By Rajyogi Brahmakumar Nikunj ji
Raksha Bandhan brings with it lots of colour, sweetness, and spiritual significance. It has a special place in the hearts of all sisters and brothers, because on this day they reinstate their commitment to their pure relationship. With time, this festival has acquired different expressions and connotations.
As per tradition, on the auspicious occasion of raksha bandhan sisters apply 'tilak' or a red golden mark on the forehead of their brothers and also tie a red-saffron coloured thread or colourfully decorated 'rakhi', round their wrist besides offering them sweets as a token of their love and affection. Tying a rakhi to a brother's wrist is commonly believed to be a ceremonial expression of a sister's hope that her brother would protect or help her in the time of need.
However, in this age of women empowerment it would seem belittling for women to suggest that they need to be protected by their brothers. Also it is worth considering as to how a small brother or one living far away can come to the sister's rescue in the time of distress? It is thus obvious that the significance of this festival is different from what it is generally believed to be.
This festival is also known as Vishtodak Parva (vice-eliminating festival). The Brahmins ie the family priests have from time immemorial carried on the practice of tying rakhi on the wrists of their clients and their family members as a symbol of purification. It is also believed that Indra's wife Indrani had tied him a rakhi that made him victorious in the battlefield. Victory here signifies overpowering the vices of lust, anger, greed, ego and attachment. Similarly, applying the tilak or red mark on the brother's forehead is also indicative of the sister suggesting to her brothers to be soul-conscious, for it is in the space between the eye-brows that the soul is located. Sweetening of the brother's mouth by the sister is also symbolic of her pious wish that her brother succeeds in overpowering all vices. Hence, Raksha Bandhan conveys the divine message of achieving man’s victory over his greatest enemy, lust, by strict observance of continence through soul-consciousness.
(The writer is an international speaker, spiritual educator and experienced meditation teacher.)