We may probably extend this hostile judgment to the theism of the modern Samaj-es.
BRAHMA SAMAJ, a religious association in India which owes its origin to (Raja) Ram Mohan Roy, who began teaching and writing in Calcutta soon after 1800.
The name means literally the "Church of the One God," and the word Samaj, like the word Church, bears both a local and a universal, or an individual and a collective meaning.
The Brahma Samaj maintained a bare existence till 1841, when Babu Debendra Nath Tagore, a member of a famous and wealthy Calcutta family, devoted himself to it.
He gave a printingpress to the Samaj, and established a monthly journal called the Tattwabodhini Patrikd, to which the Bengali language now owes much for its strength and elegance.
In fact the whole Samaj movement is as distinct a product of the contest of Hinduism with Christianity in the 19th century, as the Panth movement was of its contest with Islam 300 years earlier.
For long the Brahmas did not attempt any social reforms. But about 1865 the younger section, headed by Babu Keshub Chunder Sen, who joined the Samaj in 1857, tried to carry their religious theories into practice by demanding the abandonment of the external signs of caste distinction.
A schism resulted, Keshub Chunder Sen and his followers founding the Progressive Samaj, while the conservative stock remained as the Adi (i.e.
Original) Samaj, their aim being to "fulfil" rather than to abrogate the old religion.
Debendra Nath Tagore sought refuge from the difficulty by becoming an ascetic. The "Brahma Samaj of India," as Chunder Sen's party styled itself, made considerable progress extensively and intensively until 1878, when a number of the most prominent adherents, led by Anand Mohan Bose, took umbrage at Chunder Sen's despotic rule and at his disregard of the society's regulations concerning child marriage.
This led to the formation of the Sadharana (Universal) Brahma Samaj, now the most popular and progressive of the three sections of the movement and conspicuous for its work in the cause of literary culture, social reform and female education in India.
But even when we add all sections of the Brahma Samaj together, the total number of adherents is only about 4000, mostly found in Calcutta and its neighbourhood.
A small community (about 130) in Bombay, known as the Prarthna (Prayer) Samaj, was founded in 1867 through Keshub Chunder's influence; they have a similar creed to that of the Brahma Samaj, but have broken less decisively with orthodox and ceremonial Hinduism.
See the articles on Arya, Samaj, Keshub Chunder Sen, Ram Mohan Roy.
The great changes that have been wrought in India, politically, commercially, intellectually and religiously, by the combined action of the British government and the Christian missions, are evidenced among other tokens by the growth of such societies as the Arya Samaj and the Brahmo Samaj.
Is the regeneration of India to be brought about by the modern theistic movements, such as the Brahma-samaj and Arya-samaj, as so close and sympathetic an observer of Hindu life and thought as Sir A.