Imaginary portrait of Srimanta Sankardev by Bishnu Prasad Rabha
|Founder of||Ekasarana Dharma|
|Born||26 September 1448,|
Bordowa/Batadrowa, Nagaon District of Assam, India
|Died||23 August 1568, Tuesday|
Bheladonga, Cooch Behar, West Bengal, India
|Honors||Venerated as Mahapurusha|
Do, therefore, regard all and everything as though they were God Himself!? Seek not to know the caste of a Brahmana nor of a Chandala.
Srimanta Sankardev ([ˈʃrɪˌmʌntə ˈʃænkə(r)ˌdeɪv]; 1449–1568) (Assamese: মহাপুৰুষ শ্ৰীমন্ত শঙ্কৰদেৱ, translit. Môhapurux Srimôntô Xôngkôrdew) was a 15th–16th century Assamesepolymath: a saint-scholar, poet, playwright, social-religious reformer and a figure of importance in the cultural and religious history of Assam, India. He is widely credited with building on past cultural relics and devising new forms of music (Borgeet), theatrical performance (Ankia Naat, Bhaona), dance (Sattriya), literary language (Brajavali). Besides, he has left an extensive literary oeuvre of trans-created scriptures (Bhagavat of Sankardev), poetry and theological works written in Sanskrit, Assamese and Brajavali. The Bhagavatic religious movement he started, Ekasarana Dharma and also called Neo-Vaishnavite movement, influenced two medieval kingdoms---Koch and the Ahom kingdoms—and the assembly of devotees he initiated evolved into Sattras over time, which continue to be important socio-religious institutions in Assam and to a lesser extend in North Bengal. Sankardev inspired the Bhakti movement in Assam just as Guru Nanak, Ramananda, Kabir, Basava and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inspired it elsewhere in the Indian subcontinent. His influence spread even to some kingdoms as the Matak Kingdom founded by Bharat Singha, and consolidated by Sarbanda Singha in the latter 18th century endorsed his teachings.
His literary and artistic contributions are living traditions in Assam today. The religion he preached is practised by a large population, and Sattras (monasteries) that he and his followers established continue to flourish and sustain his legacy.
After the death of Sankardev, Madhavdev incorporated narrations of his life in prayer services, a practice that was followed by his apostles, and in due course of time a large body of biographical literature arose. These are generally classed in two groups: early (those by Daityari Thakur, Bhusan Dwija, Ramananda Dwija and Vaikuntha Dwija) and late (Guruvarnana by Aniruddha Das, the more than one anonymous Katha-guru-carits, Bardowa-carit, Sankardev caritra from Barpeta, the Saru-svarga-khanda and Bar-svarga-khanda by Sarvabhauma). The authorship of the biography credited to Ramcaran Thakur, Daityari Thakur's father, is doubted and it is generally dated to the 17th-century and classed with the late biographies.
In general, all biographies consider Sankardev as an incarnation of Vishnu, including that by Daityari Thakur, the earliest. The late biographies differ from the early group on the count that they ascribe supernatural feats to Sankardev, and describe miraculous events; and there is a tendency to read some events of the Bhagavata into his life. The biographies are full of contradictions; even though the earlier ones are considered more accurate, not all they claim are true—Daityari Thakur's biography, the earliest one, claims Sankardev met with Chaitanya, which is now not accepted to be true.
Sankardev, then named Sankaravara, was born into the Shiromani (chief) Baro-Bhuyans family at Bordowa in present-day Nagaon district in c1449. Though some authors have expressed doubt that Sankardev could have lived that long, considering that he was of robust health 1449 is generally accepted. The Baro-Bhuyans were independent landlords in Assam, and Sankardev belonged to the Kayastha Hindu caste. His family-members, including parents Kusumvar Bhuyan and Satyasandhya Devi, were Saktas. Sankardev lost his father to smallpox when he was about 7 years old, and his mother died either soon after his birth, or soon after his father's death; and he was raised by his grandmother Khersuti.
He began attending Mahendra Kandali's tol or chatrasaal (school) at the age of 12 and soon wrote his first verses karatala-kamala. The complete poem was written before he was taught the vowels except, of course, the first one, and is often cited as an example of the early flowering of his poetic genius. He stayed at the tol during his teens, and studied grammar and Indian scriptures. He practised yoga (which is gave up later) and was physically very able, and according to legend, he could swim across the Brahmaputra while it was in spate. It is generally believed that he wrote his first work, Harishchandra upakhyan, while at the tol. Mahendra Kandali changed his name to 'Sankdardev' while he was at school.
