[Sidenote: Its limited membership.]
The influence of the Br[=a]hma Sam[=a]j has been far greater than its numerical success. Reckoned by its small company of 4050 members, some of them certainly men of the highest culture and of sincere devoutness, the Br[=a]hma Sam[=a]j is a limited and local movement, limited largely to the province of Bengal, and even to a few of the larger towns in the province. But if the taint of the intellectual origin of the Br[=a]hma Sam[=a]j be still visible in the eclecticism that it professes, in its rejection of the supernatural, and in its poor numerical progress, it has nevertheless done great things for India.
[Sidenote: The Br[=a]hma Sam[=a]j and the national feeling.]
As yet the Br[=a]hma Sam[=a]j has remained unaffected by the political aspect of the new national feeling. Early in its history there was, indeed, a section of the Sam[=a]j resolved to limit the selection of scriptures to the scriptures of the Hindus, but the late Keshub Chunder Sen successfully asserted the freedom of the Sam[=a]j, and probably saved it from the narrow patriotic groove and from the political character of the third of the new religious organisations, the [=A]rya Sam[=a]j.
[Sidenote: Pr[=a]rthan[=a] Sam[=a]jes or Prayer Associations of S.W. India.]
The Pr[=a]rthan[=a] Sam[=a]jes or Prayer Associations of South-Western India.—The history of India is pre-eminently the history of Northern India, that is of the great plains of the Ganges and the Punjab. One may test it by the simple academical test of reckoning what percentage of marks in an examination on Indian history is assigned to the events of the great northern plains. It is the same in the more recent religious history of India. The southern provinces of Bombay and Madras have contributed very little in respect of new religious life, organised or unorganised, compared with the northern provinces of Bengal, the United Provinces, and the Punjab. The Pr[=a]rthan[=a] Sam[=a]jes or Prayer Associations of Bombay and South-western India are monotheistic like the Br[=a]hma Sam[=a]j, and have their halls for their own worship. But socially they have not severed themselves from their Hindu brethren, and do not figure in the Census as separate. Even compared with the Br[=a]hma Sam[=a]j, they are few in number. The first Pr[=a]rthan[=a] Sam[=a]j was founded in Bombay in 1867. In Madras there is a small representation of the Br[=a]hma Sam[=a]j.
NEW RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS
THE [=A]RYAS AND THE THEOSOPHISTS.
“Let us receive not
only the revelations of the past, but also
welcome joyfully the revelations of the present day.”
[Sidenote: The [=A]rya Sam[=a]j.]