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Dayanand Saraswati (12 February 1824 – 30 October 1883) was an Indian religious leader and founder of the Arya Samaj, a Hindu reform movements of the Vedic dharma. He was also a renowned scholar of the Vedic lore and Sanskrit language. He was the first to give the call for Swaraj as "Indian for India" in 1876, a call later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak. Denouncing the idolatry and ritualistic worship prevalent in Hinduism at the time, he worked towards reviving Vedic ideologies. Subsequently, the philosopher and President of India, S. Radhakrishnan called him one of the "makers of Modern India", as did Sri Aurobindo.
Those who were influenced by and followed Dayananda included Madam Cama, Pandit Lekh Ram, Swami Shraddhanand, Pandit Guru Dutt Vidyarthi, Shyamji Krishna Varma (who established India House in England for Freedom fighters), Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Lala Hardayal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Ram Prasad Bismil, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Ashfaq Ullah Khan Swami Shraddhanand, Mahatma Hansraj, Lala Lajpat Rai, and others. One of his most influential works is the book Satyarth Prakash, which contributed to the Indian independence movement.
He was a sanyasi (ascetic) from boyhood, and a scholar. He believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Maharshi Dayananda advocated the doctrine of Karma and Reincarnation. He emphasized the Vedic ideals of brahmacharya, including celibacy and devotion to God.
Among Maharshi Dayananda's contributions are his promoting of the equal rights for women, such as the right to education and reading of Indian scriptures, and his commentary on the Vedas from Vedic Sanskrit in Sanskrit as well as in Hindi.
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