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. This is quite unfortunate, because Srimanta Sankaradeva had worked a lot in the Northern India, and was in fact responsible for bringing about a Bhakti movement in that region during the medieval period. He was the forerunner of the later day reformers like Tulasidas, Chaitanyadeva, Bijoykrishna Goswami, Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda etc. But his pivotal contributions have been almost forgotten for lack of research. India have given birth to many saints over the milleniums. Those great souls worked throughout their lives for the spiritual upliftment of the masses with the help of their respective religious philosophies. Srimanta Sankaradeva should be reckoned as an unusual genius even among all these great souls.
The ideology of Eka Sarana preached by him is not found in any other religious leader of India. It was a unique contribution of Srimanta Sankaradeva to the spiritual lore of this great nation. It may be mentioned that Adi-Sankaracharya described the glory of Devi in his ‘Saundarya lahari’. But no such deity could be accepted if only Brahma was true and the creations false as he had preached. Maddhacharya, Ramananda, and Ramanuja also worshipped Lakshmi. Vallabhacharya, Nimbarka, and Chaitanya worshipped Radha. The Alwars from Deccan sang the glory of Lakshmi as well as other female forms alongwith lord Narayana. So, pure Vaishnavite ideology, devoid of any element of female deity worship was preached by Srimanta Sankaradeva only.1
All the founders of religious cults invariably suffer from self-contradictions. A conflict is observed between their philosophies and their religious practices. Even Swami Vivekananda suffered from contradiction when he worshipped Kali in the Shaktiite manner, because he advocated monism. His contradiction is similar to that of Adi-Sankaracharya. But no such contradiction is seen in Srimanta Sankaradeva. His followers could follow a well laid out path, because he had equated the formless Brahman, the attributeful Iswara, and the creatures.2 The equality of the attributeless supreme being and the attributeful God was proved even by the Western philosopher Spinoza (1632-1677 AD). Spinoza showed that there was no conflict between monism and devotion. What had been termed by Srimanta Sankaradeva as devotion, was termed by Spinoza as an intellectual love for God. The latter termed it as a duty for man.3 Such similarities between Srimanta Sankaradeva and Spinoza prove that the philosophy of Srimanta Sankaradeva was of a very high level. No other religious leader in India can boast of such support from the philosophical community. Only Srimanta Sankaradeva could establish a consistent philosphy among all the religious founders in India.4
Srimanta Sankaradeva’s fame had spread well in the contemporary Indian society when he was alive. We find evidence of that in a couplet authored by Kabir (1399-1518 AD). Kabir lamented in this couplet that he could not have an audience with Srimanta Sankaradeva. Hamu Kabira haramakhuri Soudike Sankara gela bichuri Hamara jivana dina hina bheli Hamara betika jivana samphali Tribhuvanapati darashana bheli Kabir termed the life of his daughter as successful because she could meet Srimanta Sankaradeva. He also described Srimanta Sankaradeva as Tribhuvanapati or God himself.5
It may be mentioned that both Kabir and Guru Nanaka were contemporaries of Srimanta Sankaradeva. Among them, Guru Nanaka was worshipper of formless supreme entity. His preachings were recorded in the holy book ‘Guru Granthsahib’. These are saturated with writings of other religious preachers also. So he did not have much original contribution different from the prevalent ideology of Hinduism. On the other hand, Kabir basically gave stress on human unity, not on any spiritual philosophy. So it was only Srimanta Sankaradeva, who devised his own philosophy. He therefore shines among all the contemporary religious leaders belonging to his period, with his original thinking. The above couplet by Kabir proves this special status of Srimanta Sankaradeva in medieval Bharatavarsha. It may also be noted that Srimanta Sankaradeva was accorded a high social status during his life-time itself, while Kabir received only posthumous recognition. But the picture was reversed after five centuries. While the name of Kabir is now known all over the globe, the name of Srimanta Sankaradeva is known only in Assam.
