February 7, 2022 - 5:49 am

PM Inaugurated the 216-Feet Tall Statue

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Hyderabad to inaugurate the 216-feet tall 'Statue of Equality', commemorating the 11th-century Bhakti Saint Sri Ramanujacharya. During the programme, 3D Presentation Mapping on the life journey and teaching of Sri Ramanujacharya will also be showcased. Prime Minister also visited the identical recreations of 108 Divya Desams (ornately carved temples) that surround the Statue of Equality. The statue is made of 'panchaloha', a combination of five metals: gold, silver, copper, brass, and zinc and is among one of the tallest metallic statues in sitting position, in the world. It is mounted on a 54-feet high base building, named 'Bhadra Vedi', has floors devoted for a Vedic digital library and research centre, ancient Indian texts, a theatre, an educational gallery detailing many works of Sri Ramanujacharya.

Born in 1017 in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu, Ramanujacharya is revered as a Vedic philosopher and social reformer. He travelled across India, advocating equality and social justice. Ramanuja revived the Bhakti movement, and his preachings inspired other Bhakti schools of thought. He is considered to be the inspiration for poets like Annamacharya, Bhakt Ramdas, Thyagaraja, Kabir, and Meerabai. From the time he was a young budding philosopher, Ramanuja appealed for the protection of nature and its resources like air, water, and soil. He went on to write nine scriptures known as the navaratnas, and composed numerous commentaries on Vedic scriptures. Ramanuja is also credited with establishing the correct procedures for rituals performed in temples throughout India, the most famous being Tirumala and Srirangam.

Ramanuja was an advocate of social equality among all sections of people centuries ago, and encouraged temples to open their doors to everyone irrespective of caste or position in society at a time when people of many castes were forbidden from entering them. He took education to those who were deprived of it. His greatest contribution is the propagation of the concept of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, which translates as “all the universe is one family”. He travelled across India for several decades, propagating his ideas of social equality and universal brotherhood from temple podiums. He embraced the socially marginalised and condemned, and asked royal courts to treat them as equals. He spoke of universal salvation through devotion to God, compassion, humility, equality, and mutual respect, which is known as Sri Vaishnavam Sampradaya. According to Chinna Jeeyar Swami, the Vaishnava seer behind the Statue of Equality, Ramanujacharya’s social philosophy was designed to cross the boundaries of the caste system and to embrace the whole of humanity.

Ramanuja’s philosophical foundation was qualified monism and is called Vishishtadvaita in the Hindu tradition. His ideas are one of three subschools in Vedanta, the other two are known as Adi Shankara’s Advaita (absolute monism) and Madhvacharya’s Dvaita (dualism). Important writings include: Vedarthasangraha (literally, “Summary of the Vedas meaning”), Sri Bhashya (a review and commentary on the Brahma Sutras), Bhagavad Gita Bhashya (a review and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita), and the minor works titled Vedantapida, Vedantasara, Gadya Trayam (which is a compilation of three texts called the Saranagati Gadyam, Sriranga Gadyam and the Srivaikunta Gadyam), and Nitya Grantham.

Ramanujacharya liberated millions from social, cultural, gender, educational, and economic discrimination with the foundational conviction that every human is equal regardless of nationality, gender, race, caste, or creed. We are celebrating his 1,000th birth anniversary as the ‘Festival of Equality’, upholding the view that the world is one family, ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam.