Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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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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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:42 am

Part 2 of 2


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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• 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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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:59 am

Brahmo Samaj of India
Accessed: 2/12/20



A meeting was held on 11th November 1866 at the house of the Brahmo Samaj of India Calcutta College in which more than two hundred people assembled and the Brahmo Samaj of India was formally established. It was proposed by Keshub Chandra Sen and seconded by Aghornath Gupta. One of the resolutions in the meeting was to publish a compilation of sacred texts from different scriptures and another resolution marked a farewell address to Debendranath Tagore conveying the love and reverence of the younger members.

There was a renewed burst of missionary activity and Bijoy Krishna Goswami, Aghornath Gupta and Jadunath Chakravarti started for Eastern Bengal. Great efforts were made to get ready a number of publications including a collection of texts from the scriptures of different nations to be placed in the hands of these missionaries.


On the occasion of the anniversary festival on 24th January 1868 Keshub laid the foundation stone of his mandir called the Tabernacle of New Dispensation. Keshub and his followes marched to the proposed spot early in the morning performing sankirtan and this was the first Brahmo street procession and it was the first of its kind in Calcutta. Adi Samaj condemned it as a degradation of Brahmoism.

Keshub Chandra Sen

The newly constructed chapel was consecrated on 22nd of August, 1869. The declaration of the principles of the new church was as follows:

Today, by Divine Grace, the public worship of God is instituted in these premises for the use of the Brahmo community. Every day, at least every week, the Only God without a second, the Perfect and Infinite, the Creator of all, Omnipresent, Almighty, All-Knowing, All-Merciful, and All-Holy shall be worshipped in these premises. No created object shall be worshipped here, no man or inferior being or material object shall be worshipped here, as identical with God or like unto God or as an incarnation of God, and no prayer or hymn shall be offered, or chanted in the name of any except God. No carved or painted image, no external symbol which has been or may hereafter be used by any sect for the purpose of worship, or the remembrance of any particular event shall be preserved here. No creature shall be sacrificed here; neither eating nor drinking nor any manner of mirth or amusement shall be allowed here. No created being or object that has been or may hereafter be worshipped by any sect shall be ridiculed or condemned in the course of the Divine Service to be conducted here. No book shall be acknowledged or revered as the infallible work of God; yet no book which has been or may hereafter be acknowledged by any sect to be infallible shall be ridiculed or condemned. No sect shall be vilified, ridiculed or hated. No prayer, hymn, sermon or discourse to be delivered or used here shall countenance or encourage any manner of idolatry, sectarianism or sin. Divine service shall be conducted here in such a spirit or manner as may enable all men and women, irrespective of distinction of caste and colour and condition, to unite in one family, eschew all manner of error and sin and advance in wisdom, faith and righteousness. The congregation of the Brahmo Mandir of India shall worship God in these premises according to the rules and principles hereinbefore set forth."

This was close to the principles laid down by Rammohun Roy in the Trust Deed of the Brahmo Samaj.

Symbol of Navavidhan


The New Dispensation was anounced in 1880. A special festival commenced on 1st Magh and went on to 19th Magh (according to the Bengali calendar). A Pilgrimage to the Saints special service was held in the memory of great men like Moses, Socrates, Sakya, The Rishis, Christ, Muhammad, Chaitanya, and Scientific men. A new feature called the flag ceremony and the Arati (lighting of the Panchapradip five lamps and waving it with the ringing of bells, sound of conch shells) was added in 1881. Keshub told his Apostles of the New Dispensation to go bear the flag of the New Dispensation. This flag reconciles the four religions -- Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. It also reconciles East, West, North and South. It also reconciles bhakti (love), jnan (knowledge), yoga (communion) and karma (good works). In 1881, the old Missionary Conference was converted to the Apostolic Durbar. The missionaries were classified as Apostles proper and Apostles on probation. Special vows were also formulated on this occasion. They were: The Vow of Poverty, Sacramental Ceremony, The Vow of Self-Surrender, An Order of Sisterhood, An Order of Divinity students, The Hom ceremony, The New Baptisimal ceremony, and much later on a Vow of conjugal asceticism.

