Harichand Thakur And The Matuya Religion(English)
The Matuya Religion
Sudhir Ranjan Halder
‘Harichand Thakur and The Matuya Religion’ is the English version of my Bengali publication with the title.
A great portion of the Matuyas forget that the Matuya religion is a non-Vedic religion. They use to mix it with the Hindu religion. So, they consider Harichand Thakur, the introducer of the Matuya religion, as an ‘AVATAR’ of Bishnu in the Hindu religion. Tarak Chandra Sarkar, the composer of the biography of Harichand Thakur, also described like that. All other Hindus are thinking that, the Matuya religion is a branch of the Vedic Hindu religion. But I have followed hotly, the book ShriShriHarililamrita, that the Matuya religion is purely separated, a non-Vedic religion. So, to make known to all the Matuyas and others this reality, I have tried to write this booklet.
After the partition of India, many of the Matuya families are living in various states outside Bengal. The new generations of those families do not know Bengali language. Especially, I have written this booklet for those in three languages other than Bengali— English, Hindi and Odia.
Shri Lakshman Chandra Sarkar, Head Master, Palpara Vidyamandir High School, and Shri Subodh Kaiya of Bardhaberia, Gopalnagar gave me valuable suggestions in editing and correcting the manuscript of this English version. I am very grateful to them.
August; 2015. Sudhir Ranjan Halder
Palpara, Nadia. Mob: 9433814298
Before telling about Harichand Thakur and the Matuya Religion, it is important to tell regarding the social, the economical and the religious situation of undivided Bengal in the beginning of the nineteenth century. But, at first, it is also necessary to tell about the ancient religion of the people of India. Here I am trying to say few lines what we knew from the ancient history of India.
In ancient time, before the arrival of Aryans, there was a noble civilized society in India. The people of that time used to worship of nature. There was a religion named Sanatan Dharma and it was the prime religion of India. It was on the basis of truth, morality and equality. There was no division by the Caste or the Varna between man to man. No one was considered his status as higher or lower in the society, all the men were equal. There were many wise men appeared in time to time who were called Buddhas. As far as we know, there were 27 Buddhas up to that time.
The Aryans had come to India about 1500- 1800 BC. After arriving they destroyed the ancient civilization of India. They occupied the properties of the Indian people. They introduced a Brahmnical Religion with Varna system instead of truth, morality and equality which were in the Sanatan Dharma. At that time their religious book, the Vedas were written and for this, it is called the Vedic religion also. In the Varna system, there are four Varnas namely the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaishya and the Shudra.The Brahmana is the highest Varna in the society, then the Kshatriya, next the Vaishya and the lowest Varna is the Shudra. The Shudras are divided into many castes (more than six thousand), some of them were untouchables. There was no equality in the society. The Brahmins were on the top most place of the society. It was also decided then that the particular jobs were to be done by the particular Varna and Caste. No one Varna or Caste could do the jobs of another Varna or Caste. The Shudras and the Untouchables had no right to keep properties and education. They were deprived of all human rights. So, they were to live as non-human beings.
When the ‘Bauddha Dhamma’ was introduced by Gautam Buddha, most of the people of India were attracted by its nobleness, uprightness, equality and liberty. After conversion to the Buddhism many Kings of India, most of the people were also converted to the Buddhism. After conversion to the Buddhism, the best of all Emperors, Ashoka was preaching the Buddhism throughout the country. As a result, monopoly of the Brahmins was ended and returned uprightness, equality and liberty in the societies of whole country and the Brahmanism was repressed. Although, the Brahmins were growled suppressedly in anger, but they had nothing to do against the government.
At last, after many years, a brahmin army commander namely Pushyamitra, had killed Brihadratha, the descendant of the Emperor Ashoka and ascended the throne of Magadha and consequently, the repressed Brahmanism rose in revolt again. Pushyamitra had oppressed severely with possible greatest expedition against the Buddhism. He prohibited to observe the religious rites and practices of the Budddhism in the country. He ordered to kill all the Bhikkus and announced to give reward of one hundred gold coins per Bhikku’s head. As a result, many Bhikkus were killed and others went to Nepal, Bhutan and to hilly areas of the country where they could not easily access. For this reason, the Buddhism had declined in India.
At the time of Pushyamitra government, the Brahmanism returned with cruelty and heartlessness position. This time, the costitution of the Brahmanya Religion (or the Hindu Religion), ‘Manusanghita’ or ‘Manusmriti’ was written by a brahmin namely Sumati Bhargava under the direction of Pushayamitra. The Varna system and the Caste system were followed very strictly. Again the Brahmins, who were small in numbers, were enjoying all the rights staying on top of the society and the largest number of people, the Shudras and the Untuchables were living with unbearable lives.
If it was true that, the Buddhism declined in all over India, but Bengal was exception. There were unbroken power of the Buddhism up to the period of the Palraj (the Pal-kingdom), because the Pal kings themselves were Buddhists. But when the brahmin King Bijoy Sen from Karnataka, captured the throne of Bengal after defeating Pal King by an war, the Brahmanya religion also extended there. In the fifth century, the Brahmins from northern India were rehabilited with land and money first in Bengal by the Gupta Emperors to establish the Brahmanya religion there. At the time of Bijoy Sen, the Brahmanya religion was spreaded in all the areas of Bengal.
Since in the ancient time, there lived a very large populated race namely Namas or Nomo in Bengal who are now known as Namashudra. Originally, they were not the Shudras in the Varna sytem in the Vedic religion, because, they were Buddhists by religion. They were very strong and courageous in nature. They used various type of works with the valorous government service as army etc. Buddhist Pal-Kings were also in this community.
The Namas community’s degradation had begun from the Sen’s ruling period after the dispossession of the Palraj and possession of Bijoy Sen, it reached in extreme position at the time of Ballal Sen, son of Bijay Sen. All Buddhists were wiped out from Bengal with severe cruelty. Ballal Sen announced publicly that, all the Buddhists would be either converted to the Brahmanya religion or be killed. They, who were converted to the Brahmanism i.e. the Hinduism, were placed in the Shudra Varna and later they were known as the Kayastha,the Baidya,the Rajbanshi, the Mahishya, the Paundra or the Pod, the Kaibarta, the Kapali, the Teli, the Mali, the Bhuimali etc. as per their profession. But, the Namas community were not agreed to be converted to the Hinduism. So, they had taken shelter in wild, rain-water and muddy areas, where difficult to access. At present, those areas are under the districts of Barishal, Faridpur, Dhaka, Mymensing, Jessore, Khulna etc. The rehabilated Brahmins in Bengal, abused them as ‘Chandala’ and made them untouchable being failed to convert them to the Hinduism. Ballal Sen had angrily settled the name as Chandala finally and kept them as untouchable.
