Saturday, August 1, 2020

Rakshabandhan-The festival of brother and sister



Rakshabandhan-The festival of brother and sister

How Raksha Bandhan festival started

Historical and mythological significance behind Raksha Bandhan Festival

Many festivals are celebrated in India. Each festival is related to different occasions like some festivals are based on seasons, crops harvesting, some depending on the rainy season or full moon. These festivals allow us to live together and embrace and express those moments of love and appreciation for each other.  This festival plays an important role in developing positive values ​​in our society. India is full of attributes like enthusiasm, love, appreciation, tradition etc. due to innumerable festivals.  One such festival is Raksha Bandhan.  This festival is a famous festival of brother-sister relationship.  Raksha Bandhan literally means the bond of protection and love. There are many stories and folklore related to this holy festival such as the historical story of Queen Karnavati of Mewar, Rajasthan, which we will discuss further in our post.

This sacred festival is celebrated on the last day of Shravan month in full moon day according to Hindu calendar.  This date usually falls in the month of August.  As the name itself suggests, the meaning of the name "Raksha Bandhan" lies in its name itself which means "bond of safety and care".

We fight with them, no matter how much they fight, but in the end, any valuable thing in the world is useless in front of the love we love them .... This says the heart of every sister for her brother. Sister-brother love does not diminish even from childhood to growing up and later when the sister separates after marriage.  A sister's love is such that even if her brother does not listen to her, she will want to her last breath that her brother will always be happy.
The festival of Rakshabandhan symbolizes the sacred love of brother and sister.  On this day, the sister ties rakhi with love to her brother and makes many wishes for him.  The brother gives gift to his sister as much as possible. The memory of a childhood gone by starts dancing in front of the eyes of brothers and sisters.  Indeed, the festival of Rakshabandhan reminds every brother of his duty towards his sister.
The festival of Rakshabandhan is a sign of unwavering love of brother and sister, which has been celebrated for years.  This festival, which maintains the faith of siblings, is celebrated on the full moon day of Shravan month.  Both brothers and sisters are eagerly waiting for this festival. Many brothers go to their sisters who are staying away to get Rakhi tied, while some sisters also come to tie Rakhi to their brothers.  While tying the rakhi, the sisters wish for the brother's long life and healthy life, and the brothers give her gifts and vow to protect her.
But there is a different tradition in many places.  In many places, daughters also tie rakhis their father or family elders, Brahmins and Gurus.  The basic feeling behind tying rakhi is assurance of love and protection.  The girls tie rakhi to their brother and father for this reason.

 But there are many stories behind why it is celebrated.

** Goddess Lakshmi celebrated Rakshabandhan festival to get Vishnu **

The first story is related to Lord Vishnu, according to which the fear of the gods increased when King Bali completed 110 yajnas.  They started to fear that with the power of yajnas, King Bali would also capture the heaven, so all the gods reached Lord Vishnu with a request to protect the heaven.
After which Vishnu, taking a Brahmin form appeared in front of King Bali and asked for alms.  In alms, the king promised to give him three steps of land.  But then Shree Shukracharya , the Guru of Bali, recognized Vishnu holding the Brahmin form and cautioned Bali about it but the king did not turn away from his word and donated three steps of land. During this time, Vishnu measured the heaven in one step and the earth in the second step in the form of Vamana.  Now it was the turn of the third step, but where should he put it?  On seeing the third step of Vamana moving, the king got upset, he could not understand what to do now and then he went ahead and put his head at the feet of Vaman Dev and said that you may put the third step here. In this way the king's right to live in heaven and earth was taken away and he was forced to live in the abyss.  It is said that when Bali went into the abyss, then with his effect of devotion, Bali took the promise of God being in front of him night and day and Lord Vishnu had to become his gatekeeper.  Due to this, mother Lakshmi, who was the ardhangini(Wife) of Vishnu, got upset.
Troubled by God's abyss residence, Lakshmi thought that what would happen to the Baikuntha loka if Swami(Lord) would reside as a gatekeeper in the abyss?  Narada suggested a solution to Lakshmi to solve this problem. Narada Muni suggested her to tie rakshasutra to Raja Bali as his brother and ask for Lord Vishnu as a gift. Goddess Lakshmi reached Patal Lok in disguise as a poor woman and tied rakshashutra to Raja Bali's wrist as suggested by Narada.
Then King Bali said, "I have nothing to give you."
 Then Goddess Lakshmi came in her real form and said, "You have Lord Vishnu.  I want the same. "
Lakshmi went to King Bali and tied rakhi and made him her brother.
King Bali allowed Lord Vishnu to accompany Goddess Lakshmi and maa Lakshmi brought her husband Lord Vishnu with her as a gift.While leaving, Lord Vishnu granted a boon to King Bali that he would reside in Patala loka for four months every year.  This four month is known as Chartumas which ranges from Devshayani Ekadashi to Devauthani Ekadashi. That day was the full moon day of Shravan, Raksha Bandhan started to be celebrated from that day itself.  Even today, Rakshabandhan is celebrated in many places as the basis of this story.

