Devotee Shankara Deva Story of Assam | The Importance of Good Association

The Story of Shankar Deva-Part-1

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Association, Company has a great effect on one’s life. When one associates with the devotees of the Lord, with people who are established in Truth, one is transformed completely, automatically without any conscious effort on one’s part. One shall automatically develop greatness of character. One shall automatically become a gold mine of divine qualities.

On the other hand if one were to associate with the worldly-minded, pseudo-liberals or atheists one shall automatically transform into dark characters; many of them who associate with these characters will live a life of falsehood. They would live in a world of their mental creation, wholly false and hypocritical. People who overdo their fakeness, can even degrade to the level of intellectual terrorists or suicide bombers, the worst of their kind. One predominant characteristic of these people is that they are extremely hard-hearted and virulent by nature. Whatever is against Dharma, against Truth, that for them is truth and correct.

The highlight, the extract of the eighteen Puranas as elucidated by Srila Vyasadeva, is that, to render service unto others is virtue and to terrorize or trouble others is verily sin.

The above is a prelude to the story of Sri Shankara Deva, a devotee from the province of Assam, in North-East India, Bharath; who lived in the sixteenth century. This devotee had to suffer his way, as he continued to live a life of undiluted devotion to the Lord. Those were the days where two kings ruled Raja Nara-Narayan of the kingdom of Koch in West Assam and king Swar-Narayan who ruled the kingdom of Ahom. The two kings were great followers of the Tantra Cult. In those days  Tantra was prevalent among the common folks. The cult of Tantra was popular in the province of Assam since the time of the great Puranas. Assam was called, the great Empire of Kamarupa. The capital of the Empire was Pragjyotishpura, modern day Guwahati. The most popular temple in Assam, in those days was the Devi’s Temple, of Devi Kamakhya. In the old days, even human sacrifices were offered at the Temple, as part of the Tantric practices. The Kalika Purana, is full of descriptions about the great Kamakhya Temple of Assam. During Shankar Dev’s times, the whole of the Tantric science had taken a very heinous, distorted shape. In fact the authenticity of this practice had become quite questionable as it had become the epicenter of the goriest sins.

In the Kalika Purana there is a description that only such a person can be sacrificed during the course of a Tantric Practice, whose body was spotless and does not have any wound or injury. There were gory descriptions of how the head of such a Bali (person to be sacrificed) (बलि) should be severed and how his heart had to be pulled out and offered in a vessel for the satisfaction of the Devi, the presiding deity of the temple. There are instances revealed, where, after the Mughal attack on the temple, the Kamakhya temple was considered defiled. For reinstating it back to its lost glory, the king, Nara-Narayan ordered a formal cleansing program of the temple. He ordered that the heads of 140 healthy individuals were to be severed as part of the “clean-up” program and were to be offered to the Goddess, for her satisfaction. The individuals of those days verily wallowed in gross misconception and took Adharma (अधर्म) to be Dharma (धर्म).This was, in fact, the darkest part of history, of any temple. It also indicated the height of ignorance that passed for “authentic Tantra” religion.

Could the king have offered the blood of his relatives for the “so-called” bloody clean-up, to satisfy the Goddess? The best sacrifice could have been, to sacrifice his own self at the feet of the Temple Altar. What could have been much holier? But here is a king that commits a genocide in the name of authentic religion. This was perhaps the darkest phases in the anals of Sanatana Dharma, a pseudo-religion which was actually an act of merciless massacre.