"William Carey's Bengali Hymnody"

Rev. Dr. Dipankar Haldar1

Rev. Dr. Dipankar Haldar


The first Bengali hymnal was published at the beginning of 1802 in Serampore by the Serampore Missionaries, William Carey, Joshua Marshman and William Ward.  According to William Ward’s words, they published a hymn book with 23 hymns only, as Ward wrote on 5th March, 1802, as cited in Dharmageet, “We have printed a hymn book with 23 hymns in Bengali Language.”2  But it is a matter of great regret that no copy of this book is available today.  In the later periods, probably this hymn book was reprinted with additional hymns.


Another hymn book was published in 1810 from Serampore with 157 hymns and 18 songs from the Psalms.  All of these hymns and songs were composed by Chamberlain in English tune.  Then in 1811, a more extensive hymn book in Bengali with the title “Hymns Sung in the Church of Jesus Christ” was published.  This hymn book was divided into three parts: the First Part had 20 hymns of Carey, Thomas, Marshman and Ward, the Second Part had all the hymns of Chamberlain, and the Third Part comprised 127 Bengali hymns in Indian (Bengali) tunes which still are sung and reprinted in the present.


    1Rev. Dr. Dipankar Haldar is Associate Professor of New Testament in the Theology Department of Serampore College.  Formerly, he was Auxiliary Secretary of the Bible Society of India, Calcutta Auxiliary, 1998-2004, and prior to that he was a lecturer in Bishop’s College, Calcutta, 1994-1998.  He has published several books and articles in both English and Bengali, and composed some hymns in English and Bengali as well.  Since 1990, he has served as a presbyter of the Diocese of Barrackpore, Church of North India.  William Carey’s Bengali hymns from “Dharmageet” are transliterated and translated below by Rev. Dr. Haldar, who appears here with his family, which includes his wife, Mrs. Samapti Haldar; their oldest son, Mark Sandipan Haldar, and their youngest son Matthew Samarpan Haldar.

    2P. P. Mondal, et al., Dharmageet (i.e., Bengali, Religious Song), 2nd ed. (Calcutta: Bishop’s House, 1988), Foreword.


Hymns in Dharmageet (i.e., Bengali, Religious Song)


No. 83, Page 70

Hymn on Palm Sunday, based on Matthew 21:9

Tune: S.A. 15.


Hosanna! Hosanna! E-elen Shantiraj!

Dhanya! tini dhanya! Path khulo Jisur janyo –

nijo rajyo loiben aaj.


1. Jirusalemer dike jaay gadhaay chorie ke?

Lok koto aage pichhe dhaay – ki bawle pothike?


2. Apurbo shaje shajie, Sri Jisur shoinik jaay,

nij bawstro pawthe patie – khejur pata uraay.


3. Hey shion-konne! Puribe aaj shastrer ei bawchon –

Oi dinobeshe hawbe tomar rajar aagomon.


4. Nawgore shobhe shondhyalok o chura shawrnomoy,

rob shuni chhade utthe lok – apekkha kori roy.


5. Traneswar kintu mon nirash, ‘grohibe ki aamaay?’

Ki satyer pokkhe ei ullash – na jawgot rajyo chaaay?


6. Amayeek shishugawner bhab nath heri mondire,

korilen stawbe priti labh – taai mone rakho re.




English Translation


Hosanna! Hosanna! King of Peace has come!

Blessed is He! Open the way for Him –

For He will receive His Kingdom today.


1. Who goes on the donkey towards Jerusalem?

Large crowd around Him, what do the passersby say?


2. Beautifully dressed, the followers (soldiers) of Jesus go.

Spreading their cloths on the way they sway palm leaves.


3. O daughter of Zion! Scripture will be fulfilled today –

Your king will appear in meekness.


4. The city adorns in twilight and its mountain top looks golden

Hearing the scream people wait on the roofs.


5. But Saviour despairs, ‘will they really receive me?’

Is this scream for Truth or do they want the kingdom of this world? 


6. The Lord seeing the emotions of innocent children in the temple,

had joy in their praise. Remember this story always.


No. 129, Page 110

Hymn on Invocation of the Holy Spirit, based on Romans 15:16

Tune: Bengali, Year of Composition: 1805.


Attwon! Esho moder ontore,

ujjawl kawro aponar kore.


1. Tomar sotyer aalo prodan kore,

shupawth daekhao antore. (Ohe sotyer aalo!)


