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Devraha Baba: The Unsung Hero of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir Movement

Baba told Rajiv Gandhi about Ram Mandir, ‘ Bachcha, ho jane do (son, let it happen)

Abhyansh Singh Rathore

In the heartland of India, where spiritual mysticism often intertwines with the political landscape, one figure stands out as a beacon of wisdom and influence during the tumultuous Ayodhya Ram Mandir movement – Devraha Baba. An enigmatic ascetic known for his profound spirituality, Devraha Baba’s life and teachings played an instrumental, albeit often overlooked, role in shaping the narrative that eventually led to the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. As we delve into the life of this mysterious sage, we uncover the untold story of his impact on the political and religious dynamics surrounding the historic movement.

Devraha Baba’s life is shrouded in mystery, with even the details of his birthplace and year remaining elusive. What is known is that he chose to live a life of asceticism on the banks of the sacred Saryu River, near Deoria in Uttar Pradesh. His abode, a simple kuti (hut), became a pilgrimage site for seekers of spiritual wisdom, attracting followers from diverse backgrounds.
Devraha Baba’s early years are veiled in obscurity, but his spiritual journey began when he renounced the material world to seek a higher purpose. His austere lifestyle, consisting of meditation, penance, and a detachment from worldly possessions, endeared him to those seeking a path of spiritual enlightenment. The simplicity of his existence contrasted sharply with the complexity of the socio-political milieu of India.

Despite his reclusive lifestyle, Devraha Baba’s influence transcended the boundaries of his hermitage. His teachings and aura attracted not only common seekers but also eminent personalities of his time. Notably, the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, found solace in the sage’s wisdom. Furthermore, political leaders like Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee sought his guidance, marking the mystic sage as a figure revered across the political spectrum.

One of the pivotal moments in the Ayodhya Ram Mandir movement was the ‘Dharma Sansad’ presided over by Devraha Baba in January 1984 at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj. This confluence of Hindu religious and spiritual leaders from various sects laid the foundation for a collective decision that would reverberate through the corridors of history. It was during this gathering that a unanimous resolution emerged – the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Devraha Baba’s role in the decision-making process during the ‘Dharma Sansad’ was crucial. As a revered spiritual leader, his words carried weight among the gathered luminaries. It is said that when Rajiv Gandhi, the then-Prime Minister of India, approached Devraha Baba seeking his advice and blessings regarding the foundation stone-laying ceremony, the sage responded with profound simplicity, saying, “Bachcha, ho jane do (son, let it happen).” This seemingly casual endorsement belied the gravity of the decision, reflecting the sage’s understanding of the spiritual and historical significance of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir.

The ‘Dharma Sansad’ marked the convergence of spirituality and politics, with Devraha Baba serving as a bridge between these two realms. The decision to build the Ram temple was not merely a religious pronouncement but a political statement with far-reaching consequences. Devraha Baba’s influence on this decision underscored the symbiotic relationship between spiritual leaders and political figures in the complex tapestry of Indian society.

Beyond the immediate decision of laying the foundation stone, Devraha Baba held a vision for Ayodhya that extended beyond the physical construction of a temple. His teachings emphasized the need for unity among diverse sects within Hinduism, fostering a spirit of brotherhood and harmony. In the face of the escalating tensions surrounding the Ayodhya issue, Devraha Baba’s vision provided a compass for navigating the treacherous waters of communal discord.

The endorsement of the Ayodhya temple construction by Devraha Baba had a profound impact on political leaders. For Rajiv Gandhi, a leader often caught between the demands of a secular state and the sentiments of a majority Hindu population, seeking the sage’s blessing was not just a political formality. It signaled an attempt to align with the spiritual aspirations of the masses. Similarly, figures like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, known for their association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), found resonance with Devraha Baba’s spiritual endorsement, further legitimizing their cause.

Despite the political implications of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir movement, Devraha Baba maintained a non-partisan stance. His teachings emphasized spiritual values over political affiliations, urging leaders to rise above sectarian interests for the greater good. This non-partisan approach added a layer of authenticity to his influence, allowing him to act as a unifying force rather than a divisive figure in the complex narrative of Ayodhya.

Devraha Baba’s influence extended beyond the 1984 ‘Dharma Sansad.’ His teachings and spiritual aura continued to attract followers, fostering a legacy that transcends time. The mystique surrounding his life and the enigmatic simplicity of his pronouncements left an indelible mark on the collective consciousness of those who sought solace in his wisdom. Even after his physical departure from this world, Devraha Baba’s legacy echoes in the hearts of those who revere him as a guiding light in their spiritual journey.

Devraha Baba, the unsung hero of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir movement, emerges from the shadows of mystique and obscurity as a pivotal figure whose influence shaped the course of history. His role in the ‘Dharma Sansad’ of 1984 and his simple yet profound endorsement of the temple construction in Ayodhya marked a convergence of spirituality and politics. Beyond the immediate political implications, Devraha Baba’s vision for Ayodhya emphasized unity, brotherhood, and a transcendence of sectarian interests.

As India continues to grapple with the complexities of its diverse cultural and religious landscape, Devraha Baba’s legacy serves as a timeless reminder of the potential for spiritual leaders to act as bridges, bringing together disparate elements for a higher purpose. The Ayodhya Ram Mandir movement, with all its historical and political intricacies, bears the imprint of Devraha Baba’s influence – a testament to the enduring power of spirituality in shaping the destiny of a nation.

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