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I would like to know how Arya Samaj perceives God(Brahman).Do they consider themselves Advatins or Dvatins (Or even Vedantists for that matter)?

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  • They view it as impersonal to be united with as the rays of the sun are people and god is the sun.
    – Wikash_
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 15:33
  • @Wikash_ so they are Advatins...
    – RishX
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 15:58
  • @Ikshvaku really? I agree with you except with the only rig veda part..they promote all 4 vedas as far as i know.
    – RishX
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 16:44
  • I updated answer
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 17:35
  • Arya Samaj doesn't believes in Upanishads to be a part of the Veda with Dayananda even composing a book called Vedanti-dhvanta nivarana criticising Vedanta philosophy. Arya Samaj's philosophy is a heavily watered down Indianised version of Lutheranism.
    – অনু
    Commented May 18 at 18:07

2 Answers 2

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What is the theological position of Arya Samaj?

Arya Samaj is a modern, Hindu reformist movement. It was founded when India was under the iron fist of British rule, and its founder, Dayananda Saraswati, was a British-educated Indian nationalist and social reformer.

From Wikipedia:

Arya Samaj is a monotheistic Indian Hindu reform movement that promotes values and practices based on the belief in the infallible authority of the Vedas. The samaj was founded by the sannyasi (ascetic) Dayanand Saraswati on 10 April 1875.1 Members of the Arya Samaj believe in one God and reject the worship of idols.2

Its beliefs are:

  • Belief that moksha is not eternal
  • Rejection of idol worship
  • Rejection of animal sacrifice
  • Rejection of many rituals such as shraddha
  • Rejection of the supernatural and "superstitions"
  • Belief in only one God
  • Emphasis on Agnihotra and Gayatri mantra
  • Rejection of the Upanishads as part of the Vedas
  • Rejection of the Puranas
  • Belief that the Vedic Samhitas are revealed, whereas the Upanishads are authored
  • Interpreting the Vedas in an allegorical, metaphorical, or speculative way
  • Rejection of the caste system and belief in caste and gender equality and equal rights (feminism)
  • Anti-Brahminism

From britannica.com:

The Arya Samaj opposes worship of murtis (images), animal sacrifice, shraddha (rituals on behalf of ancestors), basing caste upon birth rather than upon merit, untouchability, child marriage, pilgrimages, priestly craft, and temple offerings.

This sect is rejected as heretical by the Orthodox followers of Hinduism such as the followers of the Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, and Shankaracharya sampradayas.

Do they consider themselves Advatins or Dvatins (Or even Vedantists for that matter)?

They believe in a philosophy that is similar to Dvaita Vedanta (Dualism of Jiva and Paramatma). They are not Advaitins.

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  • Can you cite some sources? AFAIK they equally criticize both Advatins and Dvatins.
    – RishX
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 19:44
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ओ३म् , Namaste. I have been an admirer of the Arya Samaj's ideology and since I have been an integral part of it for a good period of time, I can give you a good overlook over it.

(Before reading my answer, if you want the most clarity and formal answer - you can read the Magnum Opus of the founder of the Ārya Samāj - Maharshi Dayanand Sasraswati's Satyarth Prakash Or light of truth)

Many term the samaj as reform movement but they are truly wrong. The ārya samāj has not introduced any new reforms into Sanatana Dharma, but rather has emphasised on returning back to the vedic way of leading life where one is free from man-made barriers that stop one from truly understanding brahman like caste system, gender inequality, superstitions, idol worship, etc;

They take their definition of Brahman or god directly from the vedas and vedic scriptures itself.