The New Law

From the New Dispensation of 2nd September, 1883

The signs of the times clearly point to the necessity of organisation. Heaven calls us to fellowship and unity. And who can be indifferent or defiant when the Lord our Master issues His mandate? Scattered Israel must be gathered saith the Lord. Undisciplined and unruly soldiers must be brought under control and discipline, and the Army of the Faithful must be forthwith organised. Wandering pilgrims and way-farers must be brought home, and united by domestic ties of attachment and kinship, and the home of God's children must be erected in India. The Lord's people shall no longer live under foreign powers in a state of mutual estrangement and separation, but must dwell together in the Holy City of the New Dispensation, under heaven's Sovereign. Lawless hordes of men and women must abide in peace and unity under the Reigns of Law. Such, we apprehend, is the command of our Master, and we must hasten to render loyal obedience. The New Samhita will be shortly ready, and a day ought to be appointed for its formal promulgation among our people, a day that will close the epoch of anarchy, self-wilt and lawlessness and usher in the kingdom of law and discipline and harmony. All our Churches in the metropolis and the provinces and all individuals professing loyalty to the divine Dispensation ought to acknowledge and accept the Law on that occasion, for their own guidance and the regulation of all social and domestic concerns. Let not the Samhita be a new fetish. It is no infallible gospel: it is not our holy scripture. It is only the national Law of the Aryans of the New Church in India, in which is embodied the spirit of the New Faith in its application to social life. It contains the essence of God's moral law adapted to the peculiar needs and structure of reformed Hindus and based upon their national instincts and traditions. It is essentially, not literally, Heaven's holy Injunction unto us of the New Church in India.

We shall not, therefore, bow to its letter, but accept its spirit and its essence for our guidance.

How many in India are to obey the summons of our Holy Church? How many families are ready to submit to the ordinances of the New Law? Let them come forward in scores, in hundreds, from all parts of India, and unite not merely in doctrine and faith but in daily life on the organized basis of the fellowship of law. One God, one scripture, one law, one baptism, one home, shall unite us in a mighty fraternal alliance, before which no enemy shall prevail, and all the powers of evil shall eventually succumb. The blessed season has come, and let all our brethren prepare.

Protap Chunder Moozomdar

After the death of Keshub there was bitter factionalism in the Samaj and it was torn into divisions and sub divisions. The members of the Durbar wanted to keep the pulpit at the Tabernacle vacant denying access to the preachers who came after him. This led to a conflict with Protap Chunder Moozomdarm who was dragged away bodily off the pulpit when he accessed it one day. There was bitter tug of war between the constitutionalist and the Durbar people. The Victoria college was maintained by grants from the Cooch Behar Maharani helped by P C Moozomdar. Pran Krishna Dutta ran the Calcutta Orphanage and Prasanna Kumar Sen founded the school Keshub Academy. There were also a lot of publications from the Samaj like the Bengali Dharmatattwa and Bamabodhini, the English Indian Mirror, Sunday Mirror etc.
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Aghore Nath Gupta
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Accessed: 2/12/20



Aghore Nath Gupta
Born: 1841, Shantipur
Died: 9 December 1881, Lucknow
Occupation: Brahmo missionary, scholar on Buddhism

Aghore Nath Gupta (Bengali: অঘোরনাথ গুপ্ত) (1841–1881) was a scholar of Buddhism and a preacher of the Brahmo Samaj.[1] He was designated Sadhu (saint) after his premature death in recognition of his pious life.[2] Sivanath Sastri wrote about him, "His unfeigned humility, deep spirituality and earnest devotion were a new revelation to the members of the Samaj."[3]

Formative years

The son of Jadab Chandra Roy Kabibhusan, he was born at Shantipur in Nadia. He lost his father at the age of twelve and had his early education in the traditional centres of education, the tols and pathasalas. When he went to Kolkata to study in Sanskrit College, he came under the influence of Debendranath Tagore and Keshub Chunder Sen and joined the Brahmo movement.[1]

