Post Sankaradeva Vaisnava Faith and Culture of Assam- Early History and Development of The Purusa Samhati of Vaisnavism (An Old and Rare Book)

Post Sankaradeva Vaisnava Faith and Culture of Assam- Early History and Development of The Purusa Samhati of Vaisnavism (An Old and Rare Book)

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Book Specification

Item Code: UAM761
Author: Kesvananda Devi
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Language: English
Edition: 1988
ISBN: 817030167x
Pages: 255
Other Details 9.00 X 5.50 inch
Weight 390 gm

Book Description

About The Book

The Neo-Vaisnava movement of Assam of the 16th Century is associated with the name of Sankaradeya(1449-1568 A.D.), who gave new intrepretation and its distinctive character to Assam Vaisnaviam. In the present monograph the author has done a detailed study of the Vaisnava faith & Culture of Assam, more particularly of the PURUSA Samhati sect of Assam Vaisnavism, based on original sources.

While studying monograph, the biographical literature of early groupe, later groupe, some spurious works & Modern work were consulted in detail. In Assam Vaisnavism, a large number of Samhati (order), were founded such as Brahma Samhati, Kala Samhati, Nika Samhati and Purusa Samhati etc. In the present volume, an attempet has been made to study' Purusa Samhati, taking in consideration its chracterstics, Life and Personality of founders, four main Sattras, its relations with other Samhati, STATE, its Rituals & Devetional practice, Cultural & Literary Contribution in the development of Assam Vaisnavism Life and Religion. The book is documented with a detailed Bibliography and Index. It is Published under Sri Garib Dass Oriental Series No. 79, and is useful, for all Scholars, Layman and Libraries of Indological & Asian Studies.

About the Author

Kesavananda Dev Goswami, M. A. Ph.D. born 9-2-1938, at Balisattra near Bardewa, the birth place of Sankaradeva, and hails from the Narowa Gosain family, which claims direct descent from the Grand daughter of Sankaradeva.

Starting his carrier in 1961, and served in various capacties at Nagaon, Bhubaneshwar, Dibrugarh and in Patiala, as a fellow and Reader to Saint Sankaradeva studies. In 1987, Dr. Goswami has been selected as National Lecturer of U.G.C. and at present, is in Dibrugarh University.

Dr. Goswami, a gifted performer of Bargeet and Devotional music of Assam, has contributed in various journals of music and Indology. He had written books and papers in Punjabi, Oriya, Assamese English.


The early history of the Vaisnava faith and movement of Assam has been ably studied by scholars and literary men of note, and has thus been able to draw the attention of scholars in India and abroad. But very little is known outside about the later history and development of the movement. 'The Vaisnava history of Assam is a history of splits. After the passing away of Sankaradeva the main body of the Vaisnava Order tended to divide into groups. These divisions, known as Samhatis or Samghatis, played important roles in the religious, literary and cultural life of the state. Of the four Samhatis of the post-Sankaradeva Vaisnavism. the Purusa Samhati, which claims to have retained the original features of the Vaisnavism of Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva, has been able to carry on with full vigour their activities in the fields of religion, literature, art and culture of the with great zeal and some success. The other three Samhatis, viz., Brahma, Kala and Nika, have also tried their best to maintain the tradition. But the contribution of the Purusa Samhati in these spheres is of more considerable value and importance than that of the other Samhatis. It will have been seen in the following pages how the pontiffs and monks of the Purusa Samhati sattras earnestly carried on their activities despite economic hardship and political unrest of the period under review.

The narrative is calculated to show in what ways the post Sankaradeva Vaisnavas, particularly the adherents of the Purusa Samhati developed their own special features in the later period. The materials are chiefly derived from the original sources which represent what may be called the Bardowa tradition. The study covers the phase of activities and teachings of the leaders like Purusottama and Caturbhuja, grandsons of Sankaradeva, and other followers of the faith down to the nineteenth century.


The neo-Vaisnava movement of Assam of the sixteenth century is associated with the name of Sankaradeva (1449-1568 A.D.) He gave Assam Vaisnavism a new interpretation and its distinctive character. But the history of post-Sankaradeva Vaisnavism is an almost unexplored and uninvestigated field of study. After the passing away of Sankaradeva and his 'ablest and closest disciple", Madhavadeva, the Assam Vaisnavas were split into schisms, known as Samhatis. The natural link among the different Samhatis. cannot, of course, be doubted. But no attempt has so far been made to show the real connection among them, and that is very often overlooked or neglected. Some disciples of Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva appeared to have developed each a considerable following. They taught the religion of Bhakti according to the light they had received, in their own way, from Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva. In the following pages, an attempt is being made to reproduce in a comprehensive manner, a history of the development of the post-Sankaradeva Vaisnava Faith and Culture of Assam, more particularly of the Purusa Samhati sect of Assam Vaisnavism, based on original sources.


A good number of biographies came into existence not many years after Sankaradeva's death. They embody the lives and activities of different Vaisnava leaders and supply valuable materials about the circumstances attending upon the growth and development of the movement. The biographical literature, commonly known as 'carit puthi' or 'garu-caritra', is the outcome of post-Sankaradeva Vaisnavism. They are found abundantly in verse as well as in prose. Some of them are anonymous and the most of them are written from a devotional point of view rather than from the realistic. All the biographies, to some extent, bear some similarity to each other in their form and content. Madhavadeva, the apostolic successor of Sankaradeva, is said to have introduced the custom of telling the story of the guru and listening to it as a part of daily religious duty of the Sattra. Thus a tradition of ceremonially narrating and expounding the lives and teachings of Sankaradeva and other pontiffs of later age has come down to us. This branch of literature, which has a great bearing on the literary history of Assam, is exclusively the outcome of the Sattra institution. Numerous works on the lives and deeds of Vaisnava saints were complied at different periods. Apart from the atmosphere of miracle and devotional fancy, these works constitute the most valuable sources of history of the Vaisnava Order and the 'political and economic structure of the country as well.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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