Shubh Raksha Bandhan!
We celebrate this day in recognition of the bond of love and protection between Guru and disciple and the bond that we share as seekers on this glorious path. Together, we form a community—a community of Siddha Yogis. And each of us is part of other communities—where we live, where we work, our countries of origin, as citizens of this planet. The Siddha Yoga teachings tell us that we are all connected—every person, animal, plant, object, animate or inanimate. Everything is the manifestation of the supreme Self.
With this understanding, as we honor Raksha Bandhan and this bond of protection, we can examine our larger place in this world.
In the previous talks you have just listened to, you had a chance to reflect on spiritual protection. You have also had some time to consider protection of the body, mind, and heart. Now, for a few moments, I would like to share with you my thoughts on protection of the community.
Gurumayi Chidvilasananda has taught us that human beings are the stewards of this green earth—this lush, abundant, vibrant-blue sphere amidst the starry vastness. It is our home. As such, it is our dharma, our sacred responsibility, to ensure our home’s protection, to preserve the well-being and safety of all that exists here.
How do we go about this? It is well and good to speak of this ideal and believe it in our heart, but truly, how do we live this teaching? We are in a time when the global community is enmeshed in anger and resentment. How do we maintain the awareness of the Self in all creation and also acknowledge what is taking place in the world with honesty and authenticity?
We must take what arises within our hearts as seekers on the path and also apply our intellect. When confronted with opposing viewpoints, do we have the openness to listen, or have we closed ourselves off? Is what we perceive with our mind and senses compatible with the knowledge and evidence available to us?
The actions we take, the intentions we make, and how we share the virtues we have cultivated may be unique to each one of us. But the inner knowledge from the Self and the application of our critical mind tell us which direction to steer our course.
To truly walk the path of dharma, we embrace the Guru’s teachings and make the heartfelt intention to acknowledge the divinity in others. Through righteous actions and self-effort, we apply these teachings in our everyday lives.
We protect our community by honoring the Self that exists within and without. We can do this through simple acts—a courteous gesture, an act of kindness, extending a helping hand.
We protect our community through responsible actions, even when it is inconvenient.
We protect our community by remembering and embodying the Siddha Yoga virtues. When confronted by divisiveness, we choose the path of striving for unity and concord.
The Atharva Veda, a sacred, revered source of knowledge, says:
Never may brother hate brother, or sister hurt sister.
United in heart and in purpose, commune sweetly together.
This verse is a prayer for harmony and unity. It implores us to love one another as family, to treat each other with compassion and respect, and to be united. These sacred words are offered for the benefit of creation.
The Guru has given us all we need to live a life of altruism, magnanimity, and love. She has awakened in us Kundalini Shakti, the divine spark that allows us to see the scintillating reality of this world. It is our turn now to honor that gift, become heralds of that light, and recognize that light in others. We offer this protection so that this earth may breathe again, so that this earth may once again experience peace.
On Raksha Bandhan, around each other’s wrists we encircle colorful woven bracelets. This year we will do so virtually. Like the threads of the rakhi, we are all woven together, interconnected, inseparable, united. And, when we give rakhis to one another, we affirm our bond to each other and to everything. We affirm our commitment to protect each other, our society, and the bountiful earth that sustains us.