Initiated into the Brahmo movement by his fellow-villager Bijoy Krishna Goswami, he was amongst the first apostles of the Brahmo Samaj, who took up its banner in the midst of bitter persecution and great privations.[4]

A strict vegetarian in his personal life, he devoted much of his time to prayers. Aghore Nath married a child widow of a different caste in 1863.[1]

Missionary work

Braja Sundar Mitra had bought a house in Armeniatola in Dhaka in 1857 and started a Brahmo Samaj there.[5] He started a Brahmo School there in 1863. Aghore Nath joined the school as a missionary teacher and stayed there for about ten months. Amongst those who were influenced by him to join the Brahmo Samaj were Banga Chandra Roy and Bhuban Mohan Sen. It was during this period that the two brothers Kali Mohan Das and Durga Mohan Das visited Dhaka and created a stir with their speeches. Keshub Chunder Sen visited Dhaka in 1865 and with the growing influence of the Brahmo Samaj, persecution increased manifold.[6]

In his earlier days, Aghore Nath was a missionary of the Adi Samaj. On 11 November 1866, when in a meeting in the premises of Calcutta College on Chitpore Road, Keshub Chunder Sen moved a resolution for the formation of Brahmo Samaj of India, it was seconded by Aghore Nath.[7] With renewed activity he went to Barisal in 1867, where Durga Mohan Das was the centre of a reformatory movement. From there he proceeded on a missionary tour of Tipperah and Chittagong.[8] Later, he went to Munger, where subsequently Keshub Chunder Sen launched a major bhakti (devotional) movement.[9]

He was the first Brahmo missionary to venture into Assam (in 1870) [10] and had worked in Odisha [11] and Punjab.[12]

With the second schism of the Brahmo Samaj in 1878 and the formation of the Navavidhan or the New Dispensation in 1869, Aghore Nath was ordained as an apostle of the New Dispensation for the Punjab in 1881.[13]

However he died the same year under rather tragic circumstances. He had travelled to Punjab on a mission tour but had to give up because of failing health. Afflicted with diabetes, then a killer disease, he went to Lucknow, where his elder brother took care of him until he died.[14]


In 1869, Keshub Chunder Sen selected from his missionaries four persons and ordained them as adhypaks or scholars of the four major religions of the world. Gour Govinda Ray was made the scholar of Hinduism, Protap Chunder Mozoomdar, the scholar of Christianity, Aghore Nath Gupta, the scholar of Buddhism and Girish Chandra Sen, the scholar of Islam. Subsequently, Trailokyanath Sanyal was also ordained as an adhyapak of music.[15]

In order to go to the depths of Buddhism he learnt Pali, Sanskrit and European languages. He studied the Buddhist scriptures in the original. His greatest contribution was Sakyamunicharit O Nirbantattya, a book on Buddhism produced after strenuous research into the original text and commentaries in Pali, Sanskrit and European languages. It was the first book on Buddhism in Bengali. He assisted Keshub Chunder Sen in editing Slokasangraha. He wrote extensively in the Dharmatattwa and Sulava Samachar.[1]


Sakyamunicharit O Nirbantattya, Dhruva O Prahlad, Debarshi Narader Nabajibon Labh, Dharmasopan, and Upadeshabali.[1]


1. Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Bose, Anjali, Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) (in Bengali), p3, Sahitya Samsad, ISBN 81-85626-65-0
2. Sastri, Sivanath, History of the Brahmo Samaj, 1911-12/1993, p248, Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.
3. Sastri, Sivanath, p414.
4. Sastri, Sivanath, pp87-88
5. Sastri, Sivanath, p394
6. Sastri, Sivanath, p396
7. Sastri, Sivanath, pp113-114
8. Sastri, Sivanath, pp134-135
9. Sastri, Sivanath, p143
10. Sastri, Sivanath, p518
11. Sastri, Sivanath, p521
12. Sastri, Sivanath, p447
13. Ghosh, Nirvarpriya, The Evolution of Navavidhan, 1930, p141, Navavidhan Press.
14. Sastri, Sivanath, p248
15. Sastri, Sivanath, p208
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Bijoy Krishna Goswami
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20



