Mahanam Sampraday
Bengali: মহানাম সম্প্রদায়
Formation1891 as movement[1]
FounderPrabhu Jagadbandu (inspirator)
Sripad Mahendraji (organisator)
Founded atBengal, British India
TypeHindu denomination
Religious organization
PurposeEducational, Philanthropic, Religious studies, Spirituality
HeadquartersMahaudharon Math, Maniktala, Kolkata, India
Sri Angan, Faridpur, Bangladesh
Location
  • ashrams/temples, dispensary, medical camps, schools
Area served
India & Bangladesh
Membership
more than 1 million
Official languages
Bengali
Previous head
Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji
Current head (India)
Upashak Bandhu Bhramachariji
Current head (Bangladesh)
Kanti Bandhu Bhramachariji
Key people
Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji
AffiliationsVaishnavism
Websitemahanam.org

Mahanam Sampraday (Bengali: মহানাম সম্প্রদায়) is a Krishnaite revival movement founded in the last decade 19th century within Bengali Vaishnavism in Bengal Presidency of colonial British India and spiritually inspired by figure of Prabhu Jagadbandhu.[1] As tradition-sampradaya and institution it was formed in early 20th century by Sripad Mahendraji[2] Presently followers of Mahanam Sampraday are centered in West Bengal, India and throughout Bangladesh.[1] Radha Krishna, Gour Nitai and Prabhu Jagadbandu are the chief deities worshiped by the Mahanam Sampraday.

History of formation

Arrival of new incarnation

Formation of Mahanam Sampraday started with the advent of Prabhu Jagadbandhu (April 28, 1871 – 1921)—a mystic and author of kirtan songs[3]—who was the focus of a new revival movement within the Bengali Vaishnavas in the last decade 19th century, and whom Mahanam Sampraday (and many others) believe as an avatar of Krishna as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu[4] and Nityananda Ram. At the first time, in 1891 Annada Charan Datta—the leader of Hari Sabha, a circle of devotees at Hooghly—was reported to have had a vision that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was reincarnate in the form of Prabhu Jagadbandhu.[5]

Prabhu Jagadbandu was a great Hindu saint and yogi from Chaitanya Sampradaya. He said[6]

Show kindness and compassion and do well to all creatures. Make a free gift of religion to all. Initiation in the hallowed name of Hari is the sure means of attaining salvation (i.e. deliverance from all agonies and sufferings). This is the secret of salvation. This is the secret of eternal good done to others

Preaching of Vaishnavism by Prabhu Jagadbandhu. Mahagambhira Lila

Prabhu Jagadbandhu preached Krishnaite Vaishnavism for 30 years. He asked people to chant the holy name of God (Radha Krishna or Gour Nitai), to develop love for God or prem. He urged everyone to love all creatures irrespective of caste or creed.

Later in 1902 Prabhu Jagadbandu closed him in a small cottage and stayed there for 17 years. This time period is referred to as the 'Maha Gambhira Lila' (in contrast to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Gambhira Lila).

Early mission to the West

Already during the formation of this tradition, one of its representatives became the first Krishnaite missionary in the West. Prabhu Jagadbandu's friend and follower, sannyasin Baba Premananda Bharati [ru] (1858–1914) went to the US in 1902, where he gave lectures, founded in 1902 the short-lived Krishna Samaj society in New York City and built a temple in Los Angeles.[7][8] He was an author of the first full-length treatment of Bengal Vaishnavism in English Sree Krishna—the Lord of Love (New York, 1904)[4] and sent the book to Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, who was intrigued and used text for composition his notable Letter to a Hindoo.[9]

Leadership of Sripad Mahendraji and formation of Mahanam Sampraday

Sripad Mahendraji renounced the world at an early age of 20 years. He went to Vrindavan in search of lord Krishna. later, he went to Sri Angan, Faridpur, Bangladesh where Prabhu Jagadbandhu was at that time, in the small cottage.

Sripad Mahendraji decided to settle in Sri Angan and lead the life of an ashramite Brahmachari i.e. Living in a ashram and follow Brahmacarya.

After few years, Prabhu jagadbandhu employed Sripad Mahendraji with a mission. Prabhu Jagadbandu asked Sripad Mahendraji to organise a band of selfless Brahmacharies i.e. those who follow Brahmacarya. He asked Sripad Mahendraji to go with the band of Brahmacharies from place to place and preach the 'Mahanam'.

Accordingly, a band of about 50 sannyasins was assembled, who together founded the Mahanam Sampraday under the leadership of Sripad Mahendraji.[10]

Later Sripad Mahendraji made his disciple Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji, the head of Mahanam Sampraday.

