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Ram Mohan Roy
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/11/20



Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Portrait of Raja Ram Mohan Roy as painted by H. P. Briggs - preserved in Bristol Museum
Born: c. 22 May 1772, Radhanagar, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died: 27 September 1833 (aged 60–61), Stapleton, Bristol, England
Nationality: Indian
Other names: Herald of New Age
Occupation: Social and religious reformer; Brahmin prince
Known for: Bengal Renaissance, Brahmo Sabha
(social, political reforms)

Raja Ram Mohan Roy (22 May 1772 – 27 September 1833) was one of the founders of the Brahmo Sabha, the precursor of the Brahmo Samaj, a social-religious reform movement in the Indian subcontinent. He was given the title of Raja by Akbar II, the Mughal emperor. His influence was apparent in the fields of politics, public administration, education and religion. He was known for his efforts to abolish the practices of sati and child marriage.[1] Raja Ram Mohan Roy is considered to be the "Father of the Indian Renaissance" by many historians.[2]

In 2004, Roy was ranked number 10 in BBC's poll of the Greatest Bengali of all time.[3][4][5]

Early life and education (till 1796)

Ram Mohan Roy was born in Radhanagar, Hooghly District, Bengal Presidency. His great grandfather, Krishanland Bandopadhyay, a Rahiri Kulin (noble) brahmin, claimed descent from Narottama Thakur, a follower of the 15th century Bengali Vaishnava reformer Chaitnya. Among Kulin Brahmins-descendants of the six families of brahmins imported from Kanauj by Ballal Sen in the 12th century-those from the Rarhi district of West Bengal were notorious in the 19th century for living off dowries by marrying several women. Kulinism was a synonym for polygamy and the dowry system, both of which Rammohan campaigned against.[6] His father, Ramkanta, was a Vaishnavite, while his mother, Tarini Devi, was from a Shaivite family. He was a great scholar of Sanskrit, Persian and English languages and also knew Arabic, Latin and Greek. Thus one parent prepared him for the occupation of a scholar, the Shastri, while the other secured for him all the worldly advantages needed to launch a career in the laukik or worldly sphere of public administration. Torn between these two parental ideals from early childhood, Ram Mohan vacillated between the two for the rest of his life.[7]

Ram Mohan Roy was married three times. His first wife died early. He had two sons, Radhaprasad in 1800, and Ramaprasad in 1812 with his second wife, who died in 1824. Roy's third wife outlived him.[8]

The nature and content of Ram Mohan Roy's early education is disputed. One view is that "Ram Mohan started his formal education in the village pathshala where he learned Bengali and some Sanskrit and Persian. Later he is said to have studied Persian and Arabic in a madrasa in Patna and after that he was sent to Benares to learn the intricacies of Sanskrit and Hindu scripture, including the Vedas and Upanishads. The dates of his time in both these places are uncertain. However, it is believed that he was sent to Patna when he was nine years old and two years later he went to Benares."[7]

The Persian and Arabic studies influenced his thinking about One God more than studies of European deism, which he didn't know at least while writing his first scriptures because at that stage he couldn't speak or understand English.

Ram Mohan Roy's impact on modern Indian history was his revival of the pure and ethical principles of the Vedanta school of philosophy as found in the Upanishads. He preached the unity of God, made early translations of Vedic scriptures into English, co-founded the Calcutta Unitarian Society and founded the Brahma Samaj. The Brahma Samaj played a major role in reforming and modernizing the Indian society. He successfully campaigned against sati, the practice of burning widows. He sought to integrate Western culture with the best features of his own country's traditions. He established a number of schools to popularize a modern system (effectively replacing Sanskrit based education with English based education) of education in India. He promoted a rational, ethical, non-authoritarian, this-worldly, and social-reform Hinduism. His writings also sparked interest among British and American Unitarians.[9]

Christianity and the early rule of the East India Company (1795–1828)

During early rule of the east India company, Ram Mohan Roy acted as a political agitator whilst employed by the East India Company.[10]

In 1792, the British Baptist shoemaker William Carey published his influential missionary tract, An Enquiry of the obligations of Christians to use means for the conversion of heathens.[11]

In 1793, William Carey landed in India to settle. His objective was to translate, publish and distribute the Bible in Indian languages and propagate Christianity to the Indian peoples.[12] He realised the "mobile" (i.e. service classes) Brahmins and Pandits were most able to help him in this endeavour, and he began gathering them. He learnt the Buddhist and Jain religious works to better argue the case for Christianity in a cultural context.[13]

In 1795, Carey made contact with a Sanskrit scholar, the Tantric Saihardana Vidyavagish,[14] who later introduced him to Ram Mohan Roy, who wished to learn English.

Between 1796 and 1797, the trio of Carey, Vidyavagish, and Roy created a religious work known as the "Maha Nirvana Tantra" (or "Book of the Great Liberation")[15] and positioned it as a religious text to "the One True God". Carey's involvement is not recorded in his very detailed records and he reports only learning to read Sanskrit in 1796 and only completed a grammar in 1797, the same year he translated part of The Bible (from Joshua to Job), a massive task.[16] For the next two decades this document was regularly augmented.[17] Its judicial sections were used in the law courts of the English Settlement in Bengal as Hindu Law for adjudicating upon property disputes of the zamindari. However, a few British magistrates and collectors began to suspect and its usage (as well as the reliance on pandits as sources of Hindu Law) was quickly deprecated. Vidyavagish had a brief falling out with Carey and separated from the group, but maintained ties to Ram Mohan Roy.[18]

In 1797, Raja Ram Mohan reached Calcutta and became a "bania" (moneylender), mainly to lend to the Englishmen of the Company living beyond their means. Ram Mohan also continued his vocation as pandit in the English courts and started to make a living for himself. He began learning Greek and Latin.[19]

In 1799, Carey was joined by missionary Joshua Marshman and the printer William Ward at the Danish settlement of Serampore.[20]

From 1803 until 1815, Ram Mohan served the East India Company's "Writing Service", commencing as private clerk "Munshi" to Thomas Woodroffe, Registrar of the Appellate Court at Murshidabad (whose distant nephew, [b][size=110]John Woodroffe — also a Magistrate — and later lived off the Maha Nirvana Tantra under the pseudonym Arthur Avalon).[21] Roy resigned from Woodroffe's service and later secured employment with John Digby, a Company collector, and Ram Mohan spent many years at Rangpur and elsewhere with Digby, where he renewed his contacts with Hariharananda. William Carey had by this time settled at Serampore and the old trio renewed their profitable association. William Carey was also aligned now with the English Company, then head-quartered at Fort William, and his religious and political ambitions were increasingly intertwined.[22][/size][/b]

While in Murshidabad, in 1804 Raja Ram Mohan Roy wrote Tuhfat-ul-Muwahhidin (A Gift to Monotheists) in Persian with an introduction in Arabic. Bengali had not yet become the language of intellectual discourse. The importance of Tuhfatul Muwahhidin lies only in its being the first known theological statement of one who achieved later fame and notoriety as a vendantin. On its own, it is unremarkable, perhaps of interest only to a social historian because of its amateurish eclecticism. Tuhfat was, after all, available as early as 1884 in the English translation of Maulavi Obaidullah EI Obaid, published by the Adi Brahmo Samaj. Raja Ram Mohan Roy did not know the Upanishad at this stage in his intellectual development.[23][24]

In 1815, he started Atmiya Sabha, a philosophical discussion circle in Kolkata (then Calcutta).

The East India Company was draining money from India at a rate of three million pounds a year by 1838. Ram Mohan Roy was one of the first to try to estimate how much money was being taken out of India and to where it was disappearing. He estimated that around one-half of all total revenue collected in India was sent out to England, leaving India, with a considerably larger population, to use the remaining money to maintain social well-being.[25] Ram Mohan Roy saw this and believed that the unrestricted settlement of Europeans in India governing under free trade would help ease the economic drain crisis.[26]

During the next two decades, Ram Mohan launched his attack at the behest of the church against the bastions of Hinduism of Bengal
, namely his own Kulin Brahmin priestly clan (then in control of the many temples of Bengal) and their priestly excesses.[17] The Kulin excesses targeted include sati (the co-cremation of widows), polygamy, child marriage, and dowry.

From 1819, Ram Mohan's battery increasingly turned against William Carey, a Baptist Missionary settled in Serampore, and the Serampore missionaries. With Dwarkanath's munificence, he launched a series of attacks against Baptist "Trinitarian" Christianity and was now considerably assisted in his theological debates by the Unitarian faction of Christianity.[27]

In 1828, he launched Brahmo Sabha with Devendranath Tagore. By 1828, he had become a well known figure in India. In 1830, he had gone to England as an envoy of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar Shah II, who invested him with the title of Raja to the court of King William IV.

Middle "Brahmo" period (1820 to 1830)

This was Ram Mohan's most controversial period. Commenting on his published works Sivanath Sastri writes:[28]

"The period between 1820 and 1830 was also eventful from a literary point of view, as will be manifest from the following list of his publications during that period:

• Second Appeal to the Christian Public, Brahmanical Magazine – Parts I, II and III, with Bengali translation and a new Bengali newspaper called Samvad Kaumudi in 1821;
• A Persian paper called Mirat-ul-Akbar contained a tract entitled Brief Remarks on Ancient Female Rights and a book in Bengali called Answers to Four Questions in 1822;
• Third and final appeal to the Christian public, a memorial to the King of England on the subject of the liberty of the press, Ramdoss papers relating to Christian controversy, Brahmanical Magazine, No. IV, letter to Lord Arnherst on the subject of English education, a tract called "Humble Suggestions" and a book in Bengali called "Pathyapradan or Medicine for the Sick," all in 1823;
• A letter to Rev. H. Ware on the "Prospects of Christianity in India" and an "Appeal for famine-smitten natives in Southern India" in 1824;
• A tract on the different modes of worship, in 1825;
• A Bengali tract on the qualifications of a God-loving householder, a tract in Bengali on a controversy with a Kayastha, and a Grammar of the Bengali language in English, in 1826;
• A Sanskrit tract on "Divine worship by Gayatri" with an English translation of the same, the edition of a Sanskrit treatise against caste, and the previously noticed tract called "Answer of a Hindu to the question &c.," in 1827;
• A form of Divine worship and a collection of hymns composed by him and his friends, in 1828;
• "Religious Instructions founded on Sacred Authorities" in English and Sanskrit, a Bengali tract called "Anusthan," and a petition against sati, in 1829;

He publicly declared that he would emigrate from the British Empire if Parliament failed to pass the Reform Bill.

In 1830, Ram Mohan Roy travelled to the United Kingdom as an ambassador of the Mughal Empire to ensure that Lord William Bentinck's Bengal Sati Regulation, 1829 banning the practice of Sati was not overturned. In addition, Roy petitioned the King to increase the Mughal Emperor's allowance and perquisites. He was successful in persuading the British government to increase the stipend of the Mughal Emperor by £30,000. He also visited France. While in England, he embarked on cultural exchanges, meeting with members of Parliament and publishing books on Indian economics and law. Sophia Dobson Collet was his biographer at the time.

He died at Stapleton, then a village to the northeast of Bristol (now a suburb), on 27 September 1833 of meningitis and was buried in the Arnos Vale Cemetery in southern Bristol.

Religious reforms

Ram Mohan Roy on a 1964 stamp of India

The religious reforms of Roy contained in some beliefs of the Brahmo Samaj expounded by Rajnarayan Basu[29] are:

Brahmo Samaj believe that the most fundamental doctrines of Brahmoism are at the basis of every religion followed by a man.
Brahmo Samaj believes in the existence of One Supreme God — "a God, endowed with a distinct personality & moral attributes equal to His nature, and intelligence befitting the Author and Preserver of the Universe," and worship Him alone.
• Brahmo Samaj believe that worship of Him needs no fixed place or time. "We can adore Him at any time and at any place, provided that time and that place are calculated to compose and direct the mind towards Him."

Having studied the Qur’an, the Vedas and the Upanishads, Roy's beliefs were derived from a combination of monastic elements of Hinduism, Islam, eighteenth-century Deism, Unitarianism, and the ideas of the Freemasons.[30]

Social reforms

Roy founded the Atmiya Sabha and the Unitarian Community to fight the social evils, and to propagate social and educational reforms in India. He was the man who fought against superstitions, a pioneer in Indian education, and a trend setter in Bengali Prose and Indian press.

• Crusaded against Hindu customs such as sati, polygamy, child marriage and the caste system.
• Demanded property inheritance rights for women.
• In 1828, he set up the Brahmo Sabha a movement of reformist Bengali Brahmins to fight against social evils.

Roy’s political background and devandra Christian influence influenced his social and religious views regarding reforms of Hinduism. He writes,

"The present system of Hindus is not well calculated to promote their political interests…. It is necessary that some change should take place in their religion, at least for the sake of their political advantage and social comfort."[31]

Ram Mohan Roy’s experience working with the British government taught him that Hindu traditions were often not credible or respected by western standards and this no doubt affected his religious reforms. He wanted to legitimise Hindu traditions to his European acquaintances by proving that "superstitious practices which deform the Hindu religion have nothing to do with the pure spirit of its dictates!"[32] The "superstitious practices", to which Ram Mohan Roy objected, included sati, caste rigidity, polygamy and child marriages.[33] These practices were often the reasons British officials claimed moral superiority over the Indian nation. Ram Mohan Roy’s ideas of religion actively sought to create a fair and just society by implementing humanitarian practices similar to the Christian ideals professed by the British and thus seeking to legitimise Hinduism in the eyes of the Christian world.


• Roy believed education to be an implement for social reform.
• In 1817, in collaboration with David Hare, he set up the Hindu College at Calcutta.
In 1822, Roy found the Anglo-Hindu school, followed four years later (1826) by the Vedanta College; where he insisted that his teachings of monotheistic doctrines be incorporated with "modern, western curriculum."[34]
• In 1830, he helped Rev. Alexander Duff in establishing the General Assembly's Institution (now known as Scottish Church College), by providing him with the venue vacated by Brahma Sabha and getting the first batch of students.
• He supported induction of western learning into Indian education.
• He also set up the Vedanta College, offering courses as a synthesis of Western and Indian learning.

• His most popular journal was the Sambad Kaumudi. It covered topics like freedom of the press, induction of Indians into high ranks of service, and separation of the executive and judiciary.
• When the English Company muzzled the press, Ram Mohan composed two memorials and against this in 1829 and 1830 respectively.

Mausoleum at Arnos Vale

Epitaph for Ram Mohan Roy on his Mausoleum

Mausoleum of Ram Mohan Roy in Arno's Vale Cemetery, Bristol, England

Ram Mohan Roy was originally buried on 18 October 1833, in the grounds of Stapleton Grove where he had died of meningitis on 27 September 1833. Nine and a half years later he was reburied on 29 May 1843 in a grave at the new Arnos Vale Cemetery, in Brislington, East Bristol. A large plot on The Ceremonial Way there had been bought by William Carr and William Prinsep, and the body in its lac and a lead coffin was placed later in a deep brick-built vault, over seven feet underground. Two years after this, Dwarkanath Tagore helped pay for the chattri raised above this vault, although there is no record of his ever visiting Bristol. The chattri was designed by the artist William Prinsep, who had known Ram Mohan in Calcutta.[citation needed]

Bristol Arnos Vale cemetery have been holding remembrance services for Raja Ram Mohan Roy every year on a Sunday close to his death anniversary date of 27 September.[35] The Indian High Commission at London often come to Raja's annual commemoration. Bristol's Lord Mayor shall also be in attendance. The commemoration is a joint Brahmo-Unitarian service, in which, prayers and hymns are sung, flowers laid at the tomb, and the life of the Raja is celebrated via talks and visual presentations.[36] In 2013, a recently discovered ivory bust of Ram Mohan was displayed.[35][37] In 2014, his original death mask at Edinburgh was filmed and its history was discussed.[38] In 2017, Raja's commemoration was held on 24 September.[39]


In 1983, a full-scale Exhibition on Ram Mohan Roy was held in Bristol's Museum and Art Gallery. His enormous 1831 portrait by Henry Perronet Briggs still hangs there and was the subject of a talk by Sir Max Muller in 1873. At Bristol's centre, on College Green, is a full-size bronze statue of the Raja by the modern Kolkata sculptor Niranjan Pradhan. Another bust by Pradhan, gifted to Bristol by Jyoti Basu, sits inside the main foyer of Bristol's City Hall.[citation needed]

A pedestrian path at Stapleton has been named "Rajah Rammohun Walk". There is a 1933 Brahmo plaque on the outside west wall of Stapleton Grove, and his first burial place in the garden is marked by railings and a granite memorial stone. His tomb and chattri at Arnos Vale are listed as a Grade II* historic site by English Heritage and attract many visitors today.[citation needed]

See also

• Adi Dharm
• Brahmo
• Brahmoism
• Hindu School, Kolkata
• Presidency College, Kolkata
• Scottish Church College, Calcutta


1. Soman, Priya. "Raja Ram Mohan and the Abolition of Sati System in Indai"(PDF). International Journal of Humanities, Art and Social Studies (IJHAS). 1 (2): 75–82.
2. "Raja Ram Mohan Roy: Google doodle remembers the father of 'Indian Renaissance'". Indian Express. 22 May 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
3. "Listeners name 'greatest Bengali'". 14 April 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
4. Habib, Haroon (17 April 2004). "International : Mujib, Tagore, Bose among 'greatest Bengalis of all time'". The Hindu.
5. "BBC Listeners' Poll Bangabandhu judged greatest Bengali of all time'". The Daily Star. 16 April 2014.
6. Mehrotra, Arvind (2008). A Concise History of Indian Literature in English. Ranikhet: permanent black. p. 1. ISBN 8178243024.
7. Sharma, H.D. (2002). Raja Ram Mohan Roy — The Renaissance Man. Rupa & Co. p. 8. ISBN 978-8171679997
8. "Raja Ram Mohan Roy". Cultural India. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
9. Hodder, Alan D. (1988). "Emerson, Rammohan Roy, and the Unitarians". Studies in the American Renaissance: 133–148. JSTOR 30227561.
10. Singh, Kulbir (17 July 2017). "Ram Mohan Roy: The Father of the Indian Renaissance". Young Bites.
11. "An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens". Retrieved 2 October 2017.
12. "Home – William Carey University". Retrieved 2 October2017.
13. Reed, Ian Brooks (2015). "Rammohan Roy and the Unitarians". Master Thesis, Florida State University.
14. Kaumudi Patrika 12 December 1912
15. Derrett, John Duncan Martin (1977). Essays in Classical and Modern Hindu Law: consequences of the intellectual exchange with the foreign powers. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-04808-9.
16. Smith, George (1885). "Ch. 4". The Life of William Carey (1761–1834). p. 71. Retrieved 8 December 2008.
17. Syed, M. H. "Raja Rammohan Roy" (PDF). Himalaya Publishing House. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
18. Preface to "Fallacy of the New Dispensation" by Sivanath Sastri, 1895
19. Patel, Tanvi (22 May 2018). "Google Honours 'Maker Of Modern India': Remembering Raja Ram Mohan Roy". The Better India. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
20. "Joshua Marshman, D.D." William Carey University. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
21. Avalon, Arthur (2004). Mahanirvana Tantra Of The Great Liberation. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4191-3207-0.
22. Smith, George. "Life of William Carey". Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
23. Robertson Bruce C. (1995). Raja Rammohan Ray: the father of modern India. Oxford University Press, Incorporated. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-19-563417-4.
24. Crawford, S. Cromwell (1984). Ram Mohan Roy, his era and ethics. Arnold-Heinemann. p. 11.
25. Roy, Rama Dev (1987). "Some Aspects of the Economic Drain from India during the British Rule". Social Scientist. 15 (3): 39–47. doi:10.2307/3517499. JSTOR 3517499.
26. Bhattacharya, Subbhas (1975). "Indigo Planters, Ram Mohan Roy and the 1833 Charter Act". Social Scientist. 4 (3): 56–65. doi:10.2307/3516354. JSTOR 3516354.
27. Das, Pijush Kanti. "Ch. I" (PDF). Rammohun Roy and Brahmoism. Religious movement in mediaeval and modern India a critical study in Sikhism Brahmoism and the cult of Ramakrishna. University of Calcutta. pp. 200–208.
28. Sastri, Sivanath (1911) History of the Brahmo Samaj. pp. 44–46
29. "Brahmo Samaj". WORLD BRAHMO COUNCIL. Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
30. Doniger, Wendy. On Hinduism. Oxford. ISBN 9780199360079. OCLC 858660095.
31. Bhatt, Gauri Shankar (1968). "Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj, and the Church-Sect Typology". Review of Religious Research. 10 (1): 23–32. doi:10.2307/3510669. JSTOR 3510669.
32. Ram Mohan Roy, Translation of Several Principal Book, Passages, and Text of the Vedas and of Some Controversial works on Brahmunical Theology. London: Parbury, Allen & Company, 1823, p. 4.
33. Bandyopadyay, Brahendra N. (1933) Rommohan Roy. London: University Press, p. 351.
34. "Ram Mohan Roy.". Encycpaedia Britannica.
35. "The Brahmo Samaj". Retrieved 2 October 2017.
36. "Celebration at Arnos Vale". Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
37. "The Brahmo Samaj". Retrieved 2 October 2017.
38. Suman Ghosh (27 September 2013). "Bristol Remembers Rammohun Roy". Retrieved 2 October 2017 – via YouTube.
39. "Tributes paid to the great Indian social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy in Bristol". Retrieved 27 September 2017.


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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:05 am

William Carey (missionary)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20



William Carey
Missionary to India
Born: 17 August 1761, Paulerspury, England, United Kingdom
Died: 9 June 1834 (aged 72), Serampore, Bengal Presidency, British India

William Carey (17 August 1761 – 9 June 1834) was a British Christian missionary, Particular Baptist minister, translator, social reformer and cultural anthropologist who founded the Serampore College and the Serampore University, the first degree-awarding university in India.[1]

He went to Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1793, but was forced to leave the British Indian territory by non-Baptist Christian missionaries.[2] He joined the Baptist missionaries in the Danish colony of Frederiksnagar in Serampore. One of his first contributions was to start schools for impoverished children where they were taught reading, writing, accounting and Christianity.[3] He opened the first theological university in Serampore offering divinity degrees,[4][5] and campaigned to end the practice of sati.[6]

Carey is known as the "father of modern missions."[7] His essay, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, led to the founding of the Baptist Missionary Society.[2][8] The Asiatic Society commended Carey for “his eminent services in opening the stores of Indian literature to the knowledge of Europe and for his extensive acquaintance with the science, the natural history and botany of this country and his useful contributions, in every branch.”[9]

He translated the Hindu classic, the Ramayana, into English,[10] and the Bible into Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Marathi, Hindi and Sanskrit.[2] William Carey has been called a reformer and illustrious Christian missionary.[11][12][13]

Early life

William Carey's motto on a hanging in St James' Church, Paulerspury, Northamptonshire, which he attended as a boy

William Carey, the oldest of 5 children, was born to Edmund and Elizabeth Carey, who were weavers by trade, in the hamlet of Pury End in the village of Paulerspury, Northamptonshire.[14][15] William was raised in the Church of England; when he was six, his father was appointed the parish clerk and village schoolmaster. As a child he was naturally inquisitive and keenly interested in the natural sciences, particularly botany. He possessed a natural gift for language, teaching himself Latin.

At the age of 14, Carey's father apprenticed him to a cordwainer in the nearby village of Piddington, Northamptonshire.[16] His master, Clarke Nichols, was a churchman like himself, but another apprentice, John Warr, was a Dissenter. Through his influence Carey would eventually leave the Church of England and join with other Dissenters to form a small Congregational church in nearby Hackleton. While apprenticed to Nichols, he also taught himself Greek with the help of a local villager who had a college education.[citation needed]

When Nichols died in 1779, Carey went to work for the local shoemaker, Thomas Old; he married Old's sister-in-law Dorothy Plackett in 1781 in the Church of St John the Baptist, Piddington. Unlike William, Dorothy was illiterate; her signature in the marriage register is a crude cross. William and Dorothy Carey had seven children, five sons and two daughters; both girls died in infancy, as well as son Peter, who died at the age of 5. Thomas Old himself died soon afterward, and Carey took over his business, during which time he taught himself Hebrew, Italian, Dutch, and French, often reading while working on the shoes.[citation needed]

Carey acknowledged his humble origins and referred to himself as a cobbler. John Brown Myers entitled his biography of Carey William Carey the Shoemaker Who Became the Father and Founder of Modern Missions.

