Until he was appointed the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath would say that the matter of Ram Mandir was not a political issue for him but his life’s mission. While it is expected of politicians to say such things, the Mahant of Gorakhnath Muth’s words cannot be brushed away lightly given the history of those who preceded him as the head of the revered Muth of the Nath Sampradaya.
Unbeknownst to many, the Gorakhnath Muth has played a critical role in the reclamation of Ram Janmabhoomi in independent India. And to learn its role, we have to go all the way back to 1949.
Mahant Digvijay Nath
The story of the reclamation of Ram Janmabhoomi in Independent India begins on the 22nd of December 1949 when two Murthis of Rama and Sita ‘magically appeared’ within the Babri Masjid. The appearance of the Murthis was interpreted as divine providence that proved the fact that the auspicious site was Rama’s Janmabhoomi. Prime Minister Nehru wanted the Murthis removed but then District Magistrate KKK Nair refused to carry out the orders saying that removing the Murthis could lead to communal violence.
After that, the gates of the structure were locked and the Murthis remained inside. KKK Nair was dismissed from service for his refusal to carry out the orders. Numerous sources and a book published by HarperCollins in 2013, Ayodhya: The Dark Night (The Secret History of Rama’s Appearance in Babri Masjid) by Krishna Jha and Dhirendra Jha reveal precisely how the Murthis ‘miraculously appeared’ within the Babri Masjid in 1949.
The plan was hatched by three friends. Maharaja Pateshwari Prasad Singh, the ruler of the princely state of Balrampur, KKK Nair, the deputy commissioner-cum-district magistrate of Faizabad, and Mahant Digvijay Nath of Gorakhnath Muth. It is said that the chief architect of the plan was the Mahant himself. It is also said that Mahant Digvijay Nath was probably the first to realize that the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement had the potential to unite Hindus under a single banner.
The Murthis were placed inside the Masjid right after a nine-day recitation of Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas which was organized by the Mahant himself. Thus, in certain ways, the first move in the Ram Janambhoomi Movement was made by the predecessor of Yogi Adityanath’s Gurudev.
The successor to Mahant Digvijay Nath played a critical role in the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement. He founded the Sri Ramjanmabhoomi Mukti Yagna Samiti (Committee of sacrifice to liberate Ram’s birthplace) in 1984. In the lead up to the eventual collapse of the Masjid, Mahant Avaidyanath organized numerous rallies and it is said that he very effectively furthered the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Ayodhya movement that culminated with the demolition of the Masjid.
Senior reporter T.P. Shahi says, “It is believed that the plan to demolish the disputed structure was hatched under his guidance. The Dharm Sansad that was organized in 1989 by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for the Ram Mandir, it was Mahant Avaidyanath himself who formulated the way forward for the movement. Three years after the Dharm Sansad, the Babri Masjid was demolished.”
In 1990, Mahant Avaidyanath had declared that there would be war for Ram Mandir then, not petitions. The CBI had filed a chargesheet against him along with others such as Balasaheb Thackerey and Kalyan Singh for the demolition of the Mosque. Upon his passing at the age of 95 in 2014, Prime Minister Modi said, “Saddened over the demise of Mahant Avaidyanath ji. He will be remembered for his patriotic zeal and determined efforts to serve society.”
Mahant Yogi Adityanath
In 2010, following the Allahabad High Court verdict, Mahant Avaidyanath had said that he wanted to see a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya during his lifetime. But it was a dream that remained unfulfilled. However, during his last days, whenever he was asked about the Mandir, he would tell people that ‘Chhote Maharaj’ (Yogi Adityanath) was the person who would complete his unfulfilled dream of the Ram Mandir. He would emphasize that the successor he had chosen years ago would complete the job that he couldn’t.
One could call it coincidence or one could deem it his destiny but it is during the Chief Ministerial tenure of Yogi Adityanath that his Gurudev’s dream shall be fulfilled. The Supreme Court verdict on Saturday paved the way for a Bhavya Ram Mandir at Ayodhya that three generations of Gorakhnath Muth had worked towards.
Read-Ayodhya verdict: While the nation celebrates, ‘liberals’ become the rudalis at the ‘death of justice’
In his blog following the verdict, Yogi Adityanath remembered the contributions of his Gurudev. “He used to say that Lord Ram’s virtues of justice, equality, discipline and sacrifice should be the ideals for every political leader,” wrote Yogi about Mahant Avaidyanath, “Following these words of my Gurudev, I consider Uttar Pradesh’s security, peace and Vikas my foremost priority.”
Yogi Adityanath also wrote, “When I took over as CM of UP, the situation of Ayodhya, which had become untouchable because of appeasement politics over the years, pricked my heart Ayodhya’s suffering was like the pain of Lord Rama’s Vanvas. I took an oath to bring back Ayodhya’s glory and develop Ram Janmabhoomi on priority.”
Three Generations: One Dream
The Ram Janmabhoomi Movement saw Hindus of all hues coming together with one single purpose. Great men made great sacrifices so that a Bhavya Ram Mandir could be constructed at the sacred site. In the star-studded cluster of heroes, the three generations of Mahants of Gorakhnath Muth have made critical contributions to the movement.
For Yogi Adityanath, the construction of the Bhavya Ram Mandir will also be the fulfilment of his Gurudev’s dream. It is no wonder then, that Yogi Adityanath considers the Bhavya Ram Mandir his life’s mission. In his last days, his Gurudev placed upon him a great responsibility.
When the Mandir is finally open for worship, the dream that Mahant Digvijay Nath envisaged all those years ago would be fulfilled. Mahant Digvijay Nath conceived the idea, Mahant Avaidyanath nurtured it and the dream will be fulfilled by Mahant Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister.