S. Lakshmi Narayanan, a distinguished civil servant with a career spanning decades, has been known not only for his administrative acumen but also for his active involvement in various social and religious causes. His decision to contribute his entire life’s savings for the construction and beautification of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya reflects his unwavering dedication to the ideals that the temple symbolises.
During his recent visit to Ayodhya, S. Lakshmi Narayanan, the former Union Home Secretary, sought permission from Champat Rai, the General Secretary of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, to make a significant and heartfelt contribution towards the construction of the Ram Mandir.
The donated funds are earmarked for a unique and ambitious project—an intricately crafted version of the Ramcharitmanas, weighing 151 kg. The project comes with an estimated cost of ₹5 crore, with each page of the sacred text crafted from copper. The verses, totaling 10,902, will be adorned with gold-studded letters and emeralds, dipped in 24-carat gold. The meticulous craftsmanship required for this project involves the use of 140 kg of copper, five to seven kg of gold, and various other metals for decorative purposes.
This extraordinary initiative is not only a testament to Narayanan’s devotion but also a demonstration of his commitment to preserving and promoting the cultural and religious heritage of the country. The ‘Manas,’ as the crafted version of Ramcharitmanas is called, will be placed reverently in front of the idol of Ramlala, adding to the sanctity of the newly constructed Ram Mandir.
In a brief interaction with the temple community, the retired IAS officer revealed the origin of his name, attributing it to a vow made by his mother to Goddess Lakshmi. Recounting the story, he shared that during pregnancy, his mother had fervently prayed at Delhi’s Birla Temple, also known as Lakshmi Narayan Temple. In her pledge, she vowed to name her son Lakshmi Narayan if she were blessed with a son.
During this conversation, the former Union Home Secretary reflected on the abundant blessings he has received throughout his life. Despite holding prominent positions and experiencing prosperity, even in retirement, where he continues to receive a significant income, he emphasised his adherence to a simple lifestyle, content with basic necessities. He disclosed that his pension largely remains untouched, underscoring his belief in returning what he has received from God.
Expressing his philosophy on wealth and charity, he stated, “I believe in returning what God has bestowed upon me. I find it more meaningful to offer His book at the feet of God rather than accumulating wealth in the name of charity.” Accompanied by his wife Saraswati, he conveyed these thoughts to the people in the temple trust, providing insight into his motivations behind the significant contribution he is making to the construction of the Ram Mandir.
The Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, led by Champat Rai, has been actively involved in the monumental task of constructing the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. The trust anticipates spending Rs 1,800 crore on the temple’s construction, with the aim of accommodating around 70,000–75,000 devotees for darshan over a span of 12 hours.
As the project progresses, the collaboration with the firm designing the new Parliament for the creation of the gold-studded Ramcharitmanas adds a touch of prestige to this monumental endeavour.