Brahmo Samaj

Brahmo Samaj (Bengali: ব্রাহ্ম সমাজ Bramho Shômaj) is the societal component of Brahmoism, which began as a monotheistic reformist movement of the Hindu religion that appeared during the Bengal Renaissance. It is practised today mainly as the Adi Dharm after its eclipse in Bengal consequent to the exit of the Tattwabodini Sabha from its ranks in 1839. After the publication of Hemendranath Tagore's Brahmo Anusthan (code of practice) in 1860 which formally divorced Brahmoism from Hinduism, the first Brahmo Samaj was founded in 1861 at Lahore by Pandit Nobin Chandra Roy.

It was one of the most influential religious movements in India[1] and made a significant contribution to the making of modern India.[2] It was started at Calcutta on 20 August 1828 by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Debendranath Tagore as reformation of the prevailing Brahmanism of the time (specifically Kulin practices) and began the Bengal Renaissance of the 19th century pioneering all religious, social and educational advance of the Hindu community in the 19th century. Its Trust Deed was made in 1830 formalising its inception and it was duly and publicly inaugurated in January 1830 by the consecration of the first house of prayer, now known as the Adi Brahmo Samaj.[3] From the Brahmo Samaj springs Brahmoism, the most recent of legally recognised religions in India and Bangladesh, reflecting its foundation on reformed spiritual Hinduism with vital elements of Judeo-Islamic faith and practice.[4][5]

Raja Rammohan Roy founded Brahmo Samaj in 1828 in the name of Brahmo Sabha.

Brahmoism
ScriptureBrahmo Dharma
TheologyMonotheism
Pradhanacharya-1Ram Mohan Roy
Pradhanacharya-2Dwarkanath Tagore
Pradhanacharya-3Debendranath Tagore
FounderRam Mohan Roy
Origin1828
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Separated fromSanātanī Hinduism
Other name(s)Adi Dharm
Official websitehttp://true.brahmosamaj.in

Meaning of the name

The Brahmo Samaj literally denotes community (Sanskrit: 'samaj') of men who worship Brahman the highest reality.[6] In reality Brahmo Samaj does not discriminate between caste, creed or religion and is an assembly of all sorts and descriptions of people without distinction, meeting publicly for the sober, orderly, religious and devout adoration of "the (nameless) unsearchable Eternal, Immutable Being who is the Author and Preserver of the Universe."[7]

Doctrine

The following doctrines, as noted in Renaissance of Hinduism, are common to all varieties and offshoots of the Brahmo Samaj:[8]

  • Brahmo Samajists have no faith in any scripture as an authority.
  • Brahmo Samajists have no faith in Avatars
  • Brahmo Samajists denounce polytheism and idol-worship.
  • Brahmo Samajists are against caste restrictions.
  • Brahmo Samajists make faith in the doctrines of Karma and Rebirth optional.

Divisions of Brahmo Samaj

Anusthanic versus Ananusthanic Brahmos

To understand the differences between the two streams of Brahmo Samaj it is essential to understand that these implicit distinctions are based on caste. The Anusthanic Brahmos are exclusively either Brahmins or casteless, and exclusively adhere to Brahmoism and have no other faith. The Ananusthanic Brahmo Samajists, however, are from the remaining main caste divisions of Hinduism like Kayastha, Baidya etc. and hence within the Karmic / Rebirth wheel to eternally progress (i.e. Sanatan Dharm) to God by moving up caste hierarchies, unlike anusthanic Brahmos for whom the next step after death is reintegration and renewal with 'God'.[9]

History and timeline

Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Brahmo Sabha

On 20 August 1828 the first assembly of the Brahmo Sabha (progenitor of the Brahmo Samaj) was held at the North Calcutta house of Feringhee Kamal Bose. This day was celebrated by Brahmos as Bhadrotsab (ভাদ্রোৎসব Bhadrotshôb "Bhadro celebration"). These meetings were open to all Brahmins and there was no formal organisation or theology as such.[10][11]

