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alien beliefs, and it saved the youth of the day from scepticism and lax morality. From the Brahmo Samaj have sprung scholars and singers, artists and men of science who have contributed not a little to the new spirit in India.
Trust Deed of the first Brahmo Samaj Place of Worship Source.-—“ Life and Letters of Raja Ram Mohan Roy.” S. D. Collet
and Harold Collet. (Bucklersbury.) (The trustees) shall at all times permit the said building, land tenements, hired tenements, and premises, with their appurtenances, to be used, Occupied, enjoyed, applied and appropriated as and for a place of public meeting, of all sorts and descriptions of people, without distinction, as shall behave and conduct themselves in an orderly, sober, and devout manner;
For the worship and adoration of the Eternal, Unsearchable, and Immutable Being, who is the Author and Preserver of the Universe, but not under, or by any other name, designation or title, peculiarly used for, and applied to, any particular Being, or Beings, by any man or set of men whatsoever ;
And that no graven image, statue or sculpture, carving, painting, picture, portrait, or the likeness of anything shall be admitted within the messuage, building, land, tenements, hereditaments, and premises ; and that no sacrifice, offering, or oblation of any kind or thing, shall ever be permitted therein ; and that no animal or living creature shall, within or on the said messuage, building, land, tenements, and premises, be deprived of life, either for religious purposes or for food ;
And that no eating or drinking (except such as shall be necessary, by any accident, for the preservation of life), feasting or rioting be permitted therein or thereon ;
And that, in conducting the said worship or adoration, no object, animate or inanimate, that has been, or is, or shall hereafter become, or be recognised, as an object of worship, by any man or set of men, shall be reviled, or slightingly or contemptuously spoken of, or alluded to, either in preaching, praying, or in the hymns, or other mode of worship that may be delivered or used in the said messuage or building;
And that no sermon, preaching, discourse, prayer or hymn be delivered, made or used in such worship, but such as have a tendency to the promotion of the contemplation of the Author and Preserver of the Universe, to the promotion of charity, morality, piety, benevolence, virtue, and the strengthening the bonds of union between men of all religious persuasions and
And also, that a person of good repute and well known for his knowledge, piety, and morality, be employed by the said trustees ... as a resident superintendent, and for the purpose of superintending the worship so to be performed, as is hereinbefore stated and expressed; and that such worship be performed daily, or, at least, as often as once in seven days.
Ram Mohan Roy did not rest content with his work as a religious reformer ; his ardour for civil liberty was equally great. His sympathies were very cosmopolitan, and he looked upon the cause of the Neapolitan and the Irishman as his own. In his mind, religious, social and political reform were inseparable. His enthusiasm for religious reform was in no small measure due to the evil effects of the existing religious ideas on national spirit and enterprise. In a private letter dated January 28, 1828, he said,
“The present system of religion adhered to by the Hindus is not well calculated to promote their political interest. The distinction of castes introducing innumerable divisions and subdivisions among them has entirely deprived them of patriotic feeling, and the multitude of religious rites and ceremonies and the laws of purification has totally disqualified them from undertaking any difficult enterprise. It is, I think, necessary that some change should take place in their religion, at least, for the sake of their political advantage and social comfort."1
In the days of his early manhood Mohan Roy began to associate with Europeans, and became acquainted with their laws and form of government. “Finding them generally more intelligent,” he wrote in an autobiographical sketch, “more steady and moderate in their conduct, I gave up my prejudice against them, and became inclined in their favour, feeling persuaded that their rule, though a foreign yoke, would lead more speedily and surely to the amelioration of the native inhabitants." His views on the subject of education, as being those of the leading Anglicist of the time, are given in a later chapter. The bitter hostility which certain missionaries bore towards him did not prevent him from co-operating with Alexander Duff in his efforts to start an English school in Calcutta. And among his many services to Bengal should be mentioned his Bengali grammar, whilst his writings did much to raise Bengali into a literary language. Great also was his sympathy towards the downtrodden ryots, which was so prominent in his evidence before the Select Committee in 1831. On the other hand, when occasion offered, he was a stern critic of any intolerance on the part of his country's rulers. He advocated very strongly the rights of a free press, and attacked the illiberal provisions of the Jury Act of 1827. He also pleaded for the principle that Indians should be consulted before regulations of importance were passed by Government.