In course of discussion, it is true that, the Namas were never in the Shudra Varna in the Hinduism because, in fact, they were not converted to the Hinduism from the Bauddha religion. So, it is not a question for them to be the Shudra.
That is why, the Namas were hated by the all communities and castes of the society. They were not able to observe their religious rites and practices by the fear of the administrative power. So, they were living as irreligious lives. For this reason, they were called as ‘Patit’. After a long time, gradually they had forgotten their original religion, the Buddhism and thought themselves as Hindu and started to use the Vedic cultures such as Puja, Shraddhakriya etc. by the inducement of the brahmin priests.
In the first part of the Nineteenth century, the situation of the Namas were very woeful. They had been extorted in all respects from the Higher Varnas, specially from the Zeminders. They were fully ignorant because they had no right to educate themselves. They had no sufficient land properties or no any business. So, their financial condition was also very miserable. They were living in the society without any prestige as they had no any particular religion. Their superstitious lives were unbearable for poverty, lack of education, want of medical treatment etc. The Shudras of the Vedic religion of Bengal such as the Teli, the Mali, the Kamar, the Kumar, the Mahishya, the Rajbanshi, the Kapali, the Paundra etc. were almost the same condition as the Namas. Besides these, the oppresion and extortion of the Zeminders were very merciless.
Harichand Thakur was born in an agriculturist family of Safaladanga village in the district of Faridpur in East Bengal (now Gopalganj district in Bangladesh) on the 11th March in 1812 AD (1218 Bengali year). His family was Namas in race, then called as `Chandala’ or `Charal’ who were untouchables to the Hindus in those days. The Brahmin priests and the rulers of the past times motivatedly named them Chandala and keep untouchable by a conspiracy. During the period of Ballal Sen, this designation was finally settled to them. But originally, there is no connection of the Namas with the Chandalas of the Hindu Religion.
As per the Hindu’s religious books, the Manusanghita and the Brihaddharma Purana, the Chandala is the descendants of illegal sexual union of the Shudra male and the Brahmin female. But it is not correct, it is wholly impossible, because, the Chandalas (with the Namas community) were many times greater than that of the Brahmins of the Vedic religion. That was not possible to give birth so many Chandalas, if all the brahmin women were engaged with sexual intercourse with the Shudra males.
The father’s name of Harichand Thakur was Yashomanta (not Yasobanta) Thakur and mother’s name was Annapurna. His original name was Haridas, but he liked to say him as Harichand. He had four brothers namely Krishnadas, Vaishnabdas, Gouridas and Swarupdas. Haichand was the second son of his parents.
Some say, the former generation of Harichand Thakur were Brahmins from Mithila in the past, but it has no evidence. They say that, one Ramdas, the forefather of Harichand, who was a brahmin from Mithila, came to Lakshmipasha village in Jessore district after peregrination with his wife. Some say, Ramdas was practising Brahmacharya, others say, he was a worshipper of goddess Kali, but it has no proof.
There is a running story about how Ramdas had transferred to the Namas community from the brahmin. That is like this— Ramdas had social communication with the Namas of Lakshmipasha village and for this, the brahmins of the area had expelled him from the caste and boycotted socially. At the time of his son Chandramohan’s marriage, he had not got any brahmin’s daughter. Then being compelled, he arranged to wed his son with a daughter from the Namas community. And from then his family was included in the Namas community. It is a ridiculous story only. As per the Hinduism, a brahmin bridegroom could marry a girl from any Varna or caste and for this reason he would not be outcasted. So, it is not true.
That story was published in the second and later editions of biography of Harichand Thakur— ShriShriHarililamrita, originally written by Tarakchandra Sarkar. The story was not in original book. At the next time it was interpolated in the book by another person. If it was true, Tarakchandra, who was closely related with Harichand Thakur, would surely incorporated that fact. But he did not mention the state of being a brahmin of Ramdas.
It is known from that book, Ramdas was living at Rarhadesh (now the districts of Hooghly, Bardhaman, Birbhum and Howrah in W. B.). After touring in holy places of Eastern India, Ramdas had reached at Lakshmipasha village in Jessore district. He saw the huge numbers of his own race people i.e. the Namas community were living there. So he dicided to live there with his own people, it means Ramdas was really a man from the Namas community. He was a Vaishnaba and a great devotee of Lord Krishna.
The title of the forefathers of Harichand Thakur was ‘Biswas’. The actual state of this was stated in the book ShriShriGuruchand Charita (page 94), written by Mahananda Halder. The later generations of Ramdas had got the title ‘Thakur’ by the people of the society for their virtuous behaviour, good manners and their daily worshipping of Krishna as Vaishnaba. (Some people called them as Bairagi also.) After Mukundaram, the grandfather of Harichand Thakur, who was familiar with Mochai Thakur and at the time of Yashomanta Thakur, the title was permanently said as Thakur.
Harichand Thakur was very restless in his boyhood. His boyfriends were Braja, Natu, Bishwanath and others. He spent his time with them rearing the cows as a cowboy. He played with them also. He did not like the Vaishnabas. When the Vaishnabas were used to come to his house, his father ordered him to take the dust and water of the Vaishnaba’s feet, but he did not agree. Sometimes he threw the cloth-bags of the Vaishnabas in the water lurkingly.
The name of the wife of Harichand Thakur was Santibala, who is known to us as Santimata. Her father’s house was at Jikabari village in Faridpur district, now in Bangladesh. Her father’s name was Lochan Pramanik.
The family of Harichand Thakur lived under the zemindary of Suryamani Majumdar. The zemindar had obtained a decree in a false case against the thakur-family and occupied their land property with dwelling-houses. After that event being compelled the thakurs were deserted from Safaladanga village to Ramdiya in Faridpur district. At Ramdiya, they took shelter in Sen’s house and next stage in the house of Bhajaram Chowdhury at neighbouring village of Orakandi.
