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by Dr Pabitrapran Goswami,

We find altogether 36 ragas attached to the Bargits and the Ankar gits: Ahir, Asowari, Barari, Basanta, Belowar, Bhatiyali, Bhupali, Dhanasri, Gandhar, Gauri, Kalyan, Kamod, Kanara, Kau, Kau-Kalyan-Sindhura, Kedar, Karunyakedar, Lalit, Mahur or Maur, Mahur-Dhanasri, Mallar, Nat, Nat-Mallar, Purbi, Saranga, Sindhura, Sri, Sri-Gandhar, Sri-Gauri, Sripayar, Suhai, Syam, Syamgera, Tur, Tur-Basanta and Tur-Bhatiyali. Out of these some are unitary in character and some others are of mixed or compound nature, involving the fusion of two or more ragas. ... more

by Dr Pabitrapran Goswami

Prabandha Gana:

        Dhrupadaand Kirttana or Kriti are the earliest forms of music extant today in the Hindusthani and the Karnatik systems. The Prabandha Gana evidently represented a stage in the evolution of Indian music prior to that of Dhrupada and Kirttana, a stage till which perhaps the ragas and the talas enjoyed uniformity in almost all parts of India.   sarngadeva, the 13th century scholar cum musician, in his encyclopaedic work Sangita Ratnakara, speaks of three chief types of Prabandha, viz., Suda, Ali and Biprakirna and of two chief sub-divisions of Suda-Prabandha : suddha-suda and Salaga-suda... more

by Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti

Srimanta Sankaradeva is generally remembered as a religious preceptor, who founded the Eka Sarana Nâma Dharma order. But that is not his only identity. His activities were not confined to the realm of religion alone. His activities were multi-dimensional. He contributed so many things to the society, or to be more precise to the humanity. He created many new things, new type of building structure, new social structure, new type of social management, new educational system, new food, new health care, new musical instrument, new music, new dance form, new form of play, new form of textile art, new form of painting and so on. There was innovation in almost all his activities. Very often he did not follow the beaten track. He charted his own path. His new path was always so attractive and suitable that people soon started to follow him in the new path.... more

by Dr Pabitrapran Goswami

            Nothing can be definitely said about the exact form of Assamese music in the pre-Sankaradeva time. However, scholars have often tried to trace back the lineage of classical art and music in Assam right from the days of Bharata’sNatya sastra. Out of the four different forms of drama, viz., Daksinatya, Awanti, Pancal-Madhyama andOdra-Magadhi, referred to  in the Natyasastra, the form called Odra-Magadhi was, according to Bharata, in vogue in the entire north-eastern region covering Anga, Banga, Kalinga, Magadh, Nepal and Pragjyotispur (ancient Assam). During those days dance and music were indispensable parts of a drama.... more

Admin Feb 19

By Dr Pabitrapran Goswami

The name Bargit is popularly ascribed to a special set of devotional songs composed during the late 15th and the early 16th centuries A.D. by Srimanta Sankaradeva and his disciple Sri Sri Madhavadeva, the two chief exponents of Vaishnavism in Assam. According to the Carita Puthis1, Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva referred to their songs as git only. The adjectival prefix Bar2, therefore, must have been a later reverential addition by the devout disciples of the two Vaishnava priests, which might bear upon the musical grandeur3 of the songs too. ... more

Admin Feb 16
by Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti 

Study about the life and works of Srimanta Sankaradeva is of great academic importance in Assam. The father of Assamese nation, Srimanta Sankaradeva is revered by people from all walks of life in Assam. 

The literary and cultural contributions by the saint continue to influence the modern creative works. But strangely very little is known about him outside the state. ... more


Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti

Srimanta Sankaradeva was one of the foremost religious philosophers in the world. His religion Eka Sharana Nâma Dharma laid the foundation for a new religious philosophy. The present author has named this philosophy as Vivartanavâda as it facilitates the elevation of the Jîva from the primary dual state to the non-dual state of identity with Brahma. The pertinent features of this philosophy are : ... more

by Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti

Srimanta Sankaradeva was the first playwright in all modern Indian languages. It started with his play Chihna-yatra, which was enacted in 1468 AD at Bordowa in front of 10,000 audience. His plays are known as Ankiya play. Enactment of the Ankiya plays authored by Srimanta Sankaradeva and his successor-disciple Madhavadeva is called Bhaona. Many plays have been written since then by different Assamese playwrights in the style of the Ankiya plays. But these later compositions are not called Ankiya play. So Ankiya Bhaona means the enactment of only the Ankiya plays authored by Srimanta Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva. ... more

by Dr Madan Sarma

Translation has played a crucial role in the development of Assamese literature. In fact, translation and adaptation of important Sanskrit texts-both religious and secular-have helped the growth  and development of various forms/genres of literature in a number of Indian languages. ... more

by Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti

Srimanta Sankaradeva created a new religion, Eka Sarana Nâma Dharma. But he was not a religious preceptor alone. He had multi-faceted talent in the disciplines of dance, music, drama, verses etc. He also created a new social structure. He may be placed among the all time greats in the world for his role in social reform alone. The time when he was born in was a time of terror and tyranny. ... more

by Dr Ananyaa Barua

Srimanta Sankaradeva's Eka Sarana Nama Dharma was an attempt to revive the pristine aspect of Gita's philosophy of complete self-surrender in Love. God to Srimanta Sankaradeva was above duality, above Purusha and Prakriti. 'There was none but One' was his creed. Mahapurushiya or Eka Sarana Nama Dharma centers round this core principle. In the Shvetashvataropanishad, it is found : ... more

by Dr Arshiya Sethi

The Sattras were born out of the Bhakti movement as it came to Assam. Like the Bhakti movements in many other parts of India, the Bhakti movement in Assam, called the Eka Sarana Nama Dharma, had a creative audio visual aspect for its propagation. Through his creative genius Sankaradeva was able to mould the Cultural life of Assam. The epicenter of the cultural life of Assam was the Sattra, which for five centuries has been the crucible of the Sattriya cultural tradition.  ... more

by Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti

I have always considered Srimanta Sankaradeva as my role model. His multi-faceted contributions fascinate me. Our socio-cuItural lives are permeated by his influence even now. I feel proud that he was born in Assam. But very little was known about him outside Assam till some time ago. It has therefore been my endeavour to let people know about him and his unparalleled works. I have written what I have learnt about his life, works and philosophy. ... more

Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankaradeva and Guru Nanak : a comparative study


Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti


Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankaradeva (1449-1568) and Guru Nanak (1469-1539) were both leading lights of medieval Bhakti movement in Bharatavarsha. They both left permanent marks on the society in the sub-continent in both religious and cultural spheres. There are many similarities in the religious principles preached by these two great social reformers. ... more

by Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti


India is a great country with great cultural wealth. But her enormity also means that dimensions of all her problems also happen to be very big. Her social system has been such that from time to time it has required the service of great reformers to do away with the undesired accumulations. Srimanta Sankaradeva and Swami Vivekananda were two such great reformers who redeemed the then societies of unwarranted growths. They had different approaches to the socio-religious problems, but had many common grounds, which make interesting reading. They are two rare religious leaders who made clear statements on the Chaturbarna system and its negative impact on the Indian society. Their concerns remain valid even now, long after they have passed away from the scene. ... more


by Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti

Madhavadeva's father Govinda Bhuyan was an accountant of Pratap Rai, the king of Banduka, presently in Rangpur district of Bangladesh. Forefather of Govinda had earlier migrated from Kannauj along with other Bhuyans. Govinda married a girl named Anuchita in Banduka. Anuchita died at an early age leaving an infant son, Damodar. When Damodar grew up, Govinda transferred his office to Damodar and set out for upper Assam with some merchandise. He reached Tembuwani and was glad to find the Bhuyans residing there. Srimanta Sankaradeva persuaded him to marry again and arranged a match with his cousin Manorama. Srimanta Sankaradeva also appointed Govinda as 'Bora' or a revenue officer of the Bhuyan kingdom at Rowta.

A terrible attack by the Bhutiyas towards the end of 1488 AD made Govinda and Manorama completely broke. Manorama was then five months pregnant. When the couple tried to escape from the place in a Pâlanquin, they were robbed by the carriers themselves. However luck was in their favour. They were rescued by Harisinga Bora, an Uzir of the Ahom administration, who took them to his house.