Founding of the Baptist Missionary Society

Detail from wall hanging depicting Carey's life, in Carey Baptist Church, Moulton, Northamptonshire

Carey became involved with a local association of Particular Baptists that had recently formed, where he became acquainted with men such as John Ryland, John Sutcliff, and Andrew Fuller, who would become his close friends in later years. They invited him to preach in their church in the nearby village of Earls Barton every other Sunday. On 5 October 1783, William Carey was baptised by Ryland and committed himself to the Baptist denomination.

Portrait sketch by Colesworthey Grant

In 1785, Carey was appointed the schoolmaster for the village of Moulton. He was also invited to serve as pastor to the local Baptist church. During this time he read Jonathan Edwards' Account of the Life of the Late Rev. David Brainerd and the journals of the explorer James Cook, and became deeply concerned with propagating the Christian Gospel throughout the world. John Eliot (c. 1604 – 21 May 1690), Puritan missionary in New England, and David Brainerd (1718–47) became the "canonized heroes" and "enkindlers" of Carey.[17]

In 1789 Carey, became the full-time pastor of Harvey Lane Baptist Church in Leicester. Three years later, in 1792, he published his groundbreaking missionary manifesto, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens. This short book consists of five parts. The first part is a theological justification for missionary activity, arguing that the command of Jesus to make disciples of all the world (Matthew 28:18–20) remains binding on Christians.[18]

The second part outlines a history of missionary activity, beginning with the early Church and ending with David Brainerd and John Wesley.[19]

Part 3 comprises 26 pages of tables, listing area, population, and religion statistics for every country in the world. Carey had compiled these figures during his years as a schoolteacher. The fourth part answers objections to sending missionaries, such as difficulty learning the language or danger to life. Finally, the fifth part calls for the formation by the Baptist denomination of a missionary society and describes the practical means by which it could be supported. Carey's seminal pamphlet outlines his basis for missions: Christian obligation, wise use of available resources, and accurate information.[citation needed]

Carey later preached a pro-missionary sermon (the so-called Deathless Sermon), using Isaiah 54:2–3 as his text, in which he repeatedly used the epigram which has become his most famous quotation:

“ Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God. ”

Carey finally overcame the resistance to missionary effort, and the Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Amongst the Heathen (subsequently known as the Baptist Missionary Society and since 2000 as BMS World Mission) was founded in October 1792, including Carey, Andrew Fuller, John Ryland, and John Sutcliff as charter members. They then concerned themselves with practical matters such as raising funds, as well as deciding where they would direct their efforts. A medical missionary, Dr John Thomas, had been in Calcutta and was currently in England raising funds; they agreed to support him and that Carey would accompany him to India.

Missionary life in India

Black-and-white lantern slide ca 1920, showing the grave at Serampore of William Carey and his second wife Charlotte Emilia Carey (1761-1821) and third wife Grace Carey (d. 1835)

Carey, his eldest son Felix, Thomas and his wife and daughter sailed from London aboard an English ship in April 1793. Dorothy Carey had refused to leave England, being pregnant with their fourth son and having never been more than a few miles from home; but before they left they asked her again to come with them and she gave consent, with the knowledge that her sister Kitty would help her give birth. En route they were delayed at the Isle of Wight, at which time the captain of the ship received word that he endangered his command if he conveyed the missionaries to Calcutta, as their unauthorised journey violated the trade monopoly of the British East India Company. He decided to sail without them, and they were delayed until June when Thomas found a Danish captain willing to offer them passage. In the meantime, Carey's wife, who had by now given birth, agreed to accompany him provided her sister came as well. They landed at Calcutta in November.[20]

During the first year in Calcutta, the missionaries sought means to support themselves and a place to establish their mission. They also began to learn the Bengali language to communicate with others. A friend of Thomas owned two indigo factories and needed managers, so Carey moved with his family north to Midnapore. During the six years that Carey managed the indigo plant, he completed the first revision of his Bengali New Testament and began formulating the principles upon which his missionary community would be formed, including communal living, financial self-reliance, and the training of indigenous ministers. His son Peter died of dysentery, which, along with other causes of stress, resulted in Dorothy suffering a nervous breakdown from which she never recovered.[20]

Meanwhile, the missionary society had begun sending more missionaries to India. The first to arrive was John Fountain, who arrived in Midnapore and began teaching school. He was followed by William Ward, a printer; Joshua Marshman, a schoolteacher; David Brunsdon, one of Marshman's students; and William Grant, who died three weeks after his arrival. Because the East India Company was still hostile to missionaries, they settled in the Danish colony in Serampore and were joined there by Carey on 10 January 1800.[20]

Late Indian period

Carey lived here at the Serampore College

Once settled in Serampore, the mission bought a house large enough to accommodate all of their families and a school, which was to be their principal means of support. Ward set up a print shop with a secondhand press Carey had acquired and began the task of printing the Bible in Bengali. In August 1800 Fountain died of dysentery. By the end of that year, the mission had their first convert, a Hindu named Krishna Pal. They had also earned the goodwill of the local Danish government and Richard Wellesley, then Governor-General of India.

The conversion of Hindus to Christianity posed a new question for the missionaries concerning whether it was appropriate for converts to retain their caste. In 1802, the daughter of Krishna Pal, a Sudra, married a Brahmin. This wedding was a public demonstration that the church repudiated the caste distinctions.

Brunsdon and Thomas died in 1801. The same year, the Governor-General founded Fort William, a college intended to educate civil servants. He offered Carey the position of professor of Bengali. Carey's colleagues at the college included pundits, whom he could consult to correct his Bengali testament. One of his colleagues was Madan Mohan Tarkalankar who taught him the Sanskrit language. He also wrote grammars of Bengali and Sanskrit, and began a translation of the Bible into Sanskrit. He also used his influence with the Governor-General to help put a stop to the practices of infant sacrifice and suttee, after consulting with the pundits and determining that they had no basis in the Hindu sacred writings (although the latter would not be abolished until 1829).

Dorothy Carey gave birth to Jim Carey. Then later she died in 1807.[21] Due to her debilitating mental breakdown, she had long since ceased to be an able member of the mission, and her condition was an additional burden to it. John Marshman wrote how Carey worked away on his studies and translations, "…while an insane wife, frequently wrought up to a state of most distressing excitement, was in the next room…".

Several friends and colleagues had urged William to commit Dorothy to an asylum. But he recoiled at the thought of the treatment she might receive in such a place and took the responsibility to keep her within the family home, even though the children were exposed to her rages.[22]

In 1808 Carey remarried. His new wife Charlotte Rhumohr, a Danish member of his church was, unlike Dorothy, Carey's intellectual equal. They were married for 13 years until her death.

From the printing press at the mission came translations of the Bible in Bengali, Sanskrit, and other major languages and dialects. Many of these languages had never been printed before; William Ward had to create punches for the type by hand. Carey had begun translating literature and sacred writings from the original Sanskrit into English to make them accessible to his own countryman. On 11 March 1812, a fire in the print shop caused £10,000 in damages and lost work. Among the losses were many irreplaceable manuscripts, including much of Carey's translation of Sanskrit literature and a polyglot dictionary of Sanskrit and related languages, which would have been a seminal philological work had it been completed. However, the press itself and the punches were saved, and the mission was able to continue printing in six months. In Carey's lifetime, the mission printed and distributed the Bible in whole or part in 44 languages and dialects.

Also, in 1812, Adoniram Judson, an American Congregational missionary en route to India, studied the scriptures on baptism in preparation for a meeting with Carey. His studies led him to become a Baptist. Carey's urging of American Baptists to take over support for Judson's mission, led to the foundation in 1814 of the first American Baptist Mission board, the General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States of America for Foreign Missions, later commonly known as the Triennial Convention. Most American Baptist denominations of today are directly or indirectly descended from this convention.

Serampore College

In 1818, the mission founded Serampore College to train indigenous ministers for the growing church and to provide education in the arts and sciences to anyone regardless of caste or country. Frederick VI, King of Denmark, granted a royal charter in 1827 that made the college a degree-granting institution, the first in Asia.[23]

In 1820 Carey founded the Agri Horticultural Society of India at Alipore, Calcutta, supporting his enthusiasm for botany. When William Roxburgh went on leave, Carey was entrusted to maintain the Botanical Garden at Calcutta. The genus Careya was named after him.[24]

The standard author abbreviation Carey is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.[25]

Carey's second wife, Charlotte, died in 1821, followed by his eldest son Felix. In 1823 he married a third time, to a widow named Grace Hughes.

Internal dissent and resentment was growing within the Missionary Society as its numbers grew, the older missionaries died, and they were replaced by less experienced men. Some new missionaries arrived who were not willing to live in the communal fashion that had developed, one going so far as to demand "a separate house, stable and servants." Unused to the rigorous work ethic of Carey, Ward, and Marshman, the new missionaries thought their seniors – particularly Marshman – to be somewhat dictatorial, assigning them work not to their liking.

Andrew Fuller, who had been secretary of the Society in England, had died in 1815, and his successor, John Dyer, was a bureaucrat who attempted to reorganise the Society along business lines and manage every detail of the Serampore mission from England. Their differences proved to be irreconcilable, and Carey formally severed ties with the missionary society he had founded, leaving the mission property and moving onto the college grounds. He lived a quiet life until his death in 1834, revising his Bengali Bible, preaching, and teaching students. The couch on which he died, on 9 June 1834, is now housed at Regent's Park College, the Baptist hall of the University of Oxford.


Much of what is known about William Carey's missionary life in India is from missionary reports sent to Britain. Historians such as Comaroffs, Thorne, Van der Veer and Brian Pennington note that the representation of India in these reports must be examined in their context and with care for its evangelical and colonial ideology.[12] The reports by Carey were conditioned by his background, personal factors and his own religious beliefs. The polemic notes and observations of Carey, and his colleague William Ward, were in a community suffering from extreme poverty and epidemics, and they constructed a view of Indian culture and Hinduism in light of their missionary goals.[12][26] These reports were by those who had declared their conviction in foreign missionary work, and the letters describe experiences of foreigners who were resented by both the natives as well as the British colonial officials and competing Christian groups. Their accounts of culture and Hinduism were forged in impoverished Bengal (modern West Bengal and Bangladesh) that was physically, politically and spiritually difficult.[12] Pennington summarises the accounts reported by Carey and his colleagues as follows,

“ Plagued with anxieties and fears about their own health, regularly reminded of colleagues who had lost their lives or reason, uncertain of their own social location, and preaching to crowds whose reactions ranged from indifference to amusement to hostility, missionaries found expression for their darker misgivings in their production of what is surely part of their speckled legacy: a fabricated Hinduism crazed by blood-lust and devoted to the service of devils.[12] ”

William Carey recommended that British people in India must learn and interpret Sanskrit in a manner "compatible with colonial aims".[27] Carey wrote, "To gain the ear of those who are thus deceived, it is necessary for them to believe that the speaker has a superior knowledge of the subject. In these circumstances, knowledge of Sanskrit is valuable."[27] Carey lacked understanding and respect for Indian culture, writes Rao,[13] describing Indian music as "disgusting" and bringing to mind practices dishonorable to God. Such prejudices affected the literature authored by Carey and colleagues.[13]

Family history

Biographies of Carey, such as those by F. D. Walker[28] and J. B. Myers, only allude to Carey's distress caused by the mental illness and subsequent breakdown suffered by his wife, Dorothy, in the early years of their ministry in India. More recently, Beck's biography of Dorothy Carey paints a more detailed picture: William Carey uprooted his family from all that was familiar and sought to settle them in one of the most unlikely and difficult cultures in the world for an uneducated eighteenth century English peasant woman. Faced with enormous difficulties in adjusting to all of this change, she failed to make the adjustment emotionally and ultimately, mentally, and her husband seemed to be unable to help her through all of this because he just did not know what to do about it.[29] Carey even wrote to his sisters in England on 5 October 1795, that "I have been for some time past in danger of losing my life. Jealousy is the great evil that haunts her mind."[30]

Dorothy's mental breakdown ("at the same time William Carey was baptizing his first Indian convert and his son Felix, his wife was forcefully confined to her room, raving with madness"[31]) led inevitably to other family problems. Joshua Marshman was appalled by the neglect with which Carey treated his four boys when he first met them in 1800. Aged 4, 7, 12 and 15, they were unmannered, undisciplined, and even uneducated.[citation needed]


Besides Iain Murray's study, The Puritan Hope,[32] less attention has been paid in Carey's numerous biographies to his postmillennial eschatology as expressed in his major missionary manifesto, notably not even in Bruce J. Nichols' article "The Theology of William Carey."[33] Carey was a Calvinist.”[34] and a postmillennialist. Even the two dissertations which discuss his achievements (by Oussoren[35] and Potts[36]) ignore large areas of his theology. Neither mention his eschatological views, which played a major role in his missionary zeal.[37] One exception, found in James Beck's biography of his first wife,[29] mentions his personal optimism in the chapter on "Attitudes Towards the Future," but not his optimistic perspective on world missions, which he derived from postmillennial theology.[38]

Translation, education and schools

Carey's desk at the Serampore College

Carey devoted great efforts and time to the study not only of the common language of Bengali, but to many other Indian vernaculars including the ancient root language of Sanskrit. In collaboration with the College of Fort William, Carey undertook the translation of the Hindu classics into English, beginning with the three-volume epic poem the Ramayana. He then translated the Bible into Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Hindi, Assamese, Sanskrit and parts of it into other dialects and languages.[39] For 30 years Carey served in the college as the professor of Bengali, Sanskrit and Marathi,[39][40] publishing, in 1805, the first book on Marathi grammar.[41][42]

The Serampore Mission Press that Carey founded is credited as the only press which “consistently thought it important enough that costly fonts of type be cast for the irregular and neglected languages of the Indian people."[43] Carey and his team produced textbooks, dictionaries, classical literature and other publications which served primary school children, college-level students and the general public, including the first systematic Sanskrit grammar which served a model for later publications.[44]

In the latter 1700s and early 1800s in India, only children of certain social strata received education, and even that was limited to basic accounting and Hindu religion. Only the Brahmins and writer castes could read, and then only men, women being completely unschooled. Carey started Sunday Schools in which children learned to read using the Bible as their textbook.[45] In 1794 Carey opened, at his own cost, what is considered the first primary school in all of India.[46] The public school system that Carey initiated expanded to include girls in an era when the education of the female was considered unthinkable. Carey’s work is considered to have provided the starting point of what blossomed into the Christian Vernacular Education Society providing English medium education across India.[47]

Legacy and influence

William Carey has been referred to as the "father of modern missions",[7] and as "India's first cultural anthropologist."[48]

His teaching, translations, writings and publications, his educational establishments and influence in social reform are said to have “marked the turning point of Indian culture from a downward to an upward trend.”

[Carey] saw India not as a foreign country to be exploited, but as his heavenly Father’s land to be loved and saved... he believed in understanding and controlling nature instead of fearing, appeasing or worshipping it; in developing one’s intellect instead of killing it as mysticism taught. He emphasized enjoying literature and culture instead of shunning it as maya.

— Vishal Mangalwadi[49]

Thus Carey significantly contributed to the birth of Indian nationalism.[49]

Carey’s was instrumental in launching Serampore College in Serampore.[50]

Carey’s passionate insistence on change resulted in the founding of the Baptist Missionary Society.[51]

Carey has at least eleven schools named after him: William Carey Christian School (WCCS) in Sydney, NSW, William Carey International University, founded in 1876 in Pasadena, California, Carey Theological College in Vancouver, British Columbia, Carey Baptist College in Auckland, New Zealand, Carey Baptist Grammar School in Melbourne, Victoria, Carey College in Colombo, Sri Lanka, William Carey University, founded in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1892,[52] and Carey Baptist College in Perth, Australia. The William Carey Academy of Chittagong, Bangladesh teaches both Bangladeshi and expatriate children, from kindergarten to grade 12, and the William Carey Memorial School, (A Co-ed English Medium), operates in Serampore, Hooghly. An English Medium School named William Carey International School was established on 17 August 2008 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

By the time Carey died, he had spent 41 years in India without a furlough. His mission could count only some 700 converts in a nation of millions, but he had laid an impressive foundation of Bible translations, education, and social reform.[53]


St James Church in Paulerspury, Northamptonshire, where Carey was christened and attended as a boy, has a William Carey display. Carey Baptist Church in Moulton, Northamptonshire, also has a display of artefacts related to William Carey, as well as the nearby cottage where he lived.[54] Harvey Lane Baptist Church in Leicester, the last church in England where Carey served before he left for India, was destroyed by a fire in 1921. Carey's nearby cottage had served as a 'Memories of Carey' museum from 1915 until it was destroyed to make way for a new road system in 1968.[55] The artefacts from the museum were given to Central Baptist Church in Charles Street, Leicester. Angus Library and Archive in Oxford holds the largest single collection of Carey letters as well as numerous artefacts such as his Bible and the sign from his cordwainer shop. There is a large collection of historical artefacts including letters, books, and other artefacts that belonged to William Carey at the Center for Study of the Life and Work of William Carey at Donnell Hall on the William Carey University Hattiesburg campus.[56]

See also

• Carey Baptist Church
• Carey Baptist College
• William Carey University
• Carey Saheber Munshi
• Saints portal


1. Vishal Mangalwadi (1999), The Legacy of William Carey: A Model for the Transformation of a Culture, pp. 61–67, ISBN 978-1-58134-112-6
2. William Carey British missionary Encyclopædia Britannica.
3. Riddick, John F. (2006). The History of British India: A Chronology. Praeger Publications. p. 158. ISBN 0-313-32280-5.
4. "Northants celebrates 250th anniversary of William Carey". BBC News. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
5. Smith, George (1922). The Life of William Carey: Shoemaker & Missionary. J. M. Dent & Co. p. 292.
6. Sharma, Arvind (1988). Sati: Historical and Phenomenological Essays. Motilal Benarasidass. pp. 57–63. ISBN 81-208-0464-3.
7. Gonzalez, Justo L. (2010) The Story of Christianity Vol. 2: The Reformation to the Present Day, Zondervan, ISBN 978-0-06185589-4, p. 419
8. William Carey, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens (1792; repr., London: Carey Kingsgate Press, 1961)
9. Thomas, T. Jacob (1994). "Interaction of the Gospel and Culture in Bengal" (PDF). Indian Journal of Theology. Serampore College Theology Department and Bishop's College, Kolkata. 36 (2): 46, 47.
10. Kopf, David (1969). British Orientalism and the Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization 1778–1835. Calcutta: Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay. pp. 70, 78.
11. Vishal Mangalwadi (1999), The Legacy of William Carey: A Model for the Transformation of a Culture, pp. 61-67, ISBN 978-1-58134112-6
12. Brian K. Pennington (2005), Was Hinduism Invented?: Britons, Indians, and the Colonial Construction, pp. 76–77, Oxford University Press
13. V Rao (2007), Contemporary Education, pp. 17-18, ISBN 978-81-3130273-6
14. "Paulerspury: Pury End". The Carey Experience. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
15. "William Carey's Historical Wall – Carey Road, Pury End, Northamptonshire, UK". UK Historical Markers. Retrieved 9 July2016. Includes image of memorial stone
16. "Glimpses #45: William Carey's Amazing Mission". Christian History Institute. Archived from the original on 4 April 2005. Retrieved 11 February 2008.
17. Carpenter, John, (2002) "New England Puritans: The Grandparents of Modern Protestant Missions," Fides et Historia 30.4, 529.
20. "Note from the preparer of this etext_ I have had to insert a view comments mainly in regards to adjustments to fonts to allow".
21. William Carey's Less-than-Perfect Family Life, Christian History, Issue 36, 10 January 1992
22. Timothy George, The Life and Mission of William Carey, IVP, p. 158
23. The Senate of Serampore College
24. Culross, James (1882). William Carey. New York: A.C. Armstrong & Son. p. 190.
25. IPNI. Carey.
26. Robert Eric Frykenberg and Alaine M. Low (2003), Christians and Missionaries in India, pp. 156–157, ISBN 978-0-8028-3956-5
27. Silvia Nagy (2010), Colonization Or Globalization?: Postcolonial Explorations of Imperial Expansion, p. 62, ISBN 978-073-91-31763
28. Frank Deauville Walker, William Carey (1925, repr. Chicago: Moody Press, 1980). ISBN 0-8024-9562-1.
29. Beck, James R. Dorothy Carey: The Tragic and Untold Story of Mrs. William Carey. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992. ISBN 0-8010-1030-6.
30. "Dorothy's Devastating Delusions," Christian History & Biography, 1 October 1992.
31. Book Review — Dorothy Carey: The Tragic And Untold Story Of Mrs. William Carey Archived15 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
32. Iain H. Murray, The Puritan Hope. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1975. ISBN 0-85151-037-X.
33. "The Theology of William Carey," Evangelical Review of Theology17 (1993): 369–80.
34. Yeh, Allan; Chun, Chris (2013). Expect Great Things, Attempt Great Things: William Carey and Adoniram Judson, Missionary Pioneers. Wipf and Stock. p. 13.
35. Aalbertinus Hermen Oussoren, William Carey, Especially his Missionary Principles (Diss.: Freie Universität Amsterdam), (Leiden: A. W. Sijthoff, 1945).
36. E. Daniels Potts. British Baptist Missionaries in India 1793–1837: The History of Serampore and its Missions, (Cambridge: University Press, 1967).
37. D. James Kennedy, "William Carey: Texts That Have Changed Lives": "It was the belief of these men that there was going to be ushered in by the proclamation of the Gospel a glorious golden age of Gospel submission on the part of the heathen. It is very interesting to note that theologically that is what is known as 'postmillennialism,' a view which is not very popular today, but was the view that animated all the men who were involved in the early missionary enterprise."
38. Thomas Schirrmacher, William Carey, Postmillennialism and the Theology of World Missions
39. "William Carey".
40. Smith, George (1885). The Life of William Carey, D.D.: Shoemaker and Missionary, Professor ..., Part 4. R & R Clark, Edinburgh. pp. 69–70.
41. Rao, Goparaju Sambasiva (1994). Language Change: Lexical Diffusion and Literacy. Academic Foundation. pp. 48 and 49. ISBN 978-81-7188-057-7. Archived from the original on 7 December 2014.
42. Carey, William (1805). A Grammar of the Marathi Language. Serampur: Serampore Mission Press. ISBN 978-1-108-05631-1.
43. Kopf, David (1969). British Orientalism and the Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization 1778-1835. Calcutta: Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay. pp. 71, 78.
44. Brockington, John (1991–1992). "William Carey's Significance as an Indologist" (PDF). Indologica Taurinensia – the online journal of…Sanskrit studies. 17-18: 87–88. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
45. Smith 1885, p. 150>
46. Smith 1885, p. 148>
47. Smith 1885, p. 102>
48. Kopf, David (1969). British Orientalism and the Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization 1778–1835. Calcutta: Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay. pp. 70, 78.
49. Mangalwadi, Vishal (1999). The Legacy of William Carey: A Model for the Transformation of a Culture. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-1-58134-112-6.
50. Yeh page=39
51. Yeh, Allan; Chun, Chris (2013). Expect Great Things, Attempt Great Things: William Carey and Adoniram Judson, Missionary Pioneers. Wipf and Stock. p. 117.
52. "About William Carey". William Carey University. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
53. "William Carey". Christianity Today. Retrieved 7 November2016.
54. Cooper, Matthew. "The Carey Experience". Retrieved 7 November 2016.
55. "William Carey", Blue plaques, Leicester.
56. Center for Study of the Life and Work of William Carey, William Carey university.


