Raksha Bandhan, which falls on the full-moon day in the month of Shravan in the Hindu calendar, celebrates the love between brother and sister. The sister ties a rakhi a sacred thread on the wrist of the brother, as an expression of her love and she prays for the brother’s well-being. The brother, in turn, vows to protect her from harm.
This popular way of celebrating the festival is of fairly recent origin. In earlier times, it was the priest who tied the rakhi around the wrists of people a less prevalent practice now, but one that indicates the deeper spiritual significance of the festival.
Raksha Bandhan literally means `knot of protection’. In reality, God is the source of protection that Raksha Bandhan promises. No human can offer complete protection to another, at all times.
More than any other festival, Raksha Bandhan, carries the message that those who are virtuous, need not fear for they are automatically protected by their good deeds and thoughts. This point is an underlying theme of several festivals.The mythological stories connected with Dussehra and Holi teach us that virtuous conduct is paramount, and the earnest seeker feels protected.
How does one come to feel confident of divine protection?
The first step is to know the truth of Self, the soul, and one’s relationship with the Supreme Soul. The tilak applied by sisters on their brothers’ forehead after tying the Rakhi is a symbol of the soul. The soul is a reservoir of peace, love, purity, and power.These qualities appeal to us because they are a part of our natural state, and the lack of any of them diminishes the quality of the soul, thereby eroding its happiness.
The stronger the connection with one’s true identity, the more one can experience spiritual qualities and express them in one’s life. The result is peace and contentment. But when Self-awareness is lacking, one is disconnected from the inner reserves of power that strengthen the soul, and one looks for happiness outside. In the process, one gets entangled in desires leading to attachment, fear, anger and all the emotions that destabilize the soul when it forgets itself and craves for fulfillment.
When the soul becomes Self-aware and recognises its connection with God, it is able to connect with the Divine.This is a relationship of love and belonging, not the one between a supplicant and benefactor.
Remembering the Almighty fills the soul with power, which enables it to resist and overcome vices that rob it of its dignity and bring suffering. Thus one is shielded from sorrow.
When one’s life is governed by spiritual principles and actions informed by innate goodness of the soul, one naturally remains out of harm’s way. A soul with a clean mind and intellect can discern the true nature of people and situations and act accordingly.
Besides, virtuous souls attract similar persons, while those of the opposite kind tend to keep away from them. This automatically keeps God-loving people in the right company, which acts as a circle of protection in life.
Therefore Raksha Bandhan would be a fitting occasion to reconnect with ourselves, discover our innate values, resolve to live by them, and thereby receive Divine protection.