Srimanta Madhabdeva

ABOUT GURU :Srimanta Madhabdeva (1489-1596) is an important preceptor of the Mahapuruxiya Dharma known for his loyalty to his guru, Srimanta Sankardeva as well as his artistic brilliance. Initially a sakta worshipper, he was converted to Mahapuruxiya Dharma by the Sankardeva and became his most prominent disciple. He became the religious as well as artistic successor of Sankardeva after the later's death in 1568. He is known particularly for his book of hymns, the Naam Ghoxa, as well as a large selection of songs called Borgeets. Madhabdev was born in May/June 1489 at Letekupukhuri in Lakhimpur District of Assam to Govindagiri Bhuyan and Manorama. Govindagiri was a descendant of Hari Bhuyan (alias Haripala), one of the Bhuyan's who accompanied Candivara (Sankardev's forefather) in the 14th century as part of an exchange between Dharmanarayana of Gauda and Durlabhnarayan of Kamarupa-Kamata. Govindagiri became a Majinder at Banduka, (in Rangpur District in present-day Bangladesh) and established his family (wife and a son) there. On the death of his wife, he migrated to Bardowa (Nagaon District, present-day Assam), and married Manorama of the Bara Bhuyan clan. But due to warfare (between the Bara Bhuyans and the Kacharis) he became homeless and Harasinga Bora, an officer of the Ahom kingdom, gave him shelter at Letekupukhuri (situated between Narayanpur and Bihpuria). Madhabdev was born at Letekupukhuri and Harasinga Bora arranged for his early education at Narayanpur. A famine induced the family to move again, and the family was given shelter by a boatman named Ghagari Maji at Habung, a place near Dhakuakhana in Lakhimpur district. Here Madhabdev's sister Urvasi was born. After about 10 years at Habung, the family rowed down the Brahmaputra river to Rauta-Tembuwani (present-day Bordowa), where Urvasi was married off to Gayapani, a Bhuyan. Soon after, Madhabdev accompanied his father back to Banduka (leaving behind his mother with his sister and brother-in-law), where he continued his education under a teacher named Rajendra Adhyapak. Here, Madhabdev became well versed in the Tantras, Tarka-shastra, Purana and other literature associated with Saktism. Soon after, his father Govindagiri died. Leaving his half-brother (named either Damodara or Rupchandra), Madhabdev returned to his brother-in-law Gayapani with the news and stayed on involving himself with trade in betel-leaf and areca nut. When his half-brother, who was a Majinder at Banduka, fell ill Madhabdev returned there to shoulder his responsibilities. At Banduka he received news of his mother's failing health and he hastened back to Dhuwahat, where Gayapani had moved to along with his wife and mother-in-law after the Kacharis had uprooted the Bara Bhuyans.

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Madhabdev had grown into a staunch sakta in his learning and practice, and on receiving news of his mother's illness while in Banduka, he resolved to sacrifice two goats to propitiate the goddess. In the meantime his brother-in-law Gayapani had converted to Ekasarana Dharma and refused to procure the goats for the sacrifice. A debate ensued and Gayapani, now named Ramadasa, took Madhabdev to meet Sankardev to discuss the conflicts. The debate continued for four and a half hour, when Sankardev uttered a sloka from the Bhagavata Purana: yatha taror mala-nicecanena trpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopasakhah | pranopaharac ca yathendriyanam tathaiva sarvarhanam acyutejya || Madhabdev was convinced and he accepted Sankardev as his guru. At the age of thirty-two, he joined his scholarship, literary and musical genius to the cause of Ekasarana dharma. Sankardev accepted him as his prana bandhava (friend of the soul), and anointed him later as his successor. Madhabdev's conversion occurred in the year 1522. After his conversion, Madhabdev broke his betrothal and resolved never to marry. He died in 1596 at Bhelasatra, Koch Bihar.


Posted By : Vinod Jindal on Dec 16, 2010

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