Happy Raksha Bandhan!

Raksha Bandhan: A yearly Hindu tradition

By Trived Soni

I am the only son in my family. I grew up with two sisters. Together we were the three musketeers, going through thick and thin. Most of the time we would enjoy each others company. Occasionally, we prefer keeping to ourselves, as we have different interests or even due to small arguments. As we grow older, we find our own individual paths and are busy chasing our personal dreams. We get separated and although sometimes I am not with them physically, I always know that my sisters have my back, and I have theirs. Likewise, for them.

In a typical Hindu family, once every year, brothers and sisters will be brought together to celebrate this festival. The sister would tie a knot around the brother’s wrist while wishing good health, happiness and goodwill. In return, the brother would promise to take good care and look out for them in any circumstance. After which, the sister would feed a sweet to her brother and he would give her a small monetary gift of appreciation. Growing up, I saw it nothing more than a tradition to follow annually and was naïve to the significance of Raksha Bandhan.

However, as time goes by and one begins to mature, curiosity and questions arise as to why things are done in such a way. Raksha Bandan in its name simply means the ‘bond of protection. It is celebrated on the full moon in the month of Sravana (Shravan Purnima). On this auspicious day, the whole family would get together to celebrate the sacred relation of a brother and a sister. Today, this tradition has gone beyond the siblings’ relationship, and is undertaken between neighbours, close friends, leaders and even army soldiers. This is to promote the feeling of unity and a commitment to all members of society to protect each other and encourage a harmonious social life.

The knot tied is referred to as a ‘Rakhi’ which significance can be derived from many ancient stories. The most common comes from the well-known Sanskrit epic from India, Mahabaratha. According to the epic, one morning, when Lord Krishna was flying a kite, he cut his finger by accident. Draupadi, who was nearby, saw him bleeding profusely and ran to him. She then tore a piece from her sari and tied it around his finger. Lord Krishna was so touched that in return he promised to protect her from all evil, forever. And he did protect her all along, especially during her ‘cheerharan’ by the Kauravas.

The festival of Raksha Bandhan is well thought of and is the only ceremony that celebrates the essence of the brother-sister relationship. In this day and age, everyone is busy with their personal affairs, studies and work and tend to brush of these small occasions or even a chance to spend some time together as a family. With the knowledge I have shared above, I hope brothers and sisters can make time to appreciate this strong life-long bond between them when tying the knot on this special day.

On behalf of the Geeta Ashram Youth, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Raksha Bandhan!

References :
1. http://www.raksha-bandhan.com/meaning-significance-of-raksha-bandhan.html
2. http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/raksha-bandhan-2017-know-the-importance-history-and-significance-of-raksha-bandhan-festival-in-india-4782720/
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/holydays/raksha.shtml
4. https://www.amritapuri.org/3539/rakshabandan.aum
5. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/events/when-is-raksha-bandhan-2017-significance-and-importance-of-the-day/articleshow/59898862.cms
6. Trived’s deep thoughts

Janmashtmi 2014 @ Geeta Ashram Malaysia

The children of the Ashram put together a wonderful performance for Janmashtmi this year!

Here is a montage of some of the pictures from all the skits 🙂

The Gopis, Gopalas and Cows with Little Krishna

The Gopis, Gopalas and Cows with Little Krishna

Brahma Being Blessed by Krishna

Brahma Being Blessed by Krishna

Egoism: A Downfall & Two Wolves

Egoism: A Downfall & Two Wolves

God Will Save Me

God Will Save Me and Everything Happens For A Reason

Vasudeva Sarvam Iti & Two Wolves

Vasudeva Sarvam Iti & Two Wolves

These pictures and more are available in a CD!

You may purchase them from the Geeta Ashram Youth @ RM10 each

(all proceeds are channelled to the Geeta Ashram Building Fund)
A Collection of Photos from Janmashtmi 2014 @ GAM RM 10 each

A Collection of Photos from Janmashtmi 2014 @ GAM
RM 10 each

We have also shared the scripts of our teenage skits for all to read and enjoy 🙂 You can find them here.

We will soon be sharing the story of Janmashtmi! Look out for it soon! 😉

Happy Raksha Bandhan!

There’s no other love like the love for a brother. There’s no other love like the love from a brother.

– Terri Guillemets

Historically, Raksha Bandhan is an ancient concept where queens used to send rakhis to their neighbourhood brothers as a sign of love and token of brotherhood. However, with most traditions, the entire concept of it has changed over time. Raksha Bandhan in Sanskrit literally means “the tie or knot of protection“. It is an ancient Hindu festival that ritually celebrates the love and duty between brothers and their sisters. The sister performs a Rakhi ceremony, then prays to express her love and her wish for the well being of her brother; in return, the brother ritually pledges to protect and take care of his sister under all circumstances. The festival is also an occasion to celebrate brother-sister like family ties between cousins or distant family members, sometimes between biologically unrelated men and women.

Rakhi

Having my Rakhi tied!

As with most Hindu festivals, there are a number of rituals that are usually carried out during this auspicious day. The sisters will usually shop for rakhis or even make their own out of colourful thread sometimes adorned with decorations or amulets. Meanwhile, the brothers will buy gifts for their sisters. On the day itself, the sisters will tie the rakhis on their brother’s wrist, followed by a simple prayer for the brother’s prosperity, good health and happiness and an aarti. Then, the sisters will feed their brothers sweets with their hands. In return, the brothers will then gift their sisters with the aforementioned gifts, and of course hugs are given and received left, right and center.

Personally, having grown up with three elder sisters and a number of cousins whom I regard as my sisters, I’ve always looked forward to this day. It’s a simple reminder to me that I am appreciated and I truly feel it does strengthen the bond between a brother and a sister. Only downside I could possibly think of is that my wallet is significantly lighter at the end of the day! 😉

 The Geeta Ashram Youth would like to wish A very Happy Raksha Bandhan to one and all!

by Vithal Narula