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• 71st


Sri Sri Madhav Dev – a great saint
— Dr Dibakar Ch Das
From time immemorial, the birth of great saint called Mahapurush has been a continuous process. In all the ages, from Christianity to the present age, the society has been experiencing to have such great saint or Mahapurush who have propounded religious as well as social ideology with a view to leaving peaceful messages among the people. Here, the fact is that the basic ideology of all the great personalities of the world carries almost the same purpose ie, establishing unity and integrity among various sections of the people through love, affection and humanity. So, as the only chief devout of his spiritual guide cum Guru, Sri Sri Sankar Dev, Madhav Dev played an important role in the religious and literary thought.

More than five hundred years ago, Assam had witnessed one such saint in Madhav Dev, popularly called Mahapurush who was a duty bound disciple of Sankar Dev, pioneer of the Neo-Vaishnavite religion to Naam Dharma. To speak the truth, his cooperation helped Sankardev enrich the Assamese art and culture.

Madhav Dev was born in the house of Harisingha Uzir near Leteku Pukhuri in village Narayanpur of North Lakhimpur in 1489. His father and mother were Gobindagiri and manorama Devi respectively. His another name was Ratnakar. During the stay in the house of Uzir, Ratnakar started his early education. As the family was very poor, Ratnakar had to suffer a lot in his early days. Govindagiri knew his son’s talents and therefore he brought Ratnakar to the native place Banduka and got him admitted into the premises of Rajendra. Within a very short period, Madhav Dev could achieve excellence in study. At the same time, he also became strong devotee of Sakta Dharma and had a great belief in Puja ie, worshipping Goddess Durga.

Madhav Dev’s ideas can be divided in two stages viz Pre-mani-Kamchan and Post Mani Kanchan, ‘Mani Kanchan Sanjog’ means the union of Sankar Dev and Madhav Dev. This union is really a mystic event. There was a fact behind this union of Sankar Dev and Madhav Dev. During the period of this union, Sankar Dev was 73 years old while Madhav Dev was 33. After demise of his father, Madhav Dev returned to his house but on the way when he heard that his mother was ill he decided to sacrifice a pair of white male-goats to the Goddess Durga for the cure of her disease. So, Madhav Dev asked his brother-in-law Ramdas who met Sankar Dev on the way in search of goats. But after meeting him, Ramdas changed his religious ideology and got devoted to Vasnative religion. He then returned to Madhav Dev without goats and told him every thing about the incident boldly appreciating his logical argument. At this news Madhav Dev got very much angry with Ramdas and sternly reproached him. Madhav Dev went to defy Sankar Dev. He then appeared before Sankardev and started a debate on the Vasnavite religion. Having been defeated, Madhav Dev surrendered to Sankardev and accepted Vasnavite religion considering him the only Guru. This entire incident which made them closer to each other is specifically known as ‘Mani kanchan Sanjog.’ It was after the Mani Kanchan Sanjog or since his divine union with Sankar Dev, that Madhav Dev’s ideas and thoughts came to light.

To speak the truth, a small article can hardly cover all aspects of his worldly wisdom and knowledge. It is really impossible to give a portrait of the multifaceted picture along with his empirical study of Ek Saron Nam Dharma in a scientific manner. Madhav Dev have us various messages to be practised and one such message which has been the key to the present situation is that he is an ardent follower of the principle prevention is better than cure and he could be able to practise it in his life. To him the means of preventing any evil is necessarily superior to and more important than those of cure. Here, Pluto, the Greek philosopher, who advocated for keeping the doctors out his ideal State through the means of prevention like moral education, physical exercise ie, gymnastic etc can also be referred. In his ideal State, there must not be any physical affliction or disease and Plato urged for adopting various preventive measures so that the people need not suffer from any disease. Similarly, it is Madhav Dev who had been adamant in this principle and he used to give scientific argument for its favour. In this regard, Madhav Dev as a disciple, had to defy his Guru Sankar Dev in regard to the question of his marriage. Sankar Dev wanted him to be his son-in-law making a tie with his daughter, Vishnupriya. With a view to getting him married Sankardev even tried a lot saying that worldly life was better and best suited to fight the evils. He further argued that lonely life was bitter and weak and thus insisted on the married life which might make him strong and energetic. But all his efforts and insistence were in vain. Madhav Dev was very much adamant in his principle. He vehemently refused to accept his Guru’s proposal because the knew it very well that there was bliss and happiness in one’s indifference to the family. He wanted to give the people a message that those who have acquired a lot get only temporary pleasure or worldly happiness. In this way, he assured that attachment to the family causes definite mental agony. So, to prevent the sources of worldly misery and wretchedness is better than to cure. This principle of prevention has been the most important and scientific approach in modern age. In one’s practical life, one must be ready to prevent any type of evil or calamity to save. Italian political scientist Mechiavelli also suggested in his famous book The Prince that the monarch or prince must take necessary step to curb the enemy so that the latter cannot rise or become strong. The principle of prevention has been followed by the authorities also ie, national, regional and local in respect of various matters especially relating to disease for the safety of human beings. Acceptance of preventive measures has been regarded as the best means. Mahapurush Madhav Dev has proved pragmatically in his own life and thus he is alive among us and we should adore him.
(Published on the occasion of death anniversary of Madhav Dev).