||Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
Aum Namo Narayanaya
Second Century BC - Europe: the thick fog hangs over the dimly lit city. Brisk winds disturb the loose roof timbers, releasing trapped leaves and twigs to rain violently to the ground. The silence is periodically broken by the horn of a passing barge struggling against the evening current. It's Shravan Poorinima, (full moon). Down the narrow corrugated alleyway runs an average-sized lad gasping for breath, armed with a silver dagger. He cringes with fear as he hears the long sustained howl of a supposed werewolf that is terrorising the county.
Current day South Africa in a school: Shravan Poorinima - the horn drowned all sounds, signalling morning break. Amongst the barrage of learners wrestling their way to their social nodes - one well groomed, physically enhanced lad makes tracks towards the isolated sports arena. Gasping for breath, he searches frantically for a safe hideout. Making enquiries of his whereabouts, armed with an exquisite rakhi, is the most gorgeous girl in the school who has captured the heart of every boy.
The above refers to the lighter side of the tradition of Raksha Bandhan, where thousands of boys' hearts are crushed when girls use this opportunity to recruit brothers for their protection and safety, and reduce the trail of boys on their tail. However, on a more serious note, the tradition runs deep with significance within a religion that expounds the philosophy of Vasudevam Kutum Bakkam (the world is one big family). In modern times, it is unthinkable for a girl to walk alone without the potential threat of being harmed. If every woman is first looked upon as a manifestation of the Divine Mother, such a risk would be removed entirely. Reading parts from "God Intoxicated State" from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, one can truly understand this concept after we see how Sri Ramakrishna looked upon all women as manifestations of the Divine Mother, irrespective of who they were.
There are a few references to the origin of this tradition. However in this auspicious period of Gita Week, as a precursor to the all important and globally venerated appearance day of Shri Krishna, I am but all directed to tell you about the one related to Bhagwan, out of deep sincere love for Him. In a battle with the evil King Shisupal, Krishna was hurt and was left with a bleeding finger. Upon seeing this, Draupadi without hesitation, tore off a piece of her sarie and wrapped it around His finger. Deeply moved by this unselfish sisterly love, He vowed to protect her always. On one occasion the Pandava brothers lost her in a game of dice, and she was dragged to centre of the court to be disrobed; the Lord instantly came to her rescue. With His blessings, her sarie became an unending weave.
With seven days dedicated to the study of His divine glorious words given in theBhagavad Gita, together with some extractions from the Srimad Bhagavatam, one will gather, nurture and appreciate a new love for Shri Krishna. Glorified by Brahma as being the primeval Lord - being adept in playing His flute, whose blooming eyes are like lotus petals, whose head is bedecked with a peacock feather, whose figure of beauty is tinged with hues of blue clouds, and whose unique loveliness charms millions of cupids. Even through the descriptions of visions by great sages we cannot get over the celestial beauty of the Lord, I can only imagine how one would be entranced upon having a direct vision.
After writing all the most profound and intellectual works on our Dharma, Vyasa said to Narada that He feels so unsatisfied. Narada reveals the source of the problem as Vyasa’s failure to write of the glories of Narayana and his beautiful pastimes - which brings such joy, contentment and peace to the disturbed mind. Thus came forth from the pen of the great Vyasdev, the most glorious enchanting literary work of all times, the Srimad Bhagavatam, which will melt and move any heart to adoration and devotion.
I was mesmerised by the book when during one Gita Week, Swami Vimokshananda read just a few pages from it and I was immediately addicted to the bhakti that flowed through. In the same year, I was gifted a complete set from the Sri Sarada Devi Ashram by a very dear and divine friend which I will treasure with my life. The Gita in general with its intense philosophy may appear dry; but when moistened with wonderful incidents of the Lord’s life and pastimes, it becomes very palatable and digests with relative ease. The Gitashall remain the panacea of man's woes for time immemorial.
It will forever remain relevant as this wisdom speaks to the core impediments that will always obstruct man to his ultimate aim of peace and liberation. Being the originator of all creation, who better to understand the psychology of man than the creator himself? In a mere 700 verses composed in 18 chapters, Krishna Bhagwan is able to deliver the problems and its solutions to humanity at large; irrespective of religion, caste or race. Many leading personalities of the world have commented and even written commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita, attesting to this divine book's capacity to reduce the most difficult situations into easy triumphs.
As we would never know the taste of a pudding if we haven’t tried it - I make an appeal to you to attend at least one satsang during this auspicious week and see for yourself the eternal wisdom packed into every word uttered by the Lord. His words have yet to fail anyone. In Chapter 9, Verse 31, the Lord said to Arjuna: "O son of Kunti, boldly declare that my devotee never perishes”.
So as a precaution to all the ladies out there, considering the unreliable men in the world - consider tying a rakhi for Sri Krishna next year - and like Draupadi, you will always enjoy His divine protection.
PS: My dear brothers: You rather take the rakhi - or else you have to take the engagement ring; then the wedding ring; which will ultimately lead to suffering :-)
May Shri Krishna guide and protect us always, is my sincere prayer.
Devaki paramanandam Krishnam vande jagat gurum.
Sri Krishna, son of Devaki, is the world teacher.
With love and prayers always