On 8 January 1830 influential progressive members of the closely related Kulin Brahmin clan[12] scurrilously[13] described as Pirali Brahmin ie. ostracised for service in the Mughal Nizaamat of Bengal) of Tagore (Thakur) and Roy (Vandopādhyāya) zumeendar family mutually executed the Trust deed of Brahmo Sabha for the first Adi Brahmo Samaj (place of worship) on Chitpore Road (now Rabindra Sarani), Kolkata, India with Ram Chandra Vidyabagish as first resident superintendent.[14]

On 23 January 1830 or 11th Magh, the Adi Brahmo premises were publicly inaugurated (with about 500 Brahmins and 1 Englishman present). This day is celebrated by Brahmos as Maghotsab (মাঘোৎসব Maghotshôb "Magh celebration").

In November 1830 Rammohun Roy left for England. Akbar II had conferred the title of 'Raja' to Rammohun Roy.[15]

Brief Eclipse of Brahmo Sabha

With Rammohun's departure for England in 1830, the affairs of Brahmo Sabha were effectively managed by Trustees Dwarkanath Tagore and Pandit Ram Chandra Vidyabagish, with Dwarkanath instructing his diwan to manage affairs.

By the time of Rammohun's death in 1833 near Bristol (UK), attendance at the Sabha dwindled and the Telugu Brahmins revived idolatry. The zameendars, being preoccupied in business, had little time for affairs of Sabha, and flame of Sabha was almost extinguished.[16]

Tattwabodhini period

On 6 October 1839 Debendranath Tagore, son of (Prince) Dwarkanath Tagore, established Tattvaranjini Sabha which was shortly thereafter renamed the Tattwabodhini (Truth-seekers) Sabha. Initially confined to immediate members of the Tagore family, in 2 years it mustered over 500 members. In 1840 Debendranath published a Bangla translation of Katha Upanishad. A modern researcher describes the Sabha's philosophy as modern middle-class (bourgeois) Vedanta.[17] Among its first members were the "two giants of Hindu reformation and Bengal Renaissance, Akshay Kumar Datta "who in 1839 emerged from the life of an anonymous squalor-beset individual" and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar the "indigenous modernizer".[18]

First Covenant and merger with the Tattwabodhini Sabha

On 7th Pous 1765 Shaka (1843) Debendranath Tagore and twenty other Tattwabodhini stalwarts were formally invited by Pt. Vidyabagish into the Trust of Brahmo Sabha. The Pous Mela at Santiniketan starts on this day.[19] From this day forth, the Tattwabodhini Sabha dedicated itself to promoting Ram Mohan Roy's creed.[20] The other Brahmins who swore the First Covenant of Brahmoism are:-

  • Shridhar Bhattacharya
  • Shyamacharan Bhattacharya
  • Brajendranath Tagore
  • Girindranath Tagore, brother of Debendranath Tagore & father of Ganendranath Tagore
  • Anandachandra Bhattacharya
  • Taraknath Bhattacharya
  • Haradev Chattopadhyaya, the future father-in-law to MahaAcharya Hemendranath Tagore[21]
  • Shyamacharan Mukhopadhyaya
  • Ramnarayan Chattopadhyaya
  • Sashibhushan Mukhopadhyaya

