‘Eminent scholar of Vedas', preacher of a yogic life style
Swami Vidyanand ‘Videh’
Birth - 15 Nov, 1899
Death - 05 Mar, 1978
Swami Vidyanand ‘Videh’
Birth - Nov, 1899
Birth Place - Tappal (Distt-Aligarh, U.P,
Name - Chainsukhdas (when young)
Father’s Name - Deviprasad
Mother’s Name - Shobhadevi
Marriage - At the age of 14 in 1913
Education - Passed High school, studied Sanskrit, Hindi and Vedas on
his own; learnt yoga from Swami Japanand.
Profession - Started working in the office of the Railway police
Superintendent on Jan, 1921.
Founded Veda-Sansthan - At
Ajmer – 14 Feb, 1948.
Delhi – Sep, 1958.
Retirement from work - 30 March, 1949, voluntarily
Adopted Vanprastha -
Krishna Janamashtmi 17 Aug, 1949
Adopted Sanyas - 15 Aug, 1955
As preacher of Vedas
Preached Vedas and yoga in Kenya, Uganda, Tanganika, Zanjibar, Mauritius, England apart from India, First foreign trip in 1954, then 1960, 1970 and 1972.
(a) Ved-vyakhya Granth (20 volumes), author of Vedalok and more than 80 books in different languageson Vedas, spirituality. poetry, yoga and Gita.
(b) Editor and chief contributor of Savita (monthly magazine).
On 5 March, 1978 in Saharanpur, after his last lecture at night about 10-10 P.M., went into Mahasamadhi.
Swami Vidyanand ‘Videh’
Vishwa-Sadan ka mai Sadasaya hun, Duniya mane chahe na mane,
Vishwa-sadan mai Aag lagi hai, mai aaya hun usai bujhane.
Birth – Swami ‘Videh’ was born on 15 Nov, 1899, early in the morning in Brahmin family of Tappal, distt.
Aligarh, U.P, India. Just like his father Shri Devi Prasad, he was born with a sweet voice, tremendous self confidence and a kind heart. He had an aptitude for singing just like his grand father Shri Pitamberdas. Smt. Gomitidevi was his mother.
Namakaran – This pre-term child was blue and fragile at birth. He was named as Chainsukhadas at the age of one year. The name did not match his nature so when he grew up he changed it to Vidyanand. His poems had the pen name ‘Anand’ and later on, ‘Videh’.
Chainsukhdas was a shy boy, fond of solitude; as a result, he was not able to grasp much in the early years of education. At the age of eight he was sent to his grand father at Baral, distt Bulandshahar, U.P. The cheerful nature of his guru Shri Gangabaksh influenced him a lot.
Early Education - Urdu was the native language and medium of instruction at school for Chainshukhdas. He acquainted himself with Hindi and used it effectively afterwards. He studied till II class and passed IV class at the village Ispur, 2 miles away. After studying at Govt. Urdu-Hindi middle school at Bulandshahar, he came back to his father at Khurja and took admission in
. Coronation High School
Marriage – After passing V class he was married to Gomti, daughter of Shri Mishrilal, at the age of 14 years. On this occasion he delivered a lecture on God for the first time, and later in life became a world renowned preacher of Vedas.
Chainsukhdas returned to his birth place Tappal for sometime before marriage. Afterwards, his father and family moved away from Tappal. Later on he visited Tappal in his old age only once, as a preacher of Vedas.
Education – Due to the transferable job of his father, he stayed alone in Khurja after passing VI class. For some time he did his own cooking and later on started eating at a local eatery (Dhaba). He passed matric from
in 1918 with the financial assistance of Shri Kishori Lal Gupta, his revered teacher. Financial crisis and indebtedness of his father forced him to become a bread-earner and he could not pursue his studies any further. Allahabad University
Perhaps it was God’s will that he serve humanity by writing and preaching Vedas in simple language and not became a scholar with a formal education and high attitude. It was with God’s grace that he was saved from becoming a book-worm.
Life at Khurja- Nine years of his stay at Khurja were the formative years of Chainsukhdas during which God was preparing and protecting him. He uttered these words in 1951- "Truly speaking when I reflect on my life’s incidents it is clear that God was always with me, protecting me against all vices and spreading light all around."
