Vaishnav Movement in Assam


Vaishnav movement played a very significant role to reform the traditional society of Assam. It will be unfair to call it a movement only because it was like an internal revolution which attempted to completely revolutionize the Hindu religious belief.

The Vaishnav movement was not only just a phenomenon of Assam but it was a phenomenon of whole India.

The movement led by Srimanta Sankardeva in Assam, therefore he is known as the founder of Neo-Vaishnavism in the state.

Vaishnav Movement in Assam

The Birth of Vaishnav Movement

We can say that the Vaishnav movement was a form of Europe’s renaissance. As like renaissance reform the traditional Christian Catholic religious belief, the Vaishnav movement also reformed the traditional Hindu religious belief.

[During the discussion of its causes, you will get to know why the situation came for its reformation]

The hint of the Vaishnav movement slowly slowly started during the age of the 10th century. According to some intellect, it was born in south India.

There was a great scholar Ramananda, he started this movement first by his literature. The philosophical belief based on which he started it called ‘Viseshtatabaad’. [Viseshtatabaad and Eksaranbaad both are the same]

Ramananda took it to North India and from North-India it began to spare all over India.

[Here some great scholars like Kabirdas, Ballabhacharya, Chatyanyadeva, and Sankardeva played the main roles. In today’s West Bengal, Chatyanyadeva played the featured role and in Assam, Sankardeva played the main role of it].

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3 Causes of the Vaishnav Movement

1. To provide real religious knowledge: – After the 10th century, with the mixture of Aryan and non-Aryan languages, new forms of languages started to evolve in North, East and West Indian regions.

[Kamrupi Prakrits were one of them, later from Kamrupi Prakrits the Assamese language evolved].

These people, who started to spoke in new languages, lost their knowledge to understand and spoke in old Aryan language, which was Sanskrit.

In this case, the religious text Mahabharata, Ramayana, Gita, and Veda became very incomprehensible to them. Common people slowly slowly started to lose their ability to understand the real face of Dharma.

To provide the real knowledge of Dharma, Shastra, and spirituality, some intellects like Ramananda, Kabirdas, Sankardeva, and Chatyanyadeva started to translate these religious texts from Sanskrit to their regional languages. Such as – Assamese (old form), Bengali, Bihari, Odia etc.

If you approach Mahabharata, Gita, Veda, Ramayana, then you will find that all these religious texts are Lord Vishnu centric.

All the Books which publish the glory of Lord Vishnu slowly spared among the common people of India and later this fact help in the growth of this movement a lot.


2. Liberate the society from blind faith: – Due to the inexhaustible of religion texts, gradually the preference of obsolescence started to rise up in the society of India.

Common people started to think blind believes, superstition, these are the part of Hinduism. These reflections of common people later birth some, religious centric violence, social discrimination and many other bad things.

To reform that situation and to unify the society again, it became necessary to explicate the true nature of Dharma again. For going to do that propagandist, took the ‘Eksaranbaad’ as their main philosophical belief.

In ‘Eksaranbaad’ they spreading the greatness of Lord Vishnu and tried to explain what actually Dharma consist. So, this is the 2nd reason for the Vaishnav movement in Assam and India.


3. The rise of Islamism: – The Vaishnav movement took a new speed in the 15th century. Here is the main cause of it- Actually in the 15th-century Muslim kings started to take control of the different corner of India.

That is why with the support of the Islamic kingdom, Islam religion started expanding in India. On the other hand, the people who were below the lower level of Hinduism also started to assume Islam.

The expansion of Islamism created such fear to the growth and existence of Hinduism. That is why for removing the high-low and touchable-untouchables beliefs, reformers tried to amend it via ‘Vaishnavism’.



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