It would be in the fitness of things if Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary tenders an unconditional apology to the people of Assam for casting aspersions on Srimanta Sankardeva, without any loss of time, and desists from making any shallow but devastating remarks on the most versatile saint of this land
After a Russian prosecutor filed a case against the Bhagavad Gita, levelling the most blasphemous and malicious allegation that the circulation of this holy book of the Hindus would promote violence in Russia, and should therefore be banned, now it is the turn of one of the Boro politicians of Assam, Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary, to demand a ban on the holy Kirtan-Ghosa, the most revered religious book of the Asomiyas, composed by Mahapurusa Srimanta Sankardeva in the 15th-16th century. While the Russian court refused to pass the requested ban order after considering all the pros and cons, including the opinion of international experts, the Boro leader in question, without any provocation from anywhere, and just like the bolt from the blue, brought out a copy of the Kirtan-Ghosa and opined before television cameras, showing the following portion of the holy book, that Sankardeva directed that the Meces-Boros-Kacharis be exterminated or killed at the end of kali yuga by Kalki-avatara and that even the Buddhists were to be killed in the same manner:
Kalira sesata haiba Kalki-avatara
Kati mari mlesaka kariba bundamara//
Sabako badhiba Baudhagana jata ache
Kalira sesata Satya pravatiba pacey//
To suit his own political or undeclared vested interests, with the possible fallout of a communal flare-up between the Boros and the non-Boro Asomiyas, Sansuma, in his self-assumed avatar of a Sankari scholar and authority on the sacred Vaisnava literature, declared that Sankardeva, by asking for the extermination of the mlechas, had actually issued direction for killing of the Meces-Boros-Kacharis and also all followers of Buddhism through Kalki-avatara. As such, he demanded, at a public meeting in Kokrajhar on 19 June, that the Kirtan-Ghosa be banned immediately.
The above blasphemous statement by a responsible Boro leader has been severely condemned by the Sattra Maha Sabha, Hindu religious leaders, Asomiya intellectuals, Sankari scholars and hundreds of thousands of followers of the Mahapurusa, and rightly too. Effigies of Sansuma were burnt in different parts of the State, demanding unconditional apology from him, and there were reports of decisions to file criminal cases against him for committing blasphemy and inciting communal violence in the trouble-torn State, where movements by non-Boros against Boro high-handedness in BTAD areas, and against the demand for a separate State for the Boros, have been going on. Fortunately, the president of the Boro Sahitya Sabha, as also BTAD chief Hagrama Mahilari, minister Chandan Brahma and some other right-minded Boro leaders, have realized the gravity of the situation arising out of the uncalled-for action of Sansuma and have either disassociated or condemned his statement. Hagrama has gone one step further, asking his compatriot to tender unconditional apologies to the Asomiyas immediately, in the interest of the Boros themselves.
In this context, readers would do well to note that for the first time in history, after the maha-prayan of Sankardeva in 1568 — that is, after 444 years — such a demeaning demand has been raised, and that too by an educated Boro leader who has also served as a Member of Parliament, without even caring to take expert opinion on the subject and giving his own interpretation of the word mlechas, making it synonymous with the three tribal communities of Meces, Boros and Kacharis. What prompted Sansuma to make the volcanic statement and blasphemous demand, only he knows; but it will be relevant to bring out how wrong he was in making his interpretation of the word mlechas without bothering to go into the life, preachings and practices of the Mahapurusa and also the basis of his creating the holy book eulogising his only deity, Lord Vishnu, and his human form, Lord Krishna.
Let us peruse the preamble to the Kirtan-Ghosa, which is what Lord Krishna said to Arjuna, as stated in the Bhagavad Gita:
Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhabata Bharata
abhyuthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamya aham//
paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam
dharmasamsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge-yuge.
The English transcript as made by Dr Sarvapally Radhakrishnan stands as follows: “Whenever there is decline of righteousness and rise of unrighteousness, O Bharata (Arjuna), then I send forth (create incarnate) Myself. For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked and for the establishment of righteousness, I come into being from age to age.”
The caturvimsati avatara varnana or the 24 incarnations of Lord Krishna as described by Sankardeva in his Kirtan-Ghosa were primarily derived from Bhagavad Purana, Book X, XI and XII, as stated by Dr Maheswar Neog in his Sankaradeva and His Times. So, what Sankardeva wrote about destruction of the mlechas and all including the Baudhagana actually meant destruction of all wicked and unrighteous people or evil-doers at the end of kali yuga by Krishna in his incarnation as Kalki. It is non-sensical to bring the Meces/Boros/Kacharis under the name mlechas as done by Sansuma, without going into the totality of the life, preachings and practices of the Mahapurusa, as also the preamble to the Kirtan-Ghosa as stated herein before.
It would be of interest to know that during the times of Sankardeva, a vile, degraded form of Buddhism, known as Vajrayana or Bamachari form of Buddhism, was holding sway in some parts of Assam, which was a “queer mixture of monistic philosophy, magic and erotica, with a small admixture of Buddhist ideas”, which admitted the five M’s or pancha makara — madya (liquor), mamsa (meat), matsya (fish), mudra (parched grain) and maithuna (sexual intercourse) — as indispensable ritual for the votary. There was also a class of devotees of a goddess called bhogis, who like the Tantric or Bamachari Buddhists committed to the pancha makara, believed that by sacrificing their lives at the altar of the goddess they would attain salvation. Syed Abdul Malik, in his Dhanya Nara Tanu Bhal, gives lucid details of the sexual excesses and extravaganza of the bhogis at the cost of poor women, including married ones, on the pretext of volunteering to be sacrificed at the altar of the goddess on a prescribed date. Well, all these degraded, anti-social people doing all unrighteous acts fall in the class of mlechas and are destined to be destroyed by Kalki-avatara, not the Meces, Kacharis, Boros and other members of any tribes.
It would be relevant to mention that Sankardeva embraced thousands of members of ‘impure’ tribes, including the Kuvacas or the Koches, Mlechas or Meces(!), Kacharis, Kirats, Garos, Miris, Chandalas, Ahoms or Asamas, Bhotas or Bhutias, Yavanas or Musalmans etc into his faith, after which they became ‘pure’ and also gave them the position of atai. Some such devotees are Govinda (Garo), Bolai and Paramananda (Miri or Mising), Ram (Kachari), Damodar and Jairam (Bhota), Purnanda (Kaibarta), Haridas (Bania), Narahari (Ahom), Murari (Koch), Chand Kha or Jaihari (Yavana) etc. How could one (unless he is ignorant or irrational) even imagine that such a saint would ask for the heads of Meces/Boros/ Kacharis etc through the medium of Kalki-avatara? Sankardeva had his firm conviction that the souls of dogs, Chandalas and donkeys too are verily God, and knowing this, he urged upon his followers to respect them all. How could one ever imagine that such a Mahapurusa could issue direction by invoking Kalki-avatara to exterminate the Meces/Boros/Kacharis as alleged by Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary? For grasping the great qualities of the head and heart of the Mahapurusa and for dispelling any wrong impressions on him and his creations, interested persons may go through my research work titled Sankardeva: His Life, Preachings & Practices, apart from any other work on the saint.
Finally, it would be in the fitness of things if Sansuma tenders an unconditional apology to the people of Assam for casting aspersions on the most versatile saint of this land, without any loss of time, and desists from making any shallow but devastating remarks on Srimanta Sankardeva, his successor saints, and his followers or any of their creations. Otherwise he should be prepared for facing legal action for committing blasphemy against the Hindus and provoking communal hatred, as already declared by some followers of the Mahapurusa.