Srimanta Sankaradeva was engaged in proselytizing activities during his twelve year long first pilgrimage spanning from 1481 AD to 1493 AD. He preached his Eka Sarana Nama Dharma mainly in the Northern and Eastern India. He visited Vrindavana during this pilgrimage. Two pious and scholarly brothers, Rupa and Sanatana Goswami became his disciples there. A devotee named Vrindavanadasa and an ascetic named Radha also embraced Eka Sarana Nama Dharma.6 Among these disciples of Srimanta Sankaradeva, Rupa Goswami and Vrindavanadasa were very famous in the world of Vaishnavism in India. It is unfortunate that some authors have refused to accept Rupa, Sanatana, and Vrindavanadasa as disciples of Srimanta Sankaradeva without making any deep study.7 The most clinching evidence that Rupa Goswami was a disciple of Srimanta Sankaradeva happens to be the play ‘Bidagdha Madhava Nataka’ authored by the former. Rupa wrote there in the Nandi verse, Adyahang swapnantare samadistoasmi Bhaktavatarena Bhagavata Sri Sankaradevena That means, “I was today ordained by Bhagavana Sri Sankaradeva in a dream (to write this play).” Rupa Goswami thereby implied that Srimanta Sankaradeva was his preceptor, since the former termed the latter as Bhagavana in the verse. It may be mentioned that the disciples in the Bhakti discipline always consider their preceptor as the form of God. Moreover it was said in this verse that Rupa had been ordained by Srimanta Sankaradeva. Only a preceptor could issue such an instruction. Some writers interprete the word ‘Sri Sankaradeva’ in the verse as lord Shiva. But the great Vaishnavite, Rupa Goswami never worshipped lord Shiva. He came into contact of Chaitanyadeva in the intermittent period and was also influenced by the latter. But even Chaitanyadeva did not worship lord Shiva. So the word ‘Sri Sankaradeva’ means none else than Srimanta Sankaradeva. The adjective ‘Bhaktavatara’ also implies a human being, not a deity. Therefore, Rupa Goswami talked about Srimanta Sankaradeva only in this verse. However, there were some perceptible changes as well as contradictions in Rupa Goswami after he came into the contact of Chaitanyadeva. So one can see the presence of Madhura Rasa in the above mentioned play.
A Bengali author, Dr Nirmal Narayana Gupta has opined that Srimanta Sankaradeva and his disciples emphasized on the Madhura Rasa; he offers this play as an evidence of that hypothesis.8 But we cannot accept Rupa Goswami as an ideologue of Eka Sarana Nama Dharma. He suffered from some contradictions due to the influence of Chaitanyadeva in the intermittent period. Rupa lived a little differently from other disciples of Srimanta Sankaradeva. That was why the latter wanted to go to Vrindavana during the latter’s second pilgrimage. Srimanta Sankaradeva wanted to see as to how Rupa was preaching the Eka Sarana ideology. Madhavadeva refused to go there on that very ground, because he was not interested in any departure from the original model laid out by Srimanta Sankaradeva.9 Rupa and Sanatana sent their nephew, Jiva Goswami to near Srimanta Sankaradeva in order to solicit the latter’s guidance when they came to know that the latter was not visiting Vrindavana.10
Srimanta Sankaradeva spent a lot of time in Puri during both his pilgrimages. He used to give regular discourses there on devotion to God, before the Pandas and other people. The chief Pandas of the Jagannatha temple were impressed by his profound scholarship as well as his spiritual aura and they embraced Eka Sarana Nama Dharma.11 Thus the society of Orissa came under direct influence of Srimanta Sankaradeva. One of his innumerable admirers was Jagannath Das (1480-1540 AD). This great social reformer of Orissa was influenced by Srimanta Sankaradeva through the latter’s discourses. He went on to introduce the institution of Bhagavata Tungi in Orissa in the pattern of Kirtanghar or Namghar.12 So we find many similarities in the Oriya society with the Assamese society.