Harichand Thakur had no opportunity to get systemic education from any school. In that period, the Namas were named as Chandala and were untouchables. For that reason they had no right to get education in the Brahmnical system. So, he could not go to school and had no bookish education. But he had very sharp intelligence and power of good memory which was exposed to his friends at childhood. His friends and companions were always encircled around him. He had solved all the problems and answered all the questions all of them.
The medical facilities of that time was not so good like to-day’s. In the villages it was more pathetic as there were no doctors and medicines, especially in the villages where the Patit people were living. A great number of villagers died being affected by the waterborne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, chickenpox, smallpox, typhoid etc. in every year. The Ojhas were the doctors of them. To wear amulets, to exorcise by Ojhas and to depend upon God was only the treatment of the villagers.
Harichand Thakur began to treat medically the patients of neighbouring villages with the natural empiric medicine by his own intelligence. He prescribed his patients that they had to take such things by which his disease would decrease. He prescribed to take tamarind water with Panta Bhat for fever, to rub in the body with cowdung and urine of cow for granular objects on the skin. He also prescribed basil-leaves, turmeric, margosa, betel-leaves and such other medicinal plants for various diseases.
A greater number of diseases were cured with this treatment by Harichand Thakur and mostly for that reason he gained a good standing as a deliverer of the poor and the Patit people. So, superstitious people of that time, influenced by the Vedic religion regarded him as an Avatar of so-called God.
Not only he played the role of a medical practitioner, but he took up the leading part with all types of social works also. He leaded the expedition of the Jonasur indigo factory at Gopalganj, pleading against the oppression by the indigo planter to the farmers. This time he worked with the various type of works to maintain his family. Some days he was hawking the various type of grocery goods in the villages. Once he was engaged in oil business. Then he started to plough in the uncultivated fields and got a bumper crops. By these works, he showed the way to the villagers to maintain their families and improve their lives.
The real fight of Harichand Thakur was against the inhuman rules such as inequality, false discrimination etc. and baseless imagination of the Vedic religion or the Hinduism. His fight was against the self-seeking rules in the religious books, like the Vedas, the Puranas, the Manusanghita etc. with groundless supersitions and to establish the rationalism. He said, “I am ready to eat the remaining food after eating by a dog, but I will not show respect to rules of the Vedas.” At last he introduced a new religion opposing the Vedic religion for the Patit people of the country. That religion was established as “Matuyadharma”.
Harichand Thakur and his followers were ‘Matta’ (absorbedly engaged) with ‘Haribol’ to do practices of virtue with abandment the Vedic conducts and behaviours. Seeing that practices by them, the opposition of Harichand, especially the Brahmins and the Kayasthas were taunting them as ‘Matto’, ‘Mautta’, then ‘Matuya’. Harichand Thakur had accepted this name. He said, “Bhinna sampraday mora Matuya akhyan” means ‘We are separate community namely ‘Matuya’. Now, who obey or honour his non-Vedic directions, visions and philosophy, they are called the Matuyas.
It is to be remembered that, it was the actual intention for introducing the Matuya religion by Harichand Thakur to tie in a bond of religion, to uplift with peaceful household lives and to abolish the inequality of the Namas and other downfallen communities and to establish the sense of international brotherhood.
The Matuya Religion is a religion of Works and Messages, which are immaculated and admired by the wises. The speciality of this religion is the instance of truth, equality, universal love, and holiness.
The main directions of the Matuya religion are as follows— 1) to say the truth, 2) to look upon another’s wife as his own mother, 3) to respect to parents, 4) to love the world, 5) not to believe in casteism, 6) not to disparage other religions, 7) not to make up as a saint, 8) to establish the Shri Hari Mandir [a house of worship], 9) to be careful from six enemies [1. sex-passion, 2. anger, 3. greed, 4. infatuation, 5. vanity and 6. envy], 10) to work by hand and to remember the name of Hari by the mouth, 11) to pray daily and 12) to do self-sacrifice to God.
The parents are the real God in the Matuya religion, they are the creators. They keep running the universe by giving birth to children, they nourish and bring up them. They have rebirth in their children. Becoming a son or a daughter they should have to serve always their parents and remove their griefs.
It is not mentioned here about unreasonable devotionalism saying to establish a Shri Hari Mandir. Here, Hari means who removes all uneasiness of body and darkness of mind— such as malice, hatred, envy, meanness, etc. Integrity, self-restraint and attention of mind can drive out the all bad tendency of character. The amalgamated strength of these virtues is called Hari.
Similarly, daily prayer does not mean self-dedication, worship or prayer for a desire to a god or goddess like the Hindus. Continuous practising of those, which makes the act of living very prosperous, development of highest humanity in all respects, are called prayer.
Self-sacrifice to God does not mean surrender to any imagined or created God as almighty by the Hindus or others. The definition of God in the Matuya religion is different from that of the God of the Vedic or other religions. Haricahand Thakur said, “He, who uplifted some one, is his God”. Uplift means to be raised in prosperous life in all respects from downfallen state and obey the directions, visions and philosophy of that God is self-sacrifice to God. Here Harichand Thakur had uplifted the Patits (downfallen people), so, he is their God and to follow his idealism is self-sacrifice to God.
Some people have propagated that, the Matuya religion is a branch of the Hindu religion, but it is not true. It is completely a different religion. It has no connection with the Hindu religion. The Hindu religion obeys the Vedas, so it is the Vedic religion, but the Matuya religion disobeys the Vedas, so it is not the Vedic or the Hindu religion. There is no any created god or goddess and their worshipping or Puja in the Matuya religion.
The images of various gods and goddesses are seen in many houses of the Matuyas and they are worshipping or doing puja to them by the side of Harichand Thakur. This is not right to do in any way. Gods and goddesses were created by the Vedic men, really it has no existence. The Matuya religion is not a Vedic religion, so, puja of created gods or goddesses in the Hinduism is forbidden for the Matuyas. But common Matuyas are doing those habitually having no idea about this and by the instigation of the Hindu brahmins. The erroneous habit of doing puja by the Matuyas are increasing day by day for some books written by the Matuya writers concerned with the Matuya religion. It is a matter of deep concern.
