Brahmo Samaj

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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. The first Brahmo Samaj was founded in 1861 at Lahore by Pandit Nobin Chandra Roy.


  • It is only when we move to modem times that we find the first traces of sarva-dharma-samabhâva surfacing in India in the form of the Brahmo Samaj. Raja Ram Mohun Roy, the founder of this cult, was a votary of Islamic monotheism, and later on became infatuated with Jesus Christ. He confused the monism of the Upanishads with the monotheism of Biblical creeds, and gave birth to a lot of confusion. But, by and large, he stayed a Hindu who had some very hard words to say about the doings of Islam and Christian missionaries in India. Even Keshub Chunder Sen cannot be called a votary of sarva-dharma-samabhâva, strictly speaking. The man fancied himself as the prophet of a New Dispensation (Nababidhâna) which had not only equated all religions but also gone beyond them. He ended by becoming a bag of nauseating nonsense. In any case, the Brahmo Samaj remained confined to a miniscule minority in Bengal. One of its splinters, the Adi Brahmo Samaj, returned to Hinduism for all practical purposes. That is more than obvious in the works of Rabindranath Tagore, particularly his poetry which is saturated with Vedic imagery and Vaishnavite devotion. The trail blazed by Keshub Chander Sen, however, did not go in vain. It was followed by the first disciples of Sri Ramakrishna who took over the Mission after the death of its founder, Swami Vivekananda....
    • S. R. Goel (1998), Preface. Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy.
  • Besides this purely literary movement, there is a religious movement going on in India, the Brahmo-Samaj, which, both in its origin and its later development, is mainly the result of European influences. It began with an attempt to bring the modern corrupt forms of worship back to the purity and simplicity of the Vedas; and by ascribing to the Veda the authority of a Divine Revelation, it was hoped to secure that infallible authority without which no religion was supposed to be possible. How was that movement stopped, and turned into a new channel? Simply by the publication of the Veda, and by the works of European scholars, such as Stevenson, Mill, Rosen, Wilson, and others, who showed to the natives what the Veda really was, and made them see the folly of their way. Thus the religion, the literature, the whole character of the people of India are becoming more and more Indo-European. They work for us, as we work for them.
    • Max Muller. "Chips from a German Workshop". in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi: Rupa & Co.[1]
  • Besides this, you have doubtless heard that the most intellectual class of natives in India are those who belong to the Brahmo sect, and many of them are almost persuaded to be Christians. Some of their ministers actually preach sermons from texts taken from the Bible, and they have declared that the British Government may be the secular ruler of England, but the supreme ruler is no less than Christ the Lord.
    • Sir Richard Temple, 1st Baronet, "Oriental experience; a selection of essays and addresses delivered in various occasions". in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi: Rupa & Co.[2]

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