Silchar: The 3 day long 279th birth anniversary of Shri Rajarshi Bhagya Chandra Maharaj, the proponent of Gourio Vaishnab Sampradaya and the pristine Manipuri cult and culture concluded here today with grace and solemnity. It was a packed function which started with the hoisting of flag and prayer. L Manglemba Singha, former senior librarian of Cachar College in his welcome speech spoke about the significance of the day. O Churamani Singha, a retired principal, Gurucharan College, threw light on the achievements of Rajarshi Bhagya Chandra. In his key note address, L Tejamani Singh, president Zila Leibak, Silchar, spoke about the illustrious life of the great Manipuri king.
He added to say in the annals of Manipuri kingship history, the name of Rajarshi Bhagya Chandra is held in high esteem. During his life span of 58 years, he ruled the Manipuri kingdom for about 40 years. During this period, he had to face the Burmese invasion as many as 13 times, but successfully repulsed them and protected the integrity and solidarity of the state. He was baptized in Madhwacharjya sect of Goudiya Vaishnab cult by his celebrated guru Premananda Goswami in 1778. After being initiated into the cult, he introduced the Ras culture in Manipuri way of song and music as well as costumes in Manipuri tradition as per the tenets of Ras-Panchadhya of Bagabattam ten chapter, particularly the 29 and 33 cantos, containing 172 slokas.
Before he embraced the said cult of Vaishnab Sampradaya, the cult of Ramanadi (belief in one God) was prevalent in Manipur. Madhwacharya cult, on the other hand, is the belief in more than one God. It was Rajarshi Bhagya Chandra who retained the worshipping of pristine Manipuri cult and cultures at par excellence. During his lifetime, pointed out L Tejamani Singha, Madhwacharya cult was modified by the great Vaishnab avatara Gouranga Mahaprabhu. This cult gave the message that since dharma, artha, kama, moksha is not the sole way of attaining nirvana, the only way of emancipation or mukti is prema, complete surrender to God. It is called the medium of nibritti. It is on the basis of this teaching and preaching that all Manipuri sanskritana and other prayers are elevated towards prema.
L Tejamani Singha described Rajarshi Bhagya Chandra as the very incarnation of Narattom Thakur since his mortal remains were washed away by the rising tide. For his many attributes, the Manipuri scholars have compared him to King Yudhistira for virtuousness, Brihaspati for intelligence, King Sibi for generosity, Kamadeva for beauty, Bikramaditya for magnanimity, Lord Vishnu for forgiveness and Lord Shiva for boons. He is also like the bird of paradise as described by Manipuri intellectuals.
The 3 day programme was enlivened and enriched by national seminar on ‘Rajarshi Bhagya Chandra and Vedic Culture’, cultural presentations by Manipuri ballad troupe, as well as other variety attractions. Of significance is the participation by a host of scholars who presented their papers on Rajarshi Bhagya Chandra and Vedic Culture’. Mention has to be made of Dr Sumit Basu, Shantiniketan, Dr Arjun Sen Sharma, Assam University, Dr Y Manidhan Singha, SS College Hailakandi and Dr Khumanthem Sabita Devi, Manipur College, Imphal. It was divided in two sessions which were chaired by Prof. Bihari Singha and Dr K N Chand Singha.
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