On this august and glorious occasion of fulfilment of the aspirations of Rama devotees after hundreds of years of relentless rigour of Hindu society, MyNation caught up with Deepika Chikhalia, the renowned Bollywood actress who immortalized the role of Sita in Ramanand Sagar’s cult show Ramayan.
New Delhi: The much-awaited auspicious moment for the Bhoomi Pujan (Adoration of Earth Goddess) of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple has finally arrived. It is not only a historic but also an emotional moment as after 500 years, Ram temple work will commence. It will be the foundation of a new India. This temple of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi will be an enduring and immortal beaming centre of social harmony, national unity and integration and awakening of the feeling of Hindutva.
On this august and glorious occasion of fulfilment of the aspirations of Rama devotees after hundreds of years of relentless rigour of Hindu society, MyNation caught up with Deepika Chikhalia, the renowned Bollywood actress who immortalized the role of Sita in Ramanand Sagar’s cult show Ramayan. Ramayan re-started airing amidst the coronavirus lockdown after 33 years and the die-hard fans of the show were overjoyed by this. Ramayan recently gained more than 7 crore viewership and reportedly broke the record of the popular show Game of Thrones. In an exclusive interview with Shri Ram Shaw, she shared her thoughts on the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, traditional family system, Hinduism, Hindu philosophy and et al.
Q: What does the Bhoomi Pujan of Ram Janmabhumi Temple in Ayodhya mean to you?
Deepika Chikhalia: The foundation stone for the construction of a grand Temple at the birthplace of Bhagwan Shri Ram was laid in 1989. However, the construction of the Temple was embroiled in the hurdles created by various governments, the manipulations by political forces and the long delays in the Courts. It is after about 31 years that the construction of the Temple shall now begin in the presence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5th of August. We hope that in about three years, the devotees may be able to worship Shri Ramlala in the sanctum sanctorum of the grand Temple. The whole country would rejoice in the worship of Lord Rama. The effort and purpose is not only to build one more Temple, but to establish ‘Ramatva’ in the whole world - for Ram Rajya. But this cannot be achieved only by the government. All sections of the Society will have to join this mission.
Q: With the construction of Ram Temple, do you think, a harmonious society based on equality would be established?
Deepika: Yes, of course. We must always remain optimistic. There was no poverty and sickness in the rein of Shri Rama. The Ramatva will descend by establishing a harmonious society based on equality where every person will be treated with dignity. Everyone would be assured with food, clothing and shelter along with education and gainful vocations. Family values will be respected, and everybody would have the opportunity to elevate himself to realize the Supreme Goal.
Q: What should be done to strengthen the traditional family system of Bharat?
Deepika: We must speed up the spread of better education and sanskar. We will have to work hard to strengthen the traditional family system of Bharat wherein the families will become the centres of inculcation of human values and love towards each other. This would rid the problems of loneliness and depression. Maryada Purushotam Shri Ram had constantly strived for social harmony in his 14 years of exile. He had, on barefoot, visited all sections of the people, gave them his love and consolidated society. We will have to work tirelessly on the same ideals to bring about harmonious society. This will pave the way for the establishment of a Bharat which will embrace with love and friendship the Ahalayas, Shabris and Nishadrajs and will remove the fallacies of high and low. We shall have a society where there would be no appeasement or exploitation. We are confident that with our collective efforts, we shall establish a self-confident and self-reliant Bharat to perform its mission of peace and happiness in the world.
Q: So, do you think Ram Temple will be a unique hub of social harmony?
Deepika: Maryada Purushottam Bhagwan Shri Ram gave the message of social harmony and empowerment from his own life. The sacred water and earth carried to Ayodhya with great pomp, ceremony and joy from thousands of holy rivers and pilgrimage centres and shrines across the country to form part and parcel of the foundation and consecration ceremony of the Temple of Nativity of Shri Ram is showcasing the togetherness of the whole of Bharat and stand to enthuse, motivate and orient the people to always uphold and celebrate uncompromising cultural nationalism, integral humanism, national unity, territorial integrity of the nation. The emancipation of Ahalya by Shri Ram, high esteem shown to Shabari Mata and camaraderie with Nishadraj are outstanding illustrations of social harmony.
Q: And, you also think that Ram temple will become a base of a strong and glorious Bharat?
Deepika: The Bhoomi Pujan for Ram temple is a glorious moment for the country. No one can tarnish this fulcrum of national glory. The Hindu society fought continuously for 492 years to undo the debasing the signature superimposed by the foreign invader Babar on the birthplace temple of Shri Ram at Ayodhya. In the latest mass struggle that started in 1984 CE, 160 million Ram Bhakts (devotees) and more than 3 Lakh villages of Bharat participated. This struggle continued till the historic verdict of the Supreme Court of Bharat delivered on November 9, 2019. It was the result of this, one of its kind, cultural freedom struggle that Babar’s outlandish superimposed structure, that disgraced our pride and nationhood, is no longer there, and the resolve to build a stately temple to our great Patriarch Bhagwan Shri Ram is going to soon materialize steadily by degrees.
Q: Don’t you think that the organic movement expunged all manufactured and contrived fault-lines of division?