1 Ibid., p. 83.
The last three years of Mohan Roy's life were spent in England, which country. he visited as the accredited representative of the Great Mogul. He died and was buried at Arno's Vale, near Bristol, in 1833.
Mohan Roy's Place in History
Source.--"Life and Letters of Raja Ram Mohan Roy.” S. D. Collet
and Harold Collet. (Bucklersbury.) We are apt to suppose the full tale of his great services for India made up when he left her soil. He had initiated the Hindu Theistic movement. He had given it permanent literary expression. He had selected or indicated the order of Scriptures more peculiarly its own. He had seen it finally housed and endowed. The cause of English education which he had championed was now on the eve of official victory. And he had witnessed the abolition of Sati.
But Ram Mohan's three years in the West form the crown and consummation of his life work. He was the first Brahman to cross the ocean and was the first Hindu of eminence to break the spell which for ages the sea had laid on India. The Imperial importance of the visit was no less striking. Ram Mohan Roy's presence in this country made the English people aware as they had never been before of the dignity, the culture, the piety of the race they had conquered in the East. In the court of the King, in the halls of legislature, in the select coteries of fashion, in the society of philosophers and men of letters, in the Anglican church and in Nonconformist meeting-house, in the privacy of many a home and before wondering crowds of Lancashire operatives, Ram Mohan Roy stood forth the visible and personal embodiment of our Eastern Empire. He had interpreted England to India, so now he interpreted India to England.
He came, too, at the time of a crucial transition in the political history of the United Kingdom. He was an eager and sympathetic spectator of the stupendous revolution achieved by the first Reform Bill. While he was here he saw the East India Company changed by statute from a trading concern into a political organisation. He saw the Act pass which abolished slavery throughout the British dominions. The period of his visit covers the passing of the Factory Act and the beginnings of the Tractarian movement. The Manchester and Liverpool railway had been opened only a month or two before he left India. He was here, in a word, when New England was being born out of the heart of Old England—the New England of democracy, of social and industrial reform, of Anglican revival, and of the Imperial policy tempered by Nonconformist conscience. And at that decisive era, he was present, the noble and precocious type of the New India which has been growing up under British rule.
In him the New England first became acquainted with New India, whose tribune and prophet he had been all his life. His place in the history of his country is very high. His own career of constant but incomplete transition constituted him the leader and the instrument of a kindred transition among his fellowcountrymen. The path he trod they seemed destined to follow ; more or less rapidly as opportunity and inducement vary, but perhaps none the less surely because the goal towards which he was moving was never by him visibly attained. Ram Mohan Roy stands in history as the living bridge over which India marches from her unmeasured past to her incalculable future. He was the arch which spanned the gulf that yawned between ancient caste and modern humanity, between superstition and science, between despotism and democracy, between immobile custom and a conservative progress, between a bewildering polytheism and a pure, if vague, theism. He was the mediator of his people, harmonising in his own person, often by means of his own solitary sufferings, the conflicting tendencies of immemorial tradition and of inevitable enlightenment.
Inscription on the tomb of Ram Mohan Roy in the cemetery of Arno's Vale, near Bristol :
Beneath this stone rest
the remains of RAJA RAMMOHAN ROY BAHADOOR A conscientious and steadfast believer in the unity of the
Godhead; He consecrated his life with entire devotion to the worship
of the Divine Spirit alone, To great natural talents he united a thorough mastery of
many languages, And early distinguished himself as one of the greatest
scholars of his day. His unwearied labours to promote the social, moral and physical condition of the people of India, his earnest endeavours to suppress idolatry and the rite of Suttee, and his constant zealous advocacy of whatever tended to advance the glory of God and the welfare of man, live in the grateful remembrance of his
This tablet records the sorrow and pride with which his memory is
cherished by his descendants. He was born in Radhanagar in Bengal in 1774, and died at
Bristol, September 27, 1833.