In India, every festival has its own importance and significance. Raksha Bandhan which is also known as Raakhi, is one of the main festivals which is celebrated all across the country. This festival is celebrated on the full Moon day of Shravan month of Hindu Calendar. This year, "Raksha Bandhan - The Bond of Love" will be celebrated on Monday, 19th of August 2024. This is a very sacred festival which is dedicated to Brothers & Sisters with a purpose to strengthen the bond which exists between them. On this day, sister ties a Rakhi ( A sacred Holy thread ) around Brother's wrist and offers him Sweets as a token of her Love and affection for him. On their part, the Brothers take a vow to protect their sisters from all troubles and harms that may come their way. In Ancient times, any woman who tied a thread around a wrist of any man were dreamt to have become Brothers and Sisters and it became necessary for that person to protect that woman as a Brother. Now-a-days, the Rakhi or the Holy thread is marketed in very decorated forms and the festival of Raksha Bandhan has become so important that every Brother & Sister try to be together on this day to celebrate it.
History behind Raksha Bandhan :
Raksha Bandhan, like most other Indian festivals, finds its roots in the Hindu religious texts and mythological epics. There are many real as well as mythological stories are associated with Raakhi. One of them is related to Lord Indra & his wife Indrani. It is believed that the Deities & Demons were fighting a battle and the Demons were in a winning position. Seeing all this, Lord Indra (King of Deities) became worried, his wife Indrani prayed to God to save her husband and tied a thread around his wrist to protect him. Eventually, Deities won the battle and this practice became popular as Raksha Bandhan.
Another legend is associated with Rani Karnawati and Emperor Humayun. When king of Gujarat Bahadur Shah attacked Chittor, the widowed queen Karnavati of this princely state beckoned Mughal emperor Humayuns help by sending a bejeweled Rakhi. Humayun obliged and immediately rushed his forces to his sister’s aid. Unfortunately, by the time the troops reached Chittor, the queen and thousands of other women had already committed Sati to save their honors. Deep in sorrow, the disheartened Humayun is said to have applied a pinch of ash from Karmawati's pyre on his forehead as a mark of affection and respect for the dead queen. Although a story with a tragic end, this still shows a promise that gives every sister hope and faith in her brother and the bond that they share.
Another one is related to Lord Krishna and Draupadi. In order to protect righteous people, the benevolent Lord Krishna killed the evil King Shishupal. Krishna hurt himself in the process and was left with a bleeding finger. Draupadi, immediately tore her Saree and tied it around Krishna’s wrist. The Lord moved by Draupadi’s gesture promised to repay her debt in the future. A few years later when Kauravas tried to disrobe Draupadi, Krishna saved her honor with his divine powers.
The most famous story behind Raksha Bandhan is associated with King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi. Demon King Mahabali defeated the Gods and was planning 100 Ashwamedh Yagnas to be crowned as the King of Gods. Lord Vishnu took his Vaman Avatar and asked King Bali for 3 steps of land as alms, King Bali was great devotee of Lord Vishnu and by recognizing Lord Vishnu, he agreed. The vaman avatar measured the entire Land & Skies in his two steps and asked Bali where he should keep his 3rd step on which King Bali offered his head. The vaman kept his 3rd step on King Bali's head and pushed him to the Paatal Lok. Lord Vishnu was pleased with Demon King Bali's righteousness and asked him for a boon on which King Bali asked Lord Vishnu that he wants to see Lord Vishnu wherever he look, upon this Lord Vishnu became the Dwaarpal (Gatekeeper) of Kind Bali's palace in the Paatal Lok as the palace had 52 doors. As Lord Vishnu was missing from vaikunth, Narad informed Goddess Lakshmi about this. Goddess Lakshmi went to Paatal Lok in the disguise of a Brahmani and ask for refuge from King Bali and tied a sacred thread on King Bali's arm and explained him that she is his sister from now onwards and will pray for his wellbeing & longevity and in return, King Bali will promise to protect her & offer a gift to which King Bali would agree. Thereafter, Goddess Lakshmi told him that who was she and asked King Bali to let her take Lord Vishnu to vaikunth as a gift. This tradition of Raksha Bandhan became popular thereafter.
Significance of Raksha Bandhan :
‘Raksha Bandhan’ means ‘Bond of Protection’. It is a Hindu festival that reaffirms the sacred bond of love between Brothers and Sisters. On this day, sisters tie a Rakhi on the wrists of their brothers and their brothers promise them their Love and Protection for life. The family unit occupies a very central place in India’s culture and the festival of Raksha Bandhan stands testimony to this. There are very few festivals that are dedicated to the celebration of a familial relationship specifically, especially the one between a brother and a sister, all over the world. This makes the festival of Raksha Bandhan truly special.
In today’s materialistic times, when economic considerations take priority over familial and social relationships, it is the festival which promotes Love & Emotional bonds. On special occasions that drive people’s attention back to relationships and emotional affairs, such as Raksha Bandhan, a beautiful sense of meaning and purpose returns to people’s lives that restores the precious and fine balance back to how it should be. Living life well, after all, is a fine balancing act that requires one to pay equal attention to the different facets of life – Economic, Emotional, Social and Familial. It is to this end that the significance of the festival truly lies. In India, a girl child is usually married off anytime during the age of 20 to 25. The girl starts a new family and her focus and energy get diverted to her new family and home. Though she always remembers her maternal home and relationships with love, she is unable to devote much time or attention to those very dear relationships. There is a sudden life-changing dynamic that takes place in her life in this manner. The relationship she shared with her brother too, changes in several ways after marriage. The closeness the relationship enjoyed and the day to day interaction both the siblings enjoyed earlier changes permanently. When a festival like Raksha Bandhan arrives, it gives the girl child an opportunity to spend some much needed quality time with her brother. The brother, too, is emotionally attached to his sister and looks forward to meet her every year on the festival of Raksha Bandhan. The significance of the festival in the case of married sisters is quite high.
Rudraksha Center wishes all its patrons a very Happy, Prosperous & Blessed Raksha Bandhan with lots of Fun, Joy & Enjoyment.