Harisinga Bora treated Govinda and Manorama as his own parents and put them up in his residence at Rangajan in Narayanpur. It was there that Madhavadeva was born on 1st Jeth of 1411 Sakâbda (May, 1489). As Madhavadeva grew up, he began to assist Harisinga in tax collection works. Govinda and his family left Narayanpur in 1503 and started to live at Ghagar, under the care of Govinda Majhi. Manorama gave birth to her second child, Urvashi there. About fourteen years passed and Urvashi grew up to a fine lady. However there was no Bhuyan family in the vicinity to seek alliance for her. So Govinda left Ghagar and married off Urvashi to Ramdas alias Gayapani at Bhararidubi.

After the marriage was solemnized, Govinda and Madhavadeva set out for Banduka, leaving Manorama with Urvashi and Ramdas at Bhararidubi. Madhavadeva met his elder brother Damodar for the first time at Banduka. Damodar arranged for his education under Rajendra Adhyapaka, a reputed scholar. Within a short time, Madhavadeva mastered all the scriptures of Sanâtana Hindu religion. Then he learnt accountancy too, since it was their family trade. Madhavadeva proved his genius by completing both academic as well as professional training in a short period of just three years.

Madhavadeva and Govinda were preparing to return to Assam after three and a half years of stay in Banduka, when Govinda passed away suddenly. When Madhavadeva eventually returned to Assam, he was informed on the way that his mother was lying critically ill. Thereupon he mentally dedicated a pair of he-goats to goddess Durga, seeking recovery of his mother. Thereafter the events took him to Srimanta Sankaradeva and he embraced Eka Sarana Nâma Dharma. Once he surrendered himself completely at the lotus-feet of Srimanta Sankaradeva, he shifted permanently to Dhuwahata leaving his mother in the care of Ramdas and Urvashi. He gave up all his worldly possessions and started living like a renouncee. His mother had performed Joron (presentation of jewellery) ceremony with a girl from Negheriting with a view to bring her as daughter-in-law and gifted the customary gold jewellery. Madhavadeva came out of that alliance too. He returned from the thresh-hold of married life.

Madhavadeva became a catalyst for Srimanta Sankaradeva. He even incorporated a fourth dimension in the Eka Sharana Nâma Dharma. He added the necessity of Guru (Preceptor) as the fourth cornerstone required to be followed by the devotees together with Deva (God), Nâma (Name) and Bhakata (Devotee). Accepting a person as one's Guru enabled one to get over one's ego, which was the biggest hurdle in the path of devotion. Guru represented God to a devotee. Madhavadeva knew all these things and hence he advised the incorporation of this element. Thus he began to act as an assistant of his Guru in all spheres.

Once Madhavadeva was arrested alogwith Srimanta Sankaradeva’s son-in-law Hari when the Bhuyans failed to guard the elephants they were entrusted with guarding during an elephant safari by the Ahom king. Hari was executed. Madhavadeva was kept under house arrest for six months in the Ahom capital before being acquitted. This made Srimanta Sankaradeva leave the Ahom kingdom. Madhavadeva took immense care of his Guru throughout the journey to Koch kingdom. He became friend with Narayandas Thakur, a great merchant, who took initiation under Srimanta Sankaradeva at Chunpora, their first place of stay in the Koch kingdom. From then onward Narayandas Thakur took all mundane responsibilities of Madhavadeva.

Madhavadeva went out of his way to serve his Guru, Srimanta Sankaradeva. He volunteered his service to fulfil the needs and requirements of Srimanta Sankaradeva. One evening in the Bhâda month of Assamese calendar, Madhavadeva learnt that Srimanta Sankaradeva did not have any change of cloth to wear in the next morning. The Guru had only two sets of clothes. He had washed one set in that evening as he had to take bath. The weather was cloudy and hence there was no chance of the wet clothes getting dried by the next morning. Madhavadeva set out for the house of Dibakar Maral, a weaver, after taking supper. Dibakar had been given yarn to prepare a third set of clothes for Srimanta Sankaradeva.

