in , and Timothy Tennent’s analysis of Upadhyay’s theology (Building. Christianity on Indian Foundations: The Legacy of Brahmabandhab Upadhyay). Animananda, B. R. The Blade: Life and Work of Brahmabandhab Upadhyay. A Hindu-Catholic: Brahmabandhab Upadhyay’s Significance for Indian Christian. Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya (). Born Bhabanicharan Bandyopadhyaya in Khanyan, Hugli, Brahmabandhab was a fiery patriot from an early age.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Brahmabandhab Upadhyay is one of the fascinating figures, was a theologian and a revolutionary creative thinker. He became the pioneer among the Indian Christian theologians who thought in advance to contextualize, indigenize and Indianize the Christian Gospel in the Indian context.

Brahmabandhav Upadhyay

This article explores the Brahmabanshab of Upadhyay in the light of Advaitic framework, which is the foundation of his theological formulation and emerged as an interaction to the socio- political, religio-cultural and philosophical contexts of his time.

This article investigates few of Brabmabandhab theological assumptions and interpretations to assert his theological and formulation towards his Advaitic Christology for India. There is a brief discussion on his life sketch, the historical contexts of Upadhyay’s theological thought, basic presuppositions, influence of natural theology, theological formulation of Advaitic Christology and Upadhyay’s Advaitic framework and his conviction of Hindu-Catholicism.

Brief Life Sketch uapdhyay Brahmabandhab Upadhyay Brahmabandhab Upadhyay 3 whose original name was Bhavani Charan Banerji was 1 Advaita is the Vedantic name for the doctrine of monism, one of the philosophical schools of Vedanta.

Advaita is translated as a-dualism brahmabandbab is non-dualism, often referred to monism. Advaita affirms that there are no ‘things’ but only Brahman, the Ultimate reality.

The basic tenets of Advaita is stated very briefly as follows: There is One basic underlying Reality or Source of the entire manifestation, which is variously called Brahman, Nirguna attributeless Brahman, Consciousness Prajna.

Unlike the common perception of God, in reality God is not a person—God in Advaita refers to impersonal, indefinable force. This force cannot be accurately described in words and so any description must be accepted with that notion. Upavhyay Nirguna Brahman has not created the manifestation of this phenomenal universe, it has become the manifestation, and that too, only an appearance.

In this becoming, the essential upaddhyay of Brahman remains unchanged, as Brahman is, by its very nature, changeless, this becoming is only an apparent becoming. The individuals unquestioningly are therefore not different from Brahman. Our sense of being separate psychological entities each with our own separate individual consciousness is an illusion caused by our defective way of thinking.

This delusory power of our thinking is termed maya. We brahmaabandhab Brahman by another name: Thomas Mannumel, The Advaita of Vivikananda: A Philosophy Appraisal Madras: Satya Nilayam Publication,3, Princeton University Press, Prior to Upadhyay there were thinkers and theologians such as Krishna Mohan BanerjeaLal Bihari DayNehemiah Nilakantha Sastri Goreh represent the group who had confrontational encounter with Hindu philosophical tradition.

Tennent, Building Christianity on Indian Foundations: A Legacy of Brahmabandhav Upadhyay Delhi: He was a friend of Swami Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore, and was instrumental to brahmabandhxb Shantiniketan.

Upadhyay was influenced by Keshub Chandra Sen at his early days and came to know Jesus Christ through him and his own uncle, Rev. He was baptized by Rev Heaton in in an Anglican Church, but became a Roman Catholic Sanyasi later on by taking conditional baptism adopting new name Theophilus, means Brahmabandhab, the friend of Brahman.

These writings were his expression of his new found religion. He strongly believed that due to total discouragement from church authorities he almost stopped theological writings, and became involved in nationalist movement in Bengal.


In September he was imprisoned by the British and a month after on October 27, he passed away. The Historical Context of Upadhyay’s Theological Thought Upadhyay’s theological thought emerged in the socio-political, religio-cultural and philosophical multi-faceted contexts as an interaction to the existing traditions of his time. The Socio-Political Context Nineteenth century India specifically Bengal experienced the awakening called as the Bengali Renaissance, the resurgence and self consciousness of the idea of re-discovering or recapturing a glorious past.


Upadhyay, Sophia Monthly I, 12 December Boyd, India Christian Theology: Thomas, Towards an Indian Christian Theology: Life and Thought of Some Pioneers Tiruvalla: Satyam Nilayam Publications, Vedic tradition, philosophical theology of Sankara’s Advaitic Vedantism and Indian cultural context.

See Tennent, Building Christianity, 6. Tennent, 2 Nayak, Biren Kumar. Indian minds to Western science, literature and history, printing press and propaganda. The printing press acted as one of the brahmabandhag of expressing ideas and opinions by which Upadhyay’s nineteenth century Bengal could produce fine minds in debate and journalism as well as philosophy.

