Magh Utsav Celebrations at the Dey Sarkars

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From left: Ruma Dey Sarkar, Mahua Dasgupta, Partha Chatterjee, Amit De and Biplab Samaddar.

By Sanchali Basu

HOUSTON: Magh Utsav marks the anniversary of the founding of the Brahmo Samaj. The Brahmo Samaj literally denotes communities of men who worship Brahman. Brahmos celebrate MAGHOTSAB every year on 11th Magh (25th January), that is the day Keshab Chandra Sen started Upasana in “Sadharan Brahmo Samaj” following the same rituals Maharshi Debendranath Thakur established  for the fellow Brahmo disciples of Raja Ram Mohan  Roy.

In practice, a Brahmo Samaj is an assembly of all sorts and descriptions of people without distinction, meeting publicly for the sober, orderly, religious and devout adoration of “the (nameless) unsearchable Eternal, Immutable Being who is the Author and Preserver of the Universe.” To name some of the noteworthy members of the Brahmo Samaj, one must mention Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Jagadish Chandra Bose and Meghnad Saha.

In marking the celebration of this occasion, some members of the Brahmo Samaj congregated at the residence of Asoke and Ruma Dey Sarkar, on Friday, January 25. The evening consisted of chanting a few Sanskrit Mantras with their English translations in the Upasana method and some Brahma Sangeet. Smt Ruma Dey Sarkar stated the proceedings with the invocation prayer and then the service prayer and all the mantras from thereon were very ably chanted by Sri Partha Chatterjee. The melodious rendition of the Rabindrasangeet “Shara jeebon dilo aalo” by Smt. Mahua Dasgupta had a very calming influence on everyone. Members in the congregation who knew the song sang along.

This was followed by the salutation service and Tagore’s prayer song “Tumi Nirmala Karo” by Amit De. This song was so soulfully sung that everyone was transported by the lyrics of the song into a world where all sorrow and evils are washed away by the pure rays of the Lord.

The communion and meditation services ensued with another Tagore prayer song by Amit De where the devotee requests that may all his/her love be directed to the Lord. A two minute silence period was observed and a few more mantras (meditation and service) were chanted. The evening concluded with Two Brahma sangeets composed by Tagore and were sung by all “Antara mamo bikashita koro” (enlighten my soul) and  “Padaprante rakho sebake” (keep me at your feet O Lord and shower me with knowledge, love and affection and may all be filled with pure joy and happiness). Ruma Dey Sarkar chanted the final Brahmo Dharma Pratipadak Vachan.

In keeping with the traditional style of Magh Utsav, as celebrated in Shantiniketan in Bolpur, West Bengal, the meal at the end of the festivities consisted of Khichuri, Begun bhaja, labda, chutney and the Bengal delicacy Joynagarer Moa. One and all enjoyed the kind hospitality of the Dey Sarkars and thanked them for arranging the Magh Utsav celebration so meticulously.

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