[Laudation to the theatrical art.]
Madhavdeva reverendly expressed about Shankardeva comparing him with Krishna (Hari, the saviour of humankind) who killed Kansha for the sake of peace and harmony. It is Hari who is worshiped in three universes because of His redemptional activities of virtuous persons from unjustice and cruality. The world and its pious inhabitants were reedemed by the Deva Narayana [Hari/ Krishna] from the jaws of disasters and attrocities whenever the circumstances arosed. Shankardeva carried the same characteristics with Him. Because it was Shankardeva who showed us the path of rightiousness through his theatrical expressions and taught us the way of prostration to the culture of Krishna (the killer of Kansha. Duskriti). We have some elaborations regarding the unique amenability of theatrical art in the Natya Sastra of Bharat Muni. Out of many verses of Natya Sastra the most encouraging verse can be stated here -
Theater is such an art form which is capable of leading people in socio-political cultural and religious aspects and carries the strength of showing right paths of all aspects for the benefit of future generations. Srimanta Shankardeva used the utmost capabilities of this art form to satishfy his intense interest on omnipotent omniscient beauty and established his theater in a reverend position for ever. No beauty can be achieved or used if it is not understood and materialised through proper artistic way. In various expressions of progessive aesthetics it is widely explained that the beauty which is incapable of being used for the benefit of human race than the concerned beauty is to be identified as ephemeral and heinously corrosive. Shankardeva`s enthusiasm for omnipotent omnicient beauty empowered the total social phenomenon to reach the desired goal of salvation through endowment of beauty in every aspects of life and society. It was executed through his literary, theatrical and musical confluence which can be expressed as Tribeni Sangam of pragmatic beauty. He designed his theater in such a way where all viewers of his theater irrespective of rustic villagers , sagacious persons and scholers got inspiration to be obsequious for man and its Maker.
It was an approach of Shankardeva in the medieval period of Assam, but how much the present theater workers are aware of the subject and responsible for the avocation and benevolence of their esteemed audienceses should be gauged without fail. Because it is indispensable for the growth and development of theatrical art.
Natyaveda speaks about the essence and amenability of theatrical art and on the other hand the salutation of Madhavdeva to his master Shankardeva shows us how the apostle of theatrical art becomes dignified as a curtain raiser of salvation through truth and tranquility and tenacious beauty.
Religion could not be separated from the stream of life, because it carries the vitality of life which we generally identify as sprituality and the ultimate path of tenacious beauty. Shankardeva estimated life depending on the strength of sprituality through which people get inspiration to decore their life in socio-political, economical and cultural spheres with minimum necessity of lunatic comfort irrespective of religious diversity such as Hindu, Islam, Christrian, Zorastrian etc. The theatrical expressions of Shankardeva revealed that the creative beauty could be applied for the homogeneous growth of human society and its related factors through the Krishna culture and its ambiguity. Krishna is the symbol of culture, the innermost truth of reality which can be followed as Krishna, Allah, God and so on. The paths of following Krishna culture is differ with religion to religion but the results of following the same encompasses the human race in a never ending journey of fraternity, peace and prosperity which leads us to salvation.
Shankardeva designed his theater with a view to emancipate people through the perfection of life and reality. In the light of modern thoughts and theories the Shankarian theatrical exppressions are treated as booring and outdated for a class of so called progressive people. But the trend of theater which has been flourished and nourished by them in the name of modernity brings no vitality except the increase of hedonistic affinity. The effort of revealing the reality and the amenebility of Shankarian theatrical art for the sake of human race is invaluable because the durability of passionate feelings of humanity can be expected through Krishna culture which the saint admired through his theater (Natyakala ).
The analysis of the subject stated above demands a deep knowledge and study which is vacate in me. Because of intense urge of the subject an approach has been made by me to write as an outline of the subject concerned. This article is nothng but hints on Shankarian theater through which it is expected that the competant person of this field will try to make broad discussion for the greater interest of Assamese theatrical heritage and its present and future prospects.