Raksha Bhandan

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bansy
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Raksha Bhandan

Post by bansy » 17 Aug 2008

Today (this week), will see many tying the red and gold threads and the promises from brother to sister and vice versa, and vows to God.

Whilst there may be many here with differing experiences, intellect, sanskars, etc do hope you take a little time to comtemplate that you all have made such a pledge from the depth of your heart, and where you now stand. What is your next step. Take some time to reconsider and renew how fortunate to have moved along this spiritual path, use the facility (instrument) of this forum, be aware how much spiritual energy you are able to give to others and also easily take too. Regardless of your background, colour creed caste sex or even "religion", find the time to reflect back on your own journey and redirect yourself.

So fasten your rakhi ties, sit back, and have a pleasant journey.

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arjun
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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by arjun » 17 Aug 2008

Om Shanti and spiritual greetings to all BKs on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. :D

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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by tom » 17 Aug 2008

bansy wrote: Take some time to reconsider and renew how fortunate to have moved along this spiritual path, use the facility (instrument) of this forum, be aware how much spiritual energy you are able to give to others and also easily take too. Regardless of your background, colour creed caste sex or even "religion", find the time to reflect back on your own journey and redirect yourself.
Thank you bansy, for this meaningful interpretation of this festival and for your sincere good wishes.

Years long, whenever I was with pure feelings sitting in the audience together with many BKs and invited non BKs at any Raksha Bhandan ceremony thinking what am I doing in this Bhakti ceremony, I was embarrassed watching how this Bhakti ceremony with Rakhi tying etc was used with theatrical manners for PR of BKWSU. From the youngest BK sister-in-charges to the highest Dadi, whoever was sitting on the Gudhi and was tying the Rakhi, it does not matter. I heard later some of the invited non-BKs or VIPs talking about, "What a theater it was".

Take a look at the BK Photographs folder Rakhi Tying Photos from Purity, September 2005.

These countless photos are all published in September 2005 issue. From the President to the Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, High Commissioners, Chief Justices, Mayors, High Police Officers, Generals, Governors, Mayors, Ministers, even the Archbishop of Delhi, if they wanted or not - none of them could escape from the sweet young Kumaris and old Didis and Dadis who were determined to tie the Rakhi to their arms. Some of them have stretched their arms so, as if they were prepared to get an injection.

It is obvious many of these photographed persons, especially the high Public Officers were surprised to be photographed by Rakhi tying. Have all of them at that moment thinking of God? Without taking the beliefs of individuals, and if they wanted to be photographed into consideration, these persons with high positions are visited by the BKs and photographed, not for spiritual reasons but definitely for publicity and for PR work, in case, "these persons could be useful for BKWSU one day".

As an example how the BKs have used the Rakhi tying for PR, see from the above mentioned folder the attached photo: Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi (non-BK) is tying Rakhi to BK Brij Mohan, Editor of Purity !!!
Mrs.S.Gandhi-tying-Rakhi-to.jpg
Mrs.S.Gandhi-tying-Rakhi-to.jpg (30.74 KiB) Viewed 2268 times

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arjun
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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by arjun » 17 Aug 2008

tom wrote:these persons with high positions are visited by the BKs and photographed not for spiritual reasons but definitely for publicity and for PR work in case "These persons could be useful for BKWSU one day".
Yes, that is definitely true. And that is the reason most BK centers celebrate Rakshabandhan for the students of their own center, some days before the actual day of festival, is so that they could use the actual day of festival to tie rakhis to VIPs and others. Very few BK teachers volunteer to go and tie rakhis at prisons, old age homes, orphanages, hospitals.

As a BK, I don't remember going to a prison but once we went to an old age home plus an place for mentally challenged persons. They felt happy with our gesture. I also remember a famous incident where all the top level BK teachers of our city went to tie Rakhi to a Chief Minister of a State (who is now no more alive) but he gave a cold response to the sisters.

Besides being an occasion for publicity, it is also an occasion for extra income. Ever since I became a BK about three decades ago, I have seen BK teachers openly accepting money from BKs after tying Rakhis to them. This happened even at Madhuban. Generally, they place a plate where BKs put their donations. Now I am in a comparatively good financial position, but when I was a BK, I was not financially sound and every Rakshabandhan used to be a cause of embarrassment for me.

