Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi announced that the statue of Ram Lalla sculpted by Arun Yogiraj of Mysuru has been selected for installation at the Ayodhya temple.
"The selection of the idol for the Prana Pratishtapana of Lord Rama in Ayodhya has been finalized. The idol of Lord Rama, carved by renowned sculptor of our country Yogiraj Arun, will be installed in Ayodhya," Joshi said in a post on X.
Arun reportedly told news agency PTI that he has not yet received any official communication about whether the idol he had sculpted has been accepted.
However, senior BJP leaders message on ‘X’ made him believe that his work had been accepted.
Arun said, “The idol should be of a child, who is divine too, because it is the statue of the incarnation of God. People who look at the statue should feel the divinity.”
"Keeping the divinity aspect along with the child-like face in mind, I started my work about six to seven months ago. Now I am extremely happy. More than selection, people should appreciate it. Only then, I will be happy," the sculptor added.
Yogiraj had earlier created the statues of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose that has been installed at the India Gate.
Earlier in 2021, he sculpted the statue of Adi Shankaracharya which has been installed at Shri Kedarnath dham in Uttarakhand.
The large 12-foot stone sculpture of Adi Guru Shankaracharya made its journey from the workshop of sculptor Arun Yogiraj in Mysuru’s Saraswatipuram to the Samadhi sthal in Kedarnath (by road until Chamoli Airbase from where it was airlifted by the Indian Air Force to Kedarnath) where it will be installed and dedicated to the nation on 5 November 2021 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Arun's father Yogiraj Shilpi, was among the eight children of B Basavanna Shilpi, a Mysuru palace artist and Yogiraj, one among his 17 grandchildren. His grandfather had worked on the Gayatri Temple, the Bhuvaneshwari Temple and similar tasks commissioned by the palace.
The idol of Kaveri on the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam was also a creation of his grandfather.
Basavanna Shilpi was among the first students of Shilpa Sri Siddhalinga Swami, sculptor to the royal family of Mysuru, who among others has also designed the domes of the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.
Yogiraj’s grandfather joined his gurukula as a 10-year-old in 1931 and trained for the next 25 years under his guidance.
Arun recounts: “In 1953, after he came out of the mutt, he independently worked on the Gayatri temple as H H Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar gave him an opportunity,” which is the journey of breathing life into stones. Grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this historic feat, Arun says it is a tribute to the legacy he inherits.
Especially since he hadn’t taken to the tools naturally. Having excelled in his studies, Arun hadn’t fathomed that he would continue the saga with stones, and had obtained an MBA from Mysuru University in 2008, and joined a private company.
But the prophesy of his grandfather was destined to come true, he says. “Although I was a toddler, he had said that I would be the one picking up the tools and the one to carry forward his legacy and bring glory to his name” remembers Arun, saying "it is finally coming true after almost 37 years".
Arun quit his job, which he says "was not his cup of tea", picked up his tools and became full time sculptor since 2008.
"Until then my father would always muse about his father’s foretelling and wonder how it would be true given that I got my masters and took up a job," says Arun, remembering his ‘first and last guru’ who he lost in an accident recently, while he was away at the site of the statue’s installation in Kedarnath.
His only consolation is that his father saw the idol through its completion.
"He shed tears when he saw the idol completed, saying I had preserved the legacy of his father," remembers Arun nostalgically, wishing that if fate had not intervened, he could have taken his father for the installation ceremony.
Among his works are the Mysuru’s famous 14.5-feet white marble stone sculpture of the Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar in Mysore, and the life-size White marble sculpture of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the various statues at the railway station among various others.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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