Brahmabandhab Upadhyay - Excerpts


Upadhyaya wrote in the Sophia, July 1897:

Are we Hindus?
By birth we are Hindus and we shall remain Hindu till death. But as dvija (twice-born), by virtue of our sacramental rebirth we are Catholics, we are members of the indefectible communion embracing all ages and times. In customs and manners, in observing caste and social distinctions, in eating and drinking, in our life and living we are genuine Hindus, but in our faith we are neither Hindu nor European, nor American nor Chinese, but all-inclusive....
The test of being a Hindu cannot therefore be in religious opinions. Yet, we have drunk of the spirit of Hinduism... We agree in spirit with Hindu law-givers in regard to their teaching that sacramental rites (samskaras) are vehicles of sanctification.
With wondering reverence do we look upon their idea of establishing a sacred hierarchy vested with the highest authority in religious and social matters....

Upadhyay was the composer of the famous hymn Vande Saccidananda ("Saluting the Holy Trinity") which is today widely sung during vernacular services in Christian Churches all over India. This CANTICLE TO THE TRINITY was published in October 1898, and is widely regarded as a magnificent gem of Christian hymnology. This hymn is considered one of the most original contributions of Upadhyay to Indian Christian Theology. Upadhyay here has combined ideas from the Christian Scriptures with Greek and Hindu sources and adapted the Christian faith to the cultural patterns of Indian religious thought.


I bow to Him who is
Being, Consciousness and Bliss.
I bow to Him whom worldly minds loathe,
Whom pure minds yearn for,
The Supreme Abode.
He is the Supreme,
The Ancient of days,
The Transcendent,
Indivisible Plenitude,
Immanent yet above all things.
Three-fold relation,
Pure, unrelated knowledge beyond knowledge.
The Father, Sun Supreme Lord, unborn,
The seedless seed of the tree of becoming,
The cause of all,
Creator, Providence, Lord of the Universe.
The infinite and perfect Word,
The Supreme person begotten,
Sharing in the Father's nature,
Conscious by essence,
Giver of true Salvation.
He who proceeds from Being and Consciousness
Replete with the breath of perfect bliss
The purifier, the Swift,
The Revealer of the Word the Life-giver.

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