“One side of Khurja was prosperous and green, and on the other every kind of evil was but to be found there. For example, my friend Lala Santilal had all bad habits and my nature was opposite to his. Though he was older still he treated me respectfully. He took great care that I should not see him drinking, gambling or enjoying with the opposite sex. It was a matter of surprise that he loved and respected me to such a great extent”
Search for livelihood – Chainsukhdas was interested in teaching but despite trying to get a job for one year in Khurja, he was not successful and came to Khair (Disst.
Aligarh) and then to Delhi. Later on he became a teacher in Oswal Jain school in Ajmer and also an assistant manager at Dayanand hostel, . He earned Rs 45/- per month of which he kept Rs 15/- for himself and sent the rest to his father who was immersed in debt. He read the biography of Swami Dayanand Saraswati written by Pandit Lekhram, and 'Satyarth Prakash' of Swami Dayananad in D.A.V. High School Ajmer. Later on he studied 'Rigvedadibhashya Bhoomika' and the other books by Swami Dayananad. After a brief period of unemployment, he was appointed as a temporary clerk in the Commissioner’s office and got a teaching job in a night school of Diggi Bazar in Ajmer.
Beginning of the study of Vedas – On 20 Jan, 1921, Chainsukhdas was appointed in Railway Police Superintendent’s office and started the study and preaching of Vedas. He worked for six hours in the office and devoted five hours for the in-depth study of Vedas. In the beginning, he lectured on Vedas in
Ajmer only. A famous scholar of Ajmer, professor Gheesulal, Advocate, praised him saying that Shri Chainsukhdas would be a great preacher of Vedas. Shri Swami Sarvadanand also called him ‘vedic rishi’, after listening to his lecture on Vedas at Indore. His success inspired him to undertake in-depth study and preaching of Vedas and after one year, in 1922, he started spending 20% of his earnings on the preaching of Vedas.
Poetry – His first writing in verse was ‘Dayanand Charitamrit’ which was published on the occasion of Dayanand janam shatabdi at
Always a fighter – He was transferred to Abu Parvat in Sep, 1925 and devoted his time to Vedic studies and preaching after office hours. His Vedic teachings were described as communal and his khadi attire was associated with the Congress by English officers and thus he was questioned time and again. Because of his hard work, honesty and sincerity, he emerged as a winner and passed several exams in office. Consequently he was promoted with increase in salary.
New Name – In Sep, 1926, he renamed himself as ‘Vidyanand’.
Practice of Yoga – Abu Parvat occupies an important place in Vidyanand’s life. He understood the importance of yoga here, and started practising it in 1928 under the guidance of Swami Japanand, a disciple of Shri Paramhans. He realized soon that spiritual enhancement assists in comprehending Vedas in their true sense. The rock in Abu was named as ‘Sidhshila’ by Vidyanand’s friends where he practised yoga in morning from 6 A.M to 7 A.M. His two sons were also initiated and invested with the sacred thread by Swami Japanand.
Arya Samaj of
– Vidyanand was appointed as an accountant in the office of Govt. Railway Police in 1935. Once he went to attend the weekly satsanga of Aryasamaj at Indore Indore, Malharganj, and found that there were not even four people to perform the havan. He offered his services and gradually started giving lectures on Vedas in the adjoining areas also. Soon he became famous as ‘Pitaji’ in Indore and ‘Mahashay Ji’ in Abu. His day used to begin at 3 A.m and went on till 10 P.m; he worked ten hours in the office, two hours in study and translation of Vedas and did satsanga in morning and evenings. He began to pen the translation of Vedas in 1936 at Indore, on the full-moon (poornima) day in the month of Shravan.
Due to his social activities, he was questioned in office several times. One of the reasons was that he passed his office exams of upper division clerk, and among his experienced colleagues (25, 28 years) old he was the only one to pass the exam. They did not co-operate with him; his English officers already regarded him as communal and a Congress man and were unhappy with him.
