Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Excellent website on Brahmoism

Excellent website on Brahmoism

Brahmo Samaj, Brahmoism
A Brahmo web resource devoted to History of the Brahmo Samaj and development of modern Brahmoism with reference to evolution of its main branches the Adi Brahmo Samaj and the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.

Brahmo Samaj FAQ Frequently asked Questions
Q1. Is Brahmoism a religion or a philosophy? Can one adopt Brahmoism whilst retaining one's current faith.
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.

Brahmo Samaj Prime Principle
Simple Version[On God:] There is always Infinite Singularity - immanent and transcendant Singular Author and Preserver of Existence - He who is manifest everywhere and in everything, in the fire and in the water, in the smallest plant to the mightiest oak.

Brahmo Samaj - The Articles of Faith
Brahmo Samaj embraces righteousness as the only way of life.
Brahmo Samaj embraces truth, knowledge, reason, free will and virtuous intuition (observation) as guides.

Brahmo Samaj - The Trust Deed of 1830
THIS INDENTURE made the eighth-day of January, in the year of Christ one thousand eight hundred and thirty,
DWARKANAUTH TAGORE of Jorasankoe in the Town of Calcutta Zumeendar,
KALEENAUTH ROY of Burranugar in the Zillah of Havelly in the suburbs of Calcutta aforesaid Zumeendar,

Brahmo Samaj, Brief History & Time Line
[1828 :] Raja Ram Mohun Roy establishes Brahma Sabha (assembly of Brahmins).
[1829 :] Asiatic Society admits the first Indian natives to its membership, the first of whom are Dwarkanath Tagore and Prasanna Coomar Tagore.
[1830 :] Dwarkanath Tagore, Prasanna Coomar Tagore and Ors. establish the first Brahmo Place for Worship through a legal Trust Deed at Chitpur (Jorasanko Kolkatta India). Ram Mohun departs for Britain.

Brahmo Samaj, True Brahmoism
1) Brahmoism is the highest form of Hinduism, and is so very different from what passes for Hinduism today that Brahmos consider themselves to be "beyond the pale of Hinduism" and a separate religion altogether.
2) A "True" Brahmo is either an adherent of Brahmoism to the exclusion of ll other religions, or a person with at least one Brahmo parent or guardian and who has never denied his faith.

Brahmo Samaj, Did God create matter?
God did not "create" matter, God is matter just as God is equally energy. God created the universe and all the worlds within. Before God there was nothing except Chaos which is still all-pervasive. God sprang from Chaos.

History of the Brahmo Samaj
In order to make the Brahmo Samaj a body of men believing in the One God and worshipping Him in truth and spirit only, Devendra Nath drew up a Brahmo convenant containing a number of vows enjoining the renunciation of idolatry, the worship of the One Only in the Vedanta and the practice of virtue. God as described Devendra Nath himself took the lead in being initiated into Brahmoism by Ram Chandra Vidyabagish by signing this Covenant in Dec. 1843 ; twenty of his friends followed him in this new and momentous departure, Thus was formed the nucleus of a Brahmo community; and by 1874 the number of covenanted Brahmos rose to 767.

The Brahmo Conference Organisation
(Sammilan) was founded on 27 January 1881 at Mymensingh in Bangladesh. It is the inter-faith organisation between the Brahmos of Adi Dharma and some from Sadharan Brahmo Samaj. The stated objectives for founding the organisation are to "achieve purity in Brahmoism" by

  • Resolving the differences between the 2 existing Brahmic divisions of Adiism and Sadharanism,
  • Preaching from every platform that the Nabobidhan (a dissenting sect - also known as "New Dispensation") is not the Brahmo religion but totally opposed to Brahmoism.

  • Adi Brahmo Samaj
    As left by Raja Ram Mohan Roy the Samaj was really nothing more than a mere platform, where men of various creeds met from time to time to listen to the hymns and sermons. By joining it nothing was lost, nothing incurred, nothing pledged. Indeed, there were not a few who would attend the service at the Samaj in the morning and worship idols at home in the evening, thus showing that they had never really grasped the meaning of spiritual devotion.
    Hence, in the year 1839, DebendraNath a started the Tattvabodhini Sabha, or Truth-teaching Society, and established various schools at different places, so that young men might be trained for national service in the Adi Brahmo Samaj and to propogate the spiritual researches of Raja Rammohun Roy.

