On the occasion of the recent Raksha-bandan celebration in India I want to repost here my earlier post from another blog telling about an amazing tradition of brother-sister relationship which seem to be missing a lot in the West. I wonder what my beloved readership will tell about this highly interesting topic?
Does male-female friendship exist?
That is one of the questions that preoccupied the pretty heads of the western society in the last centuries: can men and women be simply good friends, or is there always some potential “love story”, or trivial sexual interest behind? The opinion seems to be rather clear: such friendship does not exist! – desperate women moan , magazines cry and hypnotizing TV whispers to us . It seems they have no idea that the majority of the world population, i.e. the entire Asia and Arab countries know and respect this phenomenon as „brother-sister relationship”.
In the eastern part of the world the role of the woman has always been somewhat larger and more meaningful than in the West: the beauty and the importance of a “sister” is one of the society’s building elements. From times immemorial there is a special tradition of the Raksha-Bandan ceremony in India: the tying of a rakhi, or holy thread by the sister on the wrist of her brother. The brother in return offers a gift to his sister and vows to look after her in this life.
It is not necessary that the rakhi can be given only to a brother by birth; any male can be “adopted” as a brother by tying a rakhi on the person, whether they are cousins or good friends. Indian history is replete with women asking for protection, through rakhi, from men who were neither their brothers, nor Hindus themselves. Since the rakhi-realtionship symbolizes purity, it excludes a love-affair or romantic feelings of erotic kind. Modern women in India often use it as indications, if they want to keep up a friendship, but want to avoid any romance. But what do the men gain out of it? Why should they want to exclude such a chance for a love-affair or flirting? The more Rakhi sisters a man has, the stronger he is, because the sisters support him thereby with their Shakti powers.
It is not about getting as many as possible girls for the “bed collection”, but about getting the nourishing love from sisters/Shaktis.
In India men are very proud of having Rakhi-sisters, and love to mention them now and then. If you are giving a rakhi to somebody in India, immediately dozens of strangers fall over you asking for one as well! They know for sure what it power it has…
Alexander The Great and King Puru
Maharani and children
One of the oldest legendary references to the festival of Rakhi goes back to 300 B.C. At this time Alexander the Great was invading India. Alexander was shaken by the fury of the Indian king Puru in his first attempt. Upset by this, Alexander’s wife, who had heard of the Rakhi festival, approached King Puru. King Puru accepted her as his sister and when the opportunity came during the war, he refrained from fighting Alexander. Thus the rakhi-connection was more important to the King Puru than the death of his enemy!
Why did I choose my rakhi-brothers?
“The reason why I chose all my Rakhi-brothers is because I wanted them to know how I love them. I wanted them to feel that someone particularly worries about them, in another way than a wife. In each case the reasons were different. The relationship with every of my Rakhi-brothers is absolutely unique and different from the others. I always feel the connection between my Rakhi brothers and me.
Whenever my Rakhi-brother is sad or anxious, I feel a strong desire to comfort him that he can enjoy his peace again. I chose some of my brothers, because I felt that they need the love and support of a sister. Some seemed a bit serious, and a tender touch of a loving sister would dissolve the tension. I selected others because of the large mercy, which they showed me in times, where I needed them. Every one of them returned my love thousand times and in 1000 small things” – shares one Sahaja Yogini.
It is exactly what is meant under male-female friendship. The friendship that is pure, joy-giving, supportive and colorful!
Western films about brother-sister relations
The distributing house Amazon does not indicate western films, which can be associated with the term „brother sister relationship “. The only reference, which is to be found in the net, is a film about some pervert relationship in a psychologically ill family – is it the only way to make this topic attractive?! Thanks to the above mentioned tradition in India we come across captivating Bollywood films with the brother-sister (no matter biological or not) relation as motif; just to name a few: My brother Nikhil, Saaz, Phir Melenge.
Central role in the Arab Patriarchate
In the Arab world of family relationship the central role is assured to the brother-sister bound. In the literature this relationship is shown in a romantic, poetical light, and seen as the continuation of the father-daughter relationship. The sisters see their brothers as heroes, and those brothers are ready to fight for the life and the honor of their sister every moment – the examples from history and literature are well-known. This kind of attitude strengthens the co-operation of a society, which consists of large families.
Western model of blood brother-sister relationships
Brothers and sisters are the persons, who know each other at longest and often the best. But how deep and trustful is their bound in the West really? For somebody coming from the East it looks like these relationships are often not very well-functioning: the members do not hold together and are pretty often in quarreled. And even if not, the warmth and mutual love are still missing. That leads to the fact that the blood sisters cannot be the supporting energy of their brothers. It starts in the family that Shakti-power of a woman is not being recognized and respected from her childhood. No wonder a woman herself is unaware of her awesome powers!
What is really special about the brother-sister relationship is that they have under normal conditions a very close relationship to each other, know each other very well and, nevertheless, there is an incest-taboo. Such a relationship that should be probably the third important (after parents and marriage partners) in our life is often underestimated socially and personally! Therefore we do not feel that many – if not all – other people can be in fact our brothers and sisters.
The longing for sister-Shakti
And now comes the exposure of apparently so complicated male-female relationships of modern times: that is the supporting, nourishing, always loving Shakti of a woman, which a man is longing for! In his life a man meets several women, who are especially attractive and „close “ to him, but what really attracts him is the power that these women can give him. The potential, the Shakti…
Shakti manifests itself as an emotional support, though it works much deeper and on many other levels. It is the sister, who always stands by her brother and affectionately accompanies his life. A beautiful song sings of this mystery: „Oh, sister, you are my earth; you are my living water that saved me from the thirst…“ The uniqueness of this male-female type of bond seem to be badly misinterpreted and misunderstood in the modern West.
A man will rather fall in love with a woman instead of seeing her as his potential energy, strength-giving Shakti/sister. In fact, a man wants to surround himself with as many women as possible because he is looking for the support of female powers! He goes on having one love-affair after another, until he finds HIS OWN SHAKTI (which is not easy when you are not connected to reality). As soon as his being recognizes his Shakti (feminine energy in a form of a woman meant for him), he will never want to leave her…
The most interesting thing many women confess they often see men rather as brothers! „Protectors, knights, strong brothers, good friends “- these are the roles such women feel very comfortable with. Consciously or subconsciously women look for the helpfulness, security, reliability of the male energy.
It seems that for their healthy development human beings need to have such fraternal relationship with the other sex. We have more facets for brothers and sisters in our soul than the number of siblings we can physically possess.
Unfortunately many people do not see these connections, and so some man or some woman get into an intimate relationship and finally also partnership with someone, who is more a kind of brother or sister. This kind of relationship often brings disappointment, as is to be read in many women magazines.
Then the logical question comes up: how can I differentiate between this ONLY man, who is meant for me, of all men, who are like my brothers? BUt this is a question for another article.
• The sister-brother relationship highlighted by the Rakhi goes far beyond the mere personal protection of a female from a male. It also implies the basic element of an amicable and harmonious social life where all members of the society look upon themselves as brothers and sisters and as children of one common motherland.
• The Rakhi may also be tied on other special occasions to show solidarity and kinship (not necessarily only among brothers and sisters), as was done during the Indian independence movement.