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Find out how Arya Samaj is playing a crucial role in educating children in Fiji!

Since its establishment, Arya Samaj in Fiji has focused on education largely and currently owns and manages many schools and institutions in the country

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(Aum) The symbol of Arya Samaj via Wikipedia.org
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  • The Arya Samaj in Fiji was established on 25th December 1904 at Samabula
  • Based on the fundamental principles of Dharma or True Religion, it teaches love, justice and righteousness towards all, irrespective of race, caste or creed
  • Vishnu Deo was the first leader and the only Hindi language newspaper in Fiji, Fiji Samachar

August 17, 2016: Arya Samaj is a Hindu faction that promotes values and practices based on the Hindu text Vedas, which started as a reformist movement by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati in the 19th century. Arya Samaj simply renounces all rituals and beliefs which are commonly associated with Hindus except those originating from the Vedas. It was the movement had that removed almost all concepts introduced after the Vedas in Hinduism.

The vision of Arya Samaj in Fiji is to evolve and educate-

“A Society where everyone is literate and conforms to acceptable moral, spiritual, cultural and social values”

Arya samaj in Fiji was established by a handful of followers who had little knowledge of the work of Mahrishi Dayanand. It was Dayanand, who was the founder of the Arya Samaj Movement in Bombay (now Mumbai) on 10 April 1875. Although the influence of Arya Samaj gradually became weaker among Indians in Fiji, as other organizations were established; but it remained a dominant force in politics until 1959. To the present day, Arya Samaj in Fiji speaks out on the issues affecting its members and its work, which is visible through the various educational institutions it manages today.

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Arya Samaj in Fiji was born out of the desire by the Girmitiyas meaning the descendants of Fiji Indians, to sustain the religious, cultural and social inheritance and provide a platform for the upliftment of their living standards. The inspiration to the members who established Arya Samaj in Fiji was derived from the Satyarth Prakash, written by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati himself in 1875. It can be dated back to 1893 when the learning centers were established by a small group of people who had organized themselves into sects. With the arrival of Shiu Datt Sharma in 1902, a temple was established in Samabul, which also acted as a school attended by many.

Today Arya Samaj is all over Fiji and since 1904, it has contributed significantly to the struggles of the Girmitiyas, their needs, and demands. Believing in promoting knowledge through education, the Arya Samaj in Fiji under the auspices of the National organization Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, established many schools to educate children. Prior to this several informal centers of learning were in operation by the Samajs and individual members that can be dated back to 1893.

From 1926 to 1929 under the auspices of Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, some 100 Fiji-born Indian boys and girls were sent to India to study at various Arya Samaj institutions. At the end of its first century of existence, the Arya Samaj Movement in Fiji proudly owns many educational institutions.

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Nadi Arya Samaj public school in Fiji via fijisun.com.fj
Nadi Arya Samaj public school in Fiji via fijisun.com.fj

MANAGEMENT
The affairs of individual Samajs or sects are managed by the officials through elections conducted every March of a year, by their respective members, under the provisions of Local Samaj Constitution provided by the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. The affairs of the National Body, Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, however, is managed by an Executive Committee consisting of 13 Office Bearers and 35 representatives from affiliated sections, who are elected at the Annual general meeting (AGM) every June. Other functions of the administrative wing of Sabha are vested in the various sub-committees and Boards of School Committees by appointment of the National Executive at the post-Convention (AGM) Executive meeting. The Arya Mahila Mandals and Arya Yuva Dals are an integral part of the Samajs and are very active at Samaj and National level.

The Sabha’s Headquarters is situated at its property at Samabula, Suva.

To conclude, Arya Samaj has specifically aimed at its educational activities and worked for the education of many children in Fiji, built many educational institutions as well. As Indo-Fijians have migrated overseas, they have taken their religion and culture with them. Consequently, Arya Samajs have been established and spread in many countries by former Indo-Fijians.

prepared by Yajush Gupta , twitter: @yajush_gupta

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12 Interesting Facts About Somnath Temple Probably You Didn’t Know

The Somnath Temple is popular due to various legends connected to it. The place is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot.

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Somnath Temple is located in Veraval on the western coast of Gujarat, India. Wikimedia Commons
Somnath Temple is located in Veraval on the western coast of Gujarat, India. Wikimedia Commons
  • Somnath Temple is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna ended his Lila and thereafter left for heavenly abode
  • The first Siva temple at Somanath is believed to have been built at some unknown time in the past
  • Gujarat was raided by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024, plundering the Somnath temple and breaking its sacred jyotirlinga

Somnath Temple is a specimen of fine architecture of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas Shrines of Shiva. This place is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna ended his Lila and thereafter left for heavenly abode, therefore it is dubbed as Eternal Shrine. This legendary temple has been vandalized numerous times in the history but with the help of some Hindu Kings, the temple was reshaped each time.

Somnath Temple is located in Veraval on the western coast of Gujarat, India. The temple is popular due to various legends connected to it. The place is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot. Lord Shiva has a strong connection here and also known as shrine eternal.

Somnath Temple History

According to popular tradition, the first Siva temple at Somanath is believed to have been built at some unknown time in the past. The second temple has been built at the same site by the “Yadava kings” of Vallabhi around 649 CE. In 725 CE, Al-Junayd, the Arab governor of Sindh destroyed the second temple as part of his invasions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. In 815 CE, the Gurjara-Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple, a huge structure of red sandstone.

