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The Sadharan Brahmo Samaj Sadharan Brahmo Samaj was started with three distinguished men as its leaders on 15th May 1878.Ananda Mohan Bose These three were Ananda Mohan Bose, Shibchandra Deb and Umesh Chandra Datta. These three were initiated into the Brahmo Samaj of India by Keshub Chandra Sen. Shibchandra Deb became the first secretary of the Samaj and Ananda Mohan Bose the first president with Gurucharan Mahalanobish as the Treasurer. The foundation stone of the new mandir was laid on 23rd January 1879 by Shibchandra Deb. It was 49 years since Rammohun Roy had consecrated his first theistic church on the same day in 1830.

Sivnath ShastriThe principal members of the progressive faction that formed this Samaj were as follows. Sivnath Shastri (1847 - 1919) - educationist, Shibchandra Deb (b. 1811) - civil servant, Monomohan Ghosh - barrister, Durga Mohan Das - barrister, Dwarkanath Ganguli - journalist and educator, Umeshchandra Datta - educator, Ananda Mohan Bose - India's first wrangler from Cambridge and barrister and Nagendranath Chatterjee - missionary. A Building sub committeeDwarka Nath Ganguli was formed to oversee the construction of a new chapel and the Executive committee donated a months salary in this regard. The committee purchased a suitable piece of land on Cornwallis Street (now Bidhan Sarani). Debendranath Tagore on hearing the plea of the committee donated seven thousand rupees as a sympathy with this project. As a result the construction was commenced. The Trust Deed of the Samaj was executed on July 1, 1880. The new mandir was consecrated on 22nd January 1881.

On the day of the consecration the following Declaration of PrinciplesUmeschchandra Dutta in three languages, Bengali, English and Urdu:
This day, the tenth day of Magh, 1287, according to the Bengali era, and the twenty-second of January, 1881, according to the Christian era, in the fifty-first year of the Brahmo Samaj, we dedicate this Hall to the worship of the One True God. From this day its doors shall be open to all classes of people without distinction of caste or social position. Men or women, old or young, wise or ignorant, rich or poor, all classes will meet here as brethren to worship Him who is the author of our salvation. This great, holy, Supreme God alone shall be worshipped here, to the exclusion of every created person or thing; and no divine honours shall be paid to any man or woman as God or equal to God or an incarnation of God or as specially appointed by God. It shall be ever borne in mind in this Hall that the great mission of Brahmoism is to promote spiritual free-dam amongst men and to enable them to establish direct relationship with God and the service, discourses and prayers of this place shall be so moulded as to help that spirit. It shall ever be its aim and endeavour to enable all who thirst after righteousness to know God, who is the life of our life and to worship Him direct.

The catholicity of Brahmoism shall also be preserved here. No book or man shall ever be acknowledged as infallible and the only way to salvation; but nevertheless due respect shall be paid to all scriptures and the good and great of all ages and of all countries. In the sermons, discourses, and prayers used in this Hall, no scripture or sect or founder of a sect, shall ever be ridiculed, reviled, or spoken of contemptuously. With due respect, untruth shall be exposed and truth vindicated. No man or class of men shall be here regarded as the elect or favourite of God and the rest of mankind lost to that favour. Anything calculated to compromise this catholic spirit shall never be countenanced

The spirituality of our doctrine shall be carefully maintained. Flowers, spices, burnt offerings, candles, and other natural accompaniments of worship shall never be used. Care shall be taken to avoid everything leading t' reduce religion to mere parade and lifeless form.

It shall be the object of all our preachings and discourses in this place to teach men and women to love God, to seek piety, to hate sin, to grow in devotion and spirituality, to promote purity amongst men and women, to uproot all social evils, and to encourage virtuous deeds. Anything that will directly or indirectly encourage idolatry, engender superstition, take away spiritual freedom, lower conscience, or corrupt morals, shall never be countenanced. May this Hall ever remain a refuge and resting place far all the weary sojourners of this world. May the sinner find consolation and hope in this Hall; may the weak be strengthened, and may all who' hunger and thirst find food and drink for their souls. With the hope and prayer we dedicate this Hall in the name of the One True God. May He help and guide us. Amen.

It will be seen that this declaration was in accordance to the principles laid down by Rammohun Roy in the Trust Deed of the Brahmo Samaj.