    Yajurveda 40/8
    स पर्य॑गाच्छु॒क्रम॑का॒यम॑व्र॒णम॑स्नावि॒रꣳ शु॒द्धमपा॑पविद्धम्।क॒विर्म॑नी॒षी 
    प॑रि॒भूः स्व॑य॒म्भूर्या॑थातथ्य॒तोऽर्था॒न् व्यदधाच्छाश्व॒तीभ्यः॒ समा॑भ्यः॥
    Tr. God is All pervading, Lustrous, Bodiless, Flawless, Sinewless, 
    Pure, Unpierced by evil. He is Omniscient, Knower of the hearts of 
    all, Censurer of the sinful and Self-existent. He truly reveals 
    through the Vedas all things for His subjects from His immemorial 
    attributes, free from birth and death.

This is the definition that most scholars of the Arya samaj use when they are asked to define Brahman. They also consider him to be formless and reject Idol worship based on the following mantra.

    Yajurveda 32/3
    न तस्य॑ प्रति॒माऽअस्ति॒
    Tr. There is no image of Him whose glory verily is great.

They consider Aum/Om as the primary name of god and all other names like Vishnu, Shiva, Surya, Agni, Vāyu, etc; as his other names based on various features or qualities of Brahman. For instance, God is omnipresent, thus called Vishnu.

    Yajurveda 40/17
    ओ३म् खं ब्रह्म॑॥
    Tr. Om is the saviour. Om is Brahma, Brahma is infinite, sublime.

Thus, Aum/Om is the primary name of Brahman.

Well, They aren't Dvaitists or Advaitists but Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati explained that the vedas talk about a Traita siddantha instead of Dvaita or Advaita. According to this Siddhanta, there are 3 eternal Objects and causes of the universe.

  1. God himself is eternal (Paramātmā/Brahman) God has no birth nor death.

  2. Soul is eternal (ātmā)

    Rigveda 1/148/5
    न यं रि॒पवो॒ न रि॑ष॒ण्यवो॒ गर्भे॒ सन्तं॑ रेष॒णा रे॒षय॑न्ति। 
    अ॒न्धा अ॑प॒श्या न द॑भन्नभि॒ख्या नित्या॑स ईं प्रे॒तारो॑ अरक्षन् ॥
    Tr. The ātmā existing as it is in the womb of Eternity, no enemies, no
    designers of evil, no destroyers, no attacks, can damage it.
  1. Prakriti is eternal (Prakriti)
    Svetavetara upanishad 4/5
    अजामेकां लोहितशुक्लकृष्णां बह्वीः प्रजाः सृजमानां सरूपाः।
    अजो ह्येको जुषमाणोऽनुशेते जहात्येनां भुक्तभोगामजोऽन्यः॥
    Tr. The prakriti, The soul and God, all of them, are eternal and 
    uncreated. They are the causes of the universe. They have no cause and 
    have been existing eternally.

God is the material cause or primary and main cause as he is the source of the entire universe as per the vedic scriptures.

    Rigveda 10/129/7
    इ॒यं विसृ॑ष्टि॒र्यत॑ आब॒भूव॒ यदि॑ वा द॒धे यदि॑ वा॒ न । 
    यो अ॒स्याध्य॑क्षः पर॒मे व्यो॑म॒न्त्सो अ॒ङ्ग वे॑द॒ यदि॑ वा॒ न वेद॑ ॥
    Tr. O dear seeker, whence this multitudinous variety of existence arises, 
    who holds and sustains it, or whether He doesn’t hold and sustain it while                                                     
    He terminates it, only He knows who is the presiding power of it at the 
    highest heavenly level of mystery. Only He knows and pervades it, and He 
    only knows when he doesn’t pervade it while it subsists in Him as in the 
    state of Pralaya.
  • God creates this universe using Prakriti thus he is the first cause.
  • The secondary cause is the soul as we create newer objects from praktiti giving form to various things which would naturally not occur
  • The third cause is prakriti where it acts as a source for the universe to exist as the universe is made out of matter or praktiti

This siddhanta is quite different from Dvaita or Advaita and thus one needs to thoroughly study the scriptures to understand it. These are the beliefs of Arya Samaj. You can read Chapter 8 of Satyarth Prakash to know more.

कृ॒ण्वन्तो॒ विश्व॒मार्य॑म्, ओ३म्

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