The Bhagavat of Sankardeva
is the Assamese
adaptation of the Bhagavata Purana
made by Srimanta Sankardeva
in the regions that form present-day Assam
and Cooch Behar
. Though the major portions of the work was transcreated by Sankardeva, few other writers from that period contributed to the remaining sections.
This book is revered and forms the central religious text for the followers of Sankardeva (Mahapuruxiya Dharma). The text is not a literal translation from the original Sanskrit into the vernacular but it is an adaptation to the local milieu in language and content.
Srimanta Sankardeva transcreated the different sections of the original Bhagavata Purana at different times of his life. They are :
In the Koch kingdom
- Book VI (Ajamilopakhayana part)
- Book VIII (Amrta-manthana part)
- Book I
- Book II
- Book VII (Bali chalana part)
- Book X (Adi part)
- Book XI
- Book XII
From among these sections, Book X, locally called the daxama, is particularly popular among the Mahapuruxiya dharma works, next only to kirtan ghoxa (Barman 1999, p 122). Sankardev's translations of Book IX are believed to be lost.
The other transcreators are:
- Book IV Ananta Kandali, Aniruddha Kavi, Gopal Charan Dvija
- Book V Aniruddha Kavi
- Book VII Kesava Das
- Book IX Kesava Das
- Book X Ananta Kandali (Seh part)
Differences from the original
The original, which was written in Sanskrit
was rendered into Assamese
words and idioms of the time by Sankardeva, but it was not a verbatim translation. He intentionally left out some sections and summarized or elaborated others, to fit the situation in Assam. He replaced the name of the tribes and flowers by those found in Assam, for instance, thus specifically targeting the local populace. More significantly, whereas the original looks down upon the shudra
12/3/25), Sankardeva extols them, envisaging a radically different social order not based on the traditional varna system. Some of the more abstruse philosophical parts were summarized and rendered so that the common people in Assam could understand them .