Saturday 20 January 2024

Sri Rama: The Soul of India : Yuva Bharati January 2024


Sri Rama: The Soul of India

The whole nation is waiting for the grand and great moment, of the fulfilling the desires of the crores of people since the last five hundred years for the opening of Sri Ramajanmabhoomi temple at Ayodhya on 22nd January. We publish an article that was written on the day of Shilanyas of this historical temple.


As on 5th August the whole country celebrates the Shilanyas of Sri Ram Mandir at Sri Ram Janma Bhoomi, crores of hearts would be overwhelmed, the eyes would be blurred with tears of happiness that the wait of almost 500 years is over, a silent prayer would be offered with gratitude for all those who died for the cause and deep satisfaction that we have lived to see this day, an inner feeling would be experienced that celebrations of Independence starts this year 10 days before the Independence Day. Three incidents float my memory.  


It was one week after 6th December 1992. The Sarvodaya leaders along with religious leaders of Kanyakumari organized a peace meeting at Gandhi Mandapam located at sea shore. Various heads of the religious, social, political and educational organizations were invited. Vivekananda Kendra elders attended it, with them I too attended. It was decided that some passages of some universal meaning would be read from Bible, Koran and Vedas. There would be few talks, appeal for peace etc. And then with silent prayers the meeting would be concluded.


The meeting proceeded as planned. As it was concluded and we were about to get up, a booming voice rang, ‘What is this? You are having a meeting in Gandhi Mandapam and concluding it without Ram Bhajan?’ The organizers got jittery, they turned and found an old man, coming towards the gathering from the door. “Who are you?’ asked the organizers apprehensively. ‘I am Ahamed (I hope I am remembering the name correctly) the watchman at the Gandhi Mandapam’. Saying so, before the organizers could object him, he started the Bhajan, ‘Raghupati Raghav Rajaram…’ All gathered, joined him.

It was not just singing Bhajan but what was suppressed all this time so to say spontaneously came out. Seeing that a person from Muslim community was leading the Ram Bhajan, the organizers though shocked by the turn of events a bit helplessly, let the people sing Bhajan.


Actually, whatever was going on till now was so superficial that there was heaviness in the atmosphere. But once the Bhajan started and as all enthusiastically joined in it, the air around became light and friendly. A common man in India whatever may be his religious affiliation adores Rama. Sri Rama has entered in the soul of India like no other historical personality of India.


When I was Principal of Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya, I had made it a point to take the moral science classes for all the sections. To save my time, I used to combine the sections of each class. The syllabus was made as to in which class what values and behavioural changes would be stressed through stories. The stories for each class were also decided. Whatever I wanted to tell the children would be told through the dialogues in the mouth of the personalities in that story. Thus, the stories would be very long. For example, for class III the Ramayana would go all through the year. As much as children loved listening to the stories, I loved narrating it to them. Sometimes while walking through the veranda, a child would tell me, ‘Didi, tomorrow Friday! Your moral science period on our class’, as if I needed a reminder! Or if a holiday comes on Wednesday the children having the moral science period on that day would come to me and complain, ‘Didi, why all holidays are coming this year on Wednesday only?’ As if not only time table but even the calendar was my creation!


Once, I went to class III for the moral science period. Before entering generally, their noise would reach me as more than 80 children of both the sections would be sitting in one class room. But that day there was no sound at all. I was bit surprised. As I entered the class and students greeted me with Namaste, I was stunned to see the table, chair and place around decorated with many flowers. More than 80 pairs of shining innocent eyes were looking at me expectantly for my response. Thinking they might have taken the flowers from the beach garden which was looked after tirelessly by Saraswatididi, the vanaprasthi Karyakarta and if so then later how I would have to listen to her outburst, I asked bit worried, ‘From where did you bring so many flowers?’ ‘From my home Didi.’ Replied all those who had brought it. ‘But why have you covered all this with flowers?’, I asked puzzled. ‘Ramarajyabhishekam! Didi today there will be coronation of Srirama, so celebration!’ I was overwhelmed. I turned my back on them as if I was seeing the flowers and controlled myself. As I was wearing a white colour saree, I started to remove the flowers from the chair. ‘No, Didi, that is like the Simhasanam – throne of Sri Rama. Please do not remove the flowers.’ I could not disregard the feelings of those tender hearts. Even today when I remember that incident, my heart fills with joy. Sri Rama moves hearts of such tiny tots also.


The third incident is just few years back. Though I had gone for Kendra work many times to Lucknow, I had not visited Ayodhya. I had not asked for that, may be deep down I was avoiding the pain to see Ramlala in a tattered tent. But as the work started in Gorakhpur, Ayodhya and other places, in my one pravas (organizational tour) the visit to each branch was planned. At Ayodhya, visit to the temple was also included in the itinerary.

Through many security gateways we had to pass. No bag or mobiles were allowed in the hand. At last we reached a place where we could enter the strong iron barricades to ultimately reach the temple. Due to the varying time at each security gate the Karyakartas accompanying me were behind and I was in the group of pilgrims who appeared to be from some interior villages of Tamilandu. It was very hot. After walking through many barricade lines at last we reached the last but two lines. A person near me started asking, ‘enna da Kovil enge irukkiradu? Oh.. where is the temple.?’ One Jawan standing little away from us spoke in Tamil loudly so as to attract our attention. ‘Keep looking right. Do not look here and there or you would miss the Darshan.’ There were tents for the Jawans to rest, drink water etc. Many Jawans of various armed forces were posted at various locations.

Because that Jawan had told, we did not miss the Darshan. The tent was discoloured, tattered. While walking through barricades if a person looks for 3-4 steps in other direction, he would miss the Darshan, so narrow was the opening and so inconspicuous was the tent to pay attention to it. As we moved further in the barricade towards exit, one old man in that group said, ‘The one who protects us all, he needs to be protected here…’ The other old person said in fatigued tone, ‘I hope in my life time, my Rama gets the temple at his birth place.’ The simple words but they represented the longing and waiting of so many hearts since 500 years; what tears I was trying to hold back started flowing.


Why does this Shilanyas of Sri Rama temple at Ramjanmabhoomi move us so much? Swami Vivekananda had said Dharma is the soul of India and Srirama is called as ‘Ramo Vigrahvan Dharma’. Sri Rama is Dharma incarnate. This Bhoomipoojan grips us so much because Sri Rama is deeply embedded in the inner being of this nation. Ve Sabke Ram hai.


Let us keeping aside what caste, creed, community, religion we belong, chant the name of Srirama, all the heaviness that our political or ideological affiliations bring, would be gone and we would experience the lightness as Ahamad made us feel that day.

Let us touch the child-like innocence in our heart and our heart would rejoice and celebrate 5th August, as my tiny-tots that day celebrated.


Feel the long wait in many old hearts of all our earlier generations in the past 500 years and we will be grateful that we are alive to cherish this great historical moment.

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