Glorious Past

Swami Vivekananda had drawn attention to the need of publication of literature for the dissemination of the message of Sri Ramakrishna. He added, ‘I want to leave behind some books which would act as foundation to my work even after I am gone.’

Swami Vivekananda returned to Calcutta from the West in February 1897. That very year, on May 1, he established the Ramakrishna Mission.

Towards the end of 1898, Udbodhan Office was started with the setting up of a printing press in Girindra Lal Basak’s house which was at 14, Ramchandra Maitra Lane, Kambuliatola, north Calcutta. The press was named ‘Udbodhan Press’. On January 14, 1899 (BS 1305, 1 Magh) the fortnightly journal ‘Udbodhan’ was brought out for the first time from here under the editorship of Swami Trigunatitananda, one of the direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. Swami Trigunatitananda was the editor of the journal as well as the manager of the Udbodhan Press and the office. His assistant. Swami Shuddhananda’s kept on translating in Bengali and publishing in Udbodhan the lectures and writings of Swami Vivekananda. Later these were brought out in book form by the Udbodhan Office. Subsequently innumerable works on Sri Ramakrishna and other religious topics by Swami Brahmananda, Swami Saradananda and other monks as well as lay disciples and devotees of Sri Ramakrishna and other litterateurs were brought out. Thus through the pens of great ones Udbodhan became one of the most important centres for the spread of the message of Sri Ramakrishna – Vivekananda.

Swami Trigunatitananda was the first editor of the journal, as well as the manager and publisher of the Udbodhan Office. His departure for America in 1903 created sort of a crisis for the journal and the fear of closing down the magazine became imminent. The crisis could be averted only with Swami Brahmananda’s strong wish and Swami Saradananda’s effort. They put the responsibility of editing and publishing the journal on the shoulders of Swami Shuddhananda. The publication of Udbodhan could continue without a hitch only because of Swami Shuddhananda’s own sacrifice, sincerity, dexterity and constant effort. Since this period, Swami Saradananda got involved with the magazine deeply.

From the first number of the first year to the eighteenth number of the fourth year, the magazine was printed at its own press, after which the press had to be sold off for various reasons. Since then the magazine has been printed at different presses.

Initially, Udbodhan Office was situated in the house of Mr. Girindra Lal Basak, at 14, Ramchandra Maitra Lane. After his passing away, the Office was shifted to 30, Bose Para Lane in November 1906. A couple of years later, in 1908, it was finally shifted to the newly built house of its own at 12 & 13, Gopal Chandra Neogy Lane. On the other side of the house was Mukherjee Lane. Later, this Mukherjee Lane was renamed as Udbodhan Lane.