The Bengali mouthpiece of the Samaj was called Tattwa Kaumudi. The naming of the magazine was a synthesis of the past and present - Kaumudi was taken from Sambad Kaumudi - the paper published by Rammohun Roy, and Surendranath BanerjeeTattwa was taken from Tattwabodhini Patrika of Debendranath and the Dharmatattwa of Keshub. The other two journals were the English Brahmo Public Opinion which merged into the Indian Messenger (started in 1883) and monthly Modern Review and the Bengali Samalochak which later merged into the Tattwa Kaumudi. While the Samaj was being built services were carried out in a hired hall at 45 Beniatola Lane, near College Square - Calcutta. In keeping in light of the spread of education the City School was founded in 1879Bipin Chandra Pal and Surendranath Banerjee agreed to be one of the first teachers. Surendranath founded the Indian Association in 1876 which was intended to be the center of an all India political movement. The movement led to a decade later to the formation of the Indian National Congress. A Student's Weekly Service was also started with short weekly divine services for the students of the college - with the intention of moral and spiritual education of the students. The Sadharan Samaj had a number of talented and higly spiritual missionaries such as Bijoy Krishna Goswami in East Bengal, Shiv Narayan Agnoihotri in Punjab, Bipin Chandra Pal in Punjab and South India, Hem Chandra Sarkar in South India, Nagendranath Chatterji in Western India, Ram Kumar Vidyaratna in Eastern India and Nilmani Chakraborty in Assam. A sepcial service was also started for the working men and the members of the Working Clubs were invited to participate. Later on an organisation called the Theological Institution was started and Sitanath Datta later on more famously Sitanath Tattwabhushan became the life blood of this organisation. The Sadhan Ashram or Brahmo Workers Shelter was started by Sivnath Shastri on 1892 where Brahmo workers might come and live together as spiritual fraternity.

North City CollegeWithin the first 25 years of the existence of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj - there were may institutions associated with it. These were - The Khasi Mission uner Nilmani Chakravrti, who carried out mission work among the tribals Brahmo Girls Schoolin Assam and present day Meghalaya, The Sadhan Ashram with branches in Bankipur, Lahore and Dacca, the Sevak Mandali or Lay Workers' Association , The Calcutta Congregation, The Student's Weekly Service, The Theological Society, The Sangat Sabha, The Ladies' Sunday School, The Bharat Mahila Samity, The Brahmo Girls School, The City College, The Brahmo Boys Boarding School, The Brahmo Bandhu Sabha, The Indigent Brahmo Family Fund, The Arta Seva Mandali and The Rammohun Roy Seminary in Patna. Of these organisations some have become defunct like the Khasi Mission and Bharat Mahila Samity, but the educational institutions like Brahmo Girls School and the City College rank among the premier educational institutions of modern Calcutta.

Sivnath Shastri in his book the History of the Brahmo Samaj points out certain defects of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj. He laments that Sadharan Samaj failed to establish a habit of domestic division. Also in their spirit for constitutionalism there has been no end of sub committees - but most these have been ineffective. There was also an absence of spiritual care and responsible ministration of congregational life and the lack of missionary spirit amongst its members. PrasantaAlso there was a feeble response by the members and sympathisers in making contributions fro carrying out the work of the Samaj and which has resulted in lack of philanthropic work. Sivnath also points out that Sukumar Raythere has been a greater appreciation for Western ideals rather than Hindu ones by the members of the Samaj. This has resulted in a general Hindu public opinion that Brahmoism is nothing but Christianity in another guise. However in his book there is no mention of the growing nationalism in the country and the impact of the Indian National Congress and Mahatma Gandhi which tended to shift the focus of the people towards the politcial rather than religious forum. Also Sadhrana Brahmo Samaj would have reached its glory had the great poet Rabindranath taken an active part in it. It needed the young members, especially Kalidas Nag, P C Mahalanobish, Sukumar Ray, father of the noted film director Satyajit Ray to write a pamphlet, Keno Rabindranath ke Chai - Why do we need Rabindranath, which made the seniors relent and Rabindranath Tagore was allowed to become a honourary member of the Samaj in 1921 occupy the pulpit.
Please donate to one or more of the following funds of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj
1. General Fund 10. Tattwakaumudi Fund
2. Mission Fund 11. Publication Fund
3. Charity Fund 12. Sadhan Ashram Fund
4. Building Repair Fund 13. Calcutta Congregation Fund
5. Mahila Bhavan Fund 14. Brahmo Samaj Relief Mission Fund
6. Balya Bhavan Fund 15. Mofussil Brahmo Samaj Fund
7. Medical Aid Fund 16. Library Fund
8. Indigent Brahmo Family Fund 17. Brahmo Samaj Education Society Fund
9. Indian Messenger Fund 18. Hindu Widows' Home Fund
Please send donations to the Secretary, Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, 211 Bidhan Sarani, Kolkata - 700006, India
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