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By Brian Hatcher

In 1839 a various team of Hindu leaders all started accumulating in Calcutta to percentage and propagate their religion in a non-idolatrous type of worship. the crowd, referred to as the Tattvabodhini Sabha, met weekly to worship and listen to discourses from participants at the virtues of a rational and morally accountable mode of worship. They known as upon historical assets of Hindu spirituality to steer them in constructing a kind of recent theism they often called "Vedanta." during this publication, 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 mild the theology and ethical imaginative and prescient of an organization that used to be to have a profound impression on non secular and highbrow existence in nineteenth-century Bengal, Hatcher's research promotes mirrored image on various issues crucial to figuring out the advance of recent varieties of Hindu trust and practice.

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

Example text

Didima¯ was what one might call a devout Hindu, 36 bourgeois hinduism, or the faith of the modern vedantists who followed patterns of worship and practice typical for a high-caste Bengali woman of her day. She was a Vaisnava who bathed daily in the Gan_ ga¯ (which __ in Calcutta is known as the Hooghly River) and who worshiped God at home in the form of the aniconic sa¯lagra¯ma stone. She was known to travel occasionally to the holy site of Puri on the seacoast of Orissa just south of Bengal to worship at the great temple of the Vaisnava deity, Lord Jaganna¯tha.

But for all that, Rammohan had yet to figure in the Sabha¯’s self-understanding; he lay in the Sabha¯’s future, as the man who would in time be revered as a sort of founder ex post facto. The rediscovery of Rammohan did not come until 1842, when Debendranath resolved that the Tattvabodhinı¯ Sabha¯ should begin managing the affairs of the Bra¯hmo Sama¯j. A year later, when the Sabha¯ launched its own periodical, the Tattvabodhinı¯ Patrika¯, the editors listed among its principal goals the propagation of Rammohan’s Vedantic theism.

Now he fell to thinking. Where could this unprecedented feeling of bliss have come from? He realized there was no way to attain such a state by reasoning or logic. Scholars of religious studies will recognize in his account a classic example of the sort of sui generis religious experience identified by the likes of Friedrich Schleiermacher in the modern West around this very same time. This experience, as Debendranath and Schleiermacher would agree, was something irreducible, something that could only be understood in its own terms.

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