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Vishnubuva Brahmachari – Reformer Of Hinduism

Vishnubuva Brahmachari (1825 – 71 CE) was a revivalist and reformer of Hinduism in Maharashtra. He believed in the superiority of Hindu culture over all other cultures. Along with the British came Protestant missionaries to preach the Christian gospel in India. The intelligentsia behind British rule, like Macaulay, Mill and Bentham, wanted to inculcate Western ideals and values among the Indians. Consequently, the advent of the British became a religious, cultural and political invasion. The Indians felt the need to protect their culture, religion and society from this onslaught.

Two types of movements emerged at this time in Maharashtra – reformist and revivalist. The former welcomed the advent of the British as an opportunity to transform Indian society into a progressive, democratic one; the latter, on the other hand, felt the need to protect the Indian tradition and Western attacks and to revive its past glory and worth that had decayed with the passage of time.

Vishnubuva Brahmachari attempted to establish the worth and richness of Hinduism and Indian philosophy. He defended Hinduism from the onslaughts of Christian missionaries. He wrote articles and books Bhavartha Sindu (Ocean of Meanings), Vedokta Dharmaprakasha (Light on Dharma according to Vedas) and others.

Vishnubuva Brahmachari emphasized the need to revive Vedic religion. He criticized mere mechanical observance of rituals, the hypocrisy of the purohit (priests) and the complacency of the lower classes in the matter of challenging the dominance of Brahmins. He favored a society in which there was collective ownership of land and equal distribution of production among the masses. He agreed that some of the socio-political values of the West were necessary for the development of Indian society. His plan for a “Beneficent Government” embodies these values. His aim was to evoke a sense of national pride by eliminating the shortcomings of traditional value and practices.