Mahanam Sampraday under Dr. Mahanambrataji

Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji's holy statue is being worshipped by his disciples at Mahanam Angan, Kolkata on the day of Guru Purnima.
Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji's holy statue is being worshipped by his disciples at Mahanam Angan, Kolkata on the day of Guru Purnima.

After the formation of Mahanam Sampraday, Sripad Mahendraji received letter of invitation for the 2nd parliament of world religion ( or more commonly the world fellowship of faiths ) in the year 1933.[10]

Sripad Mahendra ji sent Mahanambrata Brahmachariji, a scholarly leader of Sampradaya, as a deligate to Chicago to attend the conference.[11]

After returning from Chicago and after the death of Sripad Mahendraji, Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji was made the head of Mahanam Sampraday.

Under his guidance Mahanam Sampraday developed further. Thus, 'Mahanam Sevak Sangha', a subsidiary of Mahanam Sampradaya was established for the non-ashramite followers. 'Mahanambrata Cultural and Welfare Trust', a publication was also initiated by Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji.

Mahanam Sampraday in present

Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji allowed Srimat Nabanibandhu Brahmachari and Srimat Upasakbandhu Brahmachari to carry forward the guru parampara or spiritual lineage or. allowed them to give mantra diksha or initiate devotees.

By the time Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji left the world in 1999,[12] Bangladesh attained its liberation.

So, in 1999, Srimat Nabanibandhu Brahmachari became the head of Mahanam Sampraday in Bangladesh and Srimat Upasakbandhu Brahmachari became the head of Mahanam Sampraday in India.

When Srimat Nabanibandhu Brahmachari left the world Srimat Kantibandhu Brahmachari became the head of Mahanam Sampraday in Bangladesh.

Therefore, Srimat Upasakbandhu Brahmachari Srimat Kantibandhu Brahmachari are the head of Mahanam Sampraday in India and Bangladesh respectively.[13]

Philosophy/Ideology of Mahanam Sampraday

Mahanam Sampraday is a new Krishnaite Vaishava denomination. It believes in attaining the five principals of Mansatvya or Humanity namely-[10]

1.Achourya [also called Asteya].(Not to steal)

2.Ahimsa. (Non-Violence)

3.Satya ( to be truthful)

4. Samyama ( Self-restraint)

5.shaucha ( cleanliness of both inner self and body )

Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji once said the following about Mahanam Sampraday's philosophy called Manav Dharma -[14]

The perfection of human life is in the attainment of humanity. In order to gain humanity, one has to achieve five Qualities. Ahimsa(Non-Violence), Samyama(Self-restraint), Shaucha(cleanliness), Achourya( non- thiefness), and Satya(truth). Do not envy anyone. Do not steal anyone's goods. Body and mind, Keep them holy. Always be self - restrained in moral character. Don't let untruth touch(influence) your deeds and words . As a human being, we have just one Dharma i.e. Attaining Manushatvya (Humanity). This same thing has been told by Prabhu Jagadbandhu in the form of a Sutra - " Ei Marma Ei Dharma" I advice all to become human beings after attaining Manushatvya (humanity) and also help others to become human. This is the best service to the people.

Mahanam Mahakirtan

According to Mahanam Sampraday, Mahanam Mahakirtan is a key aspect of their religious practice/cult. Mahanam literally means 'Great name'. It generally refers to the following lines from Prabhu Jagadbandhu's book named 'Chandrapath'[15]

Hari purusha Jagadbandhu Maha Uddharana

Charihasta Chandraputra Hakitapatana

(Prabhu Prabhu Prabhu Hey) (Anantanantamaya)

— Prabhu Jagadbandhu, 'MAHANAM', Chandrapath

Mahakirtan means 'Great Kirtan or congregation chanting of holy name of lord.'

So, Mahanam Mahakirtan literary means congregation chanting of above mentioned Mahanam. Whereas, Mahanam Mahakirtan more generally refers to the ceaseless congregation chanting of Mahanam around the sandalwood casket placed first in Sri Angan but later moved to Mahendrababu Angan, a prominent temple of Mahanam Sampraday in Ghurni, Krishnanagar, India. The sandalwood casket called 'Shree Samput' preserves the holy body of Prabhu Jagadbandhu . Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji and Mahanam Sampraday believes that Prabhu Jagadbandhusundar will someday come out the casket after hearing the Mahanam Mahakirtan.

Mahanam Mahakirtan was started on 18 October 1921 and continuing till date. Mahanam Mahakirtan is also known as Mahanam 'Yajna'.[10]

Social Activities of Mahanam Sampraday

Social Activities of Mahanam Sampraday are carried out by 'Mahanam Sevak Sangha', a subsidiary of Mahanam Sampradaya.[16]

Since 1981, Mahanam Sampraday runs a charitable dispensary (free except 1 INR for registration of each patient) named 'Sri Sri Prabhu Jagatbandhu Sevangan'.