There was a heavy downpour that night and the roads were completely inundated. But Madhavadeva did not care for that. He had to walk through chaste-deep water in some places. Not only that, he even avoided the safe land route and instead travelled through the fields and jungles in order to reach early. His body was scratched by thorns; the leeches sucked blood from him. But he was not dissuaded. Eventually he reached Dibakar's house after three hours. Dibakar bathed him and gave him a new change of cloth to wear. Madhavadeva returned to Patbausi after collecting the clothes from Dibakar. He presented those to Srimanta Sankaradeva when the latter just completed his bath and started mopping water from his body.

Srimanta Sankaradeva set out for his second pilgrimage in 1550. Madhavadeva took all care of his Guru during this trip. He washed the feet of Srimanta Sankaradeva when those suffered from day-long walk in the Sun. He would arrange provisions for Guru as well as the fellow pilgrims and assist his Guru in cooking food. Only after that he would cook his own food. Whenever any adverse situation arose, Madhavadeva took the first step to solve it.

Srimanta Sankaradeva had composed two hundred and forty Bargeets in his inimitable style. These songs were sung by the devotees as part of their prayer sessions and also as item of cultural entertainment. Once a devotee named Kamala Gayan took the manuscript of Bargeets to his house for memorizing. A forest fire ravaged Patbausi that very year during the Chat (March-April) month. Kamala's house was engulfed by that devastating fire. With that, the manuscript of Bargeets also was burnt to ashes. Srimanta Sankaradeva was upset by this unfortunate incident. He asked Madhavadeva to compose some songs. Actually Madhavadeva had been composing Bargeets even before that. Even during the second pilgrimage Srimanta Sankaradeva quite often asked his favourite disciple to come up with the latter's own composition, whenever he came across any penegyrist from other sects. Madhavadeva was an expert composer of not only Bargeet, but also of Bhatimâ and other verses.

Madhavadeva tried his best to jot down the verses of Srimanta Sankaradeva, which some or other devotees had memorized already. This way he recovered thirty four Bargeets composed by Srimanta Sankaradeva fully. Next, he tried to recover the scattered parts of the remaining songs. He went on to embellish those parts with his own compositions so as to make complete songs out of them. In total, one hundred ninety one Bargeets are now available between Srimanta Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva.

Srimanta Sankaradeva gave yet another important responsibility to Madhavadeva. It was the task of translating the first canto of the epic, Râmâyana. Srimanta Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva were editing the Assamese translation of Râmâyana, which had been originally rendered into Assamese by Madhava Kandali, a reputed poet of yesteryears. Srimanta Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva carried out this editing in order to save the valuable work of Madhava Kandali from being plagiarized by a contemporary author. But Madhava Kandali had translated only five cantos of Râmâyana. So Srimanta Sankaradeva decided to render the remaining two cantos also. He translated the last canto, while the first canto was translated by Madhavadeva. It is called Adikânda Râmâyana.

In the early part of 1568, Srimanta Sankaradeva came over to Bhela permanently to spend the remaining days of his life there. Before that, he settled the issue of succession in the order as his disciples had started worrying about it. The Eka Sharana Nâma Dharma had already been established as an important religious belief and the number of believers also increased by leaps and bounds. Srimanta Sankaradeva invited all his disciples living in the Brahmaputra valley to Patbausi. He entrusted the responsibility of leading the order upon Madhavadeva formally in that congregation by putting a garland of holy Basil leaves on Madhavadeva's head. Thus Madhavadeva was declared an Achârya as well as the over-all head of the order.

Madhavadeva was looking after the family of his preceptor, Srimanta Sankaradeva at Patbausi with great sincerity after the Guru’s demise. But some jealous persons made some derogatory comments on his involvement with a family full of women. The eldest son of Srimanta Sankaradeva, Ramananda also died in 1569 leaving his widow. The second son, Kamal Lochan had died earlier in 1561 leaving his widow. Madhavadeva was taking care of all these helpless women. But he was hurt by the cruel comments of his adversaries and therefore he shifted to Sundaridiya. He visited the family of his Gurudeva from there now and then. He translated the scripture Bhakti-Ratnâwali by Vishnupuri to Assamese. He also gave a systematic form to the prayer sessions of Eka Sharana Nâma Dharma and divided them into fourteen sessions to be perfomed at different times of the day. These are called Saidhya Prasanga.

