Foundation Leaders Mourn Passing of Vedanta Master and Hindu Leader, Swami Dayanand Saraswati

Philadelphia, PA (September 23, 2015) -- Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) joined millions around the world in mourning the passing of H. H. Swami Dayanand Saraswati, one of India’s great Advaita Vedanta masters and Hindu leaders. Swami Dayanandji, the founder of several centers of traditional learning in India and the U.S. under the banner of Arsha Vidya and Arsha Vijnana, passed away at his ashram in Rishikesh, India late Wednesday.

“The Hindu fraternity has lost a rare spirit. Swamiji was an exemplar of scholarship, devotion, and service,” said Suhag Shukla, HAF’s Executive Director. “He not only shared his deep knowledge of Hindu philosophy, but brought to light some of the most pressing issues facing Hindus today. We remain inspired in our work by his calls for studying the words of our realized scripture (Shruti) and internalizing them, engaging other faiths in a principled and assured manner, and speaking out against predatory proselytization and conversion, and the violence they wreak on people and communities of faith.”

In addition to teaching, Swami Dayanand convened the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, an apex forum comprising more than 130 Hindu religious leaders heading Mathas and Peethas in India (institutions of Hindu religious learning and practice) that are more than a few hundred years old and with an unbroken lineage from their founding. Under the Sabha’s auspices, he launched All India Movement for Seva, or AIM for Seva, in 2000, a service organization with projects in education, environment, culture, health care, income generation, and women's empowerment throughout rural India. AIM for Seva gained special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and has reached millions through its humanitarian work.

“Having access to his ashram just outside of Philadelphia in the Poconos made the experience of traditional learning possible for Hindus and non-Hindus alike right in our backyard,” said Aseem Shukla, cofounder and member of the Foundation’s board. “He will be deeply missed. But we find solace in knowing that his teachings and spirit of service will live on through the Arsha Vidya family and beyond.”