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Essay, Biography or Paragraph on “Sankardeva” complete biography for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Sankardeva

 

Once Sri Ramakrishna said: “Sometimes God acts as the magnet and the devotee as the needle. God attracts the devotee to Himself. Again, sometimes the devotee acts as the magnet and God as the needle. Such is the attraction of the devotee that God comes to him, unable to resist his love”. And such was the love of Sankaradeva that Lord Krishna or Sri Jagannathprabhu of Puri could not help but follow him at his call.

Vaishnavism is the worship of Vishnu and his various incarnations. During a long and complex development from Vedic times, there arose many Vaishnava groups with differing beliefs and aims. Vaishnava faith is essentially monotheistic, whether the adoration is Vishnu or Narayana or one of his avatars such as Rama or Krishna. A pronounced feature of Vaishnavism is the strong tendency to devotion (bhakti), which is generally considered to be the “The heart of worship”. The widespread Bhakti movement is a corollary of the Vaishnava ideal of a loving personal God and aversion to a conception of salvation that puts an end to all consciousness or individuality. Among the foremost devout persons were Ramananda and his disciple Kavir in Northern India, Guru Nanak in Punjab, Namdeva in Maharashtra, Vallabhacharya in Telengana, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Bengal and Orisia. Sankaradeva, a devout Vaishnava Saint of Assam was a follower of this Bhakti-Cult.

Sankaradeva was born in a village named Aalipukhuri in the district of Nowgong in Assam in 1463. His father’s name was Kusumavara and his mother’s name was Satyasandhya. Both of his parents were very pious, religious minded and God-fearing. His father was the landlord and was famous as Siromani Bhuyan. The boy was a boon from Lord Siva and came to be known as Sankara or Sankaravara. Soon after his birth, he lost his mother and he was left to the loving care of his grandmother. He was admitted to pandit Mahendra Kandali’s boarding school, at the age of twelve. Pandit Kandali was a very learned Sanskrit scholar and well versed in the shastras. It influenced the boy Sankara very much. In his school days, he wrote Harischandra-Upakhyana in verse, by which his panditji and other class-mates were very much astonished.

Sankara’s grandmother and relatives put pressure on him to perform the duties of Siromoni Bhuyan but he himself preferred scholastic and religious life. Meanwhile for the time being he practised yoga-sadhana under an able guidance of a yogi.

At the age of twenty one, he was very much anxious to visit Lord Vishnu’s foot print at Gaya and the field of activities of Krishna. His father came to know this programme through Sankar’s friends and was searching for a bride. Under Pressure from his family, he was forced to marry Suryabati, a beautiful girl and endowed with all good qualities. After four years Suryabati died leaving a daughter. By which Sankara lost all interest in worldly life. When the daughter attained the age of seven, he arranged for her marriage with a suitable groom Thus Sankara found relief from the family encumbrances and thought of his life of pilgrimage.

In 1481, at the age of thirty two years he set out on his first pilgrimage with his intimate friend Rama-rama Vipra and others including his teacher Mahendra Kandali. He visited Puri, Gaya, Prayaga, Vrindavan, Mathura, Kurukshetra and other holy places. He travelled as a wandering monk for twelve years and came in contact with many Saints and Sadhakas. During this period he met his long desired Gurudeva, who initiated Sankara. He never disclosed the name of his Gurudeva.

Due to his Omnipotent Gurudeva’s blessings, Sankara became well versed in all branches of learning, especially in the Bhakti Cult. During his long periods of travel he spent a considerable time in Puri, as it was revealed to him that Lord Krishna or Jagannath alone would be the only spiritual preceptor in his life.

In 1493 Sankara returned home, his mind was charged with the warmth of a new faith of Love, bhaktidharma. This time his relatives pressed him to marry again and resume the duties of Bar-Bhuyan or Siromani Bhuyan. Again he married Kalindi but declining to be an administrator again. He had shift, his house from Aalipukhuri to the village Bardowa co the river Brahmaputra in Assam. Here he built a temple so that he could sit with other people to discuss matters relating spiritual, and hold prayers. Also he started initiation to those people, who were inclined to Namsankirtan or Bhaktidharma. Now his name and fame spread all over the country and became famous as Sankaradeva.

During this period, a Tirhut Brahmin, Jagadish Misra, brought him from Pun full text of Bhagavatapurana, furnished with Sridhara Swami’s commentary. Sankaradeva immersed himself deeply into this bhakti text and started composing a literature in the Assamese language to incorporate the soul of bhakli. Thus he composed Kirtana-ghosha, narrating tales from the Bhagavata-purana. In these he propounded the doctrines of his ekasarana nama dharma, enjoining unswerving devotion to one God, Vishnu-Krishna, and prayers as the sole sadhana of that devotion.

Sankaradeva wanted a quiet life for his spiritual activities. In 1516 he migrated with all the Bhuyans to the northern bank of the Brahmaputra and settled finally in the river-island of Majuli at a place called Dhuwahat or Belaguri. Here he met a brilliant youth, Madhavadeva, later to be his closest disciple and finest apostle.

The particular form of Vaishnavism evolved by Sankaradeva is known as ekasarana namadharma. It enjoined the worship of one God, that is, Vishnu in his many incarnations, chiefly as Krishna and Rama. Sankaradeva and his Chief apostle Madhavadeva, composed a large literature: there are songs like ghosha, bir-gita, bhatima, kittana-ghosha. Sankaradeva in some books like Harischandra-upakhyana, Amrita-manthana and Balichalana stories from the Bhagavata-purnana and Vaishnavite tales from Puranas are retold in simple verses. Also, he had written six dramas, Rukmini-harana, Parijataharana etc. These dramas contain a number of well-made Sanskrit verses and a number of songs. His writings still reign supreme among the devout people and his songs are ever on their lips.

In the words of Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, “Sankaradeva was successful in applying the salve of religion to a people distracted in mind and body and brought them spiritual peace and contentment and helped thorn on their way to having a better organised life.

Sankaradeva passed away in 1569.

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