Reason and Truth
(Vinod Anand)

Dogmatic thinking and abdication of reason in their innumerable forms remain as great obstacles to human advancement leading to suffering and ignorance, according to Swami Dayananda.

So strongly was he guided by the supremacy of reason that he proclaimed that one should spurn dogmas even if inherited from people of wisdom, if such beliefs fail to withstand the supremacy of reasoning and truth in the light of new revelations.

Then, these should be discarded without hesitation. All human progress is based on reason. Reason need not necessarily mean arid concepts equated with narrow intellectualism but rather, the application of systematic thinking based on facts revealed from time to time with countless new revelations emerging from continuous research.

It is reason which helps us to decide which objectives and ends are worth embracing and which ought to be given up. It is reason which revealed that earth is round and not flat.

Swamiji was not the first nor is he the last to be guided by supremacy of reason. Reason has always played a crucial role in our understanding of belief systems and theologies. Sage Vasishta instructs Rama, “The remark of even a child is to be accepted, if it is in accordance with reason while the remark of even Brahma the Creator is to be rejected like a piece of straw if it does riot accord with reason.”

The Bhagwad Gita recognizes that nothing can give one fulfillment unless it satisfies his reason, ethical conscience and, above all, it must be personally experienced.

The one who does not doubt or raise questions is not truly alive. Knowledge is valid only if it withstands the test of reasoning. The Arjuna-Krishna dialogue at Kurukshetra annihilates all doubts in Arjuna’s mind by the element of sound reasoning that Krishna presents. Gautama Buddha and Guru Nanak gave new direction to religions prevailing in their times by reasoning out various beliefs which were seen by them to be regressive for human development.

Buddha said, “Do not accept any word out of regard for me; accept them after testing them by logic and putting them to the test of life, then it is that you should discover whether there is any absolute reality in the world or not.” Dayananda laid maximum thrust on dispelling ignorance and spreading knowledge because he believed that capacity to reason out what is right and what is wrong comes from education.

Education is what trains us in thinking rationally and objectively. No wonder that educational institutions — the DAV schools, colleges and gurukuls have been in the forefront for the last 125 years, in spreading literacy in India.

To Dayananda, Vedas are scriptures of all true knowledge since he believed these to be the revelations of God after creating the universe and human life. As we can’t operate any machine without its manual, likewise, Dayananda believed that in his all mercy, God gave Vedic knowledge to us as guide for leading g life which may lead us to ultimate bliss of moksha or liberation.

Swamiji’s concept of God arose out of his capacity and ability to reason based on his interpretation of the Vedas. He believed that the Supreme is formless, being incorporeal and infinite.

Whatever we see in the world only reflects His greatness. The universe created by Him may be allegorically regarded as a means for allaying our mental thirst for the sight of the Supreme Truth.

Author's Bio: 


Born in 1939, and holding Master’s Degree both in Mathematics (1959) and Economics (1961), and Doctorate Degree in Economics (1970), Dr. Vinod K.Anand has about forty five years of teaching, research, and project work experience in Economic Theory (both micro and macro), Quantitative Economics, Public Economics, New Political Economy, and Development Economics with a special focus on economic and social provisions revolving around poverty, inequality, and unemployment issues, and also on informal sector studies. His last assignment was at the National University of Lesotho (Southern Africa) from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that he was placed as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of North-West in the Republic of South Africa, and University of Allahabad in India, Professor at the National University of Lesotho, Associate Professor at the University of Botswana, Gaborone in Botswana, and at Gezira University in Wad Medani, Sudan, Head, Department of Arts and Social Sciences, Yola in Nigeria, Principal Lecturer in Economics at Maiduguri University in Nigeria, and as Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria. Professor Anand has by now published more than 80 research papers in standard academic journals, authored 11 books, supervised a number of doctoral theses, was examiner for more than twenty Ph.D. theses, and has wide consultancy experience both in India and abroad, essentially in the African continent. This includes holding the position of Primary Researcher, Principal Consultant etc. in a number of Research Projects sponsored and funded by Universities, Governments, and International Bodies like, USAID, IDRC, and AERC. His publications include a variety of themes revolving around Economic Theory, New Political Economy, Quantitative Economics, Development Economics, and Informal Sector Studies. His consultancy assignments in India, Nigeria, Sudan, Botswana, and the Republic of South Africa include Non-Directory Enterprises in Allahabad, India, Small Scale Enterprises in the Northern States of Nigeria, The Absolute Poverty Line in Sudan, The Small Scale Enterprises in Wad Medani, Sudan, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in Botswana, The Place of Non-Formal Micro-Enterprises in Botswana, Resettlement of a Squatter Community in the Vryburg District of North West Province in the Republic of South Africa, Trade and Investment Development Programme for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises: Support for NTSIKA in the Republic of South Africa, and Development of the Manufacturing Sector in the Republic of South Africa’s North West Province: An Approach Based on Firm Level Surveys. Professor Anand has also extensively participated in a number of conferences, offered many seminars, participated in a number of workshops, and delivered a variety of Refresher Lectures at different venues both in India and abroad. Dr. Anand was placed at the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla in the State Himachal Pradesh, India as a Fellow from 2001 to 2003, and had completed a theoretical and qualitative research project/monograph on the Employment Profile of Micro Enterprises in the State of Himachal Pradseh, India.