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Raja Rammohan Roy
Bramho Samaj was the earliest reform movement in India influenced by modern western ideas. It was founded by Raja Rammohan Roy in the year 1823. It was initially called as Brahmo Sabha but was later renamed as Bramha Samaj.
Rammohan Roy was born in 1774. He attained proficiency in many European languages. He was against the hostile criticism of missionaries and proved to be the champion of Hinduism. He rejected Christianity but accepted the humanism of Europe. He criticized Idolatry in Hinduism and by quotation from Vedas he supported his view points. He led campaigns against sati, polygamy, concubinage and casteism. He encouraged Hindu widow re-marriages. He believed that God was shapeless, invisible, omnipresent & omnipotent. He also said God was the guiding spirit of the Universe and Omniscient. He accepted as propounded by the Upanishads that God was one.
Dr. Macnicol – “Rammohan Roy was the herald of new age and the fire ho kindled in India burnt ever since”.
Rammohan Roy was a clerk in East India Company. In 1811, his sister-in-law was burnt alive on the name of Sati. Since then he started fighting against the social evils in Hindu religion.
He started journals like Samvadha Kawnudhi in 1821, Miratul Akbar in 1822 and Bangaduga. He wrote Tanfal-Ul-Muzahide in persion, guide to peace and happiness was his other work.
He started a college in Calcutta by name Vedanta, Scientific and secular education was given in the spirit of Vedas in here. He assisted David Hare to establish Hindu college in Calcutta; it was later renamed as Presidency College. He also assisted Scottish Alexander Duff to establish Duff College in Calcutta. He died in the year 1833 in England.
The reason behind establishing the Bramho Samaj as it was mentioned in its (organization`s) Trust deed executed in 1830, explained the object of it (Bramho Samaj) as the following;
“The worship and adoration of the Eternal, Unsearchable, Immutable, being who is the author and preserver of the Universe”
The Bramho Samaj opposed idolatry and gave no space for priesthood. No sacrifices of any kind were allowed. Prayers, meditation and readings from the Upanishads were the means of worship in the organization. Charity, morality, piety and strengthening of the bonds between men of all religion was promoted. Never an attempt was made to establish a new religion but the entire focus was to purge Hinduism of evil practices that had crept into it.
Raja Radhakant Deb led the orthodox Hindus and organized the Dharma Sabha. The primary objective of the said was to counter the propaganda of Bramho Samaj. After the death of Raja Rammohan Roy, the organization was led by Debendranath Tagore and Kesav Chandra Sen.