It was not a religious community but only a congregation of worshippers many of whom gradually fell off after the death of the Rajah in England. Maharshi Devendranath had been greatly influenced by the personality and teachings of Rajah Ram Mohan Rai. Before he formally joined the Brahma Samaj of the Rajah he had started a similar insti­tution called the Tatwabodhini Sabbha in 1839. The further development we relate in the words of the Maharshi himself as translated by his son from his autobiography. “This was the first (3rd) anniversary of our Tatwabodhini Sabha and this was the last. After this event, in 1764 (1842 A. D.) I joined the Brahma Samaj....I thought to myself that as the Brahma Samaj had been established for the worship of Brahma, our object would be the more easily attained by amalgamating the Tatwabodhini Sabha with it. With this view I paid a visit to the Samaj on a Wednesday…… After this experience I took upon myself the task of reforming the Brahma Samaj (P. 21)....When I first visited the Brahma Samaj noticed that the Vedas were recited in a private room from which Shudras were excluded. As the object of the Brahma Samaj was to popularize the worship of the Brahma, as it was expressly mentioned in the Trust Deed that all men should be able to worship Brahma without distinction of caste. I was deeply grieved to find the reverse of this in practice. Again I saw one day that Ramchandra Vidyawagish colleague, Ishwar Chandra Nyayaratna, was trying to esta­blish from the Vedi of the Brahma Samaj, the fact of the incar­nation of Ramchandra, the king of Ayodya. This struck me as opposed to the spirit of Brahma Dharma. In order to counteract this, I arranged that the Vedas should be read out in public and forbade the exposition of the doctrine of incar­nation from the Vedi. (P. 26).... One day I was sitting in the printing office, thinking that there was no religious unity among the members of the Brahma Samaj... Some came really to worship, others came without any definite aim—whom should we regard as the true worshipper of Brahma? Upon these considerations, I decided that those who would take a vow to renounce idolatry and resolve to worship one God, these alone would be regarded as Brahmas (P27)....We fixed upon the 7th of Paush 1765 as the day for initiation into the Brahma Dharma. A Vedi was set up on which Vidyawagish took his seat, and we all sat round, a strange enthusiasm was awakened in our breasts. Today the seed of Brahma Dharma would be sown in the heart of each of us—and we hoped that in the fulness of time it would sprout up and become a tree everlasting...On hearing this exhortation of mine and seeing my singleness of purpose, Vidyawagish shed tears and said “Such was the aim of Ram Mohan Rai, but ho was not able to realise it. After all this time now his desire has been realised. [After this Maharshi and twenty others were initiated in the Brahma Dhram...Within the month of Paush 1707 Shaka, five hundred persons took the vow, and were enrolled as Brahmas I thought to myself itwould be a good thing, if one could organize a Mela for them every Paush, in some open place outside the town. With this object in view, I invited them all to my garden house at Goriti on the 7th of Paush 1767….. At the conclusion of service (that day) Rakhaldas Haidar proposed that “It is fit and proper that Brahmas should discard the sacred thread. As we have all become worshippers of the one and only God, it is better not to have any caste distinctions. The Sikh community, worshippers of Alakh Niranjan, having all become one nation by giving up caste and adopting the surname of “Singh” obtained such strength of unity, that defeating such a dauntless Badshaha of Delhi as Aurangzeb himself, they founded an independant kingdom.” When Rakhaldas Haidar’s father heard of his son’s proposal to renounce the sacred thread, he immediately tried to stab himself.” This reforming tendency eventually reached such an extent that even Maharshi Devendranath had to recoil from. When Keshub Chandra, the leader of the progressive party, at length seceded from this Samaj and started “The Brahma Samaj of India” in 1807, the Maharshi then gave his own church the name of “Adi Brahma Samaj.”
Calcutta. Estd. II Nov. 1867.
(2) The Bharat Varshiya Brahma Samaj (Brahma Samaj of India) New Dispensation, 89, Machuabazar Street, Calcutta.
Secretaries:—Prof. Benoyendranath Sen, M. a., 41, Machuabazar Street, Calcutta and Dr. D. N. Mullick, 11 William’s Lane, Calcutta, General Secretaries. Rev. Bhai Baikunthnath Ghosh Secretary, Apostolical Dubar, Rev. Bhai Brajagopal Niyogi, 64/2 Machuabazar Street, Secretary of the congregation.
Members:—100 of the local congregation.
Meetings:—1 Sunday evening service, 1 conversational meeting, in Bengalee.
Mandir:—Opened in August 1869 (7 Bhadra 1991 Shaka).
Anniversary:—The 11th of Magh about 24th of January is celebrated during two weeks. The peculiar feature is that the opening day of the Utsav is the day for celebrating the advent of the New Dispensation and the harmoney of scriptures.
Ministers:—1. Eev. Bhai Gour Govind Roy.
2. Rev. Bhai Girshchandra Sen,
3. Rev. Bhai Kantichadra Mitra,
4. Rev. Bhai Pyarimohan Choudhari,
5. Rev. Bhai Baikunthanath Ghosh, 3, Ramnath Muzumdar Street, Calcutta.,
6. Rev. Bhai Trailokynath Sanyal, 82, Upper Circular Raod,
7. Rev. Bhai Amritlal Bose, Manik Bose’s Ghat Street, Calcutta,
8. Rev. Bhai Promothlal Sen, 82, Harrison Road, Culcutta,
9. Rev. Bhai Brajagopal Niyogi
10. Rev. Bahi Umanath Gupta, 81, Upper Circular Road, Calcutta.
Journals:—1 Dharmatatwa, a Bengalee Fortnightly. Rs. 3 edited by Rev. Gour Govind Roy.
2. The World and the New Dispensation an English Weekly edited by Rev. Promotholal Sen and Prof. T. L. Vaswani. Rs. 4 a year.
3.Mahila, a Bengali monthly edited by Rev. Brijagopal. Niyogi and Miss C. Niyogi.
4.Prakriti a Bengali Monthly for boys and girls, edited by Mr. D. N. Sen, M. a.
Fund:—There is a Mission Fund. The regular monthly sub­scriptions are not more than Rs. 25. The annual total income is about one thousand rupees.
Institutions:—1 Victoria Institute for female education with one department for popular lectures to Zanana ladies and another for senior students and one girl school.
(2) A Sunday school for boys.
(3) A Sunday school for girls.
(4) A Night School for Workmen and the Depressed Classes.
(5) A Brahma Relief Fund.