The educational upheaval brought the attention of the elite to the social evil 6 of that time and gave birth to the Hindu reformation movements. There were several Hindu reform movements that emerged in Bengal during the nineteenth century.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy who abolished the social evil of Sati established Brahmo Samaj with the intention of modern Indian humanistic movement. The Religio-Cultural Context The late nineteenth century had experienced a theological turmoil in Hinduism to the maximum during which there emerged various movements like Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj and Christo Samaj in India.

It was during this time, the movement of Shri Ramakrishna by his lifestyle, his occultic vision and trance had attracted intellectual like Vivekananda. Oxford University Press, Of course, according to Sumithra, Sati, was the practice of wives being burnt alive at the death of their husbands. Brahmabandjab, Christian Theologies, The subsections under the historical context of Upadhyay’s theological thought may overlaps with each other.

Dispensation continued to maintain distance from traditional Hinduism. However, the revolutionary denial of the infallibility of Vedas in regards upadnyay cultural awakening to condemn social distinction of casteism led to the split in Brahmo Samaj. Those who continued to hold on to the infallibility of Vedas was the group known as Arya Samaj. But, Advaita of Sankara influenced the theological thought of Upadhyay.

The Basic Presuppositions of Upadhyay’s Theological Thought The socio-political, religio-cultural and the philosophical contexts had influenced the life and thought of Upadhyay.

This section examines the influence of Vedanta and the presupposition of his inclination towards natural theology.

Vedanta and the Christian Faith Christianity for Upadhyay is the religion of revelation that nothing can be added or subtracted from the deposit of Catholic faith.

Tennent, Building Christianity, Arya Samaj focused on the Vedic past and embraced the doctrine of karma and rebirth. Aleaz, Christian Thought, While comparing Vedanta with Christianity he means it with the Catholic belief or the theology of Thomas Aquinas. Christianity and Hinduism because both are primitive in origin. In fact, the Vedanta must be made to do the same service to Catholic faith in India as was done by the Greek philosophy in European.

The assimilation of the Vedantic philosophy by the Church should not be opposed on the ground of its containing certain errors. It must put on the Hindu garment to be acceptable to the Hindus. We believe that Vedantic thought will play a very important part in shaping the destiny of India. It must be represented correctly and brought into line with the. Is not his religion competent enough to save him? Therefore, it is evident that he had strong affinities between Christianity and Vedanta and wanted to build a theology on Advaitic Vedanta for Indian.


Upadhyay, Sophia, January Lipner and Gispert-Sauch, Writings of Upadhyay, Later onhe realized that Sankara’s system represented Hindu thought at its highest, at least in the minds of most Hindus. Therefore, he was committed to make efforts to use Advaita as the philosophical basis for the theological thought that he developed. However, Upadhyay’s conviction on Advaita Vedanta was likely considered as the preparation for the Gospel in the land of India. It was his understanding that the Protestant missionaries had done a harm in respect to witnessing Christ.

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Therefore, he adopted the Advaita Vedanta as the upadyhay of his theological thought and reflection. For him, the main presuppositions of Advaita Vedanta are: The following section explores the doctrine of Maya according to Advaita Vedanta. It is always correspondent to understand the concept of Brahman with one’s understanding on the doctrine of Maya. Bfahmabandhab, Maya is the concept in Vedanta to explain the world, so also Brahman.

Thomas calls creatio passiva — passive creation. For Upadhyay, it [creatio passiva] is a quality of all that is not Brahman. Baago, Indigenous Christianity, Lipner, 6 Nayak, Biren Kumar. He further affirms that from the ontological point of view the Vedanta is in perfect accord with the Thomistic philosophy.

According to him, Vedanta affirms the reality of the objective world which is created neither by production of combination nor by transformation but by vivarta, the will- causation sankalpaby the power sakti of will of God. Therefore, Maya asserts that, God is not necessarily a creator; creatures are non-beings, transformed as they were into beings; the transformation is caused by the mysterious power of the will of God.

He alone is identical with his own being while creatures are merely participating because of Maya and depending on Brahman for their existence.

Upadhyay’s agreement with the Thomistic world and Maya has influenced his thought and theological formulation in line with Aquinas’ natural theology discussed in the next section with its impact and brahmabbandhab. Influence of Natural Theology on Upadhyay’s Theological Presupposition Another major aspect of Upadhyay’s theological thought is his position on natural theology which emerged from the influence of contemporary movements such as Theosophy, the 19th Century Protestant Christianity, Neo-Hinduism, Arya Samaj and Brahmo Upahyay, 34 and inclination to Thomism.

This section explores Upadhyay’s position on natural theology and the influence of Thomism on his theological thought. Natural Theology and Thomas Aquinas Natural theology which was developed by Anselm was refined by Aquinas two centuries later.

He embraced the traditional Thomistic Catholic faith and thought and remained committed to his conviction to this intellectual tradition till the last phase of his life.

Another aspect of his theological goal and writings was to lead Hinduism back to the original form by which it may open the way for the Christian faith.

For Justin the indwelling logos led the wisest of Greeks to anticipate to some degree the truths now manifest in the incarnate logos.