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The Essence of Raksha Bandhan

Mumbai | Radhanath Swami Maharaj: Raksha Bandhan falls on August 3 this year and sisters of all ages tie Rakhi on wrists of brothers symbolizing their love and seeking protection in return from the problems confronting them. This festival traditionally puts brothers in responsibility to protect their sisters from the difficulties faced by them in society.

The essence of any relationship (child-parent, sister-brother, wife-husband) is to seek protection and pleasure. It is innate for every conscious being. As humans we are pleasure seeking. Our pleasure is in loving someone and being loved by someone. By the power of time everything around is subjected to wear and tear and eventual destruction and everyone around us is subjected to old age and death. Therefore we invest a great amount of time in protecting those whom we love. We also try to protect those things which are means of expressing our love – assets, gadgets, wealth etc.. Therefore our attempts to protect our beloved ones are bound to be frustrated. Is there no way to have a happy life forever?

Bhagavad Gita has an answer to this. It refers to our spiritual identity beyond the gross physical existence. We are a spirit soul covered by (a) subtle body consisting of mind, intelligence and ego and (b) gross body consisting of knowledge-acquiring senses (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin) and (c) working senses (hands, legs, speech, rectum, genitals). Soul being spiritual is unaffected by time and other physical factors. Soul is eternal whereas body is temporary. Bhagavad Gita says that the external body is sure to come to an end and the embodied soul is indestructible and eternal.

As a spiritual being, the nature of soul is to seek eternal pleasure and happiness. Therefore every one of us is constantly searching for happiness through various means in this world viz. But as a spiritual being we cannot be fully satiated by any amount of pleasure available in this temporary material world just as a fish taken out of water cannot be satisfied by offering money, gadgets etc. The fish can be only satisfied by returning it to its natural position – water. Similarly as spiritual beings, our true happiness lies in spiritual relationship. Our true happiness lies in a relationship of selfless service to the Supreme All Attractive All Merciful Divine Person – God. The process of connection with God is through devotional service also called as Bhakti Yoga.

The author is the spiritual guru at the “International Society for Krishna Consciousness” (ISKCON)

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