Brahmoism is a religious movement from the mid 19th century Bengal originating the Bengali Renaissance, the nascent Indian independence movement. Adherents, known as Brahmos (singular Brahmo), are mainly of Indian or Bangladeshi origin or nationality. The Brahmo Samaj, literally the "Society of Brahma", was founded as a movement by Ram Mohan Roy. In 1850 Roy's successor Debendranath Tagore broke from Hinduism and created the new religion of Brahmoism which was recognised as a religion distinct from Hinduism by the Privy Council in 1901.
The Articles of faith for Brahmos are:
Adherence to these articles are required only of Adi Brahmos or such Sadharan Brahmos who accept Adi-ism i.e. Trust deed of Brahmo Sabha (1830).
Ram Mohan Roy's quest for religious truth had led him to study with an open mind the scriptures of all major religions and accepted the universal moral teachings of every religion shorn of its dogma, ritual and superstition. He therefore believed there was no reason for him to give up Hinduism and accept any other religion.
While Ram Mohan Roy aimed at reforming Hinduism from within, his successor Maharshi Debendranath Tagore in 1850 rejected the authority of the Vedas and thus broke with orthodox Hinduism. Tagore tried to retain some Hindu customs, but a series of schisms eventually resulted in the formation of the breakaway Sadharan Brahmo Samaj in 1878 based on Christian practices and dogmas.
The Brahma Dharma was first codified by Debendranath Tagore with the formulation of the Brahmo Dharma Beej and publication of the Brahma Dharma, a book of 1848 or 1850 in two parts. The Brahma Dharma is the source of every Brahmo's spiritual faith and reflects Brahmo repudiation of the Hindu Vedas as authority and the shift away from Ram Mohan Roy's Vedantic Unitary God per the Adi Shankara Advaita school. The traditional seed principles and Debendranath's Brahmo Dharma (or religious and moral law) now stand evolved as the "Fundamental Principles of Brahmoism" and are supplemented by precise evolving rules for adherents, akin to "Articles of Faith" which regulate the Brahmo way of life. In addition the assembly of Brahmos (and also Brahmo Samajists) for meeting or worship is always consonant with the Trust Principles of 1830 or its derivatives.
Adi Dharma or ādi dharam ( आदि धरम, আদি ধারাম, આદિ ધરમ, ଆଦି ଧର୍ମ, ఆది ధారణ, ஆடி தரம், ആദി താരം, ಆದಿ ಧರಮ್) (literal meaning the ancient or the root (Ādi) religion (Dharam) ) refers to the tribal religion or the traditional religion or the indigenous religion or the Adivasi (Hindi for original settlers) religion of the indigenous peoples of India. The term 'Adi Dharam' was made popular by the tribal scholar and philosopher Ram Dayal Munda when he sought to unite the ancestral beliefs of the all the indigenous people of IndiaAdi 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.Anandamohan Bose
Ananda Mohan Bose (Bengali: আনন্দমোহন বসু) (23 September 1847 – 20 August 1906), a barrister, was one of the earliest Indian political leaders during the British Raj. He co-founded the Indian National Association, one of the earliest Indian political organizations, and later became a senior leader of the Indian National Congress. In 1874, he became the first Indian Wrangler (a student who has completed the third year of the Mathematical Tripos with first-class honours) of the Cambridge University. He was also a prominent religious leader of Brahmoism and with Sivanath Sastri a leading light of Adi Dharm.Bengali Renaissance
The Bengali Renaissance or simply Bengal Renaissance, (Bengali: বাংলার নবজাগরণ; Banglār Nobojāgoroṇ) was a cultural, social, intellectual and artistic movement in Bengal region in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent during the period of the British Indian Empire, from the nineteenth century to the early twentieth century dominated by Bengalis.Historian Nitish Sengupta describes the Bengal Renaissance as taking place from Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1775–1833) through Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941). Nineteenth-century Bengal was a unique blend of religious and social reformers, scholars, literary giants, journalists, patriotic orators and scientists, all merging to form the image of a renaissance, and marked the transition from the 'medieval' to the 'modern'.Brahmabandhav Upadhyay
Brahmabandhav Upadhyay (born Bhavani Charan Bandyopadhyay) Bengali: ব্রহ্মবান্ধব উপাধ্যায় (1 February 1861 – 27 October 1907) was a theologian, journalist and Indian freedom fighter. He was closely attached with Keshub Chandra Sen, classmate of Swami Vivekananda and close acquaintance of Rabindranath Tagore.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 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.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 and made a significant contribution to the making of modern India. 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. 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.Raja Rammohan Roy founded Brahmo Samaj in 1828 in the name of Brahmo Sabha.Debendranath Tagore
Debendranath Tagore (15 May 1817 – 19 January 1905) was an Bengali philosopher and religious Savant, active in the Brahmo Samaj ("Community of Brahmins"). He was the founder in 1848 of the Brahmo religion, which today is synonymous with Brahmoism. 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.Gora (film)
Gora is a Bengali drama film directed Naresh Mitra based on a same name novel of Rabindranath Tagore. This film was released on 30 July 1938. Music composer of the film was Kazi Nazrul Islam.Gora (novel)
Gora (Bengali: গোরা) is a novel by Rabindranath Tagore, set in Calcutta (now Kolkata), in the 1880s during the British Raj. It is the fifth in order of writing and the longest of Tagore’s twelve novels. It is rich in philosophical debate on politics and religion.
