Sri Sri Auniati Satra



Sri Sri Auniati Satra occupied the highest position amongst the various Satras of Assam in the eyes of the Ahom Kings. The slightly elevated land of Majuli, where this Satra was established, was full of Auni Paan (a kind of betel creeper plant). Ati means elevated place. There from the name Auniati Satra came into being.

The idol which receives daily worship in the Satra Temple (Manikuta) is the idol of Lord Krishna called Govinda. This idol was originally brought from Jagannath Kshetra (Puri, Orissa) and installed there with all the Vedic religious rituals. Apart from the main idol, there are also other idols for worship here. There are twelve branches of this famous Satra in various parts of Assam. The main branch of Auniati Satra is at North Guwahati, just opposite to Guwahati city, which was established in 1915 A.D. by His Holiness Sri Sri Kamal Dev Goswami by possessing 60 bighas of land from Aswaklanta Devalaya. The 14th Satradhikar Bhagawat Bhaskar Sri Sri Hem Chandra Deva Goswami rebuilt the old Satra in 1959 to its present condition. The Kaliapani branch of the Satra was built by the present Satradhikar SriSri Dr. Pitambar Dev Goswami in the year 2003.

With around 550 residents of udasin vaishnavs, SriSri Auniati Satra has been the epicenter of the Vaishnavism and Satriya culture in Assam. In addition to the regular holy practices in the Satra, numerous literary pursuits like biographical works of the Vaishnavite Saints, cultural compositions of 'bhaonas', 'Satriya songs and dances', religious publications and preaching related to religious and societal works are the core activities of the Auniati Satra. The Satriya ritual activities of the Auniati Satra include Sharana, Bhajan, Nam-Prasanga, religious festivals and related devotional performances for the pleasure of Lord Govinda. The Satradhikar, Deka Satradhikar, Govindapuriya with their vaishnava disciples lead an udasin life (celibacy and purely devoted to the thinking of God).

The main prayer in the Auniati Satra continues from morning till evening everyday and is being continued without interruption for more than last 350 years. The Satriya performances are usually a regular devotion to Lord Govinda by the vaishnavs in the Satra in the general prayer hall (Naam-ghar). In addition, there are also special performances devoted to Lord in presence/ supervision of the Satradhikar on various occasions and festivals. These festivals are Paal-naam, Raas-leela, Janmastami, Holi, Dewali, Bohag Bihu (Assamese New Year), Kati Bihu etc. The death anniversaries of the past Satradhikaras and the Vaishnavite Gurus are also ritually celebrated.

The Satriya performances of the Auniati Satra include various forms of prayers, dances and religious theatrical shows based on the great Indian epics of Puranas, Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, SrimadBhagawat etc. The foremost dance performances of SriSri Auniati Satra are Natua, Apsara, Sutradhar, Ozapali (Panchali and Dulari), Sali, Jumura, Krishna Gopi Nritya, Maati Akhara and Gayan-Bayan. The Songs (Satriya Geeta) includes Gayana Geet, Ozapali Geet, Janmastami Geet, Raas-Geet, Gopal Bairagya Geet, Raja Gharia Geet, Guru Bandana, Deva Bandana & Natarmajar Geet. Naama , Hiya Nam, Deeha Nam, Sabahua Nam, Bairagi Nam, Nam Mangal, Ghosa Mangal, Ras Mangal, Bairaginam, Barnam etc. One of the significant festivals of Sri Sri Auniati Satra is Palnaam, commencing from the 25th day of Assamese Kartika Month to the 29th day of the same. Thousands of followers (disciples) gather in the main Majuli satra for offering their prayers during these days.

Other major activities include the spiritual guidance (preaching) called Sharan, Bhajan and Malamantradan under the direct supervision of the Satradhikar or his delegates. The Auniati Satra with its head quarter in Majuli has two more focal establishments in North Guwahati and Kaliapani (Teok) with more than 1 million followers across the country. The Satra upholds the pride of performing cultural Satriya programmes as invited delegation across the country including National programmes like Republic day celebration at New Delhi, presentation at Rashtrapati Bhawan (for the President of India), National Cultural festivals at National Museum, New Delhi, Jodhpur, Rajashthan, Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu etc. etc.

The dwelling and habitat in Satra

The Satra has a circular structure with a row of houses called Baha at the periphery and the Namghara (Temple) and Manikuta at the center of it. The Satradhikar (Main Preceptor) resides just near the premises of the Temple. The Deka Satradhikar (Second Preceptor) resides in the middle part of the north line and Govinda Puriya (Third Perceptor) resides in the middle part of the east line (Pub Hati). All Bhakatas (Vaishnavas Devotees) live on the four lines of the Satra (East, West, North and South). These are called Hati in Assamese - a row of huts.