Disagreement with the Tattwabodhini

In Nov 1855 the Rev. Charles Dall (a Unitarian minister of Boston) arrived in Calcutta to start his mission and immediately established contact with Debendranath and other Brahmos. Debendranath's suspicion of foreigners alienated Dall and in 1857, Debendranath Tagore barred the entry of the Reverend from the Sabha premises for preaching the name of Christ who some people worship as God within.[22][23] Debendranath then proceeded on spiritual retreat to Simla. Dall, immediately formed a counter group "The friends of Rammohun Roy Society" and then got admitted a protégé to Sabha. The presence of Dall's protégé Keshub Chandra Sen (a non-Brahmin) into the Calcutta Brahmo Sabha in 1857 while Debendranath was away in Simla caused considerable stress in the movement, with many long time Tattvabodhini Brahmin members publicly leaving the Brahmo Sabha and institutions due to his high-handed ways. In September 1858, Debendranath returned to Calcutta to resolve the simmering disputes. but his conservative mien did not allow him to take decisive steps. He proceeded on a sea voyage to Ceylon accompanied by Sen and his 2nd son Satyendranath (a firm admirer of Mr Sen) but no concord was achieved. In 1859, the venerable and beloved Secretary of the Tattwabodhini Sabha Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar resigned from the Brahmo Sabha in the face of Debendranath's vacillation. A meeting of the Tatwabodhini was promptly summoned with Debendranath resigning from the group he had founded. His third son Hemendranath Tagore then a boy barely 15 years in age, and the favorite pupil of Vidyasgar, was commonly acclaimed as Debendranath's successor to head the Tattwabodhini. In the course of time he would become known as the MahaAcharya (or Great Teacher).

Expansion of the Tattwabodhini Sabha

Disgusted by politics within the Tagore family and the support to K. C. Sen's faction by his own brother Satyendranath Tagore, Hemendranath took the bold decisions to expand his Sabha out from Calcutta. His close associate Pandit Nobin Chandra Roy who had joined the new institution of "Railways" in 1860 as its "Paymaster" for Upper India was tasked to spread Brahmoism there. With a predominantly monotheistic populace following Islam and Sikhism it was perceived as fertile soil for Rammohun's message. The Tattwabodhini decreed that the uncorrupted faith of the original 1830 Trust Deed would be known there as the Adi Dharm to distinguish it from the distorted versions of the squabbling factions of Calcutta. The steps taken by Hemendranath Tagore, with the blessing of his father, was to institute in 1860 a suit before the Supreme Court to restore the title "Brahmo Samaj" to his faction. After losing in this suit in 1861, Keshub Sen's faction altered the name of their Samaj from "The Brahmo Samaj of India" to "Navabidhan (or the New Dispensation)". With victory in this suit and the promulgation of his Brahmo Anusthan (Code of Brahmaic doctrine and practice) in 1861, Hemendranath's Samaj-ists are henceforth known as the "Anusthanic" Brahmos (or Brahmos who follow the Code). The other factions were designated as "Ananusthanic" Brahmos (or those who do not follow the Code) (this distinction was again to be legally examined before the Privy Council of Great Britain in 1901 and in 1902 the Privy Council upheld the 1897 finding of the Chief Court of the Punjab that the Adi Dharm (anusthanic Brahmos) were definitely not Hindus whereas the Ananusthanics Brahmos of Calcutta fall within Hinduism).

Foundation of the Brahmo Samaj

In 1861 the Brahmo Somaj (as it was spelled then) was founded at Lahore by Nobin Roy.[24] It included many Bengalis from the Lahore Bar Association. Many branches were opened in the Punjab, at Quetta, Rawalpindi, Amritsar etc.

First Secession

Disagreement with the Tattvabodhini came to a head publicly between the period of 1 August 1865 till November 1866 with many tiny splinter groups styling themselves as Brahmo. The most notable of these groups styled itself "Brahmo Samaj of India". This period is also referred to in the histories of the secessionists as the "First Schism".[25]

Brahmo Samaj and Swami Narendranath Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda was influenced by the Brahmo Samaj of India, and visited the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj in his youth.[26]

Current status and number of adherents

While the various Calcutta sponsored movements declined after 1920 and faded into obscurity after the Partition of India, the Adi Dharm creed has expanded and is now the 9th largest of India's enumerated religions with 7.83 million adherents, heavily concentrated between the states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. In the Indian census of 2001 only 177 persons declared themselves a "Brahmo", but the number of subscriber members to Brahmo Samaj is somewhat larger at around 20,000 members.[27][28]

Social and religious reform

In all fields of social reform, including abolition of the caste system and of the dowry system, emancipation of women, and improving the educational system, the Brahmo Samaj reflected the ideologies of the Bengal Renaissance. Brahmoism, as a means of discussing the dowry system, was a central theme of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's noted 1914 Bengali language novella, Parineeta.

