A Bihar trust that last year announced it will build the world’s largest Ram temple now plans the first Ramayan University in Vaishali district of the state.
"Apart from teaching, this unique varsity will be an advanced centre of research on the Ramayan and allied subjects. It will have a wifi campus and IT facilities," said Acharya Kishore Kunal, chairman of the Patna-based Mahavir Mandir Trust.
In November last year, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar unveiled a model of the Viraat Ramayan Mandir, another major project of the trust.
The temple complex is coming up on 110 acres of land at Kesaria in East Champaran district with an estimated budget of Rs 500 crore. When completed, it would be the largest religious monument in the world, larger than the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia.
The trust plans specialised five-year course in astronomy, astrophysics, Hindu mythology, Vedas and Upanishads, Sanskrit and much more in a bid to preserve and promote the literature of the Ramayan in Sanskrit, Hindi, vernacular texts or the languages of South East Asian countries.
"The Valmiki Ramayan will be the main foundation of the syllabus, but other Ramayans such as Adhyatma and Anand as well as Sanskrit works like Raghuvansha of Kalidas will also be included,” Kunal said.
Ram-charit-manas of Tulsidas in Hindi and all other epics in vernacular languages like Tamil Ramayan of Kamb or Marathi Ramayan of Eknath and Ramayans prevalent in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia too will be part of the syllabi of the University, he said.
Other Hindu scriptures such as Gita will also be taught at the campus.
"Students will be imparted basic knowledge of Sanskrit to the extent that they understand the Sanskrit text after reading the translation,” Kunal said.
"Apart from reviving all that India once epitomised, the courses will also provide greater employability. At present, there is dearth of knowledgeable priests for rituals. The university will prepare scholarly priests. There will be high-level research on Ayurveda," said Kunal.
The trust has acquired about 25 acres of land in Hajipur for the planned university.
"We had earlier planned it in Motihari, but a central university is already in the pipeline there. Besides, Hajipur will be a more centralized location to attract scholars and faculty members. We are ready with our plan and will apply as soon as the government invites proposals," he added.
Kunal said the university has the potential to bring about unity and harmony in the society and the country at large, as Ramayan’s teachings can be applied in everyday life.
With the Bihar government opening its doors to private universities, several institutions from across the country and in Bihar are planning to set up universities in the private sector.