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Message for the Maghotsav
2,500 years ago (469-399 BC) the Greek Philosopher Socrates had said: The surest way to live with honour in this world, is to live in reality what we would appear to be. We have now approached the annual festival of Maghotsav. Some even call it Brahmotsav.

Here we are, Brahmos and friends, assembled in strength to celebrate this festive occasion. On such special days, most of us attend Mandir, Let us resolve to celebrate every Sunday as a Brahmotsav. We need preparation for Bramhotsav. As the Mandir is cleaned and decorated today, we need to do the same with ourselves. We must clean ourselves, so that no dirt or stain remains in any corner of our hearts. But it is not enough to do the cleaning only on special occasions. We must do it every day. Brahmotsav acts as a reminder that all true religious believers are Brothers in Faith. No doubt, there are minor differences between believers of different faiths, but these differences cannot prevent our desire for meeting of hearts.

Be Good Brahmos
As we celebrate Brahmotsav, let us remember what George Eliot, the writer has said: "Blessed is the influence of one loving human soul on another". That is the message of today. Param Brahma not only wants that we live our own lives in His image but also that we influence others to see Him clearly. But some of us feel that "It is not our job to guide others. It is upto some special preachers, some Acharyas, some Padris, some Moulvis, some Mahants, or some Godmen to spread His Message."

But- He has given all of us the ability to influence others. As Brahmos, as human beings, we must do our duty - by being His spiritual messengers - at home to our children, to our neighbours and friends, to our colleagues in office. Each one of us can influence others - by setting our own examples, and by promoting His Message. We don't have to be full-time preachers to influence others. In fact, in Brahmo Samaj there is no concept of professional preachers. All it requires to spread His message is our hearts and our willingness, not our intelligence or our scholarship.

Brahma wishes only good for us. But some people in this world have gone astray and have become lost. Sadly, today, fanatics are on the rampage, terrorists are attacking progressive and liberal forces all over the world, spoiling not only the name of their own religions, but spreading hatred and violence all around us - in Kashmir, Palestine, 9/11 at WTO, London Metro, recent Bombings at Bangladesh, Akshardham, Babri Masjid, the list seems to become endless. At such times, it is all the more necessary to spread the message of Brahmo Samaj - the message of love. Wouldn't it be much easier if life was simpler and people got along?

How can we be spiritual guides?
It is not difficult First, do as Keshub Chandra Sen, Sadhu Navalrai and many other illustrious Brahmos of the past did - become CONTAINERS of God's message. There are many vacancies. The qualifications are very simple:

Think for yourself.
  • When Brahmo faith says that the human soul is capable of infinite progress, we are talking about our God-given ability to think logically, we are talking about our free will, not the will of some dubious Godman or some evil preachers of violence that we hear of today.

    We tend to cling to our past - our past failures, our past mistakes. It is true that we must learn from our past mistakes. But if we do not let go, the past will start to control our lives. The key is to let go of the past mistakes, have a clear vision and trust Him.
  • Also we face trials and problems every day, but we must be motivated and stay motivated on daily basis.
  • We have to influence people's lives with our own examples. We, for example, cannot teach kindness to our children if we are harsh to others. We must be ourselves kind. As philosopher Karl Menninger said: What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.
  • We must always think about others and be moved by compassion not by selfishness. Try to give to people so that they can be victorious, not try to take from less fortunate ones.
  • Who do we and our children spend time with? Are they negative people, who are only concerned about themselves? We need to convert such negative friends to become positive persons or they will influence and destroy us.
Many of us cannot find the time to come to this Mandir every Sunday. Important as it is, it is equally, if not more important, to live like true Brahmos, influencing our children and our neighbours. When we sincerely take up our responsibility and calling, we find that God works in miraculous ways. There are many examples of ordinary men, whom we remember with reverence because they have been with God. Keshub Sen, Sadhu Navalrai and Sadhu Hiranand are only a few such examples. They were not born great! They were simple people but there was power in their simplicity. Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish Writer said - The work that an unknown good man has done, is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.

Spread the Brahmo Message
It's not enough to say "we lead good lives, so we are good Brahmos". No doubt, a good Brahmo is one who is humble, kind, and generous to his fellow beings. But a true Brahmo is one who also spreads Brahma's message - by setting examples to others with their own lives, as well as by promoting HIS message, which we believe is also that of Brahmo Samaj.

Today, more than ever, each one of us, each Brahmo, must stand up and be counted. We seem to be embarrassed that we are Brahmos. We do not declare boldly that we are Brahmos, because we do not have a true relationship with Him.

Today, more than ever, each one of us, each Brahmo, must stand up and be counted. We seem to be embarrassed that we are Brahmos. We do not declare boldly that we are Brahmos, because we do not have a true relationship with HIM. We have inherited a great heritage, which is that
  • We believe that there is only one God, who is the creator, and the saviour. He is infinite in power, wisdom, love, justice and holiness. He is present everywhere, He is eternal and blissful.
  • We respect all great prophets and their thoughts, and gather truth from all great scriptures of the world. But we believe that He alone is perfect, not any scripture, prophet, or Godman.
  • We believe that our soul is immortal and capable of infinite progress, and is responsible only to Him for our actions.
  • Our happiness in this and the next world consists in worshipping Him in spirit and in truth. And true worship is loving Him, holding communion with Him, and carrying out His will in all matters of life. The true way of serving Him is to do good to man.
When we celebrate Maghotsav today, we need to remember this great message and proudly spread it in our family, and among our neighbours.

As some religious preacher has said: There is a torch - an energy - that shines in and through each of us, to provide guidance and support for ourselves and for our fellow beings. When we hold this torch to brighten another man's path, it also brightens our own.

Awake, O Brahmo friends
Jago - bring sanity, bring sense into this world gone mad. Take a pledge today to start living as true Brahmos - we will set our own examples, and also spread far and wide the wonderful message of Raja Rammohun, Maharshi Devendranath, Keshub Chandra, Sivnath, Navalrai and others. Each one of us counts. Each one of us can make a difference.

Arise O Brahmo friends
Utho - stand up and be counted. Do not be embarrassed to be Brahmos. Declare boldly your beliefs. We have inherited a great heritage. Let us be proud to be Brahmos. Let us be History Makers not History Readers. Garv se kaho hum Brahmo hain.

The author may be reached at ashis@arico.co.in