The month of December is marked by several occasions that we remember either with reverence or with deep dejection. The most memorable occasion is 7 th Poush, which generally coincides with 23rd December. On this day Maharshi Devendranath Thakur and several of his co-believers took the vows of the new monotheistic faith of Brahmoism. On this auspicious occasion they assembled in front of Ramchandra Vidyabagish at the Brahmo-samaj premise with great enthusiasm and expectation. The first to take the vow was Shridhar Bhattachryya, followed by Shyamacharan Bhattacharyya, Devendranath Thakur, Brajendranath Thakur, Girindranath Thakur, Ananda Chandra Battacharyya, Tarak Nath Bhattacharyya, Haradeb Chattopadhyay, Akshay Kumar Dutta, Harish Chandra Nandi, Lala Hazarilal, Shyama Charan Mukhopadhyay, Bhabani Charan Sen, Chandranath Ray, Ram Narayan Chattopadhyay, Sashi Bhushan Mukhopadhyay, Jagachchandra Ray, Lokenath Ray etc. On that day twenty-one young men embraced Brahmoism. According to Devendrath’s own words ‘We got a new lease of life after embracing this faith. This was a new phase in the history of the Brahmo Samaj. Earlier there was a society of fellow believers. Now we started a new faith. There can be no faith without belief in the Omnipotent God ‘Brahma’, and there can be no way to Brahma without a faith to lead to Him.”
Raja Rammohan Roy envisaged a common platform for people all religions to assemble without any conflict. He derived his inspiration mainly from the Upanishadas, but was also influenced by the message of equality of Islam and the moral and ethical appeals of Christianity. However, Maharshi based his beliefs completely on the Upanishadas and was vastly inspired by selected extracts from the Vedas. In a way it was a departure from Rammohan’s universal appeal as Devendranath wanted to give a new interpretation of the ancient Hindu faith. Brahmo Samaj, since then, had gone through several transformations, where the beliefs underwent transformations under the leadership of the younger generations. But the day of 7 th Poush has not lost its importance.
Christmas, celebrated worldwide on 25 th December, is a festival of love and compassion. Although, there is a doubt whether the historical Jesus was born on that day, yet Christmas brings with its celebrations the message of love preached by the great leader.
However, we cannot forget that this month begins with the sad reminder of the heinous act of destruction of the Babri Masjid by the fanatic elements of our country. This was a direct assault on the multi-religious culture of India where people of different faiths had lived in peace and harmony through ages. This act has changed the socio-political fabric of our country for the worse. We can only pray that the future generation will be able to see the futility of such acts of hate and learn to live again in amity and accord.