouraged remarriage of widows. It made rapid progress in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

  • Arya Samaj tried to inoculate the spirit of self-respect and self-reliance among the people of India. This promoted Nationalism.

The Ramakrishna Mission and Swami Vivekananda

  • Gadadhar Chattopadhyay was a poor Brahmin priest who later came to be known as Ramakrishna Parmahansa.

  • His education did not proceed beyond the elementary stage and he had no formal education in philosophy and shastras.

  • He dedicated his life to God. He believed that there were many roads to God and the service of man was the service of God, because man was the embodiment of God.

  • Narendra Nath Datta later known as Swami Vivekananda was the most devoted pupil of Ramakrishna Parmahansa who carried the message of his Guru Ramakrishna all over the world, especially in America and Europe.

  • Vivekananda was indeed, a patriot from the core of his heart. He had tremendous faith in the evolution of Indian culture and an intense zeal to revive all that was good and great in her culture so as to serve her in all possible ways for her onward march.

  • In 1893 he participated in the All World Religious Conference at Chicago in the United States of America. He argued that Vedanta was the religion of all and not of the Hindus alone.

  • He argued his countrymen to work for their own salvation. For this purpose bands of workers devoted to this cause were trained through the Ramakrishna Mission. Thus, Vivekananda emphasized social good or social services.

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