Pooja Lal

The kahanis behind Rakhi!

Posted by Pooja Lal on at

History, Myths, Legends & the Origin Of Rakhi

Rakhi the sacred thread that a sister ties on her brother’s hand for everlasting protection has lots of ancient legends, symbolism and history attached to it. In the beginning, Lord Ganesh’s sister wanted to tie a rakhi on Lord Ganesha’s wrist.  When at last, Lord Ganesh conceded to her demand; Santoshi Ma (the Mother Goddess of Satisfaction) was created by divine flames that emerged from Riddhi and Siddhi.

When Lord Krishna was waging war against king Shishupala, it was Draupadi wife of the Pandavas who tied a piece of sari to stem the bleeding from Lord Krishna’s injured wrist. So touched was he by this action that he granted her his everlasting protection. He later honored his promise of protection by extending her sari when the Kauravas were trying to remove it. This was on the full moon (purnima) in the month of Shravan. This may have set precedent for the exact date. Another tale says that it was Goddess Yamuna who tied the Rakhi around her brother Lord Yama and prayed for his immortality. This reconfirms the mythological date of Shravan Purnima as RakshaBandhan and explains why sisters pray for their brother’s immortality.

An interesting story from the legends tells us of a time when demon King Bali; after his pious prayers to Lord Vishnu, demanded the Kingdom of Heaven as a boon. Instead, Lord Vishnu went in disguise of Brahmin to get charity from King Bali and asked for three foot of land. He was granted his wish; with his first foot Lord Vishnu covered the Heavens, his second foot the Earth, leaving no space for the third. King Bali asked the third foot to be kept on his (Bali’s) head. This sent Bali straight to heaven! As return gift, King Bali asked to be in Lord Vishnu’s presence forever. Lord Vishnu thus became King Bali’s doorman. Goddess Lakshmi became the rescuer by tying a Rakhi made of yellow threads to King Bali, and in return freeing Lord Vishnu, and perhaps denoting( or promoting) the yellow colored Rakhi’s origins.

Historically, it is said that when Roxanne, wife of King Alexander the Great came to know about King Porus’s mighty army with elephants and crossbows; she feared for his life. So she sent a rakhi across to King Porus, praying for Alexander’s safety! King Porus not only spared Alexander’s life but gave him back his kingdom. This was in 326 BC!  More in recent times, Maharani Karnavati of Chittor sent a Rakhi to Emperor Humayun in 1535 AD to seek his protection from the invading hordes of King Bahadur Shah. Although Emperor Humayun set off immediately, he was too late to save the Rani. He redeemed his promise by restoring the kingdom back to her son, King Vikramjit Singh. Much later, Rabindranath Tagore turned this festival into a celebration of mankind and humanity in order to promote harmony.

So, as the stories and traditions on RakshaBandhan spread across the continent, in Rajasthan, Ram Rakhi is tied to God while Chuda Rakhi is tied to the bangles of the sister in laws. In Uttarakhand, RakshaBandhan is known as Shravani. In parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Goa this day is celebrated as Narali Purnima, while down in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Odisha, this is the day when the Brahmin community performs the rituals of Avani Avittam or Upakarma. The major things common between all types of RakshaBandhan celebrations is feasting, amidst exchange of rakhi gifts.

 

Sometime back, as brothers and sisters went about to different states and far off places, purchasing gifts and parceling them was a tiresome process when sending rakhi gifts to India, thankfully, e commerce has made it so simple.  If you want to send rakhi gifts to sisters and brothers living anywhere across India check out our range of gift vouchers at www.delightgifts.in and place your order. These gift certificates promise to keep them delighted! Type in RAKHI2013 to avail of discount!