Raksha Bandhan, also known as Rakhi is a Hindu festival, celebrates the sibling love. The term Raksha Bandhan originates from Sanskrit, and translates to a “bond of protection.” The festival is all about the love that a brother and a sister share.
On this occasion, the sister puts a tilak on her brother’s forehead and ties a rakhi around his wrist in a ritual that reaffirms the bond and support of her brother. When she ties the rakhi around his wrist, he gives her his gifts, blessing, and promises to protect her from all the problems in life. This festival traditionally endows the siblings with a responsibility to care for her and be her savior in times of need.
The festival of Raksha Bandhan is observed on the last day of the Hindu lunar calendar month of Shravan. The festival is considered one of the most important festivals in Hinduism and this year it is falling on the 3rd of August.
But have you ever wondered what the story behind Rakhi is? Why is it that every year, women go crazy looking for the perfect band for their brothers? Well as you might have already guessed, there are so many stories in the Indian history related to this festival with similar morals but different contexts.
Here’s a compilation of the most renowned stories behind the grand festival of Raksha Bandhan.
Raksha Bandhan Story of Lord Krishna and Draupadi
The story dates back to the time of the Mahabharata when Krishna had injured his finger while using his Sudarshan chakra against the king Shishupalal. Seeing his finger bleeding, Draupadi had torn a strip of her saree and tied around his injured finger to stop the bleeding. Lord Krishna has valued her concern and affection. He felt bound by her sisterly love & compassion. He pledged to repay the debt of gratitude in her future.
The Story of Goddess Lakshmi and King Bali
As per the Hindu mythology, one day Lord Vishnu left His abode in order to help and protect King Bali and his kingdom from the demons. Goddess Lakshmi, on the other and wanted to remain with Her husband, Lord Vishnu. Thus She took the disguise of a Brahman woman and went to King Bali asking for shelter. King Bali readily agreed and gave shelter to Her. On the day of Shravan Purnima, Goddess Lakshmi revealed the truth to King Bali and tied a rakhi thread on his wrist.
King Bali was much touched by this act and promised the Goddess to always help Her in whatever way he could. Since then it has become a custom to invite one’s sister on Shravana Purnima to tie the auspicious thread of Rakhi for Raksha Bandhan.
The story of Emperor Humayun and Rani Karnawati
Another famous version of the history of Rakhi is Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun. In the medieval era, Rajputs were fighting with Muslim invasions and protecting their Kingdom. Rani Karnawati, the widowed queen of the Chittor, realized that she would not be able to protect her Kingdom from the invasion of the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah. She sent a Rakhi thread to Mughal Emperor Humayun. The Emperor was overwhelmed by the gesture and started off towards Chittor with his troops without wasting time. It is believed that since that day onwards the tradition of tying the rakhi thread has been associated with the Raksha Bandhan festival.
The story of King Puru and Alexander the Great
One of the oldest references to the History of the Rakhi festival goes back to 300 B.C. during the time when India was invaded by Alexander. It is believed that the great conqueror, King Alexander of Macedonia was swayed by experiencing the fury of the Indian King Puru in his first attempt of defense. On seeing her husband’s plight, Alexander’s wife, who had been aware of the Rakhi festival, approached King Puru. King Puru accepted her as his Rakhi sister, and he refrained from the war against Alexander. Since those times, Raksha Bandhan means the commitment and protection of one’s sister were the foremost.
Whatever be the stories or myths associated with the festival, it is celebrated with full fervor with a dash of modern trends. The importance of Rakhi is not limited to common people and their families, all the Indians consider this festival as an important tradition and celebrate with a lot of love all over the country.