Bijoy Krishna Goswami
Image of Bijoy Krishna Goswami
Born: 2 August 1841, Shantipur, Bengal, British India
Died: 1899
Religion: Hinduism
Philosophy: Vedanta

Bijoy Krishna Goswami (Bengali: বিজয় কৃষ্ণ গোস্বামী) (2 August 1841 – 1899)[1] was a prominent Hindu social reformer and religious figure in India during the British period.[2]

Idol of Vijay Krishna

Brahmo Samaj was started at Calcutta on 20 August 1828 by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Debendranath Tagore as reformation of the prevailing Brahmanism of the time (specifically Kulin practices). From the Brahmo Samaj springs Brahmoism, the most recent of legally recognised religions in India and Bangladesh, reflecting its foundation on reformed spiritual Hinduism with vital elements of Judeo-Islamic faith and practice.[3][4] Bijoy's partial disillusionment from Brahmo Samaj led him to study the Chaitanya Charitamrita, a biography detailing the life and teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534), a Vaisnava saint and founder of the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya.[5]

Bijoy Krishna Goswami belonged to the "Advaita Family" and was the 7th direct descendant of Advaita Acharya, personal teacher and associate of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

See also

• Keshab Chandra Sen


1. Kenneth W. Jones (1 May 1990). The New Cambridge History of India: Socio-religious reform movements in British India. Cambridge University Press. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-0-521-24986-7. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
2. Prabhavananda (Swāmi); Swami Prabhavananda (1970). The Eternal Companion: Brahmananda; Teachings and Reminiscences, with a Biography. Vedanta Press. pp. 42–. ISBN 978-0-87481-024-0. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
3. "Official Brahmo website". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
4. "Bangladesh Law Commission" (PDF). Retrieved 15 October 2012.
5. Shandilya, Krupa. Intimate Relations: Social Reform and the Late Nineteenth-Century South Asian Novel, Chapter 2, note 12, Northwestern University Press, 2017ISBN 9780810134249

External links

• Sadguru Shree Shree Bijoy Krishna Goswami (Gosaiji)
• Biography - Bijoy Krishna Goswami
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Protap Chunder Mozoomdar
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Accessed: 2/12/20



Protap Chunder Majoomdar
Born: 1840
Died: 1905
Nationality: Bengali
Occupation: Writer, Religious Leader

Protap Chunder Mozoomdar (Bengali: প্রতাপ চন্দ্র মজুমদার Protap Chôndro Mojumdar, also transliterated as Pratap Chander Mozoomdar) (1840–1905) was a leader of the Hindu reform movement, the Brahmo Samaj, in Bengal, India, and a close follower of Keshub Chandra Sen. He was a leading exemplar of the interaction between the philosophies and ethics of Hinduism and Christianity, about which he wrote in his book, The Oriental Christ.

Life and work

Sen and his colleagues agreed that four Brahmos would study and report on the relationship between Brahmo ideals and the four major world religions (Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam). Gour Govinda Ray was deputed to examine Hinduism; Aghore Nath Gupta, Buddhism and Girish Chandra Sen, Islam. Mozoomdar was deputed to study Christianity. His resulting book, The Oriental Christ, was published by Geo. H. Ellis in Boston in 1883.[1] It was much discussed in the West, and eventually led to an important correspondence between Mozoomdar and Max Müller about the relationship between Hinduism and Christianity. After Mozoomdar published the correspondence it led to controversy in both Britain and India. Müller's efforts to get Mozoomdar to state openly that he was now a Christian were rejected by Mozoomdar, who argued that the label "Christian" did not properly articulate his own positive view of Jesus as a model of self-sacrifice, one whose actions and claims to divinity he interpreted from within the Brahmo philosophy. In turn Müller stated that Christians should learn from the Brahmos and should abandon the traditional Christian formulation of Atonement.[2]


Mozoomdar also wrote several books about the spiritual and social ideals of the Brahmo movement and a biography of Sen, The Life and Teachings of Keshub Chunder Sen (1887). He also wrote a biography of Ramakrishna, of whom he expressed deep admiration. He attended the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893 as a delegate for the Brahmo Samaj. In October 1893, Mozoomdar was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society.[3]

In 1919, the collected precepts of Protap Chunder Mazoomdar were published titled as 'Upadesh'.[4] The writings of Mazoomdar reflects an outlook that freely acknowledges the value and fundamental affinity of different religions - including Christianity, Islam, or Judaism - and the religious figures associated with their origin and propagation.


