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Brahmo Samaj

Brahmo Samaj (brä´mō səmäj´) [Hindi,=society of God], Indian religious movement, founded in Kolkata (Calcutta) in 1828 by Rammohun Roy. It promoted a monotheistic, reformed Hinduism with strong Islamic and Christian overtones, support for the rights of women, and opposition to such aspects of Hinduism as idolatry and animal sacrifice. Under Roy the organization attained considerable importance in E India until his death in 1833. After a decade of decline, it was revived by Debendranath Tagore in 1843. A schism divided the organization in 1865, when Keshub Chunder Sen split with Tagore and formed the Adi Brahmo Samaj, and in 1878 Sen's group itself divided. Sen's followers formed a new church, the Nava-Vidhana, while the dissidents founded the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, which became dominant. The Brahmo Samaj movement had great influence in the 19th cent., but although it still exists, it has had little impact on 20th-century Hinduism.

See P. K. Sen, Biography of a New Faith (2 vol., 1950–54); K. C. Sen, The Voice of Keshub (1963); P. V. Kanal, An Introduction to Dev-Samaj (1965).

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Brahmo Samāj

Brahmo Samāj. 19th-cent. Hindu reform movement. It had its antecedent in the Brahmo Sabha (1828) of Rām Mohan Roy (1772–1833), who was impressed by Western achievements, but who believed that Indian spirituality was greater. The Brahmo tradition of reinterpreting early Hinduism in the light of new knowledge led to the organizing of Brahmo Samāj in 1843 by Debendranath Tagore (father of the poet). The presence of Keshub Chandra Sen in the movement led to Tagore continuing with the Adi Samāj, while Sen led the Brahmo Samāj to further division and a cult-like focus on himself—though he also engaged in much social reform. The movement continued into the 20th cent., but rapidly declined in influence and membership.

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