The people of Orissa accorded the status of Mahapurusha to Srimanta Sankaradeva. An Oriya author, Govinda Nayak authored a hagiography of Srimanta Sankaradeva named ‘Sankara Gosain Charit’ in the medieval period itself. Factual informations from this hagiography written in Brajawali language and Oriya script have helped us in enriching the already available accounts of Srimanta Sankaradeva’s life. We have learnt from it that king Pratapa Rudradeva of Orissa falicitated the saint.13
We can take resort to the narratives in the hagiographies in order to find out how the name and fame of Srimanta Sankaradeva had spread far and wide in the Northern India. One such event was the arrival of Jagadish Mishra, a Brahmin scholar from Tirhut in Bihar to read the scripture Bhagavata before Srimanta Sankaradeva. Mishra had studied near Brahmananda, the renowned scholar of Varanasi and gone to Puri to read the scripture Bhagavata before lord Jagannatha. Then he was ordained by the lord in a dream to read the scripture before the living Jagannatha, Srimanta Sankaradeva. So Mishra came to Tembuwani (Bardowa), where he read the scripture before Srimanta Sankaradeva. The latter corrected Mishra whenever any error was noticed in Mishra’s interpretation of the verses. Srimanta Sankaradeva also arranged cremation and other rituals when Mishra passed away one year later, after completing the reading.14 The arrival of Jagadish Mishra at Bardowa and the reading of the scripture Bhagavata before Srimanta Sankaradeva has a great significance. We can grasp the respect Srimanta Sankaradeva commanded from people in the then Northern Indian society even from this single incident itself. Srimanta Sankaradeva had a profound image there, which had created a deep image on the sub-conscious mind of Jagadish Mishra. Mishra saw the dream in Puri because of this element in his sub-conscious mind. This also means that many persons like Jagadish Mishra considered Srimanta Sankaradeva as an incarnation of God. Thus a psychological analysis of the incident concerning Jagadish Mishra proves adequately that Srimanta Sankaradeva was the most highly respected person in the entire Northern India in those days.
The incident of Jagadish Mishra was not a stray one. Other scholars also looked to Srimanta Sankaradeva with great respect. Even Brahmananda, the renowned scholar of Varanasi and teacher of Jagadish Mishra, respected Srimanta Sankaradeva. The former had declared the latter as an incarnation of God. He had sent the scripture Ratnawali authored by his preceptor, Vishnupuri and conveyed his obeisance to Srimanta Sankaradeva through Kanthabhushana.15 It may be mentioned that Brahmananda was also a great devotee. His Bhajans became greatly popular just like those by Mirabai.16 It is not a small matter to be regarded by such a scholar. This only proves the all-India image of Srimanta Sankaradeva.
We do not have to go very far to find out why the all-India image of Srimanta Sankaradeva was not sustained for long. The advent of Chaitanyadeva was that reason. We have showed above how the principle of Eka Sarana was diluted in the case of Rupa Goswami, due to the influence of Chaitanyadeva. A similar incident is seen in the case of Jagannath Das of Orissa also. Jagannath Das started reciting Bhagavata, sitting under a Banyan tree known as Kalpa Bata Briksha, in the precinct of the Jagannath temple, after Srimanta Sankaradeva had returned home from first pilgrimage. Then Chaitanyadeva took him to his care. So we find some unwarranted elements in the activities of Jagannath Das in the later period. For instance, the person who used to read Bhagavata in the Bhagavata Tungi had to be necessarily a Brahmin. This person was called ‘Puran Panda’. Thus Jagannath Das departed from the casteless Bhakti principle preached by Srimanta Sankaradeva even though slightly. However he remained a follower of Srimanta Sankaradeva philosophically. He believed in both the formless supreme being and the attributeful God simultaneously.17
It was Chaitanyadeva and his followers, who prevailed over the socio-cultural life of Bengal in the immediate aftermath of Srimanta Sankaradeva’s first pilgrimage. The impact of Chaitanyadeva continued even after the passing away of Srimanta Sankaradeva. But this Vaishnavite movement became weak when Bengal went under the control of the Muslim rulers. It was Bhagyachandra, the erstwhile ruler of Manipur, who restored the Vaishnavite movement in Bengal. Bhagyachandra was also known as Maharaj Jai Singh (1759-1798). He was living the life of a devotee there after abdicating his throne to his son. The Vaishnavite inclination of Bhagyachandra was derived from the Sankari tradition of Assam. He had given his daughter Kuranganayani in marriage to the Ahom king, Rajeswar Singha in 1768 AD. Rajeswar Singha had earlier helped Bhagyachandra in defeating the Burmese invaders in the January month of that year. Thereafter Bhagyachandra took Gayan-Bayan from Assam to Manipur and gave birth to a new school of dance there. It was he, who created Ras dance both in Manipur and Bengal. So the dance traditions of both these two states are eventually indebted to Srimanta Sankaradeva.18
