This Day in History (20-Aug-1828) – Brahmo Samaj, the first movement to initiate religio-social reforms, was founded by Ram Mohan Roy in Calcutta

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a popular social and educational reformer in India who paved the way for progress in India under British rule. Though born in an orthodox brahmin family, Rammohan Roy had shown great sympathy for Islam and Christianity. He had gone to Tibet in search of the Buddhist mysteries. He had extracted from Christianity its ethical system, but had rejected the divinity of Christ as he had denied the Hindu Incarnations. The religion of Islam influenced him, to a great extent, in the formulation of his monotheistic doctrines. But he always went back to the Vedas for his spiritual inspiration. The Brahmo Samaj which was launched into its eventful career on August 20, 1828, gave a concrete expression to Roy’s concept of universal worship. Weekly service was held originally, a practice which has been retained to this day at the Brahmamandir of Tagore’s Shantiniketan.  It consisted of three successive parts, viz. recitation of the Vedas by Telegu Brahmins in the closed apartment exclusively before the Brahmin members of the congregation, reading and exposition of the Upanishads for the general audience, and singing of religious hymns. the only custodian of Vedic rituals in Calcutta at that moment was the orthodox Telegu Brahmin community and its members could not be persuaded to recite the Vedas before Brahmins and non-Brahmins alike.

The Brahmo Samaj is credited with being one of the most important reform movements in India which led to the foundation of modern India. The Brahmo Samaj was a community of people who worship the Brahman, which is referred to as “The unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world”, something which cannot be defined and is the highest reality. It was a reflection of the Bengal Renaissance and took active participation in social emancipation, which included the abolition of sati, the caste system, child marriage, dowry and the betterment of the status of women in society. Brahmosim as a tool to tackle the prevalent dowry system was addressed in noted Bengali writer Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s famous 1914 novel, Parineeta.

 

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/search.php

http://www.mapsofindia.com/on-this-day/20th-august-1828-the-first-session-of-ram-mohan-roys-brahmo-samaj-is-held-in-kolkata

http://www.thebrahmosamaj.net/history/history.html

http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/gospel/introduction/brahmo_samaj.htm

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