Raksha Bandhan :
Raksha Bandhan :
(Excerpts from Satsang of Pujya Bapuji)
The festival of Raksha-Bandhan is in fact a hallmark of affection between the brother and his sister. Here is a historical incident related to this festival:
Even though the Greek emperor Alexander had made many conquests, still when he approached the kingdom of the valiant king Puru (Purushottama), he was greatly worried. He had heard about the high morale of the opposition army and the well-disciplined administration of the kingdom.
One of his spies confided, 'Your Majesty! Even though the state of king Puru is small, taking them on is a formidable task, tantamount to stepping into the jaws of death.'
The Greek emperor used to study his enemy from all angles before launching the attack. One of the better-informed spies said, 'Your Majesty! Hindus have a festival wherein a woman ties a Rakhi on the wrist of a man thus making him her brother. This binds the brother to protect her husband.' Alexander's wife overheard this conversation.
King Puru had made an announcement that on the day of Raksha-Bandhan, any woman or girl would be allowed to enter the royal palace and tie a Rakhi to the king and in turn receive the gifts of good wishes by the grace of God.' Observe Puru's magnanimity, for he doesn't say, 'they will receive a gift' nor does he say, 'I shall give the gifts.' How great Indian Sanskriti is! Puru considers God to be the real doer and not the ego.
Until now the ordinary girls and women were not allowed into the royal palace. But this time permission had been granted to all women. On the auspicious day of Raksha Bandhan, a foreign lady also joined the crowd of women proceeding to the royal palace. The soldiers were startled to notice her but could do nothing in view of the king's orders.
The foreign lady reached the king and tied a thread on the right wrist of the supremely righteous Puru. The wise king recognized her and said, 'I know you. You are Alexander's wife. Tell me, what do you wish for?'
She said, 'You and my husband will soon go to war. The result is uncertain. You too have a formidable army. I have come to you with a Rakhi. According to Indian Sanskriti, when a woman ties a Rakhi on a man's wrist, treating him like a brother, the brother fulfils her wish. And my wish is that you protect my husband.'
Alexander's wife had just tied a thread on Puru's wrist and how enormous is her demand in return! And look at the unequalled magnanimity of valiant Puru!
He says, 'I don't know who will win the battle. But if I win, your husband's security is assured.'
And what actually happened? Puru's brave warriors were fearlessly thrusting forward. Puru too moved ahead riding on an elephant, which gave a powerful blow to the chariot of Alexander, breaking it into pieces, causing Alexander to fall down on the ground.
Puru quickly got down from his elephant and drew his sword from the scabbard. Alexander's death was just one blow away but... India's Raksha-Bandhan festival came in the way! Puru stood there static with the sword in his hand. Alexander noticed that Puru could have killed him but was standing still. In the meanwhile, Alexander's soldiers came there and captured Puru!
Puru was brought as a captive before Alexander in the latter's camp at the battlefield. Alexander asked in his royal style, 'How should I treat you?'
Pat came the answer, 'As a king honourably treats another king.'
How high was Puru's morale! Although taken a prisoner, he had not been captured helplessly. Alexander had a change of heart. He stood up and said, 'Welcome O King!' He seated Puru beside him as an equal. Puru had guarded the Supreme tenets of Dharma and there Dharma stood guard for him.
'Dharma Protects its Protector.'
Alexander asked Puru in a low tone, 'I had fallen from the chariot and you had a sword ready in your hand. It was a moment's job to chop off my head, and you had so much time at your disposal. But you stood thinking about something and were taken captive. What were you thinking? What confused you?'
Puru replied with confidence, 'I was not confused.'
Alexander's wife could no longer hold herself back. She said, 'I had tied a Rakhi on his wrist. He has made such a big sacrifice to honour the inherent pledge of that Rakhi and to protect my husband.'
How marvellous Indian Sanskriti is! A mere thread saved Alexander's life!
Of course, Raksha-Bandhan is the festival of affection between a brother and his sister. It is a day to cement the ties of affection between a brother and his sister, a day to take an oath to observe complete self-restraint, and also the day when a sister receives a promise of protection from her brother. But there is also a deeper and broader significance to this festival. It is a day when we should make some pious resolves, when we should endeavour to experience the vicinity of the Lord and when we should pay obeisance to the Rishis. Brothers protect the physical and material wealth of their sisters, but Saints protect the treasure of our spiritual wealth.
Excellent disciples believe in the Guru not on the basis of some external miracles or so; but their belief is based on the peace of mind and bliss of the heart that they experience at the holy feet of the Guru. An aspirant remains ever anxious, lest he might lose the treasure of spiritual attributes that he has acquired through the Guru's grace, lest the vices of desire, anger, avarice, etc., should rob him of his spiritual treasure. Therefore, he seeks the protection from the Guru. Raksha-Bandhan is an occasion to remind us of that protection (Raksha).
Raksha-Bandhan is the festival for worshipping the Rishis. This is a special occasion to change the Yajnopavita, a must at the time of auspicious ceremonies, worship of gods, etc. It is the day for introspection, and for performing and concluding Anushthanas towards spiritual self-purification. The festival of Raksha-Bandhan comes with the message of awakening your True Self.
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