    Brahmoism, Genetics and memetics
    Brahmoism, and information, is transmitted in at least 2 ways. Genetically or memetically. The human "genome" today has around 3 or 4 billion components (DNA / RNA etc pairs). It was the Tattwabodhini under young Master Hemendranath (founder of modern True Brahmoism) to whom were revealed the secrets of the human genome in about 1861. The power of this revelation transformed Brahmoism and also split it asunder and caused the Tattwabodhini (and its secrets) to go underground. Brahmanism is not an acquired trait, it is acquired genetically and reinforced memetically.

    Brahmo Samaj and Christianity
    This has reference to a remark made by one of the members of the group saying that Bangalore Samaj has fallen into the hands of property dealers and godless Christians like Global Christian Network. The fact is that Bangalore Brahmo Samaj had got itself registered under the Foreign Exchange Control Act way back in 1983 to receive a small contribution of Rs. 25,000/- (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand Only) from the Social Service Network of International Association for Religious Freedom. It is false to say that heavy donations were received from foreign Christian Aid Organizations to convert Schedule Caste in Karnataka to Christianity.

    Nature of "True Brahmoism
    "True Brahmos abhor any kind of image worship."
    "True Brahmos respect the 1830 Trust deed of the Samaj which forbids the admission of any graven work, painting, sculpture or image etc. into the premises"

    Adi Brahmo Samaj on caste
    Brahmos constitute a "clan". Being a minority, preservation of the distinctive identity of the clan is paramount. Caste within the clan is almost always patriachal, so a female Brahmo Brahmin who marries a Brahmo Kayasth becomes a Brahmo "Kayasth" . If somebody is admitted to the clan (say by Brahmo wedding, marriage or adoption) then equivalency of caste enters the picture to safeguard the clan.

    "True Brahmo" principles
    a) Declaring a firm belief in ONE GOD. The True Brahmo conception of "God" is quite different from most other religions which have a Supreme Creator who created everything. Brahmos do not worship "The Author and Preserver" as "God". For us there is only "the One without a Second" what we nowadays describe as "Singularity" - a point where the infinite folds back onto itself to generate "innumerable infinities" - being thereby both immanent *and* transcendant and where all laws of science breakdown.
    b) Declaring that one will abide by the Brahmo articles of faith.* These are not "blind faith" articles to be followed like a robut automaton. Brahmoism is now a very scientific religion, well grounded in doctrine after centuries of theological struggle against some of the world's largest religions. Our doctrine is the result of consensus of many ordinary people and a few brilliant individuals. We do not believe in revelations from God to be imposed by "Adesh" as "God's will" through his "chosen messengers.

    Salvation in Brahmo Samaj
    As is very well known Satyendranath Tagore was a close associate of Keshab and also a Freemason like Keshab. After Satyendranath sided with Keshub during the troubles of 1866 and Hemendranath took over from him, all neo-Christian, Unitarian and Masonic doctrines were exorcised from Brahmoism by Debendranath (and Hemendranath), as Sastri has recorded himself in his History.
    When Keshab founded Nababidhan, Satyendranath's composed hymns on salvation were adapted in the Vaisnav sankirtan manner as Sastri records at Page 222.
    "To grant salvation the merciful God has sent his new faith of Brahmoism. Lo ! the gates of salvation are wide open. He calls one and all, entrance through his gate is free ; no one ever returns disappointed; the rich and the poor, the wise and the ignorant, all are equally welcome there."
    Anusthanic Brahmos, Ananusthnic Brahmo Samaj
    In 1902, the Highest Appellate Court of the British Empire (ie, the Privy Council) confirmed the detailed 1899 finding by the High Court of the Punjab that "Anusthanic Brahmos are not Hindoos but the anAnusthanic Brahmo Samajists may very well be Hindoos".

