Maharishi Dayanand Jayanti is observed on the birth anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj. The Arya Samaj condemns the practices of idol worship, animal sacrifice, pilgrimages, priest craft, offerings made in temples, the castes, child marriages, consumption of meat and discrimination against women. During his lifetime, he promoted equal rights for women - their right to education and reading of Indian scriptures. Maharshi Dayananda was a renowned scholar of the Vedic knowledge and Sanskrit and propagated the principles of karma and reincarnation. He believed in the Vedic ideals of brahmacharya, including celibacy and devotion to God.
Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati spent nearly 25 years, from 1845 to 1869, as a wandering ascetic, who gave up material goods in his spiritual pursuits and retreats in pilgrimage sites to find religious truth. During these years, he practiced various forms of yoga and became a disciple of a religious teacher Virajanand Dandeesha.
His mission was universal brotherhood and for this mission, he founded the Arya Samaj. In the 10 principles of the Arya Samaj, he enshrined the idea that "all actions should be performed with the prime objective of benefiting mankind. He opposed rigid rituals or revering idols and symbols. The first five principles speak of truth, while the last five speak of a society with nobility, civics, co-living, and disciplined life. Maharishi Dayand interpreted moksha or salvation to be a lower calling, as it was centred around the individual rather than a calling to liberate others.
Dayananda Saraswati wrote more than 60 works. One of his major scholarly works is Satyarth Prakash which means The Light of Truth. He died on the morning of October 30, 1883 in Rajasthan while chanting mantras.