Dayananda Saraswati was born on 12 February in 1824 in a Hindu family in Tankara, near Morbi in the Kathiawad region (now Rajkot district of Gujarat). His original name was Mool Shankar because he was born in Dhanu Rashi and Mool Nakshatra. His birthday is celebrated in Falguna Krishna Dashami tithi (the 10th day of waning moon in the month of Purnimanta Falguna). He belonged to Mool Nakshatra and his birth tithi was Purnimanta Falguna Krishna Dashami then his birth date should be Tuesday, 24 February 1824 according to astrological calculations. His father's name was Karshanji Lalji Tiwari and mother's name was Yashodabai. A tax collector, his father was a rich, prosperous and influential person. He was the head of an eminent Hindu family of the village. When Mool Shankar was eight years old, Yajnopavita Sanskara, or the investiture with thread of the "twice- born" were performed. His father was a follower of Shiva and taught Dayananda Saraswati the ways to impress the Lord. Dayananda was also told the importance of keeping fasts. On the occasion of Shivratri, Dayananda had to sit awake the whole night in obedience to Lord Shiva. One such night, he saw a mouse eating the offerings to the God and running over the idol's body. After seeing this, he questioned himself, if the God could not defend himself against a little mouse then how could he be the savior of the massive world.
Since he was born under Mula Nakshatra, he was named "Moolshankar", and led a comfortable early life, studying Sanskrit, the Vedas and other religious texts to prepare himself for a future as a teacher. The deaths of his younger sister and his uncle from cholera caused Dayananda to ponder the meaning of life and death and he started asking questions which worried his parents. He was to be married in his early teens, as was common in nineteenth-century India, but he decided marriage was not for him and in 1846 ran away from home.
Dayananda Saraswati spent nearly twenty-five years, from 1845 to 1869, as a wandering ascetic, searching for religious truth. An ascetic is someone who gives up material goods and lives a life of self-denial, devoted to spiritual matters. He lived in jungles, in retreats in the Himalayan Mountains, and at a number of pilgrimage sites in northern India. During these years Dayananda Sarasvati practiced various forms of yoga. He became a disciple, or follower, of a well-known religious teacher, Virajanand Dandeesha (sometimes spelled Birajananda). Virajanand believed that Hinduism had strayed from its historical roots and that many of its practices had become impure. Dayananda Sarasvati promised Virajanand that he would devote his life to restoring the rightful place of the Vedas in the Hindu faith.
Ashram Address: Swami Dayananda Ashram, Rishikesh Swami Suddhananda Arsha Vidya Pitham (Swami Dayananda Ashram) P.B.No:30, Purani Jhadi Muni Ki Reti (Rishikesh) - 249 137 Uttarakhand, INDIA