Srimanta Shankardev Punya Tithi

Srimanta Shankardev Punya Tithi
Srimanta Shankardev Punya Tithi

India has been a land of great saints and personalities who have influenced and inspired people from all over the world. From ancient times, foreigners have been visiting India to explore the land's beauty and culture, and among them was Megasthenes, the ambassador of Seleucus Nikator, who was the first to travel to India. The country has also witnessed the visits of many other foreign envoys, such as Al-Masudi, Fa-Hien, Hiuen-Tsang, Marco Polo, and Abdul Razak.

But among the many saints who were born in India, Srimanta Sankardev holds a significant place. Sankardev was a revered sixteenth saint-scholar, social-religious reformer, and a prominent figure in the cultural and religious history of India, particularly Assam. The legacy of great personalities like Srimanta Sankardev has continued to inspire generations, making India a land of rich cultural heritage and traditions. Visitors from all over the world come to witness and appreciate the beauty and diversity of this land and its people

Srimanta Sankardev Punya Tithi

Srimanta Sankardev was born on September 26, 1449, and lived for around 120 years before leaving for his heavenly abode on August 23, 1568. Interestingly, in Hindu astronomy and timekeeping, "tithi" refers to a period of time during which the angle between the sun and the moon increases by 12 degrees. This is also applied to the corresponding period in Babylonian astronomy. So the exact date of Sankardev Punya Tithi varies every year. 

About Srimanta Sankardev’s life and contributions

Sankardev was born into a family of high stature, but his greatness was not merely a product of his birth. He was a visionary, who introduced new forms of artistic expression that would go on to become an integral part of Assamese culture. Borgeets, the lyrical songs set to specific ragas, were his brainchild, and they remain popular to this day.

Sankardev was not content with introducing just one new art form. He also conceived and developed Sattriya dance, which has been preserved for centuries by the Sattras. These monastic institutions are the cultural and religious centers of Assam, serving as sources of ancient religious philosophy and artistic expressions attached to it. Sankardev's teachings and creations were aimed at social reform, spiritual elevation, and ethnic consolidation.

Sankardev's extensive travels across the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent played a crucial role in shaping his religious philosophy and ideas. He journeyed to several places of spiritual and cultural significance, including the holy cities of Jagannath Dham, Puri, Gaya, Kashi, Prayag, Ayodhya, and Sita Kunda. Accompanied by his four devoted disciples, Sarvajoy, Paramananda, Ram Ram Guru, and Baloram, Sankardev sought to synthesize and consolidate his understanding of the divine and explore the varied perspectives and practices of different regions.

As he traversed the landscape of India, Sankardev engaged in deep contemplation and introspection, seeking insights and inspiration that could enrich his spiritual beliefs and strengthen his commitment to social reform. His interactions with the people he encountered during his travels further deepened his empathy and compassion towards all beings, regardless of their caste, creed or socio-economic status. Through his journeys, Sankardev not only expanded his own spiritual horizons but also enriched the cultural and religious heritage of the Indian subcontinent.

One of his most notable contributions was the promotion of devotion, or bhakti, as a doctrine of salvation. He taught that faith, remembrance, and prayer were more important than sacrifices or idol worship, which were then being practiced by orthodox Hindus. He introduced a new form of bhakti called eka-sharana-naam-dhrama, which was based on four pillars - God, prayers, devotees, and mentor.

Sankardev's teachings emphasized that all devotees were equal in the eyes of God and that there should be no discrimination based on caste. This was a revolutionary idea at the time, and it was instrumental in transforming Assamese society into a more inclusive and equitable one.

Sankardev's legacy is truly remarkable, and his contributions to the cultural and religious history of India are significant. He was not just a saint or a religious figure, but also a visionary who introduced new art forms and ideas that continue to inspire and enrich the lives of people in Assam and beyond.

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