Ram Naam Bank at Kumbh Mela: 'Release difficult emotions' or 'resolve past issues' at family-run bank where Lord Ram is sole currency

Allahabad: For almost a century, people from different religions have been writing the name of Lord Ram in a booklet and depositing it in the 'Ram Naam Bank' in search of solace and peace.

It is a unique bank with neither ATMs, nor cheque books and its only 'currency' is Lord Ram.

Ram Naam Bank at Kumbh Mela: Release difficult emotions or resolve past issues at family-run bank where Lord Ram is sole currency

A devotee prays after taking a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers, during "Kumbh Mela", or the Pitcher Festival, in Prayagraj, previously known as Allahabad, India, 14 January, 2019. Reuters/Danish Siddiqui

Ashutosh Varshney, who manages the bank's affairs, is carrying on the legacy of his grandfather who had set up the organisation in early part of the 20th century.

"This bank was started by my grandfather, Ishwar Chandra, who was a businessman. Now, there are over one lakh account holders from different age groups and religions," said Ashutosh, who has set up its camp at Sector 6 of the Kumbh Mela.

"It runs under a social organisation, Ram Naam Sewa Sansthan, and has witnessed at least nine Kumbhs," he said on Monday.

The bank has no monetary transactions. Its members have a booklet of 30 pages, containing 108 columns in which they write 'Ram Naam' 108 times everyday. This booklet is deposited in the individual's account.

He said the name of the Lord should be written in red ink as it is the colour of love.

Ledgers and passbooks

"The divine name of Lord Ram is credited in the account of account holder. A passbook is issued like other banks," said Gunjan Varshney, the president of the bank which is situated at Civil Lines area.

"All these services are provided free of cost. Ram Naam Bank has ledgers and passbooks like any other bank, and maintains the records of its 'depositors'. The only currency that works in this bank is the name of Lord Ram," she said.

Gunjan said the size of one's account was determined by the number of times one was able to write the name of the Lord and deposit it in the bank.

She said writing Ram Naam is called 'Likhita Jaap', and it comes in the category of writing meditation.

"This gives one a complete sense of surrender to an inner conscience and peace while writing the golden words. All the senses are engaged in the service of Lord," she said.

'Not bound to worship Lord Ram'

Ashutosh said people are not bound to worship Lord Ram to be members of the bank. They are free to worship Gods of their religions, he added.

He said people write the name of Lord Ram in Urdu, English and Bengali.

Peterson Das (55), a Christian, has been writing the name of Lord Ram since 2012.

"Almighty is one, be it Ram, Allah, Jesus or Nanak. It is humans who differentiate. I started writing the name of Lord Ram in 2012, but somehow, it got discontinued. However, from Kumbh, I have restarted the practice," Das said.

Recalling his five-year-old association with the bank, Sardar Prithvipal Singh, 50, said, "Lord Ram and Guru Govind Singh were great persons. Following their ideals is the foremost duty of every human being. If we believe in communal unity, then members of all faith should be brought together."

Ashutosh said writing the Lord's name helps release suppressed emotions and resolve issues from the past. "By constantly repeating Lord Ram's name, everything is accomplished. From a practical point of view, the writing of Ram Naam is actually reorienting to our true self," he said.

Priyanka Agarwal, who has been writing the name of Lord Ram for the last eight-nine years, said it has helped her to effectively deal with various issues. Challenging situations got turned favourable due to this practice, she said.

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Updated Date: Jan 21, 2019 18:22:05 IST

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