The Situation Before the Advent
The biographer Daityari Thakur describes the situation before the advent of the Saint in his biography of Sankaradeva:
nana deva pujay karay balidana
hamsa chaga para kate sahasra pramana.
tapa japa yajna dana tirthasnana kare
ghora narakata pari pari sabe mare.
upajay maray samsare barambara
nahi sukha neravay samsara nikara.
tala gaila loka kali papasagarata
krpamaya Krsne jani gunila manata.
sito loka samastaka karibe uddhara
Sankara Madhava rupe bhaila avatara.
[People] worshipped various gods and sacrificed to them.
They slew ducks and goats and pigeons in the measure of thousands.
They performed austerities, prayed, gave gifts, sacrificed and bathed at
tirthas, [nevertheless] all of them died and fell into a terrible hell.
They were born and died in samsara time and again.
There was no joy, the world consisted of pain
and people drowned in the sea of sin that is the kali age.
Knowing this, merciful Krishna decided in His heart
that He would save all those people.
He became avatars in the forms of Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva