Raksha Bandhan a Festival to share love with everyone as everyone is our brother and sister – Vasudeva Kutumbakam
Pundit Roshan Singh
Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival that is celebrated every year on the full moon day of the Hindu lunar month of Shravana. It is a day that is dedicated to the bond of love and protection between brothers and sisters, and it is celebrated by millions of people all over India. There are many legends and stories of Raksha Bandhan’s celebration, and the exact origins of the festival are unclear. However, some of the most popular and well-known stories of Raksha Bandhan are discussed below.
On this sacred and beautiful day of Raksha Bandhan – a wondrous Festival of Love, Affection and Protection – we wanted to share with you a profound and evocative Blessings on this very special day. A blessing that defines Raksha Bandhan better than we ever could.
“The holiday of Raksha Bandhan, or Rakhi, is a celebration of the bond of love and the bond of family. On this day, sisters tie sacred threads around their brothers’ wrists, symbolizing their love and affection. In return, the brother promises to protect his sister and to always be there for her. Raksha means protection or security and bandhan means a bond or relation. Thus, Raksha Bandhan symbolizes the bond of security and protection between brothers and sisters.
“However, on Rakhi, the brothers and sisters do not have to be blood relatives. That is the beauty of Indian culture. Our tradition tells us that the world is our brother and sister. On this day of Raksha Bandhan, a girl can tie a rakhi on the wrist of any boy or man to whom she feels a close bond. Then, from that day forth, they will call each other “sister” and “brother.” In this way, relationships are strengthened, solidified and purified. The tradition of Raksha Bandhan symbolizes and underscores the way Indians live together as brother and sister — relationships filled with love, devotion and affection, but devoid of lust, attraction or violence.
On this holy day of Raksha Bandhan there is so much to learn, so many vows to make. First, there are the ancient, traditional meanings, whereby girls and women remember their brothers – far and near – with love and affection. In exchange, all men and boys promise to protect their sisters – both against physical harm, and also against dishonor to their name or to their family. These are as crucial today as they were in the past.
May our girls and women lead the way toward this universal family as they tie rakhi bracelets on the wrists of not only their closest male friends, but also on the wrists of brothers and sisters of all faiths and all walks of life. Let us use this holiday to reach out to those around us, embracing them as brother and sister.
However, perhaps even more importantly, we must realize that the only way the world will survive is united as one family. Thus, now, we must also take the deeper, underlying meaning of Rakhi. We must vow to make the world our brothers and sisters – not only in theory, but also in practice. Let us use rakhi as a symbol of our universal brotherhood. May our girls and women lead the way toward this universal family as they tie rakhi bracelets on the wrists of not only their closest male relatives, friends, but also on the wrists of brothers and sisters of all faiths and all walks of life. Let us use this holiday to reach out to those around us, embracing them as one family.
On this sacred day of Rakhi, let us vow to offer our protection to every mother cow whose baby is turned into beef, to every mother hen whose beak and toes are cut off and who is starved and deprived of water so that she will lay eggs quicker, to every chicken who is hung upside down on a sharp hook and de-skinned while frequently still living. Let us see these animals as our dear sisters who need and deserve our protection.
Let us also vow to protect our sacred rivers, Mother Earth and Mother Nature, just as we would our own family, as without them there is no life. I often say there is a plan A, plan B but there is no planet B- we have only one planet and we have to protect, preserve and serve it. Just as we tie the sacred rakhi on our brothers let us come together as families to tie a sacred rakhi or kalava on our trees and pledge to protect all of Mother Nature for they offer us divine protection through the clean air, water and soil they provide us.
Last and most importantly, let us offer the rakhi of our heart to the Lord. For He is our true brother, our true sister, our true protector. It is to Him that we want to be eternally tied. The divine rakhi that you offer to the Lord will never become untied, never become faded and will never break. He will forever protect you, forever be with you and forever love you.”
The following are some legends that have brought about the festival of Rakhi.
1. The Legend Of Krishna and Subhadra
One popular legend associated with Raksha Bandhan tells the story of how Lord Krishna was saved from death by his sister, Subhadra. According to the legend, Krishna was once playing with his friends in the forest, when a venomous snake bit him.
Subhadra, who was nearby, saw what had happened and quickly tied a thread around Krishna’s wrist to keep the poison from spreading. The thread, known as a rakhi, protected Krishna and saved his life.
To honor her for her bravery and selflessness, Krishna promised to protect Subhadra and her family for all time. From that day on, the tradition of Raksha Bandhan was born, and brothers and sisters began to exchange rakhis as a symbol of their love and protection for each other.
2. The Legend Of Laxmi and Vishnu
Another legend associated with Raksha Bandhan tells the story of how Mother Laxmi was saved from the demon king, Bali. According to the legend, Bali had captured Laxmi and was holding her captive in his palace.
But Bhagvan Vishnu, came to her rescue and challenged Bali to a duel. In order to gain an advantage, Laxmi tied a rakhi around Lord Vishnu’s wrist, giving him the strength and power he needed to defeat Bali.
Vishnu was grateful to Laxmi for her help, and he promised to protect her and her family for all time. From that day on, the tradition of Raksha Bandhan was celebrated as a way to honor the bond of love and protection between brothers and sisters.
3. The Legend Of King Porus & Alexander the Great
Another legend associated with Raksha Bandhan tells the story of how the Indian king, Porus, was saved from death by his sister, who tied a rakhi around his wrist. According to the legend, Porus was once engaged in a fierce battle with the Greek conqueror, Alexander the Great.
Despite being outnumbered and outmatched, Porus fought bravely and fiercely, but he was eventually wounded and captured by Alexander. As he lay on the battlefield, Porus’s sister rushed to his side and tied a rakhi around his wrist, offering him her love and protection.
The rakhi gave Porus the strength and courage he needed to continue fighting, and he eventually defeated Alexander and emerged victorious. In recognition of her bravery and loyalty, Porus promised to protect his sister and her family for all time.
Overall, there are many different legends and stories of Raksha Bandhan. However, the underlying message of all these stories is the same: that the bond between brothers and sisters is one of the strongest and most enduring bonds in the world, and that it is a bond that is worth celebrating and honoring.
With love and blessings, today and always,
In the service of God and humanity,
Pundit Roshan Singh