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History Of Raksha Bandhan – 5 Inspiring Tales From Our Roots

by TEAM SALEBHAI - 24-Aug-2018 - Cultures & Festivals
Rakhi History

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“History is who we are and why we are”, said David McCullough, an American author.

 

That’s absolutely right. Whatever we do in present is nothing but a reflection from the past. Whether it is our cuisine, our clothing style or the festivals we celebrate. A lot of things come from our past. No wonder, we are profoundly attached to our roots.

 

Just look around yourself, and you will find connections deep-rooted to our history. For instance, it is Raksha Bandhan time now. A peep into the market will give you a colourful scene where sisters are searching for the best rakhis for their brothers, and brothers are in thinking mode as to what to gift their sisters.

 

Did you know, Raksha Bandhan festival has some interesting stories from the past? Yes, even the Gods believed in the bond of brother and sister. Our kings and queens respected the relation and celebrated this festival with much enthusiasm. And so, the tradition is as much alive and revered today as it was hundreds of years ago. Each one of us enjoys rejoicing in the unconditional bond shared between brothers and sisters.

 

There are no concrete facts as to when and how it all started. However, our curious minds and love for history made us dig into the past to bring you some exclusive tales that will surely fill your heart with warmth.

 

Here we go..

 

#1 The endless saga

 

Krishna Draupadi

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We all have heard many fascinating epic stories from Mahabharata, but did you know about the relationship that Draupadi and Lord Krishna shared? During a war between Krishna and his cousin Shishupal, Krishna got hurt and his finger was left bleeding. Till the time Krishna’s wife sent a person with bandages, Draupadi tore a piece of her saree and tied around his finger to stop the bleeding. Krishna understood her concern and affection. And so, promised to protect her whenever she was in need.

 

And we all know how Lord Krishna stood true to his words by offering Draupadi this endless ‘Akshayam’ protection and saving her from the embarrassment when Pandavas lost the game to Kauravas. We’re sure you all knew the latter part of the story and not what happened before, right? Now that you know, it’s time to share it with your family and friends.

 

Bhaiya Bhabhi Rakhi

 

#2 Immortal bond of sibling love

 

Yama Yamuna

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It is a cute fable of sibling love between Yamraj, known to us as ‘God of death’, and river Yamuna. Interestingly, they are both children of the Sun God.

 

Legend states that Yamuna was gloomy as Yama never visited her in 12 long years. When he gets to know this from Ganga, he pays a visit. Out of joy, she prepares a lot of delicious food for her brother. And ties a thread asking him to visit her at least once a year. In return, he gifts her immortality. That’s how Yamuna keeps flowing till date. Since then, it is said that any sister who ties a rakhi on her brother’s wrist, will be protected till he is alive.

 

Did you ever come across this story? We think not. However, in the modern world, besides giving her a promise, brothers can also make sisters happy by gifting them something extraordinary. How about pearl jewellery or a Kutch dupatta. Your sisters will be happy! You can even promise your sibling happiness for life by presenting her a box of exotic sweet chocolates. That’s a great idea, isn’t it?

 

Ghevar

 

#3 A promise is a promise

 

King Bali & Lakshmi

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Another interesting story between King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi will surely interest you. According to Bhagavata Purana, Lord Vishnu had disguised himself as a doorman to protect King Bali. On the other side, Lord Vishnu’s wife Goddess Lakshmi misses him at his abode. In order to free her husband, she visits the earth. Disguising herself as a Brahmin woman, she comes to King Bali to seek shelter. As Bali opens the door and welcomes her, his palace witnesses prosperity. As Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth.

 

On a full moon night in Shravana month, she ties a cotton thread on Bali’s wrist and blesses him with prosperity. Bali appreciates her and promises her to fulfil her wish. And so, she asks him to free the doorman, who happens to be her husband. Keeping his words, Bali requests Lord Vishnu to return with his wife. Since then, the fateful day has been worshipped as Baleva.

 

After some mythologies, let’s turn a few pages and go through some historical tales about Raksha Bandhan.

 

#4 Sister over everything

 

Humayun Karnavati

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In the history of Raksha Bandhan, one story from 1535 CE is told again and again. It is the respectful bond between Emperor Humayun and queen of Chittor, Rani Karnavati. When Bahadur Shah, the sultan of Gujarat was attacking Chittor, the queen realised that her kingdom was in trouble. She then sent a Rakhi to emperor Humayun as a token of love and asked for protection in return. Taken aback by her emotions, he immediately started his journey with his troops to help her.

 

Unfortunately, by the time he came, she gave herself in Jauhar. However, Humayun defeated Bahadur Shah and saved the kingdom from him and handed it over to Vikramjeet, Rani’s son as a gift for her mother’s rakhi.

 

#5 The power of Rakhi

 

Alexander Porus

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In the collection of Raksha Bandhan stories, we have one more sweet tale from 326 BCE. It was the time when Alexander the Great was invading India. Roxana, her wife, was scared that he might die in the battle of Hydaspes. And so, she sent a rakhi to King Porus, who was fighting from North West India. On the battlefield, Porus was about to kill Alexander when he saw the rakhi. He stopped the battle, keeping his sister’s welfare over his win. Alexander, overwhelmed with the brother-sister bond, gave Porus the control over the lands in his kingdom from southeast to Beas or Hephasis.

 

Even today, brothers sacrifice a lot just to bring a smile on their sisters’ face. In return, a sister can gift her brother sweetness that he deserves with a box of mithai. Isn’t it a nice idea?

 

Final thoughts...

We are never going to run out of stories related to the festival of Raksha Bandhan. Let’s get inspired by them this year and do something that we have not done before.

 

Puzzled? Don’t be. These simple deeds can make your festival memorable and also inspire a lot of other people.

  • Send rakhis to the soldiers of the Indian Army along with a special message, a sweet gesture to thank them for what they are doing for us. When Alexander can sacrifice his battle for his sister, we can at least thank our brothers, right?
  • You, along with your sibling, can share sweet boxes with the kids at your nearby orphanage. Make a promise to teach them every Sunday, or any time that’s convenient to you. Just make sure that you pay a visit to them frequently, and not like how Yama did.
  • You can sign a monthly donation for the needy, and also teach your siblings and cousins the same thing. Spread the good word so that this becomes an ongoing noble deed, as inspired by Lord Krishna’s story. This way, some brother or sister is helped along the way.

 

If you got inspired in any other way by the mentioned Raksha Bandhan stories, then let us know. Also, do share with us any other story that your grandparents or parents have told you regarding this brother-sister bond. To know more about our Indian festivals and traditions, stay updated with us. 

 

Rakhi with chocolates

 

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