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Deepavali 2023: Hindu festivals are clarion calls for the community to heal wounds inflicted on them every day in the fight for Dharma

From the Kar sevaks who, with resounding chants of Jai Shri Ram, rightfully besieged and dismantled the contentious structure at the birthplace of Lord Ram, to the present-day lawyers, intellectuals, nationalist historians, and every artisan contributing to the construction of the majestic Ram Mandir, the Bhakti movement continues to be fuelled by the unwavering devotion and commitment of devotees.

Ever wondered what it’s like when the prayers in your heart of hearts are answered? The grand preparations and fervour for Deepavali (Diwali) among Hindus will give you a taste of the same come 12th November, Sunday.

Hindus in Bharat will be welcoming Prabhu Shri Ram Ji back to his beloved homeland, the Ayodhya Nagari, from his (physical) exile that lasted a painful 494 years and 10 months. The Maryada Purushottam will be accompanied by His Consort Ma Sita Ji and Brother Bhagwan Lakshman Ji.

Bringing them all home is the Bhakt (devotee) of all Bhakts, Shri Bajrang Bali, The Chiranjeevi (immortal) whose devotion and love and seva (service) for Prabhu Shri Ram Ji knows no bounds.

It is the blessing of Hanuman Ji that an uncountable number of Hindus in nearly 500 years – including those who witnessed the brutal destruction of the Ram Mandir at the hands of Islamists in 1524 AD – continued their fight for Dharma to reinstate the Dashrathanandan to His rightful home.

It is unfathomable just how many and what kind of battles Hindus have fought in the centuries and decades that passed. The struggle for reclaiming and the revival of the Bhavya Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is one that has brought Hindus spiritually closest to Siyavar Ram Chandra than perhaps his subjects at the time could ever have gotten the chance.

And it is this very Bhakti (devotion) and love of His devotees for Him that pulled Prabhu Shri Ram Ji back into the loving arms of his motherland, for He was always in our hearts. Just imagine how strong and deep our pursuit for Him has been, right from 1524 AD to 9th November 2019 – that even the sword of a murderous ideology that hung over our heads every single day, could not keep Shri Ram Himself from coming home to us.

This Bhakti was not only ritualistic and traditional in terms of practice but was also psychological. When tyranny, bloodbath, rape, genocide, conversion, destruction and mutilation of Hindus and the Hindu faith had plunged our civilisation into the abyss of misplaced identity, the revered saints of the Bhakti movement rescued us and applied the salve of Ram and Krishna Bhajans.

For every fragment that pierced into our soul when the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya was destroyed by Babur, the Ram and Krishna Bhajans and Kirtans written and sung by the great saints – namely Sant Dyaneshwar, Akka Mahadevi, Guru Nanak Dev, Basavanna, Ravidas, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lalleshwari and Meera to name a few – were strengthening our faith that The ever-existing, infinite Maryada Purushottam can never be destroyed.

The divine echoes of the Bhakti movement are what got us through the British era, which was equally tyrannical if not worse than the Mughal period. At this point, the Bharatiya civilisation was battling not one but two rakshasas (demons) – the Islamists and the British Raj.

But by this time, the ripple effect of the Bhakti Movement had further gifted the Hindu civilisation great saints like Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Anandamayi Ma, Swami Brahmanand Saraswati, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Lahiri Mahasaya, Sant Tukaram, Sant Namdev, Swami Ramdas who helped the masses heal their wounds.

The Naamsmaran not only healed us but prepared us for the biggest civilisational battle that was yet to come. Times had changed, a free India was emerging albeit still gasping for air from the tentacles of the Nehru-Gandhi ‘Con’gress, of their left-liberal Islamist ecosystem.

But our faith was very much intact. So much so that even the politics post-Independence became a battle to attain Bhagwan Himself by fighting for Dharma, what can be more stronger than such Bhakti and Naamsmaran which can even make politics a movement of the masses? Every footsoldier of Bhagwan Shri Ram was fighting for Him.

From the Kar sevaks – who with roaring chants of Jai Shri Ram rightfully lay siege to the now non-existent symbol of jihadi Babur and his legacy and took bullets to their chest – to the lawyers, the intellectuals, the true historians and every artisan today building the Bhavya Ram Mandir, the unyielding Bhakti of Hindus had come to such fruition that a deep wound was healed on 9th November 2019 when the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Shri Ram Lalla Virajman.

Exactly two months and 10 days on, Ayodhya will once again welcome Prabhu Shri Ram back home, just like it did in the Treta Yuga when He returned from his 14-year-long exile. So strong has been the Bhakti of His Bhakts that He is answering our call for a second time. The birthplace of The Lord will celebrate Deepotsav (the festival of lights) by lighting a whopping 24 lakh diyas on the ghats of Saryu river.

Imagine the magnificent scale of celebrations, come 22nd January 2024. The days and years since the 2019 verdict have been a victory for Hindus. The vitriol by the left-liberal Islamists has continued but as nothing more than white noise. Our Bhakti has essentially silenced their falsehoods and rants.

Moreover, the culmination of our journey from 1524 AD to 2019 into this spiritual and civilisational victory is nothing short of the grand manifestation of the deeply ingrained Bhakti in our souls.

We owe it to Ma Bhakti and the great saints who never let us forget our roots, that we have triumphed and prevailed thus far. We owe Ma Bhakti a great deal more yet in that we must celebrate every Hindu festival with the same fervour and with much more hope to heal and reinvigorate ourselves for many such battles of Dharma are waiting to be fought. Like they say, “Ayodhya toh bas jhanki hai, Kashi Mathura baaki hai.”

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Journalist with a journey from print to TV to digital news. Multi-tasker. Unstoppable Type 1 Diabetic running on insulin.

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