The greater portion of the Matuyas knows Harichand Thakur as an Avatar (incarnation) of God. But it is not true. There is no such word ‘Avatar’ in any religion in the world except the Hinduism. The Avatar is a so-called title given by the Vedic brahmins (sages) who were originally Indians and stood for the alien Aryans to support them against the original inhabitants of India and killed them brutally for the interest of the Aryans; the title ‘Avatar’ was given to them. Rama and Krishna were the examples of those. When the Matuya religion is a seperate religion, then it has no cause to say Avatar to any one. Harichand Thakur had a human body and he was highly glorious, a revolutionary, a fighter and establisher of the Matuya religion. The Hindus called Gautam Buddha, the introducer of the Bauddha religion, an Avatar, but Buddhists do not say so.
The main specialities in the Matuya religion are truth, love, purity, equality, friendship and honesty. To love to all, not to think anybody low or inferior, liberty for all, equal rights and privileges for all, not to try to trace any imaginary god, thinking of worshipping of god by the sacred task of serving to mankind or any living being etc. are the religious practices of the Matuya religion.
The Matuya religion follows many teachings from ancient religion of India— the Sanatan Dharma and the Bauddha Dhamma. But, it is done more simple, easy, household, reasonable and scientific. the Matuya religion may be called as ‘Sukshma Sanatan Dharma’ because, it has many similarity with that. That was on the basis of truth, morality and equality. There was no division by Caste or Varna between man to man. No one was regarded as higher or lower in the society, all men were equal. Any one could do any work by his eligibility. The Matuya religion was also introduced on the basis of those.
The Matuya Dharma is a new form of the Bauddha Dharma. We know it from the holy book “ShriShriHarililamrita”, written by Tarak Chandra Sarkar. He says—
“Buddher kamana taha paripurna janya.
Yashomanta grihe Hari haila abatirna.”
It means, Harichand Thakur was incarnated to fulfil the wishes of Buddha. Here, Buddha means Gautam Buddha. So, we can say Harichand Thakur introduces the non-Vedic Matuya Dharma to publicize the intention of Gautam Buddha. With the preaching of religion, he advised to get education for all for prosperity of the community and to get their old hereditary culture. But he could do nothing for education for the backward communities in his short-lived existence due to the situation and environment of that time. As he advised all, he also directed his elder son Guruchand Thakur to fulfil his wishes and outstanding works.
The backward communities (Namas, Teli, Mali, Kamar, Kumar, Mahishaya, Jele, Malo, Kapali etc.) of undivided Bengal were enlightened and began to convert to the Matuya religion introduced by Harichand Thakur. Even the Kayasthas, the Baidyas, the Brahmins, the Christians, the Muslims were also converted to this religion.
There is no Gurugiri (profession of a Guru) or act of receiving initiation from a guru like the Hindus. The Matuyas’s have only one Guru— he is Harichand Thakur. There is no pilgrimage or act of touring in so-called holy places for the Matuyas. There is no any gain by unnecessary expenditure through pilgrimage and by offering worship to any god or goddess in the temples of holy places. It is only profitable for the brahmins priests. It is directed to do all the religious practices of the Matuya religion, the idealism of Harichand Thakur, means— good thinking, charitable works, public welfare, serving for public beneficial etc. staying at their own houses. So, it may be called as a domestic religion.
Nowadays, it is seen that, some Matuya Gosains (like as a guru) are holding a Brahmnical title as ‘Maharshi’, ‘Ananda’, ‘Goswami’, ‘Maharaj’ etc. and initiating the Matuya religion to new persons as like gurugiri in the Hinduism. These are not admissible in the Matuya religion. Who are doing these, they do not know the moralities of the non-Vedic Matuya religion. They follow the Vedic culture only for their lack of knowledge. They do not know the doctrine of Harichand Thakur. Of course, some are doing these intentionally with cleverness to have money, honour and immoral advantages. So, the real Matuyas should prevent these from deception of them.
Some have written books about the ceremonial procedures of the Matuya religion. They have written Mantra for Gurupuja, Anjali, Naibedya etc. in Sanskrit language in their books. All these are only the act of following the Vedic cultures. As there is no place of Guruism in the Matuya religion, similarly there is no meaning of Sanskrit Mantras. Are the Matuyas speaking in Sanskrit? Did Harichand Thakur speak in Sanskrit? So, why in Sanskrit language? These are all the effects ofthe Vedic-brains of some Matuyas, who are going to creat the Matuya religion to completely a Brahminical Vedic religion. It is boycotted the thread wearing brahmin priests only. Harichand Thakur opposed the Vedic culture, so, it is not fulfilled his derections by this.
The Matuya religion is purely a separate religion. It has many differences with the Vedic religion i.e. the Hindu religion. It is difficult to explain these in short, but I am trying to explain in brief.
1. The Vedas are the holy books (religious book) of the Hindus. The opinion of the Hindus is that, the Vedas are infallible, no one can ask any question against it. But the Matuya religion says, “Vedbidhi nahi mane Matuyargan”, that means, the Matuyas do not obey the rullings of the Vedas. So, the Matuya religion is not a Vedic religion and the Matuyas are not Hindus.
2. In the Brahminism or the Hinduism, there are religious rules, to do the Yajna (Yagya), to perform the other practices correctly and to give presents to the Brahmins for the release of atma (soul). Sacrifice is must to doYajna— means killing of animals. The observation of religious rites and practices with killing the animals to get Mukti of atma is bogus, Harichand Thakur does not admit that.
3. There is another rule in the Brahminism— the Varna system. There are four Varnas— the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaishaya and the Shudra. This system has been written in the Vedas. The Vedas are infallible, and no one should ask any question against the Vedas. So, this system must be carried out by all the Hindus. In this system, there is no equality in the society. Here, the Brahmins are on the top of the society, the Kshatriyas are under the Brahmins but above the Vaishayas, the Vaishyas are under the Kshatriyas but above the Shudras and the Shudras are at the bottom of all. But, there is no Varna system in the Matuya religion, here all men and women are equal in the society.
