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A tale of two Hindu sects

A scholar explores why two 18th century movements challenging key tenets of Hindu worship face very different fates in modern India

Book cover

Book cover of Hinduism Before Reform

A K Bhattacharya New Delhi
In the first half of the eighteenth century, India was witness to two significant developments that over the next many years would leave a deep mark on the evolution of the Hindu religion.

In 1802, the Saurashtra region saw the birth of a new Hindu religious sect — Swaminarayan Sampraday — which under the leadership of Sahajanand Swami departed from Hindu rituals and other caste-based practices. Instead of subscribing to Hindu beliefs, it reposed complete faith in the supremacy of the self that personified god.

A few decades later, a new religious movement grew roots in Bengal, branching away from

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First Published: Nov 21 2020 | 1:13 AM IST

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