Sankardev soon mastered the major scriptures of Sanatana Dharma and thereafter left the tol in his late teens (c1465) to attend to his responsibilities as the Shiromani Bhuyan. He came to be known as the Dekagiri among his subjects and admirers. He married his first wife Suryavati when he was in his early 20s and a daughter, Manu, was born in about three years, but his wife died about nine months later.
It is possible that the death of his wife increased his already existing spiritual inclination and he left for a twelve-year-long pilgrimage, sometime after his daughter was married to Hari, a Bhuyan scion. He handed over the maintenance of his household to his son-in-law Hari; the Bhuyan Shiromaniship to his grand uncles Jayanta and Madhav; and began his journey in 1481. He was accompanied by seventeen others including his friend and associate Ramaram and his teacher Mahendra Kandali. At this point of time, he was 32. The pilgrimage took him to Puri, Mathura, Dwaraka, Vrindavan, Gaya, Rameswaram, Ayodhya, Sitakunda and almost all the other major seats of the Vaishnavite religion in India. He seem to have spent many years at Jagannath-kshetra at Puri, where he read and explained the Brahma Purana to the priests and lay people. At Badrikashram in 1488, he composed his first borgeet—mana meri ram charanahi lagu—in Brajavali. According to Katha Gurucharit, the first Borgeet was "Rama meri hridaya pankaje baise" and he composed it in 1481 at the very outset of the pilgrimage at a place called Rowmari. He returned home to Alipukhuri after 12 years (his family had moved back from Bordowa in his absence). During his pilgrimage, he became the part of a pan-Indian Bhakti movement and helped it blossom.
On his return from his pilgrimage (c1493), Sankardev refused to take back the Shiromaniship, though on the insistence of his elders, he took responsibility of a hundred families (gomastha) but he soon handed over the responsibility to his son-in-law Hari. On his grandmother's insistence, he married Kalindi at the age of 54. Finally, he moved back to Bordowa and constructed a temple (devagriha) in c1498, possibly a thatched house, built on the original site of his father's house where he could meet with people, discuss religious matters and hold prayers, and preach. He wrote Bhakti pradipa and Rukmini harana. Soon after, he received a copy of the Bhagavata Purana from Jagadisa Mishra of Mithila, with Sridhara Swami's monistic commentary "Bhavartha-dipika". Mishra recited and explained the entire Bhagavata in the presence of Sankardev and this event is considered momentous in the development of Ekasarana. Datyari, an early biographer of Sankardev writes: Sankardev listened with rapt attention to the exposition by Jagadish Mishra and realised that the Bhagavata was a scripture without parallel, a scripture that determined Krishna as the only God, naam as the real dharma, and aikantika-sarana and sat-sanga as the indispensable elements of the faith."  He also began composing the Kirtana ghosha.
After his exposure to the detailed Bhagavata Purana and Sridhara Swami's commentary Bhavartha-dipika, Sankardev produced a dance-drama called Cihna yatra, for which he painted the Sapta vaikuntha (seven heavens), guided the making of musical instruments and played the instruments himself. According to other biographers, Sankardev produced Maha-nata in the presence of Jagdish Mishra in the temple he had constructed at Bordowa.
According to Neog, this was the point when Sankardev decided to preach a new religion. Some of the first to be initiated into this religion was the wife of Jayanta-dalai, a leper named Hariram (later Tulasiram), Ramaram his associate and Mahendra Kandali, his tol teacher. The 13 years at Alipukhuri was the period during which he reflected deeply on Vaishnavism and on the form that would best suit the spiritual and ethical needs of the people. Ananta Kandali, a profound scholar of Sanskrit, became his disciple during this time; he translated the later part of Canto X of the Bhagavata Purana after consulting Sankardev.
Some authors claim that this than had all the major features of a sattra (central kirtanghar, cari-hati etc.), whereas many others assert that these features did not exist during Sankardev's time. This than was abandoned and more than a hundred years later in the middle of the 17th-century, Sankardev's granddaughter-in-law, Kanaklata, established it again.
