Once you call somebody a sister, she's a sister. And once you call somebody a brother, he's a brother. It's not only that you should be born of the same parents, it's not necessary, but this is a very important principle to have a very pure society where everybody can live peacefully.
It's a common thing I have seen in the West, that a lady comes as a friend of the wife of the house. So, she's there and she is a sister of the husband, has to be. But on the contrary, next day you find that this man starts having bad eyes towards this lady, because, from very childhood, if you have not fixed your attention on your sister, with all that purity, you cannot have that pure feelings for another woman.
The starting point is your own sister. The son is born and then the daughter is born or first the daughter is born and the son is born. From that small age, when they are innocent, this is a dimension of sisterly pure relationship is developed, even when the society is so corrupt and bad.
But at a very young age, say, at the age of eighteen years, because of the social relations here and the social ideas, the second part, which is a brother's duty towards the sister, is to respect the chastity of his sister and to protect it, and also it is the sister's duty to keep the brother moral, morally all right.
So once it becomes freedom after eighteen years of time, eighteen years of age, then the sister goes with any man, lives with any man, the boy is not supposed to say anything, or if the brother goes and stays with anyone, the sister cannot say anything, she cannot interfere.
On the contrary, like India anywhere or I was told also in China and Egypt, even Islamic countries, if they find their sister going with another man, they'll shoot that man, in the Islamic countries. In India they may not shoot, but they will see that the sister is put right.
Same with the brother, in India I can say, in China also. If the brother is immoral, he's going the wrong way, then the sister tries her level best to bring him back to normal morality.
It's very common that if a man is doing wrong, then the wife goes to the sister and she's very anxious, and she becomes very upset about it. She goes all out to correct her brother. And this innate understanding exists within us.
In every person, whether you are born in America or anywhere, that if the brother is doing the wrong thing, if he is smoking, if he is doing wrong things, more than the mother, the sister feels it, more than the mother, the sister wants that it should be corrected, and she goes all out, to fight it out.
Mother may start crying, weeping, give up, but the sister will go on fighting her brother. In her, all efforts, she will see to it that the brother comes around. Also, other things like, if the brother is doing something illegal, something wrong, something which is detrimental to the society, it is the sister, who has a right, divine right, to go and correct.
In a society, where this relationship is very pure and where societies are quite settled down, the question doesn't arise, mostly, that the sisters do wrong. But supposing a sister does something wrong, supposing a sister goes out of the family, she tries to give up her family for somebody else, or she tries to dominate her husband or to do something wrong in the family, then the brother will go and tell her off, what he thinks of her, and will try to correct her.
So this right to correct between brother and sister does exist, not because it is some sort of an outward thing but innately from within ourselves. This is the Ganesha Principle which acts, on Vishuddhi Chakra where, whatever communications we have, we have a sister's relationship and a mother's relationship.
Raksha Bandhan Puja 7th August 1990
Los Angeles, United States