The 563rd birth anniversary of Assam’s 15th century saint-scholar, socio-religious reformer and playwright Srimanta Sankardeva was observed with reverence across the State on Thursday.

`Naam’ (prayers) were held in the `Naam Ghars’ (prayer halls) and various `Sattras’ (monasteries) that Sankaradeva and his followers set up in the State and in the neighbouring areas of Cooch Behar in West Bengal.

At the Sattras, established by him and his followers, verses in praise of god from his Kirtan were sung to the beating of khol (drum) and bhut-taal (large bell metal cymbals) by his devotees.

Cultural processions were taken out and functions were held with the enactment of bhaonas (dance-dramas) and dances composed by the Gurujona (Srimanta Sankardeva) in many places.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday greeted the people on the occasion of the Guru’s birth anniversary stating that his spiritualism and humanitarian ideals are the sources of inspiration for the people of the state.

“Celebration of the great saint’s birth anniversary would inspire all sections of people to dedicate themselves to practicing his ideals and spread his good work far and wide. This will also strengthen the traditional bond of unity among the people of our diverse society”, Mr. Gogoi said in a message.

Considered to be an important figure in the cultural and religious history of Assam, Sankardeva had started the `Mahapurushiya Dharma’ (religion) that gave shape to a set of new values and social synthesis.

He had inspired the Bhakti Movement in Assam just as Ramananda, Guru Nanak, Kabir, Basava and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inspired it elsewhere.

With his literary and artistic contributions, he provided the foundation of Assamese culture by building on past literary activities.

Born to a `Sakta’ (believers of the doctrine of the Goddess) family in 1449, Sankardeva was against worshipping of idols or images of gods and instead focussed with his `Eka Sarana’ (one god worship) more on the transcendental and spiritual side of religion.

Fighting casteism through his social revolution, he initiated people of all castes and religions, including Muslims, into his fold.

After leading an eventful life dedicated to enlightening humanity, he died in 1568 at the age of 120 years.