1. Suresh Chunder Bose (1929). The Life of Protap Chunder Mozoomdar (Vol. 2). Calcutta: Nababidhan Press, p. 105.
2. Müller, Georgina, The Life and Letters of Right Honorable Friedrich Max Müller, 2 vols. London: Longman, 1902.
3. American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
4. Protap Chunder Mazoomdar (1919). Upadesh. Calcutta.


• Suresh Chunder Bose (1940). The Life of Protap Chunder Mozoomdar. Nababidhan Trust.
• Sunrit Mullick (1 January 2010). The First Hindu Mission to America: The Pioneering Visits of Protap Chunder Mozoomdar. Northern Book Centre. ISBN 978-81-7211-281-3.

External links

• Works by or about Protap Chunder Mozoomdar at Internet Archive
• Article in the Telegraph of India, "Rote, Rhetoric and Identity - The ‘mixed bag’ quality of the colonial encounter, by Malavika Karlekar",
• "The oriental Christ" written by Protap Chunder Mozoomdar
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Braja Sundar Mitra
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Accessed: 2/12/20




Braja Sundar Mitra (Bengali: ব্রজ সুন্দর মিত্র Brojo Shundor Mitro) (24.03.1227 - 3.09.1282 Bengali Era), son of Bhabani Prasad Mitra, was founder of Dhaka Brahmo Samaj. He was a social reformer and later founded the Brahmo Samaj at Comilla. He contributed substantially to the cause of women's education, remarriage of widows, movement against polygamy and consumption of liquor. He joined the Commissioner's office at Dhaka as a clerk in 1840, was promoted as Deputy Collector in 1845 and as Excise Collector in 1851. With the assistance of such noted personalities as Ramkumar Bose and Bhagaban Chandra Bose, he established a press, from where Dhaka Prakash was published. The proposal for the establishment of Dhaka Jagannath College for the spread of higher education amongst the people was mooted in his house.[1]

Early life

Braja Sundar Mitra's father died when he was rather young. As a result, he had to start working on a small salary before the completion of his education. When Debendranath Tagore started the Tattwabodhini Patrika in 1843, there was one young reader in far away Dhaka. Its message of hope and deliverance roused him. He inspired a number of other young men to set up a Brahmo Samaj in Dhaka in 1846. The form of service adopted for its gatherings consisted of reading of a written Brahmastrotra or form of adoration addressed to Divinity and concluded with the delivery of a written or printed sermon. It was a simple beginning but Braja Sundar Mitra threw so much ardour of soul into it that the Samaj soon succeeded in attracting a pretty large number of followers, mostly people occupying important government positions.

The move was not without opposition. The message of the Tattwabodhini Patrika aroused a strong antagonism against conservative ideas. Traditional society started organising opposition to it. Men began to encourage all sorts of evil reports against the promoters of the Samaj. The engines of social persecution were set against them. Braja Sundar Mitra was then living in the house of a well-known citizen. His guardian and protector expelled him. Although most of the members were men of rank, the rising voice of protest told upon them. They decided to conduct their prayer meetings in secret for some time. Later, they started formal prayer meetings in a house in Banglabazar.

Reform efforts

When Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar raised the storm of widow remarriage, Braja Sundar Mitra printed copies of his books at his own cost and circulated them widely amongst the people of East Bengal. That created a group of core supporters for the movement in that part of the province. His name is bracketed with that of Durga Mohan Das as notable contributors in the field of widow remarriage. He had assisted in many ways in the spread of female education.

