Over the past couple of months we have witnessed a very interesting period in the whole year. The period of fasting by Muslims as well as the worship of Supreme Being, Shiva, at Amarnath, during these months seemed to have positive effect on the attitudes and thinking of many communities.
The people of Bharat are gifted with the inheritance of religiousness that runs deep in everyone’s heart. All people may not be able to go on pilgrimages to the revered Mecca or Amarnath or other very beautiful places in East or South India, but there is the natural understanding of being devout Hindus or Muslims or Christians or Catholics or Sikhs or Jews or Jains.
However, after all these pilgrimages and celebrations, there comes a common, unifying festival of Raksha Bandhan in the month of August yearly. It falls on the full moon day of the auspicious Shravan month.
It is very interesting to note from media reports that the spirit and sanctity of the Rakhi Festival provide artisans with a chance to design Rakhis of different kinds, embellished with jewels, pearls and gold. Out of love for their divine relationship with their brothers, the sisters yearn to obtain very unique and impressive designs of latest fashion for Raksha Bandhan. No doubt, the people, who have made it a commercial venture must be earning lakhs and crores by selling their beautiful products. Nonetheless, it is only the value of the spirit of Rakhi which absolutely enlivens the relationship of sisters with their beloved brothers.
For the common person, it is a very emotional event in one’s life when brothers eagerly await the arrival of their sisters to tie the Rakhi, and offer them sweets as a token of love. The brother may or may not do anything in return at that moment, but it’s the spirit behind this festival that enables young men and the mature to realise their responsibility towards acknowledging, guarding and giving regard to the honour of their sisters.
Raksha Bandhan means the bond of purity and protection. On this auspicious occasion, a sister ties a Rakhi, a decorated thread on the wrist of her brother, applies tilak on his forehead, sweetens his mouth and prays for his longevity. The brother in return pledges to protect the dignity of his sister even at the cost of his life and gives her gifts. This sacred thread of Rakhi which carries many emotions with it, strengthens the relationship between brothers and sisters to a great extent.
The Legends behind the Festival
There are various legends behind this festival.
Indrani, wife of Indra, tied a thread given to her by Lord Vishnu, to her husband to protect him during a war with the demons.
According to another legend, when Yamuna (the river) tied a rakhi to Yama, the lord of death granted her immortality. And so moved he was by the gesture, he is said to have declared that any brother who was tied a rakhi and offered to protect his sister would also become immortal.
It’s also believed that Rani Karnavati sent a Rakhi to the Mughal emperor Humayun seeking his help as she was attacked by the Sultan of Mewar. Humayun was touched by the emotion-filled Rakhi and marched to protect her kingdom of Chittor.
The True Significance of the Legends
The Supreme Soul, reveals the significance of these legends. He says that there are divine and devilish qualities within us. When we try a rakhi, that is, choose to work on ourselves to overcome our negativities we will have better control over our minds.
The legend of Rani Karnavati and emperor Humayun proves that the sacred festival is not limited to Hindus but it is applicable to the whole world and gives the message of unity, nobility and commitment. This festival strengthens the vision of brotherhood amongst all.
In a broader, spiritual sense, our Brahma Kumaris Sisters invoke Incorporeal God Shiva’s blessings to empower especially the brothers from all walks of life, and inspire them to have a spiritual outlook towards women-kind. This is their fervent attempt to help society in leading worthwhile lives free from fear and violence. Those who understand the importance of a BK lifestyle, and choose to adopt it personally, take a pledge of purity and spiritual consciousness while dealing with relationships, knowing that all women and men are the creation of one Supreme Parent. This pious attitude, awareness and vision work wonders not only in emerging inner peace and joy within individuals, but also in creating loving and friendly relationships between different communities, and religious backgrounds. Let the spirit of Raksha Bandhan liberate everyone from negativity, peacelessness and violence! This will mark a bold step of humanity towards ensuring the welfare of society in a very subtle, emotional and practical way.
Once we take to this path of spirituality and observe the spirit of Raksha Bandhan we are able to re-discover the most precious treasures of inner peace, inner happiness and well-being. Daily we come across full-page advertisements about different hospitals, latest medical equipment or medications, yet every year the number of patients keep multiplying as if there is no sure-cure for anything. To some extent, we have found that strict vegetarian (plant-based) diet and deep experiences of Rajyoga Meditation come to our rescue in arresting any disease; moreover, doing meditation in soul-consciousness and loving remembrance of the Supreme Being develop our inner power and enable us to conquer several diseases and negative, impulsive behaviours. The more we practice silent contemplation, and the more we explore the depths of meditation, we are guaranteed to unleash a number of powers to deal with different situations at different times.
Let us now take a vow to maintain the purity of thoughts, words, deeds and practice the vision of universal brotherhood. When we make sincere efforts in making ourselves vice-less and pure and make our lives full of divine virtues, our journey of life would be smooth and we can also create a beautiful future.
Wishing everyone multimillion fold congratulations for the most auspicious festival of Raksha Bandhan.