In 1866, Keshub Chandra Sen organised the more radical "Brahmo Samaj of India" with overtones of Christianity. He campaigned for the education of women and against child marriages. But he nonetheless arranged a marriage for his own underage daughter. The Brahmo Samaj of India split after this act of underage marriage generated a controversy and his pro-British utterances and leaning towards Christian rites generated more controversies. A third group, "Sadharan (ordinary) Brahmo Samaj", was formed in 1878. It gradually reverted to the teaching of the Upanishads but continued the work of social reform. The movement, always an elite group without significant popular following, lost force in the 20th century.

After the controversy of underage marriage of Keshub Chunder Sen's daughter, the Special Marriages Act of 1872 was enacted to set the minimum age of 14 years for marriage of girls.[29] All Brahmo marriages were thereafter solemnised under this law. Many Indians resented the requirement of the affirmation "I am not Hindu, nor a Mussalman, nor a Christian" for solemnising a marriage under this Act. The requirement of this declaration was imposed by Henry James Sumner Maine, legal member of Governor General's Council appointed by Britain. The 1872 Act was repealed by the Special Marriage Act, 1954 under which any person of any religion could marry. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 applies to all Hindus including followers of the Brahmo Samaj. In India the statutory minimum age of marriage for followers of Brahmo Samaj is the same as for all Indians, viz., 21 years for males and 18 years for females. It is also the age of marriage in Bangladesh.

It also supported social reform movements of people not directly attached to the Samaj, such as Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar’s movement which promoted widow remarriage.

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ J. N. Farquhar, Modern Religious Movements of India (1915), p. 29
  2. ^ "Brahmo Samaj and the making of modern India, David Kopf, publ. 1979 Princeton University Press (USA)."
  3. ^ "Modern Religious movements in India, J.N.Farquhar (1915)" page 29 etc.
  4. ^ "Official Brahmo website". Brahmosamaj.in. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  5. ^ "Bangladesh Law Commission" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  6. ^ page 1 Chapter 1 Volume 1 History of the Brahmo Samaj by Sivanath Sastri, 1911, 1st edn. publisher R.Chatterji, Cornwallis St. Calcutta. Brahmo (ব্রাহ্ম bramho) literally means "one who worships Brahman", and Samaj (সমাজ shômaj) mean "community of men".
  7. ^ Trust deed of Brahmo Sabha 1830
  8. ^ Source: The Gazetteer of India, Volume 1: Country and people. Delhi, Publications Division, Government of India, 1965. CHAPTER VIII – Religion. HINDUISM by Dr. C.P.Ramaswami Aiyar, Dr. Nalinaksha Dutt, Prof. A.R.Wadia, Prof. M.Mujeeb, Dr.Dharm Pal and Fr. Jerome D'Souza, S.J.
  9. ^ "Anusthanic Brahmos, Ananusthnic Brahmo Samaj". World Brahmo Council.
  10. ^ "Socio-Religious Reform Movements in British India" By Kenneth W. Jones page 33-34, publ. 1989 Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN 0-521-24986-4 This Sabha was convened at Calcutta by religious reformer Raja Rammohun Roy for his family and friends settled there. The Sabha regularly gathered on Saturday between seven o'clock to nine o'clock. These were informal meetings of Bengali Brahmins (the "twice born"), accompanied by Upanishadic recitations in Sanskrit followed by Bengali translations of the Sanskrit recitation and singing of Brahmo hymns composed by Rammohun.
  11. ^ "Modern Religious movements in India, J.N.Farquhar (1915)"
  12. ^ "A History of Brahmin Clans" (Brāhmaṇa Vaṃshõ kā Itihāsa) in Hindi, by Dorilāl Śarmā, published by Rāśtriya Brāmhamana Mahāsabhā, Vimal Building, Jamirābād, Mitranagar, Masūdābād, Aligarh-1, 2nd edn. 1998. and also footnotes to Bengali Brahmin
  13. ^ "Tagore, (Prince) Dwarkanath". Banglapedia. 22 April 2009. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Online copy of 1830 Trust Deed". brahmosamaj.in. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  15. ^ Socio-Religious Reform Movements in British India By Kenneth W. Jones page 34, publ. 1989 Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN 0-521-24986-4
  16. ^ H.C.Sarkar-History of the Brahmo Religion (1906)
  17. ^ <2007: Brian Hatcher "Journal of American Academy of Religion"
  18. ^ "Brahmo Samaj and the making of modern India, David Kopf, Princeton University press", pp 43–57
  19. ^ "Rabindra Bharati Museum Kolkata, The Tagores & Society". Rabindrabharatiuniversity.net. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  20. ^ "Bourgeois Hinduism", Brian Allison Hatcher. pg 57–58.
  21. ^ "History of the Brahmo Samaj", S. Sastri. 2nd ed. p.81
  22. ^ "The Brahmo Samaj and making of Modern India", David Kopf, publ. Princeton Univ.
  23. ^ "Brahmoism, or a history of reformed Hinduism" (1884), R.C.Dutt
  24. ^ page.4 "Pakistan journal of history and culture, Volume 11", by National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research (Pakistan)
  25. ^ Pt.Shivnath Shastri: Brahmo History- 1911.Page 106-107, 2nd edn.
  26. ^ Chattopadhyaya, Rajagopal (31 December 1999). "Book: "Swami Vivekananda in India: A Corrective Biography"". Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  27. ^ "Brahmo Samaj FAQ Frequently asked Questions". Brahmo.org. 2011-07-25. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  28. ^ Statewise census computation by the Brahmo Conference Organisation
  29. ^ "Brahma Sabha". Banglapedia. Retrieved 2015-07-23.

