Dayanand Saraswati was born on 12, February, 1824 in Tankara, Gujarat. His original name was Mool Shankar. When Dayanand was fourteen years old, his sister died. He was so shocked by the sudden demise of his sister that he began to look upon death as a challenge. He also ran away from home to know the secret of death. In search of the answer, Dayanand wandered all over the country for around twenty years.
During his course, Dayanand visited temples and sacred places of religious devotion. He met Yogis living in the mountains and forests but nobody had the perfect answer Dayanand was seeking for. Lastly, Dayanand Saraswati went to Mathura where he found Swami Vrijananda and became his disciple. Vrijananda asked Dayanand to throw away all his books and learn directly from the Vedas.
After completing his Vedic-education, Dayanand realized that his purpose of learning the "secret of death" has been satisfied.
On the day Dayanand was to leave from the ashram, Swami Vrijananda called him and asked to spread the knowledge of Vedas in the society. The name Rishi Dayanand was also given by his guru Swami Vrijananda. Dayanand Saraswati was a reformer and believed in pragmatism. He preached against many rituals of the Hindu religion such as idol-worship, caste by birth, animal sacrifices and restrictions of women from reading Vedas. He was not only a great scholar and philosopher but also a social reformer and a political thinker. Dayanand Saraswati was responsible for the revival of the Indian educational system by bringing together pupil from different strata of the society under one umbrella, that is, classroom.
Arya Samaj : On 7 April, 1875 Dayanand Saraswati formed the Arya Samaj at Bombay. It was a Hindu reforms movement, meaning "society of the nobles". The purpose of the samaj was to move the Hindu religion away from the fictitious beliefs. 'Krinvanto Vishvam Aryam" was the motto of the samaj, which means, "Make this world noble". Today, the Arya Samaj organization is very active not only in India but also in various parts of the world. The United States, Canada, Trinidad, Mexico, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Mauritius, Pakistan, Burma, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia are some of the countries where the Samaj has its branches.
Death of a saint : Due to his radical thinking and approach to the social issues and beliefs Dayanand Saraswati had created many enemies around him. One such enemy of the saint was the Maharaja of Jodhpur. On the occasion of Diwali, the King invited Dayanand Saraswati to Jodhpur and killed him by offering food mixed with poison, in 1883. The king was believed to be against the principles of Dayanand Saraswati.