Brahmo Samaj emblem, aum brahma kripahi kevalam [Brahmo]
the definitive Brahmoism web resource
Last Updated: 16 December 2009


A Brahmo web resource devoted to History of the Brahmo Samaj and development of modern Brahmoism with reference to evolution of its main branches the Adi Brahmo Samaj and the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.

Getting started

Anusthanic Brahmos, Ananusthnic Brahmo Samaj

In 1902, the Highest Appellate Court of the British Empire (ie, the Privy Council) confirmed the detailed 1899 finding by the High Court of the Punjab that "Anusthanic Brahmos are not Hindoos but the anAnusthanic Brahmo Samajists may very well be Hindoos".

It is hence necessary to understand the theological differences between the 2 divisons of "Brahmoism" which is analogous to the Kriya-ic and Karma-ic patterns.


Anusthanic Brahmos

Anusthanic Brahmos comprise Adi Brahmos, Adi Dharmaites and many Sadharan Brahmos, who live by the collective Brahmic Trust Principles of 1830 and Brahmo 'anusthan' (principles developed by Maharshi Hemendranath Tagore in 1861 from the 1843 first Brahmo covenant drawn up by his father Maharshi Debendranath Tagore). Anusthanic Brahmos are exclusively adherents of the Brahmo religion and have no other faith.

The concept of 'soul' is anathema to such Brahmos, being ruled out by the 1861 anusthan and is properly termed as "Being" (life). Every "unmortal" Being is a part of God (Singularity, the Author and Preserver of Existence) which is sent out for a mission ('Kriya') on completion of which it reintegrates (absorbs) with "God". For Anusthanic Brahmos the next step after death on this life (or any life) is reintegration and renewal with 'God'.

This corresponds to the 2nd ('Adi') prime principle:-

"Being is created from Singularity. Being is renewed to Singularity. Being exists to be one again with Loving Singularity."


Ananusthanic Brahmos

Ananusthanic Brahmos (ie. the non-anusthanic Brahmos) on the other hand have a diferent concept of "immortal" souls being eternally progressive towards God for its doings. This implies a 'Karma'ic and fatalistic belief which is different to 'kriy'ic Brahmoism. In the 'diksha' (mock-initiation) given to such followers they are quizzed on a catechism first compiled by Pandit Sitanath Tattwabhushan around 1920 from Hemendranath Tagore's original anusthan of 1861.

CAUTION: It is often incorrectly represented that such catechisms are 'anusthans' which allow such ananusthanics to concurrently retain other faiths.

Acharya: What is your idea of the human soul?
Initiate: The human soul is capable of infinite progression to God for its doings.

Acharya: What is your conception of Heaven and Hell?
Initiate: I do not believe that there are distinct regions as Heaven and Hell. These correspond to spiritual conditions of individual souls. When God reveals himself in our soul and divine bliss is realised. I call this state Heaven; when the heart is vitiated with evil thoughts I call this state Hell. God rewards virtue and punishes sin. His punishments are remedial and not eternal.

Acharya: What is salvation?
Initiate: Salvation consists on the one hand in freedom from sin in words, thoughts and deeds; and on the other hand in union with God in wisdom, love and holiness. Man will ever approach, God in wisdom, love and holiness, but will never merge his self in the Universal Soul.

Acharya: Then swear your faith in the principles of Brahmoism.
Initate: I believe in God as the one only Creator and Sustainer of the world. I believe him to be infinite in power, wisdom, love and holiness. I believe the human soul to be immortal and eternally progressive. I believe that God manifests himself directly to the soul of man and that there are no mediators between God and the soul in the shape of prophets or scriptures. I honour and accept all religious teachers and books so far as they are in harmony with direct revelation of God in the soul. I resolve to worship God daily and to practise holiness with all my heart and soul. I abjure caste and idolatry, and resolve to perform all domestic ceremonies according to the principles of the Brahmo Samaj. May God help me in being faithful to the vow I take today.