The Hindu calendar is marked with various festivals that are celebrated pompously and vibrantly by everyone. There is Diwali which celebrates the return of Ram by lighting diyas and then Holi which marks the end of evil with a rainbow of colours. Laying importance the relationship between a brother and his sister, comes the Rakshabandhan. A celebration of the bond between a brother and a sister, Rakshabandhan has a profound meaning at its core.
The festival is celebrated to strengthen the feeling of protection that a brother has for his sister. But what is the origin of this festival? And what is the correct way of celebrating it? Here is all you need to know on Rakshabandhan.
The Legend of Rakshabandhan
There are several stories in Hindu Mythology and Indian History that entail the importance of this festival. But amidst all these, two stand out as the most significant. The first one goes back to the era of the epic, Mahabharata. Lord Krishna received a cut from a sugarcane stalk. His queen, Rukmini, sent out the helper to sought bandages for their King. Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, saw the incident and immediately tore off a piece from her saree and helped Lord Krishna, who then vowed to protect and help her whenever required. Legend has it that when Draupadi was disrobed by the Kauravas, the evil cousins of Pandavas, she prayed to Lord Krishna for protection, and he answered with his magic.
The second legend relates to King Porus of India and Roxana, the wife of Alexander the Great. Roxana sent a silk thread to Porus asking him not to harm her husband on the battlefield, and true to his word, Porus does not kill Alexander, eventually losing the battle of Jhelum River.
These two historical stories have cemented the significance of Rakshabandhan in India.
Rituals For Rakshabandhan
As far as rituals are concerned, several traditions are followed throughout the nation; wherein each region has its own way of celebrating the festival. However, according to Vedic astrology, one must follow this ritual to get the best blessings from the Gods.
- Much of the preparation is done before the day arrives. This includes buying the silk thread, called Rakhi, and the sweets offered on Rakshabandhan.
- On the day of the Rakhi, everyone must wake up early and bathe so that the body is purified and readied for the auspicious day
- Then comes the time to prepare the Thali. An earthen pot, rice mixed with turmeric, vermilion, incense sticks, and the Rakhi are kept in it.
- The Thali is then used to worship and pray to God. The same Thali is then used by the sister to perform a small aarti of the brother, during which, both of them must pray for each other’s well-being
- The sister then puts vermilion and rice on the forehead of the brother, before tying him Rakhi. While tying the Rakhi, the sister must chant the sacred Mantra:
“Yena baddho balee raajaa daanavendro mahaabalah Tena twaam anubadhnaami rakshey maa chala maa chala.”
This means “I am tying the Rakhi on your wrist which bound the great and powerful King Baali. I pray to the Goddess protection to never leave”, which is an ode to another legend relating to Rakshabandhan, the monkey king Bali, Lord Vishnu, and Lady Lakshmi.
- Sweets and blessings are then exchanged before the brother gives a gift to his sister as a promise of his protection.
Festivals are a harbinger of prosperity, happiness, and togetherness. However, each festival must be followed correctly to honor their true spirit. For more information on the importance and rituals related to festivals, meet the best astrological and Vastu expert in Delhi, Pandit Pawan Kaushik.