2. Bohao jibon-baiyoo shakti bhore,

shawbol kawro antore. (Ohe jibon baiyoo.)


3. Agni sporsho diya oshtthadhawre,

Khati kawro awntore. (Ohe shawrger aagun!)


4. Sshe kapot beshe neme dhire,

Nibash karo antore. (Ohe Atta kapot.)


5. Moder Jishu-lotar shakha kore,

Daeo tari rosh awntore. (Oh shoktidata.)


6. Shikhao ‘abba’ bola aamadere,

Daeo putrer bhab antore. (Ohe sotyo guru!)


7. Daekhao Jisur murti onkit kore,

Sposhto moder awntore. (Ohe Jisu atta.)


8. Dukkhit hoye jeo na he phire,

Shada thako antore. (Ohe bhakto shakha.)





English Translation


Holy Spirit! Come into our hearts,

Brighten us as you are.


1. Giving the light of your Truth,

show us the right path in our heart. (O Light of Truth!)


2. Blow your breath of life filled with your power,

strengthen us in our hearts. (O Breath of Life.)


3. Touch our tongs with your fire,

make us pure in our hearts. (O Fire of Heaven.)


4. Descending like a dove,

dwell in our hearts. (O Spirit-dove)


5. Keep us like branches with Jesus-vine,

Give us His sap in our hearts. (O giver of our strength)


6. Teach us to call you our “Father,”

Give us the Son’s image in our hearts. (O True-Teacher)


7. Show us the image of Jesus by depicting

it clear in our hearts. (O Spirit-Jesus)


8. Do not leave us being sorry,

Stay in our hearts always. (O dear friend of the devotee)


No. 201, Page 170

Hymn translated into Bengali from “Rock of Ages Cleft for Me!” based on Psalm 19:4

Tune: Assurance or Ajalon. 7s, Year of Translation: 1811.


1. Jishu ‘Asroy-Giri’ he, lukao aamay tomate: Tobo parsho-nirgoto bari boy aar shonito;

Ghuchao paper daay o bawl – aamay kawro taay nirmol!


2. Britha Srom o chesttha he, tomar bidhi palite; hok mor jawton abirol, poruk nityo netrojol –

Taay na hobe mukto praan, toma bina nahi traan!


3. Haate kichhu naai aamar, dhori kebol krush tomar; bostrohinke daeo boshon,

nirupaayke kripa dhon, Molin aami srote dhaai, dhoao pachhe more jaai.


4. E awsthaaee jibone; kal-o nidraay shoyone; chhari jobe e bhubon herbo tobo shinghashon,

Momo ‘asroy-giri’ he, rekho aamay lukaye.


English Translation

Rock of ages cleft for me . . .


No. 214, Page 180

Hymn translated into Bengali from “There is fountain filled with blood!”

Tune: S. & S. 493. Year of Translation: 1811.


1. Aek shroto achhe shoniter, taay papi dubile,

jaay sab kalongko patoker – shei shrot immanuele.


Ch: Mor bishwash Jisu krushete korilen rokto daan,

Papi je aami shonite paai jaeno poritran.


2. Shei shroto dekhi, doshyur mon, morone shanti paay,

Hoileo mor shei pap jibawn, pobitro hobo taay.


3. Shoniter shokti, ‘hoto mesh’! phuraay na kichhute –

Jabot hoy shesh bhokter probesh shawrgo mondolite.


4. Shei shroto heri bishwashe, tulechhi premer gaan,

Ajiban gaibo horoshe tomaree krito tran.


5. Jaak ei nistejo rashona bak shunyo kabore,

Tulbo shei gaan ei bashona – shawrge modhur shawre.


English Translation

There is a fountain filled with blood . . .

No. 217, Page 183

Hymn translated into Bengali from “Mighty to save . . .”

Tune: Mannheim 8.75. Year of Translation: Not known.


1. Doya kawro aamar upawr ohe Jishu doyabaan,

Tumi norer nistarkorta, tumi shorbo shaktimaan.

Shuno Jishu shuno Jishu shuno amar nibedan.


2. Aami bawro aparadhi, aamar paper bawro bhar.

Mawrte karo shakti nahi, amaay nistar koribar.

Jishu Chhara karo nahi, shakti nistar koribar.


3. Shuniachhi mongal akhyan, shuniachhi tomar nam.

Tumi kawto dukkho paiya, koriachho paritran.

Biswer rokkha karonarthe koriachho jibandan.


