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Karnataka astrologer who set Ram Mandir ceremony date can’t make it but still feels blessed

75-year-old N.R. Vijayendra Sharma says he was close to former PMs Morarji Desai and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, as well as former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

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Bengaluru: On 5 August, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi places a silver brick weighing 22.6 kg to mark the foundation of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, one man in Karnataka will have made an important contribution towards the ceremony — Belagavi-based astrologer N.R. Vijayendra Sharma is among the people who picked the date and time for it.

Popularly known as ‘Pandit Sharma’, he claims to have been closely associated with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement for several years. He was approached in February to find an auspicious date for the bhoomi pujan in Ayodhya, Sharma told ThePrint.

Sharma is close to Swami Govind Dev Giri Maharaj, also known as Kishore ji Vyas, a member of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust. But he said he was not the only one who was consulted for an auspicious date for the bhoomi pujan (ground-breaking ceremony).

A letter sent to Pandit Sharma by former President of India K.R. Narayanan | By special arrangement
A letter sent to Pandit Sharma in 1998 by former President of India K.R. Narayanan | By special arrangement

“After the Supreme Court judgment in the Ram Janmabhoomi case, Swami Govind Dev Giri Maharaj asked me to keep some auspicious dates ready for when they could go ahead with the bhoomi pujan (ground breaking ceremony),” Sharma told ThePrint.

“The date I gave, 5 August, was also suggested by renowned astrologer Ganesh Shastri Dravid. It is a very auspicious day and one that is extremely good muhurta (auspicious timing), according to Vastu Shastra,” he said. “I am very blessed to have been able to be part of this landmark day. I wanted it to be the most auspicious day as this will be recorded for posterity.”

The time fixed for the pooja is 12:15 pm, just outside the 8 am-noon window he had suggested.

According to the Vishva Hindu Parishad, the time was also set a by Varanasi-based Ganesh Shastri Dravid.

“Acharya Ganeshwar Shastri Dravid ji of Varanasi suggested the final time of bhoomi pujan. We had consulted several other astrologers also,” said Ashok Tiwari, head of the Kendriya Sant Sampark, which connects the saints community to the VHP.

Also read: Late VHP leader Ashok Singhal’s nephew to sit with PM Modi for Ram temple’s ‘bhoomi pujan’

Recommended multiple dates

Sharma said he had first suggested 26 April, the date of Akshaya Tritiya this year. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown forced the organisers of the event to consider a later date.

“Other than the day of Akshaya Tritiya, I had given four other dates — 29 July, 31 July, 3 August and 5 August. The month of Shravana, according to the Hindu calendar, is very auspicious. All the dates I suggested fall in this Hindu calendar month.”

However, the 75-year-old is also disappointed — he will not be able to attend the event due to Covid-19 restrictions for senior citizens.

“I will watch it on television and offer my prayers so that everything takes place successfully,” he said.

Adviser to former PMs

Sharma, well-versed in many languages, is a gold medallist from the Banaras Hindu University. He has previously advised several top politicians India, including former prime ministers Morarji Desai and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Pandit Sharma meeting former prime minister of India P.V. Narasimha Rao | By special arrangement
Pandit Sharma meeting former prime minister of India P.V. Narasimha Rao | By special arrangement

“When Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji was to take oath as PM, I calculated an auspicious day based on his birthdate and suggested it to him,” said Sharma.

He also fondly remembers his association with L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, all of whom he said held him in high esteem.

(With inputs from Prashant Srivastava)

Also read: Ram Mandir priest, 14 security staff test Covid-positive week before Ayodhya bhoomi poojan


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