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    What divides Brahmos

    Dear Tapesh

    I have spoken today evening to the Secretary of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj - Kolkatta, a Mr Das. He confirms that the website you received the donation request from ("Hindu Widows Welfare fund") is affiliated to Sadharan Brahmo Samaj at Kolkatta.

    I also informed him that it was deceptively similar to one of the official websites of the World Brahmo Council, ie. but he explained his helplessness since their website (with an extra "h') has been out of action since 2006 and they (SBS) are just reviving it again.

    Anyway just a reminder, that since Tapesh had contacted me last week we have had a caution up at our Sadharan Brahmo Samaj website saying

    "WARNING: BEWARE Deceptive Websites asking DONATIONS for BRAHMO SAMAJ

    WORLD BRAHMO COUNCIL neither solicits nor accepts money from the public or organisation or State, either directly or indirectly. It is further clarified that Brahmos are not required to make donations on religious occasions. Payment of annual subscription fee (approx. Rs.100 - US$2 which is the minimum legal amount specified for Societies in India) to a Samaj is optional and does not affect one's religious status as Brahmo. Donations solicited for idolatry, repairing tomb or installing busts of Raja Ram Mohan Roy etc. are anti-Brahmo and nothing but cheating."


    "Illustrative list of fraudulent "Funds" to cheat Brahmos and NRIs

    General Fund, Mission Fund, Charity Fund Building Repair Fund, Mahila Bhavan Fund, Balya Bhavan Fund, Medical Aid Fund, Indigent Brahmo Family Fund, Indian Messenger, Fund Tattwakaumudi Fund, Publication Fund, Sadhan Ashram Fund, Calcutta Congregation Fund, Brahmo Samaj Relief Mission Fund, Mofussil Brahmo Samaj Fund, Library Fund, Brahmo Samaj Education Society Fund, Hindu Widows Home Fund, Brahmo Social Service Organisation, Brahmo Ambulance Fund"

    Oh well, one can never be too careful


    --- In, tapesh majumdar <tapesh.majumdar@...> wrote:
    > Dear friends
    > I'm very concerned to learn that only 177 brahmos were listed in 2000 census.
    > This surely is not a  correct number for brahmos in India. something must be
    > done about it, and all Brahmo Samajs must educate their membership to
    > register themselves correctly. This is decidedly a problem affecting all Bramhos
    > & we must do something right now setting our mutual difference aside.
    > I also agree with Mr Biswajit dutta that this must be tackled by Bramhos at
    > new delhi. Who is the secretary of delhi samaj now?
    > Tapesh
    > On Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 10:57 AM, sarbajitr <sroy1947@...> wrote:
    > >
    > > Dear Biswajit
    > >
    > > There is an active legal battle for Brahmoism's "minority" status. Unfortunately, it is connected with the education case for the 3 colleges in Kolkatta managed by the Brahmo Eduction Society affiliated to the Sadharan Samaj runs.
    > >
    > > It appears that these colleges are thoroughly mismanaged, teachers salaries not being paid, PF funds embezzled etc, and the teachers approached the West Bengal Govt asking for these colleges to be nationalised. The BES promptly went to Court claiming they were Brahmo Samaj is a religious minority and hence entitled to Constitutional protection. After 25 years in 2004 the Supreme Court disposed of the matter while not going into the question of Brahmoism's minority status.
    > >
    > > Thereafter, emboldened, the BES victimised the staff anew and they pressurised the WB Govt to file a strong review petition in the SC which is pending. BY ALL ACCOUNTS THE BRAHMOS ARE GOING TO LOSE !!!!
    > >
    > > It s unfortunate that due to the corruption and mismanagement of a handful of pseudo-Brahmos (ananusthanic Brahmos) sitting in Kolkatta, Brahmoism everywhere is going to be affected.
    > >
    > > Re, the census. I really have no hopes for the Samajes. They are all mismanaged (or under-managed). All we can do is exhort everyone who is willing to listen to insist they be registered as "Religion - other - Brahmo" and refuse to be registered as "Religion - Hindu".
    > >
    > > Also, every member of these groups should highlight this message for discussion at the next Magh Utsav of their Samajes and try to put it on the agendas of their GB meetings - and include it in their newsletters.
    > >
    > > I can also put up an online email Petition on the website requesting the Registrar General of India to allot a special numerical code for Brahmos during the census.
    > >
    > > The Delhi Brahmo Samaj does no social work / activism whatsoever.
    > >
    > > Sarbajit
    > >
    > > --- In, biswajit dutta <bis_dutta2000@> wrote:
    > > >
    > > > Dear Sarbajit ,
    > > > I know . 177 declared Brahmos is a matter of concern . You have been highlighting it for long . What steps do you think we should take to correct position in 2010 census ? Should one Samaj take the initiative & (a)Conduct a nationwide Brahmo census of its own (b)Launch a campaign to educate Brahmos that they shouldn't declare themselves as Hindus as Brahmo Dharma is a separate religion .

