Some questions about Lord Ram, and his Mandir at Ayodhya

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

Some questions about Lord Ram, and his Mandir at Ayodhya

A bhavya (magnificent) Ram Temple has been built in Ayodhya, costing Rs 18,000 crores, which is going to be consecrated by the Prime Minister of India by a 'pran pratishtha' ceremony on 22nd January ( which will no doubt be covered widely by the Indian media ).

I have great respect for Lord Rama, about whom I have written the articles below

Tale of two Rams

However, there are some questions about this temple which have been troubling me for long

1. The original Ramayan was written by Valmiki in Sanskrit perhaps 2500 years or more ago. All subsequent Ramayans in various languages ( including Tulsidas' work ) are based on Valmiki's epic.

In Valmiki's Ramayan Rama is not depicted as a god but as a human being, though with great virtues ( for which he is called Maryada Purushottam ). He is a prince, who later became a king, but is nowhere mentioned as a god.

It is 2000 years later in Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas, written in the 16th century AD in Avadhi dialect that Ram is transformed into a god, an avatar ( incarnation ) of Lord Vishnu.

Now temples are built for gods and goddesses, not for humans. So how can one build a temple for Ram, who is a human being according to the original Ramayan of Valmiki?

Unfortunately very few people know Sanskrit, and so have not read Valmiki's Ramayan. They have only read Tulsidas' work, and so they conceive of Ram as a god.

2. In the Vishnu Purana, which is a Sanskrit work, it is mentioned that we are living in Kali Yug, which will be 4,32,000 years long

Before Kali Yug there was Dwaapar Yug, which was twice as long as Kali Yug, i.e. 8,64,000 years long.

Before Dwaapar Yug there was Treta Yug, which was thrice as long as Kali Yug i.e. 12,96,000 years long.

Before Treta Yug there was Sat Yuga which was 4 times as long as Kali Yug.

Now Lord Rama was said to have been born in Treta Yug, i.e. before Dwaapar Yuga ( in which Lord Krishna was born ), which was, as stated above, 8,64,000 years long.

Hence Lord Rama was born about a million years ago.

How then can it be possibly said where exactly was he born ? How could it be possibly said that Ram was born on the very site of the demolished Babri Masjid ? One may have heard where one's father or grandfather was born, but hardly anyone can go further and get to know of the birth places of earlier ancestors. So how can one know where someone was born a million years ago?

My mind boggles when people say Ram was born precisely at this spot.

3. In para 798 of the Ayodhya temple verdict ( M.Siddiq vs Mahant Suresh Das ) delivered in 2019 the Indian Supreme Court observed :

''The exclusion of Muslims from worship and possession took place on the intervening night between 22/23.12.1949 when the mosque was desecrated by installation of Hindu idols. Ouster of Muslims was not through lawful authority, and Muslims have been wrongly deprived of a mosque that had been constructed well over 450 years ago''.

Despite this clear observation that the Babri mosque was demolished illegally, by a strange feat of logic the Supreme Court sanctioned the illegality by awarding the site of the mosque to Hindu organisations, and an alternative site to Muslims.

In substance, the court said that might is right, and has laid down a dangerous precedent sanctifying aggression.

As Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha said, it is like a bully snatching a child’s sandwich in school, and the teacher giving a ‘balanced judgment’ by allowing the bully to keep the sandwich, and giving the child a slice of dry bread as ‘restitution’.

I am afraid I have a dense mind, so I wish some bright person ( or persons ) could enlighten me on these points which have been troubling me for long.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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