--> Skip to main content

Madhava Kandali – Author Of Assamese Valmiki Ramayana

Madhava Kandali is the author of the Assamese version of the Valmiki Ramayana. Madhava Kandali was patronized by the Barahi king Mahamanikya of Jayantapura. The poet was regarded as a powerful and sensitive poet and for this reason he was known as Kaviraja Kandali, the king of poets..

Among the translations of Valmiki’s Ramayana, the Assamese version of  Madhava Kandali was the earliest – 14th century AD. The Ramayana of Krittivasa was composed in the 15th century AD, while Ramacharitamanasa by Tulsidas was composed in the 16th century AD.

The translations of Madhava Kandali are written in graceful Assamese verse, without deviating from the original, however adding local flavor with commendable ability.

…the Madhava Kandali version of Ramayana undergoes almost a generic transformation. An idyllic beauty replaces the heroic tone of the original. Where there was martial atmosphere and heroism, we now have the charm of the sweet domestic life of an ideal father, mother, son and daughter and brother. Much emphasis has been laid on homely virtues like devotion to parents, veneration of the guru, affection for wife, importance of husband and wife in family life, brother and friends, kindly feelings and courtesy to common men. (B.K. Barua)

Sankaradeva, a distinguished saint-poet of Assam, learned in philosophy and arts, praised Kandali as a flawless poet of a very high order.

The poet never allowed autobiographical fragments to come into his works. 

The 14th century Ramayana of Madhava Kandali makes it clear that Sanskrit language was very much in use among the educated Assamese people of that time. However, the Assamese language itself had a tremendous growth and had reached its full grown status by then; otherwise, it would not have been possible to translate such epics as the Ramayana.

The first  as well as a final kanda of the work is still missing and is yet to be retrieved. 

Another work of Madhava Kandali is Devajit, a work in which the greatness of Krishna over other incarnations of Lord Vishnu is attempted to establish.

Source – 
Madhava Kandali Ramayana (2000) – Shanti Lal Nagar – Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VI page 312 - IHRF