Vision For Ayodhya

His Holiness Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal articulated a vision for the Sri Ram temple at Ayodhya. He focuses both on the spiritual and temporal, practical aspects of space utilization.

Spirituality should be the core focus when re-structuring and building of the Ayodhya temple.

Generally tradition and culture are swept aside when development becomes the focus. In Tamil Nadu, for instance, the ambience and surroundings of ancient temples has changed. The so-called Raja Veethi, Mada Veethi and Sannadhi Street which surround a temple have gradually lost their grandeur.

Development often happens at the cost of these precious visual and cultural spaces. Their shape and size change, and in the process, much of their original purpose is hampered. This forces the temple to scale down the normal full-scale activities. They may not be totally stopped, but they get compromised. The normal, grand observance of festivals and other cultural events and services get reduced. These aspects should be taken into consideration when the city of Ayodhya is expanded with the Ram temple as the Hub.

The new structure should accommodate all our cultural hallmarks such as our fine arts, music, dance, the Vedas, Upanishads and Epics. It should have a Nandavanam exclusively used for Puja purposes and exhibitions to showcase our Sastras, History and Dharma. Also it should give importance to the needs of devotees.

Needs here would mean required amenities for the benefit of pilgrims.

How does one determine the manner in which to develop a city?

Ayodhya, the hub of devotion, and as such, should be developed as a pilgrim town focused on worship. Just as a commercial city is developed to suit business needs, Ayodhya should emerge as a superior pilgrim centre with facilities such as bathing ghats, dormitories, drinking water and other amenities, different kinds of patasalas, catering to people of different languages and states.

Sri Rama is an icon who is perceived in different ways. He is a God to bhaktas, an ideal Man to those who study history, to the world he is a symbol of culture, courage and valour. Therefore for the millions who adore him worldwide, Ayodhya should be the model city that helps fulfill the needs and spiritual aspirations of bhaktas and those who look up to him as a role model, both national and international.

The time has come for all to come together and work in a coordinated manner to recreate the holy city of Ayodhya. Private and Public entities should join hands in constructive partnership. The Almight has bestowed on us many treasures, many objects to facilitate our growth and development. Peace and prosperity prevail when people remain calm, amicable and share the gifts of God with proper understanding.

Troubles increase during times of adversity when the understanding is flawed, approach is hasty and greed overtakes the mind. This is exactly the situation in which India finds itself in this past month. Good traits and values alone will help the poor and all others to reap the benefits of the Almight's benevolence.

In the end it is culture, which will help us appreciate this aspect and build understanding. Sri Rama is an icon, an emblem of our culture. Hence it will be appropriate and in fitness of things if the divine city of Ayodhya is recreated in such a way that it conveys the noble qualities of Sri Rama - his devotion and philosophy to bhaktas and all others.