External links

Adi Dharm

Adi Dharm refers to the religion of Adi Brahmo Samaj (Bengali: আদি ব্রাহ্ম সমাজ, Adi Brahmô Shômaj) the first development of Brahmoism and includes those Sadharan Brahmo Samajists who were reintegrated into Brahmoism after the 2nd schism of 1878 at the instance of Hemendranath Tagore. This was the first organised casteless movement in British India and reverberated from its heart of Bengal to Assam, Bombay State (modern Sindh, Maharashtra and Gujarat), Punjab and Madras, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.

Aghore Nath Gupta

Aghore Nath Gupta (Bengali: অঘোরনাথ গুপ্ত) (1841–1881) was a scholar of Buddhism and a preacher of the Brahmo Samaj. He was designated Sadhu (saint) after his premature death in recognition of his pious life. Sivanath Sastri wrote about him, "His unfeigned humility, deep spirituality and earnest devotion were a new revelation to the members of the Samaj."

Anandamohan College

Ananda Mohan College (Bengali: আনন্দ মোহন কলেজ), is an undergraduate evening college in north Kolkata. It started in 1961 as the evening branch of City College, Calcutta. City College was founded by patriotic Brahmo leader Ananda Mohan Bose. The college is located at 102/1, Raja Rammohan Roy Sarani, Kolkata-700 009. It was one of the City Group colleges administered by Brahmo Samaj Education Society, a registered society, constituted by the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, Kolkata. From 2017, it became a grant-in-aid college no longer administered by the Brahmo Samaj.

The college was accredited by NAAC at the B+ level in 2016.

It offers undergraduate courses in humanities (Bengali, English, Hindi, history, philosophy, and Sanskrit), social sciences (economics and political science), natural sciences (botany, chemistry, geography and environmental studies, physics, physiology, and zoology), mathematics, computer science, and commerce.

Another institution with the same name is Ananda Mohan College, Mymensingh, Bangladesh. It was also established by Ananda Mohan Bose at his place of birth. Other than being started by the same person and having the same name, the two institutions are not related.