It is not possible to describe in words how the social life of Bengal is indebted to Srimanta Sankaradeva. Not only the revival of Vaishnavite traditions, but also the cultural activities in that region are indebted to the saint. The Yatra tradition of plays were started in Bengal after the style of Ankiya plays of Srimanta Sankaradeva, who was the first playwright in all modern Indian languages. These Yatra plays kept the cultural sphere vibrant in entire Bengal from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century. The impact of the Ankiya play, Kaliya daman is specially noteworthy in this context. The above mentioned period in fact came to be known as Kaliya daman Yatra era in Bengal. The popularity of this play was so high that all plays with the subject matter of lord Krishna’s life and activities came to be known as Kaliya daman yatra. We have said earlier that many stage managers included this play in their commercial circuit till the nineteenth century.19
Similarly the playwrights like Govinda and Umapati of Mithila were also influenced by the distinctive style of Srimanta Sankaradeva. Thus the cultural impact of Srimanta Sankaradeva is seen in the entire Northern and Eastern India. All the cultural activists from Assam, who have enacted Ankiya plays in the Northern India, have realized very nicely how the message and content of those plays are easily grasped by the non-Assamese audience in that region without any help of interpreter. This capacity to comprehend the Brajawali form of writings in the Ankiya plays must have been even greater five centuries ago, when the difference between the languages of Assam and the Northern India was much less than now. So we can guess that Srimanta Sankaradeva had composed these plays in the Brajawali form, keeping in mind the audience of the entire Northern and Eastern India.
The activities of the saint was not confined to the geographical boundary of the Brahmaputra valley. The first playwright in all the modern Indian languages, Srimanta Sankaradeva was a pioneer in the resurgence movement of the Indian regional languages. He did not have the slightest hesitation to depart from the rules laid down by the Sanskrit scriptures for plays. The Ankiya plays do not necessarily abide by the principles of the Sanskrit plays. Many such scenes are depicted in the Ankiya plays, which are forbidden in the Sanskrit plays. Scenes of eating, fighting, etc are some such scenes. Yet another pioneering character of the Ankiya plays has been pointed out by the noted Bengali scholar, Dr Sisir Kr Das. According to him, the incorporation of ‘boy actors’ in the Ankiya play ‘Patni prasada’ is an epoch making incident in the realm of Indian plays. Till then, only adult characters had been included in the Indian plays. Rabindra Nath Tagore followed the saint in his play Sharadotsava in 1908 AD and succeeded in revolutionizing the world of Indian drama.20 This was certainly an impact of Srimanta Sankaradeva. Tagore was influenced by the saint in respect of dance also. That impact was conveyed through the Manipuri dance. We have already said that the Manipuri dance form had evolved after the style and tradition of the Sankari and Satriya dance form.21
Just like dance, Srimanta Sankaradeva created a new classical school of music also, in association with his foremost disciple, Madhavadeva. We term this school, which came into being with the songs Bargeet composed by them, as Sankari music. This Sankari school of music was developed even before the other two classical schools of music in India, the Hindustani school and the Carnatic school, were evolved. Srimanta Sankaradeva was a pioneer not only in Assam, but in entire India. The proof of this is that many pioneering musicians of the Hindustani school, Man Singh Tomar, Sultan Hussein Sorki, Tansen etc were either contemporaries of Srimanta Sankaradeva or they belonged to a later period than Srimanta Sankaradeva’s.22 So the history of Sankari music is either older than or at least contemporary with the Hindustani school. This one thing itself is sufficient to place Srimanta Sankaradeva in a lofty pedastal in the cultural history of India. But there are innumerable such achievements to his credit.