** Stories related to Raksha Bandhan related to Yama and Yamuna. **

According to the story of  mythological history, Yamraj, who we also know as the God of Death.  His sister was Yamuna ji. Yamraj ji used to be so busy with his work that once he did not come to meet her for the whole 12 years.Yamuna told Mother Ganga her problem, then  mother Ganga told Yamraj, why don't you meet your sister, she has been waiting for you for the whole 12 years and not once did you go to meet her.
Yamraj apologized for his mistake and said, "Okay, I go to Yamuna".  Yamraj went to Yamuna's house and asked for his sister's care. Yamuna made many dishes for her brother and for this greeting love of Yamuna, Yamraj ji asked, sister "What do you want to me ?"  I want to give you a boon.
On this, the sister told her Yamraj brother that brother, all I need is that you keep coming to my house again and again.
Yamraj ji, seeing his sister's love and loyalty, gave her the boon of becoming long life.  Since then, the festival of Rakshabandhan, the festival of brother and sister's love, is celebrated.

**Should husbands also tie Rakhi by wife on Rakshabandhan **

The festival of Rakshabandhan is generally considered a symbol of affection between brothers and sisters. But you will be surprised to know that this festival is not only about affection between brothers and sisters, but also related to husband-wife relationship and their well being. Perhaps you too have been surprised to hear this, so today I will tell you, what is the reason for this.The Bhavishypurana mentions a surprising story in this context. In the Satyuga there was an asura named Vritrasura who defeated the gods and captured heaven. It was a boon that there would be no effect on him any weapon made till that time. Due to which the Gods were facing defeat. After this, at the insistence of the gods, Maharishi Dadhichi gave up his body and Indra made weapons from his bones.
Devraj Indra met Guru Brihaspati before going to war with this weapon and said, 'I am going to battle Vritrasur for the last time. In this war, either I will be victorious or I will return only after attaining death in battle . Hearing this, his wife Shachi became worried after listening to her husband's words and tied a rakshashutra to Devraj Indra's wrist, after which Indra won this battle. It is clear that Shravan Purnima i.e. Rakshabandhan Rakshasutra can protect to husband and well being. Let us tell you that according to tradition, Purohit,Brahmin,Pandit also tie Rakshasutra.

**Krishna and Draupadi - A Sacred Relationship**

This story of Mahabharata about Rakshabandhan is very interesting.

