• The day-star of approaching morn: The relationship between the Unitarians and the Brahmo Samaj

    Yvonne Aburrow (see profile)
    Religion, Religions, History
    Item Type:
    Brahmo Samaj, Mary Carpenter, Rammohun Roy, Unitarian, Indian religions, Religious history
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    The visit of Rammohun Roy to Britain in 1831-1833 has continuing significance in many ways: as an early example of interfaith dialogue; an illustration of British views of India, and the Indian response to Christianity; and an example of the syncretism that can occur when one religious tradition meets another. His campaign for the abolition of sati (widow-burning) confronts many ethical and cultural issues which are still debated today(Stein, 1988: 465). His encounter with other faiths also raises the issue of what it means to convert to another faith, or whether this is even possible (Zastoupil, 2002: 227), since Roy could not accept the doctrines of mainstream Christianity, and was among those who called into question the sincerity of Indian converts to Christianity, many of whom were low-caste individuals who may have been motivated by economic gain.He also called into question what is meant by Christianity in his writings (Roy, 1825),which were published in England by the Unitarian Society.Roy's story also raises the issue of what religion is – is it the original form or impulse,or the “accretions” which subsequently accumulate, or a combination of these? Is it about values, beliefs, or practices, or a combination of these? All of these issues were raised by Roy and his contemporaries over his views and those of the Unitarians, and the issues are still being debated today in many contexts.This article aims to show that the link between the Unitarians and the Brahmo Samaj has been maintained since Roy's death.
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    Last Updated:
    5 years ago


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