Rakshabandhan has evolved into a bond of love and protection between a brother and a sister. On this day, brothers make a promise to protect their sisters and to keep them out of harm’s way.
Sisters tie a thread with an amulet to their brother’s wrist to protect him from evil forces. Siblings pray for each other’s well-being and happiness.
To this day, holy threads are tied during homas and when you visit certain temples. The colour of the thread can vary depending on the region and the deity you worship.
The brother should face either the East or the West and the sister should stand to his right side when tying the rakhi. Rakhi can be tied on either hand.
Following Vaastu principles in your house extends the principles of love and protection behind Rakshabandhan. Of the 16 Vaastu zones, two are considered primary in these matters – the South-West and the South-East.
A healthy South-West zone in the house not only governs the strength of relationships among family members, it also brings the blessings of ancestors which offer additional protection.
Fire has been a protector not just in the physical sense, but also from the point-of-view of rituals and Vaastu. Placing the kitchen fire in the South-East zone extends such protection.
The market is flooded with a variety of rakhis in different shapes, sizes, and materials.
Rakhis with figures of Gods and Goddesses, cartoon characters, or sacred symbols like Om and Swastika are popular.
Rakhis are available in different materials, but it is wise to choose those made from natural fibres like cotton, jute, wool, or silk.
These fibres are more effective in building strong relationships.
A few affluent families also prefer rakhis made with gold, silver, or a fancy combination of fabric and a metal.
he love in my body and heart
For the earth’s shadow and light
Has stayed over years.
With its cares and its hope it has thrown
A language of its own
Into blue skies.
It lives in my joys and glooms
In the spring night’s buds and blooms
Like a Rakhi-band
On the Future’s hand.
The Bengal Split & Rakhi
When Bengal was to be divided by the British, Rabindranath Tagore began Rakhi Mahotsavs to symbolise unity and brotherhood between the Hindus and Muslims of Bengal. The celebrations eventually proved unsuccessful as Bengal was divided into West Bengal in India and East Bengal, now known as Bangladesh.
MYTHS & HISTORY
Yashoda is said to have tied an amulet of raksha bandhan on Krishna’s wrist, according to the Vishnu Purana. She is said to have prayed thus:
May the lord of all beings protect you,
May the one who creates, preserves and dissolves life protect thee,
May Govinda guard thy head; Kesava, thy neck; Vishnu, thy belly;
The eternal Narayana, thy face, thine arms, thy mind, and faculties of sense;
May all negativity and fears, spirits malignant and unfriendly, flee thee;
May Rishikesa keep you safe in the sky; and Mahidhara, upon earth.
Draupadi and Krishna
Draupadi tears a piece of her sari to bandage Krishna’s finger when he cuts it during Shishupal’s beheading. Krishna vows to protect her and wraps her in endless cloth during the vastrapaharan in the Mahabharata.
Bali and Goddess Lakshmi
After Vishnu in his Vamana avatar sends Bali to the underworld, Bali requests him to stay in his palace to which Vishnu agrees.
Queens & Kings
Queens, particularly, Rajput queens were said to send rakhis to neighbouring rulers to symbolise a brother-sister relationship.
According to history, King Pururava with the Greek name Porus was defeated by Alexander. An unverified story tells us that Alexander’s wife Roxana sends a rakhi to Porus with the request not to harm Alexander. During the battle, when Porus is about to kill Alexander, he sees the rakhi on the latter’s wrist and leaves him alone.
Yet another account is of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. Unable to protect her kingdom from Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, the widowed Rani Karnavati of Chittor, sends a rakhi to Emperor Humayun of the Mughal Empire.
But, Humayun’s troops reach too late to save the Rani’s fortress or the Rani herself. Rani Karnavati had committed jauhar – burning to death. Humayun, nevertheless, defeats Bahadur Shah and hands over the kingdom to the Rani’s son, Vikramjeet Singh.
What Rakhi and this festival means to people
– Shreyans Dabhi, MBA student
“A gift from the brother and the lifelong contract of a body guard”
– Sangeeta Pradhan, executive at a software company
“Gifts from brothers!”
– Natasha, Head-Procurement at a national magazine
– Atul Mutha, Head-Marketing at a national magazine
– Swamini, Electrical engineer and writer
We wish you a happy Rakshabandhan!