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Home > Reference > Indian Literature > Regional Indian Literature > Assamese Literature > Vaishnava Literature in Assam > Madhavdeva
Madhavdeva, Vaishnava Literature in Assam
Mahadhavdeva was a great Assamese poet in the realm of Vaishnava literature. His greatest work is the Namghosa, based on Vedanta philosophy.
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 Madhavdeva is one of the greatest Vaishnava poets in Assamese literature. He was a devout follower of Sankaradeva. Seen in his works is a graceful flow and style which is both expressive and captivating. A genius poet who was highly intellectual and philosophical in his approach, he was an extremely austere devotee. He preached faith and proclaimed Bhakti regardless of failure or accomplishment in the right Bhagavata way.

Madhavdeva's poetry some of the most beautiful works of Vaishnava literature. Namghosa, the Rajasuya Yajna, the Adikanda Ramayana, the Bhakti Ratnavali, the Janma Rahasya, the Nammalika, etc., are some of his noted poetical works. The Bhakti Ratnavali is like the Bible of Assamese Vaishnavism, a book that sharpened the edge of Ekasarana Dharma which means devotion to one God who is the "supreme power". In the Rajasuya Tajna, the supremacy of Lord Krishna is portrayed through the description of his domestic and social life. Though a translation from the Ramayana, the Adikanda breathes a certain measure of freedom that lends to it the character of an original work; the verse is graceful and vibrant.

The Namghosa, based on Vedanta philosophy, is one of his greatest works. It is steeped in religious philosophy containing the core and essence of Assamese Vaishnavism. In the Namghosa, Madhavdeva developed a most unique skill in the form of serious musical verse. The music in it deepens and organises as the rhythm undulates. Not only from the point of poetic qualities, but also from that of philosophical study of spiritual ideas, does the Namghosa stand supreme. The opening lines of the Namghosa are a rendering from a Sanksrit work composed by Vishnupuri Sannyasin. This too has been changed, in keeping with his literary style, into a beautiful and sombre piece. Madhavdeva was a deep-voiced musician who sang his own compositions with great joy. As he sang his Bargeetas, he invariably completely captivated and enchanted the audience with his voice. Bargeetas have attained a distinctive depth of spiritual passion. They constitute the principal body of devotional songs and poems in Assamese literature.

Madhavdeva was also deeply involved in the propagation of Vaishnava tenets and doctrines. He did this not only by way of the various musical messages such as the Bargeetas but also in the form of visual representation such as the Bhawana performance. His dramas like Cordhara, portraying the child-life of Krishna, are characterised by childlike beauty. Under Madhavdeva's backing the eternal fascination of the child, joy and warmth, fond maternal caresses, etc., constitute a distinctive feature of Assamese Vaishnavism.

Vrajadham is the mytho-poetic land of Krishna's leela. Among the grown-ups are the milkmaids and Yasodadevi. The atmosphere is conceived as an arcadia overflowing with the grace of childhood simplicity. Krishna with his symbolic flute is as a child with flute and trinkets. He is the only writer in Assamese Vaishnava literature who conceives Krishna as a child. Madhavdeva draws his inspiration for Krishna's child-life from the Sanskrit Bhagavata Purana, Madhavdeva.

Madhavdeva's genius is introspective, reminiscent and analytical; rhythmic climax and great intensity of feeling constitute the keynote of his poetical genius.

(Last Updated on : 06/03/2013)
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