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Gleanings – From the Pen of Shri Beni Madhab Das

Extracts from the Presidential address of the Theistic Conferences (taken from the booklet published on the occasion of his Memorial Service)

  1. The Brahmo Samaj:

The Brahmo Samaj movement is the movement of worship, where work is worship and worship is work. The two, although different in form and values , are integrated into one whole. The worship may be in the transcendent height – of Brahma in the Turiya (self-transcendent) state and of Brahma or God in his self-manifestation. The first form, it may be, through the symbolic and spontaneous ejaculation of wonder and awe, as Om, and the second by means of contemplation of the manifestation through যত বা ইমানি ভূতানি জায়ন্তে, যেন জাতানি জীবন্তি য্য প্রযন্তাতিসংবিশন্তি। Here is the worship wedded to loving service and devotion to duty in all the various spheres of life – to the person, to the family, to the society, to the state and to humanity at large. Worship, here, has its ambit not only in devotional exercises, but also family life, social life, the state, the humanitarian movements. It gives a new value and significance to personal rights and dignity of man to man, to family relationships, to state-conciousness and larger life of humanity and humanitarian activities.
It has been said that the ‘person’ is the greatest discovery of the age. Here in the Brahmo Samaj Movement the ‘person’ has been rediscovered in all his spiritual values – the man in his full life, in all his heights and in his universality. Here in the Brahmo Samaj, the Yoga-life – the life of communion in the Himalayan heights or on the breast of a river, the life lost in the contemplation of the Glory sweetened and enlightened by love and shining out as enrapturing Beauty – is true to both the ‘poles of Heaven and Earth’. It fights for national and cultural freedom and works out in itself a marked individuality, with a special note of its own to swell the Great Music, out of which has come humanity with its diverse notes in types of culture and civilization.
Here in the Brahmo Samaj, freedom is the Supreme law of life, of growth and development, of culture and education, of home, state, church and in fact, of all movements. To it freedom is the spirit-life and is a law unto itself. It is behind all thought, movement, true education and cultural life, and is the soul of love and character.
The Brahmo Samaj Mandir has its gates open for all men of all communities, races and creeds. The principal note of the Brahmo Samaj is universality and its form of worship is such as all can join. It appeals to the hearts of all of any country and religion. The Brahmo Samaj implores all to meet on a common platform. It is not merely tolerant to all: it opens itself to receive and assimilate all that is good and noble and of value for life spiritual in all religions and communities. The Brahmo Samaj claims a right to speak in the name of India, nay, of humanity.

  1. The New Dispensation

The New Dispensation is the ‘harmony’ of all religions. The harmony is a never-ending process: it is ever-to-be-realised. The spirit of harmony means the spirit of prayer, which is the new covenant of God, the promise of God-life. This means life in all as God is all.
The New Dispensation makes the objective subjective by the process of assimilation; and there lies the test and standard of truth – a new and higher Pragmatism. It is not also what is known as Humanism. Although the New Dispensation discovers the infinitude of the soul, this infinite is what the Infinite and the Absolute invests it with. This is the breathing-in of the Infinite of God. It is on account of the in-dwelling of God in human soul to work himself out in man that the soul has infinite depth in it. The New Dispensation frees the soul from bondage – of the scriptures, the guru and tradition – by leading it to the fountain head in the heart of prayer and the soul growing and living in the Transcendent. It opens out the way to fuller and fuller life in all the arrangements and Dispensation of Providence. God within finds God without, as God without finds Himself within.
The New Dispensation reveals the soul with over-soul in it and about it, breathing itself in to bring it constantly out of itself to rise up to the fullness of its stature and to grow in and into Perfection through constant prayer. It means perpetual life of self-transcendence – a life of aspiration with faith and trust in the living God of love to support it. The life is here in perpetual march from pilgrimage to pilgrimage, to nobler and nobler characters, to higher and higher manifestations of divinity, growing by assimilation of characters.
The New Dispensation is democratic in a far deeper sense than what meets the eye. If there are types, types are there only to open our eyes to, and lead us into, the soul of all to call out the soul, and to view them in their soul-values and organize them into one whole – the very image of the Great Omni-Personality of infinite persons.

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