Statue of Equality Made in the Honour Saint Ramanujacharya

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    In Context

    • PM Modi recently unveiled the Statue of Equality at Muchintal near Hyderabad in Telangana, which has been constructed to honour the philosopher-saint Ramanujacharya and his teachings.

    About the Statue

    • Statue of Equality is one of the tallest metallic statues in the world of any person in a sitting position. It is 216 feet in height. It has been conceptualized by Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami of Sri Ramanujacharya Ashram.
    • It is built on a 54 feet high base building named ‘Bhadra Vedi’. This building has a Vedic digital library, a research centre, a theater, ancient Indian texts and an educational gallery featuring teachings of Sri Ramanujacharya. 
    • The Statue is made of Panchaloha – a combination of 5 metals viz. Gold, Silver, Copper, Zinc and Brass. At the same time, the deity in the inner Sanctorum is made of 120 kgs of gold to mark the 120 years of Sri Ramanuja’s life.

    About Ramanujacharya

    • About:
      • Sri Ramanuja was an 11th-century Vaishnavite saint. State of Equality is a part of ongoing twelve days celebrations to mark the 1000th birth anniversary of Sri Ramanuja, referred to as ‘Sri Ramajuna Sahasrabdi Samaroham’. He was born in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
      • Sri Ramanuja was initiated by Vidyavrata Sanskara rituals at the age of eight. He later studied in Advaita Vedanta school under the guidance of his guru, Yadav Prakash.
    • Philosophy: 
      • His philosophy of Vishishtadvaita is considered one of the most prominent schools of Indian philosophy, along with Shankara’s Advaita and Madhava’s Dvaita.
      • Vishishtdvaita is also referred to as qualified non-dualism. It believes in the supreme reality of Brahman, with multiplicity as one of the characteristics of Brahman. It also puts in its faith in the underlying unity which subsumes all diversity.
      • In simple words, Vishishtadvaita means that though brahman (god) and atman (the devotee) have a separate physical existence, the devotee can experience the elixir of both their cosmic oneness, which is a personal experience.
    • Social Reform: 
      • Sri Ramanuja was a social reformer and worked for the upliftment of the downtrodden. He built upon his philosophy of Vishishtdvaita to show that everyone is equal and all differences based on gender, caste etc. should be discarded.
      • He truly believed in the tenet of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’ and expanded it to improve inclusivity despite the prevailing discrimination in contemporary times. This is why the statue of Sri Ramanuja has been named ‘State of Equality’.
    • Bhakti Tradition: 
      • Sri Ramanuja laid emphasis on using bhakti as a means of spiritual enlightenment. If we devote ourselves to Bhakti, we would be one with the supreme reality (god) and attain final bliss.
      • He is considered to be the inspiration for poets like Annamacharya, Bhakta Ramdas, Thyagaraja, Kabir, and Meerabai.
      • As per him, ‘Moksha’ does not necessarily mean liberation from the cycle of birth and death. It is, in fact, related to the attainment of joy from devotion, worship and contemplation. 
      • As a Vaishnavite, he set the Parampara to be followed for rituals in the Vaishnava temples. It includes the timing and the content of rituals, the performance of Seva and recitation of hymns.
    • Sri Ramanuja’s Contribution:
      • Sri Ramanuja wrote influential texts like Bhasyas on the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, in Sanskrit. His nine popular books are called Navaratna and include three Bhashyas (commentaries), three Gadyas (Prose texts) and three Vedanta texts.
      • It is also said that various texts like Shatyayaniya Upanishad are likely authored by his disciples.
      • Yakshagana the folk drama of Karnataka – derives its inspiration from Vaishnavite tradition and the teachings of Sri Ramanuja.

    Conclusion

    • Statue of Equality has been aptly named after one of the greatest philosophers, theologists and social reformers of the Bhakti Tradition.  The teachings of Sri Ramanuja have inspired the leaders over a period of time to work for the upliftment of the poor and better the lives of the downtrodden and will continue to do so in the coming future.  

    Source: TH