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Home >> Liturgy >> Brahmo Dharma
Brahmo Dharma bookMahasrshi Debendranath wrote the Brahmo Dharma in 1848 at the age of 31. Maharshi felt the neccessity of a book for Brahmos. He looked at it as a work of inspiration. He mentions it as, "...the Truth of God that welled up in my heart. These living Truths came down to my heart from Him who is the life and light of Truth".

He dictated it to Akshay Kumar Datta and it took 3 hours to write the first part. In his autobiography Debendrantah writes, "...Now I turned my heart towrads God, with single - mindedness. I began to dictate with authority in the language of the Upanishads, like the current of a river, the spiritual truths that flashed in my mind by His grace; ... it did not involve any labour on my part, but though it took three hours to write the book, my whole life would be spent and yet I shall not fully understand and assimilate its deep significance."

The Brahmo Dharma is a work of unique significance. Though the language is that of the Upanishads it is an original work. Debendranath while using the language of the Upanishads did not always follow the ideas of the Upanishads. He took considerable liberty with the ideas as well as the texts. The Brahmo Dharma is not a digest or compilation of the texts of the Upanishads, but it is an original work on the principles of Brahmoism in the language of the Upanishads. He took such passages from different parts of the Upanishads that best expressed the idea of Brahmoism as he conceived them.

The entire contents of the first part of the Brahmo Dharma are from the Upanishads - but Debendranath has taken them from different places and he has frequently torn them away from their contexts and even sometimes distorted them and pieced them together to suit his purpose. The so called distortions have greatly improved and added to the effectiveness of the purpose of the original. If we look at chapter 16, verse 17 in the first part of the Brahmo Dharma.
This has been taken from the fifth section of the second chapter of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, but Debendranath has taken coniderable liberty with the original texts by having torn a portion of the tenth verse, another of the fifteenth and pieced them togtether with the portions of the fifteenth verse of the sixth chapter of the Swetasvara Upanishad. The object of Mahasrshi was to give a systematic exposition to the principles of the Brahmo Samaj and this he did with great effectiveness in the language of the Upanishads.

The opening chapter attempts at the difficult taak of defining God - and Debendranath does it succinctly in defining the nature of the Supreme reality in a few verses of the Upanishads - mostly from the Taittiriya. In the second verse he defines God as that from which all beings have been born; by which created living beings live and unto which when departed they proceed and enter.

The second part of the Brahmo Dharma, which was complied sometime after the first part consists of the enumeration of the daily duties of the theistic householder according to the ideals of the Brahmo Dharma. Debendranath conceived Brahmo Dharma to be a religion of the home and society and not that of the forests like the Upanishads. The complitaion of the second part involved considerable labour and was not a owrk of ease and inspiration like that of the first part. This part comprises texts from the ancient religous literature of India like Manu Samhita, Mahabharat, Gita, Mahanorvan Tantra etc.

The Brahmo religion stands for the following (as laid down in the Trust Deed of the Brahmo Samaj):
  • Followers shall love Him and do His will and worship the One Absolute Prambrahma, the Creator, Preserver, Destroyer who is the giver of all Good in this world and the next, who is All knowing, All Pervading, Formless and Beneficent
  • Followers shall not adore any created thing, thinking it to be the Supreme One
  • Followers should perform good deeds - and it is through these good deeds one can serve God
  • He is the One, Alone and Absolute - Ekamevadityam
  • The Samaj is to be a meeting ground for all sects for the worship of the One True God
  • No object of worship or a set of men shall be reviled or contemptuously spoken of or alluded to in any way
  • No graven image statue or sculpture carving painting picture portrait or the likeness of anything shall be admitted within
  • No object animate or inanimate that has been or is or shall hereafter become or be recognized as an object of worship
  • No sacrifice offering oblation of any kind or thing shall ever be permitted
  • Promote, charity, morality, piety, benevolence, virtue and strengthen the bonds of union between men of all religions and creed