Debendranath Tagore

Debendranath Tagore

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Debendranath Tagore'
Start a new discussion about 'Debendranath Tagore'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Debendranath Tagore (15 May 1817 – 19 January 1905) was one of the founders in 1848 of the Brahmo
Brahmo
A Brahmo is either an adherent of Brahmoism to the exclusion of all other religions, or a person with at least one Brahmo parent or guardian and who has never denied his faith...

 Religion which today is synonymous with Brahmoism
Brahmoism
Brahmoism is a religious movement from the late 18th century Bengal originating the Bengali Renaissance, the nascent Indian independence movement and the wider Hindu reform movements of the period...

 the youngest religion of India and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

.

A Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

i, he was born in Shilaidaha
Shilaidaha
Shilaidaha is a place in Kumarkhali Upazila of Kushtia District in Bangladesh. The place is famous for Rabindra Kuthibari of Shilaidaha— a country house made by Dwarkanath Tagore. Rabindranath Tagore lived a part of life here and created some of his memorable poems while living...

. His father, was the fabulous "Prince" Dwarkanath Tagore
Dwarkanath Tagore
Dwarkanath Tagore , was one of the first Indian industrialists and entrepreneurs, was the founder of the Jorasanko branch of the Tagore family, and is notable for making substantial contributions to the Bengal Renaissance.-Childhood:...

.

Debendranath was a deeply religious man. His movement the Brahmo Samaj
Brahmo Samaj
Brahmo Samaj is the societal component of the Brahmo religion which is mainly practiced today as the Adi Dharm after its eclipse in Bengal consequent to the exit of the Tattwabodini Sabha from its ranks in 1859. It was one of the most influential religious movements responsible for the making of...

 was formed in 1843 by merging his Tattwabodhini Sabha with the Brahmo Sabha, ten years after the death of the latter's founder, Raja Ram Mohan Roy. The Brahmo Sabha had fallen away from its original practices put forth in its Trust deed of Brahmo Sabha
Trust deed of Brahmo Sabha
The modern religious philosophy of Brahmoism is based in part on the foundations of reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy's humanitarian philosophy, as exemplified by the Trust Deed of Brahmo Sabha, known to Brahmos as the 1830 Brahmo Trust Deed.-Brief history:...

, however, Tagore revived the importance of this deed.

Although Debendranath was deeply spiritual, he managed to continue to maintain his worldly affairs – not renouncing his material possessions as some Hindu traditions prescribed but rather continuing to enjoy them in a spirit of detachment. His considerable material property included several estates spread over the districts of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

; most famously, the later acquisition Santiniketan
Santiniketan
Santiniketan is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, India, approximately 180 kilometres north of Kolkata . It was made famous by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision became what is now a university town that attracts thousands of visitors each year...

 estate near Bolpur
Bolpur
Bolpur-Santiniketan is a municipality in Birbhum District in the state of West Bengal, India. It is 145 km north of Kolkata and is best known for the proximity to Visva Bharati, the university set up by Rabindranath Tagore the Nobel laureate poet...

 in the Birbhum district where his eldest son Dwijendranath Tagore
Dwijendranath Tagore
See Tagore for disambiguationDwijendranath Tagore was an Indian poet, song composer, philosopher, mathematician, and a pioneer in Bengali shorthand and musical notations.-Formative years:...

 set up his school.

Debendranath was a master of the Upanishads and played no small role in the education and cultivation of the faculties of his sons.

Children


Dwijendranath
Dwijendranath Tagore
See Tagore for disambiguationDwijendranath Tagore was an Indian poet, song composer, philosopher, mathematician, and a pioneer in Bengali shorthand and musical notations.-Formative years:...

 (1840–1926) was an accomplished scholar, poet and music composer. He initiated shorthand and musical notations in Bengali. He wrote extensively and translated Kalidas’s Meghdoot into Bengali.

Satyendranath
Satyendranath Tagore
Satyendranath Tagore was the first Indian to join the Indian Civil Service. He was an author, song composer, linguist and made significant contribution towards the emancipation of women in Indian society during the British Raj.-Formative years:...

 (1842–1923) was the first Indian to join the Indian Civil Service. At the same time he was a scholar.

Hemendranath
Hemendranath Tagore
This article is connected to Tagore familyHemendranath Tagore , Debendranath Tagore's third son, is notable for being the first ever Brahmo as he was the first child born in 1844 to any of the 21 Brahmos who swore the First Brahmo Covenant on 21 December 1843 at Calcutta...