A new school of painting was also developed by Srimanta Sankaradeva, just like his dance and music. He initiated this new form of painting with his epoch-making drama Chihna-Yatra, which was enacted in 1468 AD at Tembuwani. Incidentally this happened to be the first play in any modern Indian language. Chihna-Yatra launched the regional drama movement in Bharatavarsha or medieval India. Srimanta Sankaradeva depicted seven Vaikuntha in scrolls, which were used as backdrops there. It was the first recorded instance of Srimanta Sankaradeva’s painting work and it laid the foundation of the Sankari art form. This original school of painting found expressions in the illustrations of his manuscripts, in the costumes and masks worn by the actors in his plays, and in the illustrations of the altar Guru-asana placed in the unique prayer-house, Kirtanghar or Namghar. The art on the body of the altar was completely futuristic and precursor of modern artists like Jacob Epstein (1880-1959 AD). We call this school of painting developed by Srimanta Sankaradeva as the Sankari school of painting.
The saint also encouraged decoration of the Kirtanghar walls with pictorial depiction of stories from Bhagavata. The best example of this painting form is the illustrated manuscript Chitra Bhagavata, which was prepared in 1539 AD and which is now preserved at the Balisatra in Nagaon district. The figures in this manuscript have been drawn in an angular pattern and the lines are of flowing type. Another important example of the Sankari art form is the Vrindavani cloth prepared by the saint at the behest of the Koch king Nara Narayana. All these created a sensation in the medieval Bharatavarsha. The art forms of Jain, and Lodhi paintings were also influenced by the Sankari art form. The Sankari art has its own style, which is different from other art forms in the country. It is marked by the presence of distinctive hair style, costumes, landscapes, local utensils, unique gestures, local flora and fauna, abstractness of depiction, presence of the unique symbol of winged lion, drawing of thatch-bamboo based indigenous architectural pattern etc. Chronological order of the pictures and presence of full details in the Sankari art underscores the importance given to the storyline than any other objective. The art is subservient to the story in the Sankari art form. Colour plays an important role in these art. The contrast is also very prominent here. The designs of hills and mountains are abstract; these are not present as background in the picture; the entire art used to be two-dimensional. Rain is shown by bold dotted lines. River is framed symbolically in squares with lotus, aqua leaves, fishes and geese therein. The eyes of the human characters are a little bit of the portruding type resembling the eyes of fish. The eye-brows are carefully drawn concave downwards. The use of blue, deep red and yellow colours are pre-dominant in this art-form.23
The impact of Sankari art form in the national sphere can be seen from the influence of the headgear worn by the character Sutradhar, or compere in the Ankiya plays of Srimanta Sankaradeva. An Assamese indologist, Dr Maheswar Neog wrongly termed it as Moglai Paguri and opined that it was derived from Northern Indian source.24 Actually it was an innovation by Srimanta Sankaradeva, based on ingredients from ancient sculptures and the costume of the Jaintia tribe. So it is erroneous to call it Moglai Paguri. However that error has opened our eyes to another possibility. This makes us aware of the possibility that the later day Mughal emperors adopted the style of headgear worn by the Sutradhar in the Ankiya plays of Srimanta Sankaradeva. So we can see a distinct change in the style of headgears worn by the Mughal kings from the period of Babur and Humayun to the later period. We can attribute this change to the influence of the Sankari art form. A notable fact in this context is that a direct and close relationship was established between the Mughal kingdom and the Koch kingdom during the period of king Akbar. The alliance between him and Koch king Nara Narayana was recorded in Akbarnama.25
