“Why are you provoking again, in spite of knowing very well, why I don’t like the custom!,” he answered me in a very dissent note.
I can understand my friend’s annoyance. He became part of the group of self claimed rationalists. I use self claimed rationalist word intentionally as with such definition they in fact present themselves as anti-traditionalists. Whereas I do understand a rationalist must have rational thinking on all the issues.
A Nastik (atheist), I believe is a true rationalist who questions everything and accepts when a convincing proof is on the offing! The so claimed rationalists simply deny accepting anything and also have a negative thinking rather than being open minded!
Anyways I wanted to be focused on Rakhi, hence I skip all debates on rational versus anti-traditionalist.
“But what’s wrong with this custom?” I really wanted to provoke him.
“I am a rationalist you know, hence something that’s against humanity, I’m not going to accept!,” he replied as usual. But he read my facial expression also and hence continued with his statement
“I don’t agree with your opinion that I’m anti-traditionalist. You decide whether today’s debate is about rationalists versus anti-traditionalists, or the wrong custom of Rakhi?”
“It’s definitely about Rakhi, but don’t preclude about a custom!,” I warned him.
He suddenly felt happy, because on debate of rationalist versus anti-traditionalist he always remains answerless at the end and takes time till the next date for the debate. He feels that not agreeing is character of a rationalist (though it’s wrong).
Anyway I asked “Why you feel such custom is against humanity?”
“Because such customs are promoting gender bias.” He put his words very strongly!
“How, yaar!” I was really astonished on his answer! “It’s the right of all sisters as per the custom! When women have got the right, how can you say it is a gender bias?”
“It’s not right, rather a mandatory provision for them,” he said very confidently.
“How?,” I asked as really couldn’t get what he wanted to say?
“See, the sister ties the thread in fact with a request that brother will protect her!,” he started advocating his point. “This means sisters are trained to request her mighty brothers to protect them. I disagree with the concept. Why women folks are trained that they are weak? Is physical strength is the only strength? Isn’t humanity is insulted if a gender is categorized as weak and another gender as strong?”
He looked at my face with a great confidence and then again said “Can you start your answer from my last question?”
“I agree that gender bias is always against humanity, but I don’t agree to your point on Rakhi,” I said calmly.
“Then what you think about such discriminatory custom?” He said disappointedly as if he sensed that I may have a different definition!
“I feel when a sister ties a Rakhi on her brother’s hand, she in fact says that “oh brother, remember that I will be the one who will always be in your support in any situation despite the world getting against you!” I put forth my logic straight forward.
He remained answerless for couple of moments and just saw my face while wondering. Then he said “for wining a debate, you just formulated an analogy! This can’t be acceptable.”
“Mr. Rationalist!” I said confidently “I felt this way and understood this way only! That’s why I am for such customs!”. Then I said firmly “Except in rare cases, women are always protected by their fathers till they are married, after marriage their husbands protect them if at all they need protection.”
He looked in to my eyes in utter disbelief. He practically was not expecting such answer. I however wanted to put my words strongly, “Among siblings it’s always a sister who is always supportive to his brother. She may not be physically so strong yet give moral support as well as a belongingness that she is always in support of the brother even if the entire world is against him!”
My friend is still searching answer. I continued “If you fall sick, it’s your sister first, who reaches to nurse you. If you are condemned by everybody, still a sister comes to stand with you! A wife sometimes leaves you, but not the sister! Sisters always represent and even replace your mother at occasions!”
I stopped to get response from my friend. He was still answerless but tried to defend “I agree to your point on sister’s commitments, but how it proves your Rakhi analogy?”
“It’s what I mean it?” I replied
“My question is not what you understand” my friend argued ‘Give me proof of your definition citing tradition!”
I laughed, and then I said “Being a rationalist you should trust on logic, not tradition!”
“Well, consider me as anti-traditionalist, prove that this tradition is correct & cite the origin!” He started lowering his weapon.
“I do also question many traditions, but if I understood, I usually agreeable to that tradition,” while expressing my stand on my understanding I wanted a commitment from him, thus I said “Apart from logic I can cite the mythological story I heard & understood but in one condition, if you are convinced will you wear Rakhi from your sisters?”.