4. The professions of four Varnas are fixed— a Brahmana should receive education and to teach, a Kshatriya should fight and participate in administrative works and a Vaishya should do business and cultivation. But the Shudras have only right to serve to all other higher three Varnas. These systems of profession in the Varnas will never be changed. These will be continuing from generation to generation. And the Shudras and all the women of all the Varnas have no right to receive education. But in the Matuya religion, there is no any profession which will be continuing from generation to generation, there is equal right to all men and women to receive educaion and to do any job as per his or her qualification.
5. The Vedic religion is established with unreasonable and unscientific baseless thoughts. It is a religion of the Varna system and the Brahmanas are on the top position of all and so, it is called as Brahmanya religion also. In this doctrine, the Brahmana has taken birth from Brahma’s mouth, the Kshatriya from arm, the Vaishya from thigh and the Shudra from leg. This Varna system had been written in all the religious books of Hinduism, such as the Vedas, the Brahmanas, the Puranas, the Geeta, the Bhagabat, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata etc. Though it is of four Varnas, but there are many castes (more than six thousand) in the Varnas. The people of one caste have no social relation with another caste. Eating and drinking, marriage etc. are not in vogue between the castes. A qualified, good-charactered, virtuous lower caste Hindu, can never be equal with a brahmin. Only a brahmin by birth has right to preside over the religious practices. Even lower castes people have no right to read and to hear the Vedas. All should obey the Vedas, but could not read the same! What a brahmin says, that should be obeyed! Nobody has right to know the false or truth! If some one gets education and reads the Vadas, for this reason, education is prohibited to the Shudras! What a terrific system!
6. In the Vedic religion women are doors to go to the hell! They have no right to religious practices. As like the Shudras, women have no right to read and to hear the Vedas. This inhuman system is not allowed in the Matuya religion. Harichand Thakur says, “Bhedabhed jnan nai nari ki purush”, means there is no discrimination in between men and women. In another topic he says, “Karibe garhasthya dharma laye nija nari”, means do all the religious practices with own wife.
7. There is untouchability in the Hinduism. Many lower castes and Adibasis are untouchable to the so-called higher classes Hindus. It is sin and to be outcasted for them to touch these people. Again they have to reclaim status of caste by eating animal’s dung (cowdung) and giving fees and gifts to the brahmin priest. The law-giver of the Hinduism, Manu says regarding untouchables, “If a Shudra hears the verses of Vedas, close his ears with melted iron, lead or lac, if he says, cut his tongue, if committed to memory, cut his body into two pieces.” Parashar Sanghita says, “A Brahmin is worshipful from his birth to all, even to gods or goddesses. Do not kill a brahmin, if he is sinful or criminal in all respects”. There are act of singing in praise of the Brahmins everywhere in the Hindu scriptures. An inferior brahmin is greater than a man of good qualities Shudra. There is no caste system in the Matuya religion, all are equal. A human being is not hateful or worshipful by his birth, but by his works. There is no any man with special possession as brahmin in the Matuya religion.
8. Anyone may be converted to other religions from the Hinduism, but no can be converted to the Hinduism. This is the rule of the Hinduism. This rule does not obey the Matuyas. Anyone from any religion may be converted to the Matuya religion by obeying the idealism of Harichand Thakur.
There are also many differences between the Hinduism and the Matuya religion. But the Matuyas do not know all those and do not obey. They have no need to do religious practices by a Vedic brahmin. Guruchand Thakur, the son of Harichand Thakur says that, he has no faith to the Vedic rules, Tantramantra etc. He directed to the Matuyas to boycott these. No need to do the Yajna, go to the Sannyas or the Banprastha, not to be initiated from a brahmin Guru, not to go pilgrimage. He directed to all to perform the religious practices with great attention living at their own houses.
To introduce the Matuya religion is a great religious revolution. It is nothing but a religious movement against the Vedas, Brahmanas, Yajna (Jagya), caste and classes etc. in India, the country of Brahmanism. It is a declaration of war by Harichand Thakur against the creators of disunity. All Matuyas, men and women are soldiers of that war with equal dignity.
The Matuya religion has a triangular flag with red colour and white border. The red colour is the symbol for revolution and white for peace. Actually the revolution is for living together with equal rights of all human beings. This revolution is for removing the untouchability, inequality, superstition, inhumanity and differences between human creatures and to set up of equality in the society. The musical instruments of the Matuyas are the Jay Danka or Danka, Kansar and Shinga. The symbol of revolution and victory is the flag of Matuya’s hand and the sounds of Danka, Kansar and Shinga to announce the victory in war.
Harichand Thakur had two sons and three daughters. His son’s name were 1) Guruchand Thakur and 2) Umacharan Thakur.
Harichand Thakur took up a great role to preserve the rights and dignity of women. He always says for equal rights to men and women.
Somebody says, Harichand Thakur introduced the Matuya religion by purification of the Vaishnaba religion introduced by Chaitanya. But it is not true. The Vaishnabas are there, where they were in the past. Harichand Thakur was extreme opposite to the Vaishnabas. He hated the Vaishnabas from his boyhood. Even he did not agree to take dust of the Vaishnaba’s feet by order of his father. The Vaishnaba religion is a branch of the Hinduism introducced by Chaitanya. Harichand Thakur had known that it would not be possible to rectify the Hindu religion. Because, the self-seeking Brahmins would never be agreed to reform their religion. So, he established a new religion for the irreligious Patit people. He says insinuating the Vaishnaba—
“Paper besati sab jholar bhitar.
Jhola fele khola haye nam karo sar.”
means— the trading of sins are in the Jhola. All should throw the Jholas and to chant the name (Hari).
“Kothay brahman dekho kothay Vaishnab.
Swarthabashe arthalobhi jata bhanda sab.
Tantramantra bhek jhola sab dhandhahaji
Pabitra hriday rekhe hao kajer kaji.”
means— Where are the brahmin and the Vaishnaba, all are selfish and avaricious dissimulators. Tantramantra asceticism, Jhola— all are tricky. Be a worker of good works with sacred heart.
The poet Tarakchandra Sarkar remarked about the Matuya religion—
“Mala tepa phota kata jal phela nai.
Hate kam mukhe nam mon khola chai.”
There is no Mala Tepa, Fota Kata, Jal Fela in the Matuya religion. All should work by hand and to name by mouth.
