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God Is Everywhere: A Hindu Reflects on A-Yodhya

Sunita Viswanath 16 Nov 2019
Lord ram
Painting of Lord Hanuman by M.F.Husain

As a person who cares about justice and peace, the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya was distressing. Many notable Indians have written about the verdict since it was declared five days ago, and I offer links to a small sample of well-informed and thoughtful responses below. 

What stood out to me the most were the following, perhaps obvious points:

  • In a secular democracy, how can a deity be a plaintiff in a court case? If Lord Rama (Ram Lalla) was the plaintiff, does that mean Allah was the defendant? Could Jesus be a plaintiff in another suit?

  • If the placing of the idols and the demolishing of the mosque by Hindus were both illegal acts, then why have the criminals been rewarded with a Ram temple at the site?

  • if the Hindus’s use of the mosque for prayer was determined by a “preponderance of probabilities,” then why did the Muslims have to provide evidence to prove “exclusive use” of the mosque? 

  • we are to understand that the verdict kept the peace. That is, thousands of people would have been killed if the verdict had gone the other way. It was Hindus that were violent in their destruction of the mosque, and it was Hindu violence that was averted by this decision that skews towards Hindu interests.  If Muslims are so violent then why do we seem to be more worried about the possibility of Hindu violence?

Apart from concern with the technical and legal anomalies, I was pained that the most basic tenets of Hindu faith were betrayed.

For Hindus, God is everywhere: inside Lord Hanuman’s heart when he rips it apart, inside the pillar which Hiranyakashipu breaks with his mace, in every single river, leaf and pebble. If God is at the site of the demolition of Babri Masjid, he is equally present seven feet away and seven miles away and across the seven seas. 

When we sing Eshwar Allah Tero Naam, we are saying whether it is a masjid or a mandir, it is God’s home. Lord Rama is worshipped as Maryada Purshottam -- the perfect human being who embodies love, compassion and justice. Where is the maryada (decency, integrity) in demolishing God’s home? And would Lord Rama be pleased that his temple is being built on the site of such carnage?

Our scriptures teach us that all of us, even our gods and our demons are capable of good and evil, and of transformation. I pray fervently that we see the folly of the dangerous course we are taking, where violence is rewarded and dissenting voices are silenced. If we revere Lord Rama, then our only hope is to build not just a Ram Temple but a Ram Rajya, an A-Yodhya (place of no war), a nation and a world where peace reigns and justice is the right of all.

First published in https://www.hindusforhumanrights.org/

Sunita Viswanath, cofounder, Hindus for Human Rights 

God Is Everywhere: A Hindu Reflects on A-Yodhya

Lord ram
Painting of Lord Hanuman by M.F.Husain

As a person who cares about justice and peace, the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya was distressing. Many notable Indians have written about the verdict since it was declared five days ago, and I offer links to a small sample of well-informed and thoughtful responses below. 

What stood out to me the most were the following, perhaps obvious points:

  • In a secular democracy, how can a deity be a plaintiff in a court case? If Lord Rama (Ram Lalla) was the plaintiff, does that mean Allah was the defendant? Could Jesus be a plaintiff in another suit?

  • If the placing of the idols and the demolishing of the mosque by Hindus were both illegal acts, then why have the criminals been rewarded with a Ram temple at the site?

  • if the Hindus’s use of the mosque for prayer was determined by a “preponderance of probabilities,” then why did the Muslims have to provide evidence to prove “exclusive use” of the mosque? 

  • we are to understand that the verdict kept the peace. That is, thousands of people would have been killed if the verdict had gone the other way. It was Hindus that were violent in their destruction of the mosque, and it was Hindu violence that was averted by this decision that skews towards Hindu interests.  If Muslims are so violent then why do we seem to be more worried about the possibility of Hindu violence?

Apart from concern with the technical and legal anomalies, I was pained that the most basic tenets of Hindu faith were betrayed.

For Hindus, God is everywhere: inside Lord Hanuman’s heart when he rips it apart, inside the pillar which Hiranyakashipu breaks with his mace, in every single river, leaf and pebble. If God is at the site of the demolition of Babri Masjid, he is equally present seven feet away and seven miles away and across the seven seas. 

When we sing Eshwar Allah Tero Naam, we are saying whether it is a masjid or a mandir, it is God’s home. Lord Rama is worshipped as Maryada Purshottam -- the perfect human being who embodies love, compassion and justice. Where is the maryada (decency, integrity) in demolishing God’s home? And would Lord Rama be pleased that his temple is being built on the site of such carnage?

Our scriptures teach us that all of us, even our gods and our demons are capable of good and evil, and of transformation. I pray fervently that we see the folly of the dangerous course we are taking, where violence is rewarded and dissenting voices are silenced. If we revere Lord Rama, then our only hope is to build not just a Ram Temple but a Ram Rajya, an A-Yodhya (place of no war), a nation and a world where peace reigns and justice is the right of all.

First published in https://www.hindusforhumanrights.org/

Sunita Viswanath, cofounder, Hindus for Human Rights 

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