Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti

Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, a popular spiritual leader and social reformer of the 19th century. It is observed on the 10th day of krishnapaksh(dark fortnight) in Phalgun month as per the Hindu calendar. According to the Western calendar, his birthday falls on February 12. Apart from commemorating the saint’s birthday, the occasion serves as a vehicle for his followers to express their feelings of wanting to break free from the shackles of rigid religious beliefs.

Swamiji was the founder of Arya Samaj, a socio-religious movement that believed in theVedas and Vedic principles of life but left out the religious beliefs, idol worship, rituals and superstitions prevalent in his time. This way of thought appealed to many people who were tired and also oppressed by the confines of their religion and the priesthood who nurtured them. They joined the movement and became followers of the saint.

The Arya Samaj

The most important activity on this day is recognizing and paying tribute to Swamiji and his contributions to society. It is also an occasion to remind people about the virtues of the movement and encourage them to adopt its philosophy in everyday life.Swamiji was a great proponent of debate and had won many major debates himself in his days. Arya Samaj continues to organize numerous debates in various places where eminent scholars and religious pundits engage in verbal duels on the virtues and vices of traditional religion and the movement’s own philosophy.The food that followers partake during the celebrations is simple and traditional fare. This is in consonance with the Arya Samaj philosophy, according to which the food we eat should be simple, wholesome and nutritious


Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti Activities

A variety of activities are witnessed throughout the day—all related to the core theme of human values and service to mankind.
1. People aspiring to be brahmacharis(lifelong celibates) take their monastic vows on this day and are administered the oath by senior monks of the Arya Samaj.
2. Couples about to marry choose this day to tie the knot according to the Arya Samaj marriage procedure.
3. Many who are inclined towards this philosophy but are hesitant or reluctant to leave their faith take the plunge and join the movement on this day.
4. In the Arya Samaj temples, Swamiji’s statue is garlanded and tributes are paid to him.
5. This is followed by the recitation of Vedicshlokas (hymns) appropriate for the occasion.
6. A ceremonial fire worship is also performed according to the Vedic procedure for the purification of the environment.
7. Lectures and speeches are held on the life and teachings of Swamiji.
8. In many educational institutions, students and teachers pay tribute to Swamiji.
9. The statue of Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning, is also garlanded along with that of Swamiji.
10. Students conduct exhibitions displaying charts, collages and writings on the life and teachings of Swamiji.
11. Eminent people are invited to speak on Swamiji and enlighten the future generation about the noble principles of Vedic living, and spur them to build their moral character along with their academic and other pursuits.
Chana Puri
2 cups chana (Bengal gram)
4 tomatoes (medium-sized)
2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
5 tsp chhola masala (spices)
2 tsp tamarind pulp
½ tsp black mustard seeds
Asafoetida (a pinch)
Coriander leaves
2 tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
250 ml refined oil


For chana
1. Soak the chana overnight and remove the water before cooking.
2. Insert the chana in a pressure cooker.
3. Add some salt, half-a-cup of water, and allow it to cook.
4. Meanwhile, stir the tomatoes in the mixer to make puree.
5. Heat 4 tsp of oil in a pan.Add asafoetida and mustard seeds.
6. Add ginger, garlic paste and tomato puree.
7. Cook for a minute; then add tamarind pulp, chhola masala and chana.
8. Mix them thoroughly and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
9. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve in a bowl.

For puri

1. Mix the flour with water to form consistent dough.
2. Make small balls of about 5 cm diameter and roll them into round-shaped puris.
3. Heat the oil in a pan and deep fry the puris till they turn golden brown.
4. Serve hot along with chana.

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