Banga Mahila Vidyalaya

Banga Mahila Vidyalaya (Bengali Women’s College) was the first women’s liberal arts college in India. Established at Kolkata (then known as Calcutta) on 1 June 1876, by the liberal section of the Brahmo Samaj, it was successor of Hindu Mahila Vidyalaya (School of Hindu Women) set up on 18 September 1873 by Annette Akroyd. Banga Mahila Vidyalaya was merged with Bethune College on 1 August 1878. The short-lived Banga Mahila Vidyalaya not only laid the foundations for higher education of women in India, it was the pivotal issue which fostered the second split in the Brahmo Samaj. David Kopf says that while the immediate cause for the split in the Brahmo Samaj in 1878, was the marriage of Keshub Chunder Sen’s daughter to the Maharaja of Cooch Behar, ‘’women’s emancipation was the major issue of the 1870s."

Brahmo

A Bengali Brahmo or the traditional Bengali elites are Bengal's upper class. They form the bulk of the historical colonial establishment of eastern India. Educated mostly in a select few schools and colleges, they were one of the wealthiest and most anglicised communities of colonial India. Presidency College's control over the development of and continued influence on the Brahmos and vice versa was complete in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Drawn from the ranks of the newly emerging colonial ruling class, considered to be junior partners in the enterprise of the British Empire, the Brahmos were typically employed as Bengal Presidency governors, high court judges, commissioners, collectors, magistrates, railway managers, Presidency College and Calcutta Medical College principals and professors, as well as those who made their major profits in big business. Politically, they were considered to be moderates in nationalist politics, with the aim of joining council politics for the furtherance of the constitutional question within the framework of the Empire. Influenced by the teachings of the Upanishads.

Brahmo Balika Shikshalaya

The Brahmo Balika Shikshalaya is a girls' school in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. It is guided by the principles of the Brahmo Samaj movement. It was established on 16 May 1890 by the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj on the 12th anniversary of its foundation. .

Brahmo Conference Organisation

The Brahmo Conference Organisation (Sammilan) was founded on 27 January 1881 at Mymensingh Bangladesh to maintain communication between Adi Dharm and Sadharan Brahmo Samaj after the 2nd schism of Brahmoism in 1878. The stated objectives for founding the organisation included

to resolve the differences between the 2 existing Brahmic divisions of Adiism and Sadharanism,

preach from every platform that the Nabobidhan (a dissenting sect) is not the Brahmo religion but totally opposed to Brahmoism.

Brahmoism

Brahmoism is a religious movement from the late 19th century Bengal originating the Bengali Renaissance, the nascent Indian independence movement and the wider Hindu reform movements of the period. Adherents, known as Brahmos (singular Brahmo), are mainly of Indian or Bangladeshi origin or nationality. The Brahmo Samaj, literally the "Divine Society", was founded as a movement by Ram Mohan Roy. Placing great importance on the use of reason, he aimed to reform Hindu religious and social practices, being influenced by the monotheistic religions and modern science.

City College, Kolkata

City College (Bengali: সিটি কলেজ) (or City College, Amherst street, Kolkata) is a constituent undergraduate college of the University of Calcutta. Established in 1881, it is one of the heritage institutions of Kolkata, and played a prominent social role in the wake of the Bengal Renaissance of the nineteenth century. The college is located at 102/1, Raja Rammohan Roy Sarani (Amherst street), Kolkata-700 009. It is one of the City group colleges administered by Brahmo Samaj Education Society, a registered society, constituted by the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, Kolkata.

Debendranath Tagore

Debendranath Tagore (15 May 1817 – 19 January 1905) was a Hindu philosopher and religious reformer, active in the Brahmo Samaj ("Society of Brahman," also translated as "Society of God"), which aimed to reform the Hindu religion and way of life. He was one of the founders in 1848 of the Brahmo religion, which today is synonymous with Brahmoism.

A Bengali, he was born in Shilaidaha. His father was the industrialist Dwarkanath Tagore.

Debendranath was a deeply religious man. His movement, the Brahmo Samaj, was formed in 1843 by merging his Tattwabodhini Sabha with the Brahmo Sabha, ten years after the death of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, founder of the Brahmo Sabha. The Brahmo Sabha had fallen away from its original aims and practices, as stated in its Trust deed of Brahmo Sabha. However, Tagore aimed to revive the importance of this deed.