• Chatterjee, Sunil Kumar. William Carey and Serampore, Calcutta, Ghosh publishing concern, 1984.
• Daniel, J.T.K.and Hedlund, R.E. (ed.). Carey's Obligation and Indian Renaissance, Serampore, Council of Serampore College, 1993.
• M.M. Thomas. Significance of William Carey for India today, Makkada, Marthoma Diocesan Centre, 1993.
• Beck, James R. Dorothy Carey: The Tragic and Untold Story of Mrs. William Carey. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992.
• Carey, William. An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens. Leicester: A. Ireland, 1791.
• An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens at Project Gutenberg
• Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Carey, William" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
• Lane-Poole, Stanley (1887). "Carey, William (1761-1834)" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 9. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
• Marshman, John Clark. Life and Times of Carey, Marshman and Ward Embracing the History of the Serampore Mission. 2 vols. London: Longman, 1859.
• Murray, Iain. The Puritan Hope: Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1971.
• Nicholls, Bruce J. "The Theology of William Carey." In Evangelical Review of Theology 17 (1993): 372.
• Oussoren, Aalbertinus Hermen. William Carey, Especially his Missionary Principles. Leiden: A. W. Sijthoff, 1945.
• Potts, E. Daniels. British Baptist Missionaries in India 1793–1837: The History of Serampore and its Missions. Cambridge: University Press, 1967.
• Smith, George. The Life of William Carey: Shoemaker and Missionary. London: Murray, 1887.
• The Life of William Carey: Shoemaker and Missionary at Project Gutenberg
• Walker, F. Deauville. William Carey: Missionary Pioneer and Statesman. Chicago: Moody, 1951.
• Dutta, Sutapa. British Women Missionaries in Bengal, 1793-1861. U.K.: Anthem Press, 2017.

Further reading

• Carey, Eustace – Memoir of William Carey, D. D. Late missionary to Bengal, Professor of Oriental Languages in the College of Fort William, Calcutta. 1837, 2nd Edition, Jackson & Walford: London.
• Carey, S. Pearce – William Carey "The Father of Modern Missions", edited by Peter Masters, Wakeman Trust, London, 1993 ISBN 1-870855-14-0
• Cule, W.E. – The Bells of Moulton, The Carey Press, 1942 (Children's biography)
• A Grammar of the Bengalee Language (1801)
• Kathopakathan [কথোপকথন] (i.e. "Conversations") (1801)
• Itihasmala [ইতিহাসমালা] (i.e. "Chronicles") (1812)

External links

• The Church of St John the Baptist, Piddington
• William Carey biographies
• Center for the study of the life and work of William Carey, USA includes Works by and about Carey
• Works by William Carey at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about William Carey at Internet Archive
• The William Carey Experience
• The Carey Exhibition, Central Baptist Church, Leicester
• Missionary Marriage Issues: What About Dorothy?
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:21 am

Atmiya Sabha
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20



Atmiya Sabha
আত্মীয় সভা
Formation: 1816
Founder: Ram Mohan Roy
Extinction: 1823
Location: Kolkata
Services: Promoting free thinking

Atmiya Sabha was a philosophical discussion circle in India. The association was started by Ram Mohan Roy in 1815 in Kolkata (then Calcutta). They used to conduct debate and discussion sessions on philosophical topics, and also used to promote free and collective thinking and social reform. The foundation of Atmiya Sabha in 1815 is considered as the beginning of the modern age in Kolkata.[1][2] In 1823, the association became defunct.[3]


The main activity of the Sabha was conducting discussion and debate sessions on monotheistic Hindu Vedantism and similar subjects. weekly meetings used to be conducted in Ram Mohan Roy's garden-house in Maniktala.[4] Most of these gatherings were informal and only a handful of Bengali intellects used to attend these meetings. It was not a formal organization, and there was not any membership registration procedure. However, the association intended to promote free and collective thinking. They also challenged and denounced orthodox religions.[2]

Notable participants

Some of the notable people who joined this circle are—[4]

1. Dwaraka Nath Tagore
2. Prasanna Coomar Tagore
3. Nanda Kishore Bose
4. Brindaban Mitra
5. Sivaprasad Misra
6. Hariharananada Tirthaswami

Misra and Tirthaswami were Sanskrit scholars.


1. Elites in south asia. CUP Archive. pp. 66–. GGKEY:R8YQ4FKC94Z.
2. Harold Coward (30 October 1987). Modern Indian Responses to Religious Pluralism. SUNY Press. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-0-88706-572-9.
3. Kshīrasāgara, Rāmacandra (1 January 1994). Dalit Movement in India and Its Leaders, 1857-1956. M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. pp. 51–. ISBN 978-81-85880-43-3.
4. R.K. Pruthi (1 January 2004). Brahmo Samaj and Indian Civilization. Discovery Publishing House. pp. 191–. ISBN 978-81-7141-791-9.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:32 am

Alexander Duff (missionary)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20



Alexander Duff, 1806 - 1878. Scottish missionary and educationalist

Alexander Duff

Rev Alexander Duff's grave, Grange Cemetery

Very Rev Dr Alexander Duff (26 April 1806 – 12 February 1878 in Sidmouth), was a Christian missionary in India; where he played a large part in the development of higher education. He was a Moderator and Convenor of the Church of Scotland and an unashamed scientific liberal reformer of anglicized evangelism across the Empire. He was the first overseas missionary of the Church of Scotland to India. On 13 July 1830 he founded the General Assembly's Institution in Calcutta, now known as the Scottish Church College. He also played a part in establishing the University of Calcutta. He was twice Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland in 1851 and 1873, the only person to serve the role twice.[1]

The Church of Scotland (CoS; Scots: The Scots Kirk; Scottish Gaelic: Eaglais na h-Alba), also known by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is the national church of Scotland.[3] It is Presbyterian, having no head of faith or leadership group, and adheres to the Bible and Westminster Confession; the Church of Scotland celebrates two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, as well as five other rites, such as confirmation and matrimony.[4][5] It is a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.[6]

The Church of Scotland traces its roots back to the beginnings of Christianity in Scotland, but its identity is principally shaped by the Reformation of 1560.

-- Church of Scotland, by Wikipedia

Early life

Alexander Duff was born in the heart of Scotland, at Auchnahyle, in the parish of Moulin, Perthshire. His parents were James Duff, gardener and farmer at Auchnahagh, and Jean Rattray.[2] After receiving his initial schooling at a local country school, he studied arts and theology at the University of St. Andrews.[3]

He then accepted an offer made by the foreign mission committee of the Church of Scotland's general assembly to become their first missionary to India, and was ordained in August 1829.

Mission in India

After an adventurous voyage during which he was twice shipwrecked, Duff arrived in Calcutta on 27 May 1830. After inspecting the Bengali schools, he concluded that students were not receiving an adequate education in a broad range of subjects and secondly, that he would instruct his students using English instead of the local dialects. He at once identified himself with a policy which had far-reaching effects. Christian missions in India had been successful only in converting a few low-caste groups from a poor socio-economic background by giving them monetary benefits. The upper caste Hindu and Muslim communities had been practically untouched. Duff shrewdly assessed that these affluent communities could not be accessed by traditional evangelical methods. He recognised that holding out the prospect of upward mobility, by offering a western education, would bring the children of the affluent classes into his range of influence, which could then be extended to encompass religion. Duff devised the policy of an using western system of education to slowly convert Hindus and Muslims to Christianity. The success of his work had the effect:

1. of altering the policy of the government of India in matters of education;

2. of securing the recognition of education as a missionary agency by Christian churches at home; and,

3. of securing entrance for Christian ideas into the minds of high-caste Hindus.

By teaching Biblical courses as well as courses in the physical sciences, Duff hoped that students would logically come to realize the contradictions and impracticality of Hinduism and embrace wholeheartedly the truth of Christianity. While a few students converted, Duff seems to have widely miscalculated the resilience of Hinduism as well as its ability to adapt itself to western knowledge. Whereas Duff and many of his fellow evangelists saw Christianity and Hinduism as diametrically opposed, Hindus did not generally consider the knowledge either tradition provided as mutually exclusive with the other.[4]

Education in English

Duff opened a school in which all kinds of secular subjects were taught, from the rudiments upwards to a university standard, alongside the Bible. The English language was used as the medium of instruction on the grounds that it was the key to Western knowledge. Alexander Duff proposed a theory which he called the "downward filter theory" in which he believed that by catering to the middle and upper social classes, the knowledge of Christianity would eventually filter down the social ladder. Although he promoted the teaching of English in schools, he still viewed the vernacular as an important language for spreading Christianity among "the masses" but deemed it inferior to the English language because it was not progressive. Duff wrote a pamphlet on the question, entitled A New Era of the English Language and Literature in India. A government minute was adopted on 7 March 1835, to the effect that in higher education, the object of the British government in India should be the promotion of European science and literature among the natives of India, and that all funds appropriated for purposes of education would be best employed on English education alone. His views influenced Peter Percival, a pioneering educator, linguist and missionary who worked in Sri Lankan Tamil dominant Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka.[5]

Within the British Indian community of that era, there were not lacking those "Orientalists" who saw value in the traditional learning of India and wished to support and encourage it. They opposed Duff's policy of stringently disregarding the same while assiduously promoting the spread of western education, culture and religion. In 1839, Lord Auckland, the governor-general of India, yielded to them and adopted a policy which was a compromise between the two perspectives.

Regardless, English became the tool through which Indians were able to understand and advance themselves through the British institutions of government. This opportunity to share in governance established one of the foundations on which eventual self-rule was built.[6]

The Institutes

Shortly after landing in India in 1830, Duff opened his institution in a house located at upper Chitpur Road in the Jorasanko neighbourhood of Calcutta. The house was made available to him by Feringhi Kamal Bose, an affluent Hindu. The school soon began to expand into a missionary college, known as the General Assembly's Institution. The location was a source of controversy for the Missions Committee who wanted to remain at the heart of Bengali society in the city of Calcutta. In 1834, Duff returned to Britain broken in health. During this sojourn, He succeeded in securing the approval of his church for his educational plans, and in arousing much interest in the work of foreign missions. In 1836, the Calcutta institution was moved to Gorachand Bysack's house in the Garanhata neighbourhood. On 23 February 1837, Mr. MacFarlon, the Chief Magistrate of Calcutta, laid the foundation stone for a new building belonging to the mission itself. The building was designed by Mr. John Gray construction was superintended by Capt. John Thomson, both of the East India Company. The construction of the building was completed in 1839.

Duff returned to India in 1840, by which time The Institution had expanded to 600 Indian pupils from five to nine years old. At the Disruption of 1843, Duff sided with the Free Church. He gave up the college buildings, with all their effects, and with unabated courage set to work to provide a new institution, which came to be known as the Free Church Institution. In 1857, when the University of Calcutta was established, the Free Church Institution was one of its earliest affiliates, and Duff would also serve in the university's first senate.[7]

These two institutions founded by Duff, i.e., the General Assembly's Institution and the Free Church Institution would be merged in 1908 to form the Scottish Churches College. After the unification of the Church of Scotland in 1929, the institution would be known as Scottish Church College. He had the support of Sir James Outram and Sir Henry Lawrence, and the encouragement of seeing a new band of converts, including several young men born of high caste. In 1844, governor-general Viscount Hardinge opened government appointments to all who had studied in institutions similar to Duff's institution. In the same year, Duff co-founded the Calcutta Review, of which he served as editor from 1845 to 1849.

Several important Indian figures were products of Duff's Institutions. Most notably, Rev. Lal Behari Dey, who wrote two books (Folk Tales of Bengal and Bengal Peasant Life) that were widely distributed among Indian schools, and Krishna Mohan Banerjee, who became registrar of Calcutta University .[8]

Later years

In 1849, Duff returned to Scotland.

He was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland in 1851, in succession to Very Rev Nathaniel Paterson.

He gave evidence before various Indian committees of parliament on matters of education. This led to an important despatch by Viscount Halifax, president of the Board of Control, to governor-general the Marquess of Dalhousie, authorizing an educational advance in primary and secondary schools; the provision of technical and scientific teaching; and the establishment of schools for girls. In 1854, Duff visited the United States, where what is now New York University gave him the degree of L.L.D.; he was already D.D. of the University of Aberdeen.

In 1856, Duff returned to India, where the mutiny broke out the following year; his descriptive letters written during this period were collected in a volume entitled The Indian Mutiny - its Causes and Results (1858). During this stint in India, Duff gave much thought and time to the University of Calcutta, which owes its examination system and the prominence given to physical sciences to his influence. In 1863, Sir Charles Trevelyan offered him the post of vice-chancellor of the University, but his health compelled him to leave India. As a memorial of his work, the Duff Hall was erected in the centre of the educational buildings of Calcutta.

In 1864, Duff visited South Africa, and on his return, became convener of the foreign missions committee of the Free Church. In 1870 he was the principal force in founding the Anglo-Indian Christian Union (an alliance of Protestant churches to minister to scattered British communities in India), of which he became the first President, and sent Rev. John Fordyce to India as the Union's Commissioner there.[9] He raised money to endow a missionary chair at New College, Edinburgh, and himself became first professor. Among other missionary labors of his later years, he helped the Free Church mission on Lake Nyassa, travelled to Syria to inspect a mission at Lebanon, and assisted Lady Aberdeen and Lord Polwarth to establish the Gordon Memorial Mission in Natal. In 1873, the Free Church was threatened with a schism owing to negotiations for union with the United Presbyterian Church. Duff was called to the chair, and guided the church through this crisis. He also took part in forming the alliance of Reformed Churches holding the Presbyterian system.

Alexander Duff died in Sidmouth, Devon [10] on 12 February 1878. He is buried with his wife, Ann Scott Drysdale, in the north-east section of the Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh. By his will, he devoted his personal property to found a lectureship on foreign missions at New College (now part of the University of Edinburgh) on the model of the Bampton Lectures.[11]

Friendships and Other Achievements

The Calcutta University by Francis Frith. Duff's foundation of 1857

Logo of Calcutta University - a very British institution founded for the education of Indians

By the age of thirty he was already a remarkable preacher. Joining the Church Missionary Society in 1836 he was and his friend Rev Dr James Lewis were shapers of the new Church of Scotland Mission. Of his many Scottish friends, Dr Robert Hall was a leading academic, a powerful orator, with a large retentive memory whose impulsive liberalism formed his early beliefs. They helped him publish a pamphlet English Education in India which formed part of his address to the General Assembly of the Kirk in Edinburgh in 1837, which he dedicated to the students of the four ancient universities. A passionate advocate of reform he banished corporal punishments for girls, striving to Christianise education through humane methods of teaching. In seeking out W.H. Pearce for a new Baptist mission, he emphasised the inter-denominational character of united prayer events. He was unassuming, modest, pious, and quite uninterested in the politics of popery and anti-papism. Yet only the Episcopalians remained beyond his reach with their broad brush Quarterly publications. Despite the perceived handicap he could influence serious political figures in the Indian civil Service through the media of Calcutta Review. In one article he made an advancement in liberal theology exposing the cruelty of Female Infanticide in Central and Western India (1844). And in the same year his power in the Free Church was rehearsed in a lecture to The Free Churchmen of Calcutta in the Masonic Hall. Its title "The Sole and Supreme Headship of the Lord Jesus Christ over His Own Church, or a voice from the Ganges relative to the courses which led to the recent disruption..." symbolised his conviction in the supremacy of Christianity to bring enlightened education to Indians. Two Bengali intellectuals travelled to Edinburgh to be baptised at Duff's request.

On the 19th February 1840, the Minister of the Scottish Church being in readiness to proceed to Scotland, a regular commission was given by him, with the concurrence of the kirk session [It must be admitted that the concurrence was not cordial on the part of some.] to the same Minister of the Lutheran Church, empowering him to hold public worship in the Church on the Lord's day, and to perform such other offices as the kirk session might grant him authority to execute, during Dr. A's. absence. At the same time, a similar Commission was given to three Clergymen of the Dutch Reformed Church, two of them holding ordination from the Church of Scotland, and the third from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, with reference to the administration of the Lord's supper, &c. On 13th July 1840, "Mr. Gorrie reported to the kirk session, that on Sunday 28th June, 23 adults belonging to the Mission, had been admitted by baptism (at the hands of the Rev. Mr. Stegmann) to the Communion of the Church, and on the Thursday following 19 children, also connected with the Mission; on both of which occasions Mr. Gorrie, as Elder, was present and gave his full sanction to the proceedings." All this was very well for an "isolated Church;" -- but otherwise it was in direct violation of an Act of Assembly passed in 1799 (see p. 13) and still in operation in the Established Church of Scotland. [Among the "Reasons of Separation" assigned by the adherents of the Free Church at Calcutta, we find the following: "The Ministers of St. Andrew's Kirk DARE NOT (even if they WOULD) invite any of the five ordained Missionaries of the Free Church of Scotland now in Calcutta to preach in their pulpit, or take part in any one public act, that involved an acknowledgment of their Ministry before the Congregation, without a breach of Church law, and exposure to Church discipline." -- {Free Churchman, Sept. 1843.)

-- Remarks on the State of the Scottish Church, Cape Town, in reply to a letter which appeared in the "Calcutta Free Churchman" of December 15, 1845, by The Rev. George Morgan, Minister of the Scottish Church Cape Town

Mahendra Lal Bazak and Khailai Chandra Mukherjya were closely watched by Dr Thomas Chalmers, a renowned writer and church leader.Dr. Chalmers death in 1847 was a real blow to the Free Church; and to Duff, his pupil and then successor as professor. It forced Duff to deny his scottishness to maintain a life dedicated to working in India, he refused the principalship in 1874. Duff knew him well in the cultural capital of Scotland pursuing moral, material and spiritual development while steering his charges away from the temptations of Heathenism. During 1845-6 he conducted numerous Indian conversions with typical missionary zeal. Exhibiting a strong sense of Scottish character he personified individual freedoms baptizing Jewish refugees, overcoming prejudice, and persisting in the face of prohibitive rules among the Hindu caste system. A tireless campaigner, and restless traveller from Calcutta to Ceylon he visited thousands of missionaries and their stations. A profound sense of duty was monitored by legal correctness of his own opinions, that never ceased to improve. Deeply rooted in the doctrine of justification by faith alone he mixed doctrinal worship with regular business committees to raise money for the church. Eloquent, he recalled the poems of Ossian as closely as he expounded the values of liberal Zionism. Richly endowed by a Jacobite tradition that informed a fierce feeling of injustice. On being appointed Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1851 he was asked by Lord Granville to testify to the House of Lords in which he hoped to influence the Wood's Educational Despatch of 1854. Disappointed by the slow progress of change, he embarked on a trip to America. At Washington DC Dr Duff addressed the Congress. In Toronto he gave a sermon to Kroom's Church. On his last day he preached at the Broadway Tabernacle where he received benediction. Hugely popular, he was bade farewell by weeping crowds from the Hudson River wharves on 13 May 1854. Back in England he was met by Lord Haddo, son of Prime Minister, Lord Aberdeen. After sipping the Malvern Spa waters for a cure, he decided on a Grand Tour of Europe and the Holy Land with his friend Dr Lumsden.

Legacy and influence

Alexander Duff was incredibly influential in Indian education and government and set several precedents. Almost as soon as he arrived his evangelising changed Indian education: in 1832 another scot, John Wilson (Scottish missionary) established a school in Bombay. Duff's methods were widely imitated and his cumulative twenty-five years in the subcontinent were largely characterized by the establishment of western-style educational institutions warmly received by Ram Mohan Roy. Duff can be credited with creating a framework that influenced educational policy and practice during the nineteenth century and beyond. Since his schools catered mostly to the Hindu middle class, he was able to receive attention from the government which helped to spread his methods and ideas. Several other English schools were established because the General Assemblies Institution was so successful. The success and influence of Duff's college led to the founding of the Calcutta Medical College. Hindu scriptures forbid people of higher castes from touching dead bodies, which prevented medical students from performing cadaver dissections. Students from Duff's college expressed that their liberal, English education had "freed their minds from prejudice and the dissection of the human body was not objectionable to them."[12] This new idea allowed higher caste Indians to pursue medical professions, therefore advancing healthcare in India.

The top-down theory of education described above typifies Duff's evangelical elitism, one of the main elements of his legacy in the subcontinent. Duff seems to have believed that there was a direct relationship between education and missionary work. Not only was the education of the Indian people critical to his goal of dispelling "Hindu ignorance" but it was in fact the duty of evangelicals to modernize and instruct Indian society using Western ideals and texts. While Duff was a highly skilled scholar who was devoted to India, his evangelist ideals and western prejudice may have influenced his students in ways that he did not anticipate. Instead of initiating a mass conversion to Christianity he may have instead provided another catalyst for Hindu reform movements.[13]

Duff hoped that through a western education in a time of enlightenment, Indians would be able to see the flaws in their religion and be compelled to convert to Christianity, but he did not consider the resilience of the Hindu religion and his efforts proved to be fairly unsuccessful on the broader scale.[14] Educations of the Christian bible was accepted by Hindus because they were confident in their own religion and were not worried that their children would lose their faith. Hinduism was not only a religion but a culture, and the occupation of the British and their ideas was not drastic enough to change this. Because Alexander Duff was regarded well, his character served as a model to his students and friends and his teaching did eventually lead to some reformist movements within Hinduism. In fact, Duff's work led to the acceptance of more Indians into public official positions in government.[14] This experience was critical to the transitional Indian government after Independence in 1947. A Church was established in 1848 and named as Duff Church in 1910 in memory of Alexander Duff.[15]

Works by Dr Duff

• ‘The Church of Scotland's India Mission,’ 1835.
• ‘Vindication of the Church of Scotland's India Missions,’ 1837.
• ‘New Era of English Language and Literature in India,’ 1837.
• ‘Missions the end of the Christian Church,’ 1839.
• ‘Farewell Address,’ 1839.
• ‘India and India Missions,’ 1840.
• ‘The Headship of the Lord Jesus Christ,’ 1844.
• ‘Lectures on the Church of Scotland,’ delivered at Calcutta, 1844.
• ‘The Jesuits,’ 1845.
• ‘Missionary Addresses,’ 1850.
• ‘Farewell Address to the Free Church of Scotland,’ 1855.
• Several sermons and pamphlets.
• ‘The World-wide Crisis,’ 1873.
• ‘The True Nobility—Sketches of Lord Haddo and the Hon. J. H. Hamilton Gordon.’
• Various articles in the ‘Calcutta Review.’


1. Wylie, James Aitken (1881). Disruption worthies: a memorial of 1843, with an historical sketch of the free church of Scotland from 1843 down to the present time. Edinburgh: T. C. Jack. pp. 215–222. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
2. A & H Tayler. The Book of the Duffs.
3. Emmott, D.H., "Alexander Duff and the Foundation of Modern Education in India", British Journal of Education Studies, Vol.13, No. 2 (1965): 167.
4. Emmott, D.H., 168
5. "Graves of Peter Percival, R B Foote, discovered at Yercaud". Tamilnet. 8 July 2008. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
6. Sangwan, Satpal., 85
7. A Tradition of Notable Firsts Archived 7 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
8. Edward Thompson and G.T. Garratt, Rise and Fulfillment of British Rule in India (1935): 310.
9. The Scotsman, 31 October 1871; Berwickshire News & General Advertiser, 5 November 1872.
10. England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007
11. Smith, Thomas (1880). "Preface". Medieval Missions. Duff Missionary Lectures – First Series. Edinburgh: T&T Clark. pp. vii–ix.
12. Emmott, D.H., "Alexander Duff and the Foundation of Modern Education in India", British Journal of Education Studies, Vol.13, No. 2 (1965): 164
13. Emmott, D.H., 169
14. Emmott, 168.
15. "Duff Church". Retrieved 18 September 2018.

Further reading

• Paton, W. (1923). Alexander Duff.
• Mayukh Das, Reverend Krishnamohan Bandyopadhyaya (in Bengali), Kolkata:Paschimbanga Anchalik Itihas O Loksanskriti Charcha Kendra (2014) ISBN 978-81-926316-0-8
• Sangwan, Satpal (1990). "Science Education in India under Colonial Constraints". Oxford Review of Education. 16: 85.
• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Duff, Alexander". Encyclopædia Britannica. 8 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 643–644.
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Charles Dall
by Spencer Lavan and Peter Hughes
August 20, 2006



Charles Dall

Charles Henry Appleton Dall (February 12, 1816-July 18, 1886), a Unitarian minister to the poor in the United States and an early Unitarian minister in Canada, was for three decades the only Unitarian missionary to India. He influenced and worked with the leaders of the liberal Hindu Brahmo Samaj movement and, controversially, joined the Brahmos himself. Working as an educator as well as a missionary, he helped foster the emergence of a class of liberal Hindus, as well-acquainted with Shakespeare and Milton as with their own traditional religious literature. His Unitarianism proved to be a safe and useful way for the young Bengali elite to step outside traditional patterns in order to critique Indian society and politics and to propose needed reforms. Although like most other missionaries of his time he made few converts to Christianity, his work did much to promote inter-faith dialogue and to prepare the way for modern India.

