The Platinum Tula
The auspicious holiday of Rakshabandhan is typically celebrated between brothers and sisters. A sister ties a decorative sacred thread that has been offered to the Lord called a raakhadi on the right wrist of her brother, and while chanting the supreme mantra, “Om Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa Bhagwate Namaha,” she prays to the Lord to protect the both of them, to ensure her brother’s well-being, and to keep them united as brother and sister always. She also applies chandlo to her brother’s forehead and offers delicious prasad sweets to him. The brother gives gifts to his sister in return after her prayers to the Lord for their protection, his well-being, and their unity.
On Rakshabandhan, we may also offer raakhadi to the Lord, who then returns it as prasad for us. This raakhadi is then tied on our wrists symbolizing the Lord’s protection for us, His disciples. By tying this raakhadi, we also pray that the Lord keeps us under His divine shelter forever and that we remain good disciples, always abiding by His commands and sweet will.
Rakshabandhan is celebrated on the poonam of the Shravan month, and this year it fell on Thursday, August 2nd, 2012. This day also marked the first day of the Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Platinum Tula Mahotsav at Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey.
Around 5 PM, everyone gathered inside the temple. Acharya Swamishree, sants, and disciples then performed sandhya aarti niyams, and sants performed kirtan-bhakti. Acharya Swamishree then showered His divine blessings upon the entire congregation for Rakshabandhan and the first day of the Mahotsav.
Acharya Swamishree explained that rakshabandhan symbolizes the ties of love between a brother and a sister. Similarly, this Mahotsav is also a strong tie of love between the Lord, His sants, and His disciples. This love is what brings us all together. We know we have affection for God and His Satpurush once we have no doubts in our mind about Their words and commands. One who has faith in Their words and has the same love towards Them as he would for his family, is freed from all his worldly miseries. If we enjoin our five sensations towards the Lord instead of worldly matters, we will have merged with the Lord. Once we have unfaltering faith and love for Him, the Lord will protect us from external enemies as well as internal enemies.
After Acharya Swamishree concluded His divine blessings, disciples were blessed with the opportunity to have raakhadi tied on their wrists by Acharya Swamishree, who prayed to the Lord for His disciples’ protection, well-being, and shelter under the supreme Shree Swaminarayan Gadi. Following this, everyone was served mahaprasad, and they all gathered inside Swamibapa Hall for the SGS Talent program for the evening.