Again in Abu – On 2 Jan, 1942 he started working as office superintendent in Abu. His activities related to the Vedas were revived again with new vigour. Swami Japanand also started spending six months in a year at Abu, mainly to be with him. On the political front ‘Quit India’ movement was at its peak and Gandhiji, Shri Nehru were imprisioned. Vidyanand could not bear this and on 14 Aug, 1942 he decided not to cut his hair till
India got freedom. Even after independence he did not break his vow since he was upset at the division of the country.
Eldest son of Vidyanand, Shri Vishwadeva got married in Abu on 4 March, 1943. The invitation cards were sent on behalf of the bride groom himself and the rituals of marriage ceremony were performed by the bride and bridegroom themselves. On 21 April, 1946, he went to the harijan community with his friend Sukhram and lectured on the Vedas. He taught Sanskrit and Vedas to the two princesses of Limdi. He also helped one Gujarati widow in getting married and freed her from the clutches of Muslim hooligans. He changed his name to ‘Videh’ in Abu at this time.
again – ‘Videh’ was deeply pained at the division of the country and reflected on Dayanand and his dreams, and wished that he was alive. Before leaving the country, the English were burning the secret records in Abu and the country was burning in the communal fire. ‘Videh’ could not bear all this and went on leave for two months. He came back to Ajmer Ajmerto live with his elder son. In the meantime India got freedom and he again joined duty at Ajmerin the police head office. At the bottom of his heart he was cherishing the desire to establish Vedic ideals in the world and fulfill the dreams of Swami Dayanand. To this end he sought freedom from family ties.
Establishment of Veda-Sansthan – He founded Veda-Sansthan on 14 Feb, 1948 (Vasant Panchami) in
Ajmer and the initial expenditure was borne by his elder son ‘Vishwadevaji’. He started a monthly publication, ‘Savita’, full of explanations of Vedic hymns, and other topics were also explained in the light of the Vedas. ‘Savita’ highlighted the dreams, vision and his yearning to work for the welfare of society continuously for thirty years. Truly speaking, ‘Savita’ is his spiritual autobiography and bares his mind and heart. Except for 'Ved-Vyakhya Granth' and seven-eight minor works, ‘Savita’ has been a platform to describe his mission, vision and feelings.
Adoption of Vanprastha- ‘Videh’ could have served the govt. for twelve years more but took voluntary retirement on 30 Mar, 1949. On 17 Aug, 1949 (Krishna Janamasthmi) he became vanprasthi at the age of fifty and started living separately from the family.
Political Life – ‘Videh’ was continuously pressurised to become a congressman but the party responsible for the division of the country was not acceptable to his conscience. After the death of Gandhi Ji, he was forced time and again to take the responsibility of political leadership. He never became a part of active politics but always kept an eye on the political activities of the country. His books 'Sarvabhoum Arya Samrajya', 'Vishwasudhar', 'Ved-vyakhaya Granth', 'Vedalok' (2 parts) and 'Vishwa manav' reflect his political consciousness. It can be further seen in books like 'Nehru uthan aur paten' and 'Hindu Jati key Astitva ki Raksha'. He borrowed the word ‘Arya Samrajya’ from Dayanand which means society with a humanitarian and Vedic culture.
Preaching of Vedas – First he went to Mawana Kala (Distt.
Meerut. U.P.) and then to Meerutfor the preaching of Vedas. Shri Vidya Sagar Dixit was present at that time. ‘Videh’ preached Vedas from Kashmir to Chennai and from Saurashtra to Assam-Tripura. Whosoever came in contact with him, was enchanted and ready to do anything for the spread of Vedic ideas.
Visits to Foreign Countries – Inspired by an old friend Shri Om Prakash Garg of Abu he visited
Nairobi ( kenya) in 1954. In the same year he completed the Hindi translation of Rigveda. He was busy in preaching Vedas most of the time and the rest of the time he spent in writing books on Vedas apart form writing for ‘Savita’, the monthly magazine. He never slept or took rest in his leisure time and instead devoted himself fully for his ‘mission which was to preach the Vedas. Five-six lakhs are needed to publish his unpublished works : this financial assistance is welcome. He visited Kenya, Uganda, Tanganika and Zanjibar. Afterwards, on 11 July, 1960, he went again to the same belt. On 27 July, 1960, he performed the yajna which was attended by the then High Commissioner of Pakistan and his wife.