Charles was born in Baltimore, Maryland
, the son of James Dall and Henrietta Austin. Henrietta was the daughter of a shipping merchant and the sister of Mary Austin Holley. Charles was sent to Boston at age six to study at the Franklin School, 1824-28, and Boston Latin School, 1828-33. He graduated from Boston Latin at the head of his class, distinguishing himself particularly in Latin, Greek, and mathematics. He lived in Boston with his father's sister and brother, Sarah and William Dall. He did not visit his parents in Baltimore for nine years.

Dall attended Harvard College, 1833-37, graduating with Henry David Thoreau and Richard Henry Dana, and then the Cambridge (later Harvard) Divinity School, 1837-40. While attending college and divinity school, he directed the Sunday School at the Hollis Street Church, across the river in Boston. He was shaped by the liberal Christian piety and moderate social conscience of New England Unitarianism, as preached by William Ellery Channing. Modeling his own ministerial style after Joseph Tuckerman, minister-at-large to the poor of Boston, Dall learned to accentuate his own strength: bringing elementary, adult, and vocational education to the working classes.

Dall served fourteen months as minister-at-large, visiting and educating the poor, at William Greenleaf Eliot's Church of the Messiah in St. Louis, 1840-42. Shortly after he was ordained there as an evangelist, in late 1841, he was forced to leave St. Louis for the sake of his health. He went to Mobile, Alabama for a short time, then, in 1842, took a ship to England, where he met many distinguished Unitarians, including James Martineau, and observed British Unitarian methods of social reform.

Back in America at the end of the year, he undertook another urban ministry—in Baltimore, 1843-45. He preached outdoors, visited prison inmates, and taught working-class children using advanced educational techniques. In 1844 he married author Caroline Healey, later a spokesperson for women's rights. They had known each other since his days in Divinity school. They worked together at his ministry and Caroline briefly carried on single-handed after his health broke down again in 1845. While he was recovering in Boston, the first of their two children, William Healey Dall (1845-1927), later a distinguished naturalist, was born. In 1846 Dall attempted a third urban ministry in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but it did not last the year, before funding was discontinued. A difficult personality and a tendency to take to bed when faced with criticism continued to limit Dall's progress in the urban ministry. Furthermore, his specialized ministry did little to promote growth at the first three Unitarian churches with which he was associated.

Dall next had two regular parish ministry settlements, in Needham, Massachusetts, 1847-49, and in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1850-54. He resigned from Needham under pressure from his congregation, who found him too authoritarian and did not like his reform activities. As usual the stress caused his health to collapse. In Toronto, following the ministry of William Adam, who had been a Scottish missionary to India, Dall had his longest and most successful North American pastorate, bringing about growth in numbers and activity in the congregation. Although he enjoyed considerable support among the members of the church, a disagreement with Joseph Workman, the founder of the congregation, over the financing of a new church building led to his resignation and yet another illness.

In late 1854 Dall moved with his family to Newton, Massachusetts. While recovering there, he heard of the report to the American Unitarian Association (AUA) of Charles T. Brooks, who had just returned from a visit to India, calling for a Unitarian mission to the subcontinent. Dall's career changed dramatically in 1855, when he applied for and was appointed by the AUA to the proposed mission in Calcutta. Among other tasks, he was to establish this mission, investigate the Hindu Brahmo Samaj ("Society of Vedantists"), and to travel to Madras to follow up Brooks's findings about the Unitarian congregation there. Dall's brief was to provide religious education while avoiding controversy and polemics. During the journey to Calcutta, he was extremely ill. On arrival he was so weak that he had to be carried ashore in a litter. In spite of this, he had the strength to write the AUA just before landing and then again two weeks later. Whatever had caused Dall so much physical suffering in New England quickly disappeared in the tropical humidity of Calcutta.

Caroline Dall and the children remained in America. Charles returned to America and visited his family just five times during his thirty-one year ministry in India: in 1862, 1869, 1872, 1875 and 1882. Charles and Caroline had not been happy in their decade together: he had been a financial and emotional burden to her. Separated by half the earth, their individual careers began to blossom.

Dall's letters, reporting his progress to the AUA, were published quarterly until 1866. Within a month after his arrival he founded a "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in India" and a congregation made up of British and American residents of Calcutta. "Some Hindoos of education, and a few of the Society of Rammohun Roy, attend," he wrote, "and also meet me during the week for conversation." To the Hindus who visited he gave books by Channing, Eliot, James Freeman Clarke, and other American Unitarians.

He proclaimed his Unitarian theology to his Calcutta audience in a series of lectures, Some Gospel Principles, 1856. In "Christian Liberty" he stressed the significance of dissent in religious history.
His model heroes of dissent included four American Unitarian reformers, Henry Ware, Tuckerman, Channing, and the pacifist Noah Worcester. Although his mission to India grew out of the same New England merchantile trading contacts which had fueled Ralph Waldo Emerson's fascination with the East, Dall was not a Transcendentalist. His Christology resembled that presented by Channing in "Likeness to God." He argued that Christ's relation to God is that of a reflector of God's mental and moral likeness, analogous to the likeness of a child to his father. Rejecting the doctrine of atonement as "heathen," he set forth the morals of Christ and the sense of human brotherhood as the keys to salvation.

In these lectures, as part of his invitation to Hindus to receive the precepts and parables of Jesus, Dall invoked the name of Rammohun Roy, founder of the Brahmo Samaj and the first Hindu to discuss the Gospels. By emphasizing the connection between Rammohun Roy and Jesus, however, Dall offended both orthodox Christians and the Brahmo leader Debendranath Tagore, who told him that "he would not hear the name of Jesus spoken in the Samaj." In 1857 Tagore informed Dall that he was no longer welcome even to visit the Calcutta Brahmo Samaj. In order to reach the more liberal Brahmos, in 1857 Dall founded the Rammohun Roy Society (later called the Hitoisini Sabha, or Association).

In the Hitoisini Sabha, Dall promoted the reading of Channing and Theodore Parker. Though he did not sympathize with the views of Parker, Dall considered that Parker's works "well meet a transition state of mind between Hindooism and Xty." His students, however, picking up on Parker's idea of the "transient and permanent" in religion, often came to classify Dall's particular religion among the transient forms. They thought his claim to be both a Unitarian and a Christian inconsistent. They could not understand why, if he disbelieved in Christ's divinity, he still believed in the miracles of Christ, like the other Christian missionaries they knew.

Dall promoted Bengal nationalism, and criticized the rich landowners and the caste system. In order to reach his audience better, he set about learning Bengali, Hindustani, Tamil, and Sanskrit and studied the Bhagavad Gita. As his critique of British rule in India alienated the European community in Calcutta, his British-American congregation withered away. This forced him to concentrate more on his young Bengali protegés.

The effect Dall had on Indian culture and religion was within an Indian context. It did not translate into measurable Christian missionary success. In his 1863 report to the AUA he talked only of "Hindoo Unitarian sympathy" and of how "We are making Unitarians or say Unitheists, out of polytheists." He struggled against the Hindu and Buddhist tendencies to think of God impersonally. In an article, "The Personality of God," published in the South Indian paper, the Crescent, he wrote, "I am a person, because I feel and trust and think and act, and year after year I am the same I. If God gives these powers, he has them to give. God feels and trusts and thinks and acts, and forever is, at least, as able as his creature. If I am a person, he, too, is a person—the infinite I AM."

During the 1860s Dall became closely affiliated with the new Brahmo leader, Keshub Chunder Sen (1838-1884), whose ideas of Christianity were mediated by reading Channing and Parker. In 1866 Keshub split away from Tagore's more narrowly Bengali and anti-Christian Adi Brahmo Samaj and formed the Brahmo Samaj of India.
In 1870, on tour in England, Keshub claimed that "We Indians attach a far greater importance to righteous life than pure doctrines."

Although Dall understood what motivated the Brahmos to avoid the Christian label, he couldn't understand why Keshub would use the figure of Christ so freely in his teaching, and still refuse to identify himself with Unitarian Christianity. Dall thought that the only way to get Keshub to understand and accept his point of view was to become a part of the Brahmo movement and work from the inside. Accordingly, in 1871, he joined, calling himself "a Brahmo follower of Christ." Severe criticism of Dall appeared in American Unitarian and English language Brahmo publications. The Brahmo Indian Mirror wrote, "In one of his lectures just published, he attempts to show that both the present leader of the Brahmo Samaj as well as the founder of that institution view Christ in the same light as Mr. Dall himself. If Mr. Dall intends to preach Unitarian Christianity under the assumed name of theist or Brahmo let him do so on his own account and not on that of Baboo Keshub Chunder Sen or Rajah Ram Mohun Roy."

The Brahmo Samaj split again in 1878 when Keshub, apparently against his religious principles, arranged for his underage daughter to marry the Maharajah of Kuch Behar. Those opposed to Keshub formed the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, while Keshub reorganized his supporters as the Church of the New Dispensation.
Dall was shocked by his associate's behavior and, by this time, Keshub was also disillusioned with Dall. In 1883 Keshub was quoted as saying, "[Unitarianism's] representative in Calcutta has made it ridiculous here." Despite this, in 1884 Dall was the only non-Hindu present at Keshub's deathbed.

Around 1880 Dall received a letter from Hajom Kissor Singh, leader of what would become the Khasi Hills Unitarian movement. Although Dall was unable to make a trip to Singh's remote location, he was able to send books and their correspondence bore fruit in the journey of Jabez T. Sunderland to the Khasi Hills ten years after Dall's death.

During his later years in India, as Dall had less and less influence over the liberal Hindu religious reform movement, he concentrated more on general education. In 1860 Dall had founded in Calcutta the School of Useful Arts. When it began there were seven students; a year later there were nearly 300. This was a continuation of the interest he had shown in America in elevating the working classes through practical education. He also came to manage the Rover's School for Poor Boys, the AUA's Hindu Girl's School, and the Hayward School for Girls.

Dall remained in India the rest of his life. He died during gall bladder surgery in 1886. Services were held for him by both the Christians and the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj. The Sanskrit inscription on his grave reads, "Though that high-minded philanthropist of benign appearance, who was, as it were, an ocean of good qualities, who knew all the principles of religion and science, and who was of pure morals and a defender of the true faith, lies dead in this grave, yet he may truly be said to live in the tangible proofs of his goodness."

Dall's papers are in the Archives at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His letters to the AUA and his personal papers from both his American and Indian careers are in the Harvard Divinity School's Andover-Harvard Theological Library. Various letters from India were published in the AUA Quarterly Journal, and in Dall's Twenty-Five Years: General Report of the Indian Mission of the American Unitarian Association (1880). There is correspondence of the Dall family in the Hay Library in Providence, Rhode Island. Dall's writings include Patriotism in Bengal (1858), "Philosophy of Conscience" (1858), From Calcutta to London by the Suez Canal (1869), Lecture on Rajah Rammohun Roy (1871), The Theist's Creed (1872), and What Is Christianity? Sonship to God (1883). Early biographical treatments include John Healy Heywood, Our Indian Mission and Our First Missionary (1887); Henry Williams, Memorials of the Class of 1837 of Harvard University (1887); and Caroline Dall, ed., Memorial to C.H.A. Dall (1902). See also Spencer Lavan, Unitarians and India (1977); Phillip Hewett, Unitarians in Canada (1978); Asoknath Mukhopadhyay, "Reform from Within and the Instrumentality of Dall's Calcutta Mission: Initial Phase, 1855-58," in Bengal, Past and Present (July-December 1980); and Susan S. Bean, Yankee India: American Commercial and Cultural Encounters with India in the Age of Sail, 1784-1860 (2001). There is an entry on Dall, by Robert A. Schneider, in American National Biography (1999).

An early review of Dall's work in India can be found in George Leonard Chaney, "The India Mission," in the 1872 Report of the National Conference of Unitarian and other Christian Churches. Also useful is the biography of Charles Henry Appleton Dall in Samuel A. Eliot, ed., Heralds of A Liberal Faith: The Preachers, Volume 3 (1910).

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Keshub Chandra Sen [Keshab Chunder Sen]
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Accessed: 2/12/20



Keshub Chandra Sen
Born: 19 November 1838, Calcutta, British India (now Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
Died: 8 January 1884 (aged 45), Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
Nationality: Indian
Alma mater: Hindu College
Occupation: Philosopher, social reformer, religious preacher

Keshub Chandra Sen (Bengali: কেশবচন্দ্র সেন, Keshob Chôndro Sen; also spelled Keshab Chunder Sen; 19 November 1838 – 8 January 1884) was an Indian Bengali philosopher and social reformer. Born a Hindu, he became a member of the Brahmo Samaj in 1856[1] but established his own breakaway "Bharatvarshiya Brahmo Samaj" in 1866[2] while the Brahmo Samaj remained under the leadership of Debendranath Tagore (who headed the Brahmo Samaj till his death in 1905).[3] In 1878 his followers abandoned him after the underage child marriage of his daughter which exposed his campaign against child marriage as hollow.[4] Later in his life he came under the influence of Ramakrishna and founded a syncretic "New Dispensation" inspired by Christianity, and Vaishnav bhakti, and Hindu practices.

Vaishnavism is one of the major Hindu denominations along with Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism. It is also called Vishnuism, its followers are called Vaishnavas or Vaishnavites, and it considers Vishnu as the Supreme Lord.[1][2]

The tradition is notable for its avatar doctrine, wherein Vishnu is revered in one of many distinct incarnations. Rama, Krishna, Narayana, Kalki, Hari, Vithoba, Kesava, Madhava, Govinda, Srinathji and Jagannath are among the popular names used for the same supreme being.[3][4][5] The tradition has traceable roots to the 1st millennium BCE, as Bhagavatism, also called Krishnaism.[6] Later developments led by Ramananda created a Rama-oriented movement, now the largest monastic group in Asia.[7][8] The Vaishnava tradition has many sampradayas (denominations, sub-schools) ranging from the medieval era Dvaita school of Madhvacharya to Vishishtadvaita school of Ramanuja.[9][10]

-- Vaishnavism, by Wikipedia

Early life and education

Keshub Chandra Sen was born on 19 November 1838 into an affluent Kayastha family of Calcutta (now Kolkata). His family originally belonged to Gariffa village on the banks of the river Hooghly. His grandfather was Ramkamal Sen (1783–1844), a well known pro-sati Hindu activist and lifelong opponent of Ram Mohan Roy[5] His father Peary Mohan Sen died when he was ten, and Sen was brought up by his uncle. As a boy, he attended the Bengali Pathshala elementary school and later attended Hindu College in 1845.[6]

Sati or suttee is a largely historical practice found chiefly among Hindus in the northern and pre-modern regions of South Asia, in which a widow sacrifices herself by sitting atop her deceased husband's funeral pyre.

-- Sati (practice), by Wikipedia


In 1855 he founded an evening school for the children of working men, which continued through 1858. In 1855, he became Secretary to the Goodwill Fraternity,[7] a Masonic [8] lodge associated with the Unitarian Rev. Charles Dall and a Christian missionary Rev. James Long who also helped Sen establish a "British Indian Association" in the same year.[9] Around this time he began to be attracted to the ideas of the Brahmo Samaj.[6]

Keshub Sen was also briefly appointed as Secretary of the Asiatic Society in 1854.
For a short time thereafter Sen was also a clerk in the Bank of Bengal, but resigned his post to devote himself exclusively to literature and philosophy.[10] On this, Professor Oman who knew him well writes, "Endowed with an emotional temperament, earnest piety, a gift of ready speech and a strong leaven of vanity, Keshub Chunder Sen found the sober, monotonous duties of a bank clerk intolerable, and very soon sought a more congenial field for the exercise of his abilities," and he formally joined the Brahma Samaj in 1859.[11]

Brahmo Samaj

In 1857 Sen again took employment in clerkship, this time as private secretary to Dwijendranath Tagore and joined the Brahmo Samaj. In 1859, Sen dedicated himself to the organisational work of the Brahmo Samaj and in 1862 was assigned, by Hemendranath Tagore, a stipendary ministry (Acharya) of one of its worship houses despite being a non-Brahmin (previously a Shudra untouchable had been made an Acharya by Debendranath Tagore).[12]

In 1858, left his home in Coolootola and took refuge in the Jorasanko House of the Tagore family when the patriarch of the family was then away. In 1862 Sen helped found the Albert College and wrote articles for the Indian Mirror, a weekly journal of the Calcutta Brahmo Samaj in which social and moral subjects were debated.[10]

In 1863 he wrote The Brahma Samaj Vindicated. He strongly criticised Christianity and travelled about the country lecturing and preaching that the Brahmo Samaj was intended to revitalise Hindu religion through use of ancient Hindu sources and the authority of the Vedas.[10] By 1865, however, Sen was convinced that only Christian doctrine could bring new life to Hindu society.[13]

In November 1865 he was caused to leave the Brahma Samaj after "an open break with its founder Debendranath Tagore" over Christian practices in Brahmoism, and the next year (1866) with encouragement of the Unitarian preacher Charles Dall he joined another new organisation, Bharat Barshiya Brahmo Samaj, as its Secretary (President being "God"). Tagore's Brahmo Samaj then quickly purged itself of Sen's Christian teaching, and encouraged being described as Adi Brahmo Samaj to distinguish it from Sen's deliberately eponymous version.[14]


In 1866 Sen delivered an address on "Jesus Christ, Europe and Asia", in which he proclaimed that "India would be for Christ alone who already stalks the land", and which fostered the impression that he was about to embrace Christianity.[15][14]

Professor Oman writes "From the time of his secession from the parent Society, Keshub by his writings and public lectures enlisted the sympathies of the Viceroy, Sir John Lawrence, who took a deep interest in the work of the native reformer, particularly as Keshub had spoken publicly of Christ in terms which seemed to justify the belief that he was Christian in all but open profession of the faith."[16]

This drew attention to him and in 1870 he journeyed to England where he remained for six months.[15] The reception in England disappointed him,[15] as he records much later in a letter to Max Müller

The British public ought to know how the most advanced type of Hinduism in India is trying to absorb and assimilate the Christianity of Christ, and how it is establishing and spreading, under the name of the New Dispensation, a new Hinduism, which combines Yoga and Bhakti, and also a new Christianity, which blends together Apostolical faith and modern civilisation and science. It is this christianity.

Love for Sovereign

In 1870 Keshub introduced a new doctrine into his Church "Love for the Sovereign". Perceiving Christianity as a model tradition from which the Indians could learn, Keshub became convinced that the British presence in India served a divine purpose for the Indian people. At his historic 1870 meeting with the queen he expressed his acceptance of British rule which pleased the British. This theological stand against Indian nationalism (then being propounded by the Brahmos under Hemendranath Tagore's new doctrine of "Brahmos embrace the co-existence of Brahmo principles with governance, but oppose all governance in conflict with Brahmo principles.") made Keshub the target of tremendous criticism at home.[17]

Discord within the Brahmo Samaj of India

The passage of the Special Marriages Act in 1872, caused great resentment among Brahmos that Sen had caused an inherent break with the Brahmo Dharma compiled by Maharshi Debendranath and forever associated with Tagore's Adi Brahmo Samaj. A powerful section of "the Brahmo Samaj within the Brahmo Samaj of India" and with reformist views more advanced than Keshub's, especially on women's education and upliftment, now openly complained that they were left with no religious status whatsoever other than to turn to Christ like their leader, which was distasteful to them or return to Brahmo Dharma's fold in disgrace. In 1873 Sen was caused to trenchantly counter this faction by the following speech:

Whither is the spirit of God leading India? Towards the Brahmo Samaj? I say, No. To deny Heaven that is leading us onwards to his Holy Church would argue blind infidelity. You dare not deny that India is marching towards the Kingdom of Heaven. But the Brahmo Samaj, as it is, is not God's Holy Church; as it has no semblance whatever of the Kingdom of Heaven. Verily, verily, this Brahmo Samaj is a ridiculous caricature of the Church of God.[18]

Annette Akroyd and the female emancipation controversy

Around 1875 Sen was involved in a public controversy with Annette Akroyd a prominent feminist and social reformer who had sailed to India in October 1872. Akroyd was shocked by her discussions with Sen and felt that Sen, the rhetorician of women's education in England was a typical Hindu obscurantist back home in India, trying to keep knowledge from the minds of women. This dispute spilled into the native press and had its impact on the Bethune School. Akroyd was also dismayed with Sen's associates such as Bijoy Krishna Goswami, Aghore Nath Gupta and Gour Govinda Ray who were traditionally Hindu in educational background and resisting the education of women in British India.

Mr. Sen had a strong prejudice against university education, in fact, against what is generally regarded as high education, of women. He objected to teaching them, for instance, such subjects as Mathematics, Philosophy and Science, whereas the advanced party positively wanted to give their daughters and sisters what is generally regarded as high education. They did not object to their university education and were not disposed to make much difference in point of education between men and women. There was no hope of compromise between two such extreme schools of thought, Accordingly, the radical party proceeded to start a separate female school of their own, called the Hindu Mahila Vidyalaya for the education of the adult young ladies belonging to their party. The successful manner in which they carried on the work of this school under Miss Akroyd, subsequently Mrs. Beveridge, attracted much public notice and was highly praised by the officers of Government. This school did excellent work for many years and was subsequently conducted under the name of the Banga Mahila Vidyalaya and was at last amalgamated with the Bethune College for ladies, to which it furnished some of its most distinguished students.[19]

Mysticism controversies

He developed a tendency towards mysticism and a greater leaning to the spiritual teaching of the Indian philosophies. He gave his daughter, Suniti Devi in marriage to Maharaja Nripendra Narayan of Cooch Behar; he revived the performance of mystical plays, and himself took part in one. These changes alienated many of his followers, who deserted his standard and founded the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj in 1878.[15]

Sen did what he could to reinvigorate his followers with new ideas and phrases, such as "The New Dispensation", the "Holy Spirit". He also instituted a sacramental meal of rice and water similar to the Sikh system of Amrit (nectar) initiation for new converts.[15] He also attempted a wider appeal to Indians with a more mystical approach. The Ethnographer General writes:-

From about this period, or a little before, Keshub Chandar Sen appears to have attempted to make a wider appeal to Indians by developing the emotional side of his religion. And he gradually relapsed from a pure unitarian theism into what was practically Hindu pantheism and the mysticism of the Yogis. At the same time he came to consider himself an inspired prophet, and proclaimed himself as such."[20]

One example of his new doctrines were described by Professor Oman:

In 1873 he brought forward the doctrine of Adesh or special inspiration, declaring emphatically that inspiration is not only possible, but a veritable fact in the lives of many devout souls in this age. The following years witnessed a marked development of that essentially Asiatic and perhaps more especially Indian form of religious feeling, which finds its natural satisfaction in solitary ecstatic contemplation. As a necessary consequence an order of devotees was established in 1876, divided into three main classes, which in ascending gradation were designated Shabaks, Bhaktas and Yogis. The lowest class, divided into two sections, is devoted to religious study and the practical performance of religious duties, including doing good to others."[21]

On his return to India he established the Indian Reform Association, which had five areas of activity: inexpensive literature, female improvement, education, temperance, and charity. In two lectures delivered between 1881 and 1883 he shared his latest doctrines. They were "That Marvelous Mystery – the Trinity" and "Asia's Message to Europe". The latter is an eloquent plea against the Europeanizing of Asia, as well as a protest against Western sectarianism. During the intervals of his last illness he wrote The New Samhita, or the Sacred Laws of the Aryans of the New Dispensation. He died on 8 January 1884. His Hindu funeral was attended by over 2000 people.[12]

Ramakrishna's influence

In 1876 the then unknown Ramakrishna Paramhansa came looking for Sen and first met him at Sadhan Kanan. Ramakrishna's poor, rough, unconventional exterior had earlier repelled other Brahmo celebrities like Debendranath Tagore whom Ramakrishna had approached;[22] and even Sen initially showed no affinity towards Ramakrishna's mysticism, and was hostile. He was won over to Ramakrishna less by his teachings than by his manner, which Keshub Sen identified with the behaviour of an authentic saint.[23] When Ramakrishna met him, Keshub had accepted Christianity, and had separated from the Brahmo Samaj. Formerly, Keshub had rejected idolatry practised by his family, but after coming under Ramakrishna's influence he again accepted Hindu polytheism and established the "New Dispensation" (Nava Vidhan) religious movement, which was based on Ramakrishna's principles—"Worship of God as Mother", "All religions as true".[24] His acceptance of idolatry created factions within his organisation. He also publicised Ramakrishna's teachings in the New Dispensation journal over a period of several years,[25] which was instrumental in bringing Ramakrishna to the attention of a wider audience, especially the Bhadralok and the Europeans residing in India.[26][27] Ramakrishna too had deep respect for Keshub. Ramakrishna said of him shortly before his death that "the rose tree is to be transplanted because the gardener wants beautiful roses of him." Afterwards he said, "Half of me has perished."[28]

Universal religion

Sen's primary quest was for a universal religion or belief-system. Sen established a syncretic school of spiritualism, called the Nabo Bidhan or 'New Dispensation', which he intended to amalgamate the best principles of Christianity and of the western spiritual tradition with Hinduism.