Generally, first of all the VIP BKs of our center used to be called by our teacher for getting the rakhi tied on their wrists. And they used to take out big notes from their pockets and give it to the BK teachers in full public glare. So, naturally, the poor BKs like us used to be under pressure to match our donation with theirs. Sometimes we used to hide our donation by enclosing it in a cover (which is the correct method according to PBKs).

Anyways, the purity of the occasion and the enthusiasm of service used to make us forget those embarrassing moments. But I wish BKs could do away with this practice, at least in public (including BK gatherings). In spite of sufficiently full cash boxes, no Chief of BKWSU has so far come forward and instructed the BK teachers to avoid the practice of accepting cash donations in public (even if it is within the confines of the BK centers).

Some BK teachers don't accept donations from non-BK VIPs whom they serve on Rakshabandhan, but there are many who do accept donations from non-BKs despite ShivBaba's directions against it. They are supposed to obtain just a pledge to renounce vices.

Regards,
OGS,
Arjun

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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by fluffy bunny » 17 Aug 2008

tom wrote:Without taking the beliefs of individuals, and if they wanted to be photographed into consideration, these persons with high positions are visited by the BKs and photographed, not for spiritual reasons but definitely for publicity and for PR work, in case, "these persons could be useful for BKWSU one day".
Its sort of like PR mugging.

I would like to add a second level to this. The purpose of PR is raise one's public awareness and status. In my opinion, the purpose of these photos of "senior" BKs with "famous" or "important" people is not so much for gaining 'public status' but sustaining the senior BKs status within the minds of the BK followers and donors. It is a game of "status by association" to convince and encourage the Brahma-Kumari followers that they do ... by association ... have status and importance. "Look ... Sonia Gandhi ... very famous ... Brij Mohan must be important too ... let me keep giving" etc

The technique works very well, especially when one's following is fearful or and impressed by the VIPs and unable of having such an experience themselves.

Rakhi is normally tied by physical sisters on their brother's wrist. By accepting a Rakhi from a sister, a brother takes on the responsibility of protecting her sister. Some Indians I have spoken to feel very uncomfortable at a non-physical sister, a strange women, requesting to do so. One husband I spoke to was cut to the heart when his neophyte BK wife attempted to do so. On one hand, there was the implicit rejection of the marital relationship, on the other hand, he thought she had gone mad. In a sense it is disrespectful to take another cultural or religion, change its meaning and, especially, turn it into a PR stunt or financial operation.

Having said that, non-relatives tying Rakhi is also neither new nor unique. Rahki was tied by non-relatives during the Independence Movement in India, when individuals were literally risking their lives to free India from the British, and at other times in history. I do not know when rahki was introduced into BKism.

Om Mandli and Lekhraj Kirpalani might have been influenced by the above, or it might have started in the 80s when other such appropriations of other's ritual (like the Jewish lighting of candles) started as "decoration" for public events, entertainment to keep BKs interested and out of a lack of creativity to think of anything else. It might also have been that other trend of confused Westerner BKs having Bhakti beaten into them by the Seniors, so that they could beat it out of them later with "the Baba" and the Murlis ... thereby REALLY confusing them ;). I wonder if today's National Congress Party know what the BKs used to call them?
  • So does anyone know when rakhi service started in BKism?
What rakhi means to an Italian ... I don't know but someone in the family must have tied one on Ottavio Quattrocchi! Sonia Gandhi (born Edvige Maino in Italy), is currently listed at the 6th Most Powerful Women in the World by Forbes Magazine. Karma, or the miracle of choosing the right bed to climb into?

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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by tom » 17 Aug 2008

ex-l wrote:So does anyone know when rakhi service started in BKism?
I heard or read somewhere that Brahma Baba used to tie Rakhis but I cannot remember the source and the story related to it.

At this Rakhi tying ceremony, the weird and also boring side is that the sister while tying the Rakhi gives a very long drishti as if it would never end, maybe longer than a minute. And thereafter, the second sister gives a long drishti while giving the blessing card. I wonder what these above mentioned important non-BK male personalities, who have no idea of BKism, feel or think when a sweet young BK sister gives them a very long drishti while tying the Rakhi?

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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by yogi108 » 18 Aug 2008

Rakhshabandhan is one of the very few things i look forward to within the BK world ...

Yes, there is a lot of money being displayed , VIP's being tied rakhi etc ... but for me its always been a special occasion. I do not know if other centers are still having one rakhi tying for brahmins and another for general public ...