As a result of Braja Sundar's transfer to Comilla for official work there was slackening in the activities of the Brahmo Samaj. On witnessing this, he bought a house in Armeniatola and lent out a part of it for the activities of the Samaj. At around the same time, as a result of his interest and the efforts of Dinanath Sen, a school for moral and religious instruction of the young was opened under Dhaka Brahmo Samaj. Aghore Nath Gupta and Vijay Krishna Goswami were sent as teachers to that school. That was around 1861-62. The school renamed at present as Jagannath College of Dhaka. The powerful preaching of those two created a major stir in Dhaka. Large groups of young men started joining the Brahmo Samaj. Subsequently, Keshub Chunder Sen visited Dhaka in 1865 and virtually set the place on fire. It gave rise to a massive movement against the Brahmo Samaj. However, the firm footing on which Braja Sundar Mitra had set up the Dhaka Brahmo Samaj helped it tide over all such opposition.

The renowned pathologist and Brahmo reformer, Deba Prasad Mitra was his grandson.

Debendranath found in Brajasundar his true messenger in East Bengal. Being moved by his sincerity after his own visit to East Bengal, Debendranath established a bonding of friendship by getting Brajasundar's third daughter Umasundari (1854–1936), married by himself to Prosonno Coomar Biswas (1837–1921), trusted disciple and dewan of his estates (1866–1899) as per convention of thakurbari and "Brahmo Dharma" in 1866/1867. Prosonno Coomar later became trustee of Brahmo Samaj at Bhawanipur along with Rabindranath Tagore (1894) when Debendranath relinquished his interest.


• History of Brahmo Samaj by Sivanath Sastri.
• Ramtanu Lahiri O Tatkalin Banga Samaj in Bengali by Sivanath Sastri.


1. Vol I, edited by Subodh Chandra Sengupta and Anjali Basu (2002). Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Bengali). Kolkata: Sahitya Sansad. p. 370.
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Tattwabodhini Patrika
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Accessed: 2/12/20



Tattwabodhini Patrika
তত্ত্ববোধিনী পত্রিকা
Type Weekly newspaper
Editor: Debendranath Tagore
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
Akshay Kumar Datta
Rajnarayan Basu
Rajendralal Mitra
Founded: 1843
Language: Bengali
Ceased publication: 1883
Headquarters: Kolkata, Bengal, British India

Tattwabodhini Patrika (Bengali: তত্ত্ববোধিনী পত্রিকা) [Tattwabodhini ("truth-searching") Patrika ("newspaper")] was established by Maharshi Devendranath Tagore on 16 August 1843, as a journal of the Tattwabodhini Sabha, and continued publication until 1883. It was published from Kolkata, India.

It had a distinguished editorial board including Devendranath Tagore, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Akshay Kumar Datta, Rajnarayan Basu, and Rajendra Lal Mitra. The journal changed the tone of vernacular (Indian language) journalism. From its earliest days, it propagated the positive aspects of the religious scriptures but did not accept their infallibility. It strongly reacted against revelations and miracles.

The Patrika criticised Avatarism or messiah worship, and ran into long debates with both the Christian missionaries and orthodox sections of Hindu society. It placed before its contemporaries its considered opinion on the place of rituals in society, and focused on the spiritual and ethical aspects of human personality in an ideal scheme of education. Before the intelligentsia it placed the ideal of a dynamic religion progressing with the development of the human mind. It propagated the religion of harmony. In a series of articles, it sought to represent theism as inherent in Hinduism.

The newspaper took up social reform causes, opposing child marriages and polygamy.
Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar published his famous article "Should widow marriage be introduced into society" in it in 1855. The debates that followed lead to a significant change from the sacramental to the contractual conception of marriage. It held progressive views about development of society and was alive to the economic situation in the country.

Even after the Tattwabodhini Sabha was amalgamated with the Brahmo Sabha, the Tattwabodhini Patrika was still published until 1883.


The principle objectives of this monthly magazine were to communicate Brahmo knowledge, to publish the works of Raja Rammohan Roy and such other matter which would enhance knowledge and health and purify character.

