Previous Page [Digital South Asia Library] Next Page

Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 1, p. 429.

Graphics file for this page
viii] RELtIGIONS 429
The latest stage of these efforts to reform Hinduism is found Modern
in the modern Theistic sects, which had their origin in Bengal. Theistic
sects the
' Brahmoism,' writes Sir A. Lyall ', ' as propagated by its latest Brahmo
expounders, seems to be Unitarianism of a European type, Samij.
and as far as one can understand its argument, appears to
have no logical stability or locus standi between revelation and
pure rationalism; it propounds either too much or too little
to its hearers.' Its founder was the celebrated Ram Mohan
Roy (I774-1833), and his successors, Debendranath Tagore,
Keshub Chunder Sen, and Prata.p Chunder Moztimdar. As
at present constituted, the Brahmo Church is divided into
three sections, all alike believing in the unity of the Godhead,
the brotherhood of man, and direct communion with God in
spirit, without the intervention of any mediator. The differ-
ences which exist are ritualistic and social, rather than
religious. The Adi Samaj, or oldest section, is also the most
conservative. While discarding all idolatrous forms, it follows
as closely as possible the rites of Hinduism, and draws its
inspiration solely from the religious books of the Hindus,
especially the Upanishads, and not from the Bible or Koran.
It has only once allowed a non-Brahman to officiate as its
minister. Inter-caste marriages are not allowed, and a con-
siderable agitation was raised when one of its Brahman
members recently married the daughter of the Maharaija of
Cooch Behar. The Nabibidhan Samaj, or Church of the New
Dispensation, was founded by Keshub Chunder Sen. It is more
eclectic, and has assimilated what it considers true, not only
from the holy books of Hinduism, but also from the teaching
of Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. The Sadharan Brahmo
Samaj is the most advanced of these Churches. It rejects
caste and seclusion of women, freely permits inter-caste
marriage, and is uncompromising in its rejection of what is
commonly called Hinduism. Though as yet a small body, it
attracts Hindus who have received their education in England,
as they are thus absolved from the trammels of caste, and
spared the necessity of undergoing any rite of purification on
their return to India.
Another of these societies, the Arya Samaj, has gained con- The Arya
siderable influence in North-western India. Founded by Samaj.
Dayanand Saraswati (I827-53), it regards the Vedas as the
only Scripture, professes a pure monotheism, repudiates idol
worship, and largely devotes itself to the social amelioration of
the race. One of the publications of the founder had some
1i. 153.

Previous Page To Table of Contents Next Page

Back to Imperial Gazetteer of India | Back to the DSAL Page

This page was last generated on Monday 18 February 2013 at 16:20 by
The URL of this page is: