History of movemnets - 5

The Brahma Samaj of India.
Afte he Schism, the Brahmo Samaj of India devoted all its energies to the work of propagation. As a mark of the catholicity of its principles, a book was published containing texts from all religious Scriptues, and tracts and books came out in quick succession, illustrative of its principles. Since the Schism, the two parties assumed two definite characters. The Adi Samaj stuck to the traditions of Old Hinduism and gave itself out as a reforming body of Hindus, whereas the Brahma Samaj of India professed broad and catholic views and began to cultivate special communion with the spirit of Christ and Christianity. They made the Christian Scriptures a subject of earnest study, discussed the life and teachings of Jesus in their private meetings, and some of them went so far as to observe the Christmas in Some way. The propagandistic activity of the missionaries of the Brahma Samaj of India multiplied the number of Samajes in all direc­tions, and drew large numbers into their fold. In the beginning of the year 1868, they laid the founda­tion of their Mandir, an event which was further signalised by a new departure in the spiritual life of community. Up to that time, the preachers were known as more theological than devotional. Many of them had a contempt for the devotional practices of the Bhakti School of Chaitanya, but from the day of the second Schism, unfettered by the influence of the older members, Mr. Sen’s party side by side with the cultivation of the Christian spirit, had com­menced studying Chaitanya’s Bhakti school of thought and had introduced into their devotional exercises the custom of singing Bhakti Hymns, known as Sankirtan. The Introduction of the Sankirtan practice caused great development of emotional fervour, which was manifested this year in a street procession introduced by Mr. Sen for the first time. On the day of the founda­tion of the Brahma Mandir, the procession started from Mr., Sen’s house, singing a characteristic Sankirtan, in whioh the leading principles of the New Faith were proclaimed in rapturous language. The procession was immensely effective, and has since been adhered to by both the liberal sections of the Samaj on the occasions of their anniversaries.

The constructions of the Mandir was finished with great haste, and publicly consecrated in August 1869. In 1870, Mr. Sen went to England and carried the New Tidings there. After his return, he devoted his attention to two things. He first established the Indian Reform Association, which was sub-divided in­to five departments, viz., Education, Temperance, Charity, Cheap Literature, and Industrial Education of the Masses. Under each of these five heads, active sub-committees were appointed to carry on the work.

Under the head of Education, an adult Ladies School was founded where many of Mr. Sen’s mis­sionaries became the teachers, and the wives and grown-up daughters of the Brahmas became the pupils. This institution in course of time obtained Government aid and did its good work for some years, after which it became effete and ceased to exist. Under this head, a higher class Anglo-Sanscrit School, which subsequently became the Albert College, was also started and maintained for some years, after which it was made over to Mr. Sen’s brother, Krista Behari Sen.