Tattwabodhini Patrika came out at the time when Christian Missionaries were trying to sow the seed of their belief in the minds of the people in Bengal. The patrika was brought out to rewind the Hindu society and religion and the spirit of young Bengal. Through this monthly magazine, Akshay Kumar Dutta first aroused the sense of patriotism in the minds of the people. He edited the paper from 1843 to 1855. He said "we are living under foreign domination, getting education in foreign language, tolerating foreign oppression". He further said, referring to the activities of the Christian Missionary, that "the foreign religion might one day become the religion of this country".

When the Missionary-Hindu controversy subsided, the Patrika began to take a greater interest on other issues. It began to show a deep concern for the miserable economic condition of the people of the province. Patrika pointed out that while an Indian employee was offered Rs. 100 to Rs. 150, a European in the same position got more than Rs. 1000. Thus, the patrika remarked "The Indians are selling their liberty at a low price".

See also

• Sulabh Samachar


• Tattwabodhini Patrika and the Bengal Renaissance by Amiya Kumar Sen, formerly lecturer, Calcutta University and principal, City College, Kolkata, published by Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, 1979.
• Akshay Kumar Datta: Aandhar Raatey Ekla Pathik by Ashish Lahiri, Dey's Publishing,Kolkata 2007

External links

• Devnath, Samaresh (2012). "Tattvabodhini Patrika". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
• Devnath, Samaresh (2003). "Tattvabodhini Sabha". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (First ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Archived from the original on 24 March 2007.
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Tattwabodhini Sabha
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20



The Tattwabodhinī Sabhā ("Truth Propagating/Searching Society") was a group started in Calcutta on 6 October 1839 as a splinter group of the Brahmo Samaj, reformers of Hinduism and Indian Society. The founding member was Debendranath Tagore, previously of the Brahmo Samaj, eldest son of influential entrepreneur Dwarkanath Tagore, and eventually father to renowned polymath Rabindranath Tagore. In 1859, the Tattwabodhinī Sabhā were dissolved back into the Brāhmo Samāj by Debendranath Tagore.

Tattwabodhini period

On 6 October 1839 Debendranath Tagore established Tattvaranjini Sabha which was shortly thereafter renamed the Tattwabodhini (Truth-seekers) Sabha. Initially confined to immediate members of the Tagore family, in 2 years it mustered over 500 members. In 1840 Debendranath published a Bangla translation of Katha Upanishad. A modern researcher describes the Sabha's philosophy as modern middle-class (bourgeois) Vedanta.[1] Among its first members were the "two giants of Hindu reformation and Bengal Renaissance, Akshay Kumar Datta "who in 1839 emerged from the life of an anonymous squalor-beset individual" and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar the "indigenous modernizer".[2]

First Covenant and merger with the Tattwabodhini Sabha

On 7th Pous 1765 Shaka (1843) Debendranath Tagore and twenty other Tattwabodhini stalwarts were formally invited by Pt. Vidyabagish into the Trust of Brahmo Sabha. The Pous Mela at Santiniketan starts on this day.[3] From this day forth, the Tattwabodhini Sabha dedicated itself to promoting Ram Mohan Roy's creed.[4] The other Brahmins who swore the First Covenant of Brahmoism are:-

• Shridhar Bhattacharya
• Shyamacharan Bhattacharya
• Brajendranath Tagore
• Girindranath Tagore, brother of Debendranath Tagore & father of Ganendranath Tagore
• Anandachandra Bhattacharya
• Taraknath Bhattacharya
• Haradev Chattopadhyaya, the future father-in-law to Maha Acharya Hemendranath Tagore[5]
• Shyamacharan Mukhopadhyaya
• Ramnarayan Chattopadhyaya
• Sashibhushan Mukhopadhyaya

