The expression "Raksha Bandhan," means in Sanskrit, "the bond of protection, obligation, or care," It is popularly believed to be a celebration of the sacred relationship between a brother and a sister. But what if we told you that as per our mythology, it was not just restricted to brother and sister? Well, not just that, there are various stories that are associated with this festival which have been mentioned in the Indian mythology and history. If you believe in the Hindu mythology, then these stories of gods and goddesses might interest you. However, if you are not a believer, we have some examples from the Indian history as well to give you some perspective. Let us look at each and every aspect of this festival before exploring the supposed stories behind it
On this day, a talisman, or amulet, called the rakhi, is tied around the wrists of the elder siblings /elder members of the family , symolising their duty for protecting the younger ones , receiving a gift in return.The younger ones tie a Rakhi on the elder's wrist and gives blessings for good health and a good life. In return, the elder gives a gift along with a promise of protection.
Historic Stories associated with Rakshabandhan
1. Not many people are aware that in many parts of Historic India , people tie rakhi to their neighbours and close friends. The reason behind all this was the notion of considering Rakshbandhan as a means to spread a feeling of love, respect, brotherhood and a vow of mutual protection .But has it all changed though ?
2.Legend has it that around 326 BCE when Alexander the Great invaded India, his wife Roxana sent a sacred thread to Porus asking him to not harm her husband in the battle. It is believed that when he saw the Rakhi on his wrist while fighting the battle, he stopped himself from attacking Alexander personally.
3.It is believed that in the 18th century, Sikh Khalsa armies initiated the Rakhi system as a promise to protect peasant farmers from Afghan invaders in return of a small cut of their farm produce.
3.Being the founder and ruler of the Sikh Empire, Maharaja (King) Ranjit Singh's wife Maharani (Queen)Jindan sent a Rakhi to the ruler of Nepal, who in return, gave her a refuge in the Hindu kingdom of Nepal in 1849 after the Sikh territories were conquered by the British.
Mythological stories associated with Rakshabandhan
1. Started with husband and wife
A sacred thread being tied to somebody’s wrist for protection is believed to have been originated for Indra Dev’s betterment. In a war between gods and demons, Indra was disgraced by demon king, Bali. Upon seeing this, Indra’s wife, Sachi, consulted Lord Vishnu, who then gave her a holy bracelet made of cotton. Sachi tied the holy thread around Indra’s wrist with blessings; and consequently, Indra defeated Bali and recovered Amaravati. This story depicts not only the power of a holy thread, but also that it is not restricted to a brother-sister bond.
2.Krishna and Draupadi
According to the epic Mahabharata, it is believed that on one occasion, Lord Krishna happened to cut his finger. On seeing this, while his wife and other consorts present, ran to get a bandage, Draupadi tore off a part from her saree to tie on his finger. Touched by this action, Lord Krishna said ‘Akshyam’ which meant ‘may it be unending’. That proved to be a blessing for Draupadi during ‘Vastraharan’ as her saree became endless and it saved her from the embarrassment from being disrobed in front of everyone present in the King Dhritrashtra’s court.
3.Bali and Lakshmi
As per the Bhagvata Purana and Vishnu Purana, after Lord Vishnu defeated Bali, Bali requested him to stay with him in his palace. Lord Vishnu accepted Bali’s request, however, it did not go down well with Lord Vishnu’s wife, Goddess Lakshmi. She went to Bali in disguise and tied a Rakhi on his wrist. When Bali asked Goddess Lakshmi about what she wanted in return as a gift, she asked for Lord Vishnu to be freed from his request of staying with him in his palace. Bali agreed to it as he had made a promise to his now-sister, Lakshmi.
4. Yama and Yamuna
As per another legend, Yamuna was sad as her brother Yama (the god of death) had not visited her for around 12 years and she shared her sorrow with Ganga. Ganga told Yama about it and he decided to visit Yamuna. On meeting Yamuna, Yama was happy to see all the hard work and preparation she had made for her brother’s visit. She tied a Rakhi on Yama’s wrist and, in return, Yama who was moved by his sister’s love, blessed her with immortality.
Isn't this super intersting ? Rakshabandhan is not just about tying a knot but rather a celebration of relationships .
Which relationship would you like to celebrate this Rakshabandhan ,let us know in comments below .