His opponents felt that he had rejected completely the tenets of Brahmoism settled by Rammohun Roy (as cited by J.N. Farquahar and other scholars), and in January 1881, the New Dispensation was formally announced in the Sunday Mirror of 23 October:

Our position is not that truths are to be found in all religions; but that all the established religions of the world are true. There is a great deal of difference between the two assertions. The glorious mission of the New Dispensation is to harmonise religions and revelations, to establish the truth of every particular dispensation, and upon the basis of these particulars to establish the largest and broadest induction of a general and glorious proposition.[29]

Sen adopted a number of ceremonies from both Hinduism and Christianity, calling God "Mother", and adopting the homa sacrifice and the 'arati' ceremony (the waving of lights) into Brahma ritual. He found spiritual nourishment in Durga Puja, and composed a hymn of praise containing 108 names of God, along with other forms of worship that echoed traditional Hindu prayers.[29]

The Nabo Bidhan school generated considerable antagonism among Brahmo Samajists, since Sen's followers represented that they were also Brahmos. Eight Brahmos of Sylhet (now in Bangladesh) including Raj Chandra Chaudhuri and Pandit Sitanath Tattvabhushan issued the following proclamation in 1880:

Let us all, every Brahmo and Brahmo Samaj, combine to let the world know that the New Dispensation is not the Brahmo religion: That we have not the least sympathy for the creed: That the New Dispensation is totally opposed to Brahmoism.[30]

This proclamation of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj resulted in 1881 of the formation of the Brahmo Conference Organisation to publicly denounce and expose Keshub Sen and his Nabo Bidhan movement from every platform as being "anti-Brahmo" in terms of the aforesaid proclamation.[30]

While Sen's detractors opposed and condemned him, he found appreciation in others.

Bipin Chandra Pal has succinctly summarised the evolution:

....To Keshub, however, was left the work of organising Rammohun Roy's philosophy into a real universal religion through new rituals, liturgies, sacraments and disciplines, wherein were sought to be brought together not only the theories and doctrines of the different world religions but also their outer vehicles and formularies to the extent that these were real vehicles of their religious or spiritual life, divested, however, through a process of spiritual sifting, of their imperfections and errors and superstitions.[31]

Chittaranjan Das explained Sen's attempt to create a universal religion. Speaking in 1917 he said:

The earlier religion of his (Keshub Chunder Sen's) life was perhaps somewhat abstract. But his religion in developed form, as we find it, in his Navavidhan, is full of concrete symbols of all religions....Every Hindu is conscious of the underlying unity of this universalism. Read the devotional poems of the Vaishnavas, read the devotional poems of the Shaktas and the other sects, you will find they were identical in this character. The life and work of Keshub Chunder Sen also point to attempt after attempt at this very universalism....The result may or may not be considered satisfactory. But I refuse to judge it by the results. I rejoice in the glory of the attempt.[32]

Personal life

Keshub Chandra Sen was married to Jagonmohini Sen. The couple had ten children: five sons – Karuna Chandra Sen, Nirmal Chandra Sen, Prafulla Chandra Sen, Saral Chandra Sen,[33] and Dr. Subroto Sen; and five daughters – Suniti Devi (Maharani of Cooch Behar), Sabitri Devi, Sucharu Devi (Maharani of Mayurbhanj), Monica Devi and Sujata Devi. One of his grand-daughters, Naina Devi (1917–1993), daughter of Saral Sen, became a noted classical singer.[34] One of his grandsons, Erroll Chunder Sen (c.1899–c.1942) became a pioneer Indian aviator who served in the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force during the First World War.

Sen was a friend of Rabindranath Tagore.


1. Carpenter, Mary Lant (1907) Life of Keshub Chunder Sen
2. Sastri, p. 276
3. Sastri, p. 16
4. "Sadharan Brahmo Samaj". Sadharan Brahmo Samaj. Archived from the original on 25 July 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
5. Sharma, H. D. Ram Mohun Roy – the Renaissance man. p. 26. ISBN 81-89297-70-8
6. Müller, Friedrich Max (1884). Biographical Essays. C. Scribners̓ Sons. pp. 51–53.
7. under the Danish Grand charter for the missionaries of Danish settlement at Serampore, lodge De L’amour Fraternelle (for Brotherly Love) whose motto then was "Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man".
8. "Grand Lodge of India". Archived from the original on 19 January 2010.
9. Sastri, p. 114
10. Chisholm 1911, p. 759.
11. Oman, p. 117.
12. Sastri
13. EB staff (6 March 2015). "Keshab Chunder Sen". Britannica Encyclopaedia.
14. EB staff 2015.
15. Chisholm 1911, p. 760.
16. Oman, p. 118.
17. Uddin, Sufia M. (2006) Constructing Bangladesh: Religion, Ethnicity, and Language in an Islamic Nation. UNC Press. p. 85 ISBN 978-0-8078-3021-5
18. Parekh, p. 69
19. Sastri, p. 258
20. Russell, R.V. (1912) Tribes and Castes. Government Ethnography publication
21. Oman, pp. 131, 139, 140
22. Parekh, p. 74
23. Rolland, Romain (1929). "Ramakrishna and the Great Shepherds of India". The Life of Ramakrishna. pp. 110–130.
24. Masih, Y. (2000). A Comparative Study of Religions. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 198–199. ISBN 978-81-208-0815-7.
25. Mukherjee, Jayasree (May 2004). "Sri Ramakrishna's Impact on Contemporary Indian Society". Prabuddha Bharata. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
26. Muller, Max (1898). "Râmakrishna's Life". Râmakrishna his Life and Sayings. pp. 56–57.
27. Debarry, William Theodore; Ainslie Thomas Embree (1988). Sources of Indian Tradition: From the Beginning to 1800. Stephen N. Hay. Columbia University Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-231-06415-6.
28. Rolland, Romain (1929). "The River Re-Enters the Sea". The Life of Ramakrishna. p. 202.
29. Farquahar, John Nicol (1915) Modern Religious Movements in India. New York: The Macmillan. pp. 57–58
30. Sastri, p. 513
31. The Story of Bengal's New Era: Brahmo Samaj and Brahmananda Keshub Chunder by Bepin Chandra Pal, published in Bangabani, 1922. Reprinted in Brahmananda Keshub Chunder Sen "Testimonies in Memoriam", compiled by G. C. Banerjee, Allahabad, 1934, Bengali section p 33.
32. From a speech delivered at a meeting held at the Overtoun Hall, Kolkata in January, 1917 in memory of late Keshub Chunder Sen printed in Deshbandhu Rachanasamagra
33. See the Career Section
34. "A Tale Of Two Women: In search of their own songs". The Telegraph. 11 March 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2013.


• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Keshub Chunder Sen". Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 759–760.

Cited sources

• Oman, John Campbell (1906). Brahmans, Theists and Moslems of India. London: T.F. Unwin.
• Parekh, Manilal C. (1926). Brahmarshi Keshub Chunder Sen. Oriental Christ House.
• Sastri, Sivanath (1912). History of Brahmo Samaj. Calcutta.

External links

• Quotations from Wikiquote
• Texts from Wikisource
• Data from Wikidata

Library resources about

• Online books
• Resources in your library
• Resources in other libraries

By Keshub Chandra Sen

• Online books
• Resources in your library
• Resources in other libraries
• Works by or about Keshub Chandra Sen at Internet Archive
• "Sen, Keshab Chandra". Banglapedia. Retrieved 20 May 2019.


Keshub Chandra Sen (1838-1884)
Accessed: 2/17/20


Early Life

Keshub Chandra Sen was the son of Peary Mohan Sen and the grandson of Dewan Ram Kamal Sen. He was born into a deeply religious Vaishnava family and from his childhood he was surrounded by religious influences.

From an early part of his life he showed an aptitude for influencing other people's minds and at the age of 17, in 1855 he established "The British India Society" where Rev. James Long and Rev. [Charles] Dall - the Unitarian missionary took part. The society opened an evening school at the house of Sen Keshub Chandra Sen and his wife. At this age there was an incident during a college examination which left a deep mark on him. He married in 1856 and in his lecture "Am I an Inspired Prophet?" he writes "I entered the world with ascetic ideas; and my honeymoon was spent amid austerities in the house of the Lord".

Keshub Chandra Sen and his wife

Joining Brahmo Samaj

He joined the Brahmo Samaj in 1857 by privately signing the Brahmo covenant and took to studying mental and moral philosophy. He developed prayer as means of spiritual illumination and sustenance. He studied the writings of Theodor Parker and developed a society called "Goodwill Fraternity" in his house and developed lectures on moral and religious subjects.

In 1855, he became Secretary to the Goodwill Fraternity [under the Danish Grand charter for the missionaries of Danish settlement at Serampore, lodge De L’amour Fraternelle (for Brotherly Love) whose motto then was "Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man".], a Masonic lodge ["Grand Lodge of India".] associated with the Unitarian Rev. Charles Dall and a Christian missionary Rev. James Long who also helped Sen establish a "British Indian Association" in the same year.

-- Keshub Chandra Sen [Keshab Chunder Sen], by Wikipedia

Debendranath Tagore gave Keshub a warm welcome and an attachment sprang up between them the like of which has seldom been seen. Hundreds began to flock into the services of the Samaj to hear them speak and the songs composed by Satyendranath, the second son of Maharshi was the talk of the town. This can be regarded as the second great revival of the Brahmo Samaj.

In 1859 he set up the Brahmo School where weekly lectures were delivered and was greatly popular with the rising generation. In 1860 he began publishing tracts which was the trumpet call of the new Brahmoism and the first chapter was called,"Young Bengal, this is for you".

Sangat Sabha

During this time in 1860, the Sangat Sabha was established - which was a society of fellow believers to promote mutual spiritual intercourse amongst its members. This sabha sowed the seeds of new Brahmoism. Keshub broke away from the mere intellectual assent and imbibed a new inspiration from the Western sources. A careful study of the Bible, works of Theodor Parker and Prof. Newman brought about the Christian spirit of repentance and prayer.


On 13th April, 1862, Debendranath elevated Keshub Chandra Sen to the post of Minister or Acharya of the Samaj. After the divine service he presented him with a Brahmo Dharma and a formal appointment letter and conferred upon him the title of Brahmananda - meaning one whose delight is God. However this was not looked upon well by the older members of the Samaj and some of them ceased to attend the services. On 26th July 1861, the eldest daughter of Debendranath, Sukumari was married according to the reformed rites of the Brahmo Samaj. Debendranath followed the ritual of the orthodox Hindu marriages but excluded the idolatrous bits. This was hailed as a great step towards social reform.

The Schism

P.C. Moozomdar

The flames of the conflict between the young and the old were heightened furtherP C Mozoomdar with the young protesting against the custom of allowing sacred thread - bearing Brahmins to occupy its pulpits. This led to Debendranath removing them from all office and power of the Samaj. To counter the Tattwabodhini Patrika, the young started the Dharmatattwa. He started the 'Indian Mirror' as a fortnightly in 1861 and made it into a daily in 1871. In 1862 Keshub undertook the ministry of one of its branches. In the same year he helped to found the Albert College and started the Indian Mirror, a weekly journal in which social and moral subjects were discussed. In 1863 he wrote The Brahma Samaj Vindicated. He also travelled about the country lecturing and preaching. In 1865 Keshub delivered a lecture on Struggle for Religious Independence where he condemned the high - handed feelings of the Calcutta (Adi) Brahmo Samaj and a representation was sent to Debendranath signed by Keshub, P C Mozoomdar and others. On 11th November 1866 a meeting was held in the house of the Calcutta College and the Brahmo Samaj of India was formally established. At this time there were 54 Samajes in India, 50 in Bengal, 2 in North Western Province, one in Punjab and the other in Madras. After the schism, the Adi Brahmo Samaj quietly retreated to its position of Hindu monotheism - and Debendranath remained silent and never replied to any of the accusations. He also retired from active work of the Samaj and spent most of his time travelling and occasionally visiting Calcutta.

The tenets of the Brahmo Samaj of India at ths time were the following: (1) The wide universe is the temple of God. (2) Wisdom is the pure land of pilgrimage. (3) Truth is the everlasting scripture. (4) Faith is the root of all religions. (5) Love is the true spiritual culture. (6) The destruction of selfishness is the true asceticism. In 1866 he delivered an address on - Jesus Christ, Europe and Asia, which led to the false impression that he was about to embrace Christianity.

New Dispensation

Brahmo Samaj of India


On 24th January 1868, Keshub laid the foundation stone of his new church, theBrahmo Samaj of India Tabernacle of New Dispensation and the newly constructed chapel was consecrated on 22nd August 1869. Navavidhan SymbolHe declared, "we believe in the Church Universal, which is the respiratory of all ancient wisdom and the receptacle of all modern science, which recognise in all prophets and saints a harmony, in all scriptures a unity and though all dispensations a continuity, which abjures all that separates and divides and always magnifies unity and peace, which harmonises reason, faith and Bhakti, asceticism and social duty in their highest forms and which shall make of all nations and sects one kingdom and one family in the fullness of time." In the anniversary festival of 1879, Keshub announced the birth of the New Dispensation. He introduced into the church the Pilgrimage to saints, the Homa ceremony, the Baptismal ceremony, the Lord's supper, the Flag ceremony, the Arati, the vow of Poverty, the Savitri Vrata, the Nightingale Vrata, and other innovations. He mentions that this New Dispensation is "...a Divine message sent to India... It comes not to destroy but to fulfil the law and the prophets." His most important contribution is the habit of daily devotion. He felt the necessity of daily domestic devotion and laid down the essential condition of domestic life in his Nava Samhita In 1869, universalism was further strengthened by publishing of four books - Gour Govinda Roys' work on the Gita, P C Mozoomdar's book The Oriental Christ, Aghor Nath Gupta's study on Buddha and Girish Chandra Sen's Tapasmala - life of Muslim saints and his Bengali translation of Koran and Hadis. There was also a Pilgrimage to the Saints - special service held in the memory of great men like Moses, Socrates, Sakya, The Rishis, Christ, Muhammad, Chaitanya, Scientific men.

Visit to England

1870 he paid a visit to England. The Hindu preacher was warmly welcomed by almost all denominations, particularly by the Unitarians, with whose creed the new Brahma Samaj had most in common, and it was the committee of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association that organised the welcome soire at Hanover Square Rooms on the 12th of April. Ministers of ten different denominations were on the platform, and among those who officially bade him welcome were Lord Lawrence and Dean Stanley. He remained for six months in England, visiting most of the chief towns. His eloquence, delivery and command of the language won universal admiration. His own impression of England was somewhat disappointing. Christianity in England appeared to him too sectarian and narrow, too muscular and hard, and Christian life in England more materialistic and outward than spiritual and inward. He said, "I came here an Indian, I go back a confirmed Indian; I came here a Theist, I go back a confirmed Theist. I have learnt to love my own country more and more". These words spoken at the farewell soire may furnish the key to the change in him which so greatly puzzled many of his English friends.

Cooch Behar Marriage and the schism

Maharani & Raja of Cooch Behar

Rani Suniti Devi & Raja of Cooch BeharIn 1877 there was a strong rumour that Keshub was giving his eldest daughter, Suniti, in marriage to the young Maharaja of Cooch Behar. The main reason for the controversy was Suniti was not yet 14, the minimum age according to Marriage Act, 1872 and the Raja a lad of fifteen. By 1878 the information received by the Brahmos was 1) The marriage was to take place immediately prior to departure of the prince to England, 2)It will be celebrated according to the Cooch Behar rituals with idolatrous portions expunged 3)Keshub's brother Krishna Behari Sen was to give away the bride as Keshub having lost caste would be excluded from the function and 4) Cooch Behar priests will be officiating the service and no Brahmo service or Brahmo ministers will have anything to do with the ceremony. 23 Brahmos signed a letter of protest but Keshub did not even read the letter far less reply to it. As per the official records of Cooch Behar, "The rites observed were Hindu in all esential features though in deference to the religious principles of the bride's father, idolatrous mantras were ommitted and the presence of an idol was dispensed with. Care was, however taken to retain whatever the Brahmins considered essential to the validity of the marriage". The constitutionalists had organised themselves in to a party called Samadarshi or Liberal in 1874 and started a paper called Samadarshi to voice their opinion. A lot of Brahmos and provincial Samajes voiced their concerns and as a result of the meeting held in the Town Hall on 15th May 1878, the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj was born.

David Kopf mentions in his book, "The indictment of Keshub for having married off his eldest daughter in violation of every Brahmo precept has generally been accepted in historical surveys, which treat the marriage as a disaster from every point of view and ignore the aftermath of the event." A fact that is often overlooked is that the marriage was not consummated until 1880 when Prince Nripendra Narayan and Suniti Devi were 18 and 16 respectively. It was an experiment under the guidance of the British officials (who arranged the marriage in the first place) opening the remote kingdom to the enlightening influences from Calcutta. Kopf writes "...Thus whether the marriage was not performed strictly according to Brahmo rites seems insignificant from a historical perspective than the question about the subsequent career of the Maharaja,Brajendranath Seal whom Keshub sought to inspire as a Brahmo. The answer in large part can be found in the qualitative difference between the town of Cooch Behar before the accession of Nripendra Narayan to the throne in 1882, and the town Brajendranath Seal came to live in 1896 when he was hired at Victoria College. In those fourteen years alone, through increasing the annual revenue of state by 300,000 rupees, the king regularised the administration, established the first railway link to Bengal, improved communication throughout the kingdom with the construction of innumerable roads and bridges, created for the first time a city with a planned sanitation and drainage system, constructed the earliest buildings in the country dedicated to the principles of modern justice and administration, started a 1arge fully equipped hospital in the capital and public dispensaries in the countryside, and founded Cooch Behar's first public library, public parks and gardens, a girls' school, college, and a public marketplace. He also abolished polygamy in the royal family and capital punishment throughout the kingdom".

Brajendranath Seal

"Moreover, some years before Brajendranath's arrival in Cooch Behar, the king and his wife constructed the largest Brahmo Mandir in South Asia, primarily with government funds, and they provided an annual grant of 5,000 rupees to help maintain it. In 1888, the king declared Brahmoism of the New Dispensation as the state religion, and though it had no practical effect in spreading the faith beyond the small community of Bengali elite, it did suggest that the promise of the young man to Keshub was fulfilled. Not well known, either, is that Maharaja Nripendra Narayan, whom the critics of Keshub had looked upon as a jungly Hindu raja, left three wishes behind him shortly before his death at forty-nine years of age. The king asked first that he be cremated according to the New Dispensation Brahmo rites; second, that his ashes be put in the same garden in Cooch Behar where he had first learned to read and write; and third, he provided that "his casket be placed in a monument of stone similar to the one which had been placed over the ashes of the late Keshub Chandra Sen."

Relation with Ramakrishna Paramhansa


Ramakrishna ParamhansaAfter the Cooch Behar marriage Keshub took an important line of departure by entering upon a system of spiritual interpretation o fthe idol deity and her attendants. He also started visting the mystic saint Ramakrishna and it was Keshub and his party who were instrumental in bringing him to public notice. Ramakrishna was present in many Brahmo gatherings. David Kopf gives three reasons for this attraction which deserve attention. First, Ramakrishna was not susceptible to formal education, English or indigenous; this separated him from other Brahmos of whatever ideological bent. Secondly, Ramakrishna's Tantric way of sublimating the sensual drive for women into a spiritual drive for the Divine Mother appealed to Keshub Chandra. Third, Ramakrishna claimed to have experienced direct, intuitive contact with all major religious leaders in history. "In this sense, the Hindu Ramakrishna was perhaps more universalist and Brahmo than most of the Brahmo ascetics, who were narrowly Vaishnava." These three aspects of Ramakrishna's career as a mystic were probably strong influences on Keshub from March 1875 onwards, when the two men presumably first met at the Kali temple at Dakshineshwar. Keshub was intrigued by the religious experiments performed by Ramakrishna, and wished to adapt them to his own use, especially those elements of the Sakto tradition in Bengal that emphasised the motherhood of God. The idea of differentiating the good and bad features within Saktism, and incorporating the good into Brahmoism, probably came to Keshub after his acquaintance with Ramakrishna. For, in the early 1860s, Ramakrishna had already performed experiments to purify Saktism and Tantrism.

Contribution to Brahmoism

Nava Devalaya

There were many important contribution to the Brahmo movement by Keshub Chandra Sen. These can be briefly stated as follows. The first noteworthy contribution is the enunciation and accentuation of the doctrine of God in conscience. The second great Nava Devalayacontribution was bringing of man's social life within the domain of his religious duty. The third was imbibing into the spiritual life of the Brahmo Samaj - the spirit of repentance and prayer. Next was his infusion of the bhakti or devitional fervour into the movement. Another was his sense of universalism of theism - he found that all the religious teachers were bound together by a common bond. Next was his faith in the Divine mission of the Brahmo Samaj. Another important contribution was the emphasis of the principle laid down by Rammohun Roy - service of man was the service of God.

In 1883 soon after his arrival from Simla, with failing health, Keshub caused the foundation of his Nava Devalaya (his domestic chapel). The work was completed on 1st January 1884 and he was carried on the shoulders from his death bed to take part in the consecration ceremony.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Indian Reform Association
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The Indian Reform Association was formed on 29 October 1870 with Keshub Chunder Sen as president. It represented the secular side of the Brahmo Samaj and included many who did not belong to the Brahmo Samaj. The objective was to put into practice some of the ideas Sen was exposed to during his visit to Great Britain.[1]

David Kopf says that Sen was enthusiastic about the Unitarian social gospel, which he observed first hand during his trip abroad. He seemed convinced that the reform efforts he witnessed in Britain could be duplicated in India. The Indian Reform Association was formed to promote "the social and moral reformation of the natives of India."[2]

The comprehensive objective of the Association was to be served through five departments of activity – cheap literature, female improvement, education, temperance, and charity.[3]

Cheap literature

The object of cheap literature was to disseminate useful scientific information amongst the masses through cheap journals and the publication of cheap and useful tracts. On 16 November 1870, the Indian Reforms Association started publishing a weekly newspaper, Sulava Samachar in Bengali, priced only one pice. It was the first of its kind in India in the line of journalistic venture. Till then the humbler classes had never handled a newspaper and they were for the first time brought in contact with events that were taking place around them. Protap Chunder Mozoomdar noted, "The novelty and success of the newspaper stimulated repeated imitation."[3]

Female improvement

Female normal school was started in February 1871 under the auspices of the female improvement section for adult ladies who wanted to be taught or to learn how to teach. Subsequently, a girls’ school was attached wherein the adult students of the normal school could learn and practice the art of teaching. A carefully devised syllabus laid stress on womanly virtues and accomplishments.[3]

Bamabodhini Patrika meant for women had been established earlier in 1864. The women of the normal school started the Bamahitaishiny Sabha (Society for the welfare of women) for mutual improvement and discussions of matters of common interest. Once the Sabha started, its proceedings were reflected in Bamabodhini Patrika. In the course of time the school was replaced by the Victoria Institution.[3]


The third section dealing with education undertook to educate the labouring classes, and to instruct the middle classes in industrial arts. The Working Men’s Institution and the Industrial School were opened on 28 November 1870. In addition to education, the Institution provided healthy entertainment opportunities. The Industrial School gave instruction to the middle class in industrial arts, or rather practical training in such crafts as carpentry, tailoring, clock and watch repairing, printing, lithography and engraving. Brahmo missionaries, headed by Sen himself took to these occupations with workman-like avidity. The present Working Men’s Institution may well be regarded as the descendant of this Institution.[3]


When Peary Charan Sarkar first raised the standard of temperance, Sen had lent his support. Indeed, the subject was of long-standing interest to him. Indian Reform Association published a monthly Bengali journal ‘’Mad na garal’’(Wine or Poison) under the editorial management of Sivanath Sastri. After the collapse of the Indian Reform Association, Sen had formed an organisation of youth called Band of Hope.[4]


The social activities of this group under Vijay Krishna Goswami, won universal admiration. They started off with medical assistance to those suffering from epidemic malaria.