‘Videh’ went to
Mauritius, Kenya and then to England for one month in 1970, from 31 Mar to 29 Sep. On 19 May, 1970 he gave the Vedic explanation of Quran on the birth date of Yomul Nabi (Hazrat Mohammad) (1443 birthday). ‘Videh’ tried to explain the inter-relation of all the religions in his Vedic lectures. In the monthly magazine ‘Savita’ he first presented the explanation of Quran under the title ‘Islam ki Pratishtha’ and later on he further published the Vedic explanation of other religions under the titles ‘Jain parampara ka aadhar’, 'Bodh parampara ka aadhar’, and ‘Sikh parampara ka aadhar’.
Lastly, he went to
Kenya in 1972, from 15 June to 13 Aug. In the last years of his life, he was planning to go to Canada. He was least bothered about his increasing age, weakness and illness in pursuit of his dream of establishing a Vedic Society.
Training of Preachers – He aspired to train people for preaching the Vedas. His belief was, a preacher of Vedas should not only have the knowledge of Sanskrit and Vedas but also follow a Vedic life style with regard to behaviour and character. ‘Videh’ believed that Sanskrit is studied to acquire knowledge of Vedas, and Vedas are pursued for spiritual and social upliftment. It is not just a way to attain salvation but inspires one to work for the welfare of all humanity. With this view in mind he organized yoga camps and established ‘Vedic sadhna mandal’ at
Ajmer in 1953. However, this mandal could not continue for long.
While he was training Vedic preachers, he conceived the idea of establishing Ved-Vishwa Vidyalaya. He founded the Ved-sansthan of
Delhi on Nov 17, 1974. Before this he trained one Sanyasi preacher on 5 Aug, 1973.
Adoption of Sanyas –‘Videh’ adopted Sanyas on 15 Aug, 1955 in Batala (Distt. Gurdaspur,
Punjab) under the guidance of Swami Atmanand Saraswati. Otherwise also he was leading a life of a sanyasi as was felt by Swami Brahma muni. Earlier as Vanprasthi, he used to travel along with his wife but afterwards with her permission, he adopted sanyas and travelled alone. He obtained the permission of his better half before taking this step in life.
Physical fitness – ‘Videh’ developed a set of exercises on the basis of asanas, pranayams, exercises taught during police training and some other health related programmes. He had been practising these for a long time. One more important part of his routine was a morning walk. It was not feasible during vanprastha and sanyas days which resulted in heart ailment. His book ‘Swasthya and Saundarya’ throws light on these aspects. In Sep, 1958, at
he addressed around three thousand people and taught exercises and pranayams. These are practiced by sixty various groups in Delhi Ajmal Khan Park Delhi alone. Shri Shantilal (associate of Veda-Sansthan) assisted a lot in publicising this set of exercises.
In ‘Videh’s’ opinion ‘health and beauty’ are needed for spiritual upliftment and not only for enjoying material pleasures. The book ‘Health and Beauty’ denotes this effectively.
A branch of Veda-Sansthan – Shri Shivram Chandok proposed to open a branch of Ved-Sansthan in
Delhi in Sep, 1958 and finally on 14 June, 1959, Shri Mahashay Krishna inaugurated it in a rented room. The land for the present Veda-Bhavan was purchased on 18 July, 1959 and the Sansthan shifted on 1st Feb, 1961 to the present building. The construction of the Veda-Bhavan was completed on 27 Aug, 1962.
Style of preaching of the Vedas – ‘Videh’ preached Vedas for 29 years in
India and abroad. His style was unique, effective, interesting and mature. Pandit Jagdish Chandra Shastri of Bhatinda gave credit to Swami ‘Videh’ for preaching Vedas all over the world. According to Pandit Biharilal Shastri, “‘Videh’ was the first person to demonstrate how the Vedas and Ved-Katha should he preached”. ‘Videh’s’ mission was to spread the light of Vedas everywhere. He felt that Vedas should not be confined to learned men and scholars alone, but should become the manuals for a higher life.
