Brahmoism is a young non-syncretic, rational, Deistic religion blending Immanent Monism and Transcendant Dualism. The term has roots in the Sanskrit "Brahman" ("Supreme Spirit of Existence", or God). Adherents, known as "Brahmos" (singular Brahmo) are mainly of Indian or Bangladeshi origin or nationality.

"Brahmoism", one of the younger established religions of India [Official website ".. "Brahmoism, newest of India's 9 official religions" .." also ".. "In 1901 (Bhagwan Koer & Ors v J.C.Bose & Ors, 31 Cal 11, 30 ELR IA 249) the Privy Council (Britain's highest judicial authority) upholds the finding of the High Court of the Punjab that the vast majority of Brahmo religionists are not Hindus and have their own religion" .."] , is based on the foundation of Raja Ram Mohan Roy's reformed [Of Roy's influence on Modern India:"Roy understood that the emerging knowledge from the West could not be ignored… He was deeply appreciative of the liberal philosophical traditions of India, ... Since religion played a dominant role in the public life of his times, he went on to reform religion itself… His criticism of the existing religion and its rigid practices and caste barriers was inspired by his desire to make religion consistent with the changing world of his times." "The Scientific Edge-The Indian Scientist from Vedic to Modern Times, 2003" by noted physicist Jayant Narlikar] Hindu spiritualism (as exemplified by the Trust deed of Brahmo Sabha executed in 1830) and invigorated by scientific blending of compatible Judeo-Islamic faith and practice. The religion was first codified by "Maharshi" Debendranath Tagore with the formulation of the Brahmo Dharma Beej and publication of the "Brahma Dharma" book in 1848/1850 in 2 volumes. The Brahmo 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. These 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.

The origin of Brahmoism is connected with the widespread religious excess in early 19th century Bengal including prevalence of priestly practices ["cruel practices", "grossly immoral", "revolting to humanity" cited by J.N.Farquhar "Modern religious Movements of India" pg.17, 1915 edn.] , polytheism, idolatry, ["The whole country, and especially the province of Bengal, was steeped in the most debasing form of idolatry... the superstitious adherence to these forms was encouraged by the priestly class, whose prestige and power depended on their continuance and was fostered by a Brahmin class of preachers called "Kathaks".." - Sivanath Sastri "History of Brahmo Samaj" 1911, 1st edn. pg.17] "suttee", (widow burning) [On Concremation (Sati), 1820 "The English Works of Ram Mohan Roy" by J.C.Ghose 1982, 2nd ed. p.358-363.] child marriage, female foeticide, polygamy and casteism. [L. De Grandpre, A Voyage in the Indian Ocean to Bengal, Undertaken in the Year l789 and l790 [tr. of the l80l French edition] (London: G. & J. Robinson, l803), Vol. II, pp. 69-78.] Brahmo opposition to these practices paralleled the Bengal Renaissance and the spread of European education and philosophy into India. ["Modern Religious movements in India, J.N.Farquhar (1915) 1st ed." pg. 17-18, 38-72]

Brief History & Timeline

* 1828 : Raja Ram Mohun Roy establishes "Brahma Sabha" (assembly of Brahmins). [ [ 403 Forbidden ] ]
* 1829 : Asiatic Society admits the first Indian natives to its membership, the first of whom are Dwarkanath Tagore and Prasanna Coomar Tagore. [ [ Heritage Institute of India - article by Dr. Gautam Chatterjee ] ]
* 1830 : Dwarkanath Tagore, Prasanna Coomar Tagore and Ors. establish the first Brahmo Place for Worship through a legal Trust Deed [ [ - Banian "Trust" Deed Chitpore Road Brahmo Sabha ] ] at Chitpur (Jorasanko Kolkatta India). Ram Mohun departs for Britain.
* 1833 : Ram Mohun dies in Bristol.
* 1839 : Debendranath Tagore forms "Tattwabodhini (@Tattvaranjini) Sabha", the "Truth & Life Purpose Seekers" association on October 6 1839. [ [ BANGLAPEDIA: Tattvabodhini Sabha ] ]
* 1843 : Tattwabodini Sabha merged with Brahmo Sabha [] and Calcutta Brahmo Samaj established. Dwarkanath Tagore founds the Great Western Bengal Railway Co. in conflict with the State. []
* 1850 : Publication of "Brahma Dharma" book in 2 parts by Debendranath. Repudiation of Vedic infallibility, separation from Hinduism, establishment of the new religion.
* 1855 : Keshub Chunder Sen founds "The British India Society" later associated with Christian missionaries James Long and Charles Dall. [Shivanath Shastri's Brahmo History (1911) p.114] Dall, a roving Unitarian missionary, is in a troubled marriage in Boston with female emancipator Caroline Wells Healey Dall, suffering a series of mental depressions, and is sufficiently persuaded to grant his wife a "Boston divorce" by sailing to India forever as the first foreign Unitarian missionary. ["Daughter of Boston: The Extraordinary Diary of Caroline Dall", by Helen Deese. p."xv"]
* 1856 : Devendranath Thakur proceeds to hills of Simla.
* 1857 : Debendranath informs Unitarian preacher Charles Dall that he is no longer welcome at Calcutta Brahmo Samaj, and that "he would not hear the name of Jesus spoken in the Samaj". Dall then forms the "Rammohun Roy Society" to wean away the liberal Brahmos from Debendranath. [ Charles Dall ] ] Keshub Sen then subscribes to Calcutta Brahmo Samaj while Devendranath is away in Simla. The Indian Mutiny erupts, almost every Trustee of Brahma Samaj supports the Crown while seeking exemplary punishment for the mutineers.
* 1860 : Charles Dall now openly attacks Debendranath and affiliates to liberal Brahmo neo-Christian group by promoting Theodore Parker and William Channing's methods to convert Hindus to Christianity.
* 1866 : The First Brahmo Schism and Calcutta Brahmo Samaj is renamed as Adi (First) Brahmo Samaj to distinguish it from progressive breakaway group.
* 1871 : Adi Brahmo Samaj leaders publicly oppose the progressive faction over the divisive "Brahmo Marriage Bill, 1871" with Debendranath stating "We are Brahmos first, and Indians or Hindus second."
* 1872 : The Marriage Bill is ostensibly not limited to Brahmos and enacted as the "Special Marriages Act (Act III) of 1872". A declaration is required stating "I am not a Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Jew" to marry under this law which is used almost exclusively by Brahmos.
* 1878 : The breakaway faction splits again, the majority form the middle-path Sadharan (General) Brahmo Samaj and are formally welcomed back to Brahmoism by Debendranath Tagore and Rajnarayan Basu of the Adi Samaj. The eminent leaders of Sadharan Brahmo Samaj at the time include Sivanath Sastri, Ananda Mohan Bose and Sib Chandra Deb. [Primary Source: "History of Brahmo Samaj" by "Sivanath Sastri" 1911, Secondary Source: Official website]

