Biography of Srimanta Sankardev ( মহাপুৰুষ শ্ৰীমন্ত শংকৰদেৱ জীৱনী ), a great saint of vaishnavism of Assam, India by Jitu Das (জিতু দাস) biography
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Whenever in earth, sin, fallacy,corruption increases, then in different places, a great man born and shows the mankind the path to a peaceful,happy life .Just like Jesus Christ, Gautama Buddha, Mohammad was born. Jesus was born in Jerusalem and created the religion Christan.Gautama Buddha was born in India, and he created the religion Buddhism. Mohammad was born in Arabian city Mecca, he created the religion Islam.Just like all those great saints,Srimanta Sankardeva was born in Assam,India. He was born in 1449, in a village called Bordowa.Srimanta Sankardeva was born at the moment , when the society of assam, culture,language and literature was in a dark age.The saints of that time wrote that, in 1449, the people of Assam forgot about the Veda and Upanishads and morality. People were sacrificing animals in the name of god and goddesses, the people were materialistic. For the reason,the society was filled with corruption and sin.Everywhere in the society, was lacking morality in life.
Sankardeva was born in the midst of such society. His father was Kusumbar Bhuyan and mother was Stayasandha.His mother died just after giving birth to him.His grandmother Khersuti brought him up.
Sankardeva was strong.brave from him childhood.He was afraid of nothing. There is sayings that one day,he knocked down a big bull and in a monsoon, he could swim the Brahmaputra river( which is the world's 7th largest river) to the other side.Well, Sankardeva spent 12 years of his childhood,playing, having fun.But,his grandmother was worried about orphan child Sankardeva.One day, she take him to the teacher Mahendra Kandali( he was a great writer in assamese literature ).That day was Thursday of the month Vada.( august- september).In India, Wednesday and Thursday are believed to be blessesd day to begin a new work. After taking admission in the school, Sankardeva started to study well.In a few days Sankardeva became a bright student. There is sayings that, just by learning the Assamese letters,he wrote a beautiful poem,which is still a wonder for many scholars. It was sign that,he held great talent within him, which changed the entire society of assam for good. The poem he wrote was-
Karatala kamla , kamaladala nayana
Vabadaha-dahan gahana bayana sayana
Kharatara barakhara hatadakha badana
Khagasara nagadhra fanadhra sayana
Napara napara para saratar gamaya
Savaya mabhaya mama harasata taya
Jaga daghamapa hara vaba vaya tarana
Para pada laya kara kamalaja nayan
It was a beautiful poem.In a short time, he mastered the art of verse.I believe his, verse is as beautiful and meaningful as the verses of William Shakespeare. He studied the four Veda,fourteen Satra and eighteen purana and became a great scholar of that time. He also studied yoga" sastra and started to practice and lived 120 years, a great mighty long year.
After completing his school study, he was given the title of Sanskrit scholar by the people. At,the age of 22, he married the girl Suryabati, daughter of Haribar Giri. After, 3 years of marriage, a girl born, they named her Monu.When, Monu became nine month, her mother Suryabati Died.
After, the sudden death of his wife, Sankardeva felt very sad ! It was great shock to him ! So,it was unbearable for him to stay in that place anymore!, I believe the death of his wife made him question, why people die ?, so he started to search the answer in religion and for that reason, in 1503, he went on a journey with his friend Ramram,Sarbajay,Paramanadh and 18 other to the different pilgrimage of India.India is always been the center of spirituality in the whole world,because, the most ancient and great Hindu religion started in India,Besides the great Gautama Buddha born in India.
Sankardeva in his journey ,visited Srikheta,Ganges ,Sitakunda,Barah khetra, Pushkarani tirtha, Mathura,Brindabana .After the journey of 12 years,he went home.The journey took that long period,because in 15th century, there is not such transportation as we have now in 21th century. At the age of 97, master Sankardeva with Madhavdeva, Ramram and Narayana, Gobinda, Udar and with 120 follower he went to pilgrimage for the second time.
After, coming home, from his first journey, which was for 12 years.In those years, he studied the Vaishnava religion.
Sankardeva was inspired to spread the Vaishnava religion in Assam, by translating the book for Assamese people. The main motto of the Vaishnava religion is believing in one and only one god. Hurting animal is strongly prohibited even an insect , just like the Buddhism. The people who are true Bhakat( who strongly apply the Vaishnava religion or dharma)
In the time Sankardeva was born ,People were unhappy, distracted and were living a very unstable life. Thats why to attract the people about this Vaishnaba religion, he wrote the play, Sinha- yatra and also acted on it,it is called as Bhaona in assamese( the acting ). In the sinha-yatra ( a dance play), he painted the sapta vaikuntha( home of god Vishnu or Hari ).It is the beautiful, eternal abode of Narayana or Vishnu, his consort Laxmi, or in simple it was heaven as we imagine.Watching the beautiful paintings of 7 heaven and music played along,people got mesmerized and became disciple of Sankardeva. In this way, Sankardeva became very popular. Many scholars of Assam, started to realize the greatness of Sankardeva and became his disciple even his teacher Mahendra Kandali. Day by day people became attracted to his new religion, which was far more peaceful itself than believing many god and goddess.In this way, a new era of began in my state Assam. The era of vaishnavism,.Great Scholar of Assam said hat, the modern civilization of assam is truly a civilization of vaishnavism .
Great Sankardeva's best pupil was Madhavdeva like Socrates and Aristotle.At first Madhav deva usedto believe in the 'Sakta' religion.( In the Sakta religion , the believers pray to many god and godesses) At the first meeting Mahavdev debated with Sankardeva,in the debate with Sankardeva, in the debate Sankardeva told Mdhavdev that, a tree has many branches and they all need water and minerals and it is good enough to give water to the routes of the tree from the route, the vascular system will carry the water to all the branches.It is foolishness to give water to every branches.Just like that praying to Krishna( Who is the god, that Vaishavism religion believes in,he is also known as Vishnu) wouldbe like praying every god and godeses, as he is the source of all energy of universe. With such beautiful examples Sankardeva explained to Madhavdeva believing in one god is more appropriate,peaceful than believing inmany gods.After realizing the wise words by Madhavdeva became his pupil.After that, both Sankardeva and Madhavdeva started to teach the religion together all around assam.The meeting Sankar -Madhav is called ''Mani-Kansan' connetion in assamese. The religion Sankardeva what taught us was based on the ''Veda'', ''Puran'', and ''Vagabata'. The main thing in a religion is not the name of god, and the names are different in different religions.All religions holds the same believe in the unknown. We hindu call it Vagaban, muslims call it Allah and the Chritians call it God. To pray god,we only need a pure heart and a open mind, not temple. Sankardeva believed in honest thinking and simple living which purifies both mind,body and soul.
In this religion,every being is equal.Leo Tolstoy shared the same belief,thats why he said that,God lives in humanity.
Great saint of India, Sankardeva had respect for every religion and for every people. Thats why he wrote-----
Kukura( Dog),Srigala ( fox) ,gardabharo( Donkey) atma(soul) Rama( GOD, an avatar of lord Vishnu)
Janiya( knowing) sabako( eveybody) kariba( Do) pranama ( respect)
English translation of the above great verse is ----
Dog, fox and donkey all have the soul of god,
knowing that greet every being respectfully.