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Current Affairs

Sattras of Assam

Date: 08 March 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

As election season in Assam has arrived, political parties have lined up to visit many place of cultural importance. One such place is Bartadrava Than.

 

Background

The Bartadrava Than or Sattra is located in Nagaon district of Assam and is the birth-place of renowned Vaishnavite saint and reformer Srimanta Sankardeva.

 

Details

  • Sattras are monasteries built as part of Neo-Vaishnavite reformist movement initiated by Vaishnavite saint and reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva (1449-1596). 

  • The Sattras were established as centres of religious, social and cultural reforms in the 16th century. They were formed as a centre for propagating teaching.

  • The Sattras promote “worship through art” approach of Sankaradeva with music (borgeet), dance (sattriya) and theatre (bhauna).

 

Sattra structure

  • Each Sattra has a naamghar (worship hall) as its centre and is headed by a powerful and influential “Sattradhikar”.

  • Monks are known as Bhaktas and are brought into Sattras at a young age. They may or may not be celibate, based on the type of Sattra they are inducted into.

 

Sankaradeva’s philosophy

  • Sankaradeva promoted a type of Bhakti called eka-sharana-naam-dhrama, and initiated a society based on equality, free from caste differences, orthodox Brahmanical rituals and sacrifices.

  • His teaching is based on prayer and chanting (naam) instead of worshipping idols. His dharma was based on the four components of deva (god), naam (prayers), bhakats (devotees), and guru (teacher).