4. Aekhon mongal sangbad shuni, shawrbo shristi bharsha paay.

Aami aishi onye boli, rokkha hoy Khrister kripaay.

Papijon Khrister Naame, nibedile rokkha paay.



English Translation


1. Show your kindness on me, O kind Jesus,

You are the savior of men, you are almighty.

Hear me Jesus, hear me Jesus, hear my plea.


2. I am a great sinner, my sins are heavy.

No one on earth has power to save me.

Except Jesus, no one indeed can save.


3. I heard about your goodness, and your great name.

Having taken so much pain, you have saved us.

You have given your life for saving the world.


4. Now having heard the good news, all creations obtained peace.

When I tell it to others, they are also saved.

If the sinners pray in the name of Christ, they are saved.


No. 262, Page 221

Hymn on zealous witnessing, based on Isaiah 55:4

Tune: Bengali. Year of Translation: 1792.


Aamra Probhu Jishu Khrishter udjyogi dawl.


1. Jodi Jiggash kawre keho – kara e shawkol? Bawlo – udjyogi dawl.


2. Jisur shebaay shukhi thaki, shawbee premer phawl, bawlo – udjyogi dawl.


3. Jani Jisur rawkte hridoy hoyechhe shawbol, bawlo – udjyogi dawl.


4. Jyotirmoy jiban – teje mon o mukh ujjawl, bawlo – udjyogi dawl.


5. Joyee hawbo Jisur jonne jodio durbawl, bawlo – udjyogi dawl.


6. Jisur dhawja tule choli joyee shena dawl, bawlo – udjyogi dawl.


English Translation


We are a zealous team of our Lord Jesus Christ.


1. If any one asks – who are these? Say – zealous team of Christ.


2. Being happy in the service of Jesus we are fruits of his love, Say –

zealous team of Christ.


3. Our hearts are strengthened by the blood of Jesus, say – zealous team of Christ.


4. Our faces are brightened by his radiant life. Say – zealous team of Christ.


5. Though weak we will win for Jesus. Say – zealous team of Christ.


6. We are victorious soldiers lifting the flag of Jesus. Say – zealous team of Christ.


No. 286, Page 241

Hymn translated from “Jesus bids us shine . . . ”, based on Matthew 5:16

Tune: S. S. S. 1133 10. 11. 11. 10.  398. It might have been done by Carey’s next generation.


1. Ujjawl jyoti jalai – Jisur aggate!

Prodeep jaemon jawle, ghawre ratrite;

Andhokarer modhye aalo kori daan –

Shaw sthaane hoi taai diptimaan.


2. Ujjawl jyoti jalai – Jisur jonyete!

Nibe gele, porbe tahar drishtithe;

Shawrgo thheke dyakhen moder dipti-daan –

Shaw sthane hoi taai diptiman.


3. Ujjawl jyoti jalai – charidike roy

Andhokarer modhye jader abhab hoy;

Din-dukkhir jonne kori premodaan –

Shaw sthane hoi taai diptimaan.


English Translation


“Jesus bids us shine . . .


No. 292, Page 246

Hymn on Jesus’ love and our obedience to Him, based on John 14:15

Tune: 150    87. 87, Year of Composition: 1793


1. Mor probhur preme shukhi hoi, jaemon mothsho sholile;

Taar komol shikkhar modhu loi, jaemon bhringo kawmole.


Chorus: Ami Jishuke bhalobashibo, probhur shonge shawda thakibo;

Ami Jishuke bhalobashibo, tar bishawstho shishwo hoyibo.


2. Mor probhur bakye cholte hoy, jaemon badam bayoote;

Kabja bina daar kichhu noy, tori phire halete.


3. Mor probhur shanti niromol, mawmo mawne bohile,

Shey kaemon shobha! Nodir jawl jaemon Jyotsna-hillole!


4. Chaai, Jishur krusher bhagi hoi, taree preme dhori pran,

Nij haate ‘preker chinho’ loi, bhabi pawrer pawritraan!


English Translation


1. We are happy in the love of the Lord, as fish in the water;

We take honey from His sweet teachings, as bee on the lotus.


Chorus: I will love Jesus, and will stay with the Lord always;

I will love Jesus, and will be His faithful disciples.


2. My Lord’s Word needs to be followed, as the sail follows the air;

The door is nothing without the see, as the boat returns by the helm.


3. My Lord’s peace is pure, when it comes in my mind,

How beautiful is the water of the river, when moonlight falls on the wave!


