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Sree Sree Madhavdeva was a saint-poet and author of Assam. He was an instructor of the Mahapuruxiya Dharma. He is known for his loyalty towards his mentor Srimanta Shankardeva as well as his artistic brilliance. To Shankardeva Madhavdeva was a “Prana bandhava” (friend of soul). Madhavdeva is popular for his “Naam Ghoxa” and his large collection of “Borgeets”.
Life of Madhavdeva:
Madhavdeva was born in 1489 at Letekupukhuri in Lakhimpur district of Assam. He was born to Govindagiri Bhuyan and Manorama. The family shifted to Bardowa in Nagaon district. Madhavdeva started his education in Narayanpur and later continued his
education under Rajendra Adhyapak. In the due course of his education
Madhavdeva became well versed in the Tantras, Tarka-shastra, Purana and
literatures associated with Saktism. His brother-in-law Gayapani had converted into the Ek Sarana Dharma of Shankardeva. Gayapani took Madhavdeva to Shankardeva to discuss an internal conflict of Madhavdeva. Madhavdeva was a staunch Shakti worshipper. However, after involving in a four and a half hour debate with Shankardeva Madhavdeva he was highly influenced by Shankardeva and accepted the latter his “guru’.
At the age of 32 he joined his scholarship, literary and musical genius to the cause of the Ek Sarana Dharma. To Srimanta Shankardeva Madhavdeva was a “Prana bandhava” (friend of soul). He anointed Madhavdeva his successor. Madhavdeva’s conversion took place in 1522. After his conversion Madhavdeva resolved never to marry. He passed away in 1596 at Bhela Satra in Coch Behar at the age of 107 years. He is a highly revered saint in Assam.
Literary Career of Madhavdeva:
Madhavdeva’s first literary work is “Janma Rahasya”. It is based on the creation and the destruction of the world. Madhavdeva’s most popular work is the “Naam Ghoxa”. The work is also known as “Hazari Ghoxa”.
His “Guru Bhattima” is another of his famous writings. The book is based on the praise of his “guru” Shankardeva. He had also written the “Bhakti Ratnavali”, “Naam Maalika”, and “Adi Kanda of Valmiki’s Ramanaya”. He also composed a third chapter on having lost the two chapters composed by Shankardeva, one of the “Kirtan Ghoxa” titled “Dhyana Varnana”. Madhavdeva has written 191 “Borgeet” and 9 “Jhumuras”.
Madhavdeva, along with Srimanta Shankardeva, preached the Ek Sarana Dharma. Shankardeva was against any kind of idol or image worshipping. According to Shankardeva a single God could be worshipped solely by uttering His various names. The form of lord Krishna was used by Shankardeva to preach devotion. In contrast to other Bhakti forms the Ek Sarana Dharma follows the ‘dasya’ attitude that is “slave to God”. In the name of God Hari, Ram, Narayana and Krishna are uttered. The religion is antagonistic to Shaktism. Therefore, Radha is not worshipped with Krishna in the dharma. Shankardeva started a system of ‘initiation’ (saran lowa) into his religion. People practicing his religion are called ‘Mahapurishia’, ‘sarania’ or ‘sankari’.