1. "After his return to India, Mr. Sen, proceeded to put into practice some of the ideas he had imbibed during his English visit. The first practical step he took in that direction was formation of Indian Reform Association." - Sastri, pp. 154-155.
2. David Kopf, The Brahmo Samaj and the Shaping of the Modern Indian Mind, 1979, pp. 16-18, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-03125-8
3. Sen, P.K., Keshub Chunder Sen, 1938, pp. 104-109, Peace Cottage, Calcutta.
4. Sastri, Sivanath, History of the Brahmo Samaj, 1911-12/1993, pp. 154-155, Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 1 of 2

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Accessed: 2/12/20



Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar
Born: Gadadhar Chattopadhyay, গদাধর চট্টোপাধ্যায়, 18 February 1836, Kamarpukur, Bengal Presidency, British India (present-day West Bengal, India)
Died: 16 August 1886 (aged 50), Cossipore, Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India, present-day Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
Spouse: Sarada Devi
Founder of: Ramakrishna Order
Philosophy: Advaita Vedanta Bhakti Tantra
Senior posting
Guru Ramakrishna had many gurus including, Totapuri, Bhairavi Brahmani
Disciples: Swami Vivekananda and others
Honors: Paramahamsa

Quotation: He is born in vain who, having attained the human birth, so difficult to get, does not attempt to realise God in this very life.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (About this soundRamkṛiṣṇa Pôromôhongśa (help·info); 18 February 1836 – 16 August 1886,[1][2][3][4] born Ramakrishna "Gadadhar" Chattopadhyay[5], was an Indian Hindu mystic, saint and considered as an avatar by many in 19th century Bengal.[6] Sri Ramakrishna experienced spiritual ecstasies from a young age, and was influenced by several religious traditions, including devotion toward the Goddess Kali, Tantra (shakta), Vaishnava (bhakti),[7] and Advaita Vedanta.[8][9] As a priest at the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, his mystical temperament and ecstasies gradually gained him widespread acknowledgement, attracting to him various spiritual teachers, social leaders, lay followers and eventually disciples. Reverence and admiration for him among Bengali elites led to his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda founding the Ramakrishna Math, which provides spiritual training for monastics and householder devotees and the Ramakrishna Mission to provide charity, social work and education.[10][11][12][13]

Early life

Birth and childhood

Sri Ramakrishna was born on 18 February 1836,[1] in the village of Kamarpukur, in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, India, into a very poor, pious, and orthodox Brahmin family.[14] Kamarpukur was untouched by the glamour of the city and contained rice fields, tall palms, royal banyans, a few lakes, and two cremation grounds. His parents were Khudiram Chattopadhyay and Chandramani Devi. According to his followers, Sri Ramakrishna's parents experienced supernatural incidents and visions before his birth. In Gaya his father Khudiram had a dream in which Bhagwan Gadadhara (a form of Vishnu), said that he would be born as his son. Chandramani Devi is said to have had a vision of light entering her womb from (Yogider Shiv Mandir) Shiva's temple.[15][16]

The family was devoted to Hindu God Rama, and male children of Khudiram and Chandramani were given names that started with Ram or Rama: Ramkumar, Rameswar, and Ramakrishna.[17] There has been some dispute about the origin of the name Ramakrishna, but there is "...evidence which proves beyond doubt that the name 'Ramakrishna' was given to him by his father..."[18] Ramakrishna confirmed this himself, as recorded in "M"s diaries, "I was a pet child of my father. He used to call me Ramakrishnababu."[19]

The small house at Kamarpukur where Ramakrishna lived (centre). The family shrine is on the left, birthplace temple on the right

Although Ramakrishna attended a village school with some regularity for 12 years,[20] he later rejected the traditional schooling saying that he was not interested in a "bread-winning education".[21] Kamarpukur, being a transit-point in well-established pilgrimage routes to Puri, brought him into contact with renunciates and holy men.[22] He became well-versed in the Puranas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Bhagavata Purana, hearing them from wandering monks and the Kathaks—a class of men in ancient India who preached and sang the Purāṇas. He could read and write in Bengali.[20]

Ramakrishna describes his first spiritual ecstasy at the age of six: while walking along the paddy fields, a flock of white cranes flying against a backdrop of dark thunder clouds caught his vision. He reportedly became so absorbed by this scene that he lost outward consciousness and experienced indescribable joy in that state.[23][24] Ramakrishna reportedly had experiences of similar nature a few other times in his childhood—while worshipping the Goddess Vishalakshi, and portraying God Shiva in a drama during the Shivaratri festival. From his 10th or 11th year of school on, the trances became common, and by the final years of his life, Ramakrishna's samādhi periods occurred almost daily.[24] Early on, these experiences have been interpreted as epileptic seizures,[25][26][27][28] an interpretation which was rejected by Ramakrishna himself.[27][note 1]

Ramakrishna's father died in 1843, after which family responsibilities fell on his elder brother Ramkumar. This loss drew him closer to his mother, and he spent his time in household activities and daily worship of the household deities and became more involved in contemplative activities such as reading the sacred epics. When Ramakrishna was in his teens, the family's financial position worsened. Ramkumar started a Sanskrit school in (Jhama pukur lane) Kolkata and also served as a priest. Ramakrishna moved to Kolkata in 1852 with Ramkumar to assist in the priestly work.[30]

Priest at Dakshineswar Kali Temple

Dakshineswar Kāli Temple, where Ramakrishna spent a major portion of his adult life.

In 1855 Ramkumar was appointed as the priest of Dakshineswar Kali Temple, built by Rani Rashmoni—a rich woman of Kolkata who belonged to the kaivarta community.[31] Ramakrishna, along with his nephew Hriday, became assistants to Ramkumar, with Ramakrishna given the task of decorating the deity. When Ramkumar died in 1856, Ramakrishna took his place as the priest of the Kali temple.[32]

First vision of Kali

After Ramkumar's death Ramakrishna became more contemplative. He began to look upon the image of the goddess Kali as his mother and the mother of the universe, and became desperate for a vision of her.[33] After many days of meditation, wherein he failed to receive a vision, he reportedly came to a point of such anguish that he impulsively decided to end his life. Seeing a sword hanging in a nearby room in the temple, he ran for it and was just about to reach it when he suddenly had a vision of the goddess Kali as the Universal Mother. He became overwhelmed, and before fainting, observed that to his spiritual sight, "... houses, doors, temples and everything else vanished altogether; as if there was nothing anywhere! And what I saw was an infinite shoreless sea of light; a sea that was consciousness. However far and in whatever direction I looked, I saw shining waves, one after another, coming towards me."[34]


Sarada Devi (1853–1920), wife and spiritual counterpart of Ramakrishna

Rumors spread to Kamarpukur that Ramakrishna had become unstable as a result of his spiritual practices at Dakshineswar. Ramakrishna's mother and his elder brother Rameswar decided to get Ramakrishna married, thinking that marriage would be a good steadying influence upon him—by forcing him to accept responsibility and to keep his attention on normal affairs rather than his spiritual practices and visions. Ramakrishna himself mentioned that they could find the bride at the house of Ramchandra Mukherjee in Jayrambati, three miles to the north-west of Kamarpukur. The five-year-old bride, Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya (later known as Sarada Devi) was found and the marriage was duly solemnised in 1859. Ramakrishna was 23 at this point, but this age difference for marriage was typical for 19th century rural Bengal.[35] They later spent three months together in Kamarpukur. Sarada Devi was fourteen while Ramakrishna was thirty-two. Ramakrishna became a very influential figure in Sarada's life, and she became a strong follower of his teachings. After the marriage, Sarada stayed at Jayrambati and joined Ramakrishna in Dakshineswar at the age of 18.[36]

By the time his bride joined him, Ramakrishna had already embraced the monastic life of a sannyasi; the marriage was never consummated. As a priest Ramakrishna performed the ritual ceremony—the Shodashi Puja (in his room)–where Sarada Devi was worshiped as the Divine Mother.[37] Ramakrishna regarded Saradadevi as the Divine Mother in person, addressing her as the Holy Mother, and it was by this name that she was known to Ramakrishna's disciples. Sarada Devi outlived Ramakrishna by 34 years and played an important role in the nascent religious movement.[38][39]

As a part of practicing a spiritual mood, called mādhurā bhavā sadhāna, Ramakrishna dressed and behaved as a woman.[40] Disciple Mahendranath Gupta quotes the Master as follows:

How can a man conquer passion? He should assume the attitude of a woman. I spent many days as the handmaid of God. I dressed myself in women's clothes, put on ornaments and covered the upper part of my body with a scarf, just like a woman. With the scarf on I used to perform the evening worship before the image. Otherwise how could I have kept my wife with me for eight months? Both of us behaved as if we were the handmaid of the Divine Mother.[40]

Formative religious practices and teachers

Main article: Teachings of Ramakrishna

While Ramakrishna was a temple priest at Dakshineswar, itinerant sadhus could come and stay for a while, practicing their particular mode of worship. Several of these people became Ramakrishna's teachers in the various schools[41] of Hinduism.[42] He had grown up practicing Bhakti (devotion) to Rama. His duties as priest at the Dakshineswar temple led him to practice worship of Mother Kali. Then, in

1861, Bhairavi Brahmani initiated Ramakrishna into Tantra,[43]
1864, Ramakrishna took up the practise of vātsalya bhāva under a Vaishnava guru Jatadhari,[44]
1865, Naga Sannyasi (monk) Tota Puri initiated Ramakrishna into sannyasa and non-dual (Advaita Vedanta) meditation;[45][33]
1866, Govinda Roy, a Hindu guru who practised Sufism, initiated Ramakrishna into Islam,[46]
1873, Ramakrishna practiced Christianity, and had the bible read to him.[47]

After more than a decade of sadhana in various religious paths, each culminating in the realization of God by that path, his personal practices settled and he is said to have remained in bhavamukha, a level of blissful samadhi.[48] He would meditate in the Panchavati (a wooded and secluded area of the Dakshineswar Temple grounds), go to the Kali temple to offer flowers to the Mother, and wave incense to the assorted deities and religious figures, whose pictures hung in his room.[49]

Rama Bhakti

At some point in the period between his vision of Kali and his marriage, Ramakrishna practised dāsya bhāva,[note 2] during which he worshiped Rama with the attitude of Hanuman, who is considered to be the ideal devotee and servant of Rama. According to Ramakrishna, towards the end of this sadhana, he had a vision of Sita, the consort of Rama, merging into his body.[51][53]

Bhairavi Brahmani and Tantra

See also: Ramakrishna's views on Tantra Sadhana

In 1861, Ramakrishna accepted Bhairavi Brahmani, an orange-robed, middle-aged female ascetic, as a teacher. She carried with her the Raghuvir Shila, a stone icon representing Ram and all Vaishnava deities.[7] She was thoroughly conversant with the texts of Gaudiya Vaishnavism and practised Tantra.[7] According to the Bhairavi, Ramakrishna was experiencing phenomena that accompany mahabhava, the supreme attitude of loving devotion towards the divine,[54] and quoting from the bhakti shastras, she said that other religious figures like Radha and Chaitanya had similar experiences.[55]

The Bhairavi initiated Ramakrishna into Tantra. Tantrism focuses on the worship of shakti and the object of Tantric training is to transcend the barriers between the holy and unholy as a means of achieving liberation and to see all aspects of the natural world as manifestations of the divine shakti.[56][57] Under her guidance, Ramakrishna went through sixty four major tantric sadhanas which were completed in 1863. For all the sixty four sadhana, he took only three days each to complete [58] He began with mantra rituals such as japa and purascarana and many other rituals designed to purify the mind and establish self-control. He later proceeded towards tantric sadhanas, which generally include a set of heterodox practices called vamachara (left-hand path), which utilise as a means of liberation, activities like eating of parched grain, fish and meat along with drinking of wine and sexual intercourse.[54] According to Ramakrishna and his biographers, Ramakrishna did not directly participate in the last two of those activities (some even say he didn't indulge in meat eating), all that he needed was a suggestion of them to produce the desired result.[54] Ramakrishna acknowledged the left-hand tantric path, though it had "undesirable features", as one of the "valid roads to God-realization", he consistently cautioned his devotees and disciples against associating with it.[59][60] The Bhairavi also taught Ramakrishna the kumari-puja, a form of ritual in which the Virgin Goddess is worshiped symbolically in the form of a young girl. Under the tutelage of the Bhairavi, Ramakrishna also learnt Kundalini Yoga.[54] The Bhairavi, with the yogic techniques and the tantra played an important part in the initial spiritual development of Ramakrishna.[5][61]

Vaishnava Bhakti

In 1864, Ramakrishna practised vātsalya bhāva under a Vaishnava guru Jatadhari.[62] During this period, he worshipped a metal image of Ramlālā (Rama as a child) in the attitude of a mother. According to Ramakrishna, he could feel the presence of child Rama as a living God in the metal image.[63][64]

Ramakrishna later engaged in the practice of madhura bhāva, the attitude of the Gopis and Radha towards Krishna.[51] During the practise of this bhava, Ramakrishna dressed himself in women's attire for several days and regarded himself as one of the Gopis of Vrindavan. According to Sri Ramakrishna, madhura bhava is one of the ways to root out the idea of sex, which is seen as an impediment in spiritual life.[65] According to Ramakrishna, towards the end of this sadhana, he attained savikalpa samadhi( god seen with form and qualities)—vision and union with Krishna.[66]

Ramakrishna visited Nadia, the home of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu, the 15th-century founders of Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava bhakti. According to Ramakrishna, he had an intense vision of two young boys merging into his body while he was crossing the river in a boat .[66] Earlier, after his vision of Kali, he is said to have cultivated the Santa bhava—the child attitude – towards Kali.[51]

Totapuri and Vedanta

The Panchavati and the hut where Ramakrishna performed his advaitic sadhana. The mud hut has been replaced by a brick one.

In 1865, Ramakrishna was initiated into sannyasa by Totapuri, an itinerant Naga Sannyasi (monk) of Mahanirvani Akhara who trained Ramakrishna in Advaita Vedanta, the Hindu philosophy which emphasises non-dualism.[67][68]

Totapuri first guided Ramakrishna through the rites of sannyasa—renunciation of all ties to the world. Then he instructed him in the teaching of advaita—that "Brahman alone is real, and the world is illusory; I have no separate existence; I am that Brahman alone."[69] Under the guidance of Totapuri, Ramakrishna reportedly experienced nirvikalpa samadhi, which is considered to be the highest state in spiritual realisation.[70] He remained in that state of non-dual existence for six months without the least awareness of even his own body.

Totapuri stayed with Ramakrishna for nearly eleven months and instructed him further in the teachings of advaita. Ramakrishna said that this period of nirvikalpa samadhi came to an end when he received a command from the Mother Kali to "remain in Bhavamukha; for the enlightenment of the people". Bhavamukha being a state of existence intermediate between samādhi and normal consciousness.[71]

Islam and Christianity

According to Swami Saradananda's biography, in 1866 Govinda Roy, a Hindu guru who practised Sufism, initiated Ramakrishna into Islam, and he practiced Islam for three days. During this practice, Ramakrishna had a vision of a luminous figure, and Swami Nikhilananda's biography speculates that the figure was 'perhaps Mohammed'.[72][73][74] According to these accounts, Ramakrishna "devoutly repeated the name of Allah, wore a cloth like the Arab Muslims, said their prayer five times daily, and felt disinclined even to see images of the Hindu gods and goddesses, much less worship them—for the Hindu way of thinking had disappeared altogether from my mind."[75] After three days of practice he had a vision of a "radiant personage with grave countenance and white beard resembling the Prophet and merging with his body".[76] Kripal writes that this "would have been a heretical experience through and through" for most Muslims.[72]

At the end of 1873 he started the practice of Christianity, when his devotee Shambhu Charan Mallik read the Bible to him. According to Swami Saradananda's biography, Ramakrishna was filled with Christian thoughts for days and no longer thought of going to the Kali temple. Ramakrishna described a vision in which a picture of the Madonna and Child became alive and he had a vision in which Jesus merged with his body. In his own room amongst other divine pictures was one of Christ, and he burnt incense before it morning and evening. There was also a picture showing Jesus Christ saving St Peter from drowning in the water.[66][77][78]


Keshab Chandra Sen and the "New Dispensation"

Ramakrishna in bhava samadhi at the house of Keshab Chandra Sen. He is seen supported by his nephew Hriday and surrounded by brahmo devotees.

In 1875, Ramakrishna met the influential Brahmo Samaj leader Keshab Chandra Sen.[79][80] Keshab had accepted Christianity, and had separated from the Adi Brahmo Samaj. Formerly, Keshab had rejected idolatry, but under the influence of Ramakrishna he accepted Hindu polytheism and established the "New Dispensation" (Nava Vidhan) religious movement, based on Ramakrishna's principles—"Worship of God as Mother", "All religions as true" and "Assimilation of Hindu polytheism into Brahmoism".[81] Keshab also publicised Ramakrishna's teachings in the journals of New Dispensation over a period of several years,[82] which was instrumental in bringing Ramakrishna to the attention of a wider audience, especially the Bhadralok (English-educated classes of Bengal) and the Europeans residing in India.[83][84]

Following Keshab, other Brahmos such as Vijaykrishna Goswami started to admire Ramakrishna, propagate his ideals and reorient their socio-religious outlook. Many prominent people of Kolkata—Pratap Chandra Mazumdar, Shivanath Shastri and Trailokyanath Sanyal—began visiting him during this time (1871–1885). Mazumdar wrote the first English biography of Ramakrishna, entitled The Hindu Saint in the Theistic Quarterly Review (1879), which played a vital role in introducing Ramakrishna to Westerners like the German indologist Max Müller.[82] Newspapers reported that Ramakrishna was spreading "Love" and "Devotion" among the educated classes of Kolkata and that he had succeeded in reforming the character of some youths whose morals had been corrupt.[82]

Ramakrishna also had interactions with Debendranath Tagore, the father of Rabindranath Tagore, and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, a renowned social worker. He had also met Swami Dayananda.[79] Ramakrishna is considered one of the main contributors to the Bengali Renaissance.


Some Monastic Disciples (L to R): Trigunatitananda, Shivananda, Vivekananda, Turiyananda, Brahmananda. Below Saradananda.

Among the Europeans who were influenced by Ramakrishna was Principal Dr. William Hastie of the Scottish Church College, Kolkata. In the course of explaining the word trance in the poem The Excursion by William Wordsworth, Hastie told his students that if they wanted to know its "real meaning", they should go to "Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar." This prompted some of his students, including Narendranath Dutta (later Swami Vivekananda), to visit Ramakrishna.

Despite initial reservations, Vivekananda became Ramakrishna's most influential follower, popularizing a modern interpretation of Indian traditions which harmonised Tantra, Yoga and Advaita Vedanta. Vivekananda established the Ramakrishna order, which eventually spread its mission posts throughout the world. Monastic disciples, who renounced their family and became the earliest monks of the Ramakrishna order, included Rakhal Chandra Ghosh (Swami Brahmananda), Kaliprasad Chandra (Swami Abhedananda), Taraknath Ghoshal (Swami Shivananda), Sashibhushan Chakravarty (Swami Ramakrishnananda), Saratchandra Chakravarty (Swami Saradananda), Tulasi Charan Dutta (Swami Nirmalananda), Gangadhar Ghatak (Swami Akhandananda), Hari Prasana (Swami Vijnanananda) and others.

Other devotees and disciples

Main articles: Disciples of Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda

Mahendranath Gupta, a householder devotee and the author of Sri-Sri-Ramakrisna-Kathamrta.

As his name spread, an ever-shifting crowd of all classes and castes visited Ramakrishna. Most of Ramakrishna's prominent disciples came between 1879–1885.[39] Apart from the early members who joined the Ramakrishna Order, his chief disciples consisted of:[64]

• Grihasthas or The householders—Mahendranath Gupta, Girish Chandra Ghosh, Mahendra Lal Sarkar, Akshay Kumar Sen and others.
• A small group of women disciples including Gauri Ma and Yogin Ma. A few of them were initiated into sanyasa through mantra deeksha. Among the women, Ramakrishna emphasised service to other women rather than tapasya (practice of austerities).[85] Gauri Ma founded the Saradesvari Ashrama at Barrackpur, which was dedicated to the education and upliftment of women.[86]

In preparation for monastic life, Ramakrishna ordered his monastic disciples to beg their food from door to door without distinction of caste. He gave them the saffron robe, the sign of the Sanyasi, and initiated them with Mantra Deeksha.[87]

Last days

In the beginning of 1885 Ramakrishna suffered from clergyman's throat, which gradually developed into throat cancer. He was moved to Shyampukur near Kolkata, where some of the best physicians of the time, including Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar, were engaged. When his condition aggravated he was relocated to a large garden house at Cossipore on 11 December 1885.[88]

The disciples and devotees at Sri Ramakrishna's funeral

During his last days, he was looked after by his monastic disciples and Sarada Devi. Ramakrishna was advised by the doctors to keep the strictest silence, but ignoring their advice, he incessantly conversed with visitors.[83] According to traditional accounts, before his death, Ramakrishna transferred his spiritual powers to Vivekananda[88] and reassured Vivekananda of his avataric status.[88][89] Ramakrishna asked Vivekananda to look after the welfare of the disciples, saying, "keep my boys together"[90] and asked him to "teach them".[90] Ramakrishna also asked other monastic disciples to look upon Vivekananda as their leader.[88]

Ramakrishna's condition gradually worsened, and he died in the early morning hours of 16 August 1886 at the Cossipore garden house. According to his disciples, this was mahasamadhi.[88] After the death of their master, the monastic disciples led by Vivekananda formed a fellowship at a half-ruined house at Baranagar near the river Ganges, with the financial assistance of the householder disciples. This became the first Math or monastery of the disciples who constituted the first Ramakrishna Order.[39]

Practices and teachings

Bhakti, Tantra, and God-realization

Ramakrishna's religious practice and worldview, contained elements of Bhakti, Tantra and Vedanta. Ramakrishna emphasised God-realisation, stating that "To realize God is the one goal in life."[91] Ramakrishna found that Hinduism, Christianity and Islam all move towards the same God or divine, though using different ways:[92] "So many religions, so many paths to reach one and the same goal," namely to experience God or Divine.[93] Ramakrishna further said, "All scriptures - the Vedas, the Puranas, the Tantras - seek Him alone and no one else." [94] The Vedic phrase "Truth is one; only It is called by different names,"[95][note 3] became a stock phrase to express Ramakrishna's inclusivism.[92]

Ramakrishna preferred "the duality of adoring a Divinity beyond himself to the self-annihilating immersion of nirvikalpa samadhi, and he helped "bring to the realm of Eastern energetics and realization the daemonic celebration that the human is always between a reality it has not yet attained and a reality to which it is no longer limited."[98] Ramakrishna is quoted in the Nikhilananda Gospel, "The devotee of God wants to eat sugar, and not to become sugar."[99]

Max Müller[note 4] portrayed Ramakrishna as, "...a Bhakta, a worshipper or lover of the deity, much more than a Gñânin or a knower."[101][102] Postcolonial literary theorist Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak wrote that Ramakrishna was a "Bengali bhakta visionary" and that as a bhakta, "he turned chiefly towards Kali."[103]

Indologist Heinrich Zimmer was the first Western scholar to interpret Ramakrishna's worship of the Divine Mother as containing specifically Tantric elements.[104][105] Neeval also argued that tantra played a main role in Ramakrishna's spiritual development.[104]

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

Main article: Books on Ramakrishna

The principal source for Ramakrishna's teaching is Mahendranath Gupta's Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita, which is regarded as a Bengali classic [106][107] and "the central text of the tradition". [108] Gupta used the pen name "M", as the author of the Gospel. The text was published in five volumes from 1902 to 1932. Based on Gupta's diary notes, each of the five volumes purports to document Ramakrishna's life from 1882–1886.

The most popular English translation of the Kathamrita is The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Nikhilananda. Nikhilananda's translation rearranged the scenes in the five volumes of the Kathamrita into a linear sequence.

