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The Pran Pratishtha Ceremony of Shri Ramlalla - An Auspicious Beginning of a New Era

By Ram   Lal

On January 22, 2024, in the ancient city of Ayodhya, an unforgettable confluence of unity, reverence, devotion, and harmony was witnessed. People from every corner of the country, from diverse backgrounds and beliefs, gathered together to witness the Pran Pratishtha of Shri Ram Lalla in the grand Ram temple. The arrival of Shri Ram Lalla not only stirred a wave of enthusiasm throughout India but also spread a wave of renewed enthusiasm across the world.

This magnificent event, probably unprecedented in the history of India, showcased a unique blend of meticulous planning at the micro-level and grand inclusion at the macro-level. In Ayodhya, echo of every Indian and ancient civilization, every sentiment, and every tradition found its reflection under the shelter of Lord Shri Ram. From the secluded islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman to the distant mountains of Ladakh, from the lush forests of Mizoram and Nagaland to the sands of the Rajasthan's deserts, all 28 states and 8 union territories of India witnessed this grand event, with all languages of India echoing the sentiment that 'Ram Sabke Hain.’

The process of inviting guests began in September 2023, starting from compiling the list of invitees to personally inviting them, even reaching out to remote areas of the nation. Ultimately, each invitee was assigned a unique code. The program was entirely structured around religious, spiritual, and social themes. As a result, only the heads of national and state political parties and CM of host state were invited to the ceremony, Invitations were not extended to any central ministers or chief ministers. This was also a widely discussed topic among the invited distinguished guests on that day.

Representatives from various donor categories, ranging from those donating as little as 10 rupees to millions, were present at the event. A total of 131 prominent and 36 tribal representatives, representing different origins of the Indian ancient religious traditions, were present. This included representatives from all major traditions such as Akhadas, Kabir Panthi, Raidasi, Nirankari, Namdhari, Nihangs, Arya Samaj, Sindhi, Nimbark, Buddhists, Lingayats, Ramakrishna Mission, Satradhikar, Jains, Banjara community, Maitei, Chakma, Gorkha, Khasi, Ramnamis and others. Representatives from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and nomadic tribes were also present. Different religions like Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism were also represented. Families of District Judge Sri Nayyar, who made the decision in favor of Ramlalla in 1949, and former Duty Constable Abdul Barkat, who testified, were also invited. Family who was fighting the case against Ramlalla was also invited along with families of former officials of Ayodhya. Families of leaders of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and lawyers who participated in the judicial process of Ram Janmabhoomi, including advocates, were also present at the event. Along with Current President and Vice President of India, former Presidents and former Prime Ministers were also invited. The event also saw the participation of retired chiefs of all three armed forces who were vigilant in ensuring India's security, as well as recipients of the Param Vir Chakra. Scientists from ISRO who led India to the moon and scientists who developed the Indian COVID vaccine were also present. Several former Chief Justices of the Supreme Court, retired judges, retired administrative and police officers along with Indian diplomats who worked in various countries were present, as were eminent lawyers, doctors, CAs, and directors/editors of newspapers and TV channels, as well as renowned social media influencers. Industrial families from large corporations were also present at the event, along with members of prominent Royal Families. Players who represented India in various sports, Artists from various fields such as painting, sculpture, music, literature, instrumental music, dance etc., including those from Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Odia, Assamese, Bhojpuri, Punjabi, and Haryanvi film indutries were also present. Representatives from 53 countries were also present at the event. There were 15 Yajmans in the main puja, representing all castes and classes (Sikhs, Jains, Neo-Buddhists, Nishad society, Valmiki society, tribal society, nomadic tribes, etc.) and individuals from all directions of India (North, South, East, West, Northeast) were represented. The event also saw the presence of farmers and laborers, as well as representatives of cooperative and consumer organizations, who contribute to the nourishment and development of the country. Officials, engineers, and workers from L&T and Tata Group were also present. Several workers from the RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, including revered Sarsanghchalak of the RSS Hon'ble Sh. Mohan Bhagwat and Hon'ble Prime Ministers of India Sh. Narendra Modi, also graced the occasion. If Shri Ram Lalla was being Pratishthit, then surely all the gods and goddesses must have been present to bless the occasion.

