Divine Artistry Unveiled: Arun Yogiraj’s Masterpiece Brings Lord Ram’s Smile to Life in Ayodhya

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheaded the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony marking Lord Ram’s long-awaited return to Ayodhya after a span of 500 years. The unveiling of Ram Lalla’s visage, sculpted by Arun Yogiraj from Mysuru, left onlookers captivated, particularly by the innocence reflected in the eyes and the smile of the infant Lord Ram.

The smile on Ram Lalla’s face evoked varied descriptions, ranging from expressions of beauty and divinity to terms like ‘mandahasa’ and enchanting.

The inauguration of the Ram Mandir was a momentous occasion, accompanied by jubilant festivities. Yogiraj expressed profound gratitude, attributing the opportunity to divine selection by Lord Ram himself.

Crafting the Idol:

Vijetha outlined the criteria provided by the temple trust for Arun Yogiraj and two other contestants, GL Bhat and Satyanarayana Panday, which included a smiling face, a divine countenance, a depiction resembling a five-year-old, and a princely appearance.

She explained the initial step involved in sculpting, which entails sketching the design on paper.

Designing Facial Features:

Vijetha elaborated that the proportions of facial features were meticulously crafted in accordance with the Shilpa Shastra, an ancient Indian scripture governing traditional arts and architecture.

Yogiraj extensively studied human anatomy to ensure realism, consulting both Shilpa Shastra and anatomy books. He even observed children to capture the innocence and naturalness of their smiles.

The Captivating Smile:

Experts noted the roundish shape of the idol’s face, a characteristic common in South Indian sculptures, contrasting with sharper features prevalent in northern sculptures.

Historian and author Vikram Sampath lauded the beauty of Ram Lalla, praising the curls, rosy cheeks, mystic smile, and divine aura, attributing the accomplishment to the skilled craftsmanship of Arun Yogiraj.

Emotional Journey:

Reflecting on the arduous seven-month journey, Yogiraj revealed the emotional investment he had made, seeking feedback even from his own daughter, who likened the idol’s appearance to that of a child.

Significance of Idol’s Dimensions:

Vijetha elucidated that the height of 51 inches for the Ram Lalla idol was chosen for its scientific significance. This height ensures that the Sun’s rays fall precisely on Ramlalla’s forehead every year at noon on Ram Navami day, lending a unique feature to the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

Choice of Krishnashila Stone:

Krishnashila stone was selected for its chemical composition, which renders it inert to acid, heat, and adverse weather conditions. This feature allows for the safe consumption of milk used during Abhishekam as ‘prasad’ without any detrimental effects on health.

Furthermore, the durability of Krishnashila stone ensures the idol’s longevity, capable of withstanding over a thousand years without deterioration. This high-quality stone is found predominantly in regions like HD Kote near Mysuru and Karkala in Uttar Kannada district, thereby establishing Mysuru as a hub for sculpting.

Traditional Craftsmanship:

Despite utilizing modern software for visualization, Yogiraj relied on traditional methods, employing manual sculpting techniques involving hammers and chisels to bring the idol to life.

Hindu American Community Holds Grand Car Rally in Greater Boston to Celebrate Ram Mandir Inauguration

Over the weekend, Greater Boston witnessed a spectacular display of unity and celebration as the Hindu American Community organized one of the largest car rallies in the region. With an impressive turnout of over 250 cars and more than 500 attendees, the rally covered a total distance of 70+ miles, making stops at five prominent temples along the route. This event, which took place in frigid temperatures of 16 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 Celsius), stands out as one of the longest car rallies in the United States, as affirmed by the organizers.

The participants, undeterred by the chilly weather and biting winds, embarked on the rally to mark the inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama. The rally commenced at 7:30 AM following a Puja ceremony at the Sri Chinmaya Maruti Mandir in Andover, Massachusetts, and continued on to include stops at the ISSO Swaminarayan Mandir in Lowell, Shri Radha Damodar Mandir in Shrewsbury, Sri Radha Krishna Mandir in Northborough, and concluded at the Sri Lakshmi Temple in Ashland.

Devotees from various other mandirs, including BAPS in Lowell, Satsang in Woburn, Dwarkamai Temple in Billerica, Sarv Dev Mandir in Oxford, and Sri Raghavendra Swami Matha, Shri Gita Mandir in Shrewsbury, joined the main rally at different stopping points, contributing to the overall enthusiasm of the participants.

During each stop, young representatives from the rally extended invitations to the temples to partake in the festivities related to the inauguration of the Ram Mandir. Temples and Hindu Americans were encouraged to perform puja-archana to the temple deity, light five diyas in celebration of Diwali, engage in kirtan-bhajan, recite the Hanuman Chalisa, ring bells, and watch the online broadcast of the Pran Pratishta (consecration) at the newly constructed Ram Mandir in Ayodhya at 12:30 PM IST on January 22nd, 2024.

The youths also shared brief statements about the divine qualities of Bhagwan Ram, emphasizing virtues such as courage, sacrifice, justice, compassion, ideal behavior, and good governance (Ram Rajya). They highlighted how the exemplary life of Lord Rama has influenced the culture in numerous Southeast Asian countries. As a gesture of goodwill, the participants carried small gift packages containing Jap Malas, the Hanuman Chalisa, and a token cash offering. The temples warmly received them, extending welcomes with kirtan, tilak, and Prasad.

The participating temples reciprocated the rally participants’ warmth with open hearts and lively festivities. At ISSO, Vivek Swami, the resident, blessed the participants and spoke about the importance of incorporating the core qualities of Shree Ram into one’s life. The India Heritage Foundation in Shrewsbury presented all rally participants with a copy of the Gita and other relevant books. Additionally, at the Sri Lakshmi Temple, everyone received a Jap Mala to take home for their Japa of “Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram.”

The cars that formed the caravan were adorned with vibrant orange flags and signs, proudly displaying the message “Jai Shri Ram,” which translates to “victory to the virtues” as Lord Ram is considered a symbol of virtues. The cooperation and warm welcome from the police departments in the four towns through which the rally passed reflected the excellent reputation the Indian community holds with law enforcement authorities.

This grand rally, a celebration of unity and devotion, was made possible through the collaborative efforts of volunteers from various dharmic organizations, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), and numerous Hindu temples.