Benoyendranath Sen

Benoyendranath Sen

Infobox Person
name = Benoyendranath Sen

image_size =
caption =
birth_date = 25 September 1868
birth_place = Kolkata
death_date = 12 April 1913
death_place = Kolkata
occupation = Philosopher, educator
spouse = Shakuntala Devi

Benoyendranath Sen (also spelt Benoyendra Nath Sen) ( _bn. বিনয়েন্দ্রনাথ সেন) (1868 – 1913) was a Brahmo activist in Kolkata (then Calcutta) and a New Dispensation leader in the post-Keshub Chunder Sen era of the Brahmo movement.

Sivanath Sastri wrote (about Sen and his contemporaries), “These young leaders are trying to keep up the Brahmo name and the work of the Brahmo Samaj of India; thereby strengthening the hope, expressed before, of their counteracting the narrowing influence of Keshub Chunder Sen’s close adherents. [ Sastri, Sivanath, "History of the Brahmo Samaj", 1911-12/1993, p. 510, Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.]

Formative years

The son of Madhusudan Sen, and nephew (sister's son) of Keshub Chunder Sen, he was born on 25 September 1868 at Kolkata. Sen received Western education, supported by his father, who had been initiated into the Brahmo Samaj by Debendranath Tagore. Sen topped his class throughout his academic career. He mastered the intricacies of Western philosophy. After his graduation with honours in English and philosophy from General Assembly’s Institution in 1888, he did his Master of Arts in history and philosophy from Calcutta University.Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Bose, Anjali (editors), 1976/1998, "Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan" (Biographical dictionary) Vol I, Bn icon, pp. 345-346, ISBN 8185626650 ]

quote box|width=270px|quote=In the Brahmo Samaj Benoyendra Nath allied himslf with two other famous New Dispensation philosophers, Pramathalal Sen and Mohit Chandra Sen, to update the church’s organisation and doctrine as well as to promote unity with other Brahmo groups. Benoyendranath’s generation saw no conflict between science and reason on one side and faith on the other… Rather than reject Vedanta, Benoyendranath chose it as the most perfect Indian embodiment of the intellectual ideal… Brahmoism was not a philosophy or theology but a faith that conformed to reason. Kopf, David, "The Brahmo Samaj and the Shaping of the Modern Indian Mind", 1979, pp. 83-85, Princeton Univerisy Press, ISBN 0691031258]
source=David Kopf


He started working in Baharampur College and worked in Tej Narayan Jubilee College at Bhagalpur for a short period before joining Presidency College in 1893.His lectures outside the college premises drew in large number of listeners.Niyogi, Niranjan, "Smritir Gourab Smritir Sourav" (The scent of glorious memories), 1969, Bn icon, pp. 199-208.]

Brahmo Samaj

Inspired by Keshub Chunder Sen from a young age, he undertook all work for the Brahmo Samaj, along with Pramathalal Sen and Mohit Chandra Sen, under the guidance of Protap Chunder Mozoomdar and Krishnabihari Sen. In 1897, he and Mohit Chandra Sen opened a students’ hostel named ‘Fraternal Home’ at 92 Harrison Road (renamed Mahatma Gandhi Road). In 1898, when plague struck Kolkata, the residents of ‘Fraternal Home’ participated in the relief activities. Many persons attended his classes on Bhagavad Gita held at Albert Hall. He took the lead to act parts of it and enlivened the entire environment.

Many persons attended his prayer-meeings. Among them was Brajendra Nath Seal. He was elected president of “Youngmen & Interpretation” and “Theistic Endeavour Society”. He represented Brahmo Samaj in the World Conference of Liberal Religions, organised by Unitarians at Geneva in 1905 and was felicitated by the Unitarians. At the conference his paper dealt with the problem of religion in modern India. While arguing the need for more theology, he warned against ‘dry rationalism’ that would stifle the spiritual impulse.

He organised a school for the moral education of Brahmo children. It was looked after mostly by his wife, Shakuntala Devi. He was associated with numerous educational and welfare activities of the Brahmo Samaj. Sen was actively involved in the functioning of Victoria Institution. He presided over the Indian Theistic Conference held at Lahore in 1909.

Other activities

Sen was a member of Calcutta University for many years, and was inspector of colleges. He was secretary of Calcutta University Institute.

Upadhyay Gour Govinda Ray used to say, “Benoyendranath is a rose in bloom.” At the time of Titanic disaster in 1912, Sen presided over a memorial service. His prayer service evoked the tragic dimension of the disaster and touched all present.

He died at a comparatively young age after being ill for some time.


"The Pilgrim", "Lectures and Essays", "The Intellectual Ideal", "Arati", "Gita Adhayan".


NAME= Sen, Benoyendranath
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Sen, Benoyendra Nath (alternative spelling)
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Philosopher, educator
DATE OF BIRTH= 25 September 1868
PLACE OF BIRTH= Kolkata, India
DATE OF DEATH=12 April 1913
PLACE OF DEATH= Kolkata, India

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