Other themes include liberation, universalism, brotherhood, gender, feminism, caste, class, tradition versus modernity, urban elite versus rural peasants, colonial rule, nationalism and the Brahmo Samaj.Hemendranath Tagore
Hemendranath Tagore (1844–1884), Debendranath Tagore's third son, is notable for being the first Brahmo as the first child born in 1844 to any of the original 21 Brahmos who swore the First Brahmo Covenant on 21 December 1843 at Calcutta (now Kolkata). An intensely private person, he was also well known as the strict disciplinarian entrusted with the responsibility of looking after the education of his younger brothers in addition to being administrator for his large family estates.
He was also the constant spiritual companion to his father Debendranath Tagore who founded Brahmoism and, despite his youth, he acted as the mediator between his father and the seniors of the Tattwabodhini Sabha. At the time of the First Brahmo Schism of 1865 he was responsible for expelling the non-Brahmin workers from the Calcutta Brahmo Samaj. The Adi Dharm religion is founded exclusively on his philosophy and is today the largest development from Brahmoism with over 8 million adherents in India alone.
Much like his siblings he had wide interests in various fields and can be regarded as a polymath and 'the scientist of the family'.
He attended the Calcutta Medical College (established by his grandfather Dwarkanath Tagore) and wrote articles on physical science which he planned to compile and edit into a textbook for school students. If his premature death had not prevented him from completing the project, this would have been the first science textbook in Bengali.
From 1867 Hemendranath Thakur began conducting his first experiments into radio waves and electromagnetic propagations. Between 1872-73 he wrote several articles on the results of his researches, these were transcribed by another Brahmin Ramendra Sundar Trivedi. In 1874 he compiled the first scholarly Asian work on physics entitled Prakritik Vijnaner Sthulamarma which was updated in 1878-79. Since the knowledge contained within was potentially explosive its circulation was restricted only to Brahmins of the Adi Brahmo Samaj. Later all works of Hemendranath Tagore and his grandfather Dwarkanath Tagore in the records of Adi Brahmo Samaj were destroyed.He was known for his extraordinary physical strength and prowess in wrestling contests - described as being a "renowned wrestler", as also his expertise in martial arts like judo and ninjitsu. He was also an adept of ancient Raja Yoga at the highest levels with control over Time and Space. Exceptionally modern for the times, after siring 3 sons he sired only daughters thereafter and insisted on formal education for all of them. He not only put them through school but trained them in music, arts and European languages such as French and German. It was another mark of his forward looking mentality that he actively sought out eligible grooms from different provinces of India for his daughters and married them off in places as far away as UP and Assam. A staunch modernist, he instituted various financial trusts for the womenfolk of Tagore family (especially his sisters) and was responsible for settling the Shantiniketan estate near Bolpur which later evolved into Visva Bharati.
A practical and scientific humanist, he was deeply loved by the peasants of his estates in Bengal.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 RoyRajnarayan Basu
Rajnarayan Basu (Bengali: রাজনারায়ণ বসু) (1826–1899) was an Indian writer and intellectual of the Bengal Renaissance. He was born in Boral in 24 Parganas and studied at the Hare School and Hindu College, both premier institutions in Kolkata, Bengal at the time. A monotheist at heart, Rajnarayan Basu converted to Brahmoism at the age of twenty. After retiring, he was given the honorary title of Rishi or sage. As a writer, he was one of the best known prose writers in Bengali in the nineteenth century, writing often for the Tattwabodhini Patrika, a premier Brahmo journal. Due to his defence of Brahmoism, he was given the title "Grandfather of Indian Nationalism"Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy (22 May 1772 – 27 September 1833) was one of the founders of the Brahmo Sabha, the precursor of the Brahmo Samaj, a socio-religious reform movement in the Indian subcontinent. He was given the title of Raja by Akbar II, the Mughal emperor. His influence was apparent in the fields of politics, public administration, education and religion. He was known for his efforts to abolish the practices of sati and child marriage. Raja Ram Mohan Roy is considered by many historians as the "Father of the Indian Renaissance."In 2004, Roy was ranked number 10 in BBC's poll of the Greatest Bengali of all time.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.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.Trust deed of Brahmo Sabha
The modern religious philosophy of Brahmoism is based in part on the foundations of reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy's humanitarian philosophy, as exemplified by the Trust Deed of Brahmo Sabha, known to Brahmos as the 1830 Brahmo Trust Deed.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.