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 daily words should be consistent with reason;
mankind is one caste; and
the right kind of knowledge should be given to all.
These principles denied the polytheism of popular Hinduism, the caste
system, and the Brahmanical monopoly of knowledge.
In 1849, Dadoba and his friends organised the Paramahansa Mandali at
Bombay, a radical socio-religious society that met in secret. Ram Bal Krishna
Jayakar became president of the Mandali. All members were required to
pledge that they would abandon caste restrictions. Each initiate had to take
food and drink prepared by a member of the lower castes. Meetings were
held at set times in the homes of various members and sympathisers. They
read papers and discussed a variety of social and religious topics. The group
soon came to an agreement on two major principles. First, they would not
attack any religion and, secondly, they rejected any religion which claimed
Branches of this organisation were established in Poona, Ahmadnagar,
and Ratnagiri. The Mandali, following the path of the Manav Dharma Sabha
with its attempts to reject the caste system, idols, orthodox rituals, and
Brahmanical authority, left little behind it in concrete achievements. Its
insistence on remaining a secret organisation illustrated an unwillingness to
openly challenge Hindu orthodoxy. Yet the ideas seen in the Manav Dharma
Sabha and the Paramahansa Mandali appeared once more in the form of a
new socio-religious movement.
An off-shoot of the Brahmo Samaj, it was founded in 1867 in Bombay by Dr.
Atmaram Pandurang (1823–98). In 1870 M.G. Ranade and R.G. Bhandarkar
joined it and infused new strength in it. It was reform movement within
Hinduism and concentrated on social reforms like inter-dining, intermarriage,
remarriage of widows, and uplift of women and depressed classes.