Raksha Bandhan that literally means “Knot of Protection” is a festival made for the beautiful bond between brothers and sisters. It is a beautiful festival that holds great emotional and religious significance and where sisters tie a thread on her brother’s wrist as a pray for a prosperous future and a long life for their brothers. The festival keeps the deep rooted culture of the country alive, strengthens the relationship of siblings and ensures togetherness.
Raksha Bandhan which is also called as Rakhi Purnima or simply Rakhi, has a very ingrained historical importance. There are a number of tales that links Raksha Bandhan and past mythology of the hindu religion. People believe and follow different stories from the past. Following are some:
Rani Karnawati and Emperor Humayun
The most illustrious and relied upon story for Raksha Bandhan is that of Rani Karnavati of Chittor and the Mughal Emperor Humayun where Rani Karnawati who was the widowed queen of Chittor attacked by Bahadur Shah, Sultan of Gujarat. The queen realized that defending her empire from the invasion was not possible for her and in lieu of protection and help, she sent a Rakhi to the Mughal Emperor, Humayun. Recieving the Rakhi made Humayun overwhelmed and he, along with his troops, immediately set out to protect Chittor from the invasion. Alas, he could not reach on time. The Sultan of Gujarat had, by then, reached the queen`s fortress. All the women, in the fortress including Rani Karnawati had performed Jauhar (mass suicide) by then. Humayun, on reaching the fortress, fought with Bahadur Shah and evicted him from the land. The empire was handed over to Rani Karnawati`s son, Vikramjeet Singh. Since then, the act of a sister tying a rakhi on the wrist of her brother indicates lifelong protection from him.
Alexander The Great and King Puru
This story of rakhi goes back to 300 B.C. at the time when Alexander invaded India. It is said that the great conqueror, King Alexander of Macedonia was shaken by the fury of the Indian king Puru in his first attempt. Upset by this, Alexander’s wife, who had heard of the Rakhi festival, approached King Puru. King Puru accepted her as his sister and when the opportunity came during the war, he refrained from Alexander.
Lord Krishna and Draupathi
In order to protect the good people, Lord Krishna killed the evil King Shishupal. Krishna was hurt during the war and left with bleeding finger. Seeing this, Draupadi had torn 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 Draupadi in the game of dice and Kauravas were removing her saari, Krishna helped her divinely elongating the saari so that they could not remove it.
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 – has 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.