Maghotsab Celebrated with Immense Dedication and Passion


By Sanchali Basu

HOUSTON: Maghotsab 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 (25 January), that is the day Keshab Chandra Sen started Upasana in “Sadharan Brahmo Samaj” following the same rituals that Maharshi Debendranath Thakur, Rabindranath Tagore’s father had  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 Ruma Acharya and Asoke Dey Sarkar, on Sunday, January 25. Ruma Acharya started the proceedings with the invocation prayer and from there-on all the mantras were chanted by Partha Chatterjee, and the English translations read by T. K. Das. The invocatory Brahma Sangeet was sung by Mahua Dasgupta, Shyama Mishra and Amit De. Accompaniment on the violin was provided by Biplab Samadder. Kamalpriya Roy then sung the Rabindrasangeet, “Tomar shur shunaye”. Amit De’s melodious rendition of the devotional Rabindrasangeet “Dhay jeno mor shokol bhalobasha” created a very spiritual atmosphere. In this song the devotee requests that all his/her love be directed to the Lord. Kamalpriya and Shyama then did a duet without any accompaniment and it sounded ethereal. A two minute silence period was observed and a few more mantras (meditation and service) were chanted.

A chorus of “Aamar praaner manush aachhe praane” by Mahua, Amit and Shyama was very enjoyable. Members of the congregation who knew the song sang along. Mahua’s “Aamar je shob dite hobe” brought everyone closer to the true hard realities of life that everything in this life is impermanent and we have to give it all up at the end.

The evening concluded with a Brahmasangeet composed by Tagore and was sung by all “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 chanted the final Upasamhar Mantra.

In keeping with the traditional style of Maghotsab, 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 patishapta. One and all enjoyed the kind hospitality of the Asoke and Ruma and thanked them for arranging the Magh Utsav celebration so meticulously.