Unsaintly Virtue

Why Arya Samajis Shouldn’t Write Hagiographies (But Do Anyway)

Thursday, December 05, 2013
Noon-1 p.m.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati made it very clear that he disapproved of saints and had no intention of becoming one. Nonetheless, when the Arya Samaj (his reform society) rose to prominence in the early decades of the twentieth century, its members extolled the uncommon virtues of Dayanand in a series of hagiographic texts in Hindi and English. This put these hagiographers in a difficult position, and they twisted their genre so that it could simultaneously assert and deny the Swami's sainthood.