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Rakhi: Strengthen the bond between brother & sister

Rakhi is one of the popular festivals of Hindu religion, but it is also been celebrated by many other religions. No caste and religion can define the bond between sister and brother. It has been celebrated since time immemorial, in accident India, and till today.

On this auspicious day, sisters tie Rakhi on her brother's wrist. This festival is celebrated on the full moon day of Shravan month. There are stories behind celebrating this festival. If we look at its beginning, it is not a festival of brotherhood, but a Raksha Bandhan of victory. The word, Raksha Bandhan, denotes ‘Protection Bond’.

Rakhi signifies the relationship between a brother and sister, a defining character of Indian society. Raksha Bandhan marked from ancient times and several mythological stories revolve around these customs. On this occasion, sisters fast and offer good health and well being of their brothers to god and in return, they get gifts from their brothers.

Every member of the family rises early for the rituals in the morning. A special Thali is prepared for this Pooja ceremony and the thali is decorated with rangoli, diya, sweets, rakhi, and rice grains.

Stories: Draupathi and Lord Krishna
According to mythology, Draupathi once tore her peace of saree to tie on Lord Krishna’s wrist that stopped Krishna's little finger from bleeding. Krishna then declared her as a sister. In return, Krishna protected her from the Kauravas when Pandavas lost her in gambling bet.

Birth of Goddess Santhoshi
Raksha Bandhan also marks the birth of goddess Santhoshi and the relationship between Laxmi and King Bali.

Lord Yama and the Yamuna
There is also a belief that it showcases the relationship between lord Yama (God of Death) and his sister the Yamuna (river). The Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama and bestowed immortality.

Devraj Indra & Asuras
After a long time, there was a war between the Goddess and the Asuras. War continued for 12 years and finally, the Asuras occupied the gods and conquered the three worlds including the throne of Devraj Indra. Indra then approached the guru of the gods and sought advice. Brihaspati asked him to do defense legislation with chanting.

Guru Brihaspati started the Raksha Vidhan Sanskar on the full moon day of Shravan month. During this Raksha Vidhan, Raksha Patali was strengthened by chanting. After the pooja, this bundle was fastened by Devraj Indra's wife Shachi, also known as Indrani, on the right hand of Devraj Indra of this defense bundle. It was through this power that Devraj succeeded in defeating asuras and won his lost kingdom.

Rani Karnavati & Humayun
Chittor’s queen Rani Karnavati and Mughal Emperor Humayun is the most popular evidence in history. Rani Karnawati was the widowed queen of the king of Chittor. She realized that she could not be able to protect her Kingdom from the attack of the Sultan Bahadur Shah. She sent a Rakhi thread to Mughal Emperor Humayun. The Emperor was plagued by the gesture and reached Chittor with his troops. But unfortunately, he was too late to protect the queen; all the women of the chittor applied (Sati) on themselves.

Porus & Alexander’s wife
One more story date back to 300 B.C it is believed that the King Alexander of Macedonia was wavered by the Indian King Porus in his first attempt of defense. On seeing her husband troubles, Alexander's wife, who had been aware of Rakhi festival during that period, approached King Porus. Hence, Porus accepted her as his Rakhi sister and he discontinues the war against Alexander.

Rabindranath Tagore
On this auspicious day, The Nobel poet Late Rabindranath Tagore used Raksha Bandhan as a community festival to spread the nationalist spirit among people from different ethnic backgrounds. They are siblings or not, the spirit of the brotherhood is far beyond the biological association. It is a symbol of universal brotherhood and goodwill.

So, this is how Raksha Bandhan came into existence from Hindu mythology and has transcended into the modern ages.

Presently this festival has become synonymous with love of sister and brother, it can be said that this is a festival to deepen the sacred relationship of brother and sister. But due to Corona, the wrist of brothers living in many countries will be left numb this time. They have no means of sending Rakhi by sisters due to lockdown. One can say that a bond between brother and sister is unbreakable. Hence, it reminds the promise a brother makes to her sister that he will forever protect her.

Image credit: Maps of India