Subject: Re: [brahmoconferenceorg] Questions about Brahmoism
Answers to some of your (very intelligent) questions. The difficult ones will take sometime.
1) Brahmoism is a religion. The philosophy behind Brahmoism is "Brahmo Dharma". Any person who believes that there is only one infinite "God" can "follow" Brahmoism by subscribing to membership of a "Brahmo Samaj" while retaining their own religion.
2) Brahmoism was never a "proselytizing religion". Like all the great Asian religions, we sit on the seashore (or a Himalayan mountain or the Internet) and wait for truthseekers to seek us out. "Conversion" is discretionary (there are no fixed rituals for conversion in any case) and more in the nature of "acceptance" of Brahmoism. In the early days of Brahmoism a few people were admitted as members who
caused immense trouble to our religion and gave it a bad name, after their expulsion in 1866 True Brahmoism has had no apostasy in its ranks.
4) Brahmoism is the religion. Brahmo Samaj is the larger community which "follows" Brahmoism while possibly retaining their old religions. It is incorrect that Brahmoism is hereditary, there is a debate about genetics and memetics which has not been properly understood by one faction here. Genetics and Memetics simply reinforce the shared collective identity for Brahmoism (as in all religions).
5) Brahmos believe that "truth" is contained everywhere. However, we also believe that no revelation, prophet or holy book is infallible or to be considered as authority. Brahmoism lays great stress on the powers of an enlightened conscience to know & distinguish True from False and to act appropriately.
5.1) We neither accept nor reject these books. We accept as fact these these books exist and consider it likely that these books are human creation (as much as "God" is a human creation).
5.2) Yes. Brahmoism rejects apostles, prophets or incarnations as concepts contrary to the principles of Brahmoism. By our Trust principles we are forbidden to disparage other religions or particpate in communal anger. This has led to a concept of the Brahmo "lie" where
although a Brahmo shall not lie he is not bound to tell the truth either. (eg.Q: Do you know where the nearest liqour shop is ? A:Yes. Q: Can you show me the way there? A:Yes (but I wont))
6) There are no prescribed Brahmo rituals. All that is required is for Brahmos to worship and adore the Supreme Spirit regularly (and at least once a week). Some do this by meditation, some by good works. True Brahmo religionists compose their mind daily on the 9 principles of Adi Dharm and reinforce their connection to God
8) There are no Schisms in Brahmoism. In 1865 and 1866 some apostates were expelled for spreading unacceptable Christian doctrines in the garb of Brahmoism. From 1878-1882 many of them were readmitted back into Adi Dharm with the formation of Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.
9) Brahmoism stands on the foundations of the work of Ram Mohan Roy and Dwarkanath Tagore - this stage of the religion was known as "Brahma Sabha". The superstructure was thereafter erected by Debendranath Tagore, Akshoy Kr. Dutta, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Ajudyanath Pakrashi and many others. In 1862 the Brahmo Samaj organisation was founded by Pt Nabin Ch. Rai at Lahore. Thereafter, the final shape to Brahmoism's philosophy was given by Hemendranath Tagore. Sen was never a Brahmo, he was born a Hindu and died a Christian, being many things on the path between.
10) No Brahmo would seek to convince anyone to convert to Brahmoism. Usually people who reach Brahmoism do so by their own path.