Deepika: The history of Ram Janmabhoomi movement is a rousing journey of pride of the country. We won after nearly 1,000 years of continuous struggle against foreign invaders, but the divisive, disruptive and discordant politics of pseudo-secularism tried to frustrate the country's self-esteem, cultural underpinning and bedrock. Hindu society was not only being divided on fictitious grounds, but also an insidious effort was on to plant a complex of inferiority in Hindu minds and hearts. This organic movement has expunged all manufactured and contrived fault-lines of division. Hindus have identified with one another, united and organized by rising above avowals of caste, creed, language, region, etc. They are filled with pride. As a result of this self-respect, confidence and national pride, divisive politics of Bharat is disappearing from all walks of life. The entire country is now full of confidence and bringing welcome changes in every field of life for all round welfare. Also, Bharat is making its debut as a superpower on the global stage.
Q: Isn’t it that the pride of nationality is an important motivating element for any country?
Deepika: The pride of nationality is an important motivating element for any country, but due to the politics of divisive appeasement, the definition of nationality of Bharat was confused, a national crisis of identity was being created. Now, Bharat’s nationality cannot be linked to any foreign invader. It is the inspiring narratives of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the nation that will define this. Who can be a better Patriarch than Bhagwan Ram? It has been accepted by the constitution of the country itself. The pace of this welcome change is increasing rapidly. By the time the Kalash (pinnacle pitcher) of Bhagwan Ram’s temple is established, all the divisive elements would have become irrelevant and faded into oblivion and nothingness and the resolve of a new Bharat, with self-esteem, poise and self-reliance, would come true.
Q: What do you think Hinduism is all about?
Deepika: Hinduism - Sanatana Dharma is basically a way of life - most natural and ideal, one of the most ancient and scientific ways of life. It is all about searching, seeking one’s own path. It never forced the followers to believe in the one Supreme God. Anyone can be mesmerized by India’s unique spirituality and culture. In Sanatana Dharma one has the option to pursue his own path and live a life based on his own learning. The many Gods in Hinduism symbolizes the many facets of life, the ‘Devas’ are energies in various forms and meditation and ‘Sadhana’ paved ways to access these energies that are within ourselves, our consciousness…the Brahman. ‘Sanatana’ way of life is not only beneficial to the Hindus but to humanity at large.
Q: What is unique about Hinduism? Why is it different from other religions?
Deepika: Vedic knowledge or Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism is the original, most ancient and complete knowledge about what is true regarding us and the universe. Though an ‘ism’ usually means a fixed doctrine that must be believed, Hinduism is exactly the opposite. It allows the greatest freedom to connect with one’s essential Self, gives hints and methods, and does not go against one’s conscience. It never put its doctrine above one’s individual conscience. Hinduism encourages asking intelligent questions in the search for truth. It has incredible knowledge. Living in India is spiritually uplifting as the quality of life is definitely higher. Hindus not only acknowledge a supreme intelligence (Brahman/ Ishwar) as the cause and base of everything, but also allow each one the absolute freedom to choose his/her path to God.
Q: What is your concept of God and your view on Hindu philosophy?
Deepika: The description of God according to the four Mahavakyas as the eternal, all-pervading consciousness is in tune with modern science and can be experienced by anyone. Scientific knowledge mainly from India reached Europe. The different schools of Sanatan Dharma are guided by logic and reason and must definitely be taught in schools. The Upanishads in the form of questions and answers contain the highest knowledge. Indian philosophy, culture and lifestyle are getting more acceptance in the West. Indians are sitting on a box of pure gold (of knowledge and wisdom) without knowing it. Even science which the west is so proud of has its foundation in India. Every field of knowledge originated in India. Almost everything is there in the Vedas. Hindus believe in Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam, a beautiful idea.
Q: What can we do to build a stronger and culturally vibrant Bharat?
Deepika: Hindu Dharma is all-inclusive. One can respect others as brothers and sisters only when he admits that the one great Creator cannot possibly reject a huge chunk of humanity just because they do follow a different path. Hindus, being very good-natured are unable to believe that others can be so unreasonable. If Indians follow Dharma, reason, intuition and take the help of the profound insights of the Rishis, I am convinced that Bharat will quickly become stronger and culturally more vibrant. Hindus owe it to their forefathers who have left them such precious knowledge in so many fields that they honour it and defend it, if need be.
Q: You still have a huge fan-following. Through the platform of Asianet Newsable, what is your message to the Indian youth?
Deepika: We are so lucky that we were born in India. Be proud of your identity holding your head high. We belong to the most ancient civilization that has given maximum knowledge to the world. Without the amazing knowledge of our ancestors, “western science” would not exist. See the vast knowledge contained in Ayurveda. Yet many Indians are not proud of their heritage and their amazing history and the high culture that was present already during Ramayana and Mahabharata times.
Youth are the torchbearers for a better future for humanity. Learn about the wisdom of our forefathers, know about the richness of our land, for example the amazing temples which hold many secrets and do sadhana, in whatever way it suits you. Do not abuse your body by eating junk food or even taking drugs. Try to discover your true essence that is Satchitananda. Make the Divine in whatever form you prefer, your best friend. Remind yourself that Bhagawan is REALLY present. This makes life worthwhile and fulfilling. Nothing in this world can compare with the bliss and love that is your own already, waiting to be discovered in the depth of your Self.
Last Updated Aug 5, 2020, 6:37 PM IST