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Baikunthanatha Bhagavata Bhattacharya
BornBaikunthanatha Bhattacharya
23 March 1558
Bheragaon, Kalgachia, Barpeta, Kamrup
Died3 January 1638(1638-01-03) (aged 79)
Pen nameBhattadeva
LanguageKamrupi dialect[1][2] Assamese language[3]
PeriodMediaval period
Notable worksKatha Bhagavata,[4] Katha Gita,[5] Bhaktiratnavali,[6] Bhakti Viveka (Sanskrit)[7]

Bhattadeva (1558–1638) (Baikunthanatha Bhagavata Bhattacharya) is acknowledged as the father of Assamese prose.[8] Though Bhaktiratnakar-katha, the Assamese translation of Sankardev's Sanskrit composition Bhaktiratnakar by Gopala Charana Dwija preceded the works of Bhattadeva,[9] Bhattadeva's prose had an influence in the development of a high and dignified style. Bhattadeva's and Gopala Charana Dvija's 16th century works are considered to be the earliest examples of prose in Indian languages.[10] Bhattadeva's erudition in Sanskrit grammar and literature, and his command over the Bhagavata earned him the title of Bhagavata Bhattacharya.[11]


Bhattadeva was born to Chandra Bharati and Tara Devi in a Brahmin family of Bheragoan, Kalgachia, Barpeta,(Kamrup).[12] After finishing his education he became a disciple of Damodara Deva and succeeded him as the head of Patbausi satra at Barpeta. He established the Byaskuchi satra some time later where he died. He is best known for Katha Bhagavat and Katha Gita, though some minor works like Saranamalika and Prasangamala are also ascribed to him.[13][14][15]


Bhattadeva began translating the Sanskrit Bhagavata into Assamese prose at the bidding of Damodaradeva, who wanted it to be accessible to the common man. He rendered Katha Bhagavata in a discursive style that is dignified and balanced.[16] He maintains the same sense of dialogue in the Katha Gita. Though he uses short sentences, popular vocabulary and the expressive cadence of the colloquial,[17] he uses Sanskrit vocables heavily and his language is an elevated one.[18] After completing the Bhagavata and the Gita, he rendered the Bhaktiratnavali into elegant prose. He also compiled a book of devotional verses in Sanskrit gleaned from the Upanishads, Puranas and Samhitas illustrating all the elements of Bhakti. The work, Bhakti-Viveka reveals extensive knowledge and erudition of Bhattadeva, from the vedic to the puranic literature. Bhattadeva's contributions are not confined to prose literature, he wrote poetry also.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Upendranath Goswami (1970), A study on Kāmrūpī: a dialect of Assamese Rama Sarasvati, Ananta Kandali, Sridhara Kandali, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Dvija Kalapacandra and Bhattadeva, the father of Assamese prose, all hailed from the present district of Kamrup. In the writings of the early Assamese writers mentioned above reflections of the Kamrupi dialect are evident.
  2. ^ " was Bhattadeva who gave a distinct shape to Assamese prose... In all these writings traces of the Kamrupi dialect are quite distinct" (Goswami 1970, p. 7)
  3. ^ "It was in his (Bhattadeva's) hands that Assamese prose was hardened, nourished and was fitted for the expression of high spiritual matters" (Barua 1953, p. 129).
  4. ^ (Barua 1953, p. 129)
  5. ^ (Barua 1953, p. 129)
  6. ^ (Sarma 1987, p. 480)
  7. ^ (Sarma 1987, p. 480)
  8. ^ (Sarma 1987, p. 480)
  9. ^ (Saikia 1997, p. 16)
  10. ^ (Saikia 1997, p. 16)
  11. ^ "Bhattadeva had a profound grammar and literature which earned for him the title of Bhagavata Bhattacharya" (versed in the Bhagavata). (Barua 1953, p. 131)
  12. ^ (Sarma 1987, p. 480)
  13. ^ Sarma, Satyendranath (1976). Assamese literature. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 63.
  14. ^ None, Ayyappappanikkar (1997). Medieval Indian literature: an anthology: Volume 2. Sahitya Akademi. p. 16.
  15. ^ George, K. M. (1997). Masterpieces of Indian literature: Volume 1. National Book Trust. p. 2184. ISBN 978-81-237-1978-8.
  16. ^ (Barua 1953, p. 130)
  17. ^ (Barua 1953, p. 130)
  18. ^ (Sarma 1987, p. 480)
  19. ^ The Assam Quarterly: Volume 2. Assam Academy for Cultural Relations. 1962.


  • Barua, B. K. (1953), "Early Assamese Prose", in Kakati, Banikanta, Aspects of Early Assamese Literature, Gauhati: Gauhati University
  • Goswami, Upendranath (1970), A Study on Kamrupi: A Dialect of Assamese, Gauhati: Department of Historical and Antiquarian Studies
  • Saikia, Nagen (1997), "Assamese", in Paniker, K. Ayyappa, Medieval Indian Literature, 1, New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, pp. 3–20
  • Sarma, Satyendranath (1987), "Bhattacharya, Baikunthanatha Bhagavata", in Dutta, Amaresh, Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature, New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi