Bourgeois Hinduism, or Faith of the Modern Vedantists: Rare by Brian Hatcher

By Brian Hatcher

In 1839 a various staff of Hindu leaders started amassing in Calcutta to percentage and propagate their religion in a non-idolatrous kind of worship. the gang, referred to as the Tattvabodhini Sabha, met weekly to worship and listen to discourses from participants at the virtues of a rational and morally in charge mode of worship. They referred to as upon old assets of Hindu spirituality to lead them in constructing a kind of recent theism they known as "Vedanta." during this booklet, Brian Hatcher interprets those hitherto unknown discourses and situates them opposed to the backdrop of non secular and social swap in early colonial Calcutta. except bringing to gentle the theology and ethical imaginative and prescient of an organization that was once to have a profound effect on non secular and highbrow lifestyles in nineteenth-century Bengal, Hatcher's research promotes mirrored image on various subject matters critical to realizing the advance of recent kinds of Hindu trust and practice.

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Extra resources for Bourgeois Hinduism, or Faith of the Modern Vedantists: Rare Discourses from Early Colonial Bengal

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In what follows, I provide a brief overview of salient themes from Rammohan’s work. By highlighting these themes, readers of the translated discourses in chapter 8 not only will be able to appreciate the general Bra¯hmo ‘‘feel’’ of Sabhyadiger vaktr ta¯ but also will be able to recognize just what the Tattvabodhinı¯ _ Sabha¯ contributed to the emerging discourse of Veda¯nta in early colonial Bengal. ’’ In the present context, Rammohan’s most relevant accomplishment was the founding of a society in 1828, the Bra¯hmo Sama¯j, to foster his vision of Hindu monotheism.

Bolstered by the ritual and legal traditions associated with orthodox Hindu practice, popular Puranic Hinduism offered a world grounded in the veda¯ nta according to rammohan roy 29 transcendent laws of dharma, articulated socially in rules of caste and family law, and punctuated by the regular performance of domestic and temple rituals. These rituals were largely centered on devotion to the deities widely worshiped in Bengal—namely, Krishna, Rama, Shiva, Durga, and Kali. But it was this entire mythic and ritualistic framework that Rammohan had threatened to undermine; his call was for a nonidolatrous, egalitarian mode of worship, centered not on the personal deities of the Pura¯nas but on the tran_ scendent absolute of the Upanishads.

If the discourses preserved in Sabhyadiger vaktr ta¯ _ contain no explicit mention of Rammohan or the Bra¯hmo movement, why would Debendranath introduce Rammohan so squarely into his later narrative of this period in his life? The answer to these questions is quite simple. In the years immediately following the creation of the Tattvabodhinı¯ Sabha¯, Debendranath came to see ways in which the work of the Sabha¯ and the Bra¯hmo Sama¯j could be mutually supportive. I discuss some of these developments later, but for now it is enough to highlight one important event.

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