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Go not to the temple - Rabindranath Tagore

    Dear Shymal,

    Alhough it is not from any of Rabindranath's well known works like
    Gitanjali, it seems to be based on Sufism - specifically Kabir's poems
    which were translated by Tagore in 1915. It is referred to in a Govt
    of India website (page 56) as being from a poem called "True Worship"

    It is also interesting that many religious websites of Christians and
    Saibabists contain this poem without attributing it in any way to
    Rabindranath. A Saibaba website even claims it is by Satya Sai

    The "Temple of God" of God the poet speaks of refers in microcosm to
    the human body and in macrocosm to the Universe/Multiverse.

    Kabir's 4th poem translated by RNT (1915)

    "Do not go to the garden of flowers!
    O Friend! go not there;
    In your body is the garden of flowers.
    Take your seat on the thousand petals of the lotus,
    and there gaze on the Infinite Beauty."


    --- In, Shymal Dutta
    <shymal.dutta@...> wrote:
    > Dear Debanjan Ray
    > This poem is widely circulated on the Internet as Tagore's, but I am
    > unable to locate the precise work it is from. Can anyone help me
    > to trace its source.
    > Warmly Shymal
    > On Sat, Dec 12, 2009 at 10:57 PM, Debanjan Ray <debanjan.ray@...>wrote:
    > >
    > > Just wanted to share the following quote from Rabindranath Tagore:
    > > -------------------
    > >
    > > "Go not to the temple to put flowers upon the feet of God,
    > > First fill your own house with the Fragrance of love...
    > >
    > > Go not to the temple to light candles before the altar of God,
    > > First remove the darkness of sin from your heart...
    > >
    > > Go not to the temple to bow down your head in prayer,
    > > First learn to bow in humility before your fellowmen...
    > >
    > > Go not to the temple to pray on bended knees,
    > > First bend down to lift someone who is down-trodden. ..
    > >
    > > Go not to the temple to ask for forgiveness for your sins,
    > > First forgive from your heart those who have sinned against you."
    > >
    > > - Rabindranath Tagore

    Gleanings from the Katha Upanishad - Part 4

    The Katha Upanishad is presented as dialogue between
    Nuchiketa (the son of a Brahman under obligation) and
    Yamu the God of Death. Selected extracts from Rammohun's
    translation of the 1st 'Valli', concerning life after
    death and the nature of the soul.

    Yamu, "Make, O Nuchiketa! thy third request."

    Nuchiketa then said : lf Some are of opinion that
    after man's demise existence continues, and others
    say it ceases. Hence a doubt has arisen respecting
    the nature of the sou
    l ; I therefore wish to be
    instructed by thee in this matter. This is the last
    of the favours thou hast offered."

    Yumu replied : "Even gods have doubted and disputed
    on this subject; which being obscure, never can be
    thoroughly comprehended : Ask, O Nuchiketa ! another
    favour instead of this. Do not thou take advantage of
    my promise, but give up this request."