Srimanta Shankardev has written in the "BHAGAWAT" and Uttara Kanda Ramayana, loudation of Bordowa/Batardawa (Nagoan district) about his native village which is 100% and absolutely true information of his birth place ie. Bordowa/Batardowa. However, some people claim that the birth place of Shankardev is Patekibori Alipukhuri (Morigaon District) which is not true and misleading. (Ref: "Sri Srimanta Shankardev Porama Gurujonar Janmasthanr Binoni" a collection of true history of the birth place of Sri Srimanta Shankardev...written by Sri Dipak Saikia.
Literary works in the Baro-Bhuyan territories
- Non-Bhagavata group
- Kirtan-ghosa (Uresa-varnana)
- Non-Bhagavata mixed with Bhagavata elements, not influenced by Sridhara Swami
- Bhagavata tales, not from Book X
- Ajamilopakhyan (Book VI)
- Amrta-manthan (Book VIII)
- Kirtan-ghosa (Ajamilopakhyan, Prahlada-caritra, Harmohana,
- Sections ii–vi
Viswa Singha, began his activities to remove the Bhuyans from power in the western part of the Brahmaputra valley in 1509. Furthermore, the Bhuyans in the Bordowa area picked up a quarrel with their Kachari neighbours, and when attacked Sankardev advised the Bhuyans to move, which brought to an end the independence of this group of Bhuyans. Sankardev and his associates first crossed the Brahmaputra river in 1516–17 and settled first at Singari and finally at Routa; and when Viswa Singha advanced towards Routa, Sankardev moved to Gangmau in the Ahom kingdom. At Gangmau they stayed for five years where Sankardev's eldest son Ramananda was born. At Gangmau, he wrote the drama Patniprasad. In fact he lived alone at a place named Gajalasuti out of dissatisfaction with some relative. He penned the play there.
While at Gangmau, the Koch king Viswa Singha attacked the Ahoms. The Bhuyans fought for the Ahoms and the Koch king was defeated. Due to the unsettled situation at Gangmau Sankardev next moved to Dhuwahat, near Ahatguri in present-day Majuli, washed away by the Brahmaputra in 1913. The Bhuyans were settled here by the Ahoms with land and estate, Hari, Sankardev's son-in-law became a Saikia, and his cousin Jagatananda, grandson of Jayanta received a title 'Ramarai'. At Dhuwahat, he met his spiritual successor Madhavdev. Madhavdev, a sakta, got into a religious altercation with his brother-in-law Ramadas who had recently converted to Vaishnavism. Ramadas took him to Sankardev, who, after a long debate, convinced him of the power and the efficacy of Ekasarana. The acquisition of Madhavdev, with his talent in poetry, singing and dedication to his new-found religion and guru, was a significant event in the Ekasarana history. At Dhuwahat he managed to attract a wider attention and popularity and he initiated many others into his religion.
The popularity of Ekasarana and the conversion of people alarmed the priestly Brahmins, who reacted with anger and hostility. Sankardev tried to diffuse their hostility—by meeting with them at the house of his relative Budha-Khan and asking his Brahmin antagonists to install a wooden idol of Jagannath, called Madan-Mohan, at his religious seat. (Sankardev left this idol hanging on a tree when he took flight from Dhuwahat, and it was rescued years later by Vamshigopaldev and installed at Deberapar-sattra). The Brahmins finally complained to the Ahom king, Suhungmung (1497–1539), who summoned Sankardev to his court for a debate with them. Sankardev was able to convince the king that he was not a religious rebel and a threat to the social order, and the charges against him were dropped. The hostility, nevertheless, continued.
Flight from Dhuwahat
Though the positions of the Bhuyans in the Ahom kingdom began comfortably—with Sankardev's son-in-law, Hari, becoming a Paik officer and Ramrai, his cousin, becoming a royal official—the relationship gradually deteriorated. After the death of Viswasingha, who was inimical to the Bhuyans, and the rise of Naranarayan (1540), the Koch-Bhuyan relationship improved somewhat. Sometime in the 1540s during the reign of Suklenmung (1539–1552) a royal officer visited the region for an elephant capturing expedition. Hari did not make himself available and furthermore, an elephant escaped through a barrier managed by the Bhuyans. The officer took grave offence in this dereliction of duty and arrested Hari as well as Madhavdev. At Garhgaon, Hari was executed and Madhavdev interned for about a year. According to Daityari, taking advantage of the Koch advance against the Ahoms (1546–1547), Sankardev and his followers escaped from the Ahom kingdom as they fell behind the vanguard of the Koch army setting up their garrison in Narayanpur further to the east.
