Swami Dayananda Saraswati was the founder of the Arya Samaj. He was born in Tankara in Gujarat in 1824. He was named Mulashankara in his early days. His father was Karshanji Lalji and mother Yashodabai.
As a child, Mulashankara was very inquisitive in nature. He used to tirelessly ask everyone for guidance but could not find anyone who would dispel his doubts. Finally unable to bear the thirst for knowledge, he ran away from home and never returned again.
Later he spent nearly twenty five years as a wandering ascetic searching for religious truth. During this period, he practiced various forms of yoga and became a disciple of Swami Virajananda of Mathura. He promised Virajananda that he would devote his life to restore the rightful practice of vedas in the Hindu faith.
He visited Kashi regularly throwing out open challenge but no one was ready to accept it. Later on he went around the country holding discussions with all the erudite pundits of all religions he came across. Finally he founded the Arya Samaja in 1875 and wrote his powerful book Satyartha Prakasha propounding his new philosophy.
He was not only a philosopher but a missionary who tirelessly engaged himself in spreading and strengthening the Arya Samaja.