While Hindu society felt intense hostility when these Jesus Christ hoodlums were let loose on it, nothing could be done to stop them right away. The Raj’s coercive machinery was on the side of the criminals. Raja Ram Mohun Roy who had thus far demonstrated admiration for both Jesus and the British Raj interacted with notable missionaries and mastered the Christian scriptures. The missionaries believed he was their guy for a very long time and awaited his conversion to the “one and only true faith.” He had, however, sparked animosity.
On the other side, he had incited enmity in Hindu culture by outspokenly criticizing its conventional religion and social mores in his writing and speaking. Nobody realized how severely the missionaries had bothered and repulsed him.
One wonders if the Raja explicitly connected Christian doctrines like Jesus’ divinity, his miracles, his atoning death, and his resurrection to primitive missionary practices. His strict monotheism, which he had outlined in his Persian monograph TuhfAt-ul-MuhawwidIn, may have influenced his perceptions. What is certain is that he portrayed the creator of Christianity in his 1820 book The Precepts of Jesus only as a moral teacher. A collection of the four gospels made up the text.
The parts in these gospels that depict any miracle, allude to any prophecy or discuss the ideas of atonement, Logos, or the divinity of Christ were all edited out by Rammohan, according to Dr. Sisir Kumar Das.
Ram Mohun was described as “an intelligent heathen whose mind is as yet wholly adverse to the grand design of the Saviour’s being incarnate” by Joshua Marshman, the Serampore Missionary who published the periodical. The reviewer himself chastised the Raja for disconnecting the mysteries and historical facts from the moral precepts of the New Testament.
In 1821, Ram Mohun issued an Appeal as a follow-up, in which he attacked the Trinity idea and the divinity of Jesus. Marshman supported them both while growing angrier. Ram Mohun used an impressive number of Hebrew and Greek quotations when he composed his Final Appeal in 1823. 15 It would be useful to acknowledge his work on another front before we continue with his dismantling of the core Christian doctrines.
The Brahmanical Magazine, a Bengali and English bilingual periodical, had been published by him in 1821. He had started a ferocious attack on missionary practices in the very first issue. He claimed that for the past 20 years, “a group of English gentlemen, known as missionaries, have been publicly attempting to convert Hindus and Mussalmans of this country into Christianity.
The Raja made a strong attack against the Trinity dogma. “Whether it is consistent with any rational idea of the nature of Deity that God should be appointed by God to act as a mediator by laying aside his glory and taking upon himself the form of a servant” was one of the questions he posed to his opponent in the dialogue. “Whether it is not most foreign to the nature of the immutable God that circumstances could produce such a change in the condition of the Deity as that he should not only have been divested of his glory for more than thi 23 He brought up a rather awkward query: How was Hindu polytheism different from the Trinity doctrine?
Ram Mohun was assisting William Yates and William Adam, two Serampore missionaries, in their Sanskrit translation of the New Testament. Ram Mohun offered a translation of a Greek phrase that was initially approved but then rejected because it was inconvenient to the idea of the Trinity. William Adam, though, began to have very real reservations. In 1822, Ram Mohun founded the Unitarian Committee, which he joined after renouncing Trinitarianism. In a fit of fury, the Serampore Missionaries referred to him as “the second fallen Adam.”
Raja went too far later. Now, white Christians who were not part of the missionary group entered the conversation in their own unique ways. There was a simple Hindu, a citizen of civilization in slavery, associating Jesus’ physical manifestation with Hindu avatars and comparing the Bible to Hindu texts! The Englishmen who had been Ram Mohun’s pals wrote him threatening letters. A public attack against him was launched by one of them.
He said, “on the part of a Hindu to say that there could be any common basis for both Hinduism and Christianity.” He invited his countrymen to put the Hindu in his proper place. “Are you so degraded by Asiatic effeminacy,” he asked his countrymen, “as to behold with indifference your holy and immaculate religion thus degraded by having it planted on an equality with Hinduism, with rank idolatry, with disgraceful ignorance and shameful superstition?”
The Raja thanked the British administration for granting him civil liberty, and he criticized the Hindus for being ungrateful for forgetting that the Christians had given them education and civic liberty. Additionally, he made the observation that “all ancient prophets and patriarchs adored by Christians, nay even Jesus Christ himself… were Asiatics.” He did not, however, agree that Christianity was to blame for his schooling. He claimed that he owed our forefathers the earliest dawn of knowledge for that.
Dr. Sisir Kumar Das notes that the theological discussion “took a new turn. The topic of racial superiority gradually pervaded the entire environment. The region of contention got bigger. The Bharatiya intellectual gradually understood that Christianity was connected to European civilization and so to the authority that governed Bharat.
The most crucial Christian doctrines have been destroyed by him. But he had placed Jesus on a pedestal the entire time. Maybe he truly believed Jesus was a great moral teacher. He might have merely used Jesus as a club to hit the missionaries with.
In any case, he had to pay dearly for his adoration of Jesus because he formed the Brahmo Samaj. Keshub Chunder Sen, who eventually seized control of the Brahmo Samaj, fell in love with Jesus to the point where he was almost cut off from the rest of Hindu society. Keshub’s followers attempted to have Sri Ramakrishna, who was unaware of the nefarious story, embrace Jesus.
DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.