The religious order Eka Sharana Nâma Dharma was not devoid of aesthatics. Both Srimanta Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva were great artists. They both composed many songs, dances, and plays. Madhavadeva sought to maintain the tradition of his Gurudeva and therefore constructed a beautiful Kirtanghar at Tantikuchi (Barpeta), where Srimanta Sankaradeva had prepared the famous Vrindavani cloth and woven the life and works of lord Krishna in fabric. This Kirtanghar, established by Madhavadeva in 1583, was beautified by elements like quartz, which glittered like gold. Religious festivals were held in this Kirtanghar. A lot of people started coming from far and wide. This made the adversaries very jealous. They gave allegation that Madhavadeva had decorated the Kirtanghar with gold and silver. They got a royal official, Surananda to check the Kirtanghar thoroughly. Surananda almost tore down the Kirtanghar. He also arrested the devotees on the false allegation of making young females act in the plays and dances. Actually all those actors and danceuses were boys, who played the roles of damsels. Surananda released the devotees only after extracting huge amount of ransom money from them. All these made Madhavadeva very sad. But he was not dissuaded from the mission entrusted upon him by Srimanta Sankaradeva. He gave Gopal, the fomer head weaver of Tantikuchi the responsibility of maintaining the Barpeta Kirtanghar. Gopal later became famous with the name of Mathuradas Burha Ata.

Madhavadeva travelled extensively to spread the message of Srimanta Sankaradeva. Many people got initiated in the Eka Sharana Nâma Dharma. This made a section of the elite class very jealous. They incited the local king, Raghu, who was son of Chilarai, fomer General of the undivided Koch kingdom, against Madhavadeva. These people got Madhavadeva banished to Hajo. But there too Madhavadeva became a centre of attraction. People visited him more than the famous Hayagriva Mâdhava Dewâlaya. This made the royal officials of Kochbehar sit up. Lakshminarayan was then the king of Koch kingdom. He was the son of Naranarayana, the fomer king of the undivided Koch kingdom. His administration invited Madhavadeva to their kingdom. Madhavadeva was glad to comply with that request. He immediately moved to Kochbehar. He built a Thân at Madhupur, a place earlier shown by Srimanta Sankaradeva as a holy spot. Over time it became a centre of pilgrimage for the followers of Eka Sarana Nâma Dharma.

Madhavadeva completed some pending works. Srimanta Sankaradeva had asked him to compile the hymns authored by him (Srimanta Sankaradeva) for prayer. Madhavadeva sent his nephew, Ramcharan Thakur to different places of the Brahmaputra valley to gather those hymns. Different chapters were lying with different devotees in different places. Ramcharan gathered all those by great effort and compiled those to a book. This book is known as Kirtana-ghoshâ. It is the most popular book in the Assamese language.

Madhavadeva also authored a book named Nâmghoshâ. He had been asked by Srimanta Sankaradeva to write that book, where a devotee would be able to find the gist of the Eka Sharana Nâma Dharma and also get help in developing devotion. Thus this book was to be a mixture of philosophy and devotion, which was a very difficult task. But Madhavadeva made that difficult task possible by his great intellect and devotion. Nâmghoshâ continues to attract the devotees even now with its deep philosophy and sweet devotional verses.

Srimanta Sankaradeva authored several plays in his life. Madhavadeva also followed in the footsteps of his Guru and composed several plays. Among all the direct disciples of Srimanta Sankaradeva, only Madhavadeva happened to be a playwright. So Madhavadeva could continue with the Ankiyâ play tradition initiated by his preceptor. But his plays were of a different genre and these were called Jhumurâ. He authored several plays like Arjuna bhanjana, Bhojana byavahâra, Chor dharâ, Pimparâ guchowâ, Bhumi lutiowâ, Râsa jhumurâ and Kotorâ khelowâ. He also authored two Kâvyas named Râjasuya and Janma rahasya on the instruction of Srimanta Sankaradeva.

Both Srimanta Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva were engaged in formulating a new pattern of music and dance, which they distanced carefully from other schools. There was an academic seriousness in them, which goaded them to compete with other classical schools of India. It became very distinct during the second pilgrimage of Srimanta Sankaradeva in 1550-51. Whenever a penegyrist from any other cult sang a hymn during that journey, Srimanta Sankaradeva would ask Madhavadeva to come out with the latter’s own rendering. Such encouragement worked wonder for Madhavadeva, who composed several beautiful songs. So the school of Sankari music is highly indebted to Madhavadeva for the nourishment in its formative years.