Draupadi was the wife of the five Pandavas.  Sri Krishna was his friend and guru.  Once during Yudhishthira's Rajasuya Yajna, Shishupala, son of Shri Krishna's aunt started insulting Krishna and many others including Bhishma in assembly full of great kings and emperors. When he did not keep quiet even after refusing Shishupala, Sri Krishna eventually killed him with his Sudarshan Chakra.  However, while doing so, his finger got hurt and started bleeding. Seeing this, Draupadi quickly tore a part of her sari and tied it on Krishna's finger.  Seeing this, Shri Krishna was overwhelmed and told Draupadi that it is her debt on me and whenever she calls him, he will come to protect her. Shortly after some year , the Pandavas suffered a great defeat and humiliation at the hands of their cousins, the Kauravas, in the game of gambling . They lost everything including his kingdom by Duryodhana. On Duryodhana's orders, his brother Dusshasan forced Draupadi into the court and tried to undress her.  Draupadi, weeping with humiliation and shame, remembered Sri Krishna and to his miracle something happened that Dushasan kept pulling the sari but that had become a never ending garment. In this way, Draupadi was survived to undressing.  According to his promise, Shri Krishna protected Draupadi, and kept her shame.  Draupadi tied the piece of her sari on Krishna's finger, it was her rakhi.
The mythological history of Raksha Bandhan tells the story of Krishna and Draupadi that it is perhaps the most popular folklore in Hindu culture behind this festival.
Once during the care of the sugarcane, Lord Krishna's finger was cut off, which caused a lot of bleeding.  Seeing this scene, Rani Rukmani immediately sent someone to tie the bandage. Meanwhile Draupadi was with him, after this Draupadi cut a cloth and tied it on Krishna's bleeding finger, after which the blood stopped flowing.  After this, Lord Krishna blessed, pledged to protect her whenever needed, and once the non-cooperation incident with Draupadi was happening, it was Krishna who helped save his honor.

**Importance of Rakshasutra - Yudhishthira tied Rakhi to his soldiers.**

 It is about the time when the war of Mahabharata was going on.  Then Yudhishthira once asked Lord Krishna - "O Madhusudan!  Is there any way to ensure our victory? "
Then Lord Krishna said - “O Kunti son Yudhishthira!  You should tir rakshashutra to all your soldiers, victory will be yours. ”  Then Yudhishthira did the same and emerged victorious. "
The day Yudhishthira tied the Rakshasutra to his soldiers was also the day of Shravan Purnima.  Therefore, a rakhi is also tied to soldiers on this day.

**Story on Rakshabandhan related to Santoshi Maa**


Lord Ganesha had two sons, Shubh and Laabh ..

These two brothers used to suffer the desire of a sister.  Both Shubh and Laabh expressed their wish in front of Lord Ganesha and said, O God, please show your's kindness to us and we wish a sister, please give us a sister. Sages-Saints and Narada ji also asked Ganesha to produced a daughter.  Ganesh ji  thought and Ganesh ji expressed the wish of a daughter to his two wives Mata Riddhi-Siddhi.

Mother Riddhi Siddhi then gave birth to a daughter with her power.  Her name is Mother Santoshi.  Mother Santoshi listens to all the devotees, she is born for human welfare. With the apperance of mother Santoshi, both Shubha and Laabh got a sister from whom they completed the festival of Rakshabandhan and even today, the worship of mother Santoshi ji is done all over India .

**Story of Mewar's Rani Karnavati and Humayun**



 Among the many stories of Raksha Bandhan, the story of Rani Karnavati and king Humayun is also prevalent, which gets our attention the most, perhaps because of its historical significance.  Maharani Karnavati was the queen of the princely state of Mewar, after the death of  Rana Sanga, she was appointed to perform the duties of administration.  Maharani Karnavati was ruling in the name of her elder son - Vikramjit.  After this, when Bahadur Shah attacked Mewar for the second time, Rani Karnavati lost her everything and went to other rulers for the protection and support of her subjects. When the queen saw no choice, she sent a message to Humayun.  Rani Karnavati considered Humayun as her brother.  So to deal with this problem, Rani sent a rakhi along with the message to Humayun, in this message she requested for help. But the Mughal king himself was stranded in the midst of a military campaign in Bengal, so unfortunately this message reached him late as if he got this message from the queen, he assured that he would reach there on time to help her. But unfortunately, he could not reach on time and by the time the army arrived, there was victory of Bahadur Shah and queen finished her life jump into the fire. However, it is interesting to know that Himayun's father Babur once defeated her husband Rana Sanga when he led a confederation of Rajput armies in the year 1527.