Although Debendranath was deeply spiritual, he managed to continue to maintain his worldly affairs – he did not renounce his material possessions, as some Hindu traditions prescribed, but instead continued to enjoy them in a spirit of detachment. His considerable material property included estates spread over several districts of Bengal; most famously, the Santiniketan estate near Bolpur in the Birbhum district, a later acquisition, where his eldest son Dwijendranath Tagore set up his school.

Debendranath was a master of the Upanishads and played no small role in the education and cultivation of the faculties of his sons.

Keshub Chandra Sen

Keshab Chandra Sen (Bengali: কেশবচন্দ্র সেন, Keshob Chôndro Shen; also spelled Keshub Chunder Sen; 19 November 1838 – 8 January 1884) was an Indian Bengali philosopher and social reformer. Born a Hindu, he became a member of the Brahmo Samaj in 1856 but founded his own breakaway "Brahmo Samaj of India" in 1866 while the Brahmo Samaj remained under the leadership of Maharshi Debendranath Tagore (who headed the Brahmo Samaj till his death in 1905). In 1878 his followers abandoned him after the underage child marriage of his daughter which exposed his campaign against child marriage as hollow. Later in his life he came under the influence of Ramakrishna and founded a syncretic "New Dispensation" or Nôbobidhan inspired by Christianity, and Vaishnav bhakti, and Hindu practices.

Maghotsab of Brahma Samaj

Maghotsav is the main festival of the Brahmos celebrated on 11 Magh each year according to the Bengali calendar to mark the anniversary of Brahmo Samaj. The celebration commemorates the inauguration of the first Brahmo Samaj by Ram Mohan Roy on 23 January 1830, which was on 11 Magh according to the Bengali calendar in that year.

Maghotsav is celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety by Brahmos all over the world. It is celebrated by divine service or prayer, offered by the acharya or minister, interspersed with devotional hymns popularly known as Brahmasangeet. In Kolkata, which is now the main seat of Brahmoism, week long celebrations are carried out in the Brahmo Samajes like Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, Navavidhan Brahmo Samaj, Brahmo Sammilan Samaj. The other Samajes in Bengal like Harinavi, Konnagar, Baniban, Nimta, Puddopukur also join in the festivities.

A special divine service is held on 11 Magh at Jorasanko Thakur Bari - the seat of the Tagore's in Kolkata where ministers from the three main Samajes join together in performing the Maghotsav. The songs are sung by the music group Baitanik - founded by late Soumendranath Tagore.

Maghotsav is also celebrated in other Brahmo Samajes in India and the Brahmo educational institutions as well and in Tagore's Santiniketan. However these are one-day celebrations rather than a week long.

The Brahmo religion stands for the following (as laid down in the Trust Deed of the Brahmo Samaj):

Followers shall love Him and do His will and worship the One Absolute Prambrahma, the Creator, Preserver, Destroyer who is the giver of all Good in this world and the next, who is All knowing, All Pervading, Formless and Beneficent

Followers shall not adore any created thing, thinking it to be the Supreme One

Followers should perform good deeds - and it is through these good deeds one can serve God

He is the One, Alone and Absolute - Ekamevadityam

The Samaj is to be a meeting ground for all sects for the worship of the One True God

No object of worship or a set of men shall be reviled or contemptuously spoken of or alluded to in any way

No graven image statue or sculpture carving painting picture portrait or the likeness of anything shall be admitted within

No object animate or inanimate that has been or is or shall hereafter become or be recognized as an object of worship

No sacrifice offering oblation of any kind or thing shall ever be permitted

Promote, charity, morality, piety, benevolence, virtue and strengthen the bonds of union between men of all religions and creed