Fundamental Principles

The Brahmo articles of faith derive from the Fundamental ("Adi") Principles of the "Adi Brahmo Samaj" religion.
* On God: There is always Infinite (limitless, undefinable, imperceivable, indivisible) Singularity - immanent and transcendent Singular Author and Preserver of Existence - "He" whose Love is manifest everywhere and in everything, in the fire and in the water, in the smallest plant to the mightiest oak.
* On Being: Being is created from Singularity. Being is renewed to Singularity. Being exists to be one (again) with Loving Singularity. ("See Tat Tvam Asi".)
* On Intelligent Existence: Righteous (worshipful, intelligent, moral) actions alone rule (regulate [preserve] ) Existence against Chaos (loss [decay, return, pervading emptiness] ). Knowledge (Intelligence [reason, sentience, intuition] ) of pure Conscience (light within) is the One (Supreme) ruler (authority [law, dharma] ) of Existence with no symbol (creation [scripture, book, object] ) or intermediary (being [teacher, messiah, ruler] ).
* On Love: Respect all creations and beings but never venerate (worship) them for only Singularity can be loved (adored, worshipped). [ [] Brahmo Samaj Website]

Articles of faith

The Articles of faith for Brahmos are: [ [ - BRAHMO SAMAJ ] ]

* Brahmos embrace righteousness as the only way of life.
* Brahmos embrace truth, knowledge, reason, free will and virtuous intuition (observation) as guides.
* Brahmos embrace secular principles but oppose sectarianism and imposition of religious belief into governance (especially propagation of religious belief by government).
* Brahmos embrace the co-existence of Brahmo principles with governance, but oppose all governance in conflict with Brahmo principles.
* Brahmos reject narrow theism (especially polytheism), idolatry and symbolism.
* Brahmos reject the need for formal rituals, priests or places (church, temple, mosque) for worship.
* Brahmos reject dogma and superstition.
* Brahmos reject scripture as authority.
* Brahmos reject revelations, prophets, gurus, messiahs, or avatars as authority.
* Brahmos reject bigotry and irrational distinctions like caste, creed, colour, race, religion which divide beings.
* Brahmos reject all forms of totalitarianism.
* Brahmos examine the prevalent notion of "sin".
* Brahmos examine the prevalent notions of "heaven" or "hell".
* Brahmos examine the prevalent notion of "salvation".

Adherence to these articles are required only of "Adi" Brahmos or such "Sadharan" Brahmos who accept "Adi"-ism ie. Trust deed of Brahmo Sabha 1830 as the source of their faith Trust deed of Sadharan Brahmo Samaj 1880.

Challenges for the future

:"... As one of the speakers at the conference suggested, perhaps the Brahmo movement could reinvent itself. There is much that the Brahmo religion can contribute to the well-being of the State both by learning from its Golden Age as well as by reinventing itself for the present one. Are the Brahmos ready for the challenge?" [ Deccan Herald]

References & Notes


See also

* Adi Dharm
* Brahmo Samaj- for all "followers" of Brahmoism
* History of Bengal
* Prarthana Samaj
* Sadharan Brahmo Samaj
* Tattwabodhini Patrika

External links

* []

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