Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday attended a gathering at Borhojai Moidam Durga Mandir complex to commemorate Mahapurush Shri Damodardev on the mediaeval Assam’s neo-Vaishnavite saint’s 424th Tirobhav Tithi (death anniversary).
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister remembered the neo-Vaishnavite saint for his contribution towards spiritual renaissance of the Assamese community in the mediaeval period, which then was besieged with numerous social evils such as discrimination owing to birth in a so-called higher or lower varnas, among others. “Assam at the dawn of 15th century was going through one of its darkest phases. There was a dark cloud looming all over… It was during such circumstances that the Assamese society witnessed the birth of Mahapurush such as Damodardev, among others…” The Chief Minister added: “… it was through the spiritual and philosophical guidance of Mahapurush such as Damodardev that the Assamese society was able to embark on the path of spiritual regeneration and awakening.”
Hailing Mahapurush Damodardev’s role as the first to give shape to full-fledged Satra culture, Dr. Sarma said: “Mahapurush Damodardev was the architect of the full-fledged Satra system… The Mahapurush (Damodardev) in 1540 C.E. established the Patbaushi Satra at Barpeta and later installed Mahapurush Bhattadev as the Satradhikar in his place….” “It was Bhattadev, Mahapurush Damodardev’s successor at Patbaushi, who gave a formal definition to the word Satra,” the Chief Minister added.
The Chief Minister, speaking on the toleration that Sanatan Dharma professes through acceptance of multiple belief system, leading to the “single universal truth”, urged for social reforms among its adherents for true spiritual growth. He appealed to the followers of Sanatan Dharma to practice the teachings of great saints such as Mahapurush Sankardev and Damodardev, along with those of vedas and upanishads in day-to-day life, so as to achieve the society these great saints had dreamt of in their lifetime. Stressing on achieving a society without discrimination on the basis of caste, Dr. Sarma added: “Practicing the tenets of the vedas is more important than attaining knowledge of the vedas and allied literatures…” “Discrimination on the basis of birth in a so-called high or low caste find no approval in the vedas,” the Chief Minister added.
The Chief Minister also spoke about the possibility of establishing an university named after Mahapurush Damodardev, in line with the one named after Mahapurush Bhattadev, as a mark of gratitude of the people of Assam towards the works of the great saint.