Rakshabandhan, which is traditionally a celebration of bond between brother and sister, was extended further on to the community, by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Irvine shakha on August 22 at the Irvine community Center.
Irvine City Mayor Sukhee Kang, City Council Member Steven Choi, Station 26 Fire Chief of Orange County Fire Authority , and five firefighters attended the function to share a unique bond. "Since this is a protection bond, we take this opportunity to appreciate our true heroes and helpers in the community. Tying a silk thread on the wrist symbolizes love between us and we pledge to take care of each other,” explained Sailaja Malladi, one of the HSS volunteers.
The function began with introduction of the guests, followed by tying `Rakhis' and presenting a book on Hindu Culture. Mayor Sukhee Kang appreciated HSS's efforts for including the mainstream community in the festival celebration. Council Member Steven Choi also lauded this initiative and mentioned the greatness of United States of America for allowing religious freedom. Balkrishna Shastry of HSS gave a brief description of the festival and explained that Raksha Bandhan is a most auspicious occasion to recharge ourselves every year with the true spirit of service and sacrifice for the welfare of the society, and find therein the highest spiritual fulfillment of human life. This type of attitude towards one's less fortunate brothers and sisters permeates society that exploitations of the weak by the strong will end. Powers of intellect and body and of material wealth and influence will then be utilized for the uplift and service of others.
Balkrishna Shastry then tied a Rakhi on the American flag, while Ramesh Chitnis, a senior karyakarta of the organization tied a rakhi to the saffron flag (Bhagwa Dhwaj) of the HSS. In doing so, said, Balkrishna Shastry, we pledge to take care of this great country of America and believe the country will do the same in return. Similarly, the Swayamsevaks pledge to protect their Bhagwa Dhwaj that is considered their Guru and believe that the Hindu culture and religion will protect them.
It was a pleasant sight when all volunteers seated in a row, turned on a side facing each other, and tied the bonding thread. About 100 people of varied ages were seen participating in this event. The function also included young children's presentation of shlokas and bhajans taught at the regular HSS meetings.
Later, the Fireman gave a treat to the volunteers by allowing them to explore the fire truck and answered their queries. HSS Coordinator of Irvine shakha Pravin Tanwar stated that the organization has further plans to reach to the community by visiting public offices, schools, and temples.