Srimanta Sankardev is to Assam what Chaitanya is to Bengal. Considered to be the greatest saint of Bhakti Movement in Assam, he gave great impetus to Vaishnavism and made it popular in the region.
Sankaradeva was born 1449 AD at Bardowa in the Nagaon district of Assam. His parents left the world when he was still a child.
This greatest religious reformer who flourished in the fifteenth century was an exponent of Krishnite form of Vaishnavism. The essence of his teachings is monotheism of God which has been named Eka-Sarana-Harinama-dharma (religion of taking refuge in one God)
He rejected idol worship and therefore, no image of Lord Krishna is placed in the prayer hall. At the altar of god there is placed the Bhagavata Purana like the Grantha Sahib in the Shikh Shrines. He did not advocate the worship of Lord Krishna’s consort Lakshmi or Radha.
Sankardev denounced caste or class distinction and preached to all irrespective of caste or creed in their mother-tongue. The sect he founded came to be known as Mahapurushiya dharma which has made a deep impact on every aspect of life in Assam.
Sankardeva’s chief disciple was Sri Madhavadeva who wrote Nam-Ghosa and Bhakti-Ratnavali.