WHAT IS RAKHI?

Hinduism is a way of life. Utmost importance is given to every relationship.
One of the most important relationships is one of between a brother & sister. The eternal bond of the siblings is strengthened through the festival of Raksha Bandhan, or Rakhi for short.

Raksha bandhan 2021- 22 August, Sunday

What is the meaning of Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan?

“Raksha” in Sanskrit means “protection” & “Bandhan” means “to tie”. So Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi refers to a sacred piece of thread tied by the sisters on the brothers’ wrists.

What is the other name of Raksha Bandhan?

Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is known by different names in India:

  • South India:Upakarmam
  • West Ghats: Nariyal Purnima
  • Central India: Kajari Purnima
  • Odisha: Jhulan Purnima
  • West India: Pavitrapana

In which season Raksha Bandhan is celebrated?

The Festival of Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is usually celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Sravana, usually July/Aug.

How Rakhi is celebrated at home?

On this day, sisters tie rakhi on the right wrist of the brothers to protect them from all evil & pray for their long life. Rakhi is a colored thread usually decorated with beads & stones.

The right part of the body is believed to show us the right path. It has more ability to control the body & mind.
What do we say while tying Rakhi?
As the rakhi is tied, a sacred mantra is chanted:

Bhara mahiney Chaivi pakh
Shri Ram Chandraji the rakh

Throughout 24 hours & 12 months, may God look after you.
The sister then puts a red tikka on her brother’s forehead & places a sweet in his mouth. The brother then gives her a small monetary gift.
Rakhi thread is blessed with incredible protective powers and has extended beyond the original brother-sister bond.
It’s a very joyous occasion when all families get together to promote peace, harmony, love & care between all members as positive vibes & values are cultivated.
In medieval India, when women felt unsafe, they would tie a rakhi on men’s wrists regarding them as brothers. Priests tie rakhi around the wrists of the congregation. Today rakhis are tied around the wrists of soldiers.

Who started Raksha Bandhan during partition of Bengal?

In 1905, when the British Empire decided to divide the state of Bengal based on caste and religion, Rabindra Nath Tagore made arrangements for the celebration of Rakhi to strengthen the bond between Hindus and Muslims asking them to unite and fight against the British. According to him, the essence of Raksha Bandhan went beyond blood relations. It was more than a symbol of love between siblings. It was a celebration of humanity, responsibility, and fellow concern. 

What is the story behind Rakhi?

Yamaraja and Yamuna

Every shravan Purnima day, Yamaraja or the God of Death went to visit her sister, the Goddess of River Yamuna.
The Yamuna would tie a sacred thread on Yamaraja’s wrist. Yamaraj was so impressed by the beautiful gesture that he declared that every brother who promises to protect his sister on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan will stay immortal.

Shri Krishna and Draupadi

Once Lord Krishna’s finger got cut while he was flying a kite. it started to bleed.
When Draupadi saw his finger bleeding, she tore a small piece of cloth from her saree and tied it on Krishna’s finger.

Lord Krishna in turn promised to protect Draupadi thereafter, which was evident in the incident for him saving her pride during the attempted molestation by the Kauravas.

Ganesha and Santoshi

Once Lord Ganesha was celebrating the festival of Raksha Bandhan wherein his sister tied a sacred thread around his wrist for his protection. Seeing this, Lord Ganesha’s sons, Subh and Labh asked him for a sister so that they could also celebrate Raksha Bandhan. Later, Lord Ganesha fulfilled their wish by creating a daughter out of the fire, who came to be worshiped as Santoshi Ma.
In this era of technology, festivals have become digitalized too. Your brother or sister may be miles away but it’s possible to tie a rakhi & send customied rakhi gifts virtually with online platforms.
Rakhi is also celebrated by Sikhs, Jains & Buddhists.
You are supposed to wear a Rakhi until Krishna Janmashtmi which follows 8 days later. Rakhi is typically near full-moon, Janmashtmi is on amavasya. Krishna was born on the darkest night.

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