There is to be seen a certain similarity between Buddhism and Assamese Vaishnavism. The monastic and congregational systems, the three precious objects (Saranas), the image processions, the Pada Sila, the Asan and relics, the offerings of lamps, oil and flowers, etc., are but a few points of similarity. Because of many identical features common to both, Buddhism readily yielded place to Vaishnavism; there are communities in Assam who prior to their conversion to Vaishnavism are believed to have been Buddhists. This is deduced on the likeness of a group of communities in Bengal.
The songs known as Bauddha Dohas are the compositions of popular preachers of the Buddhist religion though the opinions of scholars about their date of composition differ considerably. While some put the date as the 14th century, others hold that these mysterious poems must have been composed during the 8th to 10th centuries. This view appears to be nearer the truth as evident from their linguistic peculiarities. The language of these poems is a form of old Bengali which seems to have been greatly influenced by the Sauraseni Apabhramsa and occasionally by Sanskrit and literary Prakrit. However, other scholars have pointed out that certain morphological and phonological peculiarities of the Dohas have come down in an "unbroken continuity" from early to modern Assamese. It is said that Sahajayana doctrines and Sahajiya practices constitute the essence of these obscure compositions. Sahajiya, a mysterious form of Buddhism, is an "affirmative creed" that accepted life as it is and yet tried to transcend it by a self-imposed mental and physical discipline.
Also, there is Minanath, a poet of the Dohas, who is believed to hail from Kamarupa. He belonged to the fishermen community. The following is an extract of a song composed by Minanath of Kamarupa:
'Kahati guru paramarthara bata, Karma kuranga samadhika patta, Kamala bikasila kahai na jamare, Kamala madhu pibi dhoke na bhomora. '
From a careful study of these compositions, it appears that the Dohas fit into the prevailing spirit of the age. Though they appear to be written in a mixed dialect of Kamarupi and Maithili and are mainly didactic in purpose, these poems have a significant literary value in the evolution of old Assamese poetry. The aphorisms of Dak Mahapurusa are often identical in spirit to the Dohas, the only difference between the two was that while the former is essentially secular, the latter is seemingly religious.
The Buddhistic dohas, tantras and mantras, etc., evidently belong to a dark age. They are valuable deposits of thoughts and ideals of a people before they emerged from the dark age of religious beliefs and literature to a more rational culture. These anonymous compositions of Tantras and Mantras, spells and charms, are generally archaic in language. They possess neither the lyrical spontaneity of the people's songs nor the easy expression of the Vachnawalis. Tantras and mantras belong to a dark age when other a corrupt religion stimulated by the decadent phases of Buddhism or a crude form of Shaktism was the prevalent faith. Yet, in between the 7th and the 12th centuries, it was an age of lock-cut and copper-plate literature for Assam.
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