4. I want to be part of the Cross of Jesus; I fill my soul with His love.

I want to take the marks of nail in my own hands and think of salvation for others!


No. 293, Page 247

Hymn on offerings

Tune: Bengali, Year of Composition: Not known


Pawre jhon jhon kawre pawre, shuno poysar gaan,

Amra Jishur tawre, shawbee tini paan.


1. Shuno poysha pawre, poysha kawre gaan

Amra Jishur tawre, sobee tini paan.


2. Chhoto chhele meye, haate kori daan

Probhur paye rakhe, hoye hrishto praan.                                                                              


3. Mora shobe aekhon chhoto akinchan,

Baro hoile tokhon ene dibo dhawn.


4. Na o thaake awrtho, aachhe prem shobar

Sneho heshe nath grohen upohaar.



English Translation


Falling with jingling, hear the sound of coins,

We are for Jesus, We give everything to him.


1. Hear the jingling of coins, coins are singing,

We are for Jesus, We give everything to him.


2. Small boys and girls offer by their own hands,

Keep their offerings at Jesus’ feet with cheerful hearts.


3. Now we are small, and insignificant,

When we grow up we will offer you our riches.


4. If we do not have money, we will have our love,

Our Lord will accept all our offerings with affectionate smile.


No. 295, Page 248

Hymn on Children as little lambs of Jesus

Tune: Bengali, Year of Composition: Not known


1. Ami Jishur chhoto mesh, protidin mor shukh awshesh,

Tini rokkhha kawren besh – taar chhoto mesh!


Chorus: Bhalobashen amare, shuchi kawren awntore,

Kole rakhen adore – taar chhoto mesh!


2. Pachoni shupoth daekhaay, bahu premer chouki dyay,

Shadanande thaki taay – taar chhoto mesh!


3. Thaki Jishur khoare, purbe chhilam bahire,

Shaanti paai awntore – taar chhoto mesh!


4. Jishur pale choribo, palok bhalo bashibo,

Pode pode cholibo – taar chhoto mesh!



English Translation


1. I am a little lamb of Jesus, so I have great happiness everyday.

He protects me perfectly – his little lamb.


Chorus: He loves me, purifies my heart,

He keeps me in his bosom – his little lamb.


2. His rod takes me to the right path, his arms surround me with love,

So I keep myself always happy – his little lamb.


3. I stay in the sheepfold of Jesus, but before I was outside.

Now I get peace in my heart – his little lamb.



No. 296, Page 249

Hymn on Jesus’ love based on Ephesians 5:2

Tune: S S.H.31    87.87 with refrain. Year of Composition: 1796


1. Jishur preme, Jishur preme, shukh o shanti paai;

Pashe thaken, drishti rakhen, jani shorbodaai.


Ch: ‘Bhalobashen, Jishu naath amaay,’

Mone mone, protikkhhone, gaaile praan juraay.


2. Jishur bawle, Jishur bawle, hridoy rokkhha paay;

Taare jawkhon daaki, tawkhon dukkhho dure jaay.


3. Jishur dawya, Jishur dawya, taar to shima naai;

Pore gele, dhoren tule, paaper khoma paai.


4. Jishur ichchha, Jishur ichchha, palon korte chai;

Priyo traata, jestho bhrata, bhalobashi taai.


5. Jishur sheba, Jishur sheba, bhalo laage bhai;

Shujog peye, shukhi hoye, karje kaal kaatai.


6. Jishur hridoy, Jishur hridoy, dharon korte chaai;

Prarthonate, shastropathe, rawto thaki tai.


English Translation





1. We get happiness and peace in Jesus’ love;

For, He abides by us and looks after us always.


Chorus: ‘He loves me, yes Jesus loves me’

to sing always in our hearts makes our souls content.


2. Our hearts are protected with the strength of Jesus;

When we call Him, our sorrows go away.


3. There is no limit in the kindness of Jesus;

When we fall, He lifts us up and forgives our sins.


4. We want to foster the will of Jesus;

We love Him, our dear Saviour and elder brother.


5. We love the Service of Jesus;

We want to utilize the opportunity in doing works for Him happily.


6. We want to embrace the heart of Jesus;

So we spend time in prayer and scripture reading.


No. 297, Page 250

Hymn on a child’s love for Jesus, based on Proverbs 20:11

Tune: Bengali. Year of Composition: 1795


1. Aami Jishur chhoto shishu, taar kole thakte chaai,

Probhate daki – Jishu! O jawkhon shooite jaai;

Ki khaelaay kimba skoole, taar preme shukhi roi,

Chaai, nityo shujog pele, taar shebaay roto hoi.