Literary works in the Ahom kingdom
- Arguments against those antagonistic to bhakti
- Kirtan-ghosa (Pasanda-mardana, Namaparadha)
- (Vipra)-patni-prasad (Ankia Naat)
- Tales from Krishna's early life
- Kirtan-ghosa (sisu-lila, rasa-krida, kamsavadha, gopi-uddhava-samvada, kujir vancha-purana, akrurar vancha-purana)
Sankardev and his followers reached Kapalabari in the Koch kingdom in the later part of 1540 where Madhavdev's mother Manorama and some others died; and the group soon moved to Sunpora in 1541. At Sunpora Sankardev initiated Bhavananda and Narayana Das (later Thakur Ata).
After a great deal of moving, Sankardev settled at Patbausi near Barpeta in the Koch Kingdom and constructed a Kirtanghar (house of prayer). Some of the people he initiated here are Chakrapani Dwija and Sarvabhaum Bhattacharya, Brahmins; Govinda, a Garo; Jayaram, a Bhutia; Madhai, a Jaintia; Jatiram, an ascetic; and Murari, a Koch. Damodardev, a Brahmin, was initiated by Sankardev. Damodardev was entrusted by Sankardev to initiate Brahmin disciples. A Sattra was also constructed for him at Patbausi itself. Later Damodardev became the founder of the Brahma Sanghati sect of Sankardev's religion.
Among Sankardev's literary works, he completed his rendering of the Bhagavata Purana and wrote other independent works. He continued composing the Kirtan Ghosha, further translated the first canto of the Ramayana (Adi Kanda) and instructed Madhavdev to translate the last canto (Uttara Kanda), portions that were left undone by the 14th century poet Madhav Kandali. He wrote four plays: Rukmini harana, Parijata harana, Keligopala and Kalidamana. Another play written at Patbausi, Kansa Vadha, is lost. At Patbausi, he had lent his Bargeets numbering around 240 to Kamala Gayan. But unfortunately, Gayan's house was gutted and most of the borgeets were lost. Since that incident Sankardev stopped composing Bargeets. Of the 240, 34 remain today.
Sankardev once again left for a pilgrimage in 1550 with a large party of 117 disciples that included Madhavdev, Ramrai, Ramaram, Thakur Ata and others. Thakur Ata had to return after just one day's journey. Madhavdev had to take entire responsibility of logistics. He on the request of Sankardev's wife Kalindi urged him to return from Puri and not proceed to Vrindavana. Sankardev and the group returned to Patbausi within six months in 1551.
Koch capital and Bheladanga
On receiving repeated complaints that Sankardev was corrupting the minds of the people by spreading a new religion Nara Narayan, the Koch king, ordered Sankardev's arrest, and Sankardev went into hiding.Chilarai—the general of the Koch army, half-brother of the king and married to Kamalapriya the daughter of Sankardev's cousin Ramarai—then convinced the king to give Sankardev a hearing instead.
For the audience with Nara Narayan, as he moved up the steps to the court, Sankardev sang his Sanskrit totaka hymn, composed extempore, to Lord Krishna madhu daanava daarana deva varam and as he sat down, he sang a borgeet, narayana kahe bhakati karu tera, playing on the name of the king. At the debate with the court pundits that followed, Sankardev was able to refute all allegations against him. The king declared him free and furthermore honored him with a seat close to the throne. Sankardev began to attend Naranarayana's court regularly, and received the freedom to propagate his teachings.
Chilarai was instrumental in keeping Sankardev safe and supporting his work. Many of Sankardev's literary and dramatic works were completed in his domain with his patronage and protection. Sankardev acknowledged his appreciation in his play 'Ram Vijaya'.
Sankardev shuttled between Kochbehar the capital and Patbausi his seat. He was often hosted by Chilarai, and on his request agreed to have the images of the childhood days of krishna at Vrindavan woven on cloth. He engaged the weavers of Tantikuchi, near Barpeta, to weave a forty-yard long tapestry panel. Sankaradeva provided the designs to be woven, chose the various colours of thread to be used, and supervised the weaving. It took about a year to complete and, deriving its name from its theme, came to be known as the Vrindavani Vastra . It was presented to Chilarai and Naranarayan. A section of this cloth is preserved now in the Victoria and Albert museum in London.
Chandsai, a Muslim tailor serving the Koch king became a disciple of Sankardev at Kochbehar. When Sankardev returned to Patbausi some time later, Chandsai too came with the saint. Sankardev frequented the capital for more than 20 years and enjoyed unstinted royal patronage for the first time.
