Return On Your Investment
Rakhi & Raksha Bandhan: Hindu/Sikh Tradition
There are various traditions that are practiced throughout many religions that lose their meaning throughout the years. As the traditions get past down from senior to child, the true intent and depth of the ceremony practice is lost. Much like the common cliché’s we hear that lose their meaning and are said without a full understanding of the phrase. Rakhi is definitely one of those traditions. This ceremony has been practiced for many years without its true depth; as a result, the practitioners are simply going through the motions of the tradition much like they are on autopilot. There is no concept or understanding of what this whole ceremony means, for a large number of young practitioners. The motions of each act is empty and void of any spiritual benefits.
This celebration is dedicated to the brothers and sisters of the family which includes our cousins as well. The sister will tie a sacred string around the wrist of her brothers in exchange for money. The intent of this ceremony is for the sister to offer love and blessings by tying the sacred string around the brother’s wrist in exchange for his lifelong support and protection. What was originally a beautiful concept has become something quite the opposite. Love is the most powerful currency in this plane and many of us lack the consciousness to realize this. In this era, this ceremony has become more about the girls collecting money. Rather than bringing the siblings together with love, it has created a divide among them.
This exchange of money has made this beautiful ceremony something that the boys dread. As we continue on with this tradition with this negative intention there is no gained value aside from the one celebrated by the girls as they count their “winnings.” The spiritual blessings, that this tradition was meant to offer has been lost. In fact, with the intentions we carry towards this ceremony; create more harm to our spiritual selves than good.
The money collected by the girls creates an ego and jealousy from the onlookers. With the money they receive, they parade around in front of the boys with intentions to purchase things of monetary value. Nothing bought with money can carry the same depth as the love one offers from their heart. When something is given with love, it is eternal, whereas money only offers a monetary value. The shoes, purses or whatever item that catches the girls fancy has a very short lifespan. In addition, anything of material possession can bring about negative karma as they create false sense of gratification.
The highs one’s seeks through material possessions are no different from the ones found through the use of drugs and alcohol. The short-lived high they provide come with negative repercussions like hangover or addiction. The negativity that comes with all these false euphoria’s affects not only the user but also the person who provided those things to them. It should never be the intent of the brother to bring down his own family members. But as the money is spend on things that do nothing to enhance anyone’s spiritual evolution, this becomes the case.
Take the example of the beggar and the philanthropist. When a person donates change to a beggar on the street, they do so thinking that they are helping that individual out in a positive way. They believe they are offering them some sort of benefit. This is very far from the truth. If the beggar uses that money to purchase drugs or alcohol or anything that will distance them from spiritual, emotional and physical health, then the giver will have negative karma. This is no different from when the boys giving money to their sisters which is then used to purchase something material.
If you think about it, we are all rich. There is nothing more that we need. The extra items that our sisters go out and buy only add to the negative clutter to their lives. To offer this money to someone who truly needs it, is something we should all strive to do. What a great life lesson that this could be to pass on to our children! Rather than simply going through the motions of the tradition without understanding its true spiritual depth, it is more beneficial to provide a life lesson that we all can benefit from. It has been proven that people are more likely to find happiness through helping others rather than helping themselves. If we all focused on this truth, this World and the World of our children will be a more healthy living space. We have a vested interest in understanding where our intentions take us.
The current World that we live in is far too concerned with hoarding material possessions and in turn creating a social separation. We purchase many items that we have no need for. All these items create an ego that tells us to purchase more and more. The ego creates a hunger that can never be quenched. It is truly a sickness. Take the example of a man who accumulates many newspapers in his small home. The newspapers are stacked floor to roof. All space is dedicated to the newspapers. A person viewing this individual from the outside will call this man crazy. The same is said for a woman who lives in a trailer with many cats. When we look at a person who collects large amounts of money and stores it away and then parades their purchases around like a badge of honor, we revere them. Why is that? There is definitely a double standard here.
As we point our fingers and judge one another, we are creating such negative karma. The concept of karma is very widely understood throughout many different religions and cultures. The intentions you put out in the World will return to you like a boomerang. If the energy we give out is tied to something negative, as with the case with the beggar, then that negativity will be returned to us. When we look at our sisters purchasing material items only to add to their ego, we can understand that it is no different from the alcohol or drugs purchased by the beggar. Much like how alcohol depletes an individual of nutrient absorption, so too does material possession with spiritual prosperity.
The true intention should be to provide love and hopes for enhanced prosperity to our sisters. The return to the brother will be negative or positive, depending on how the money is used. If the money is used in a way that will enhance their selves on a spiritual level, then the brothers too will reap the benefits.
The ceremony was intended to offer blessings and spiritual progression in life. With the loss of understanding of this tradition, there is no true gain for both parties. With the focus being on money, greed has grown to become a beast that drains one of positive karma. Greed is one of the 7 deadly sins. As people parade around their material wealth, they are received with envy; which too is one of the 7 deadly sins. When the brother offers money, they are indirectly bringing sin to themselves. This creates a downward spiral that brings people down.
With this understanding, it should be in the brother’s best interest to make sure the money is spent in a way that will benefit both individuals. The answer to this is to offer the money to those who are truly in need or to contribute towards an organization that is dedicated to furthering one’s spiritual growth. This in turn will benefit everyone as opposed to a single individual.
The money can be donated to a charity of the sister’s choice. If the sister does not feel comfortable donating the money she is offered, then perhaps the brother will save both his and her spiritual prosperity by offering her a candy or sweet of her choice instead. The riches one receives in doing something so righteous is tenfold, so while the sister may not understand the benefits of donating her money, she will in due time.
Paul Nijar is a new author, "Everything I Thought I Was & What I Came to Be" is a book about his journey into his spiritual awakening. When Paul isn't writing his is teaching a yoga classed he calls "yoga do" which is a fusion of marital arts, yoga, meditation & TCM. Paul loves meditating and speaking about different spiritual topics. His videos and blogs can be seen on youtube and paulnijar.com