At the behest of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, hundreds of Vishva Hindu Parishad workers were tirelessly engaged day and night, several workers from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and other local self-help organizations were also involved in the organization of this event. Their experience in management was subtly reflected in the arrangement of the event, which was being experienced by every devotee present there. Whether it was welcoming, arranging battery-operated vehicles, providing wheelchair facilities, or organizing entry processes, every aspect was meticulously planned. The leaders of the self-help organizations themselves were seen removing everyone's shoes and keeping them aside, even as they continued to serve during their return. Outside the makeshift toilets, arrangements for slippers were also made. Everything was prepared with careful consideration. The citizens and administration of Ayodhya, in coordination with the Trust, set out to beautify Ayodhya. It was a matter of curiosity for the common people of Ayodhya to see how the city transformed suddenly within four months. Cooperation between the Uttar Pradesh and Ayodhya police was commendable, and everyone was impressed with their cooperative behaviour. As a result, such a grand event was successfully completed with ease and success. Everyone felt blessed by Lord Shri Ram's presence. 

In three days, without any political or corporate event, 71 private aircraft landed in Ayodhya. Arrangements for welcoming and transportation with Saffron Patkas were made at the airports of Lucknow and Ayodhya, as well as at railway stations in Lucknow, Ayodhya, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Gonda, Sultanpur, Prayagraj, and others. Keeping in mind the needs of various attendees, accommodation arrangements were meticulously prepared for everyone. Tent cities, hotels, ashrams, dharamshalas, as well as arrangements for staying with 200 local families were made. The sound of the 'Ram Aayenge' song echoed throughout Ayodhya. Everyone enjoyed the cultural programs in Ayodhya's street till late night.

History bears witness that this was the only event where people of such stature sat on ordinary chairs for 4-5 hours. Former Prime Minister of India, Shri HD Devegowda, sat in a wheelchair for four hours. There were no assistants or security personnel with anyone. Prasad was distributed and served to everyone while they remained seated. In Ayodhya, Regardless of caste, class, or region, everyone was equal - everyone was in unity. Everyone rose above their commitments and social-economic status to accept Ayodhya's humble and heartfelt hospitality. 

Every city and village in India were eager to welcome Lord Shri Ram. Every village, every neighbourhood, and every temple had become Ayodhya. Those who couldn't make it to Ayodhya worshiped in local temples and celebrated by lighting lamps at night. Everyone's hearts and souls were in Ayodhya that day. The entire Ayodhya city and temple complex were decorated with tonnes of flowers to welcome Shri Ramlalla. More than 30 traditional musical instruments from all Indian states, played by various artists, made the atmosphere melodious with Ram bhajans. Thousands of brass bells resonated across the temple complex during the aarti. Along with Lord Ram's arrival, the helicopter showered flowers over the temple complex, making it feel as though the entire divine realm was showering flowers in joy. This event transcended mere celebration; it became a divine experience, a spiritual journey. People were emotional, some were dancing in trance, some experienced heaven, some the Treta Yuga. Everyone was returning to Ayodhya with Lord Shri Ram. From 3 am the next day, devotees began lining up for darshan of Shri Ramlalla. Nearly 5,00,000 people visited Shri Ramlalla with enthusiasm and discipline on January 23rd.

This divine event in Ayodhya surpassed the boundaries of cast, status, language, state-hood or religious-beliefs; embracing traditions while advancing progress, awakening the collective consciousness of a nation. A testament to the eternal legacy of Lord Shri Ram, inspiring millions and uniting them; this event, as the 'Ramotsav' of unity, integrity, harmony, and devotion, will remain alive for ages to come. Remembering Lord Shri Ram, it is now time for all of us to be determined to establish India as a prosperous, affluent, healthy, capable, and respected nation, to establish India as the 'Vishwa Guru.'

Jai Shri Ram!

(The writer is Akhil Bharatiya Samprak Pramukh of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) )