There is always a history behind the existence of something. In the same way, rakshabandhan also has many interesting and ancient past mentioned in various scriptures. As per the traditions, there are many amazing stories behind the notable celebration of rakshabandhan in the auspicious month sravana.
It is followed by rakhi thread on the wrist of brothers as a thread of love and protection. Let’s go through its interesting facts.
Indra Deva: It is said that lord Indra was insulted by the powerful king of demons namely Bali during the war between gods and demons. Thus, lord Indra’s wife Sachi consulted with lord Vishnu and got a sacred cotton thread by him. Sachi tied this thread on the wrist of Indra for his protection and success. Then, lord Indra defeated the demon and got over Amaravati. This story inspired the importance of holy thread.
Santoshi Ma: Lord Ganesha’s sister came on the day of rakshabandhan and tied rakhi on his wrist. On seeing this, Ganesha’s two sons namely shubh and labh asked him to get a sister for them as well so they can also get tied rakhi on their wrists. Then he created a daughter namely santoshi maa by the divine flames that emerged from Ganesha’s wives, riddhi and siddhi.
Krishna and Draupadi: In the epic Mahabharata, Kunti tied rakhi on the wrist of his grandson namely Abhimanyu as well as Draupadi tied rakhi to lord Krishna before the Great War.
Yama and the Yamuna: Yama, the god of death didn’t visit his sister namely Yamuna, the goddess of Yamuna river for almost 12 years. So she was sad and talked to Ganga, the goddess of Ganga River. Then Ganga reminded yama of his sister after which he went to meet Yamuna. Yama was extremely happy and asked her if she wanted any gift. On this, Yamuna asked him to visit soon to meet her. Yama was very happy to see the love of Yamuna and meet her again that turned Yamuna into immortal. This served as the basis of rakshabandhan like festival called bhai duj which is also dedicated to siblinghood. It is observed nearby diwali.
These are the few traditions related to the celebration of rakhi purnima. Every year in the month of august, this eve is notably celebrated to strengthen the bond and love between brothers and sisters by sending rakhi gifts to India
Raksha Bandhan is a significant festival in the Hindu religion as it finds its roots in the Epics and Vedas. It has been celebrated since ancient times in India and is still celebrated with the same spirits till today. The thread of Rakhi signifies the knot of love, friendship, sibling love, a long life, and seeking divine blessings. It is a bond of protection from all the evils and perils that lurks over loved ones.
Genesis and Legends
Raksha Bandhan is a manifestation of the rich cultural heritage of the legendary traditions some of which goes back to the times of great Epics like Mahabharata. According to the Hindu tradition, the word "Raksha" involves all the facets of protection of righteousness from the evil forces.
One of the legendary tales in Mahabharata featuring Lord Krishna and Yudhishtra states the importance and power of the rakhi thread. According to the legend, when the war of Mahabharata was delared between the Pandavas and Kauravas, Yudhishtra became worries about his brothers and the consequences of the war as everything of them was at stake. He turned to Lord Krishna for advice to which he replied that he should perform the rituals of Raksha Bandhan to protect himself, his family and army from the dangers of the war. Even Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas, tied a rakhi thread on the wrist of her grandson, Abhimanyu to save him from any impending dangers in the war. Draupadi too, ties a band of chasm around Lord Krishna wrist.
The legend of Indra-Indrani is another legend of the mythological times that reinstates one's belief in the powers of Raksha Bandhan. At the time of battle between the king of heaven, Indra, and the demon king, Daitya Raja, the latter overpowered Indra and made him run into the forest. The crushed and dejected God turned to Brihaspati, the Guru of Gods, for advice. He suggested him to prepare himself and wait for the right time to attack him. He also mentioned Shravan a Purnima as the perfect day to make an attacking move on the demon king. When the day came, Lord Indra's wife, Indrani, tied a sacred thread on his wrist to bless him with a long life and success in war. As a result, the God vanquished him and reinstated his sovereignty.
These mythological legends states the emergence of the Raksha Bandhan in Hindu mythology and how it has come so far with time with more fresh and modified rituals and beliefs. Even though, today, we acknowledge and relate this festival with the bond of brothers and sisters, but, it was much more than that in ancient times.
Raksha Bandhan – A Festival beyond Blood Relations
The festival of Raksha Bandhan has always been associated with the celebration of love and affection that exists between siblings who are related by blood. But, time and again in history, there have been legends which proved that this festival is much more than just blood relations.
Roxana and King Porus: When the battle was declared between Alexander and King Porus, Alexander's wife, Roxana, became afraid of losing him in the battle. She decided to send rakhi to King Porus and in return, asked for her husband's life in the battlefield. Porus, being a Kshatriya, gladly accepted her rakhi and became her rakhi brother. When he was on the battlefield and about to give a mortal blow to Alexander, he remembered his promise to the queen and took back his steps from killing Alexander.
Emperor Humayun and Queen Karnavati: This legend from history is a clear example which shows the power of rakhi even on people with different religious faiths. The queen of Chittor, Rani Karnavati, sent a rakhi to Mughal Emperor Humayun in order to seek protection from him against Bahadur Shah Zafar who was planning to the attack the land of Chittor. When Humayun came to know about the Rakhi she has sent to him, he whole-heartedly accepted it. When Bahadur shah attacked Chittor, Humayun turned his back to the then expedition against Bengal and hurried back to Chittor to save his rakhi sister. Though, it was too late when he reached as Rani Karnavati had already performed Jauhar.
At the time of partition of Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore used the occasion of Raksha Bandhan as a weapon against the Britishers who wished to divide Bengal on the basis of religion. This festival was recognized as a community event in which people of different religions were seen tying Rakhis on each other's wrists as a symbol of unity, integrity, and brotherhood among them.
All these instances are clear manifestations of the power which a Rakhi thread holds in it. It symbolizes true spirits of brotherhood and pure love that is much more than just biological relations. Today, ladies even tie rakhis on the wrists of boys and men who have no sisters. A lot of women and children even pay visits at the prime Minister's House on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan to tie rakhis on his wrist. Therefore, this occasion has become a wonderful event to acquire a sister or brother for a lifetime keeping aside the blood relations.
So, indulge in the fantastic celebrations of this auspicious occasion and create more loving and chaste bonds with each other.