I once asked the sister-in-charge why there are two different days, one for the BKs and the other for non-BKs. They said that the atmosphere needs to be different and powerful for the BKs and hence the two different days ... For me that was strange, since I though the newcomers are the ones that need an experience of sorts ...

Anyway, even the lokik brahmins on that day have a thread changing ceremony and actually take a vow to give up lust and give up materialistic life ... and they go on to do what they have been doing right through the year.

I remember Jagdish giving a class on how the festivals have spiritual meaning and Confluence Age connotations ... For all those great folks out there in the forum ... whether you actually get a rakhi tied by a sister ... here are loving greetings, drishti and as Bap-Dada says, DILKUSH toli from a loving brother.

Yogi

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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by fluffy bunny » 18 Aug 2008

Do you think it has an additional cultural and sentiment meaning for Indian BKs? Does it play a purpose for you that reminds you of better times in India and your physical family, perhaps even something that physical families no longer do?

I think like many other groups such as the Hare Krishna's, the BKs offer a certain sort of role portraying a diluted Hinduism for immigrant Indians in foreign countries who might not actually be that interested in joining the path. Doing rakhi makes the Brahma Kumaris seem more familiar and encourages the non-BKs to come closer. The Hare Krishnas really got in there first and offered a far more familiar service to Indian's abroad but the Brahma Kumaris do too with Rakhi, Shivratri and so on. For me, a sort of 'Reformed Hinduism' that might actually be more attractive to more modern Indians than the traditional one.

I think for me what made it special was the likelihood of being fed afterwards. Yes, the sisters were loving and the promise of 'big dristhi' was on the menu ... but free, Indian restaurant quality food (when I was no longer allowed to eat out) was all part of the attraction. Something else the Hare Krishnas understood well! My memories are that it was always much more of a warm "family event" rather than a cold, doctrinal, institutional event.

Perhaps too, for non-BKs, they get a much quicker service. Fast Food Rakhi style; less dhristi, more prasad.

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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by bkti-pit » 18 Aug 2008

Just like Yogi 108 I always liked the Rakhi ceremony.

I had my Rakhi tied by Dadi Janki once, with Jayanti and Sudesh giving toli and blessing, once by Dadi Ratan Mohini and countless times by New York Mohini but my best experiences were when I got it tied by simple "non-celebrity" sisters.

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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by arjun » 18 Aug 2008

"Brahmakumar-Brahmakumariyan baith pavitrata kee pratigya karaaney kee raakhi baandhti hain. Baap kahtey hain maamekam Yaad karo toh tum paavan ban paavan duniya kay maalik ban jaayengey. Baaki koi raakhi aadi baandhney kee darkaar nahi hai." (BKs dwara prakaashit revised Sakar Murli taareekh 19.8.05, page 2)

"Brahmakumar-Brahmakumaris sit and tie the Rakhi of enabling one to take the pledge of purity. Father says remember only me, then you will become pure and also become the masters of pure world. As regard the Rakhi, there is no need to tie Rakhi etc.” (Revised Sakar Murli dated 19.8.05, page 2 published by BKs)

The above quote says that taking the pledge of purity is the real rakhi and there is no need to tie the physical rakhi. But there are also some Murli points that speak about tying physical Rakhi.

In accordance with the Shrimat given in the above Murli point, PBKs do not tie rakhi to each other or to non-PBKs officially (i.e. at the mini-Madhubans/Gitapathshalas). But they are free to tie rakhis or allow others to tie rakhis on their wrists individually.

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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by jannisder » 19 Aug 2008

Just give me flowers!

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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by bansy » 19 Aug 2008

I am not sure what the purpose of the ritual of rakhi tying is, after all (as in the above Murli quote) once you make a pledge of rakhi with God then that is the thread tied once and for all.

However, I also feel that it is maybe the only time once a year when there is actually a physical and gentle touch between a brother and sister within the BK family and this creates a humanly affection. I am sure most BKs realise they are tying a rakhi to renounce vices and a vow of purity, and even if they taken the pledge countless times before, it may be a warming experience to have a rakhi tied by a different sister than the previous sister.

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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by jannisder » 19 Aug 2008

What a joke!!

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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by shivshankar » 20 Aug 2008

Soon there will be no time to such ceremonies;)

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Re: Raksha Bhandan

Post by jannisder » 20 Aug 2008

Really....how come?? To busy sweeping up the Shudra's after destruction???

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