Rakhi is generally recognised as a celebration of a bond of love between brother and a sister. But how many of us have actually thought about what this tie entails?
Rakhi is synonymous with purity of the relationship and purity of the self and consequently of the soul. It is not merely a thread tied on the brother’s wrist by the sister whereby the brother pledges to protect her from any worldly harm. In a broader spectrum, it is a chance to free oneself from one’s internal enemies – the vices, especially the lust including the sexual one. A man is pulled down by his negative energies and Rakhi gives him a chance to retrospect and pull out of that dark side.
This multi coloured thread with multiple decorations and motifs is tied not necessarily only by one’s sister, but can be tied by any woman who shares a platonic relationship with a man. There is a complete absence of a physical relationship and has no age or space barriers between the two connected by this sacred thread. Simultaneously, it is absurd to think that a mere child or one who stays miles away would be able to offer protection to his ‘rakhi’ sister. The matter which is of prime importance here is the bond of spiritual love established between two individuals of the opposite sex.
Eight days after Rakhi we celebrate Janmashtami. The sacred thread tied during Raksha Bandhan connects us to Janmashtami, when we celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. In this period of eight days between ‘Purnima’ and ‘Ashtami’ we get a chance of cleansing and purifying our soul and subsequently getting reborn again.
This seven-day period, symbolic of the time taken for creation of the world by God can be likened to a recreation of the self by us. This period is to be seen as a time for penance when all negativism is purged to achieve the level of pure spirit. Needless to say, all forms of ‘spiritual downers’ should be abstained from, so that a hindrance free communion with the soul is made possible. In fact an ideal gift to one’s sister can be the shedding of a strong vices in that person.
The message of Rakshabandhan is that of love and purity. We can see it as a thread tied on behalf of God to set us on Godly ways. The initial representation of Rakhi as a pledge to protect the sister and her right to be protected by the brother has gained wide propagation due to the fact that in Indian history and mythology there have been instances when this facet of tying a thread on a man’s wrist has been highlighted. Rani Padmavati sent a Rakhi to a Muslim king to ask for help when she was besieged by enemies. In the realm of the Gods, we have Indrani tying a Rakhi on Lord Indra. There is also the tradition of tying Rakhi by a Brahmin to a Yajman.
The connection between Rakshabandhan and Janmashtami is highlighted keeping in view the spiritual aspect of man’s life, which is the ladder that helps him to achieve oneness with God.