Saraswati, Dayananda (däyənŭnˈdə särŭsˈwətē) [key], 1824–83, Indian religious reformer, founder of the Arya Samaj movement. He was a Brahman from Gujarat who became the major spokesman for the 19th-century Hindu revival that placed exclusive authority in the Vedas. He condemned idol worship, untouchability, child marriage, and the low station of women, which he said were not sanctioned by the Vedas. In 1875 he founded the Arya Samaj [society of nobles] in Bombay (now Mumbai) to spread the doctrines of the newly reinterpreted Vedas. Although he was little concerned with politics, his message reawakened the Hindu traditionalists and reinforced the division between Muslim and Hindu in India.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.