Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Raksha Bandhan



Today's full moon (shravan) signifies Raksha Bandhan, an annual occurrence in the Hindu calendar (usually falling in the month of August). It is marked by a ceremony in which one's sister ties a rakhi — which may be a colorful thread or a simple bracelet — around the wrist of her brother. The word "raksha" signifies protection and "bandhan" is an association signifying an enduring bond; and so, when a rakhi around the wrist of one's brother it signifies his sister's love for him. He, likewise, recognizes the special bond between them - and by extending his wrist forward, he symbolically extends the hand of his protection over her as well.



Raksha Bandhan not only strengthens the bond of love between brothers and sisters, but goes beyond the confines of the family. When a rakhi is tied on the wrists of close friends and neighbors, it underscores the need for a harmonious social life where individuals co-exist peacefully as brothers and sisters. All members of the community commit to protect each other and society as a whole - an ancient theory popularized by the Nobel laureate, Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.



This ritual itself is a Hindu one - however throughout the ages it has come to transcend religion like few things can. It is said that Alexander's life was spared in battle only because his wife had tied a rakhi on the hand of the great Hindu King Puru. That kind of bond continues with Desis around the world to this day, in fact my own rakhis are sent by my 'sisters' (Muslims, Hindus & Christians) - all of them very close to my heart. Only one of them is actually related to me but who says you need matching DNA to be considered family?


The musical selection for today is from the 1970 movie 'Sachaa Jhutha' that still gets played at Indian weddings to this day, Meri Pyari Behaniya Banegi Dulhaniya. The movie was released at the peak of Rajesh Khanna's stardom and I heard him discuss the significance of the song in an interview he gave a few years back. He was already established as THE romantic hero of Bollywood when this movie came out and he said he knew that it was a game changer when, instead of getting pictures of his fans, he began to get rakhis en masse mailed to him instead. Girls all over India now saw him as not only the husband of their dreams but the brother of their dreams as well. Only in Bollywood...

7 comments:

Daddy's Girl said...

Great post - love the pictures. I've learned a lot about Raksha Bandhan from this - I've seen it in so many films, but I didn't fully understand the significance.

Sanket Vyas said...

Thanks DG! I have seen it in movies & lived it in real life but didn't understand the true meaning until I did research for this post :)

What is really great about Raksha Bandhan is that you don't have to have a blood relative to make it special - it can be anyone who you believe in your heart to be your brother/sister and it feels just as special.

Anonymous said...

Raksha Bandhan. The simplest and probably most meaningful holiday for us desis. Phoolon Ka taaron Ka is such a beautiful song. 2 versions - Kishord da and Lata with Manna Dey. Both great and both in different times of the story. One alludes to much happier times while the other is Dev saab's search. beautifuly filmed.

Viren said...

Yes, I agree with you, here in India people do celebrate this Rakhi Festival with all fun along-with all family members. Yes, even stars also celebrate this festival in their own way. And people who are not in India, they
Send rakhi to india to their brothers and
rakhi gifts to india to their loved ones.

Raksha Bandhan said...

A great post.. very sweet

Ami Dave said...

What can I say?!?! My beloved Bhai is correct! DNA is far from the only thing that defines brother- & sister-hood. You are such a wonderful brother who is always there to lend a hand, advice, empathy, and hours of research on a multitude of topics. Thank you for always being there for me. Love you Sanketbhai!

Ami Dave said...

What can I say?!?! My beloved Bhai is correct! DNA is far from the only thing that defines brother- & sister-hood. You are such a wonderful brother who is always there to lend a hand, advice, empathy, and hours of research on a multitude of topics. Thank you for always being there for me. Love you Sanket!

Ami