The Festival of the promise of purity, celebrated in India at the August full moon: Raksha Bandhan literally means the bond of protection. In ancient times before going to battle, the warriors would accept a Rakkhi, (a string tied around the right wrist) from a virgin woman, in the belief that her purity would protect them from harm on the battlefield.
It is also celebrated by the Brahmins, who annually replace their jannoy, (a string tied like a sash over the right shoulder). The jannoy symbolizes the spiritual principles that delimit their daily lives, such as vegetarian diet, lifestyle of purity, abstinence from recreational drugs, and a commitment to regular spiritual practice of meditation and spiritual study. Brahmins would also go to tie Rakkhis on the people who would give them money in return believing the Rakkhi would protect them from harm in their lives.
For students of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, Raksha Bandhan is one of the most important days. Special time is set aside to re-affirm the commitment to a chaste lifestyle of purity, vegetarian diet, abstinence from various negative habits, and to re-commit to a practice of intense meditation and study of spiritual knowledge. The BK practice of Raja Yoga is about personal development and transformation from ordinary to excellent. Ultimately life is a journey of self-discovery and character building.
As we move forward step by step on this life long journey we cover different terrains while the years go by, and we grow from youth to adulthood, to maturity to our senior years and eventually our twilight time.
This year we are giving special attention to deep personal inventory. This means to look inside searchingly at every corner of the soul to find any remaining character weaknesses, to shine the light of wisdom and spiritual light into those dark shadows and become clean inside and out.
There is a belief that if there is an “Unch” it will produce a “Vunch”. Unch is a trace, and vunch is a proliferation.
A significant aim of spiritual practice is to become free: physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially, financially, and so many other areas. Our personal freedom is limited by our personal weaknesses, which we also call our bondages and limitations. Therefore to search out tiny traces of hidden weaknesses is important, so that we don’t have to deal with any unexpected proliferation, when we face sudden challenges.
We all have traces of false ego. This blinds us to our small weaknesses, or gives us a false sense of security when we minimize them. We get caught up in the outer world of sense perceptions, the sights and sounds of modern life, and lose sight of the eternal inner light that burns within. Keeping attention on that light is the real work, and our true success. The inner light is connected with the third eye of wisdom. That enlightenment reveals the traces, and the accumulated power of yoga or meditation is the power that destroys the germs.
This year we are particularly looking to burn away those last traces and fling away the Raak, the ashes, so that there is not the slightest chance of negative characteristics resuscitating themselves. There is a term: Antim Sakskara, which means the last rites. Traditionally, after the body is burned, the ashes are ceremonially consigned to the purifying Ganges river, thus the soul is completely freed from any connection with the past that could pull the soul back to its old ways, and the liberated and enlightened soul is the free to move on its journey of evolution towards ultimate liberation. The liberated soul can then re-enter the circle of life as a perfected being of divinity and godliness. Let us use this auspicious time of the August full moon to perform this pure karma for the self. This year it falls on August 13, 2011.