Swami Nikhilananda worked with Margaret Woodrow Wilson, daughter of President Woodrow Wilson, who helped the swami to refine his literary style into "flowing American English". The mystic hymns were rendered into free verse by the American poet John Moffitt. Wilson and American mythology scholar Joseph Campbell helped edit the manuscript.[109][110] Aldous Huxley wrote in his Forward to the Gospel, "...'M' produced a book unique, so far as my knowledge goes, in the literature of hagiography. Never have the casual and unstudied utterances of a great religious teacher been set down with so minute detail."[111]

Philosopher Lex Hixon writes that the Gospel of Ramakrishna is "spiritually authentic" and a "powerful rendering of the Kathamrita".[112] Malcolm Mclean and Jeffrey Kripal both argue that the translation is unreliable,[113][114] though Kripal's interpretation is criticized by Hugh Urban.[115][need quotation to verify]

Style of teaching

Ramakrishna's teachings were imparted in rustic Bengali, using stories and parables.[5] These teachings made a powerful impact on Kolkata's intellectuals, despite the fact that his preachings were far removed from issues of modernism or national independence.[116]

Ramakrishna's primary biographers describe him as talkative. According to the biographers, Ramakrishna would reminisce for hours about his own eventful spiritual life, tell tales, explain Vedantic doctrines with extremely mundane illustrations, raise questions and answer them himself, crack jokes, sing songs, and mimic the ways of all types of worldly people, keeping the visitors enthralled.[87][117]

As an example of Ramakrishna's teachings and fun with his followers, here's a quote about his visit to an exhibition, “I once visited the MUSEUM [note 5] There was a display of fossils: living animals had turned into stone. Just look at the power of association! Imagine what would happen if you constantly kept the company of the holy.” Mani Mallick replied (laughing): “If you would go there again we could have ten to fifteen more years of spiritual instructions.”[118]

Ramakrishna used rustic colloquial Bengali in his conversations. According to contemporary reports, Ramakrishna's linguistic style was unique, even to those who spoke Bengali. It contained obscure local words and idioms from village Bengali, interspersed with philosophical Sanskrit terms and references to the Vedas, Puranas, and Tantras. For that reason, according to philosopher Lex Hixon, his speeches cannot be literally translated into English or any other language.[119] Scholar Amiya P. Sen argued that certain terms that Ramakrishna may have used only in a metaphysical sense are being improperly invested with new, contemporaneous meanings.[120]

Ramakrishna was skilled with words and had an extraordinary style of preaching and instructing, which may have helped convey his ideas to even the most skeptical temple visitors.[39] His speeches reportedly revealed a sense of joy and fun, but he was not at a loss when debating with intellectual philosophers.[121] Philosopher Arindam Chakrabarti contrasted Ramakrishna's talkativeness with the Buddha's legendary reticence, and compared his teaching style to that of Socrates.[122]

Divine nature

To a devotee Sri Ramakrishna said:

It has been revealed to me that there exists an Ocean of Consciousness without limit. From It come all things of the relative plane, and in It they merge again. These waves arising from the Great Ocean merge again in the Great Ocean. I have clearly perceived all these things.[123]

Ramakrishna regarded the Supreme Being to be both Personal and Impersonal, active and inactive:

When I think of the Supreme Being as inactive - neither creating nor preserving nor destroying - I call Him Brahman or Purusha, the Impersonal God. When I think of Him as active - creating, preserving and destroying - I call Him Sakti or Maya or Prakriti, the Personal God. But the distinction between them does not mean a difference. The Personal and Impersonal are the same thing, like milk and its whiteness, the diamond and its lustre, the snake and its wriggling motion. It is impossible to conceive of the one without the other. The Divine Mother and Brahman are one.[124]

Ramakrishna regarded maya to be of two natures, avidya maya and vidya maya. He explained that avidya maya represents dark forces of creation (e.g. sensual desire, selfish actions, evil passions, greed, lust and cruelty), which keep people on lower planes of consciousness. These forces are responsible for human entrapment in the cycle of birth and death, and they must be fought and vanquished. Vidya maya, on the other hand, represents higher forces of creation (e.g. spiritual virtues, selfless action, enlightening qualities, kindness, purity, love, and devotion), which elevate human beings to the higher planes of consciousness.[125]
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Ramakrishna taught that jatra jiv tatra Shiv (wherever there is a living being, there is Shiva). His teaching, "Jive daya noy, Shiv gyane jiv seba" (not kindness to living beings, but serving the living being as Shiva Himself) is considered as the inspiration for the philanthropic work carried out by his chief disciple Vivekananda.[126]

In the Kolkata scene of the mid to late nineteenth century, Ramakrishna was opinionated on the subject of Chakri. Chakri can be described as a type of low-paying servitude done by educated men—typically government or commerce-related clerical positions. On a basic level, Ramakrishna saw this system as a corrupt form of European social organisation that forced educated men to be servants not only to their bosses at the office but also to their wives at home. What Ramakrishna saw as the primary detriment of Chakri, however, was that it forced workers into a rigid, impersonal clock-based time structure. He saw the imposition of strict adherence to each second on the watch as a roadblock to spirituality. Despite this, however, Ramakrishna demonstrated that Bhakti could be practised as an inner retreat to experience solace in the face of Western-style discipline and often discrimination in the workplace.[127]

His spiritual movement indirectly aided nationalism, as it rejected caste distinctions and religious prejudices.[116]

Reception and legacy

Main articles: Ramakrishna's influence and Ramakrishna Mission

The marble statue of Ramakrishna at Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission

Ramakrishna is considered an important figure in the Bengali Renaissance of 19th–20th century. Several organisations have been established in his name.[128] The Ramakrishna Math and Mission is the main organisation founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1897. The Mission conducts extensive work in health care, disaster relief, rural management, tribal welfare, elementary and higher education. The movement is considered as one of the revitalisation movements of India. Amiya Sen writes that Vivekananda's "social service gospel" stemmed from direct inspiration from Ramakrishna and rests substantially on the "liminal quality" of the Master's message.[129]

Other organisations include the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society founded by Swami Abhedananda in 1923, the Ramakrishna Sarada Math founded by a rebel group in 1929, the Ramakrishna Vivekananda Mission formed by Swami Nityananda in 1976, and the Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission founded in 1959 as a sister organisation by the Ramakrishna Math and Mission.[128]

Rabindranath Tagore wrote a poem on Ramakrishna, To the Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Deva:[130]

Diverse courses of worship from varied springs of fulfillment have mingled in your meditation.

The manifold revelation of the joy of the Infinite has given form to a shrine of unity in your life
where from far and near arrive salutations to which I join my own.

During the 1937 Parliament of Religions, which was held at the Ramakrishna Mission in Calcutta, Tagore acknowledged Ramakrishna as a great saint because

...the largeness of his spirit could comprehend seemingly antagonistic modes of sadhana, and because the simplicity of his soul shames for all time the pomp and pedantry of pontiffs and pundits.[131]

Max Müller,[132] Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sri Aurobindo, and Leo Tolstoy have acknowledged Ramakrishna's contribution to humanity. Ramakrishna's influence is also seen in the works of artists such as Franz Dvorak (1862–1927) and Philip Glass.

Views and studies

Main article: Views on Ramakrishna

Transformation into neo-Vedantin

Main article: Neo-Vedanta

Photograph of Ramakrishna, taken on 10 December 1881 at the studio of "The Bengal Photographers" in Radhabazar, Calcutta (Kolkata).

Vivekananda portrayed Ramakrishna as an Advaita Vedantin. Vivekananda's approach can be located in the historical background of Ramakrishna and Calcutta during the mid-19th century.[133] Neevel notes that the image of Ramakrishna underwent several transformations in the writings of his prominent admirers, who changed the 'religious madman' into a calm and well-behaving proponent of Advaita Vedanta.[51] Narasingha Sil has argued that Vivekananda revised and mythologised Ramakrishna's image after Ramakrishna's death.[134] McDaniel notes that the Ramakrishna Mission is biased towards Advaita Vedanta, and downplays the importance of Shaktism in Ramakrishna's spirituality.[135] Malcolm McLean argued that the Ramakrishna Movement presents "a particular kind of explanation of Ramakrishna, that he was some kind of neo-Vedantist who taught that all religions lead to the same Godhead."[136]

Carl Olson argued that in his presentation of his master, Vivekananda had hid much of Ramakrishna's embarrassing sexual oddities from the public, because he feared that Ramakrishna would be misunderstood.[137] Tyagananda and Vrajaprana argue that Oslon makes his "astonishing claim" based on Kripal's speculations in Kali's Child, which they argue are unsupported by any of the source texts.[138]

Sumit Sarkar argued that he found in the Kathamrita traces of a binary opposition between unlearned oral wisdom and learned literate knowledge. He argues that all of our information about Ramakrishna, a rustic near-illiterate Brahmin, comes from urban bhadralok devotees, "...whose texts simultaneously illuminate and transform."[139]

Amiya Prosad Sen criticises Neevel's analysis,[140] and writes that "it is really difficult to separate the Tantrik Ramakrishna from the Vedantic", since Vedanta and Tantra "may appear to be different in some respects", but they also "share some important postulates between them".[141]


In 1927 Romain Roland discussed with Sigmund Freud the "oceanic feeling" described by Ramakrishna.[142] Sudhir Kakar (1991),[143] Jeffrey Kripal (1995),[72] and Narasingha Sil (1998),[144] analysed Ramakrishna's mysticism and religious practices using psychoanalysis,[145] arguing that his mystical visions, refusal to comply with ritual copulation in Tantra, Madhura Bhava, and criticism of Kamini-Kanchana (women and gold) reflect homosexuality.

Romain Rolland and the "Oceanic feeling"

See also: Geschwind syndrome

The dialogue on psychoanalysis and Ramakrishna began in 1927 when Sigmund Freud's friend Romain Rolland wrote to him that he should consider spiritual experiences, or "the oceanic feeling," in his psychological works.[142][146] Romain Rolland described the trances and mystical states experienced by Ramakrishna and other mystics as an "'oceanic' sentiment", one which Rolland had also experienced.[147] Rolland believed that the universal human religious emotion resembled this "oceanic sense."[148] In his 1929 book La vie de Ramakrishna, Rolland distinguished between the feelings of unity and eternity which Ramakrishna experienced in his mystical states and Ramakrishna's interpretation of those feelings as the goddess Kali.[149]

The Analyst and the Mystic

In his 1991 book The Analyst and the Mystic, Indian psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar saw in Ramakrishna's visions a spontaneous capacity for creative experiencing.[150] Kakar also argued that culturally relative concepts of eroticism and gender have contributed to the Western difficulty in comprehending Ramakrishna.[151] Kakar saw Ramakrishna's seemingly bizarre acts as part of a bhakti path to God.[152]

Kali's Child

In 1995, Jeffrey J. Kripal in his controversial[153][154] Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna, an interdisciplinary[155] study of Ramakrishna's life "using a range of theoretical models," most notably psycho-analysis,[115] argued that Ramakrishna's mystical experiences could be seen as symptoms of repressed homoeroticism,[155] "legitimat[ing] Ramakrishna's religious visions by situating psychoanalytic discourse in a wider Tantric worldview.[155] Jeffrey J. Kripal argued that Ramakrishna rejected Advaita Vedanta in favour of Shakti Tantra.[156]

Kripal also argued in Kali's Child that the Ramakrishna Movement had manipulated Ramakrishna's biographical documents, that the Movement had published them in incomplete and bowdlerised editions (claiming among other things, hiding Ramakrishna's homoerotic tendencies), and that the Movement had suppressed Ram Chandra Datta's Srisriramakrsna Paramahamsadever Jivanavrttanta.[72][page needed]

These views were disputed by several authors, scholars, and psychoanalysts, including Alan Roland,[142][157] Kelly Aan Raab,[158] Somnath Bhattacharyya,[159] J.S. Hawley,[152] and Swami Atmajnanananda, who wrote that Jivanavrttanta had been reprinted nine times in Bengali as of 1995,[160]

Jeffrey Kripal translates the phrase kamini-kanchana as lover and gold. The literal translation is Women and Gold. In Ramakrishna's view, lust and greed, are obstacles to God-realization. Kripal associates his translation of the phrase with Ramakrishna's alleged disgust for women as lovers.[161] Swami Tyagananda considered this to be a "linguistic misconstruction."[162] Ramakrishna also cautioned his women disciples against purusa-kanchana ("man and gold") and Tyagananda writes that Ramakrishna used Kamini-Kanchana as "cautionary words" instructing his disciples to conquer the "lust inside the mind."[163][note 6]

The application of psychoanalysis has further been disputed by Tyagananda and Vrajaprana as being unreliable in understanding Tantra and interpreting cross-cultural contexts in Interpreting Ramakrishna: Kali's Child Revisited (2010).[166]

See also

• List of Hindu gurus and saints
• Dakshineswar Kali Temple
• Relationship between Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda
• The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna


1. According to Anil D. Desai, Ramakrishna suffered from psychomotor epilepsy,[28] also called temporal lobe epilepsy.[29] See Devinsky, J.; Schachter, S. (2009). "Norman Geschwind's contribution to the understanding of behavioral changes in temporal lobe epilepsy: The February 1974 lecture". Epilepsy & Behavior. 15 (4): 417–24. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2009.06.006. PMID 19640791. for a description of characteristics of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, including increased religiosity as "a very striking feature." See also Geschwind syndrome, for descriptions of behavioral phenomena evident in some temporal lobe epilepsy patients, and Jess Hill Finding God in a seizure: the link between temporal lobe epilepsy and mysticism for some first-hand descriptions of epilepsy-induced "visions and trance-like states."
2. The Vaishnava Bhakti traditions speak of five different moods,[50] referred to as bhāvas, different attitudes that a devotee can take up to express his love for God. They are: śānta, the "peaceful attitude"; dāsya, the attitude of a servant; sakhya, the attitude of a friend; vātsalya, the attitude of a mother toward her child; and madhura, the attitude of a woman towards her lover.[51][52]
3. Referring to Rig Veda Samhita 1.164.46: "They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutman. To what is One, sages give many a title. They call it Agni, Yama, Matarisvan.".[96] Compare William A. Graham, who states that "the one" in verse 1.164.46 refers to Vāc, goddess of speech, appearing as "the creative force and absolute force in the universe." In later Vedic literature, "Speech or utterance is also identified with the supreme power or transcendent reality," and "equated with Brahman in this sense."[97]
4. In his influential[100] 1896 essay "A real mahatma: Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa Dev" and his 1899 book Râmakrishna: His Life and Sayings.
5. The word MUSEUM is in all caps to indicate it was said in English.
6. Partha Chatterjee wrote that the figure of a woman stands for concepts or entities that have "little to do with women in actuality" and "the figure of woman-and-gold signified the enemy within: that part of one's own self which was susceptible to the temptations of ever-unreliable worldly success." [164] Carl T. Jackson interprets kamini-kanchana to refer to the idea of sex and the idea of money as delusions which prevent people from realising God.[165]


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80. Farquhar, John Nicol (1915). Modern Religious Movements in India. Macmillan Co. p. 194. About 1875, Keshab Chandra Sen made his acquaintance and became very interested in him (Ramakrishna).
81. Y. Masih (2000). A Comparative Study of Religions. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 198–199.
82. Mukherjee, Dr. Jayasree (May 2004). "Sri Ramakrishna's Impact on Contemporary Indian Society". Prabuddha Bharata. Archived from the original on 24 September 2008. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
83. Müller, Max (1898). "Râmakrishna's Life". Râmakrishna his Life and Sayings. pp. 56–57.
84. Debarry, William Theodore; Ainslie Thomas Embree (1988). Sources of Indian Tradition: From the Beginning to 1800. Stephen N. Hay. Columbia University Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-231-06415-6.
85. Chetanananda, Swami (1989). They Lived with God. St. Louis: Vedanta Society of St. Louis. p. 163.
86. Beckerlegge (2006), Swami Vivekananda's Legacy of Service, p.27
87. Rolland, Romain (1929). "The Master and his Children". The Life of Ramakrishna. pp. 143–168. ISBN 978-8185301440.
88. Rolland 1929, pp. 201–214.
89. Sen 2006, p. 168
90. Williams, George M. (1989). ""Swami Vivekananda: Archetypal Hero or Doubting Saint?"". In Robert D. Baird (ed.). Religion in Modern India. p. 325.
91. Gospel of Ramakrishna by Swami Nikhilananda, page 407
92. Swami Prabhavananda 2019, p. "I have practised Hinduism, Islam, Christianity".
93. Swami Prabhavananda 2019.
94. Gospel of Ramakrishna page 423
95. Gospel of Ramakrishna, page 423
96. Rig Veda Samhita 1.164.46 Archived 6 May 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Wiki Source
97. William A. Graham, Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion, , p.70-71.
98. Cohen, Martin (2008). "Spiritual Improvisations: Ramakrishna, Aurobindo, and the Freedom of Tradition". Religion and the Arts. BRILL. 12 (1–3): 277–293. doi:10.1163/156852908X271079.
99. Vedanta Society of New York Archived 30 May 2019 at the Wayback Machine
100. John Rosselli (1978). "Sri Ramakrishna and the educated elite of late nineteenth century". Contributions to Indian Sociology. 12 (2). doi:10.1177/006996677801200203.
101. Friedrich Max Müller, Râmakrishna: His Life and Sayings Archived 22 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine, pp.93–94, Longmans, Green, 1898
102. Neevel 1976, p. 85.
103. Spivak 2007, p. 197
104. Carl T. Jackson (1994), p.154
105. Neeval and Hatcher, "Ramakrishna" in Encyclopedia of Religion, 2005 p 7613
106. Malcolm Maclean, A Translation of the sri-sri-ramakrisna-kathamrita with explanatory notes and critical introduction. University of Otago. Dunedin, New Zealand. September 1983. p vi
107. Sen 2001, p. 32.
108. Kripal 1995, p. 3.
109. Gospel of Ramakrishna Preface
110. Hixon, Lex. "Introduction". Great Swan. p. xiii.
111. Gospel of Ramakrishna page v
112. Hixon 2002, p. xiv.
113. Malcolm Maclean, A Translation of the sri-sri-ramakrisna-kathamrita with explanatory notes and critical introduction. University of Otago. Dunedin, New Zealand. September 1983. p i–iv
114. Kripal 1995, p. 4.
115. Urban 1998.
116. Menon, Parvathi (1 November 1996). "A History of Modern India: Revivalist Movements and Early Nationalism". India Abroad. Archived from the original on 11 June 2010.
117. Chakrabarti, Arindam (November 1994). "The dark mother flying kites : Sri ramakrishna's metaphysic of morals". Sophia. Springer Netherlands. 33 (3): 14–29. doi:10.1007/BF02800488.
118. American Vedantist Issue #74, Summer 2018, Sri Ramakrishna – English Lessons [1] Archived 17 August 2019 at the Wayback Machine
119. Hixon, Lex (1997). "Introduction". Great Swan. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. xi. ISBN 978-0-943914-80-0.
120. Sen, Amiya P. (June 2006). "Sri Ramakrishna, the Kathamrita and the Kolkata middle classes: an old problematic revisited". Postcolonial Studies. 9 (2): 165–177. doi:10.1080/13688790600657835.
121. Isherwood, Christopher (1945). Vedanta for the Western World: A Symposium on Vedanta. Vedanta Press. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-87481-000-4.
122. Arindam Chakrabarti, "The Dark Mother Flying Kites: Sri Ramakrishna's Metaphysic of Morals" Sophia, 33 (3), 1994
123. Ramakrishna (1980). The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Mahendranath Gupta, Abridged ed., (tr.) Swami Nikhilananda, 1974, pp.54 & 359, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, NY. ISBN 0911206027.
124. "Sri Ramakrisha The Great Master, by Swami Saradananda, (tr.) Swami Jagadananda, 5th ed., v.1, pp.558-561, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
125. Neevel 1976, p. 82.
126. Y. Masih (2000). A Comparative Study of Religions. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 207.
127. Sumit Sarkar, " 'Kaliyuga', 'Chakri' and 'Bhakti': Ramakrishna and His Times," Economic and Political Weekly 27, 29 (18 July 1992): 1548–1550.
128. Beckerlegge,Swami Vivekananda's Legacy of Service pp.1–3
129. Sen 2006, p. 165
130. Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York. (1996). Sri Ramakrishna Tributes Archived 22 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
131. Katheleen M O'Connell. Utsav-Celebration: Tagore’s Approach to Cultivating the Human Spirit and the Study of Religion Archived 8 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
132. Max Muller, The Life and Sayings of Ramakrishna, page 10 1898
133. Sarkar 1999, p. 15, 293.
134. Sil, Narasingha P. (1993). "Vivekānanda's Rāmakṛṣṇa: An Untold Story of Mythmaking and Propaganda". Numen. 40 (1): 38–62. doi:10.1163/156852793X00040. JSTOR 3270397.
135. McDaniel 2011, p. 54.
136. McLean, Malcolm, "Kali's Child: The Mystical and Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna." The Journal of the American Oriental Society Tuesday, 1 July 1997 Archived 28 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
137. Olson, Carl (1998). "Vivekānanda and Rāmakṛṣṇa Face to Face: An Essay on the Alterity of a Saint". International Journal of Hindu Studies. 2 (1): 43–66. doi:10.1007/s11407-998-0008-2. JSTOR 20106536.
138. Tyagananda & Vrajaprana 2010, p. 172
139. Sumit Sarkar, "Post-modernism and the Writing of History" Studies in History 1999; 15; 293
140. Sen 2006.
141. Sen (2001), p. 22.
142. Roland, Alan (October 2004). "Ramakrishna: Mystical, Erotic, or Both?". Journal of Religion and Health. 37: 31–36. doi:10.1023/A:1022956932676.
143. The Analyst and the Mystic (1991)[page needed]
144. Sil 1998.
145. Jonte-Pace 2003, p. 94.
146. "Oceanic Feeling" by Henri Vermorel and Madeleline Vermoral in International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis [2] Archived 11 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
147. The Enigma of the Oceanic Feeling: Revisioning the Psychoanalytic Theory of Mysticism By William Barclay Parsons, Oxford University Press US, 1999 ISBN 0-19-511508-2, p 37
148. Marianna Torgovnick (1998). Primitive Passion: Men, Women, and the Quest for Ecstasy. University of Chicago Press. p. 12.
149. Parsons 1999, 14
150. Cite error: The named reference parsons_133 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
151. Cite error: The named reference sk was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
152. Hawley, John Stratton (June 2004). "The Damage of Separation: Krishna's Loves and Kali's Child". Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 72 (2): 369–393. doi:10.1093/jaarel/lfh034. PMID 20681099.
153. McDaniel 2011, p. 53.
154. Balagangadhara 2008.
155. Parsons 2005, p. 7479.
156. Parsons 1999, 135–136
157. Roland, Alan. (2007) The Uses (and Misuses) Of Psychoanalysis in South Asian Studies: Mysticism and Child Development. Invading the Sacred: An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in America. Delhi, India: Rupa & Co. ISBN 978-81-291-1182-1
158. Raab 1995, pp. 321–341.
159. Invading the Sacred, p.152-168
160. Atmajnanananda 1997.
161. Kripal 1995, p. 281; 277–287.
162. Tyagananda & Vrajaprana 2010, p. 243.
163. Tyagananda & Vrajaprana 2010, pp. 256–257.
164. Chaterjee 1993, pp. 68–69
165. Carl T. Jackson (1994), pp. 20–21.
166. See:p.127 and "Interpretation in Cross-Cultural Contexts". In Tyagananda & Vrajaprana 2010


