Statue of Equality (Ramanujacharya) -UPSC Notes

Statue of Equality :Philosopher-saint Ramanujacharya (1017-1137), who lived in Tamil Nadu, was a proponent of the Vishishtadvaita school of Vedanta philosophy, and his philosophical writings remain immensely influential to this day. He was one of the most important saints of the Vaishnavite tradition, and his teachings were spread across India by his disciples and followers.

Ramanujacharya and Bhakti movement

Ramanujacharya was born in 1017 in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. He is recognised as a Vedic scholar and social reformer. He travelled the length and breadth of India, pushing for equality and social justice.

Ramanuja revitalised the Bhakti movement, and his sermons fostered the development of further Bhakti schools of thought. He is credited with influencing poets like as Annamacharya, Bhakt Ramdas, Thyagaraja, Kabir, and Meerabai.

Ramanuja has advocated for the protection of nature and its resources, such as air, water, and soil, since he was a young blossoming philosopher. He then wrote nine scriptures dubbed the navaratnas and several commentaries on Vedic texts.

Ramanuja is also credited with developing the proper methods for performing rites in temples throughout India, the most notable of which being Tirumala and Srirangam.

Sri Ramanuja is known for his devotional worship of the Lord. His contributions to the religion are innumerable and vast. He taught that all living beings have a right to worship God.

In the holy Sri Vaishnava tradition, it is believed that he was an incarnation of Adisesha, who is the divine serpent associated with Vishnu. He is considered as an incarnation of the serpent Adisesha, who served as bed of Lord Vishnu.

Ramanuja was born in a Tamil Brahmin family in the village of Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. His parents were Kesava Somayaji and Kantimathi. From his childhood, Ramanuja had a sharp intellect and memory power. He started learning at a very early age from Yadava Prakasha, who was a respected scholar in Advaita Vedanta tradition

He started his formal education at the age of sixteen under Yadava Prakasha, who was a renowned Advaita scholar (proponent of Non-dualism). Ramanuja learnt Sanskrit and studied all aspects of Indian philosophies and became an expert in them fluently.

Why is the Statue of Equality called the Statue of Equality?

Ramanuja was a champion of social equality centuries ago, encouraging temples to open their doors to all, regardless of caste or social status, at a period when many castes were barred to enter.

He brought education to those who had been denied it. His most significant contribution is the spread of the notion of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam,” which translates as “the entire universe is one family.”

For several decades, he travelled throughout India, preaching his message of social equality and universal brotherhood from temple podiums.

He welcomed the socially excluded and condemned and pleaded with royal courts to treat them equally. He preached worldwide redemption via God-centered devotion, compassion, humility, equality, and mutual respect, which he referred to as Sri Vaishnavam Sampradaya.

According to Chinna Jeeyar Swami, the Vaishnava seer who inspired the Statue of Equality, Ramanujacharya’s social philosophy was intended to transcend caste lines and embrace all humanity.

“With the fundamental concept that every human being is equal regardless of nationality, gender, colour, caste, or faith, Ramanujacharya liberated millions from social, cultural, gender, educational, and economic oppression. We are commemorating his 1,000th birthday as the ‘Festival of Equality,’ honouring the belief that the world is one family, ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam,'” Chinna Jeeyar stated.

Statue of Equality at a glance :

– The statue is constructed of ‘panchaloha,’ a metal alloy composed of gold, silver, copper, brass, and zinc.

– At 216 feet, it is one of the world’s highest metallic statues in the sitting position.

– It is affixed to a 54-foot-tall base structure called ‘Bhadra Vedi’.

– The structure has a digital library and research centre, ancient Indian scriptures, a theatre, and an educational gallery devoted to Sri Ramanujacharya’s works and philosophies.

– The inauguration of the statue is part of a 12-day commemoration of Sri Ramanujacharya’s 1,000th birthday.

– It is located on the outskirts of Hyderabad in a 45-acre complex.

– In 2014, the foundation stone was placed. The Rs 1,000 crore project was totally supported through donations from devotees worldwide.

– Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami of Sri Ramanujacharya Ashram conceptualised the statue.

– Sri Ramanujacharya dedicated his life to the upliftment of all people regardless of their nationality, gender, colour, caste, or creed.

Controversy about Statue of Equality

Aerosun Corporation of China produced State of Equality. According to reports, the statue was cast in China and constructed in India.

Union minister G Kishan Reddy emphasised that the statue was not commissioned by the government. It was a purely private project that began more than eight years ago.

Additionally, Kishan Reddy stated that the initiative was conceived prior to Prime Minister Modi’s demand for Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

The tender was awarded to China’s Aerosun Corporation in 2015, a year after Prime Minister Modi took office at the Centre for the first time. Although an Indian company competed in the tender, the Chinese company won. The statue was installed in India over a period of around 15 months.

The monument was placed within Samata Kendram, a temple in Shamshabad near the Hyderabad airport. According to a report, the spiritual centre being erected on 45 acres of property given by billionaire Jupally Rameswar Rao. Chinna Jeeyar Swamy conceptualised the project.

The project’s funds have been generated through donations. The statue cost 135 crores, while the overall project is worth 1,000 crores.

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