The Arya Samaj was established on 7th April, 1875 at Mumbai, India by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati with the purpose of moving the Hindu dharma away from fictitious beliefs and back to the teaching of the Vedas.
The goal of Arya Samaj has always been “krinvantu vishvam aryam” ,that is, to make this world noble. The word Arya means a noble human being – one who is thoughtful and charitable, who thinks good thoughts and does good actions – he or she is an Arya.
Swami Dayanandji’s teachings became more and more effective and his followers grew. After the creation of the first Arya Samaj in Mumbai on April 7 1875, others began to be formed wherever Swamiji went. The society gained strength in Punjab. In the large as well as small towns and villages of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan, it also got a strong foothold. When there were enough Samajs all over the country they were brought under central institutions in the different provinces.
Today, the Arya Samaj organisation is alive and sound in all parts of the world. In Australia, among various Samaj organisations, the Vedic Pratinidhi Sabha and Arya Samaj of Australia Incorporated is doing marvellous work in promoting the teachings of Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
Pundit Ji, Shri Shiv Narayan Hari Prasad was born in Nadi Fiji on 29th November 1928. He was educated at Nadi Sangam School, Andrews Government Nadi, Natabua High School Lautoka, Nasinu Teachers College in Suva and University of South Pacific. By profession he was a School Teacher and he taught at many schools all around Fiji. He taught for 36 years, most of the years holding post of responsibility.
In 1973 he was promoted to Master Class One which was the highest promotion one could get in the profession those days. Pundit Ji was also a very dedicated social worker. He was a member of the Boys Scout Movement in Fiji where he served for 22 years. He was amongst the first few to get Wood Badge in Fiji, in recognition of his service to the Scout Movement.
He was a member of Red Cross and served as a Welfare Officer at Navua, Fiji during 1964 – 1966. He was very actively involved with the Hindu Society in Fiji and served as the Vice President from 1982 to 1983. He was one of the Foundation Members of Fiji Council of Social Services. Pundit Ji was very actively involved with the St John Ambulance Brigade in Fiji. He was a Lay Lecturer and Headquarters Staff Officer for many years. In his capacity as the Staff Officer Headquarters, Pundit Ji commanded annual parades consisting of Army, Police, Prison Officers and Nursing divisions for two Governor Generals of Fiji (Ratu Sir George Cakabau and Rau Sir Penaia Ganilau. For his loyal and dedicated service Pundit Ji was awarded with the Long Service Medal of the Order of St John and in October 1985 and he was made a Serving Brother of the Order of St John by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
FIELD OF SPORTS: Pundit Ji represented Lautoka, Suva and Nadi in Inter District Hockey Tournaments. He was the official Coach for DAV Boys’ College Team from 1957 to 1962. He was also a Weight Lifting and Boxing enthusiast. I am told he did fight in the ring during his College days. He was also actively involved with many other sporting groups and remained a Life member of numerous sports club in Fiji.
UNION ACTIVITIES: Pundit Ji served Fiji Teachers Union in various capacities, both at Branch and National levels for several years. He was co-ordinator for several of Fiji Teachers’ Union seminars including the one organised by the World Confederation of Organisations of the Teaching Profession.
OTHER ACTIVITIES: Pundit Ji was a Member of Hindi Primary Group from 1969–1985. The Hindi Readers by the Group for years one to six is still being used as text books in Fiji. He also served as Secretary and then President for Regional Young Farmers show committee for several years. Fiji Road Safety Council 1976 – 1987: Served in various capacities before being promoted as Fiji’s Road Safety Promotion Officer. He prepared and presented special programmes on Road Safety through Fiji Broadcasting Commission to the people of Fiji.
In Australia Pundit Ji continued to be very actively involved in social work and was instrumental towards encouraging many others to join hands towards providing service to Humanity. LIDCOMBE HOSPITAL AUXILIARY: He served as Assistant Secretary for 10 years. He received several Awards for his dedicated service in this area. WESTERN DISTRICTS CARDIAC SUPPORT GROUP: Pundit Ji served as Treasurer for 9 years.
LIONS CLUB OF AUBURN/LIDCOMBE: Served as Secretary, Vice President and President of the Club. He was recipient of several awards, medals including international Presidents award for his dedication and service to Humanity. In 1996 made one of the Zone Chairman in the Lions District.
FIJI INDIAN SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA INC. (FISCAA): He served as Chairman of Education Committee for numerous years and was the Patron of the Association.
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: He was a JP since 1990 in NSW, Australia and provided his service at all times at various locations on voluntary basis.
ARYA SAMAJ: Pundit Ji was the Founder and First President of Vedic Pratinidhi Sabha and Arya Samaj of Australia Incorporated.
ARYA RATNA: Title of Arya Ratna was conferred for exceptionally valuable contribution to Arya Samaj. He was also Minister of Religion for Vedic Rites and a Registered Marriage Celebrant who was registered to conduct Marriage ceremonies anywhere in Australia.
DISCOURSES AND PUBLICATIONS: Pundit Ji was a regular contributor providing discourses for broadcast in Radio Navtarang. He also provided articles for publication in various magazines in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
Despite all these activities, Pundit Ji still had a lot of time for his family. He worked extremely hard to raise his seven children and children of many parents who had either passed away or found it difficult to educate them.
Pundit Ji peacefully passed away on the 1st September 2009 and at his funeral in the eulogy, his son Rakesh Prasad said "today all his children a very proud that they were born in a family with Pundit Ji as their father and late Lila Wati Prasad as their mother. We have achieved a lot in our lives with their blessings and guidance and we do not have words to say how thankful we are to both of you. So it is with great sadness and great love ladies & gentlemen that we say goodbye and Namaste to this amazing man, our Father, who taught us so much, who shared with us his love and taught us how to love one another and the importance of family. Pundit Ji, on behalf of all your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren, all your friends, relatives, your students all around the world and everyone present here, it's time to bid you farewell".
Unto Him, who bestows upon us the life force and strength, and whose laws is abided by all scholars. Unto Him, under whose shelter flows the sweet nectar of Deathlessness. Unto him, do we offer our oblations in the Yajna respective of His process of creation.
Namaste Pundit Ji and May God Bless your Soul and May you always rest in Peace.