Hyderabad: The Statue of Equality, a 216-feet-tall statue of Vaishnavite saint Sri Ramanujacharya, will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi around 5 p.m on 5 February in Shamshabad, Hyderabad. Who is saint Ramanujacharya? Why is he chosen as a symbol of equality?
World's second-tallest seated statue
The Statue of Equality, located at the 45-acre scenic Jeeyar Integrated Vedic Academy (JIVA) at Muchintal near Shamshabad, is built to mark the 1,000th birth anniversary of Saint Ramanujacharya. It is the world's second tallest statue in a seated position, the first being the Buddha statue in a sitting pose in Thailand.
The Statue of Equality is made of panchaloha – gold, silver, bronze, copper, and zinc. The inner sanctum deity of Sri Ramanujacharya is made of 12 kgs of gold to commemorate the 120 years he lived.
The statue is placed on 'Bhadra Vedi', a 54-feet building, and 108 steps on the Bhadra Vedi lead to the statue. The statue will be surrounded by 108 Divya Desam temples, resembling temples from all over the country, including Tirumala, Srirangam, Kashi, and Badrinath among others.
The foundation stone for the statue was laid in 2014 and it has been conceptualized by Chinna Jeeyar Swami of Sri Ramanujacharya Ashram.
Who was Saint Ramanujacharya?
Saint Ramanujacharya, born in SriPerumbudur in Tamil Nadu, was a Vedic philosopher and social reformer.
At a time when people from many sections of society were forbidden to enter temples, Ramanujacharya opened temple doors to all people, especially to those who faced extreme discrimination.
He made education accessible to the most deprived and was a staunch proponent of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' meaning the entire universe is one family. Moreover, he appealed to protect and preserve nature and its resources.
Ramanujacharya is also believed to have travelled across the country to promote equality and social justice.