Chorus: Jishu tomaar shawkti chaai, oti durbawl aami,

Rokkha kawro sawrbodai – tomaar onugaami.


2. Aami Jishur chhoto shishyo, taar pode shikkha paai,

Taar mukhe sawntosh hashyo, shawb kaale dekhte chaai;

Taar bakyo jodi bhuli, mor guru dukkhit hawn,

Taar aggaay jaeno choli, aaro namro kori mon!


3. Aami Jishur chhoto shakkhi, je kono sthaane hoy,

Shey sthaane shakhyo daeoa, ki mor kartobyo noy?

Aaj hridoy daar khuli, aar gupto prarthonaay,

Prem-byabohare boli, je bhalobashi taay.


4. Aami Jishur chhoto soinyo, khub shahosh koribo,

Shey ‘uttam juddher, jonyo, roj prostut thakibo;

Biponno awnek aachhe, e juddho shawhoj noy,

Mor shenapoti kachhe, aar aamar kisher bhoy?


5. Aami Jishur chhoto shawkha, shey kaemon mishto naam!

Taar shawne hawbe daekha, o pabo shawrgo dhaam;

Mor priyo bondhu jokhon, mor jonne krushete

Taar jibawn dilen – tawkhon ki pari taay bhulite?



English Translation


1. I am a small child of Jesus, I want to stay in His bosom,

In the morning I call – Jesus! And also when I go to sleep;

Either in my play or in the school, I remain happy in His love,

If I get opportunity, I want to dedicate my self to His service.


Chorus: Jesus I want your strength, I am very week,

Always protect me, your follower.


2. I am a small disciple of Jesus, I learn from His footsteps,

I can always see, a pleasing-smile in His face;

If I forget His Words, He feels sorry,

May I walk according to His command, being more humble in mind!


3. I am a small witness of Jesus, wherever I may be

Is it not my duty to witness wherever I go?

Today I open my heart and pray in secret,

And say that I love Him through my behavior.


4. I am a small soldier of Jesus, I will be very brave,

I will be ready everyday for a ‘good fight;’

There are many wounded ones, this fight is not easy,

My captain is near me, what is my fear?


5. I am a small friend of Jesus, His name is so sweet!

I shall meet Him and be received in heaven;

He is so dear a friend of mine, that on the cross,

He gave His life – can I forget it ever?


No. 302, Page 254

Hymn on the meditation of the love of Jesus, based on 1 Timothy 2: 4

Tune: Adapted from Sullivan. Year of Composition: 1811


Dhyano Jishur prem – awpaar prem –

Hridoy khule, prano bhule, dhyano Jishur prem;

Pitaaro mohimaay, tyaji aailen dinotaay,

Paapigone uddharone dinopraane sawrgodane

morilen – ki prem!


(Dhyano Jishur prem - )


Taari rajyo hobe – jogote hobe!

Chinta kawro, Chawron dhawro, pabe shanti shawbe;

Naai aar papoddhar, sawrge jaibaar odhikaar;

Shanto mon, tranodhawn, lawo aekhon, ajibon sawdanonde robe.


(Dhawro Jishur prem - )


Bawlo jeye bawlo – shawbare bawlo –

Poritraan proti praan paay jaeno, bawlo;

Haay hay paaper daay! Kawto loke nirupaay, (jante chaay)

Paaper bol o paaper phol, aerabe kishe e shawkol – tumi jeye bawlo.


(Dhaalo Jishur prem - )


English Translation  






Meditate on Jesus’ love – His unending love –

Open your heart, forget yourself, and meditate on Jesus’ love;

From the glory of the Father, He left and came into the poverty,

To save the sinners He died to give heaven to the poor – what a love!


(Meditate Jesus’ love - )


His kingdom will come – on this earth!

Think, hold His feet and you will receive peace;

There is no more sacrifice for sin, we now have the right to enter into heaven;

Peaceful mind, you will have, if you have the redeemer, you’ll be happy for ever.


(Embrace Jesus’ love - )


Go and tell – to all –

Tell that all soul may have salvation;

Alas! Who will take the responsibility of sin! How many are helpless! (Want to know)

Power of sin and consequence of sin, how will you avoid – You, go and tell.


(Pour the love of Jesus - )




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Created:    July 15, 2012        Updated:    July 27, 2012