My friend now was in a state of confusion. He was thinking very fast to find a counter as he knew very well that I can put an example. After thinking for some time, his face suddenly became very bright & his body language spoke that he was very confident. He said “There are many stories in mythology. You quote one & then as a counter I’ll quote one. You have to answer my question too & then if I convinced, I will agree to your condition.”
This time I was puzzled. I really can’t believe that my friend can be so defiant! Any how I started telling him, “As I heard, during war between Gods (Devatas) & Monsters (Danavs), a frightened ‘Indra’ (the Lord of heaven) took refuse in Devguru Bruhaspati’s (Jupiter) house. Wife of Jupiter tied a silk thread on the hand of Indra showing her affection & support. That day was ‘Shravan Purnima’. Indra got new inspiration & fought with demons to their defeat. It’s believed the Rakhi tied on his wrist won him the battle. Since then the tradition of tying Rakhi started. This proves that belongingness (sisterly) strengthens even Gods.”
I looked on to my friend for a response. He was laughing. “I too heard of this story. As per my understanding, wife of Jupiter offered bangles to Indra for his cowardice act & that provoke Indra to fight back”.
“You always thought negatively,”I said “But the result is the same! The thread filled motivation & inspiration in Indra which helped him to win.”
He remained quiet for some time. He perhaps was searching a further counter but didn’t succeed. Then he resorted to his final assault “I am now quoting a story from mythology which speaks how opportunism can be achieved through such Rakhi!”
“Hey! Mr. Rationalist!” I was really upset, “How can you defend by example of opportunism to gender bias! This is violation of any debate norms”
“I heard the Rakhi started from this story,” He said quickly “I believe in the consistency as a rationalist. If the beginning is not on gender bias but opportunism, then also such custom should be avoided”.
I remained quite & ready to know his story. It’s common in our scriptures that many stories are behind for beginning of a single custom!
He, like a winner started the story “When Baali (the demon kind who was great donor) was pushed to Patal lok by God in Baman avtar, on his request & devotion God remained in Patal lok as his guard. Laskhmi after getting God missing reached to Baali in disguise and tied a Rakhi on his hand. Wise Baali understood that Goddess Laskhmi is here to get the God back. Thus he liberated God as a gesture to Laxmi’s Raskhya Bandhan. That was a Shravan Purnima & hence since then women are observing this Rakhi Purnima for their protection.”
Then he looked in to my eyes in a challenging face, “Now say! Isn’t the tradition started in an opportunist note? Is not Goddess ‘Laskhmi’ making Baali his brother to sought protection as a result she got his husband liberated?”
“I don’t think this story give any such message!” I said confidently, “This story depicts how high quality devotee is ‘Baali’ for who almighty God is agreed to be his guard! This is realized by Laskhmi and hence the Goddess decided to make Baali as her brother with highest respect! She expressed her intention in tying the Rakhi!”
“What about Baali liberating God?' my friend screamed as he lost his patience.
“I never knew anybody liberates God, rather I can say, Baali requested God to go back!” I replied smilingly!
“All the same, but why Baali allowed God to go back against his earlier wish to remain with him? Isn’t that Rakhi compelled him to help his newly made sister?” My friend was defiant.
“No, Baali didn’t do any favour! Rather as a wise person he realized that when he gets support of a sister, why he’ll need any God!’ I stopped for a moment & looked in to his eyes challengingly and said “Isn’t my understanding rational, consistent & logical?”
He kept quite & clearly answerless. He was agitated & very disturbed. Then he started walking away.
“Where are you going?” I tried to stop him.
“To hell!” he told disgustingly and left the place. I was unhappy as I felt the debate gone wrong.
After an hour he again camelback with a charming faces. I thought he had new points. But he showed his right hand. He had worn three Rakhis in his hand from his three sisters. I was surprised on the change but asked “You told me that you are going to hell, but you come back with Rakhis.”
“As a rationalist adopting a custom is nothing but hell,” he answered smilingly “But my dear Nastik friend, sometimes such hell is pleasing to me if I realize the logic.”
We started laughing together as we both win in this debate! For that day my friend appeared to be true rationalist.