As part of an international webinar series on different facets of Sankaradeva Studies, organized by the Society for Srimanta Sankaradeva in association with Naamghar Association of America, USA (NAAM), the fourth webinar was held on March 13, 2022. Dr Binoy K Bordoloi, a prominent biotechnologist and chairman of NAAM, spoke about Christianity and Eka-Sarana Nama Dharma. It was moderated by Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, author and scholar of Sankari culture and president of the Society for Srimanta Sankaradeva.
Dr Binoy K Bordoloi began by explaining the essential elements of Eka Sarana Nama Dharma as well as Christianity. He also gave a brief idea of the Bhakti movement in India, making comparisons between Christian monasteries and the Sattras of Eka Sarana Nama Dharma founded in the legacy of saint Srimanta Sankaradeva. Dr Bordoloi discussed the organisational structure, economic sources for living, and cultural activities of both institutions. He referred to the Sattras of Majuli in this context and also showed a video of Sattradhikar visiting USA.
Dr. Bordoloi said that in Eka Sarana Nama Dhrma, there is only one supreme being, who is both the creator and the manifest reality. There is no duality of God and the world, but only unity. Christianity believes that God is creator, but he is distinct from his creation. There is duality of God and the world.
Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, in his comments, said that monotheism and the absence of idolatry mark two major similarities between Eka Sarana Nama Dharma and Christianity. Pointing to the huge scope of comparative study between the two religious orders, he rued that Eka Sarana Nama Dharma is still not much known in global level.
Dr Ratul Chandra Bora, former Registrar of Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankaradeva Viswavidyalaya, Nagaon pointed out that Eka Sarana Nama Dharma was basically a reformist movement and thus comparable to the Protestants in Christianity. Musician Rupam Jyoti Bora from Guwahati raised the probability of comparability in musical elements. Dr. Ananyaa Barua of Philosophy department, Hindu College, Delhi University elaborated on the philosophy of Srimanta Sankaradeva that God and creation were the same. Shyam Dev Choudhury, Secretary of NAAM raised the issue of using Brajawali language by the saint. Dr Shakuntala Choudhury and Prof Arvind Phukan of Alaska University, USA also participated in the discussion.