**Alexander the ruler of Greece and Rakhi**

These two brothers used to suffer the desire of a sister.  Both Shubh and Laabh expressed their wish in front of Lord Ganesha and said, O God, please show your's kindness to us and we wish a sister, please give us a sister. Sages-Saints and Narada ji also asked Ganesha to produced a daughter.  Ganesh ji  thought and Ganesh ji expressed the wish of a daughter to his two wives Mata Riddhi-Siddhi.

Mother Riddhi Siddhi then gave birth to a daughter with her power.  Her name is Mother Santoshi.  Mother Santoshi listens to all the devotees, she is born for human welfare. With the apperance of mother Santoshi, both Shubha and Laabh got a sister from whom they completed the festival of Rakshabandhan and even today, the worship of mother Santoshi ji is done all over India .

**Ravindranath Tagore gave new meaning to Rakhi**

The great poet and Nobel Laureate Ravindranath Tagore gave a new meaning to this festival of Rakhi.  He believed that Rakhi is not only a festival of brother-sister relationships, but it is a festival of humanity.  During the partition of Bengal, Vindranath Tagore had organized Rakshabandhan to increase the feeling of brotherhood between Hindus and Muslims. Ravindranath Tagore encouraged Hindus and Muslims to tie rakhi to each other.  So that peace remains.  He organized a public awareness on this festival to protest against the partition of Bengal and made this festival a symbol of unity and brotherhood.  In the Indian freedom struggle of 1947, this festival was also taken for public awakening. From this perspective, in a sense it has become our national festival.

**Story of Chandrashekhar Azad**

The struggle for independence was going on all over India.  The British were behind Chandrasekhar.  Chandrashekhar Azad was looking for a place to escape from the British.  He then reached a house where a widow lived with her daughter.  Chandrashekhar Azad was strong & healthy with his body.
Seeing him, the widow woman felt that any robber had arrived.  Thinking the same, the widow refused to give him a place.  When the woman came to know during the conversation that he was Chandrashekhar Azad, the widowed woman respectfully gave him a place in her house.  Chandrashekhar Azad while living there realized that the widow's daughter could not get married due to poverty.
Then Chandrashekhar Azad said to the woman, “The British have placed a reward of five thousand rupees on me.  You can get those rupees by giving my information and marry your daughter. "

Hearing this, the widow wept and she told to Azad,

Brother!  You are always ready to sacrifice own life for the freedom of the country, and do not know how many daughters have respect for you. ”
Saying this, the woman tied the thread on the wrist of Chandrashekhar Azad and get promised to serve the country.  When the widowed woman woke up in the morning last night, she got five thousand rupees under her pillow.  A paper was placed on it, on which it was written: - "A small gift for my dear sister - Azad."
Raksha Bandhan festival is a part of the tradition of thousands of years in Indian society.  While many mythological stories are prevalent behind this festival, on the other hand there is a feeling of love, trust and protection between brother and sister. This festival is the most beautiful symbol of the sanctity of relationships in the Indian tradition.  This festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Shravan to build the trust of brothers and sisters in the families.  On this day, every year the sister ties a rakhi to the brother's wrist and brother pledges to protect the sister. In fact, our ancestors have organized many festivals in Indian civilization to preserve the sanctity of relationships and to increase mutual goodwill and love among family members.
These festivals have kept alive the dignity and moral obligation between human relations within Indian society and tradition till date.  The society has been living a dignity tied in these festivals of blood relations.  The importance of festivals like Rakshabandhan has been the balance between nature and society.

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