 (1844–1884) was the scientist and organiser of the family. He was a spiritual seer and Yogi and he was responsible for development of modern Brahmoism which is now the Adi Dharm
Adi Dharm
Adi Dharm refers to the religion of Adi Brahmo Samaj the first development of Brahmoism and includes those Sadharan Brahmo Samajists who were reintegrated into Brahmoism after the 2nd schism of 1878 at the instance of Hemendranath Tagore...

 religion. He was a "doer" of his Tagore generation and worthy successor to his grandfather Dwarkanath and father. He sided with his "conservative" siblings Dwijendranath and Birendranath in the family disputes against "modern" Satyendranath, Jyotindranath and Rabindranath.

Jyotirindranath
Jyotirindranath Tagore
Jyotirindranath Tagore was a playwright, a musician, an editor and a painter. Endowed with an outstanding talent, he had the rare capability of spotting talent in others...

 (1849–1925) was a scholar, artist, music composer and theatre personality.

Rabindranath
Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore , sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region's literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first non-European Nobel laureate by earning the 1913 Prize in Literature...

 (1861–1941) was his youngest son. A Nobel laureate in Literature whose poems have been adopted as national anthems of India and Bangaladesh. Rabindranath founded the Vishwabharathi University in the Shantiniketan Estate acquired by his father.

His other sons were Birendranath (1845–1915) and Somendranath.

His daughters were Soudamini, Sukumari, Saratkumari, Swarnakumari
Swarnakumari Devi
See Tagore for disambiguationSwarnakumari Devi was an Indian poet, novelist, musician and social worker. She was the first among the women writers in Bengali to gain prominence.-Family and early life:...

 (1855–1932) and Barnakumari. Soudamini was one of the first students of Bethune School and a gifted writer. Swarnakumari was a gifted writer, editor, song-composer and social worker. All of them were famous for their beauty and education. His part in creating the legacy of Thakurbari – the House of Tagore – in the cultural heritage of Bengal, centred in Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

, was not negligible. It was largely through the influence of the Tagore family, following that of the writer Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, that Bengal took a leading role on the cultural front as well as on the nationalistic one, in the Renaissance in India during the nineteenth century.

Thakur Bari (House of Tagores)


The house of the Tagore family
Tagore family
The Tagore family, with over three hundred years of history, has been one of the leading families of Kolkata, and is regarded as a key influence during the Bengal Renaissance...

 in Jorasanko, popular as Jorasanko Thakur Bari
Jorasanko Thakur Bari
The Thakurbari The Thakurbari The Thakurbari (Bangla: House of the Thakurs (anglicised to Tagore) in Jorasanko, north of Kolkata, West Bengal, India is the ancestral home of the Tagore family. It is currently located on the Rabindra Bharati University campus at 6/4 Dwarakanath Tagore Lane...

 in North-western Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

, was later converted into a campus of the Rabindra Bharati University
Rabindra Bharati University
Rabindra Bharati University is a university in Kolkata, India. It was founded on May 8, 1962, under the Rabindra Bharati Act of the Government of West Bengal in 1961, to mark the birth centenary of the poet Rabindranath Tagore...

.

Religion


As son of Dwarkanath, a close friend of Ram Mohan Roy
Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was an Indian religious, social, and educational reformer who challenged traditional Hindu culture and indicated the lines of progress for Indian society under British rule. He is sometimes called the father of modern India...

, Debendranath came early into the influence of Brahmoism
Brahmoism
Brahmoism is a religious movement from the late 18th century Bengal originating the Bengali Renaissance, the nascent Indian independence movement and the wider Hindu reform movements of the period...

 through the Brahmo Sabha, a reformist movement in Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 formulating as Adi Dharma (Original Dharma
Dharma
Dharma means Law or Natural Law and is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. In the context of Hinduism, it refers to one's personal obligations, calling and duties, and a Hindu's dharma is affected by the person's age, caste, class, occupation, and gender...

) what it considered as the original pristine principles of Hinduism corrupted over time.