    Nuchiketa replied: "I am positively informed that gods
    entertained doubts on this subject ; and even thou,
    O Yumu ! callest it "difficult of comprehension". But
    no instructor on this point equal to thee can be found,
    and no other object is so desirable as this."

    Yumu said : " Do thou rather request of me to give thee
    sons and grandsons, each to attain the age of an hundred
    years ; numbers of cattle, elephants, goat, and horses;
    also extensive empire on earth, where thou shalt live as
    many years as thou wishest.  I will enable thee to enjoy
    all wished-for objects, but do not put to me, O Nuchiketa!
    the question respecting existence after death."

    Nuchiketa then replied. "The acquisition of the enjoyments
    thou hast offered, O Yumu! is in the first place doubtful;
    and should they be obtained, they destroy the strength of
    all the senses; and even the life of Bruhma is, indeed,
    comparatively short. But the only object I desire is what
    I have already begged of thee.  A mortal being, whose
    habitation is the low mansion of earth, and who is liable to
    sudden reduction, approaching the gods exempted from
    death and debility, and understanding from them that there
    is a knowledge of futurity, should not ask of them any inferior
    favour and knowing the fleeting nature of music, sexual
    gratification, and sensual pleasures,. who can take delight in
    a long life on earth? Do thou instruct us in that knowledge
    which removes doubts respecting existence after death,
    and is of great importance with a view to futurity, and which
    is obscure and acquirable with difficulty. I, Nuchiketa, cannot
    ask any other favour but this."

    End of the first Section of the first Chapter (ist Bullee. \

    Yumu now, after a sufficient trial of Nuchiketa's.
    resolution, answers the third question,

    (to be continued)

    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    Gleanings from the Katha Upanishad - Part 3

    {English Works of Rammohun Roy - Vol.1 page 60}





    IN pursuance of my attempt to render a translation of the complete
    Vedant, or the principal parts of the Veds, into the current languages
    of this country, I had some time ago the satisfaction of publishing a
    translation of the Kuth opunishud of the Ujoor-ved into Bengalee ; and
    of distributing copies of it as widely as my circumstances would allow,
    for the purpose of diffusing Hindoo scriptural knowledge among the
    adherents of that religion. The present publication is intended to
    assist the European community in forming their opinion respecting Hindoo
    Theology, rather from the matter found in their doctrinal scriptures,
    than from the Poorans, moral tales, or any other modern works, or from
    the superstitious rites and habits daily encouraged and fostered by
    their self-interested leaders.

    This work not only treats polytheism with contempt and disdain, but
    inculcates invariably the unity of God as the intellectual Principle,
    the sole Origin of individual intellect, entirely distinct from matter
    and its affections and teaches also the mode of directing the mind to

    A great body of my countrymen, possessed of good understandings, and not
    much fettered with prejudices, being perfectly satisfied with the truth
    of the doctrines contained in this and in other works, already laid by
    me before them, and of the gross errors of the puerile system of idol
    worship which they were led to follow, have altered their religious
    conduct in a manner becoming the dignity of human beings ; while the
    advocates of idolatry and their misguided followers, over whose opinions
    prejudice and obstinacy prevail more than good sense and judgment,
    prefer custom and fashion to the authorities of their scriptures, and
    therefore continue, under the form of religious devotion, to practise a
    system which destroys, to the utmost degree, the natural texture of
    society, and prescribes crimes of the most heinous nature, which even
    the most savage nations would blush to commit, unless compelled by the
    most urgent necessity.

    I am, however, not without a sanguine hope that, through Divine
    Providence and human exertions, they will sooner or later avail them
    selves of that true system of religion which leads its observers to a
    knowledge and love of God, and to a friendly inclination towards their
    fellow-creatures, impressing their hearts at the same time with humility
    and charity, accompanied by independence of mind and pure sincerity.
    Contrary to the code of idolatry, this system defines sins as evil
    thoughts proceeding from the heart, quite unconnected with observances
    as to diet and other matters of form. At any rate, it seems to me that I
    cannot better employ my time than in an endeavour to illustrate and
    maintain truth, and to render service to my fellow-labourers, confiding
    in the mercy of that Being to whom the motives of our actions and
    secrets of our hearts are well-known.

