GAP celebrates a Green Raksha Bhandhan Festival
A very special Raksha Bandhan ceremony took place at Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh) on August 10, 2014. The Rishikumars (students of the Parmarth Gurukul) underwent a yagno pavit (sacred thread) ceremony in the morning. The three sacred strings denote, as Pujya Swamiji explains, the three gunas – sattva (reality), rajas (passion), and tamas (darkness) – which are tied together in a knot. The knot is called brahmagranthi which symbolizes the united trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva).
This yagno pavit ceremony is a very important sanskara – a ‘rite of passage’ – symbolizing the transition of a child from the infantile stage of play to their next more serious, contemplative stage. Under the consistent blessing and guidance of their Guru, who serves as their divine guardian and teacher, and through the three important practices of self-study, sadhana and seva they align themselves with the sangam or the confluence of the holy trinity.
This year the holy trinity also included the three green pledges, inspired by their Green Guru, Pujya Swamiji, to be rakshaks or guardians and stewards of Shakti (divine feminine), Prakriti (Mother Nature) and Jal (water). The rishikumars and sevaks pledged to preserve and serve these three principles.
The festival of raksha bandhan was also celebrated with the customary tying of rakhis by the young girls and sevikas, symbolizing Shakti-divine feminine, to the Rishikumars as their brothers, as a sacred bond of love and affection.
The Rishikumars along-with their Ganga Action and Parmarth Parivar (family) tied raksha sutras to nearly 200 Rudraksh trees that would be sent out the next day to Uttarakashi to start the first Smriti Van or Memorial Garden. The Smriti Van’s would serve as a growing and thriving symbol of our commitment to remember the lesson we have learnt by the loss of thousands of lives in last year’s floods. It would additionally serve to protect our planet, by abating global warming, preventing soil erosion and loss of precious fertile topsoil as well as purifying and sanctifying our environment.