He made arrangements with Madhavdev and Thakur Ata and gave them various instructions at Patbausi and left the place for the last time. He set up his home at Bheladonga in Kochbehar. During his stay at Kochbehar, Maharaja Naranarayana expressed his wish to be initiated. Sankardev was reluctant to convert a king and declined to do so. (According to one of the biographers Ramcharan Thakur) A painful boil; a visha phohara – had appeared in some part of his body and this led to the passing away of the Saint.Thus, in 1568, after leading a most eventful life dedicated to enlightening humanity; the Mahapurusha breathed his last – after four months of his last stay at Bheladonga– at the remarkable age of 120 years.
Literary works in the Koch kingdom
- Bhagavata tales, not from Book X
- Bali-chalana (Book VIII)
- Anadi-patana (Book III, Vamana-purana)
- Bhagavata tales from Books X, XI, XIII
- Kirtan-ghosa (Jarasandha yudha, Kalayavana badha, Mucukunda-stuti, Syamanta-haran, Naradar-krishna-darsan, Vipra-putra-anayana, Daivakir-putra-anayana, Veda-stuti, Lilamala, Rukminir-prem-kalah, Bhrigu-pariksha, srikrishnar-vaikuntha-prayana, Chaturvimsati-avatar-varnana, Tatparya)
- Renderings of Bhagavata Purana
- Bhagavata X (Adi)
- Bhagavata XI (with material from Books I and III)
- Bhagavata XII
- Bhagavata I
- Bhagavata II
- Bhagavata IX (lost)
- Kurukshetra (Book X, Uttarardha)
- From Ramayana
- Doctrinal treatise
- Drama (Ankia Naat)
- Visual Art
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Whenever in earth, sin, fallacy,corruption increases, then in different places, a great man born and shows the mankind the path to a peaceful,happy life .Just like Jesus Christ, Gautama Buddha, Mohammad was born. Jesus was born in Jerusalem and created the religion Christan.Gautama Buddha was born in India, and he created the religion Buddhism. Mohammad was born in Arabian city Mecca, he created the religion Islam.Just like all those great saints,Srimanta Sankardeva was born in Assam,India. He was born in 1449, in a village called Bordowa.Srimanta Sankardeva was born at the moment , when the society of assam, culture,language and literature was in a dark age.The saints of that time wrote that, in 1449, the people of Assam forgot about the Veda and Upanishads and morality. People were sacrificing animals in the name of god and goddesses, the people were materialistic. For the reason,the society was filled with corruption and sin.Everywhere in the society, was lacking morality in life.
Sankardeva was born in the midst of such society. His father was Kusumbar Bhuyan and mother was Stayasandha.His mother died just after giving birth to him.His grandmother Khersuti brought him up.
Sankardeva was strong.brave from him childhood.He was afraid of nothing. There is sayings that one day,he knocked down a big bull and in a monsoon, he could swim the Brahmaputra river( which is the world's 7th largest river) to the other side.Well, Sankardeva spent 12 years of his childhood,playing, having fun.But,his grandmother was worried about orphan child Sankardeva.One day, she take him to the teacher Mahendra Kandali( he was a great writer in assamese literature ).That day was Thursday of the month Vada.( august- september).In India, Wednesday and Thursday are believed to be blessesd day to begin a new work. After taking admission in the school, Sankardeva started to study well.In a few days Sankardeva became a bright student. There is sayings that, just by learning the Assamese letters,he wrote a beautiful poem,which is still a wonder for many scholars. It was sign that,he held great talent within him, which changed the entire society of assam for good. The poem he wrote was-
Karatala kamla , kamaladala nayana
Vabadaha-dahan gahana bayana sayana
Kharatara barakhara hatadakha badana
Khagasara nagadhra fanadhra sayana
Napara napara para saratar gamaya
Savaya mabhaya mama harasata taya
Jaga daghamapa hara vaba vaya tarana
Para pada laya kara kamalaja nayan
It was a beautiful poem.In a short time, he mastered the art of verse.I believe his, verse is as beautiful and meaningful as the verses of William Shakespeare. He studied the four Veda,fourteen Satra and eighteen purana and became a great scholar of that time. He also studied yoga" sastra and started to practice and lived 120 years, a great mighty long year.
After completing his school study, he was given the title of Sanskrit scholar by the people. At,the age of 22, he married the girl Suryabati, daughter of Haribar Giri. After, 3 years of marriage, a girl born, they named her Monu.When, Monu became nine month, her mother Suryabati Died.
