Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan – The bond between a sister and a brother is simply very unique and it is very much impossible to describe it in words. From fighting over little-little things to fighting for each other, from getting angry with father for giving extra money to the other one, to filling their 1 pocket with money and the other with chocolates, from going against each other to going against the world for each other.
There are so many feelings involved in Raksha Bandhan which are logical and completely illogical too that keep changing from time to time. But one thing that remains static is that innocent love, that is so deeply embedded in the hearts, that no one can snatch away.
Meaning of Raksha Bandhan
Rakshabandhan or Raksha Bandhan and sometimes Rakhi, is one of the many popular festivals celebrated in India. As its name suggests, its the festival in which a sister ties amulets called Rakhi, on the brother’s wrist with the promise in return that he will always take care(Raksha) of her, in every circumstance and against all the odds. The expression Raksha Bandhan is a Sanskrit phrase meaning “the bond of protection, care or obligation”.
Raksha bandhan is observed on the last day of the Hindu lunar calendar month of Shraavana, which falls in the month of August.
This year, which is 2019, we will be celebrating Raksha Bandhan on 15th of August (Thursday). I hope you all are excited
Different Name of Raksha Bandhan
The festival is famous by various names in various locations, such as Raksha Purnima, Rakihri, Salūno, Silono and Rakhi.
Unlike popular belief, Raksha Bandhan is not limited to Hindus. It is also celebrated by people of various cultures like Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.
We all are very well acquainted with how Rakshabandhan is celebrated, but it’s interesting to know that in Jainism, Jain priests give threads(Rakhi) to the devotees.
How we Celebrate Rakhi (Raksha Bandhan)
These days, Raksha Bandhan is marked as a festival of exchanging gifts, where brothers reward the sisters with the Shagun for all the prayers she enchants for his progress and safety. But we all know it is the only festival which gives sisters the chance to have complete access on the pocket of brothers.😉 And if you have a younger brother, then you can successfully loot papa’s wallet.
Many sweets are being prepared, there are fairs going on, decorations can be seen everywhere.
Sisters prepare the thaal in which she keeps rakhi, some threads of rice, roli and something sweet and worships. And then she puts tilak on her brothers’ forehead along with some Bali of rice, ties the rakhi and feeds him some sweets. (And at the end, the most awaited part is taking gifts in return😉).
(Well I have a younger brother, and here in our family I am the one who is giving him the money LOL. Different places, different houses, different things happen).
History of Raksha Bandhan
They say past is dead. But, really?! Is it? We all are carrying our traditions and celebrating them even today. Now as we talked about the past, how many of us know, how it all commenced? There are many interesting stories about it. Let me walk you through the Raksha Bandhan history.
Indra Dev and Sachi
According to the legend of Bhavishya Purana, once when there was a fierce battle going on between the God and King Bali, the Rakshasa (demon), which was not coming to a decisive end, Sachi, the wife of Lord Indra, the God of rain, went to Lord Vishnu who gave her a holy cotton thread. She tied this thread on the wrist of her husband, which ultimately lead him to defeat King Bali. Since then, women used to tie amulets on their husband’s wrists, since then.
Hence, unlike present times these holy threads were not only limited to brother-sister relationships.
Krishna and Draupadi
As a good luck charm, Draupadi, tied the rakhi to Lord Krishna for them to win the epic war called Mahabharata. Kunti tied the rakhi to Abhimanyu, who was the son of Arjun and her grandson.
“Again, it was seen, that there was not limited to brother-sister relation, anyone with the wish of protecting their loved ones could tie it.“
King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi
According to Bhagavata and Vishnu Purana, when Lord Vishnu won the Tri-looks(three worlds) from King Bali, he was asked by the demon King to reside with him in the palace and the Lord accepted his request. But Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu wanted to return to the place called Vaikuntha. It was then, the goddess tied Rakhi on Bali’s wrist and made him her brother. When asked about the gift in return, she asked him to let her husband free from the vow and let him return to Vaikuntha.
It is said, when 2 sons of Lord Ganesha, namely, Labh and Shubh got stuck on the demand to have a sister, Lord Ganesha created Santoshi through the divine flames and hence, they got a sister and the festival started to celebrate.
These were all the mythological incidents, acknowledging the origin of Raksha Bandhan. But, there are incidents recorded in history also about it.
Porus and Alexander
This historic event is associated with the event of Raksha Bandhan, as it is said, Porus restrained from killing Alexander in a war because of the Great Alexander’s wife, who took a promise from him of not to kill her husband. Porus likely honoured her by not killing Alexander.
Humayun and Rani Karnavati
This is one of the most famous events in history. Humayun defeated Bahadur Shah Zafar because of his Raksha Bandhan promise. Rani Karnavati of Chittor had sent rakhi to Humayun for seeking the protection of her kingdom against the Sultan of Gujrat, Bahadur Shah Zafar. Although Humayun got a little late and Rani Karnavati died, but he did not break his promise and kept it by defeating Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Not many people are aware of the fact that Rabindranath Tagore used Rakshabandhan as a social device to strengthen the bond between the Hindus and the Muslims during the struggle for freedom, to bring them close and keep them united.
All the illustration we saw above, tell us that Raksha Bandhan is not merely a festival of tying bands around the wrists, it about love, care, protection, keeping promises. It is not relationship bound, not culture-bound. It does not care about regions.
It is all about the love we carry for our loved ones, who are not compulsorily needed to be our siblings or be from the same religion or region. It is about valuing any relationship truthfully and keeping our promises, no matter what. No matter how far we are from each other, no matter how many times we see device face, this festival erases all the distances and lights our souls with the fire of bond and love.
“Happy Raksha Bandhan to all of you”