• Adiswarananda, Swami (2005), The Spiritual Quest and the Way of Yoga: The Goal, the Journey and the Milestones
• Atmajnanananda, Swami (August 1997). "Scandals, cover-ups, and other imagined occurrences in the life of Ramakrishna: An examination of Jeffrey Kripal's Kali's child". International Journal of Hindu Studies. Netherlands: Springer. 1 (2): 401–420. doi:10.1007/s11407-997-0007-8.
• Balagangadhara, S. N.; Claerhout, Sarah (2008). "Are Dialogues Antidotes to Violence? Two Recent Examples from Hinduism Studies" (PDF). Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies. 7 (19): 118–143.
• Beckerlegge, Gwilym (March 2006). Swami Vivekananda's Legacy of Service. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-567388-3.
• Bennett, A.E. (1962). "Psychiatric aspects of psychomotor epilepsy". Calif Med. 97: 346–9. PMC 1575714. PMID 13967457.
• Bhattacharyya, Somnath. "Kali's Child: Psychological And Hermeneutical Problems". Infinity Foundation. Archived from the original on 4 October 2007. Retrieved 15 March2008.
• Bhawuk, Dharm P.S. (February 2003). "Culture's influence on creativity: the case of Indian spirituality". International Journal of Intercultural Relations. Elsevier. 27 (1): 8. doi:10.1016/S0147-1767(02)00059-7.
• Brodd, Jeffrey; Sobolewski, Gregory (2003). World Religions: A Voyage of Discovery. Saint Mary's Press.
• Chatterjee, Partha (1993), The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories, Princeton University Press, p. 296, ISBN 978-0-691-01943-7
• Clarke, Peter Bernard (2006). New Religions in Global Perspective. Routledge.
• Feuerstein, Georg (2002). The Yoga Tradition. Motilal Banarsidass.
• Gupta, Mahendranath ("M."); Nikhilananda, Swami (1942). The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center. ISBN 0-911206-01-9.
• Gupta, Mahendranath ("M."); Dharm Pal Gupta (2001). Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita. Sri Ma Trust. ISBN 978-81-88343-00-3.
• Harding, Elizabeth U. (1998). Kali, the Dark Goddess of Dakshineswar. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-1450-9.
• Heehs, Peter (2002). "Ramakrishna Paramahamsa". Indian Religions. Orient Blackswan.
• Hixon, Lex (2002). Great Swan: Meetings With Ramakrishna. Burdett, N.Y.: Larson Publications. ISBN 0-943914-80-9.
• Isherwood, Christopher (1980). Ramakrishna and His Disciples. Hollywood, Calif: Vedanta Press. ISBN 0-87481-037-X. (reprint, orig. 1965)
• Jackson, Carl T. (1994). Vedanta for the West. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-33098-X.
• Jestice, Phyllis G. (2004). Holy People of the World: A Cross-cultural Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-355-1.
• Jonte-Pace, Diane Elizabeth (2003). "Freud as interpreter of religious texts and practices". Teaching Freud. Oxford University Press US. p. 94.
• Katrak, Sarosh M. (2006). "An eulogy for Prof. Anil D. Desai". Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology. 9 (4): 253–254.
• Kripal, Jeffery J. (1995), Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna, University of Chicago Press
• McDaniel, June (2011). "Book Review: "Interpreting Ramakrishna: Kali's Child Revisited"". Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies. 24. doi:10.7825/2164-6279.1489.
• Müller, Max (1898). Ramakrishna: His Life and Sayings. Great Britain: LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. ISBN 81-7505-060-8.
• Neevel, Walter G.; Smith, Bardwell L. (1976). "The Transformation of Ramakrishna". Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions. Brill Archive.
• Parsons, William B. (2005), "Psychology", in Jones, Lindsay (ed.), MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion, MacMillan
• Raab, Kelley Ann (1995). "Is There Anything Transcendent about Transcendence? A Philosophical and Psychological Study of Ramakrishna". Journal of the American Academy of Religion. London: Oxford University Press. 63 (2): 321–341. doi:10.1093/jaarel/LXIII.2.321. JSTOR 1465404.
• Rajagopalachari, Chakravarti (1973). Sri Ramakrishna Upanishad. Vedanta Press. ASIN B0007J1DQ4.
• Ramaswamy, Krishnan; Antonio de Nicolas (2007). Invading the Sacred: An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in America. Delhi, India: Rupa & Co. ISBN 978-81-291-1182-1.
• Rolland, Romain (1929). The Life of Ramakrishna. Vedanta Press. ISBN 978-81-85301-44-0.
• Swami Prabhavananda (2019), Religion in Practice, Routledge
• Saradananda, Swami; Jagadananda, Swami (1952), Sri Ramakrishna The Great Master, Sri Ramakrishna Math, ASIN B000LPWMJQ
• Saradananda, Swami; Chetanananda, Swami (2003). Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play. St. Louis: Vedanta Society. ISBN 978-0-916356-81-1.
• Schneiderman, Leo (1969). "Ramakrishna: Personality and Social Factors in the Growth of a Religious Movement". Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. London: Blackwell Publishing. 8 (1): 60–71. doi:10.2307/1385254. JSTOR 1385254.
• Sen, Amiya P. (2001). Three essays on Sri Ramakrishna and his times. Indian Institute of Advanced Study. ISBN 8185952876.
• Sen, Amiya P. (June 2006). "Sri Ramakrishna, the Kathamrita and the Calcutta middle classes: an old problematic revisited". Postcolonial Studies. 9 (2): 165–177. doi:10.1080/13688790600657835.
• Sil, Narasingha (1998). Ramakrishna Revisited. Lanham: University Press of America. ISBN 978-0761810520.
• Sen, Amiya P. (2010). Ramakrishna Paramahamsa: Sadhaka of Dakshineswar. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 978-81-8475-250-2.
• Smart, Ninian (28 June 1998). The World's Religions. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-63748-0.
• Smith, Bardwell L. (1976). Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions. Brill Archive.
• Smith, Bardwell L. (1982), Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions, BRILL
• Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (2008). Other Asias. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-405-10206-3.
• Tyagananda; Vrajaprana (2010). Interpreting Ramakrishna: Kali's Child Revisited. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. p. 410. ISBN 978-81-208-3499-6.
• Urban, Hugh (1998). "Review of Kripal's "Kālī's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna"". The Journal of Religion. 78 (2): 318–320. doi:10.1086/490220. JSTOR 1205982.
• Vivekananda (2005), Prabuddha Bharata, 110, Advaita Ashrama
• Zaleski, Philip (2006). "The Ecstatic". Prayer: A History. Mariner Books.

Further reading

Further information: Bibliography of Ramakrishna

• Gupta, Mahendranath, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, translated by Swami Nikhilananda, Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math
• Neevel, Walter G.; Smith, Bardwell L. (1976). "The Transformation of Ramakrishna". Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions. Brill Archive.
• Sen, Amiya P. (2010). Ramakrishna Paramahamsa: Sadhaka of Dakshineswar. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 978-81-8475-250-2.
• Jeffrey J. Kripal (1995), Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna. First edition. University of Chicago Press.
• Shourie, Arun (2017), Two Saints: Speculations around and about Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharishi., Harper Collins.
• Tyagananda; Vrajaprana (2010). Interpreting Ramakrishna: Kali's Child Revisited. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-3499-6.
• Advaita Ashrama. Ramakrishna on Himself. Advaita Ashrama. ISBN 978-81-7505-812-5.

External links

• Ramakrishna at Curlie
• Works by or about Ramakrishna at Internet Archive
• Ramakrishna at Encyclopædia Britannica
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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John Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20



The Right Honourable
The Lord Lawrence
The then Sir John Lawrence photographed by Maull & Polybank, c. 1850s
Viceroy and Governor-General of India
In office
12 January 1864 – 12 January 1869
Monarch Queen Victoria
Prime Minister
Preceded by Sir William Denison
As Acting Viceroy and Governor-General
Succeeded by The Earl of Mayo
Personal details
Born: 4 March 1811, Richmond, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Died: 27 June 1879 (aged 68), London, United Kingdom
Nationality: British
Spouse(s): Harriette Hamilton, (m. 1841)
Alma mater: East India Company College

John Laird Mair Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence, GCB GCSI PC (4 March 1811 – 27 June 1879), known as Sir John Lawrence, Bt., between 1858 and 1869, was an English-born Ulsterman who became a prominent British Imperial statesman who served as Viceroy of India from 1864 to 1869.

Early life

Lawrence was born in Richmond, North Yorkshire.[1] He was the youngest son born into a Protestant Ulster-Scots family, his mother, Letitia Knox, being from County Donegal while his father was from Coleraine in County Londonderry. Lawrence spent his early years in Derry, a city in the Province of Ulster in the northern part of Ireland, and was educated at Foyle College and Wraxhall School in Bath.[2] His father had served in India as a soldier in the British Army and his elder brothers included Sir George Lawrence and Sir Henry Lawrence.

At the age of sixteen, despite wishing for a military career like his brothers, his father enrolled him at the East India Company College, Haileybury, believing a career as a civil servant offered better prospects.[3] He attended Haileybury for two years, where by his own admission he was neither very idle nor very industrious, yet he won prizes in history, political economy and Bengali.[3]

Passage to India

Lawrence entered the Bengal Civil Service and in September 1829 he set sail for India with his brother Henry. On arrival he settled at Fort William where he was expected to pass examinations in local vernacular.[3] Having successfully mastered Persian and Urdu, Lawrence's first job was as a magistrate and tax collector in Delhi.[4] After four years in Delhi he was transferred to Panipat and two years hence was placed in charge of Gurgaon district.[3]

In 1837, Lawrence was made a settlement officer at Etawah. Whilst doing the role he caught jungle fever and was close to death. He spent three months in Calcutta to convalesce but having failed to recover he returned to England in 1840. The following year, whilst in County Donegal he met and married his wife Harriette in August 1841.[2] The couple then spent six months travelling Europe until news from the First Anglo-Afghan War led to them returning to England, and back to India in the autumn of 1842.[3]

On his return to India, Lawrence was appointed a Civil and Sessions Judge in Delhi, and given responsibility over Karnal.[3] During the First Anglo-Sikh War between 1845 and 1846, Sir Henry Hardinge sent orders for Lawrence to assist the armed forces. He played a key role ahead of the Battle of Sobraon, ensuring supplies and guns were collected and transferred to the battle.[3]


Jullundur and the Hill States

The East India Company's victory at Sobraon brought the war to an end, and his brother Henry was made the Resident at Lahore. Sir Henry Hardinge appointed Lawrence to govern the newly-annexed Jullundur district and Hill-States regions of the Punjab.[4] In that role he was known for his administrative reforms, for subduing the hill tribes, and for his attempts to end the custom of suttee.[3] He attempted to tackle the issue of female infanticide, successfully threatening the Bedi's with confiscation of their lands if they didn't give up the practice.[3] His assistant Robert Cust described Lawrence's interviews with native land-holders as follows:[3]

John Lawrence was full of energy – his coat off, his sleeves turned up above his elbows and impressing upon his subjects his principles of a just state demand...thou shall not burn thy widow, thou shall not kill thy daughters; thou shall not bury alive thy lepers.

Another assistant, Lewin Bowring, described how he had a rough tongue with the local chiefs, who had a wholesome dread of him. He was described as far abler than his brother at details, but was not held in as much affection by the chiefs.[3]

Board of Administration

On 30 March 1849, the Punjab was proclaimed a province of British India. A Board of Administration was formed to govern the province, led by Henry Lawrence, and with John Lawrence assisting alongside Charles Grenville Mansel. In the role he was responsible for numerous reforms of the province, including the abolition of internal duties, establishment of a common currency and postal system, and encouraged the development of Punjabi infrastructure, earning him the sobriquet of "the Saviour of the Punjab".[3] Lawrence was eager to raise money for public works and to raise improve infrastructure after half a century of conflict, however was also driven to make ends meet and to deliver a surplus.[3]

After three years, revenue had increased by fifty percent and the Punjab was delivering a surplus of over one million pounds sterling.[3] Lawrence oversaw an extension of the Grand Trunk Road from Delhi to Peshawar, the construction of a highway from Lahore to Multan, and the Bari Doab Canal which provided a boon to cultivators in the area.[3]

Despite being highly successful in its output, the Board of Administration also saw tensions over Henry's policy of retaining the support of the local aristocracy, with John arguing that the policy was too extravagant and hurting finances.[4] In December 1852, with the success of the Board of Administration ensured, both John and Henry offered their resignation, both with a view of take up the vacant Residency at Hyderabad.[3] Lord Dalhousie also feeling the necessity of a Board of Administration was no longer required, sought to replace it with a Chief Commissioner. Dalhousie accepted Henry's resignation and made John the first Chief Commissioner of the Punjab.[4]

Chief Commissioner

As Chief Commissioner, Lawrence carried on the policies from before - public works were extended, industry and education encouraged and surveying completed. He granted greater authority to villages, and upheld the decisions of village headsmen.[3] In addition, Lawrence now also had responsibility for managing the mercurial group of assistants recruited by his brother known as Henry Lawrence's "Young Men".

In February 1856, John returned to Calcutta to wish farewell to the departing Lord Dalhousie who was retiring to England. As a parting gift, Dalhouse recommended Lawrence for a KCB.[2] Whilst in Calcutta, John would also meet Henry for the last time, spending three days together.[3]

Sepoy Rebellion

See also: Indian Rebellion of 1857

John Laird Mair Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence in 1860s

John Lawrence was in Rawalpindi when he received news of a sepoy uprising in Meerut.[3]

The Punjab garrison in May 1857 was 60,000 strong, consisting of 10,000 Europeans, 36,000 Hindustani sepoys and 14,000 Punjabi irregulars.[3] His first step was to disarm potentially disaffected sepoys by splitting them into detachments and dispatching them to the Afghan frontier where they were less likely to rebel.[3] His next steps were to send the Corps of Guides, 1st Punjabi's (Coke's Afridis), 4th Sikhs and 4th Punjab Infantry seven hundred miles to Delhi.[3] To patrol the now militarily depleted Punjab, Lawrence then at the suggestion of John Nicholson and Herbert Edwardes deployed a movable column of lightly equipped European and Punjabi troops, and chose Neville Chamberlain to lead it.[3]

To guarantee the loyalty of the Punjab, he requested Sikh chiefs show gratitude for leniency following annexation, and Patiala, Jhind, Nabha and Kapurthala all offered troops and money in support of the British. This ensured the lines of communication between Delhi and Lahore remained open.[3] He wrote to influential Sikhs who had previously rebelled during the Second Sikh War, and successfully secured their support by offering them a chance of redemption if they lent support against the mutiny. Lawrence was also able to gain the support of Muslims in the Punjab such as the Nawab of Karnal.[3]

As the fighting continued, Lawrence felt inclined to send the large contingent of European soldiers stationed at Peshawar to Delhi.[3] This raised the prospect of an attack by Dost Mohammed Khan when the Peshawar garrison was left less secure. Lawrence's assistants, led by John Nicholson and even the Governor-General, Lord Canning, were insistent on the need to protect Peshawar.[3] Lawrence nonetheless placed greater importance on the fall of Delhi, and pressed ahead with the re-deployment of troops to Delhi. By 6 September, Lawrence wrote to Lord Canning that the Punjab had sent every man they could spare.[3] On 14 September, Delhi had been recaptured and due to his actions Lawrence was acclaimed as the 'Saviour of India'.[5]

Aftermath of Rebellion

In the immediate aftermath of the rebellion, the British perpetrated acts of vengeance, including summary executions.[6] In February 1858 Delhi became part of the Punjab, and Lawrence took steps to check the acts of vengeance.[7] That same month he wrote to Lord Canning urging him to permit sepoys who had not taken part in the mutiny to return home, and to grant an amnesty for those who did not murder anyone and had given up their arms.[3]

Calls were made to raze Delhi to the ground, and dismantle the Jama Masjid, however Lawrence resisted such calls stating holy places should be spared.[3] Popular opinion within British society was shaped by reports of the atrocities committed by the rebels and demanded the most severe retribution on the alleged culprits, an opinion which was resisted by Lord Canning and Lawrence.[3]

In 1858, the Punjab was made a Lieutenant Governorship which resulted in an increase in staff and other privileges. In February 1859, Lawrence handed over power to Robert Montgomery and set sail for England. For his service in the mutiny he was created a baronet, granted a GCB, made a Privy Councillor and received an annual pension from the East India Company of £2,000.[8] On arrival in England he was greeted with a lavish ceremony at Guildhall and afforded an audience with Queen Victoria.[3] He also took up a role with the Council of India based at Whitehall.[3]

Additionally he received the freedoms of the cities of London (1858) and Glasgow (1860), the freedom of the Worshipful Company of Grocers (1859) and honorary doctorates of civil law from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge (1859).[9]

Viceroy of India

Sir John Lawrence as Viceroy of India, sitting middle, with his Executive Council members and Secretaries

Following the unexpected death of Lord Elgin in 1863, Lawrence accepted the offer to become Viceroy of India. On 12 January 1864, Sir John Lawrence returned to India. His stated ambitions as Viceroy were to consolidate British power and to improve the ‘condition of the people’.[10] One of his first acts was to ban the Hindu practice of throwing their dead into the Hooghly River.[11] To enable Lawrence to claim both his annuity from the East India Company and his full salary as Viceroy, the Salary of Sir J. Lawrence Act 1864 was passed in March 1864.[12]

Domestic policy

In domestic policy, Lawrence sought to increase tenant security and to reduce fiscal assessments imposed on Indians, believing that what had worked in the Punjab would work across British India.[10] He saw light taxation as a matter of fairness and pragmatism, arguing that for Indian yeomen to safeguard British rule it was essential that they should feel the benefits of a British administration. Lawrence resisted calls for increasing the taxation of salt that would have disproportionately affected poorer Indians. He calculated that the excise on salt increased its price as much as twelvefold in the Punjab, and perhaps by eight times in the North West Provinces.[10] Lawrence abhorred the stance taken by many of his compatriots, who considered it their 'prerogative while in India to pay no taxation at all.' He characterised the non-official British community in India as 'birds of passage', rushing to amass wealth as quickly as possible with no care for what happened after their departure.[10]

Arguably the greatest failure of Lawrence's tenure was the Orissa famine of 1866, in which an estimated one million Indians died.[10] Part of the criticism focused on his moving the government apparatus to the cooler hills of Simla which was geographically remote from the centre of power in Calcutta.[10] In response, Lawrence offered his resignation, but this was refused by Viscount Cranborne.[10]

Foreign policy

In 1858, under the terms of the Queen's Proclamation issued by Queen Victoria British India, came under the direct rule of the British crown.[13] As such government policies were no longer decided by the East India Company but by a minister at Westminster. During Lawrence's tenure as Viceroy he was afforded considerable scope by Westminster for determining Indian foreign policy largely due to his fame and wealth of knowledge in the region.[10]

In June 1863, the Emir of Afghanistan, Dost Muhammad Khan, died. This resulted in a civil war within Afghanistan at a time when the British government were concerned with Russian expansionism in central Asia. Lawrence adopted a policy of strict non-intervention on Afghanistan, adopting a policy that would be known as 'masterly inactivity.' As such no British envoys or troops were sent to Afghanistan. He even prohibited civilian explorers from wandering beyond the frontier. It has been argued that part of Lawrence's reasoning for this policy may have been shaped by his experience of the disastrous First Anglo-Afghan War where his brother George was held captive.[14]

Lawrence argued that any serious attempt to restrain Russia's advance by active measures in Afghanistan would certainly lead to a policy resulting in the eventual occupation of that country, as was the case in 1838.[10] Amongst the strongest criticism of Lawrence's policy of ‘masterly inactivity’ came from serving or former British army officers in India such as Henry Rawlinson and Sir Sydney Cotton.[10] Criticism centred on the belief that Britain's apparent passivity would allow Russia to establish her influence at Kabul.[10]

Return to England

Lawrence completed his five-year term as Viceroy and returned to England in January 1869. In April he was raised to the peerage as Baron Lawrence, of the Punjaub and of Grateley in the County of Southampton.[15]

Arthur Munby, as quoted in Munby, Man of Two Worlds, wrote: 'Thursday, 31st. May, 18??:... Passing through Kensington Tuesday, (29th.May) I saw a man of all others worth seeing-Sir John Lawrence. He was riding down the street alone—without even a groom:and no one knew or noticed him. A large, loosely made man:sitting grave and quiet on his horse; with sallow wrinkled face and grizzled moustache: riding along, an unappreciated king of men, with such keen eyes and such a solemn face! And he all unnoticed, and still a commoner, while Vernon Smith is a peer! But idiots are proverbially the favourites of fortune.'

He was chairman of the London School Board between 1870 and 1873.[16]

He briefly returned to the public sphere, as a critic of the Conservative government's Afghan policy in the months preceding the Second Afghan War in 1878.[10]


Lawrence died in London on 27 June 1879, aged 68 and was buried at Westminster Abbey.[2]


Statue of Lord Lawrence in Waterloo Place, London

Lawrence married Harriette Katherine, daughter of The Reverend Richard Hamilton, in 1841.[2] They had 4 sons and 6 daughters:[17]

• Charlotte Lawrence (1839–)
• Catherine Letitia Lawrence (1843–1931)
• Harriette Emily Lawrence (1844–1918)
• John Hamilton Lawrence (1845–1913), succeeded his father as the 2nd Baron Lawrence
• Henry Lawrence (1848–1902), a noted rugby player who captained England in two matches, including the first ever international against Ireland.
• Alice Margaret Lawrence (1850–1944)
• Mary Emma Lawrence (1852–1939)
• Charles Napier Lawrence (1854–1927), businessman and was created Baron Lawrence of Kingsgate in 1923
• Herbert Alexander Lawrence (1861–1943), a First World War general and a banker
• Maude Agnes Lawrence (1865–1933)


A boarding house at the East India Company College (today Haileybury and Imperial Service College) and a "house" at Foyle College was subsequently named after him. Lawrence is also a Senior Wing House at St Paul's School, Darjeeling, in India, where all the Senior Wing Houses are named after colonial-era civil service and military figures.

A statue of him stands at Foyle and Londonderry College (having been, originally, erected in Lahore). The statue, by Sir Joseph Boehme, once showed Lawrence with a pen in one hand and a sword in the other, along with the caption "By which will you be governed?". The pen and sword were used to illustrate his versatility as an administrator and a soldier. Vandals have since damaged the sword. Another statue of Lawrence stands in Waterloo Place in central London.


Coat of arms of John Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence

Crest: Out of an eastern crown Or a cubit arm entwined by a wreath of laurel and holding a dagger all Proper.
Escutcheon: Ermine on a cross raguly Gules an eastern crown Or on a chief Azure two swords in saltire Proper pommels and hilts Gold between as many leopards’ faces Argent
Supporters: Dexter, an officer of the Guide Cavalry (Irregulars) of the Pathan tribe in the province of Peshawar habited and accoutred Proper. Sinister an officer of the Sikh Irregular cavalry also habited and accoutred Proper.
Motto: Be Ready[18]


1. "BBC – Radio 4 Empire – the Sepoy Rebellion (I)".
2. Venn, John (15 September 2011). Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900, Volume 2. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1108036146.
3. Gibbon, Frederick (1908). The Lawrences of the Punjab. London: JM Dent & Co. ISBN 978-1-331-55959-7.
4. Harlow & Carter, Barbara & Mia (2003). Archives of Empire: Volume I. From The East India Company to the Suez Canal Volume 1 of Archives of Empire. New Delhi: Duke University Press. ISBN 0822331640.
5. The Times, 29 July 1858, p. 8.
6. Metcalf, The Aftermath of Revolt, p. 295.
7. Metcalf, The Aftermath of Revolt, p. 295.
8. "No. 22171". The London Gazette. 6 August 1858. p. 3667.
9. Bosworth Smith, Life of Lord Lawrence, vol. II, chs. 8 & 9.
10. Wallace, Christopher Julian (June 2014). 'Masterly inactivity': Lord Lawrence, Britain and Afghanistan, 1864–1879. King's College London.
11. Bosworth Smith, Life of Lord Lawrence, vol. II, p. 418
12. A Collection of the Public General Statutes passed in the Twenty-seventh and Twenty-eighth Years of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria: Being the Sixth Session of the Eighteenth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswoode. 1864. p. 3.
13. Hibbert 2000, p. 221
14. J.L. Duthie, ‘Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson and the Art of Great Gamesmanship’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, XI (1983), 258.
15. "No. 23483". The London Gazette. 30 March 1869. p. 2006.
16. Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003.
17. "John Laird Mair Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence". The Peerage.
18. Burke's Peerage. 1949.


• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lawrence, John Laird Mair Lawrence, 1st Baron". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
• Mundy, Man of Two Worlds.Derek Hudson.The Life and Diaries of Arthur Munby, 1828–1910.Abacus Edition, 1974, published by Sphere Books.

Further reading

• "Lawrence, John Laird Mair". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/16182. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
• William Ford (1887). John Laird Mair Lawrence, a viceroy of India.
• Reginald Bosworth Smith, Life of Lord Lawrence, in 2 vols., (London: Smith Elder & Co., 1883)
o "Review of Life of Lord Lawrence by R. Bosworth Smith". The Quarterly Review. 155: 289–326. April 1883.

External links

• Portraits of John Laird Mair Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence at the National Portrait Gallery, London
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