Disagreement with the Tattwabodhini

In Nov 1855 the Rev. Charles Dall (a Unitarian minister of Boston) arrived in Calcutta to start his mission and immediately established contact with Debendranath and other Brahmos. Debendranath's suspicion of foreigners alienated Dall and in 1857, Debendranath Tagore barred the entry of the Reverend from the Sabha premises for preaching the name of Christ who some people worship as God within.[6][7] Debendranath then proceeded on spiritual retreat to Simla. Dall, immediately formed a counter group "The friends of Rammmohun Roy Society" and then got admitted a protégé to Sabha. The presence of Dall's protégé Keshub Chandra Sen (a non-Brahmin) into the Calcutta Brahmo Sabha in 1857 while Debendranath was away in Simla caused considerable stress in the movement, with many long time Tattvabodhini Brahmin members publicly leaving the Brahmo Sabha and institutions due to his high-handed ways. In September 1858, Debendranath returned to Calcutta to resolve the simmering disputes. but his conservative mien did not allow him to take decisive steps. He proceeded on a sea voyage to Ceylon accompanied by Sen and his 2nd son Satyendranath (a firm admirer of Mr Sen) but no concord was achieved. In 1859, the venerable and beloved Secretary of the Tattwabodhini Sabha Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar resigned from the Brahmo Sabha in the face of Debendranath's vacillation. A meeting of the Tatwabodhini was promptly summoned with Debendranath resigning from the group he had founded. His third son Hemendranath Tagore then a boy barely 15 years in age, and the favorite pupil of Vidyasgar, was commonly acclaimed as Debendranath's successor to head the Tattwabodhini. In the course of time he would become known as the MahaAcharya (or Great Teacher).

Objectives and beliefs

The main objective of the Sabhā was to promote a more rational and humanist form of Hinduism based on the Vedānta, the Upanishads that form the last part of the Vedās. With increasing missionary presence in Calcutta tending to view the Classical branch of 'Avaida' Vedānta as amoral and renunciatory, the Tattwabodhinī Sabhā aimed to shield themselves and their reformed faith from criticism by distancing themselves from this 'outdated' version.

Debendranath Tagore said in 1843 that "It was to counteract influences like these [missionary] and inculcate on the Hindu religious inquirer's mind doctrines at once consonant to reason and human nature, for which he has to explore his own sacred resources, the Vedānta, that the society was originally established".[8] This focus on rationality and humanity, whilst alleviating Missionary pressure, also allowed the materially wealthy 'bhadralok' members of the society to participate in a spiritual medium which did not condemn worldly concern. The group's writings, particularly the recently rediscovered 'Sabhyadiger Vaktṛtā',[9] display a marked stress upon the role of the 'householder' (gṛhastha) as a religious path, over that of the renouncer or hermit. The Brahman, like the renouncer, must restrain his senses and passions, but only to the extent of not becoming obsessed with, or overcome by, anything in the material world.

Essentially, the Tattwabodhinī Sabhā's humanism is displayed in a profound focus on society and its interrelation. Their view, at least in the early years, was that the world is created by God, and all things within it are pathways to knowledge of Brahman, the Ultimate Self, and the ultimate goal. Similarly, they saw that material wealth, if made and possessed with the correct intention -- that of helping society and others -– was in fact not only ethically sound, but an utter necessity for harmonious society.
Once again, their rationality is evident.

References and notes

1. <2007: Brian Hatcher "Journal of American Academy of Religion"
2. "Brahmo Samaj and the making of modern India, David Kopf, Princeton University press", pp 43-57
3. Rabindra Bharati Museum Kolkata, The Tagores & Society
4. "Bourgeois Hinduism", Brian Allison Hatcher. pg 57-58.
5. "History of the Brahmo Samaj", S. Sastri. 2nd ed. p.81
6. "The Brahmo Samaj and making of Modern India", David Kopf, publ. Princeton Univ.
7. "Brahmoism, or a history of reformed Hinduism" (1884), R.C.Dutt
8. Ali, M.M; Bengali reaction...; pp 17, 19.
9. c.f. Hatcher, B; Bourgeois Hinduism

External links

• World Brahmo Council
• Beliefs of Brahmo Samaj
• Brahma Sabha in Banglapedia
• Brahmo Samaj in the Encyclopædia Britannica
• "The Tagores & Society" from the Rabindra Bharati Museum at Rabindra Bharati University
• The Brahmo Samaj
• Life of Sivnath Sastri
• Life of Keshub Chunder Sen
• Trust Deed of the Brahmo Samaj
• Liturgy of the Brahmo Samaj
• History of the Brahmo Samaj
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