Raksha Bandhan – Protection of the Sacred Bond
Each year, Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is celebrated on the full moon day of Shravan month (lunar calendar). It is a festival celebrating the special bond between brothers and sisters. The girl ties the Rakhi on her brother’s wrist, after applying tilak on his forehead, and chants a mantra. It is believed that the sacred thread can protect one from all evils for a year. In return, the boy vows to protect his sister till death and gives her some form of gift as a symbol of appreciation.
According to tradition, the Rakhi is made of interwoven red and golden threads. However, nowadays, the thread is adorned with other colours, beads, and ornamentation. In a similar fashion, the limitation of only sisters tying rakhi on their brothers’ hand is no longer the rule. People, nowadays, tie Rakhi on the hands of army-men and influential people including ministers.
Let us now see the myths and legends around the origin of this festival.
Mythologies on Raksha Bandhan
We’ll narrate to you a couple of the stories. So, listen carefully…
Draupadi & Kanha
When Kanha cut his little finger and started bleeding, Draupadi tore a section from the end of her saree and tied it around his finger to stop the bleeding. Seeing her gesture, Kanha pledged to protect her from all evils – all she has to do is call out His name. During her vastraharan, she called out His name in her prayers. Staying true to His promise, He came to her help by extending her saree till eternity. Alas, in this age, most brothers in our nation do not come forward to help girls and women when harassed in public. Mere spectators to the act, men must have forgotten their sacred duty. And girls are in dire need for another Kanha, for this sole reason – Kalki.
Sachi & Indra
During a war between the devtas and asuras, Indra was about to lose his kingdom and hence, approached Guru Brihaspati for help. The Guru told him that he’ll be victorious when a sacred thread infused with mantras on Shravan Poornima is tied around his wrist. So, his wife, Sachi, tied the thread on his wrist, leading to the victory of the devtas.
Though this latter story can be controversial in nature, no one knows the actual origin of Raksha Bandhan. And why should we bother with the past when we have the power to make the future as bright as we wish!
This Raksha Bandhan, may the sisters be free to speak and act without chains holding her back. And may the brothers take action instead of turning deaf ears to cries of help.
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