Sarbagunakar Sreemanta Shankardeva

Film Screening (with English subtitles)

Time:06:30 pm

When and Where

Date:Monday 18 September 2017
Time:06:30 pm
Organizer: ICCR
Location: London

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Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva (1449-1568) is the founder of Neo-Vaisnavism in Assam. He created the backbone of Assamese society and culture more than 500 years back. A saint-scholar, poet, playwright, social-religious reformer and a figure of importance in the cultural and religious history of Assam, India, Sankardeva is widely credited with building on past cultural relics and devising new forms of music (Borgeet), theatrical performance (Ankia Naat, Bhaona) dance (Satriya), literary language (Brajavali) and many more. He trans-created scriptures (Bhagavat of Sankardeva), poetry and theological works written in Sanskrit, Assamese and Brajavali. The Bhagavatic religious movement he started, Eksarana Dharma or Neo-Vaishnavite movement influenced two medieval kingdoms Koch and the Ahom kingdoms.

Sankardeva initiated to assemble the devotees into Satras which continue to be important socio-religious institutions in Assam and to a lesser extend in North Bengal. His naamghars which are open to all, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, for congregational prayer and nama-kirtana, become a popular institution in the religious life of the Assamese people. As a religious reformer, Sankardeva’s greatest achievement is his success in bringing his people from a debased form of Sakta tantricism to the pure monotheism of his Vaishnava faith. He thought that the best way of reforming the religious life of people was to present to them what was good and to make it appeal to their imagination. He called his faith ‘Eksarana Naamdharma’—that is the religion of worshiping one by uttering his name. As a theologian, Sankardeva made the Bhagavata-Purana the main canon of his Vaishnavism and his works include a creative translation of a large part of that text. 

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