    Rammohun Roy, Katha Upanishad, Yajur Ved, Brahmo Samaj, Brahmoism,

    Gleanings from the Katha Upanishad - Part 2

    Opening Prayer

    saha nau~ avatu
    saha nau b&#688;unaktu
    saha v&#299;ryam~ karav&#257;vahai
    tejasvi nau~ ad&#688;&#299;tam astu
    m&#257; vi-dvi&#7779;&#257;vahai
    &#257;&#363;&#7747; &#347;&#257;nti&#7717; &#347;&#257;nti&#7717;

    Oh Supreme Brahma
    May Thou Protect us both, (teacher and taught).
    May we both strive to absorb your grace.
    May our combined energies be productive.
    May our study bring us illumination.
    May there be no discord among us.

    1) This is the opening invocation used by the teacher and the taught
    before they approach the work.

    2) If there are any comments, including on the translation (mine) of
    this series, kindly email me before it is hosted to the Brahmo

    Gleanings from the Katha Upanishad - Part 1

    Rammohun Roy was the first to translate the Katha Upanishad into any
    European language.

    Description from Max Muller's version introduction.

    "THE Katha-upanishad is probably more widely known than any other
    Upanishad. It formed part of the Persian translation, was rendered
    into English by Râmmohun Roy, and has since been frequently quoted by
    English, French, and German writers as one of the most perfect
    specimens of the mystic philosophy and poetry of the ancient Hindus.

    It was in the year 1845 that I first copied at Berlin the text of this
    Upanishad, the commentary of Samskara (MS. 127 Chambers 1), and the
    gloss of Gopâlayogin (MS. 224 Chambers). The text and commentary of
    Samskara and the gloss of Ânandagiri have since been edited by Dr.
    Roer in the Bibliotheca Indica, with translation and notes. There are
    other translations, more or less perfect, by Râmmohun Roy,
    Windischmann, Poley, Weber, Muir, Regnaud, Gough, and others. But
    there still remained many difficult and obscure portions, and I hope
    that in some at least of the passages where I differ from my
    predecessors, not excepting Samskara, I may have succeeded in
    rendering the original meaning of the author more intelligible than it
    has hitherto been.

    The text of the Katha-upanishad is in some MSS. ascribed to the
    Yagur-veda. In the Chambers MS. of the commentary also it is said to
    belong to that Veda 2, and in the Muktikopanishad it stands first
    among the Upanishads of the Black Yagur-veda. According to Colebrooke
    (Miscellaneous Essays, 1, 96, note) it is referred to the Sâmaveda
    also. Generally, however, it is counted as one of the Âtharvana

    Brahmo websites to have own servers

    Dear Fellow Brahmos

    Very shortly (Jan 2010) the 4 "Brahmic" websites which we had
    recovered shall be hosted on their own high speed high capacity (advt
    free) dedicated servers. At present the websites are hosted on free
    facilities like googlepages.

    The scope of these websites is as follows:

    This specialised website is for the history, philosophy, activities
    etc of the "Adi Brahmo Samaj" connected with Rammohun Roy, Dwarkanath
    Tagore, Debendranath Tagore, Raj Narain Bose, Hemendranath Tagore etc.
    and its modern developments.

    This website is for the history, philosophy, activities etc of the
    "Sadharan Brahmo Samaj" connected with Sivnath Sastri, Anandmohan Bose
    and so many others.

    This website is for the present day activities of all Brahmos, and for
    news about Brahmos, Brahmoism, Brahmo Conferences etc

    The "official" website for Brahmos. This website shall attempt to
    incorporate the entire spectrum of Brahmoism's diversity including its

    Contributions, news and articles etc are open to everybody. There
    shall be online forms for anyone to contribute, news, jokes, pictures,
    articles, speeches, songs, videos, prayers, upasanas etc. about

    Sarbajit Roy
    New Delhi