Paramahansa Mandali

Paramahansa Mandali was the first socio-religious organisation of Maharashtra, founded in 1849 in Bombay by Dadoba Pandurang, Durgaram Mehtaji, and a group of his friend. It was a secret socio-religious group whose ideology was closely related to the idealogy of the Manav Dharam Sabha (founded in 1844 in Surat). It began as a secret society that worked to reform the Hindu religion and society in general.

Dadoba Pandurang assumed the leadership of Paramahansa Mandali after leaving the Manav Dharma Sabha. He outlined his principles in “Dharma Vivechan” in 1848 for Manav Dharma Sahba and “Paramhansik Bramhyadharma” for Paramahansa Mandali. Dadoba outlined seven principles of this new movement:

  • God alone should be worshipped
  • Real religion is based on love and moral conduct.
  • Spiritual religion is one.
  • Every individual should have freedom of thought.
  • Our actions and speech should be consistent with reason.
  • Mankind is one caste.
  • The right kind of knowledge should be given to all.

The founders of Paramahansa Mandali believed in one god. Besides believing that one god should be worshipped, the organisation also said true religion is based on love and moral conduct. Its founders were primarily interested in breaking caste rules. At their meetings, the food cooked by lower caste people was taken by the members of this organisation. The Mandali also advocated widow remarriage and women’s education.

Branches of Paramahansa Mandali existed in Satra, Poona, and other towns of Maharashtra. Young educated Brahmans from Maharashtra joined the Mandali. However, the movement collapsed after 1860.

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