Brāhma

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Jit Majumdar

Sometimes transliterated as: Brahma, BrAhma, Braahma


  1. pertaining to Brahman; of Brahman; belonging to Brahman; identifying with Brahman
  2. worshipper of Brahman; one who follows Brahman
  3. the name of a 19th century religious reformist movement and its adherents (who today form a minuscule minority, almost wholly limited to the state of West Bengal), which was founded during the Bengali Renaissance, and spread in Bengal by the social reformer, thinker and author Raja Ram Mohan Roy, and his successor, the philosopher Devendranath Thakur. It was born as one of the several contemporary Hindu reform movements, which aimed at introducing regeneration and reform to Hinduism by correcting/ eradicating superstitions, misinterpretations and malpractices that have collected within Hinduism with time, and is thus a modern protestant movement within Hinduism. It is characterized by its rejection of image worship, and of the tradition pantheon of a multitude of deities of traditional Hinduism, as well as the rejection of the Braminical caste system and its related institutions, customs and mores and the authority of the Vedas in Brahminical Hinduism. It later came heavily under the influence of the Christianity of the British colonists under Keshav Chandra Sen, who saw the monotheism, unitarianism and faith-based devotionalism as a better option and solution to the malpractices, distortions and deviations within Hinduism, and turned his own faction of the Brahma movement into a quasi-christian order, thus alienating himself and his movement from the masses and his society, and making way for the Brāhma movement to lose its relevance and more or less die out in post-Independence India .