Somebody says that, Chaitanya was the previous Avatar of Harichand Thakur. He had alighted again as Harichand Thakur. These are all bogus and ridiculous invention of them. There is no place of the Avatarism in the Matuya religion. There were many differences between the religious movement of Harichand Thakur and Chaitanya. Also there were many differences between them with religious, social and their personal character.
It is true that, Harichand Thakur and Chaitanya had fight to establish human dignity, but Chaitanya did not leave the Vedic cultures, Yajna, priest system etc. As a result, he could not get into the temple of a non-Hindu, Haridas. Even he himself did not take meals from any non-brahmin person. He also encouraged to establish a lazy (unwilling to work) Vaishnaba community. The main differences of Harichand Thakur and Chaitanya are stated below:—
1. Harichand Thakur was born in a Namas family. Chaitanya was born in a brahmin family. He did not leave off his so-called holy thread.
2. Harichand Thakur was a familyman; his manner is to enjoy the family life with works and to do all the religious practices in own house. Chaitanya was an ascetic, who had quitted his house, Vairagya was his way to worship God.
3. Harichand Thakur opposed to do perigrination, Chaitanya had gone on pilgrimage.
4. Harichand Thakur opposed the Dikshamantra (initation) and Gurugiri; Chaitanya was faithful to the Dikshamantra and Gurugiri.
5. Harichand Thakur agited against the Brahmanyatantra, the Hindu scriptures and scriptural rules. But Chaitanya was always a supporter of these.
6. Harichand Thakur says to do the religious practices in own house with own wife. Chaitanya practiced with the Parakiya.
Not only the backward classes such as the Namas, Kapali, Mahishya, Paundra (Pod), Goyala, Teli, Mali, Malo, Muchi etc. were attracted by the religious movement of Harichand Thakur, all communities of the society were attracted. Many persons from so-called higher classes were inspired with his ideals and had become his devotees after giving up their vanity of classes. The mentionable names were Akshay Chakraborty, Rasik Sarkar, Rambharat Mishra, Nabin Bose etc.
Harichand Thakur was subsisting only 66 years. He passed away on the 6th March, 1878 (Bengali 1284). That day was also a Wednesday as his birthday. He directed his elder son Guruchand Thakur at the time before death to fulfil his intentions, what he could not completed in his lifetime. Guruchand Thakur obeyed his directions with great devotion.
We see with wonder that, there is no name of Harichand Thakur as a great man in the history of India, even of Bengal. Not only his name, no any name of the backward classes are to be seen as a great man in the Indian History. What is the reason of it? Were there no any great man in the backward classes then? If we think deeply, it will be clear to us.
Coming from foreign land, the Aryan Brahmins introduced the Vedic religion in India. They had frightened the Mulnivashis with their religious rules and systems like Yajna (jagya), Mantratantra, Puja-Parban, Shradhakriya, Paralok, Swarga-Narak etc. and drived them to the wrong way for extorting them permanently. They named the Mulnivashis as the Shudra, the Rakshasa, the Daitya, the Dasyu etc. (some of them are untouchables) and deprived them from education, property etc. for thousands of years. Harichand Thakur’s religious movement was against the headmen of the Brahmanism and he introduced a socialistic religion. He and his son Guruchand Thakur enlightened the Patit untouchables Mulnivashis to receive education and to gain knowledges and arrange to widespread publicity for these. Mainly they were engaged in seeking to develop them. But it was unfavourable for the interest of the Brahmanism. The administrative power of India was always in the hands of the Brahminical communities, even today also. All the historians are also the men from the Brahmanical communities.They know, to be educated of backward classes means, to know all the truths and to loose of their interests. So, the Varna Hindus historians did not write about the greatness and works of Harichand Thakur and Guruchand Thakur. In the same way, they did not write anything about the great men from the backward classes.
Mrityunjay Biswas and Dasharath Biswas, two devotees of Harichand Thakur, had written some parts of a biographical document of Harichand Thakur and about his Dharma. But Harichand Thakur was angry to hear the manuscript of the book and threw the same. He said Mrityunjay and Dasaratha would have leprosy if they printed and published the book. Because, he did not like the writtings in theVedic trend of thoughts and said that, a biography of a man should not be written in his life time.
After twenty five years from the death of Harichand Thakur a book was written again newly as a biographical document of Harichand Thakur and about his Dharma (the Matya Dharma) titled as “ShriShriHarililamrita”. The writer is a famous poet Tarakchandra Sarkar. He agreed to write this book thoroughly with the request and inspiration of Mrityunjay Biswas and Dasharath Biswas. But the book was not published in the life time of Tarakchandra Sarkar. At first, Tarakchandra named the book as “ShriHaricharitra Sudha”. Shashibhushan Thakur, the son of Guruchand Thakur, newly named that book as “ShriShriHarililamrita”.
After two years from the death of Tarakchandra Sarkar the book was printed and published. But at first no one press of Calcutta (now Kolkata) did agree to print this book as there is a history of non-Vedic Matuya religion against the Vedic religion. There are also the history of oppression to the backward classes by the Varna Hindus and the movements to realize the rights of them. All publishers of that time were the Varna Hindus. No press could print this type of book without the permission of Bhasha Saptasati Samiti as per the rule of that time. By the direction of that committee, some parts of the book were changed, some parts were rejected for the non-Vedic thoughts and some parts of the Vedic thoughts were added by another poet, Haribar Sarkar to get the permission of the committee. In spite of that they had to give twenty rupees as bribe to the press-manager to print the book (at present value of twenty rupees of that time is near about ten thousand rupees). The press authorities did not return the manuscript of the book. So, there is no way to know, what had written Tarakchandra in the original manuscript. Are there so many oppositeness of the Vedic and the non-Vedic complications in the book for the changing in composition of Tarakcahandra?
Gopal Howlader, who was known as Gopal Sadhu, helped with money to publish the book.The price of that book was then rupees two only and number of pages were 250. Guruchand Thakur had decided to print the book by the inspiration of his son Shashibhushan Thakur. The book was first published in 1916 A.D. and printed by Nakulchandra De, from Shastra Prachar Press, 5 No. Chhidam Mudir Lane, Darjipara (Calcutta).
