Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva

“Srimanta Sonkoro Hari Bhokotor
Jana Jeno Kolpotoru;
Tahanta Binayi Nahi Nahi Nahi
Amaro Poromo Guru!!”
(Naam Ghosa, Mahapurush Madhavdeva)

Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva is a divine light bestowed on the society prevelant in the 15th Century in Assam which was experiencing the pit of all evil and social unrest. The forces of the dark were at the pinnacle, almost threatening to demolish the very foundation of the society by adversely creeping in the minds of people who could be easily influenced in the name of religion, cast and creed to penetrate an agenda of rampant destruction, acrimonious conspiracy to unsettle everyone with fear, lust, and greed.

The great Saint was born in the 15th century in Bordua, in Nogaon district of Assam in a powerful kingdom of Bhuyans, in a royal family. He was even made the “Gomosta” a royal designate to rule. However, from the very sunrise of his life, Sankardeva was believed to have come with a different mission in his life. At a very tender age, after completing basic education, he went on a pilgrimage across many holy places in India and was moved by the religious and cultural diversity. He developed a strong connect towards the prayers and closeness to the Almighty. By returning from those Yatras, he first started writing Geet, Naat and Nritya. At that time, Nava Vasihnav Dharma ( Neo Vaishnavism) was getting prominence in other parts of the country. Sankardeva was also influenced by its ethos and hence he pioneered the principles of “Vaishnav Dharma” in the North-Eastern region of India, primarily in the state of Assam. He utilized his creations of Nritya, Geet, Bhaona and other literature to ingrain the Vaishnavite cult among the people. “Hari Naam” or “Kirttan” was preached as the only way to reach the “Coron” of the Almighty, Lord Vishnu. With the passage of time, his creations and thoughts started to appeal to other saintly people and apparently to the masses who flocked in many numbers to join him. It also took the form of a revolution in itself, where the practice of Sattriya culture had become the way of life. Thus, Mahapurush Sankardeva was able to unite the people from their diverse evil paths into the ways of Vaishnav cult.

Srimanta Sankardeva was a multi-faceted personality; he was a great religious Saint, Lyricist, Singer, Actor, Author and one who possessed the ability to influence people and their thinking. His heavenly bearing was one of the prime reasons why people from many walks of life come to his “Coron” (Feet).



 Mahapurush Madhavdeva

“Sankara swarupe Hari nijo angse obotori
Bhakati pradipo logai thoila
Madhava swarupe Hari taate toilo Banti diya
Agyana andharo duro koila!!”
(Na Ghosa, Puroshuttam Thakur)

Mahapurush Madhavdeva was the great successor to Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva who propagated the epitome of the Neo Vaishnavite way of life in Assam, which was established by Srimanta Sankardeva in the 15th century. He was one the chief disciple of Srimanta Sankardeva, both of whom were united after an acrimonious debate over an issue of religious choices and practices. Whereas Madhavdeva came from a religious background where the act of 'Bali-Bidhan' (Animal Sacrifice to the altar) was practiced to attain the path to heaven, the moot preaching point of Sankardeva's religion was 'Shravan' meaning listening to and 'Kirttan' meaning chanting of 'Hari' Naam to get Nirvana into the Almighty's realm.

Madhavdeva was convinced and so he turned himself completely into Sankardeva's Xaran and remained the most devoted torchbearer of Vaishnavite way of life, till his last. Their culmination into the Guru-Disciple realm is known as the 'Mani-Kanchan Sanjyog' signifying the pivotal event which was instrumental in further strengthening the base of Srimanta Sankardeva's movement. Following the foot-steps of his Guru, Madhavdeva himself became a devout proponent of Hari Kirttan and spread the message of Vaishnavite religion far and wide, with the help of his affiliates, disciples and followers. Madhavdeva's greatest creations were the 'Borgeet' and the 8 Ankiya Naats. His faith and devotion to Lord Vishnu, His avataras and Sankardeva was such that, his Borgeet would reflect upon the subject of Lord Krishna's life, his 'Leela' or the aura, and the devotion to Guru Sankardeva, as a way of reaching the Almighty. Even all his plays manifested the rendering of Lord Krishna's life at various stages, most prominent being His childhood.

“Balaka Keli Amiya Rasa Sagara
Madhava Kaha Paramanang…
(Govinda sintahu Bala Gopala, a Borgeet composed by Madhavdeva, attributing the attire and look of Lord Krishna in his childhood, and Madhavdeva's devout submission to such greatness).

In an outstanding manner of showing his devotion to Srimanta Sankardeva, Madhavdeva rendered 'Bhakti Ratnavali', a noble work translated into 'Brajawali' language from the Sanskrit slokas, originally penned down by Vishnupuri, another neo-vaishnavite poet in India. Bhakti-Ratnavali enumerates the nine forms of Bhakti and the pious cult of a noble company, which forms the basis of a Guru-Shishya relationship. It was believed that Madhavdeva accomplished this task as per the assiduous guidance and instructions of Srimanta Sankardeva, exhibiting his tremendous respect for his Guru. Another gem of Vaishnavite literature, the Naam-Ghosa, flowed from the inimitable thought of Mahapurush Madhavdeva. Considered the magnum opus of Mahapurushiya literature, it is the collection of 1000 'Prarthana'. It again emphasizes the singing of the Almighty's name. This holy creation is still the most widely chanted and sang text in almost every household in Assam, offering devout prayers to the Almighty.