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Home >> Brahmo Samajes >> Brahmo Samaj of India
A meeting was held on 11th November 1866 at the house of theBrahmo Samaj of India Calcutta College in which more than two hundred people assembled and the Brahmo Samaj of India was formally established. It was proposed by Keshub Chandra Sen and seconded by Aghornath Gupta. One of the resolutions in the meeting was to publish a compilation of sacred texts from different scriptures and another resolutions marked a farewell address to Debendranath Tagore conveying the love and reverence of the younger members.

There was a renewed burst of missionary activity and Bijoy Krishna Goswami, Aghornath Gupta and Jadunath Chakravarti started for Eastern Bengal. Great efforts were made to get ready a number of publications including a collection of texts from the scriptures of different nations to be placed in the hands of these missionaries.

On the occasion of the anniversary festival on 24th January 1868 Keshub laid the foundation stone of his mandir called the Tabernacle of New Dispensation. Keshub and his followes marched to the proposed spot early in the morning performing sankirtan and this was the first Brahmo street procession and it was the first of its kind in Calcutta. Adi Samaj condemned it as a degradation of Brahmoism.

The newly constructed chapel was consecrated on 22nd of August, 1869. The declaration of the principles of the new church was as follows:
Keshub Chandra SenToday, by Divine Grace, the public worship of God is instituted in these premises for the use of the Brahmo community. Every day, at least every week, the Only God without a second, thei Perfect and Infinite, the Creator of all, Omnipresent, Almighty, f\ll-Knowing, All-Merciful, and All-Holy shall be worshipped in these premises. No created object shall be worshipped here, no man or iMerior being or material object shall be worshipped here, as identical with God or like unto God ot as an incarnation of God, and no prayer or hymn shall be offered, or chanted in the name of any except God. No carved or painted image, no external symbol which has been or may hereafter be used by any sect for the purpose of worship, or the remembrance of any particular event shall be preserved here. No creature shall be sacrificed here; neither eating nor drinking nor any manner of mirth or amusement shall be allowed here. No created being or object that has been or may hereafter be worshipped by any sect shall be ridiculed or condemned in the course of the Divine Service to be conducted here. No book shall be acknowledged or revered as the infallible work of God; yet no book which has been or may hereafter be acknowledged by any sect to be infallible shall be ridiculed or condemned. No sect shall be vilified, ridiculed or hated. No prayer, hymn, sermon or discourse to be delivered or used here shall countenance or encourage any manner of idolatry, sectarianism or sin. Divine service shall be conducted here in such a spirit or manner as may enable all men and women, irrespective of distinction of caste and colour and condition, to unite in one family, eschew all manner of error and sin and advance in wisdom, faith and righteousness. The congregation of the Brahmo Mandir of India shall worship God in these premises according to the rules and principles hereinbefore set forth." This was close to the principles laid down by Rammohun Roy in the Trust Deed of the Brahmo Samaj.

Symbol of NavavidhanThe New Dispensation was anounced in 1880. A special festival commenced on 1st Magh and went on to 19th Magh (according to the Bengali calendar). A Pilgrimage to the Saints - special service was held in the memory of great men like Moses, Socrates, Sakya, The Rishis, Christ, Muhammad, Chaitanya, Scientific men. A new feature called the flag ceremony and the Arati (lighting of the Panchapradip - five lamps and waving it with the ringing of bells, sound of conch shells) was added in 1881. Keshub told his Apostles of the New Dispensation to go bear the flag of the New Dispensation. This flag reconciles the four religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. It also reconciles East, West, North and South. It also reconciles bhakti (love), jnan (knowledge), yoga (communion) and karma (good works). In 1881 - the old Missionary Conference was converted to the Apostolic Durbar. The missionaries were classified as Apostles proper and Apostles on probation. Special vows were also formulated on this occasion - they were - The Vow of Poverty, Sacramental Ceremony, The Vow of Self - Surrender, An Order of Sisterhood, An Order of Divinity students, The Hom ceremony, The New Baptisimal ceremony, and much later on a Vow of conjugal asceticism.
The New Law
From the New Dispensation of 2nd September, 1883
The signs of the times clearly point to the necessity of organisation. Heaven calls us to fellowship and unity. And who can be indifferent or defiant when the Lord our Master issues His mandate? Scattered Israel must be gathered saith the Lord. Undisciplined and unruly soldiers must be brought under control and discipline, and the Army of the Faithf:J1 must be forthwith organised. Wandering pilgrims and way-farers must be brought home, and united by domestic ties of attachment and kinship, and the home of God's children must be erected in India. The Lord's people shall no longer live under foreign powersin a state of mutual estrangement and separation, but must dwell together in the Holy City of the New Dispensation, under heaven's Sovereign. Lawless hordes of men and women must abide in peace and unity under the Reigns of Law. Such, we apprehend, is the command of our Master, and we must hasten to render loyal obedience. The New Samhita will be shortly ready, and a day ought to be appointed for its formal promulgation among our people, -a day that will close the epoch of anarchy, self-wilt and lawlessness and usher in the kingdom of law and discipline and harmony. All our Churches in the metropolis and the provinces and all individuals professing loyalty to the divine Dispensation ought to acknowledge and accept the Law on that occasion, for their own guidance and the regulation of all, social and domestic concerns. Let not the Samhita be a new fetish. It is no infallible gospel: it is not our holy scripture. It is only the national Law of the Aryans of the New Church in India, in which is embodied the spirit of the New Faith In its application to social life. It contains the essence of God's moral law adapted to the peculiar needs and structure of reformed Hindus and based upon their national instincts and traditions. It is essentially, not literally, Heaven's holy Injunction unto us of the New Church in India.

We shall not, therefore, bow to its letter, but accept its spirit and its essence for our guidance.

How many in India are to obey the summons of our Holy Church? How many families are ready to submit to the ordinances of the New Law? Let them come forward in scores, in hundreds, from all parts of India, and unite not merely in doctrine and faith but in daily life on the organized basis of the fellowship of law. One God, one scripture, one law, one baptism. one home, shall unite us in a mighty fraternal alliance, before which no enemy shall prevail, and all the .powers of evil shall eventually succumb. The blessed season has come, and let all our brethren prepare.
After the death of Keshub there was bitter factionalism in P C Moozomdarthe Samaj and it was torn into divisions and sub divisions. The members of the Durbar wanted to keep the pulpit at the Tabernacle vacant denying access to the preachers who came after him. This led to a conflict with P C Moozomdar - who was dragged away bodily off the pulpit when he accessed it one day. There was bitter tug of war between the constitutionalist and the Durbar people. The Victoria college was maintained by grants from the Cooch Behar Maharani helped by P C Moozomdar. Pran Krishna Dutta ran the Calcutta Orphanage and Prasanna Kumar Sen founded the school Keshub Academy. There were also a lot of publications from the Samaj like the Bengali - Dharmatattwa and Bamabodhini, the English Indian Mirror, Sunday Mirror etc.