- by Jim Ankan Deka

Sri Sri Madhabdeva – born in 1489 at Letekupukhuri in Lakhimpur District of Assam, was an author and a saint-poet. He was the writer of ‘Naam Ghokha’ (Naam Ghoxa) and the founder of the music genre ‘Borgeet’. He was also one of the devoted followers of the social-religious reformer of Assam Mahapurukh Srimanta Sankardeva and a preceptor of ‘Mahapurukhiya Dharma’.

Madhabdev was born to Govindagiri Bhuyan and Manorama. He started his education in Narayanpur and later under the famous teacher Rajendra Adhyapak. Here, Madhabdev showed well progress in learning the ‘Tantras’, ‘Purana’ and other writings connected with Saktism. While he was with Rajendra Adhyapak, his fater passed away.
At the age of 32, Madhabdev joined the cause of ‘Eksarana Dharma’ and started following the path and teachings of Srimanta Sankardeva. Though Madhabdev was a disciple of Sankardeva, till his death, he considered Madhabdev as the ‘Prana Bandhaba’ (friend of the soul). To keep himself devoted fully for the cause of ‘Ekasarana Dharma’, Madhabdev decided never to get married.

Madhabdev was a staunch sakta in his learning and practice and believed in sacrificing animals to Godess. But, after he started following Srimanta Sankardeva and his teachings, he never went back to his previous method of pleasing God, gods and goddesses. Sankaradeva used the form of ‘Krishna’ to preach devotion to a single God (eka sarana), who can be worshiped solely by uttering ‘His’ various names (naam). Later, Sankardeva anointed Madhabdev as his successor.

Few of Madhabdev’s works are - Nam ghoxa (the book of the Lord's Name) which is also known as Hazari ghoxa (the book of thousand couplets), Bhakti Ratnavali, 191 Borgeets (classical based devotional songs), 9 Jhumuras (one-act plays), Janma Rahasya, (a book on the creation and destruction of the world), Naam Maalikaa, Adi Kanda of Valmiki's Ramayana (the Assamese rendering) and Guru Bhattima (a long poem praising his ‘Guru’ Srimanta Sankardeva).Madhabdev also composed a third chapter on having lost the two chapters composed by Sankardeva, of the ‘Kirtan-Ghosha’ titled 'Dhyana Varnana'.

Madhabdev passed away in 1596 at Bhela Satra, Koch Bihar. He was 107 years old.