Madhavadeva: Biography [2]

In Bāndukā, Madhava met his elder step-brother Dāmodara for the first time. The boy Madhava had so long found no opportunity of receiving any education. Govindagiri now made arrangements for giving a proper education to Madhava, and took him to the chatrasāl of Rājendra Adhyāpaka. Within a short time, he acquired a good knowledge of Nyāya, Tarka, Sanskrit poetry and office administration. He also became a scholar in Sākta lore.

Soon after this, Govindagiri breathed his last and Madhava carried the sad news to his mother at Hokorākuci.

He, however, went once more to Bāndukā and found his brother Dāmodara lying ill. So he had to manage the office of the Majindār (Majumdār) in lieu of his brother for some days at the court of the chief of Bāndukā. Then he took to trade. According to one account, he purchased some pearls and corals at Bāndukā which he sold in Upper Assam with the profit of Rupees one hundred in all. Other biographers say that he engaged himself in a small trade of betel-leaf and areca-nut. Madhavadeva was successful as a trader.

Earning some money in this way, Madhavadeva decided to marry and was betrothed to a Kāyastha girl. A prose biography of the Saints mentions that the parents of this girl lived near the royal dockyard (nāo-sāli) at Negheri, the modern Negritting in Golāghāt, Assam. After the “jodon” ’ the ceremony of giving presents of ornaments, dress, etc, to a girl to confirm a marriage engagement - was over, Madhava came down the Brahmaputra for trade on a larger scale, but had a serious attack of dysentry. He directed his companions to take him to his brother’s house at Bāndukā; but finding his case hopeless, they left him on the bank of the Brahmaputra whence he was of course carried by his half-brother, taken care of and cured. Sometime later, in the course of his journey from Bāndukā towards Tembuāni, somebody informed Madhavadeva that his old mother had been seriously ill. With much anxiety in his heart, Madhava resolved to sacrifice two white goats to the Mother Goddess as votive offerings, and hastened to see his mother, who with her daughter and son-in-law had, in the meantime, moved to Dhuwāhāt (Mājuli).

According to other accounts, it was his own miraculous cure in the wake of the attack of dysentry that prompted Madhava to make such a vow. In any case, Madhava returned to his old mother who was now comparatively well and overjoyed to see him back. Madhavadeva now asked Gayāpāni to purchase a pair of white goats whose horns he would bind with silver and sacrifice them before the goddess. This simple event brought him to Sankaradeva.