Madhavadeva had been a merchant till the time he met Srimanta Sankaradeva. But once Madhavadeva and Srimanta Sankaradeva came together, it was as if sparks flew. The multi-faceted talent of Madhavadeva came out only after he came in contact with Srimanta Sankaradeva, who brought out the best from Madhavadeva. Srimanta Sankaradeva was thus clearly a catalyst for Madhavadeva.

Madhavadeva had a good sense of history. He understood the importance of his preceptor, Srimanta Sankaradeva in the annals of history. So he saved the valuable informations about Srimanta Sankaradeva’s life for posterity by introducing an oral tradition of discussing the anecdotes from the Guru’s life, in the Thâns. This practice is called Charit tolâ and it continues to be practised even today. It was due to this tradition that the hagiographies of Srimanta Sankaradeva and his disciples could be written later on. Such acts of Madhavadeva proves his visionary nature and futuristic character.

The dance items like Châli innovated by Madhavadeva had more vitality in them compared to the dance numbers by Srimanta Sankaradeva. There is a resemblance to the joyous expression of peacock in this dance form developed after the demise of Srimanta Sankaradeva. It was because of this dynamism that the Châli dance was adapted for presentation in the Ahom royal court under the name Rajâghariyâ Châli in later times.

As is natural with any genius having a wide gulf with those around him, Madhavadeva also faced great inconvenience from his contemporaries who did not understand him well. His contemporaries were also jealous of his creativity and they ridiculed him for his creative activities. In fact it had been happening since Srimanta Sankaradeva’s time itself. The Guru had then consoled Madhavadeva and encouraged him to carry on with the creative activities. The Guru went to the extent of declaring some time before his death that henceforth it would be Madhavadeva who would compose the institutional literature for the order. Thus Madhavadeva was entrusted with the task formally in order to keep the baiters at bay. Unfortunately it did not work and the order suffered a vertical split soon after the passing away of Srimanta Sankaradeva. Madhavadeva tried his best to deliver the good. He sent Bangshi Gopal, Jadumani and Badula Padma to upper Assam to spread the order.

Madhavadeva stood by his preceptor in the social restructuring activities ever since the Dhuwahata days. The Dhuwahata premises of the saint was nothing but a Thân. It was Madhavadeva who looked after the management of the Thân. He also maintained discipline among the devotees even during the life-time of the saint, as we can surmise from the available information in the hagiographies. He pointed out contradictions even in his preceptor’s wife, Kalindi, who had been dishonouring her husband and worshipping a lesser deity. All these went into strengthening the Thân institution. Madhavadeva understood very well that an institution prospered only if the members were loyal to its cause and philosophy. So he took great care to uproot any contradiction within the system.

The dedication of Madhavadeva to the egalitarian outlook preached by Srimanta Sankaradeva could be seen in his refusal to accommodate the whims of the rich. Once he had to visit a person named Sivananda Laskar, a very proud royal official. Madhavadeva called on Sivananda since it was a directive of his preceptor, but he did not even touch water at Sivananda’s house, let alone partake of any food there. Sivananda tried to test Madhavadeva whether the latter succumbed to the attraction of money. Sivananda presented a lot of money, cloth, utensils etc to Madhavadeva immediately on his arrival. Madhavadeva spent the night there uneasily without even washing his feet as he did not want to use even water of the household of an arrogant person. He stayed there only to honour the word of his preceptor. He preferred the hospitality of poor devotees like Bol Buja, Krishna Teli etc and tribal devotees like Zemal Kachari.

The conspiracies against the Eka Sharana Nâma Dharma had not ended. A royal official, Birupaksha Kaji took the leadership of the adversaries. Birupaksha used to admire Madhavadeva. But unfortunately his views changed. His sons embraced Eka Sharana Nâma Dharma and stopped having meals with him. This infuriated Birupaksha. He arranged a debate of eminent scholars to defeat Madhavadeva and prove Eka Sharana Nâma Dharma as wrong. But Madhavadeva defeated all those scholars brought by Birupaksha Kaji. It turned out to be a non-event and Madhavadeva vanquished his opponents from Bengal. Undaunted, Birupaksha even engaged young damsels to distract the devotees. But he failed in that attempt too.

