In 1884 Rabindranath Tagore is appointed Secretary of the Adi Brahmo Samaj. Founded in 1861, with the publication of Hemendranath Tagore’s “Brahmo Anusthan” (or Brahmo Code of doctrine and practice), Adi Dharm refers to the religion of Adi Brahmo Samaj the first development of Brahmoism.
This includes those Sadharan Brahmo Samajists who were reintegrated into Brahmoism in 1878. This was the first organised casteless movement in British India and reverberated from its heart of Bengal to East Assam, West Bombay State (modern Sindh, Maharastra and Gujarat), North Punjab and South Madras, Hyderabad, Bangalore.
It was never conceived as an “anti-caste” movement, but stood for repudiation of all “distinctions between people” and foundation of a modern educated secular Indian nation under the timeless and formless One God, and its adherents as Adi-Dharmis (or worshippers of the ancient formless indivisible One God Brahma or the Parambrahma “The One without a Second” or EkAdavaitam).
Although the doctrine of Adi Dharma is superficially similar to other reformatory “sects” of Hinduism which speak of “different paths to One God”, the core beliefs of Adi Dharm irrevocably place Adi Dharm and Brahmoism as the youngest of India’s 9 religions beyond the pale of “Hinduism’s catholicism and elasticity”.
The core Adi-Dharma doctrinal beliefs differing from Hinduism include:-
- There is only One “Supreme Spirit”, Author and Preserver of Existence. (… Beyond description, immanent, transcendent, eternal, formless, infinite, powerful, radiant, loving, light in the darkness, ruling principle of existence …. Polytheism is denounced. Idolatry ie. worship of images is opposed.)
- There is no salvation and no way to achieve it. (“Works will win”. Worshipful work is the way of existence. Work is for both body and soul. All life exists to be consumed. The soul is immortal and does not return to this World. There is neither Heaven nor Hell nor rebirth)
- There is no scripture, revelation, creation, prophet, priest or teacher to be revered. (Only the Supreme Spirit of Existence can be revered – not the Vedas, Granths, Bibles or Quran etc.. Worship consist of revering the “inner light within” i.e.. enlightened conscience)
- There is no distinction. (All men are equal. Distinctions like caste, race, creed, colour, gender, nationality etc. are artificial. There is no need for priests, places of worship, long sermons etc. “Man-worship” or “God-men” are abhorrent to the faith and denounced since there is no mediator between man and God)