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Ramanujacharya’s Ideas, Values Still Relevant: Defence Minister

Ramanujacharya was the first saint to give the message of equality, said Rajnath Singh. Visiting ‘Statue of Equality’ on Thursday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said it is his belief that the statue will propagate ideals and values of 11th-century Bhakti Saint Swami Ramanujacharya in future. The Minister made the statement while addressing a gathering near the temple of the 216-feet tall ‘Statue of Equality’, a statue of Saint Ramanujacharya, which is one of the tallest metallic sitting statues in the world.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the statue on February 6 as part of the 12-day Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi Samaroham, the ongoing 1,000th birth anniversary celebrations of the saint. “I see this grand and colossal statue of Swami Ramanujacharya, the Statue of Equality, as his reincarnation. It is my belief that in future, through this statue, his teachings, ideals and values will be propagated for ages and ages,” Mr Singh said. “It is a matter of great pride for me, that in the millennium year celebrations of the incarnation of one of the great personalities of human history, Swami Ramanujacharya ji, I have got the opportunity to be present amongst all of you great personalities,” he added.

Addressing a gathering after praying at the temple, the Minister said the culture of our country has been full of diversity from the very beginning due to caste system in our society. He said Ramanujacharya was the first saint to give the message of equality by removing caste inequality from Hinduism. “The saint freed religion and Hindu saint tradition from the clutches of caste,” said Defence Minister. Terming Swami Ramanujacharya a great ‘setupurush’, Mr Singh said the saint balanced variations in the society then. “After Aadi Shankara, the Mahatma who had the greatest impact on Sanatan Dharma was Ramanujacharya. Acharya Shankar, Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya were three such personalities who gave a consolidated basis to Hindu spiritual life,” said the Defence Minister. “Thousand years ago, Ramanujacharyaji broke the inequality by waving the flag of equality. He opened the Vaishnava sect to all castes. He opened doors of religion, devotion and worship for untouchables and backward castes also,” added the Minister.

Mr Singh further added, “We wish to be free from caste today and take a pledge to break castes and make a harmonious India”. “Imagine a thousand years ago Ramanujacharya proclaimed equality in devotion while living within the periphery of the then social order,” the Minister said, adding “that is why Ramanujacharya is relevant even today.” Even today there is inequality in the society, said Mr Singh, mentioning how the teachings of the saint are very useful. “We see the solution related to the challenges being faced by government and society these days in the teachings of Ramanujacharya ji,” said the Minister. “The principle of equality which we adopted 72 years ago in our constitution, Ramanujacharya started that voice a thousand years ago. He gave a liberal humanistic social base to the Vaishnava community,” Mr Singh added.

Born in 1017 in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu to mother Kanthimathi and father Asuri Kesava Somayaji, Saint Ramanujacharya was revered as a Vedic philosopher who revived the Bhakti Movement. Considered to be one of the timeless icons of equality and social reformists around the world, his teachings are known to have inspired ancient poets like Annamacharya, Bhakt Ramdas, Thyagaraja, Kabir, and Meerabai. Saint Ramanujacharya is known for his regard for all human and being against practices that differentiated between people. He was responsible for opening temple doors to all people 1,000 years ago, even to those marginalized and discriminated against in society.

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