Another proof of the Sankari art getting recognition in the medieval Bharatavarsha was the extensive popularity of the book Srihastamuktawali by Subhankar, who described the mudras of Sankari dance form. Subhankar wrote there that the society of distinguished people in Mithila accorded great respect to him.26 The respect accorded to Subhankar was nothing but a tribute to the genius, Srimanta Sankaradeva. Srimanta Sankaradeva identified with the spiritual soul of Bharatavarsha. So he praised Bharatavarsha in several places of his innumerable writings and termed it as a great priviledge to get born in this sacred land. Of course, the Bharatavarsha mentioned by him was the Bharatavarsha that borne the flag of Upanishadic wisdom, not the political Bharatavarsha or India. That was why he translated many Sanskrit scriptures like Bhagavata, a part of Ramayana etc to Assamese so that people of Assam could atune themselves with the spiritual-cultural miliu of Bharatavarsha. Ram Saraswati translated the Mahabharata to Assamese inspired by Srimanta Sankaradeva only. Thus the saint enlightened the people of Assam about the spiritual soul of Bharatavarsha. No other writer in any Indian language has done so much like him single-handedly. The contribution of Srimanta Sankaradeva in achieving spiritual unity in Bharatavarsha is really unique. Actually Srimanta Sankaradeva is the pride of entire humanity, not merely of the people of Assam or for that matter India.
Radhanath Phukan, an oriental scholar, termed him as the best philosopher of the world, next only to Buddha.27 Srimanta Sankaradeva came down to the level of the commoners, renouncing royal power and status, just like Buddha. The message of this great saint should go to every nook and corner of the world.
References and notes
1. Absence of Sakti worship : a unique feature of Eka-Sarana Harinama Dharma of Srimanta Sankaradeva, Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, in Mahapurusa Jyoti, Research Journal of Srimanta Sankaradeva Sangha, edited by Dr. Suresh Chandra Bora, Volume V, Nagaon 2003 AD, pp 121-128.
2.Srimanta Sankaradevar darshan, Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, in Ajir Batori, edited by D.N.Chakravarty, Guwahati, March 12, 1999 AD, reprinted in Sankaradevar Ekasarana Tattva, Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, 1st edition, Moran, 2003 AD, pp. 22-26.
3. Sankaradeva in the light of Spinoza, Dr Sibanath Sarma, in Pracya Prajna, Vol. III, edited by Dr Amalendu Chakravarty, Guwahati, 2002 AD, pp. 118-125.
4. The present author has named it Vivartanavada. The reason behind this is that a conscious effort is seen in the works of Srimanta Sankaradeva to elevate the creatures from the primary level to the highest state of non-dual feeling. He established his spiritual philosophy by the equality of Jiva, Iswara, and Paramatma.
5. The present author received this couplet from Mahendranath Mahanta, a resident of Chiring-chapori in Dibrugarh. Mahanta is a descendant of Burha Kha. Burha Kha had married a paternal aunt of Srimanta Sankaradeva.
6. SriGuru Charit, Ramananda Dwija, edited by Maheswar Neog, 1st edition, Nalbari, Guwahati, 1957 AD, pp. 240-246; Katha Gurucharit, Chakrapani Vairagi, composed in about 1758 AD and collected by Dr Banikanta Kakoti, edited by Upendra Chandra Lekharu, 15th edition, Guwahati, 1987 AD, pp. 30-31.
7. Sankaradeva and his times, Dr Maheswar Neog, 3rd edition, Guwahati, 1998 AD, pp. 105-106. Dr Neog failed to substantiate his statement.
8. The appreciation of Sringara rasa in Sankaradeva’s literature, Dr Nirmal Narayan Gupta, in Pracya Prajna, edited by Dr Amalendu Chakravarty, Guwahati, Vol III, 2002 AD, pp. 167-181.
9. Chakrapani Vairagi, 1987 AD, pp. 154a-b.
10. Ibid, p. 159.
11. Ibid, p. 32, 157.
12. Bhagavata Tungi aru Namghar, Jiban Krishna Patra, in Chintamani, edited by Prabhat Chandra Das, Jorhat, 1996 AD.
13. Sankara Gosai Charit, Govinda Nayak, edited by Pandit Bani Bhushan Shastri, 1st edition, Guwahati, 2005 AD, p. 21. We can say it from our decade-long research on the hagiographies that no single hagiography is absolutely correct. There are wide divergences among them. We have to find out the truth by comparative study of all these hagiographies. The present author is engaged in such research. Govinda Nayak also made some confusion regarding the time of some events.
14. Sri Sri Sankaradeva, Bhushana Dwija, edited by Durgadhar Barkataki, 2nd edition, Jorhat, 1986 AD, pp. 39-47; Chakrapani Vairagi, 1987 AD, pp. 35-36.
15. Chakrapani Vairagi, 1987 AD, pp. 174-175.
16. The singer Dr Anup Ghoshal recorded two Bhajans composed by Brahmananda in the former’s audio cassette ‘Hari naam sumir’. It was produced by the HMV Company. (The Gramophone Company of India, Calcutta, 1987 AD.)
17. Jagannatha Dasa of Orissa and Sankaradeva of Assam, Jiban Krishna Patra, in Pracya Prajna, edited by Dr Amalendu Chakravarty, Guwahati, Vol I, 1997 AD, pp. 78-89.
18. Sarvagunakara Srimanta Sankaradeva, Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, Nagaon, 1st edition, 2000 AD, pp. 34-35, 39; Asomor Natya Nritya Kala, Suresh Chandra Goswami, 1st edition, Guwahati, 1978 AD, pp. 7, 141-142; Vaisnavism in Manipur : how it came and established itself, H. Ranbir Singh, in Ishani, Vol 1, No 3, Imphal, January 1996 AD, p.8; Asom deshar buranji, Dr Lakshmi Devi, 6th edition, 1990 AD, pp. 296-297.
19. Asomiya Natya Sahityar Jilingani, Dr Harichandra Bhattacharya, 3rd edition, Guwahati, 1988 AD, p. 92; Bangla Sahityer Sampurna Itibritto, Dr Asitkumar Bandopadhyaya, reprint, Kolkata, 2002-2003 AD, p. 336.
20. Ankiya Nat and the Medieval Indian Theatre, Dr Sisir Kr Das, in Glimpses of the Vaisnava heritage of Assam, edited by Dr Pradipjyoti Mahanta, Guwahati, 2001 AD, pp. 131-136.
21. Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, 2000 AD, p. 35.
22. Ibid, p. 42.
23. Evolution of Sankari art form, Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, in Panchajanya, Souvenir of Srimanta Sankaradeva Sangha, edited by Kailash Das, Mangaldoi, 2004 AD, pp. 298-302.
24. Maheswar Neogar Sankaradeva charchat pramad, Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, in Ajir Batori, edited by D.N.Chakravarty, Guwahati, May 11, 1998 AD.
25. Asom Deshar Buranji, Dr Lakshmi Devi, 6th edition, Guwahati, 1990 AD, p. 178.
26. Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, 1998 AD.
27. Radhanath Phukan Rachanawali, Radhanath Phukan, 1st edition, Guwahati, 1988 AD, p. 208. He wrote it in the preface of the second edition of his book ‘Vedanta Darshana’. The present author also has termed Srimanta Sankaradeva as the ‘ultimate man’. Srimanta Sankaradeva is the perfect human being ever born on earth. (Sri Sri Sankardeva, Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, 1st edition, Guwahati, 1995 AD, pp. xiii, 2).