The composer of the “ShriShriHarililamrita”, Tarakchandra Sarkar was born at Jaypur village in Jessore district of present Bangladesh, in 1847 A.D. His father’s name was Kashinath Sarkar and mother’s name was Annada. Tarakchandra took his primary education from a Pathshala in Chhatra village in his childhood. He was in a party of Kabigan with his father from his boyhood and was deeply engaged to read the Vedic scriptures like Puranas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagbata etc. At the tender age, he began to do Kabigan after his father’s death. Later, he earned very good reputations as a famous Kabiyal in Bangadesh of that time. He expired in 1914 AD. He composed two books about Harichand Thakur— the ShriShriHarililamrita and the ShriShriMahasankirtan. The book ShriShriHarililamrita was newly composed after twenty five years from the death of Harichand Thakur and published in 1916, after the death of Tarakchandra Sarkar.
Tarakchandra, the composer of the ShriShriHarililamrita, described in details about the non-Vedic Matuya religion, but he could not keep up the complete separateness from the Vedic religion. In one side, he described in plain language about the opposition of the Vedic by the works, speeches, advices and instructions of Harichand Thakur. In another side he established the Matuya religion as a part of the Vedic religion. Basically he placed the Matuya religion as an extraordinary form dissolved in the Vedic religion and cultures. He described the activities of Harichand Thakur with contradictory statement, imaginative incidents following after the Puranas of the Vedic religion. For this reason, separateness of the Matuya religion has lost and the Matuyas are in blunder. But, if we follow deeply in the works, speeches and advices of Harichand Thakur, what Tarakchandra had described in that book, we have no difficulty to understand that, the Matuya religion is a separate religion of superhumanity. What religion disobeys and blames the Vedas, that would never be a Vedic religion.
Actually, Tarakchandra was a famous Kabiyal (Kabi-Sarkar) at that time and his father was also a Kabiyal. He had grown up with the company of his father’s Kabiyal party from boyhood. Kabiyals are used to do Kabigan with the manners and the help of the stories from the religious books of the Hindus (the Vedic religion) like the Puranas, the Smrities, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the books of the Vaishnabas, mainly the Chaitanya Charitamrita. They could not uproot the Vedic manners, customs and cultures from their minds. Mentally they were sinking wholly in the sea of the Vedic and the Vaishnabatantra. Tarakchandra was also a Kabiyal with same mindness. He was attracted with the non-Vedic philosophical knowledge of Harichand Thakur, but habitually he could not come out mentally from the Vedic trend of thoughts or the practices and rites and sacraments of the Hinduism.
There are many supernatural tales in the ShriShriHarililamrita. Those might be inserted for the realization of the common people of that time. Because the literature of that time (nineteenth-twentieth century) was ideological and mythological (basic idea was the Vedic god or goddesses). It might not be possible to make public the thoughts of Harichand Thakur to the illiterate, blind believing, superstitious common people of that time without those supernatural stories. So, Tarakchandra Sarkar might have incorporated the supernatural events in the book. He might have written a supernatural event by a little change of a true event or depending upon a rumour. Or the author had confidence in or was believing those supernaturals by the influence of the Vedic religion. So, he had given primness to the supernaturals without searching for truth or origin. We should realize the actual thought and philosophy of the Matuya religion. We have to remember that, if Tarakchandra Sarkar did not write that book, then we could know nothing about Harichand Thakur and his religious thought i.e. the Matuya Dharma. So, we shall be indebted for ever to him and he will be worthy of being saluted to us.
All human beings have equal rights, that is the main rule of the Matuya religion. Harichand Thakur was emphatic mostly on this matter. He opposed the system of differential treatment between men and women in the society. “Women are the doors to go to the hell”—this is written in the “Manusanghita”, the rules book of the Vedic religion. But Harichand Thakur says against this, “It is not possible to establish a model household religion without paying regard to the women. Women are the centre of householder. No family is formed without a woman. All the religious practices should be done with own wife”. For this, he always directed all to emphasize for education, rights and dignity of women.
The women were suffering from disgrace with various mental oppression by polygamy of their husbands, their early marriage and being used as a Sevadasi or as a concubine etc. at that time. Harichand Thakur says against these, “Ek nari brahmachari”— means only one wife is allowed for a husband. For women education, he says—
“Ami shiksha debo jata purusher dale,
Nari shiksha pabe tar chhaya sushitale.”
means, I will give education to all men with their women.
About two hundred years ago Harichand Thakur says about women’s right—
“Samaje purush pabe jei adhikar,
Nario paibe taha karile bichar.”
means women have equal rights with the men in the society. Wife is not a maid servant of her husband, she is religious and life partner. Both of them have equal dignity in the family life.
The Hinduism teaches men to be emotional, idle, parasitical and to neglect the physical labours, domestic life is pricle on the way of Mukti, poverty is the results of wheel of fortune. But Harichand Thakur says—
“Alas loker tulya papi keha nai.”
—means there is no any sinner or wicked person like an idle man.
And again says—
“Kaj karle kaji na karle paji.”
—means, who works, he is a worker, who does not work, he is harmful.
Harichand Thakur disregarded the Hinduism about it’s Varna system, Jatpat (divided into thousands of castes), and superstitions and he says against these—
“Kukurer uchchhista prasad pele khai,
Vedbidhi sauchachar nahi mani tai.”
—means, I am ready to eat the remaining food after eating by a dog, but I will not show respect to rules of the Vedas.
“Jibe daya name ruchi manushete nistha,
Iha chhara ar jato sab kriya bhrasta.”
—means, all the religious rules and performances are false and ineffected except kindness to all creatures, propensity to Name (ideal of Harichand Thakur), confidence to mankind and having deep attention to do good for all. No benefit would get or not to gain any virtue with religious performances.
Harichand Thakur says—
“Grihadharma grihakarma karibe sakal,
Hate kam mukhe nam bhakti-i prabal.”
