Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in India with the greatest vigor and enthusiasm. Most of us celebrate the joyous festival without knowing the history of Raksha Bandhan. There are many historical legends behind Rakhi Poornima. The story of Lord Krishna and Draupadi, King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi, Rani Karnawati, and Emperor Humayun talk about the historical significance of Raksha Bandhan. This article not only talks about the historical significance of the festival but also talks about the scientific and spiritual significance of Rakhsha Bandhan. Going by spirituality, tying the Rakhi thread signifies the vow of purity taken by all souls. The scientific significance explains why Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the day of Poornima or full moon in the month of Shravana. It also discussed why the tilak is applied on the forehead and how it is connected to the pineal gland or the third eye. Besides, this article also talks about how Rabindranath Tagore used the Raksha Bandhan ceremony as a symbol of unity and brotherhood between the Hindus and Muslims during the partition of Bengal. Read to know more.
Sublime celebration of the sibling bond
Rakhi is one of the important festivals and is celebrated with a lot of pomp and splendor. It is one of the important festivals which commemorates the love between brother and sister. The day of Raksha Bandhan has a lot of significance because it is on this day that a sister ties a thread on the hand of a brother and prays for his well-being, prosperity, and long life. In turn, the brother vows to protect her sister from all sorts of evil. Rakhi follows the lunar calendar and is celebrated on a full moon day of the lunar month, Shravan. The festival generally falls in the month of August every year. The festival of Rakhi is held according to the lunar calendar and is celebrated on a full moon day of Shravan, the lunar month.
History of Rakhi
The Story of Lord Krishna and Draupadi
Lord Krishna killed the devil King Shishupal in order to protect and ensure the Dharma on earth. In the battle, Lord Krishna's finger got injured and started bleeding. Draupadi noticed this and tore a piece of her saree and tied it around it to stop the bleeding. Her concern and love were recognized by Lord Krishna. She had a sisterly affection and compassion that touched him. He promised to be there for her and protect her from all the perils. Years later, when the Pandavas lost Draupadi to the Kauravas in the game of dice, Lord Krishna used his divine powers to save Draupadi’s honor and dignity during the time of ‘Vrastraharan’.
The Legend of King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi
The demon king Mahabali worshiped Lord Vishnu. Owing to his sincerity, faith, and devotion, he left his homeland in Vaikundam and took the oath to protect Bali. This agonized his wife, Goddess Lakshmi as she wished to stay with her husband. Taking up the disguise of a Brahmin woman, Lakshmi went to King Bali and sought refuge in the castle. On the day of Shravana Purnima, or full moon day, she tied a rakhi around King Bali's wrist. Later, Goddess Lakshmi revealed her true identity and the reason behind her visit. This left the king overwhelmed. Bali asked Lord Vishnu to go to Vaikuntam with his bride. Since then, inviting one's sister to tie an auspicious thread of Rakhi for Raksha Bandhan on Shravana Purnima has become customary.
The Vedic Saga
During the Vedic Period, on the day of 'Shravan Poornima,' the demons and the deities were engaged in a grim battle. The demons were in a strong position and the deities suffered losses. Indra, the king of deities, was worried about the outcome of the battle. His wife Indrani could not see his pain and prayed to god. Being a religious lady herself, she prepared a talisman and tied it around her right wrist of Indra. This talisman helped Indra win the battle. As the talisman had the power to protect it was called "Raksha Sutra" and the ceremony of tying it was called "Raksha Bandhan".
The Tale of Rani Karnawati and Emperor Humayun
The most well-known historical example is the tale of Rajputana Rani Karnavati and Mughal Emperor Humayun. Rajputs defended their Kingdom from Muslim invasion during the Middle Ages. Since then, the concept of Raksha Bandhan signified dedication and care for one's sister. The widowed queen of the Chittor king was known as Rani Karnawati. She came to the conclusion that she would not be able to defend her kingdom from the invasion of Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat. She sent a Rakhi thread to the Mughal Emperor Humayun. The Emperor was so moved by this gesture that he immediately led his men in that direction in order to save Chittor.
A festival is the best way to celebrate glorious heritage, culture, and traditions. India is a country of rich cultural heritage. Just like every other festival, Raksha Bandhan is not just about celebrations or merrymaking. It is a festival that is imbued with rich underlying significance that has a spiritual, scientific, and social context. Rakhi is not restricted to the love and warmth shared between siblings. It emphasizes nurturing purity in thought, soul, word, and deed. The spiritual, scientific, and social significance of Raksha Bandhan enables us to put things into perspective and understand the underlying meaning of the festival in depth.