After, the sudden death of his wife, Sankardeva felt very sad ! It was great shock to him ! So,it was unbearable for him to stay in that place anymore!, I believe the death of his wife made him question, why people die ?, so he started to search the answer in religion and for that reason, in 1503, he went on a journey with his friend Ramram,Sarbajay,Paramanadh and 18 other to the different pilgrimage of India.India is always been the center of spirituality in the whole world,because, the most ancient and great Hindu religion started in India,Besides the great Gautama Buddha born in India.
Sankardeva in his journey ,visited Srikheta,Ganges ,Sitakunda,Barah khetra, Pushkarani tirtha, Mathura,Brindabana .After the journey of 12 years,he went home.The journey took that long period,because in 15th century, there is not such transportation as we have now in 21th century. At the age of 97, master Sankardeva with Madhavdeva, Ramram and Narayana, Gobinda, Udar and with 120 follower he went to pilgrimage for the second time.
After, coming home, from his first journey, which was for 12 years.In those years, he studied the Vaishnava religion.
Sankardeva was inspired to spread the Vaishnava religion in Assam, by translating the book for Assamese people. The main motto of the Vaishnava religion is believing in one and only one god. Hurting animal is strongly prohibited even an insect , just like the Buddhism. The people who are true Bhakat( who strongly apply the Vaishnava religion or dharma)
In the time Sankardeva was born ,People were unhappy, distracted and were living a very unstable life. Thats why to attract the people about this Vaishnaba religion, he wrote the play, Sinha- yatra and also acted on it,it is called as Bhaona in assamese( the acting ). In the sinha-yatra ( a dance play), he painted the sapta vaikuntha( home of god Vishnu or Hari ).It is the beautiful, eternal abode of Narayana or Vishnu, his consort Laxmi, or in simple it was heaven as we imagine.Watching the beautiful paintings of 7 heaven and music played along,people got mesmerized and became disciple of Sankardeva. In this way, Sankardeva became very popular. Many scholars of Assam, started to realize the greatness of Sankardeva and became his disciple even his teacher Mahendra Kandali. Day by day people became attracted to his new religion, which was far more peaceful itself than believing many god and goddess.In this way, a new era of began in my state Assam. The era of vaishnavism,.Great Scholar of Assam said hat, the modern civilization of assam is truly a civilization of vaishnavism .
Great Sankardeva's best pupil was Madhavdeva like Socrates and Aristotle.At first Madhav deva usedto believe in the 'Sakta' religion.( In the Sakta religion , the believers pray to many god and godesses) At the first meeting Mahavdev debated with Sankardeva,in the debate with Sankardeva, in the debate Sankardeva told Mdhavdev that, a tree has many branches and they all need water and minerals and it is good enough to give water to the routes of the tree from the route, the vascular system will carry the water to all the branches.It is foolishness to give water to every branches.Just like that praying to Krishna( Who is the god, that Vaishavism religion believes in,he is also known as Vishnu) wouldbe like praying every god and godeses, as he is the source of all energy of universe. With such beautiful examples Sankardeva explained to Madhavdeva believing in one god is more appropriate,peaceful than believing inmany gods.After realizing the wise words by Madhavdeva became his pupil.After that, both Sankardeva and Madhavdeva started to teach the religion together all around assam.The meeting Sankar -Madhav is called ''Mani-Kansan' connetion in assamese. The religion Sankardeva what taught us was based on the ''Veda'', ''Puran'', and ''Vagabata'. The main thing in a religion is not the name of god, and the names are different in different religions.All religions holds the same believe in the unknown. We hindu call it Vagaban, muslims call it Allah and the Chritians call it God. To pray god,we only need a pure heart and a open mind, not temple. Sankardeva believed in honest thinking and simple living which purifies both mind,body and soul.
In this religion,every being is equal.Leo Tolstoy shared the same belief,thats why he said that,God lives in humanity.
Great saint of India, Sankardeva had respect for every religion and for every people. Thats why he wrote-----
Kukura( Dog),Srigala ( fox) ,gardabharo( Donkey) atma(soul) Rama( GOD, an avatar of lord Vishnu)
Janiya( knowing) sabako( eveybody) kariba( Do) pranama ( respect)
English translation of the above great verse is ----
Dog, fox and donkey all have the soul of god,
knowing that greet every being respectfully.