Dhanbad: An 85-year-old woman from Jharkhand will break her three-decade-long 'maun vrat' (vow of silence) after her dream comes true on January 22 with the inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Saraswati Devi started her vow on the day Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992, promising to break it only when the Ram temple was inaugurated, her family claimed.
The Dhanbad resident left for the temple town in Uttar Pradesh aboard a train on Monday night to witness the inauguration of the temple.
Devi Used To Communicate Using Sign Language
Devi, who is popularly known as 'Mauni Mata' in Ayodhya, used to communicate with family members through sign language but wrote down complicated sentences.
Though she took a break from 'maun vrat' and spoke for an hour at noon every day till 2020, she went completely silent the day the foundation for the temple was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"The day Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992, my mother took a vow to observe silence till the Ram Mandir was constructed in Ayodhya. She has been jubilant ever since the date of consecration of the temple was announced," 55-year-old Hare Ram Agarwal, Devi's youngest child, told PTI.
"She left for Ayodhya on Monday night aboard Ganga-Sutlej Express from Dhanbad Railway Station. She will break her silence on January 22," Hare Ram, a resident of Bhowra in Baghmara block, said.
He said Devi has been invited by disciples of Mahant Nritya Gopal Das to participate in the Ram temple inauguration event.
A mother of eight children, including four daughters, Devi devoted her life to Lord Ram after the death of her husband Devkinandan Agarwal in 1986, spending most of her time in pilgrimages, family members said.
Devi is currently living with her second-eldest son Nand Lal Agarwal, an official with Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), an arm of Coal India, at Dhaiya in Dhanbad.
Nand Lal's wife Innu Agarwal (53) said that a few months after her marriage, she saw her mother-in-law embracing the vow of silence in devotion to Lord Ram.
"Mostly, we understood her sign language. But she used to write down complicated sentences on a piece of paper," Innu Agarwal said.
Saraswati Devi's Unique Maun Vrat
"After the demolition of Babri Masjid, my mother-in-law visited Ayodhya and took a pledge of 'maun vrat' till Ram Mandir was constructed. She used to remain silent for 23 hours a day, taking an hour-long break only at noon. The rest of the time, she communicated with us through pen and paper," she said.
"However, when the foundation of the Ram Mandir was laid in 2020 by PM Modi, she went for a 24-hour 'maun vrat' and pledged to speak only after the temple was inaugurated," Innu said.
In 2001, Devi did 'tapasya' (penance) for seven months at Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh where Lord Ram is believed to have spent a major part of his exile, Innu claimed.
"Besides, she also went on pilgrimages across the country," she said.
According to Innu Agarwal, her mother-in-law wakes up around 4 am every morning and undertakes 'sadhana' (meditation) for around six to seven hours in the morning.
"She studies religious books such as Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita in the evening after 'Sandhya Aarti'," she said.
Devi eats food only once a day and consumes a glass of milk in the morning and evening. She maintains a vegetarian diet consisting of rice, pulses and roti.