Free medical camps are organised every year by Mahanam Sampraday on the event of Ganga Sagar mela, an annual fair for pilgrims at Southern part of Sagar Island of West Bengal, India. Few ambulances are also operated by Mahanam Sampraday.

Mahanam Sampraday also donate free blankets for the poor and needy people in the winter months. Mahanam Sampraday runs two schools of their own and also provide free books for the needy and meritorious students.[17]

Temples of Mahanam Sampraday

Mahanam Sampraday has over dozens of temples in India and Bangladesh.Some prominent temples are listed below -[18]

SL no. Name of Temple Location Google plus code

[for Google maps]

1 MAHENDRA BANDHU ANGAN Ghurni, Krishnagar, West Bengal, India ---
2 MAHAUDDHARAN MATH Maniktala, Kolkata, West Bengal, India H9JM+RH
3 MAHANAM ANGAN Raghunathpur I, Kolkata JC9J+9G
4 SRI SRI BANDHU KUNJ Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India HPM3+94
5 SRI SRI PRABHU JAGATBANDHU ASHRAM Puri, Odisha, India QRV7+7W
6 HARISABHA MANDIR Nabadwip, West Bengal, India C969+C7
7 MAHANAM MATH Nabadwip, West Bengal, India ---
8 SRI SRI RADHAMADHAB - PRABHU JAGATBANDHU ASHRAM Siliguri, West Bengal, India PC6X+4C
9 SRI SRI MAHANAM ANGAN Banamalipur, Agartala R8VW+F7
10

SRI SRI JAGADBANDHU ASRAM

Subhashgram, West Bengal, India CCCV+QG
11

SRI SRI DAHAPARA DHAM

Murshidabad, West Bengal, India 57V3+5F
12 SRIDHAM SREE ANGAN Faridpur, Bangladesh JP7W+73
13 PRABHU JAGADBANDHU ASHRAM Bakchar, Bangladesh
14 PRABHU JAGADBANDHU ASHRAM Brahmankanda, Bangladesh ---

There are some more temples of Mahanam Sampraday which are not included in the above list.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Carney, Gerald T. (2020). "Baba Premananda Bharati: his trajectory into and through Bengal Vaiṣṇavism to the West". In Ferdinando Sardella; Lucian Wong (eds.). The Legacy of Vaiṣṇavism in Colonial Bengal. Routledge Hindu Studies Series. Milton, Oxon; New York: Routledge. pp. 135–160. ISBN 978-1-138-56179-3. pp.140–141.
  2. ^ Mahanambrata Brahmachari. Mahendra Leelalamrita. Kolkata. p. 26.
  3. ^ Mandal, Paresh Chandra (2012). "Jagadbandhu". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia—National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (2nd ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  4. ^ a b Carney 2020, p. 140.
  5. ^ Carney 2020, p. 141.
  6. ^ Collection by Brahmachari Parimalbadhu Das. Bandhu Ved Bani [Veda quotes of Bandhu]. Kolkata: Sri Mahanambrata cultural and welfare trust. p. 1.
  7. ^ Carney 2020, pp. 140, 150–152.
  8. ^ Jones, Constance A.; Ryan, James D. (2007). "Bharati, Baba Premanand". Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Encyclopedia of World Religions. J. Gordon Melton, Series Editor. New York: Facts On File. pp. 79–80. ISBN 978-0-8160-5458-9. Archived from the original on 2019-01-07.
  9. ^ Carney 2020, p. 154.
  10. ^ a b c d "History of Mahanam Sampraday". mahanam.org. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  11. ^ Carney 2020, p. 143.
  12. ^ "The New York Times". 1 November 1999.
  13. ^ "Present Spiritual head of Mahanam Sampraday". Archived from the original on 2020-10-18.
  14. ^ Bio sketch of Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji by, Mahanam Sampraday (2008). Rekhay lekhay Mahanambrata [Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachariji in text and sketch]. Kolkata: Sree Mahanambrata Cultural and Welfare Trust. p. 33.
  15. ^ Prabhu, Jagadbandhu (1951). Chandrapath. Mahanam Cultural and Welfare Trust. p. 3.
  16. ^ "History of Mahanam Sevak Sangha". Archived from the original on 2020-10-19.
  17. ^ "Social Activities of Mahanam Sampraday". Archived from the original on 2020-10-21.
  18. ^ "List of ashrams of Mahanam Sampraday". 21 October 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-10-18.