Raksha = Protection; Bandhan = Bond
In Marian Sandmaier's book Original Kin, which explores the bond between brother and sister, she writes - "A sibling may be the sole keeper of one's core identity, the only person with the keys to one's unfettered, more fundamental self.'
The book, also details how bonds between sisters and brothers can grow and evolve throughout lifetimes, and how specific key events in our adult lives offer chances to deepen this bond.
Too often though, the brother/sister connection is left unnourished, but there is a day in the Hindu calendar that honours this union and that day is called Raksha Badhan.
As with other Indian festivals, the specific date of Rakhi, as it is commonly known, are governed by the full moon in the month of Sravana, which typically falls in August and this year on Saturday 29th of the month.
Rakhi is not a religious festival, but a celebration of the sacred connection and eternal bond shared by siblings, so if you want to make this ritual part of your life, here’s how.
Typically the ritual commences with lighting diyas, which are small clay pots with a flame in the centre. You can use tea lights and put these on a tray, along with fruits and sweets, to signify the sweetness of this union. You then perform a simple Aarti, which involves circulating the tray around your brother’s face while you say a prayer for his health and happiness.
This is followed by the main event, which involves tying a Rakhi on your brother's wrist. Essentially this is a sacred red thread and is at the very heart of our philosophy at Mauli and of every Hindu blessing ritual. The mauli is a symbol of protection, wellbeing and connectedness. The difference being a Rakhi tends to be more elaborate version of a mauli, with tinsel, ornate stones and even musical boxes at the centre; all as a bold declaration of the love felt for a brother. Your brother in turn, should wear his Rakhi until it falls away. If that’s asking too much for a day in the office, perhaps go for a simpler mauli or make your own friendship bracelet.
You then apply tilka (red dot) to your brother's forehead and feed him something sweet. He should then shower you with gifts and, traditionally, with money and in doing so, he is letting you know you never need worry for anything financially or emotionally, as he will always be there to protect and provide for you.
Sibling or not, Rakhi provides a perfect opportunity to celebrate our connectedness, so why not make your very own version by tying a Rakhi on your sister or best friend. Indeed, why not make yourself a Rakhi and pledge to take care of your needs and in doing so, you will absolutely have more to give others.
Thank you Anoushka Silva Gibbs, who is a dear customer and kindly wrote this article for us and for you to share.