Raksha Bandhan

Wed, 01/08/2012

Bangalore, India

Today is Full Moon – Shravan Purnima. The previous Full Moon was Guru Purnima, dedicated to the masters and teachers. Previous to that was Buddha Purnima and the one before that was Chaitra Purnima.

So this fourth Full Moon is called Shravan Purnima and this Full Moon is dedicated to the brother and sister relationship – Raksha Bandhan.

Today is also the day that the Janeu (sacred thread) is changed. The significance of changing the thread is to remind you that you have three responsibilities or debts on your shoulders – responsibility towards your parents, responsibility towards society and responsibility towards knowledge.

These are the three responsibilities or debts that we have. We are indebted to our parents, we are indebted to the society and we are indebted towards the Guru; the knowledge. So we have these three debts and the Janeu reminds us of these three responsibilities.

Today is also the day that the Janeu (sacred thread) is changed. The significance of changing the thread is to remind you that you have three responsibilities on your shoulders – towards your parents, towards society and

When we say debt, we think of it as some loan that we have taken that we need to give back. But we should understand it as a responsibility. The meaning of debt in this case is what? Responsibility! It is reviewing your responsibility towards the previous generation, towards the coming generation and towards the present generation. And that is why you put the three layers of thread on your shoulder (Janeu).

That is the significance – let me keep my body pure, my mind pure and my speech pure; Purity in body, mind and speech. And when there is a thread hanging around you, you remember every day, ‘Oh I have these responsibilities.’

In ancient days women also had to wear this thread. It was not limited to only one caste or another caste. Everybody used to have to wear this whether they were Brahmans, Vaishya, Kshatriya, Shudra; but later on it got confined to a few.

Responsibility is for everybody.

Now, when one gets married they get six layers – three layers of oneself and three of the wife’s also. Actually wives should also have it but men take it on themselves. This is a male dominated society; they made this big mistake. Women also had this in ancient days – the ceremony of taking responsibility. But now after marriage the man takes responsibility for his wife’s side as well.

So, on Raksha Bandhan you tie the Rakhi, what we call as friendship band. This term was recently coined in English, but from ancient times Raksha Bandhan has been there. It is the bond of protection where the sister protects her brother.

So Raksha Bandhan is a festival here where all the sisters go and tie the Rakhi on their brothers. And it does not have to be only their biological brother, in fact they start tying it to everybody and everybody are their brothers. So this has been very prevalent in this country and it is a big festival on Shravan Purnima.

After Shravan Purnima the next that comes is Bhado Purnima which is also celebrated. Then comes Anant Purnima, which is a Full Moon of the infinity. And then comes Sharad Purnima. Sharad Purnima is attributed to the big and beautiful Moon. If someone’s face is glowing and they are looking very bright, then it is said, ‘You are looking like the Sharad Purnima.’

Sharad Purnima is considered to be the best, the biggest and clearest Full Moon of the whole year. If someone is so pleasing and so pleasant, they say, ‘Sharad Chandra Nibhanana.’

It is said that the face of Mother Divine (Devi) is like the moon of Sharad Purnima. So it is a very auspicious Purnima.

After that comes Kartik Purnima where you light a lot of lamps and celebrate.

So every Purnima (Full Moon) has some significance and some celebration attached with it.

It is on Sharad Purnima that Lord Krishna danced with all the Gopis. Though he was one and the Gopis were many, they felt as if he had multiplied himself into many and danced with everyone. So everyone was in a trance! And everyone felt Krishna to be their own and he danced with all of them. Sharad Purnima is very well known for this.

People celebrate this day. They keep milk in the moonlight and then they drink it. So there is a celebration that happens on Sharad Purnima.

If you cannot make your life a celebration and celebrate every day then at least a few days in a month you can celebrate. If a few days in a month is too much then at least once a month, i.e., on Purnima day you can celebrate; so twelve celebrations in a year.

Mind is so much connected with the moon, that is why whether it is a New Moon or a Full Moon our mind goes up and down. Mind and the moon are very connected that is why in the Vedas it is said, ’ Chandrama Manaso Jata’ – Mind is not born from the moon, the Moon is born from the mind. That is why these days are very important.

Life itself is important. I tell you, this entire life is important for the knowledgeable.

The Janeu (sacred thread) is not to be changed just like that. Life has responsibilities. So it is changed with the awareness and resolve that - Whatever I do, I will do with responsibility.

So, on this day when the sacred threads are changed (Janeu), it is done with a resolve (sankalpa) that – May I be granted the ability to perform such actions that are effective and renowned.

To act also one needs ability. And when the body is pure, speech is pure and mind is pure, that is when work gets accomplished.

It is said that for one to act, whether spiritual actions or worldly actions, one requires skill; ability. And to achieve this skill and ability we need to be responsible. Only a responsible person is suitable to do work. See, such a nice message has been given.

If you give any work to an irresponsible person it always leads to a loss.

If you tell an irresponsible person to take care of the kitchen, and then go for breakfast the next morning, he will tell you, ‘Breakfast is not ready.’

If breakfast is given at lunch time then that person is not a responsible person. And an irresponsible person is not capable of doing any work, whether worldly work or spiritual work. Therefore, first and foremost one should know how to fulfill one’s responsibilities in life. And Yagyopaveet Sanskar is to learn how to take responsibility.

The Janeu (sacred thread) is not to be changed just like that. Life has responsibilities. So it is changed with the awareness and resolve that - Whatever I do I will do with responsibility.