But even earlier, deeply affected in childhood by the death of his grandmother to whom he was greatly attached, Debendranath was drawn to religion and began contemplating the meaning and nature of life. He commenced a deep study of religious literature, particularly the Upanishads. In 1839, with tutelage from Pandit Ram Chandra Vidyabageesh, a leader of the Brahmo Sabha, he formed his own active Tattwabodhini Sabha
Tattwabodhini Sabha
The Tattwabodhinī Sabhā was a group started in Calcutta on 29 September 1839 as a splinter group of the Brahmo Samaj, reformers of Hinduism and Indian Society...

 (Truthseekers' Association) to spread his new experiences and knowledge.

In 1843, Debendranath started the Tattwabodhini Patrika
Tattwabodhini Patrika
Tattwabodhini Patrika [Tattwabodhini Patrika ] was established by Maharshi Devendranath Tagore on 16 th August, 1843, as a journal of the Tattwabodhini Sabha, and continued publication until 1883...

 as mouthpiece of the Tattwabodhini Sabha. In the same year, he revived the Brahma Sabha, fallen in vigour and following since the death of Ram mohan Roy in 1833. The Brahmo Sabha was formally absorbed into the Tattwabodhini Sabha and renamed as Calcutta Brahma Samaj. The day Pous 7 of the Bengali calendar is commemorated as the foundation day of the Samaj. The Patrika became the organ of the Samaj and continued publication till 1883.

In 1848, Debendranath codified the Adi Dharma Doctrine as Brahmo Dharma Beej
Brahmo Dharma Beej
This article is connected to Brahmoism, Brahmo Samaj and Brahmo and needs expansion. -Controversy:These are possibly the seed beej principles of Brahmo Dharma propounded by Maharishi Debendranath Tagore and founder of the Brahmo religion in 1850...


(Seed of the Brahmo Dharma). In 1950, he published a book titled Brahmo Dharma enshrining
the fundamental principles. These principles emphasise monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

, rationality
Rationality
In philosophy, rationality is the exercise of reason. It is the manner in which people derive conclusions when considering things deliberately. It also refers to the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons for belief, or with one's actions with one's reasons for action...

 and reject scriptural infallibility, the necessity of mediation
Mediation
Mediation, as used in law, is a form of alternative dispute resolution , a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties. A third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate their own settlement...

 between man and God, caste
Caste
Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

 distinctions and idolatry
Idolatry
Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honour and regard to created forms other than God. In all the Abrahamic religions idolatry is strongly forbidden, although...

.

With the influence of Brahmoism under Debendranath spreading far and wide throughout India, he gathered reputation as a person of particular spiritual accomplishment and came to be known as Maharshi. His spiritual stature was confirmed by Sri Ramakrishna, the great Hindu sage of the 19th century who paid Debendranath a visit. Debendranath's roles in the Bengal renaissance
Bengal Renaissance
The Bengal Renaissance refers to a social reform movement during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the region of Bengal in Undivided India during the period of British rule...

 and the reform and rejuvenation of Hindu religion are indubitable.

Tributes


Sivanath Sastri
Sivanath Sastri
Sivanath Sastri was a scholar, religious reformer, educator, writer and historian...

has paid glowing tributes to Debendranath Tagore in History of the Brahmo Samaj:
Maharshi Devendranath Tagore was one of the greatest religious geniuses this country ever produced. He was truly a successor of the great rishis of old. His nature was essentially spiritual. ... He was a devout follower of the Upanishadic rishis, but was no pantheist on that account. Devendranath in spite of his real sainthood never put on the grab or habits of sadhu or saint. His piety was natural, habitual and modest. He hated or shunned all display of saintliness...


He was a true and living embodiment of that teaching of the Gita where it is said: “A truly wise man is never buffeted by his trials and tribulations, does not covet pleasure, and is free from attachment, fear and anger; the same is a muni.” Maharshi Devendranath was a true muni in that respect. He calmly bore all; even the greatest grieves of life. After having done his duty, he quietly rested, regardless of consequences.


Though personally not much in favour of the idea of female emancipation, he was one of the first men in Bengal to open the door of higher education to women. Valuing conscience in himself, he valued it in all about him. Religious life was growth to him; not an intellectual assent but a spiritual influence that pervaded and permeated life; consequently, he had not much sympathy with merely reformatory proceedings.


From the west he took only two ideas: first, the idea of fidelity to God; secondly the idea of public worship; in all other things he was oriental. His idea was to plant the Samaj in India, as the Hindu mode of realising universal theism, leaving the other races to realise that universal faith according to their traditional methods.