Raksha Bandhan is a festival which celebrates the bond of affection between brothers and sisters. It is a day when siblings pray for each other’s’ wellbeing and wish for each other’s happiness and goodwill.
I always knew ‘Raksha Bandhan’ suggests ‘a bond of protection’ and on this auspicious day, brothers make a promise to their sisters to protect them from all harms and troubles and the sisters pray to God to protect their brother from all evil. The festival falls on the Shravan Purnima which comes generally in the month of August. Sisters tie the silk thread called Rakhi on their brother’s wrist and pray for their wellbeing and brothers promise to take care of their sisters.
But I had no clue that this celebration has a historical significance as well. In history a rakhi is just been regarded as a source for raksha or protection. It could be tied by wife, a daughter or mother. Previously the Rishis tied rakhi to the people who came seeking their blessings. The sages tied the sacred thread to themselves to safe guard them from the evil.
The warmth of the bond is evitable in stories like-
Lord Krishna and Draupathi, I am sure all are familiar with this story-
Lord Krishna killed the evil King Shishupal to protect good people. Krishna was hurt and his fingers were bleeding. Seeing this, Draupathi/ Panchali tore a strip of cloth from her sari and tied around his wrist to stop the bleeding. Lord Krishna, realizing her affections and concern about him, declared himself bounded by her sisterly love. He promised her to repay this debt whenever she need in future. Many years later, when the pandavas lost Draupathi in the game of dice and Kauravas were trying to disrobe her, Krishna helped her divinely elongating the saree so that they could not remove it.
I am sure not many would have heard this version story of King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi
The demon king Mahabali was a great devotee of lord Vishnu. Because of his immense devotion, Vishnu has taken the task of protecting bali’s Kingdom leaving his normal place in Vikundam. Goddess lakshmi – the wife of lord Vishnu became sad because of this as she wanted lord Vishnu along with her. So she went to Bali and discussed as a Brahmin woman and taken refuge in his palace. On Shravana purnima, she tied Rakhi on King Bali’s wrist. Goddess Lakshmi revealed who she is and why she is there. The king was touched by her and Lord Vishnu’s good will and affection towards him and his family, Bali requested Lord Vishnu to accompany her to vaikuntam. Due to this festival is also called Baleva as Bali Raja’s devotion to the Lord vishnu. It is said that since that day it has become a tradition to invite sisters on sravan pournima to tie sacred thread of Rakhi or Raksha bandan.
In today’s scenario, the day has a different perspective. The values and the sentiments attached to the rituals of this festival are worth inculcating by the whole human race, the sentiments of harmony and peaceful coexistence. Anyone can tie rakhi, no matter what is the person’s caste, creed, state, language or country. Enjoy the festival and spread love.