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Swami Subhodananda  
There is a real story that happened in the last century the life of a devotee Kusum. She was a disciple of Swami Subhodananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna.

According to Tantric Scriptures guru is said to be none other than God Himself. It was proved in the life of story of Kusum. She was a child widow who lived an austere life. She was very devoted to her guru Swami Subhodananda and Ishta Sri Ramakrishna.

The story goes that she died at the age of forty. On the day that she passed away a light was seen above her house, which some neighbours saw and understood to mean that she had died. Her guru was aware that she had passed away.

After sometimes Swami Subhodananda visited that area where Kusum had once lived. He came down with a high fever and was put into a guest house alone. All night he tossed and turned. Suddenly he saw Kusum sitting by the bed, fanning him. He asked: ‘Kusum, where have you come from? Did you not die?’ ‘Yes, she replied. ‘Thakur (Sri Ramakrishna) has sent me.’

‘What happened the day you died?’ Swami Subhodananda asked her.

‘I was in great agony,’ she explained, ‘and I was calling on you.’ ‘I was calling you on you and suddenly I found you had come, hooded, and took me by the hand. We both ascended into the air- higher and higher until we reached a wonderful place. You removed your hood and I saw the face of Takur smiling. I asked, “What happened to my guru?” Sri Ramakrishna replied, It was always me. But you were calling on your guru, so I had to take that form when I came to you.

Sri Ramakrishna used to say the Satchidananda, the Ultimate Reality, Brahman alone is the guru. This is in conformity with the teachings of the Vedas. This is proved in the life story of a devotee.




CHAPTER-IV; PART-VIII                        Tuesday, October24, 1882

Sri Ramakrishna
It was three or four o'clock in the afternoon.  The Master was standing near the shelf where the food was kept, when Balaram and M. arrived from Calcutta and saluted him. 

Sri Ramakrishna said to them with a smile: "I was going to take some sweets from the shelf, but no sooner did I put my hand on them than a lizard dropped on my body.  At once I removed my hand.  (All laugh.)

"Oh, yes! One should observe all these things.  You see, Rakhal is ill, and my limbs ache too.  Do you know what's the matter? This morning as I was leaving my bed I saw a certain person, whom I took for Rakhal.  (All laugh.) Oh, yes! Physical features should be studied.  The other day Narendra brought one of his friends, a man with only one good eye, though the other eye was not totally blind.  I said to myself, 'What is this trouble that Narendra has brought with him?'

"A certain person comes here, but I can't eat any food that he brings.  He works in an office at a salary of twenty rupees and earns another twenty by writing false bills.  I can't utter a word in his presence, because he tells lies.  Sometimes he stays here two or three days without going to his office.  Can you guess his purpose? It is that I should recommend him to someone for a job somewhere else. 

"Balaram comes from a family of devout Vaishnavas.  His father, now an old man, is a pious devotee.  He has a tuft of hair on his head, a rosary of tulsi beads round his neck, and a string of beads in his hand.  He devotes his time to the repetition of God's name.  He owns much property in Orissa and has built temples to Radha-Krishna in Kothar, Vrindāvan, and other places, establishing free guest-houses as well. 

(To Balaram) "A certain person came here the other day.  I understand he is the slave of that black hag of a wife.  Why is it that people do not see God? It is because of the barrier of 'woman and gold'.  How impudent he was to say to you the other day, 'A paramahamsa came to my father, who fed him with chicken curry!'

"In my present of my mind I can eat a little fish soup if it has been offered to the Divine Mother beforehand.  I can't eat any meat, even if it is offered to the Divine Mother; but I taste it with the end of my finger lest She should be angry.  (Laughter.)

"Well, can you explain this state of my mind? Once I was going from Burdwan to Kamarpukur in a bullock-cart, when a great storm arose.  Some people gathered near the cart.  My companions said they were robbers.  So I began to repeat the names of God, calling sometimes on Kāli, sometimes on Rama, sometimes on Hanuman.  What do you think of that?"

Was the Master hinting that God is one but is addressed differently by different sects?

MASTER (to Balaram):  "Maya is nothing but 'woman and gold'.  A man living in its midst gradually loses his spiritual alertness.  He thinks all is well with him.  The scavenger carries a tub of night-soil on his head, and in course of time loses his repulsion to it.  One gradually acquires love of God through the practice of chanting God's name and glories.  (To M.) One should not be ashamed of chanting God's holy name.  As the saying   goes, 'One does not succeed so long as one has these three: shame, hatred, and fear.'

"At Kamarpukur they sing kirtan very well.  The devotional music is sung to the accompaniment of drums. 

(To Balaram) "Have you installed any image at Vrindāvan?"

BALARAM: "Yes, sir.  We have a grove where Krishna is worshipped."

SOURCE: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna




Janmashtami is celebrated throughout the country with immense zeal and fervor in order to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna. It is also known as Gokulashtamior Krishnaashtami or Sri Jayanti.. The celebration of Janmashtami is at its apex in Mathura, the birth place of Lord Krishna.                                                 Read more



The Meaning of Raksha Bandhan:
The meaning of 'Raksha Bandhan' is  'a bond of protection'. It is a celebration of relationship - that of a brother and a sister. This relationship is no where so celebrated as in India. It is a day when siblings pray for each others' well being and wish for each other’s happiness and goodwill.