Vedic hymns offer unfailing solutions to life’s problems and inspire mankind to believe in truth and goodness. Vedas have crossed the barriers of country, caste and community. They are the treasures of Gods and not only of Indians. They are the divine heritage of all mankind. The thought of the Vedas is ancient, yet ever new. Different facets of Vedas have been pondered upon by ‘Videh’ and were expressed in his writings and lectures. This shows the sainthood of ‘Videh’.
‘Videh’ was the most effective preacher because of his various qualities viz-his in-depth study of Vedas, being a good orator, having affection, concern for humanity, a non-communal attitude, knowledge of Hindi, Urdu and English and having a loving heart which can feel the pain and needs of the common man. The reason was simple: when he started preaching, he already had a vast experience of giving lectures and preaching on a regular basis and was not one looking for easy fame. ‘Videh” carved an important niche for himself on his own in the world of Vedas.
‘Videh’s following included not only Arya-Samajis & Sanatan Dharmis but Jains, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians also. Even devout Muslims arranged his lectures in mosques and donated money for his mission.
The style of ‘Videh’ forced Sanatanis to praise Dayanand. Jains, Christians, Muslims and Sikhs came to Arya Samaj to drink the nectar of his lectures. ‘Videh’ not only established Vedas but also took Arya Samaj to greater heights.
Followers of ‘Videh’ – Most of the preachers of Vedas follow the style of ‘Videh’ and feel gratitude for the same. Even critics of ‘Videh’ keep with them his writings for purposes of reference. Acharya Vishwa Mitra and Pandit Abhimanyu learnt by heart 150-200 explanations of Vedic hymns as given by ‘Videh’.
Health of ‘Videh’ – ‘Videh’ never cared for his body and considered it as a medium to reach the ‘supreme’. He never cancelled his lectures because of illness. Some opponents mixed sindoor in milk to be drunk by ‘Videh’ to harm his voice. These incidents affected his health a lot. On 27th March, 1959, he slipped in Fatehgarh and broke the bone of his leg. Still he continued him lectures leaning on the pillows. On 16 Dec. 1970, he developed a problem in his neck and on 24 June, 1975, he doctor warned his of heart disease. He never listened to the doctors and on 6 & 7 Dec, 1976, he had serious heart attacks. After prolonged treatment he resumed his work and started working for sixteen hours a day.
Salvation day – Continuous deterioration of health due to hard work and travelling forced his body to free the soul on 5th March, 1978, at
Saharanpur around 10.10 PM. In the words of ‘Videh’:
‘Videh’ accha hai ya bura, jab gulshan say
Bulbul yai tarana gayangi, Veda ka parvana na raha.’
‘Videh’ as preacher and establisher of Vedas – ^dks osnku m)fj”;kfr\* or who will establish Vedas?, is the question, baffling the mind of scholars since centuries, and because of different view points presented by different scholars, the question has only raised the complexities of the answer. Vedas are the basis of religion and the voice of God on earth. Vedas become like a guiding mother for their followers. Vidyanand ‘Videh’ vowed to accomplish this difficult task. His name is a source of inspiration for the followers of the Vedas. To quote Manu “Pursuing of Vedas is a noble task in comparison to other tasks which are wasted labour”.
Vedas are a Science of Life. They are not a compilation of thoughts but are a fllow which is to be meditated upon continuously. Swami ‘Videh’ believed this doctrine and worked alone for the benefit of humanity. He devoted his life to fulfill the will of God. Not only this, he further inspired people for the same.
He pursued yoga and thought about Vedas. Every body praised his work. He believed that language of mother Veda is simple and does not follow the rules of grammar, rather both go hand in hand. With this view in mind he explained Vedic hymns which left every one spell bound.
Worship of Vedas instills goodness in human beings. People may believe different doctrines but every one should be Aryans (superior); there are no two opinions about this. Hence Vedic ideals should be followed and preached by every body. Vedas are the treasure of mankind, meant for each of us. This was the mission of ‘Videh’. He created this royal path a to be followed by one and all.
Swami ‘Videh’s mission and dream is known to us. He lighted the fire of ‘Vijay-yag’ and devoted himself completely to it. We should keep this fire burning and pray to God to give us courage to lead our life just like Swami ji’s.
Badri Prasad Pancholi
Editor of ‘Ved-Savita’ (earlier 'savita')