In the nineteenth century, many persons had been left their house works and renounced the world by the influence of the Vedic religion (Hinduism), especially by the Vaishnabatantra, introduced by Chaitanya. Harichand Thakur realized that, if it continues, the creation and civilization would be destroyed. So, he gave that statement to save the creation and civilization from that situation. Meaning of this verse— all domestic works should be done as a familyman. Anybody should not leave the houseworks and not to renounce the world in the name of preservation of religion, if so, the creation and civilization would be stopped. But all should always to name. Here name means Harichand Thakur’s name, and all should mind and think his philosophy and ideals and to be engaged always to try to fulfil his conceptions.
In the views of Harichand Thakur— one has no need to be a Sannyasi (an ascetic), a Banprasthi, or a Brahmachari to earn real knowledge. If one has noble intention, he may earn real knowledge at his own house living in family life. This is not true that, Harinam rescues from sins or freed from earthy bondages, Harinam purifies and rectifies the body and mind, Harinam gives universal love.
Here, the summarized composition about Harichand Thakur and the Matuya religion is going to be ended. But before that, it is requested to all the Matuya brothers in the world that, they should remember that, the Matuya religion and the Vedic (the Hindu) religion are not similar. There are many differences between two religions. Here we are mentioning again these shortly.
1. The Vedic religion has Varna system, the Matuya religion has no Varna system and no division from man to man.
2. The Vedic religion does not give rights to do religious practices independently, to read scriptures (religious books) to the women, who are the half of the society.
3. The Vedic religion believes untouchability. One will be outcasted if he touches another and takes meal from a different race’s house. In the Matuya religion, there is no place of untouchability.
4. TheVedic religion is discriminatory— there is no equality, alliance and freedom. The Matuya religion is a religion with equality, alliance and freedom.
5. The Vedic religion believes— one takes birth in a lower Varna or caste by his sins of previous birth. The Matuya religion does not believe this. This conception creates inferiorty complex.
6. The Vedic religion believes the pilgrimage destroyes the sins, one would not get Mukti without receiving initiation from Guru. The Matuya religion opposes these. Harichand Thakur says—
“Diksha nai karibe na tirtha parjatan,
Mukti spriha sunya nai sadhan bhajan.”
—means, no need to receive initiation from a guru, do not go to pilgrimage, no desire of Mukti, no need of Sadhan Bhajan.
7. The Vedic religion has worship of innumerable god and goddesses, but there is no worship of any god or goddesses in the Matuya religion.
8. There is no polygamy in the Matuya religion as in the Vedic religion. Harichand Thakur says— “Ek nari brahmachari”.
9. There are innumerable Mantras in the Vedic religion. The Matuya religion has nothing but “Haribol”. All the celebrations are performed by this mantra— Haribol.
Jai Harichand, Jai Guruchand!
1. ‘Matuyara Hindu Nay’ (Bengali essay) by Gurudas Biswas, ‘Adal Badal’, Jun-July, 1995.
2. ShriShriHarichand Thakur, by Ratan Biswas, ‘Pancharatna Quize’, 3rd edition.
3. ‘Atiter Sandhane’, Author.
Words used in this book.
Adibasi— the aborigines.
Anjali— to offer a present to a deity with folded palms.
Atma— (Hindu theol.) the conscious immortal independent and active guide of every being which is present in the body but is not an inseparable part of it, the soul.
Banprastha— the third stage of life according to the Vedas when a man advanced in years should leave his home and hearth and go to the forest to pass the remaining days of his life in spiritual meditation.
Banprasthi— one practising banprastha.
Bauddha Dhamma— a religion introduced by Gautam Buddha.
Brahma— the Absolute Being, God.
Brahmachari— one practising brahmacharya.
Brahmacharya— a mode of life with complete abstinence from sexual and secular pleasures.
Danka— a large kettle-drum, atrumpet.
Dikshamantra— a mysterious formula that a person is taught at initiation.
Fota Kata— to paint or print a sectarian mark on one’s body, generally on the forehead.
Gosain— a title of the Vaishnaba gurus.
Guru— a spiritual teacher or guide.
Gurugiri— the profession of a guru .
Gurupuja— worship of guru.
Haribol— a loud shouting of this word meaning “shout the name of Lod Hari”.
Harinam— to utter repeatedly the name of Lord Harichand.
Jalchal— belonging to a caste whose touch does not pollute water to be used by high-caste people.
Jal Fela— sprinkling water.
Jatpat— act of distinguishing the castes.
Jay Danka— a war-drum.
Jhola— a (compartively large) cloth-bag esp. one that can be carried by hanging it from on one’s neck.
Kabigan— a kind of song-tournament, it is a melodious song of lengthy process, it deals with mythology, religion, Vaishnaba literature etc. through songs and scholarly lectures, the main singer is called Sarkar.
Kabiyal— a composer of songs for a song-tournament, a singer of this songs.
Kansar— a dish of bell-metal used as a musical instrument.
Mala Tepa— to tell one’s beads with a string.
Mantra— a portion of the Vedas containing sacred hymns. a mystic word or words recited in prayer to God or deity.
Mantratantra— mantras and incantations collectively.
Matta— absorbedly engaged in.
Matuya— followers of Matuya religion, followers of Harichand Thakur.
Mukti— salvation, freedom from earthly attachments.
Mulnivashi— the aborigines.
Naibedya— offerings placed on the alter at the time of worship.
Ojha— a quack professing to have (supernatural) power of curing snake-bites and other morbidities.
Panta Bhat— rice cooked overnight and kept steeped in water.
Parakiya— a lady-love who is either unmarried or married to somebody else.
Paralok— the world beyond death.
Pathshala— private primary school.
Patit— untouchables and had no any particular religion, depressed and socially cast out.
Puja— worship of god or goddess with offering placed on the alter in the Hinduism.
Puja-Parban— Puja and obsequies to be performed on certain luner days by Hindus.
Sadhan Bhajan— meditation and worship.
Sannyas— ascetic mendicany.
Sannyasi— an ascetic mendicant.
Sevadasi— (a woman who serves an ascetic or aVaishnaba devotee or the head of a religious institution)
Shinga— a horn for blowing, a trumpet.
Shradhakriya— performance of obsequies.
Swarga— the abode of God and gods and the blessed, heaven.
Tantramantra— Mantras and incantations collectively.
Vairagya— (apathetic to worldly interests)
Vaishnaba— following the teaching of Chaitanya,
Varna— main four castes (system) in Hinduism
Yajna (Yagya)— Vedic sacrifice.