King Lakshminarayan was disgusted by those misendeavours of Birupaksha. The king reproached Birupaksha severely for bringing false allegations against such earnest devotees. The Koch king declared Madhavadeva as the head of all religious orders in his country. He also beseeched Madhavadeva to initiate him. But Madhavadeva refused to do so since his Guru Srimanta Sankaradeva had also refused to initiate the previous king.

Soon it became clear that Madhavadeva would not live much longer. The devotees asked him about his successor. Madhavadeva told them that he had not found any person fit to take the enormous responsibility of leading the order. He left the responsibilty of maintaining the order upon the devotees themselves. He also advised them to elect someone to formally represent them from time to time. Thus he bequeathed a firm democratic tradition in the order. Eventually he left for heavenly abode on 27th Bhâda of 1518 Sakâbda (September, 1596).

Vaishnava Literary Tradition of Assam

by Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti

             Assam has a rich tradition of Vaishnavite literature. The majority of the people in Assam are believers of Vaishnavite faith. So the literary activities in Assam have been dominated by the Vaishnavite literature. The history of such literature goes back to the sixth century, when Puroshottama Gajapati authored a book named Deepikâ Sanda. An emperor of the Jitari dynasty, Puroshottama Gajapati can be called the pioneer of Vaishnavite literature in Assam. Ratnapura was the capital of his empire Kamarupa, the ancient name of Assam. He wrote this book by taking ingredients from different Sanskrit treatises like Hangsakâki, Jâmal Samhitâetc. He criticised the decadent Tantrik rituals in his book. But since he was not a theoretician, there was not much theoretical analysis in the book. He predicted that there would be dominance of unrighteousness in Bhâratavarsha. ... more

December 16th 2012: It was about the time the sun had positioned low in the western sky to call it a day. My eyes swayed between my wrist watch and the western sky. I was accompanied by my other half, Sailaja, in my small car that kept on speeding on the familiar kind of gravel laid rural road. I was speeding because I had to reach my destination before it grew dark. She kept a control over my speed driving especially on such a road with frequent warnings to slow down. I was late owing to some other preoccupation. My heartbeat grew louder and faster. Oh God if there had been something, we never knew, that could stop the flow of time. At last, the man in the paddy field who was reaping his crop pointed to a distant structure and said “Look at that compound having a house. That is what you are looking for.” Yes my esteemed readers it was my today’s destination, a long standing structure – “GOPAL ATA’S THAN” at Old Bhawanipur, somewhat three kilometers westward from the main Chowk of Bhawanipur at NH 37 of Barpeta District. What feelings did stirred our emotions at that moment when we arrived at the main gate of the compound; we just cannot express it in words. It’s a beautifully placed area amid paddy fields with a soothing, divine serenity that can make your mind and soul free of all anxieties. ... more

Nataraj Das Dec 21 '12 · Comments: 7

Srimanta Sankaradeva is regarded as the “Jagatguru”(Lord of the Universe) and “Mahapurush”(the great man or super human being) by the Assamese people. In fact he was the greatest Vaishnavite saint of Assam. Sankaradeva was responsible for ushering into Assam a wave of the new Vaishnavite(Bhakti) movement which flooded practically the whole of India.... more



             মহাপুৰুষ শ্ৰীমন্ত শঙ্কৰদেৱে প্ৰৱৰ্ত্তন কৰা নৱ-বৈষ্ণৱ ধৰ্মৰ ধৰ্মীয় অনুষ্ঠান দুটিৰ এটি হৈছে নামঘৰ আৰু আনটি হৈছে সত্ৰ। আমাৰ আলোচ্য বিষয় হৈছে নামঘৰ। শঙ্কৰদেৱৰ ধৰ্ম প্ৰচাৰৰ কেন্দ্ৰস্হল হৈছে এই নামঘৰ। এই নামঘৰক কেন্দ্ৰ কৰিয়েই গুৰুজনাৰ প্ৰৱৰ্ত্তিত ‘একশৰণ হৰি নামধৰ্ম’ বা ‘ভাগৱতী ধৰ্ম’ ই হিন্দু সমাজত প্ৰচাৰ আৰু প্ৰসাৰতা লাভ কৰি বৰ্ত্তি থাকিবলৈ সক্ষম হৈছে। গুৰজনাই প্ৰথমে নগাঁৱৰ বৰদোৱা(বটদ্ৰৱা) ত নামঘৰ প্ৰতিষ্ঠা কৰিছিল। ক্ৰমে অসমৰ সৰ্বত্ৰতে তেখেতৰ আদৰ্শৰে নামঘৰ গঢ় লৈ উঠে। নামঘৰত সাধাৰণতে চাৰিটা  প্ৰধান অংশ বা ঘৰ থাকে। এইকেইটা হৈছে – নামঘৰ বা কীৰ্ত্তন ঘৰ,মণিকূট,ছোঁ ঘৰ আৰু বাটচ’ৰা। ... more

