India is known for its festivals and their grandeur celebrations. Every occasion includes an offering to a God or Goddess. But Raksha Bandhan is the only festival in India when a sister lights a lamp in her brother’s name to ward off evil from his life. In return, the brother vows to protect her for life. Do you ever wonder, why a sister ties a rakhi on her brother’s hand, and not anyone else’s? Why can’t a girl worship the Lord and seek protection?
Well, we came across a few stories that enlighten us about this tradition.
Lord Krishna and Draupadi
We have to turn back some pages in time to know about the inception of Raksha Bandhan. Once upon a time, when Lord Krishna was relishing some sugarcane with his wives Rukmini and Satyabhama. While doing so, he hurt his little finger. Both the women ran to find a cloth to cover his wound when they saw him bleed profusely. Draupadi, who was also present there, tore her sari and tied it on Krishna’s finger.
Overwhelmed by her act of kindness, Krishna accepted Draupadi as his sister. He vowed to protect her for eternity. Further, in their lives, we come across an incident when Draupadi is stripped in a courtroom. Not failing on his promise, Krishna performs a miracle to protect his sister. The more they pulled her sari, the lengthier it grew. The sinful men weren’t successful in their intention owing to Krishna’s brotherhood and responsibility towards his sister, Draupadi.
This is how Raksha Bandhan became a festival for every brother-sister relationship. To represent Draupadi’s sari that she tied on Krishna’s bleeding finger, sisters now tie a rakhi on their brothers’ hands. The brother blesses his sister with the promise to protect her (and also gifts her on this day).
Raksha Bandhan beyond all Religions
Now that we know how this festival began, take a look at this example that depicts how Raksha Bandhan crossed religious boundaries.
The Indian history narrates another story of Queen Karnavati and Humanyun. Bahadur Shah attacked Queen Karnavati’s kingdom, Chittor. The queen was a widow during this time, and her region didn’t have a strong army to fight Bahadur Shah’s invasion. Undoubtedly, she didn’t want to give up her kingdom without a stern battle.
Queen Karnavati sent a rakhi to Humanyun, Mughal empire’s second and mighty emperor, and requested his help as a brother. Humanyun, even though a Muslim ruler, did not hesitate to maintain the honour and importance of a rakhi. He advanced to Chittor immediately with his army to rescue his sister’s kingdom from the attack.
Sadly, he couldn’t make it on time since commutation was a time-taking process in the yesteryears, especially, with a full army. Queen Karnavati had no choice, but to end her life by burning herself. This practice is called Jauhar, wherein, a large group of women would surrender their lives to fire than falling in the hands of outsider men.
Saddened by Queen Karnavati’s demise, Humayun attacked Bahadur Shah and won the kingdom of Chittor in a battle. Consequently, he handed over the region to Queen Karnavati’s son, Vikramjit Singh.
This touching story depicts the essence of Raksha Bandhan and the significance of a rakhi. Dig deeper, and we can find a lot more stories about brothers who sacrificed their lives for their sisters.
Raksha Bandhan Message
Today, when your sister ties you a rakhi, vow to protect her in every possible way. Stand to shield and respect all the females around you. A brother’s duty doesn’t end with giving your sister a gift on this day. Love her with all your heart. Be there for her whenever she needs you, and guard her like an angel. That said, every other female around you is someone else’s sister. SHE is your responsibility too!
Wishing you a very Happy Raksha Bandhan.
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Rajesh Kumar is the co-founder and author of the e-magazine Love Smitten. He is the author of the fiction novel The Love Victim.