On this auspicious day, brothers make a promise to their sisters to protect them from all harms and troubles and the sisters pray to God to protect their brother from all evil. Sisters tie the silk thread called Rakhi on their brother's wrist and pray for their well being and brothers promise to take care of their sisters. The festival falls on the Shravan Purnima which comes generally in the month of August. This year it falls on 2nd August.
Raksha Bandhan is also called Rakhi Purnima in most of India. It is also celebrated in some parts of Pakistan. The festival is observed by Hindus, Sikhs and some Muslims.

The Significance:
Raksha Bandhan is now considered as a day to celebrate the sacred relation of a brother and a sister. Yet there have been examples in history where in rakhi has just been a raksha or protection. It could be tied by wife, a daughter or mother. The Rishis tied rakhi to the people who came seeking their blessings. The sages tied the sacred thread to themselves to safe guard them from the evil. It is by all means the 'Papa Todak, Punya Pradayak Parva' or the day that bestows boons and end all sins as it is mentioned in the scriptures.

Some people tie Rakhi to neighbours and close friends signifying a peaceful co-existence of every individual. Rakhi Utsav was first popularized by Rabindranath Tagore to promote the feeling of unity and a commitment to all members of society to protect each other and encourage a harmonious Social life.
Unrelated boys and men who are considered to be brothers (munh-bola bhai or adopted brothers) can be tied rakhis, provided they commit to a lifelong obligation to provide protection to the woman or girl.

Historical occurrences and mentions:
1.    Santoshi Ma:
Jai Santoshi MaaGanesh had two sons, Shubh and Labh. On Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh's sister visited and tied a rakhi on Ganesh's wrist. Feeling and his two wives, Riddhi and Siddhi, for a sister. Finally, Ganesh conceded the demand, and Santoshi Ma (literally the Mother Goddess of Satisfaction) was created by divine flames that emerged from Riddhi and Siddhi.

2.    Krishna and Draupadi:
Another incident from the epic Mahabharat concerns Krishna and Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas. She had once torn a strip of silk off her sari and tied it around Krishna's wrist to staunch the bleeding from a battlefield wound. Krishna was touched by her action and declared her to be his sister, even though they were unrelated. He promised to repay the debt and then spent the next 25 years doing just that. Draupadi, in spite of being married to five great warriors and being a daughter of a powerful monarch, trusted and depended wholly on Krishna. Krishna repaid the debt of love during the "Cheer-Haran" (literally "clothing-removing") of Draupadi, which occurred in the assembly of King Dhritarashtra when Yudhisthira lost her to the Kauravas in gambling. At that time, Krishna indefinitely extended her saree through divine intervention, so it could not be removed, to save her honor. This is how he honored his rakhi vow towards Draupadi.

3.    King Bali and Goddess Laxmi:
According to a legend the Demon King Bali was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu had taken up the task to guard his kingdom leaving his own abode in Vaikunth. Goddess Lakshmi wished to be with her lord back in her abode. She went to Bali disguised as a woman to seek refuge till her husband came back.

During the Shravan Purnima celebrations, Lakshmi tied the sacred thread to the King. Upon being asked, she revealed who she was and why she was there. The king was touched by her goodwill for his family and her purpose and requested the Lord to accompany her. He sacrificed all he had for the Lord and his devoted wife.

Thus devotion to the Lord. It is said that since then it has been a tradition to invite sisters in Shravan Purnima for the thread tying ceremony or the Raksha Bandhan.

4.    Yama and the Yamuna:
According to another legend, Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Lord Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yamuna, (the river in northern India). Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama and bestowed immortality. Yama was so moved by the serenity of the occasion that he declared that whoever gets a rakhi tied from his sister and promised her protection, will become immortal.
Alexander the Great and King Puru

According to one legendary narrative, when Alexander the Great invaded India in 326 BC, Roxana (or Roshanak, his wife) sent a sacred thread to Porus, asking him not to harm her husband in battle. In accordance with tradition, Porus, a Katoch king, gave full respect to the rakhi. On the battlefield, when Porus was about to deliver a final blow to Alexander, he saw the rakhi on his own wrist and restrained himself from attacking Alexander personally.

5.    Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun:
A popular narrative that is centered around Rakhi is that of Rani Karnavati of Chittor and Mughal Emperor Humayun, which dates to 1535 CE. When Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of the king of Chittor, realised that she could not defend against the invasion by the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, she sent a Rakhi to Emperor Humayun. Touched, the Emperor immediately set off with his troops to defend Chittor. Humayun arrived too late, and Bahadur Shah managed to sack the Rani's fortress. Karnavati, along with a reported 13,000 other women in the fortress, carried out Jauhar on March 8, 1535, killing themselves to avoid dishonor while the men threw the gates open and rode out on a suicidal charge against Bahadur Shah's troops. When he reached Chittor, Humayun evicted Bahadur Shah from fort and restored the kingdom to Karnavati's son, Vikramjit Singh. Although contemporary commentators and memoirs do not mention the Rakhi episode and some historians have expressed skepticism about it, it is mentioned in one mid-seventeenth century Rajasthani account.

COURTESY: raksha-bandhan.com; Wikipedia.com