For more details on the Maghotsav check out Brahmo Samaj Festivals

Sadharan Brahmo Samaj

Raja Rammohun Roy

Ram Chandra Vidyabagish

Ramchandra Vidyabagish (Bengali: রামচন্দ্র বিদ্যাবাগীশ) (1786 – 2 March 1845) was an Indian lexicographer and Sanskrit scholar. He is known for his Bangabhashabhidhan, the first monolingual Bengali dictionary, published in 1817. He taught at the Vedanta College established by Raja Rammohun Roy, and later at Sanskrit College from 1827-37. Closely associated with the work of Raja Rammohun Roy in Kolkata, he was the first secretary of the Brahmo Sabha established in 1828 and initiated Debendranath Tagore and 21 other young men into Brahmo Samaj in 1843. After Raja Rammohun Roy went to England, his unparalleled erudition and the devotional singing of Bishnu Chakraborti helped in the survival of the Brahmo Samaj.

Although he was opposed to Raja Rammohun Roy’s move to abolish the practice of sati, he extended support to Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar in his move for remarriage of widows. He spoke strongly against the system of polygamy, then prevalent in Hindu society, primarily amongst the Brahmins.

He was associated with the Tattwabodhini Sabha and aimed at the advancement of Bengali language through it. He worked for some time on the government’s desire to replace Persian by Bengali as language of the courts. In this he had the active support of both David Hare and Prasanna Coomar Tagore. He strived hard for the use of Bengali as medium of education.

He was the younger brother of Nandakumar Vidyalankar (later Kulavadhuta Shrimad Hariharananda Tirthasvami), a wandering hermit, who had acquaintance of Raja Rammohun from his younger days. He was the worshipper of One True God according to the Mahanirvana Tantra.

Sadharan Brahmo Samaj

The Sadharan Brahmo Samaj (Bengali: সাধারণ ব্রাহ্ম সমাজ, Shadharôn Brahmô Shômaj) is a division of Brahmoism formed as a result of schisms in the Brahmo Samaj in 1866 and 1878 respectively.

Satyendranath Tagore

Satyendranath Tagore (; Bengali: সত্যেন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর; [ʃɔtɛndronatʰ ʈʰakur]) (1 June 1842 – 9 January 1923) was the first Indian to join the Indian Civil Service. He was an author, song composer, and linguist, and made a significant contribution towards the emancipation of women in Indian society during the British Raj.

Sitanath Tattwabhushan

Pandit Sitanath Tattwabhushan was the official theologian and philosopher of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj. His hymns still form the basis of Brahmo rites and liturgies.

Sivanath Sastri

Sivanath Sastri (as spelt by himself, but also spelt as Shibnath Shastri, Shib Nath Shastri, Shibanath Shastri, Shivanath Shastri) (Bengali: শিবনাথ শাস্ত্রী Shibonath Shastri) (1847–1919) was a scholar, religious reformer, educator, writer and historian. He played an active role in the society of his times and kept a wonderful record of events but for which it would have been difficult to know and understand his turbulent age. His views have, occasionally, been criticised. He was not merely a detached historian but also an active participant of the age.

Umesh Chandra Dutta

Umesh Chandra Dutta (also spelt as Umeshchandra Datta or Umes Chandra Dutta) (1840–1907) was one of the pioneer Brahmos who firmly established the Brahmo Samaj at Harinavi in the face of severe opposition from local people. He was one of the founders of Sadharan Brahmo Samaj and contributed substantially to the cause of education, particularly women’s education. He was designated a ‘Sadhu’ for his pious life.

World Brahmo Council

The World Brahmo Council is the new name for the "Brahmo Representative Council", which was founded in 1864. In 2009, the erstwhile Brahmo Representative Council had five nominated members consisting of one from Adi Brahmo Samaj, tep Adi Dharm, one Sadharan Brahmo Samaj (South), and one Sadharan Brahmo Samaj (North).

In 2007 the old registered Council was convened under the name "World Brahmo Council" by the Brahmo Conference Organisation "to protect Brahmoism's "assets - especially its good name and theology" since many websites put up by Brahmos had lapsed and fallen into the hands of spammers and being used as doorways to pornographic sites. Headed by a Brahmo cyberlaw expert and after taking due legal recourse outside India, many websites were recovered to Brahmoism that year.

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