Laksheswar Hazarika Jul 29 '12 · Rate: 5 · Comments: 1

One GOBINDA ATOI, a disciple of Mahapurusha SriSri Madhabdeva at Barpeta Sattra, once at midnight, was bitten by a deadly poisonous Cobra. For Gobinda Atoi a Bez (a knowledgeable person who treats patients with locally available herbal medicines in traditional way) was uncalled for and he resorted to NAAM KIRTAN, the Holy holistic way to recover himself from the effects of snakebite. Miraculously Gobinda Atoi got a speedy recovery from this dangerous state through prayer and recital of Holy Songs (NAAM KIRTAN) of God. Later when Gobinda Atoi once visited HEREMAD, people there reported to the king about the incident of snakebite and how Gobinda Atoi had recovered himself from the effect of snake poison. The King Heremeswar then played a trick. ... more

Nataraj Das Jul 14 '12 · Comments: 2
ধ্ৰুং ।। ৰে সোই গোপাল পিয়াৰু মেৰি প্ৰাণ আধাৰু ।
মধুপুৰী ৰহে দহে জীউ হামাৰু ।।

পদ ।। গোকুলক মাণিক কানু নৱ নিধি ।
হাতে হৰল নিকৰুণ বঙ্ক বিধি ।।
চান্দ বিনে ৰয়নী সজনি কিছো নোহে ।
হৰি বিনে বিৰিন্দা বিপিন নাহি শোহে ।।

Translation of a Bargeet(Kharachandra Geet)

RAAG-Dhanashri,  Taal-Porital

DHRUNG-Re Hui Gupal Piyaru Meri Prano Adharu ।

Modhupuri Rohe Dohe Jiu Hamaru ।।

PODE-Gukuloko Maniko Kanu Nowa Nidhi ।

Hate Horolo Nikoruno Bangkobidhi ।।

Saando Bine Royoni Hojoni Kisu Nuhe ।

Hori Bine Birinda Bipino Nahi Huhe ।।

DHRUNG-Kodombo Toru Tole Nobino Nirodo
Rusiro Hundoro Syamo ।
Bhuwono Muhono Muruti Monuhoro
Kohitu Nahi Upamo ।।

PODO-Bhruwo Monuhoro Noyono Sansaro
Bowono Sando Ujuro ।
Hakhite Omiya Borikhe Pekhi Hokhi
Jiwono Narohe Muro ।।

Kotona Jotone Bidhi Niromilo
Hundoro Kanuko Rupo ।
Pekhite Labonyo Laje Bhoie Punu
Kuti Monomotho Supo ।।

Rotono Bhukhono Joise Niromilo
Gogone Tara Huhaiwo ।
Kohoiwo Madhav Hamari Rohu mono
Nanda Nandano Paiwo ।।
Translated by Prof William L. Smith

[Reproduced from http://atributetosankaradeva.org with thanks] 

Hail Krishna, Vishnu Achyuta, the Supreme Lord.

Mounted on the shoulders of Garuda, he struck down his


In his joyful lila the son of Devaki

carried off the parijata flower for the sake of his beloved.

Victory to Krishna.... more

Admin Feb 23 '12

Translated by Dr. Satyendranath Sarma

[Reproduced from http://atributetosankaradeva.org with thanks]

A complete translation of the above named play, minus its verse portions which are meant to be sung in appropriate rāgas, is given below. The verse portions are metrical renderings of the prose dialogue and Sutradhāra’s commentaries.... more

Admin Feb 23 '12
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