India is one of the most religious country of the universe. And August is the month where a dozens of festivals starts thereon in India. It starts with – Saavan Somvaar, Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtmi, and ends with Bhai Doj. India has been a festive country for every season. And every festival has its myth, beliefs and several stories. One of them is Raksha Bandhan. Alike, many festivals, Raksha Bandhan has its story too. Not one, a number of stories.
Raksha Bandhan is also known as Rakhi or Rakhi Purnima. Rakhi is an Indian occasion which celebrates the love and affection towards brother and sister. It is a thread ideology where a sister tie on the wrist of her brother symbolizing her love and vow to live long her brother. On the other hand, brother also promises to shield her sister from any difficult situation.
Let’s move ahead to know why and how this festive started:
- Indra Dev, King Bali and Goddess Laxmi. According to Bhagvat Purana and Vishnu Purana’s lines of beliefs, when Lord Vishnu defeated demon king Bali winning three worlds, Bali gracefully asked Lord Vishnu to live in his palace. Vishnu agreed but his wife, Goddess Laxmi did not like the palace so she went to King Bali, tied him Rakhi and made him her brother. King Bali also agreed her as his sister. When King Bali asked whats her wish. Goddess Laxmi consented and asked him to alter the palace and so did Bali accepted his sister’s wish.
Thereafter, according to Bhavishya Purana, when Indra Dev (the lord of rain and thunderstorms) was wagged in a war against demons. Indra’s wife, Sachi (the goddess of anger, wrath and jealous) consulted Lord Vishnu. Vishnu gave her a cotton thread and advised her to tie on his husband’s wrist which proved to be a success for Indra Dev. The thread which was after called a The Holy Thread.
- Yam and Yamuna. According to another epic, Yam (the lord of death) has not visited his sister, Yamuna (the goddess of river Yamuna) for 12 years. And so was she upset and shared with Ganga (the goddess of river Ganga). Consenting, Ganga reminded Yam of his sister. As soon as Yam arrived her sister, she was overjoyed and wished him to return soon.
- Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha (the god of success start) has two sons, Shubh and Labh (the Holy Profit). On the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, Ganesha’s sister visited him to tie Rakhi on his wrist. Watching Ganesha, his sons became upset that they have no sisters. Suddenly, Narad Muni (learned scholar and a classical musician, also a messenger of Gods) appeared and persuades Ganesha. Ganesha agreed and by means of the divine flames, created Santoshi Maa (goddess of satisfaction). Thereafter, Shubh and Labh now had Rakhies on their wrist too.
- Lord Krishna and Draupati. In context to epic Mahabharat, when Krishna cut his finger and was bleeding profusely, Draupati saw him and immediately tore a part of her saree and wounded Krishna. Krishna said, ‘with this loving act, she wrapped him in debt and he would repay each “thread” when the time arrives’ and considered his friend. When the situation arrived, Draupati prayed for Krishna’s help and Krishna gave him unlimited cloth to protect her. Afterthen, Draupati tied rakhi to Lord Krishna.
Yet so many stories but one occasion to celebrate and that’s Raksha Bandhan. I remember buying Rakhies for my brothers too. Since, I and my elder sister is the only sisters of our seven brothers in our joint family. We used to prepare days or weeks before Raksha Bandhan. Shop all day long and visit local market in search of the prettiest Rakhi in the stores of our area. It was a local market where Rakhi section was put aside and a bunch of Rakhi stores with lots of variety. Varieties such as for kids and for elder brothers.
It starts with a get together of brother, sisters and the whole family. All of them come in well-maintained dress and the threading process starts. It starts with >Tilak >Threading >Aarti >Prayer and food. At last (my favourite activity), brothers would gift their sisters. It would be clothes, cards or money.
Apart from tieing Rakhi to brothers, another ritual is to threading to sister-in-law. It is believed that brother’s wife is the person responsible for his well-being. So, in order, sister ties Rakhi to sister-in-law wishing her well-being too.
Summarising all of them, the beliefs, parables, preparations and the affection between brothers and sisters make this festival a grand success and celebration. An occasion when all brothers die to visit their sisters specially when this festival is formed for them actually. Also, I wish you all a very loving and Happy Rakshabandhan. 🙂