Also Read: Top 10 Famous Hindu Temples of Tamil Nadu

The Chaulukya (Solanki) king Mularaja possibly built the first temple at the site sometime before 997 CE, even though some historians believe that he may have renovated a smaller earlier temple.

Somnath Temple Attacks

Gujarat was raided by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024, plundering the Somnath temple and breaking its sacred jyotirlinga. Ghazni took away the wealth of almost 20 million dinars. As per historical records, the damage to the temple by was quite negligible because there are records of pilgrimages to the temple in 1038, which has no much mention of any damage to the temple.

In14th century, Gujarati Muslim pilgrims were noted by Amir Khusrow to stop at that temple to pay their respects before departing for the Hajj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons
In14th century, Gujarati Muslim pilgrims were noted by Amir Khusrow to stop at that temple to pay their respects before departing for the Hajj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons

But claims are there that Mahmud had killed 50,000 devotees who tried to defend the temple. The temple at the time of Ghazni’s attack appears to have been a wooden structure, which is said to have decayed in time.

According to an inscription of 1169, Kumarapala rebuilt it in “excellent stone and studded it with jewels,”

Also Read: Angkor Wat: History behind Cambodian Hindu temple

Then in 1299, the Somnath Temple was invaded by Alauddin Khalji’s army, led by Ulugh Khan. They defeated the Vaghela king Karna and sacked the Somnath temple. Legends state that the Jalore ruler Kanhadadeva later recovered the Somnath idol and freed the Hindu prisoners, after an attack on the Delhi army near Jalore. However, some other sources state that the idol was taken to Delhi, where it was thrown to be trampled under the feet of Muslims.

The Somnath Temple was rebuilt by Mahipala I, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 and the lingam was installed by his son Khengara sometime between 1331 and 1351.

In14th century, Gujarati Muslim pilgrims were noted by Amir Khusrow to stop at that temple to pay their respects before departing for the Hajj pilgrimage.

In 1395, the temple was again destroyed for the third time by Zafar Khan, the last governor of Gujarat under the Delhi Sultanate and later founder of Gujarat Sultanate.

In 1546, the Portuguese who were based in Goa attacked ports and towns in Gujarat including Somnath Temple and destroyed several of its structures.

Somnath temple to Dwarka

Dwarka is an ancient city in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is very near to Somnath temple and due to its relevance to Hindu pilgrimage; people do tend to visit this place also.

Also Read: The Temple of Death: The Abode of Yamraj

The magnificent Temple of Dwarka has an elaborately tiered main shrine, a carved entrance and a black-marble idol of Lord Krishna.

Somnath Temple said to have been safely hiding the famous Syamantak Mani within the hollowness of Shivalinga. Wikimedia Commons
Somnath Temple said to have been safely hiding the famous Syamantak Mani within the hollowness of Shivalinga. Wikimedia Commons

The road distance between Dwarka and Somnath is 231 km and the aerial distance from Dwarka to Somnath is 210 km. One can also cover the distance through train which is almost 398km distant.

Here are some facts that are attached to this sacred and architecturally marvellous temple.

  1. The present-day Somnath Temple was built in five years, from 1947 to 1951 and was inaugurated by then President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad.
  2. Somnath Temple said to have been safely hiding the famous Syamantak Mani within the hollowness of Shivalinga, the Philosopher’s stone, which is associated with Lord Krishna. The stone is said to be magical, which was capable of producing gold. It is also believed that stone had alchemic and radioactive properties and thus it remains floating above the ground.
  3. The temple finds its reference in the sacred texts of Hindus like Shreemad Bhagavat, Skandpuran, Shivpuran and Rig-Veda. This signifies the importance of this temple as one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in India.
  4. According to records, the site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times as it was said to be the junction of three rivers, Kapila, Hiran and the mythical Saraswati. The meeting point was called as Triveni Sangam and is believed to be the place where Soma, the Moon-god bathed and regained his lustre.
  5. According to Swami Gajanand Saraswati (a Hindu scholar), the first temple was built 7, 99, 25,105 years ago as derived from the traditions of Prabhas Khand of Skanda Puran.
  6. The temple is said to be located at such a place that there is no straight-line land between Somnath seashore till Antarctica continent. In a Sanskrit inscription, found on the Arrow-Pillar called Baan-Stambh is stated that the temple stands at a point on the Indian piece of land, which happens to be the first point on land in the north to the south-pole on that particular longitude.

    The saga of Somnath temple is related to moon god and curse of his father in law Daksha Prajapati. Wikimedia Commons
    The saga of Somnath temple is related to moon god and curse of his father in law Daksha Prajapati. Wikimedia Commons
  7. According to the text of Skanda Purana, the name of Somnath Temple will change every time the world is reconstructed. It is believed when Lord Brahma will create a new world after ending the one we are living, Somnath will acquire a new name of Pran Nath Temple.
  8. On the walls of Somnath Temple, the sculptures of Lord Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu can be seen.
  9. According to another reference in the Skanda Purana, there are about 6 Brahmas. This is the era of 7thBrahma who is called Shatanand.
  10. The flag mast on the peak of Somnath Temple is 37 feet long and it changes 3 times a day.
  11. The saga of Somnath temple is related to moon god and curse of his father in law Daksha Prajapati.
  12. Non-Hindus doesn’t require any special permission to visit Somnath Temple. The decision was taken in view of security issues.Now, pack your bags and begin your journey to one of the most the sacred places of India.