Relationships are the essence of any festivity and it holds true for any Indian festival. Each occasion brings the family together. Raksha Bandhan is a festival which celebrates the bond of affection between brothers and sisters.
The name ‘Raksha Bandhan’ suggests ‘a bond of protection’ (Raksha = protection, Bandhan = tie). Raksha Bandhan is celebrated during the bright fortnight (Purnima) in the month of Shraavan (Saavan). The concept of Raksha Bandhan is mainly that of protection. As per the ancient scriptures, the tying of a Rakhee is not confined to a brother and sister. It could also be tied by a wife to her husband, or by a disciple to the Guru. But today, Rakhee festival is celebrated between brother and sister only.
These Rakhees enhance the artistry of the people. Within these Rakhees reside sacred feelings and well wishes. It is also a great sacred verse of unity. Acting as a symbol of life’s advancement and a leading messenger of togetherness.
Krishna and Draupadi
In a battle, Lord Krishna killed the evil King Shishupal. Krishna was hurt during the war and left with bleeding wrist. Seeing this, Draupadi had torn a strip of cloth from her saree and tied around his wrist to stop the bleeding. Lord Krishna, realizing her affections, declared himself bounded by her sisterly love. He promised her to repay this debt whenever she needs in future. Many years later, when the Pandavas lost Draupathi in the game of dice and Kauravas were removing her saree, Krishna helped her divinely extending the saree.
Indra and Sachi
Raksha Bandhan is an ancient tradition. Bhavishya Purana refers to a battle between gods and demons, and the king of the gods – Indra was feeling depressed. At that time Indra’s wife Sachi took a thread, charged it with sacred verses or Mantras for protection and tied it on Indra’s hand. Through the strength of this thread Indra conquered his enemies. Since then till today this festival is celebrated.
Yama and Yamuna
It is said that the Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Lord Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yamuna. 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 rakhee tied from his sister and promises her protection will become immortal.
King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi
The Demon King Bali was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Pleased with his devotion, Vishnu asked Bali to ask for something from him. In return Bali asked Lord Vishnu to stay in front of him all day and night. Lord Vishnu left his home Vaikuntha. Goddess Lakshmi wished to be with her lord back in her abode. During the Shraavan Purnima celebrations, Lakshmi tied the sacred thread to the King Bali and requested him to take Vishnu back to Vaikuntha. The king was touched by Lakshmi’s goodwill for her family. He sacrificed all he had for the Lord and his devoted wife Lakshmi. It is said that since then it has been a tradition to invite sisters in Shraavan Purnima for the thread tying ceremony – Raksha Bandhan.
Humayun and Karmavati
In those days, many Rajputs sacrificed their lives to protect their spiritual sisters. Humayun received a Rakhee from the queen Karmavati of Chittor and for that, Humayun carried out his sacred brotherly duty and protected her by opposing his own soldiers.
Alexander’s wife Roxana and King Puru
When Alexander invaded India, It is said that the great conqueror, King Alexander of Macedonia was shaken by the fury of the Indian king Puru in his first attempt. Upset by this, Alexander’s wife, who had heard of the Rakhee festival, approached King Puru and sent him a sacred thread, asking him not to harm her husband in battle. King Puru accepted her as his sister and when the opportunity came during the war, he refrained himself from attacking Alexander.