Arya– The word ‘Arya’ is a derivative of root ‘Ri’ of the Sanskrit language, which means to go’. There are three meanings of the word ‘to go’ Viz. knowledge, movement and achievement. So the word ‘Arya’ denotes those people who have sufficient knowledge, movement and who have succeeded in attaining desired goals. According to Maharshi Dayananda, Those who are noble, religious, benevolent, had the qualities of true and good education and who are inhabitants of Aryavartta, from the beginning, are called Aryans
By this, he meant that those who were noble were Aryans, Devatas and Litterateurs and contrary to this, the evil ones were Dasyus (Demons) 2, It is a clear view of Maharshi ‘Only those are Aryans who remain engaged in propagating good knowledge in order to achieve the good ends for all and who constantly go on making efforts to improve the evil-ones. The Maharshi, in his commentaries on the Vedas has almost always meant by the word “Arya’ persons with pious and virtuous character and deeds.
Indian Renaissance- India remained subjugated to others for quite a long period due to the absence of national feeling and self-respect in the minds of the people. Primarily, they remained divided due to emergence of differences of high and low caste distinction and secondly due to the upsurge of many religious sects and differences among them on the basis of their religious customs. This created many classes among the people of Aryavartta. The Indian public became increasingly addicted to blind-faith and bad-customs. The political, social, economic and religious conditions did not remain in accordance with its ancient usage and philosophy.
But even from these adverse circumstances a renaissance-movement took birth and new leaders with new ideologies Came forward in every field of national life. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Devendra Nath Ihakur, Keshav Chandra Sen, Maharshi Dayanand, Ram Krishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda and others were the luminaries in the religious field. In political field, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and others took the leadership. Personalities like Ravindra Nath Tagore shone in the literary field. Effective efforts were
made to eradicate evil-customs that had crept into the decadent Hindu society, like Sati (burning the widows alive), killing of female child, child-marriage etc.
Arya Samaj movement– Maharshi Dayanand and Arya Samaj were most effective and prominent among all the reformist-movements like Brahma Samaj. Prarthana-Samaj etc. Only Maharshi Dayanand and Arya Samaj could acclaim universal appeal. The mammoth task of establishing Arya Samaj was undertaken by Swami Dayanand Saraswati on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada of Vikram Samvat 1932 (April 1875) with a view to creating a long-lasting society of noble human beings who could give lead to others by their exemplary high character.
The organization of the Aryans is called Arya Samaj. Arya is not the name of any particular caste or class of people. Maharshi did not use the word ‘Arya’ as a nomenclature for any new religion or community. He aimed at making the people of the whole world Arya (noble). In this way, Arya Samaj is not any new religion or community. The religion (Dharma) of Arya Samaj is Vedic Dharma (enunciated by the Vedas).