Spiritual Significance of Rakhi
The spiritual significance of Raksha Bandhan is when one takes a sacred divine vow of purity with God, to live a life of purity in thoughts, words, and actions. This sacred thread called a rakhi is a gentle reminder to protect ourselves spiritually from the vices. It upholds the values of protection, establishes righteousness and destroys the evils of the society. Raksha Bandhan is an occasion which establishes 'Papa Todak, Punya Pradayak Parva'. It is the day which bestows boons and removes sins as mentioned in the ancient sprictures.
The Rakhi rituals signify the spiritualism that is intertwined with it. The ‘Tilak’ signifies soul consciousness which is a symbol of being victorious over body consciousness. Tying a Rakhi signifies the vow of purity taken by all souls. Even in the yesteryears, the rishis or gurus tied rakhi to the disciples who seeked their blessings and promised to guide them on the spiritual path. They also tied the sacred thread to themselves to safeguard them from all the potential dangers.
Scientific Significance of Rakhi
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in the month of Shrawan according to the Hindu calendar. It is also known to be the auspicious month of Lord Shiva. This festival is also known as Rakhi Poornima as it falls on the full moon day. This is the day the moon is in its full phase and brings the fluids on the earth into the mode of attraction. Just like the tides in the ocean, the fluids in our body also travel in the upward direction. This is the time when humans are prone to diseases like tension, high blood pressure, lack of sleep, and so on. Due to the health-related aspects and geographical factors, the concept of care and protection was introduced by our scholars and saints. Raksha Bandhan is the auspicious occasion when rakhi or the thread of protection is tied on the wrists of brothers. Rakhi threads are generally red, orange, or yellow in color and act as cure elements. Going to Colour Therapy, these colors have a close association with energy, digestion, pancreas, and upward movement of the fluids.
As we all know, rakhi is tied on the right wrist of the body. According to Hindu philosophy, it is tied to the right hand as every holy or auspicious work is done by the same hand. The wrist connects various parts of the body. High blood pressure is a common phenomenon during the Raksha Bandhan. Tying a thread on the wrist can control the flow of blood when a person has high blood pressure.
There is a scientific explanation behind applying the holy tika on the forehead. Just like Raksha Bandhan, tilak is applied on the forehead of the brothers on every occasion. Tilak is applied to the pineal gland of the forehead. Often known as the seat of the soul or the third eye, the pineal gland provides the body with energy and calmness. Applying tilak on the forehead stimulates the pineal gland.
Social Significance of Rakhi
Raksha Bandhan has played an instrumental role in bringing in a social change. The sentiments and emotions associated with this festival involve cultural and moral values. It upholds the universal spirit of brotherhood, harmony and peaceful coexistence. The festival of Rakhi got a new meaning with Rabindranath Tagore. He led a protest against the decision of British Viceroy Curzon to divide Bengal on religious grounds. He urged Hindus and Muslims to tie Rakhi on each other’s wrists to express harmony and solidarity among each other. The ceremony united the communities against the evil designs of the British rulers and started a rebellious movement. Today Rakhi is not restricted to sending rakhi threads to brothers and sisters. It is also the day to express love, harmony, and the true spirit of brotherhood among humans.
Even in today's scenario, Raksha Bandhan has a different perspective altogether. This is the day women tie rakhis on the wrists of the brothers while the brothers promise to protect and be there for their sisters. In a society which swears by the objectification of women, this auspicious festival teaches its men to be protectors, not perpetrators. It is a festival which not only celebrates the warmth of love between the siblings but also teaches men to look at the other women of the society just like sisters and protect their honour even if they are not related by blood. Besides, it also teaches its men and women to care, love, support and respect each other. Today, Rakhi is not restricted to sending rakhi threads to brothers and sisters. It is also the day to express love, harmony, and the true spirit of brotherhood and togetherness among humans.
The spirit of Rakhi lies in a never-ending bond that binds everybody irrespective of differences in terms of religion, caste, creed or reigion. The significance of the festival lies in its high emotional value. You can send online Rakhi to India and gifts to your siblings or the people who make a difference in your life to make them feel truly celebrated, loved and cared for.