A Hindu trust in Bihar plans to set up the world's first Ramayan University in the state's Vaishali district. "We have decided to set up a Ramayan University that will function as an advanced centre of research on Ramayan," said Acharya Kishore Kunal, secretary of the Patna-based cash-rich Mahavir Mandir Trust.
Kunal, who mooted this unique project, said it would be like any other modern university with basic infrastructure for higher studies and research, including WiFi campus and online facility. He said the trust has acquired about 25 acres of land for the university at Biddupur in Vaishali, about 50 km from the state capital Patna. He said there is no timeframe for building the university but they would try to finish the project as early as possible. Kunal told IANS here the university would also teach and train knowledgeable Hindu priests for conducting rituals during festivals and family functions.
"Hindu priests will pass out of the university and that will end the dearth of knowledgeable priests," he said. The university will have specialised five-year course in astrophysics, astronomy, Hindu mythology, vedas and upanishads. It will preserve and promote the literature of the Ramayan in Sanskrit, Hindi, vernacular texts and languages of South-east Asian countries. Kunal said the Valmiki Ramayan would be the main foundation of the syllabus, but other Ramayans like Adhyatma and Anand as well as Sanskrit works like Raghuvansha of Kalidas would also be included.
Ram Charit Manas of Tulsidas in Hindi, Tamil Ramayan of Kamb, Marathi Ramayan of Eknath and Ramayans prevalent in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia too would be part of the syllabi. Hindu scriptures such as Gita would also be taught. "The USP (unique selling proposition) of the university would be that it would provide opportunity for higher research of ancient scriptures," Kunal said. Meanwhile, the trust has already began work to build the world's largest Hindu temple, the Virat Ramayan Mandir, in the state's West Champaran district, about 125 km from here.
Costing over Rs.500 crore, it would be 405 feet high and have a hall with a seating capacity of 20,000. It would be almost twice the height of the world-famous 12th century Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia, which rises 215 feet. Of the 18 temples in the complex, the Shiv temple would have the largest Shivling in the world.