Brahmo Samaj UPSC | History, Objectives, Significance, Contributions

Brahmo Samaj
Split in Brahmo Samaj

1.Brahmo Samaj was started by Ram Mohan Roy(1772-33) in 1829. Weekly services held at Shantiniketan, services like Upnishads for a general audience, reading of Vedas, recitation, religious hymns, etc.

Ram Mohan Roy is considered as Father of Indian Renaissance. He was modern in views, scientific. His approaches were for social equality and human dignity. He disregarded “Avatars”(like 10 Avatars of Vishnu). They believed in monotheism. Brahmo Samaj took no definite stand on the doctrine of Karma and transmigration of the soul, they left it to the individual to believe whatever you want. More details about terms click here.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Aims and Objectives of Brahmo Samaj-

1.To purify Hinduism and to preach monotheism.

2.Opposition to idolatry.

3.They also taught good things about other religions.

Note-Raja Ram Mohan Roy does not want to create another religion. He only wants to purify Hinduism.

2.Emergence of new sect: Roy died in 1833.  The organization gradually reached a moribund though its name, theology, social ideals continued to live and prosper among certain groups in near Calcutta. Debendranath Tagore joined samaj in 1842. His Tattabodhini Sabha spread ideals of Brahmo Samaj. At this time Samaj had definitely taken the shape of religious sect or community with its own creeds and rituals, regulations. Begin to mark it out as a separate religion.

 

Debendra Nath Tagore
Debendra Nath Tagore

 

3.Seprate views and split of samaj: Kehsub Chandra Sen joined in 1857. Sometimes became the right-hand man of Debendranath in mission. Keshub elevated to Acharya post by Debendranath Tagore. (Keshub Chandra Sen first Brahmin to led such post). But there were some differences between them.  Debendranath was conservative while Keshub was reformist, dynamic. Thus split happened.

4.Brahmo Samaj of India: Much more radical, greater emphasis on female education, caste distinctions. Led to the formation of Indian reform Association 1870, Indian Marriage act 1872 which validated the intercaste marriage. Samaj becomes more universal since special relation to Hinduism came to be denied. Along with Hindu, Islam, Christianity, etc were also part of it now. Keshub’s “Doctrine of God in Conscience” which removed the contradiction between profession and practice.

 

Keshub Chandra Sen
Keshub Chandra Sen


5.Further Division: Keshub Chandra Sen’s 13-year daughter married to a prince. Keshub was against a democratic constitution in the church. Many members didn’t like these things and wanted to separate. Also, some members do not believe his “Doctrine of God in conscience”. Thus in 1878 some members left and started Sadharan Brahmo Samaj. Sadharan Brahmo Samaj was led by Anand Mohan Bose, Derozian Shib Chandra, Sivnath Shastri, Vijay Krishna.

Brahmo samaj history

MCQ

Q.1 Select correct options based on statements

1. Ram Moghan Roy believed in monotheism and Karma.

2. Brahmo Samaj founded by Ram Mohan Roy.

Options:

a)1 is correct

b)2 is correct

c)Both are correct

d)Neither is correct


Q.2 Select correct options based on statements

1. Debendranath Tagore was conservative while Keshub was liberal.

2. Idoltary was fundamental principle of Brahmo Samaj.

Options:

a)1 is correct

b)2 is correct

c)Both are correct

d)Neither is correct

About Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833)

He was born in the Hugli District of Bengal in a Hindu family. He is known as the ‘Father of Modern India’ or ‘Father of the Bengal Renaissance’. He tried to change social customs which do not align with the present time. He demanded the right of inheritance and property for women. 

His major role was the voice against the practice of Sati, polygamy, child marriage, and the degraded state of widows. The practice of Sati abolished in 1889 due to his efforts. He fought against many Hindu beliefs and at the same time propagated Hindu beliefs that are for the benefit of the society. He propagated and supported western thoughts too. He was in support of western education among Indians

According to Raja Ram Mohan Roy amalgamation of western thoughts, scientific techniques and Indian thoughts can benefit society for the good. He was a clerk in East India Company of British.

In 1803, he published his first book, ‘Tuhfat-ul- Muwahhidin’ or ‘Gift to Monotheists’, in which he argues for monotheism (the concept of single God). He translated Vedas and the five Upnishads to Bengali to prove his conviction that ancient Hindu texts supported monotheism. In 1814, he founded Atmiya Sabha in Calcutta to campaign against idolatry, caste rigidities, meaningless rituals, and other social ills.

He founded Brahmo Samaj just 5 years before he died of Meningitis in England.