‘Raksha Bandhan’ or ‘rakhi utsav’ is the knot of love and protection between sisters and brothers all over the world. On this festival usually sisters tie a sacred thread or rakhi on the waist of a brother. It is a symbol of love to the brother and also it is a prayer for the well being of the brother. It also symbolizes that the brother will protect the sister always. The meaning of the word ‘raksha bandhan’ in Sanskrit Language is the ‘protection bond’.
Rakhi is mainly a festival of the Hindu people but it is now celebrated among all religions around the globe.
Social bond for universal harmony and brotherhood………..
Rakhi not only symbolizes a bond between a brother and a sister. It also inspires universal brotherhood. It brings harmony in our society also. Rabindranath Tagore, the famous Indian poet and Nobel Prize winner popularized this festival as a symbol of love and unity between Hindu and Muslim community and in the broader sense between all the communities of the world.
Historical background of rakhi….
In ancient India the queens of Maratha and queens of Rajput used to send rachis to the kings of Mughal. The Mughal emperors used to accept the sacred offerings and also used to offer help in return.
Stories connected to rakhi…..
There are several interesting stories related to raksha bandhan. There is a famous story of Mughal emperor Humayun and Rani of Chittorgarh Karnavati. Bahadurshah once attacked Chittorgarh. At that time it was impossible for Karnavati, the widowed Rani to protect Chittorgarh from the strong attack of king Bahadurshah. Then Rani Karnavati sent a sacred rakhi to Humayun, the Mughal Empire and requested him to protect her and to protect Chittorgarh.
The Mughal Emperor Humayun was impressed by the sacred emotion of rakhi. Along with the mighty Mughal force Humayun rushed to save Rani Karnavati and her kingdom Chittorgarh. It was a pity that Humayun could not protect the life of Rani Karnavati because it was a bit late. Bahadurshah arrived before Humayun. Rani Karnavati and all her women companions of Chittorgarh committed suicide to save their honour. But Humayun protected Chittorgarh from Bahadurshah. Humayun handed the throne of Chittorgarh to Vikramjeet Singh, the son of Rani Karnavati.
Story of Goddess Lakshmi and king Bali…..
There is a story in Purana. Vishnu defeated Bali, the demon king and became the winner of the three worlds. The demon king Bali requested Vishnu to live with him. Vishnu accepted his request. But Goddess Lakshmi was not at all happy with the new friendship of king Bali and his husband Vishnu. And she was also not interested in to stay in Bali’s palace with his husband. Lakshmi tied a sacred thread of Rakhi on the wrist of Bali and in this way made Bali her brother. Bali in return asked Lakshmi ‘what Lakshmi wants as a gift from his newly made brother’. Lakshmi requested Bali to free his husband God Vishnu from the promise of staying in Bali’s palace. Bali fulfilled her desire and also honored Lakshmi as his sister.
Story of Draupadi and Krishna…..
In Mahabharata Lord Krishna treated Draupadi as sister. Lord Krishna once cut a finger in fight with Sishupal. Draupadi at once bandaged the cut by tearing off his own sari. Krishna in return promised to repay this act of love. Whenever Draupadi needed help she prayed for the help to Lord Krishna and Krishna also always rescued her. In the story of the great epic Mahabharata we see Draupadi to tie a Rakhi to Lord Krishna and we see Kunti tied a Rakhi to Avimunya, her, her grandson, just before the war of Kurukshkhetra.
Story of King Puru and Alexander……
There is a story that when King Alexander was invading India, his wife Roxana sent the sacred thread of Rakhi to king Puru and requested him not to hurt Alexander in battlefield. King Puru respected the sacred tradition. On the Warfield just before delivering the final blow to King Alexander he restrained himself when he saw the sacred Rakhi on his own hand.