The Origins and Practices of Raksha Bandhan

Rakhis have an ancient origin. This festival originated centuries ago, and the practice of Raksha Bandhan links to many mythological stories of the Hindu religion.

In the mythology of Hindu gods, the legends run the tale of Lord Indra, the supreme deity of sky, rain, and thunder, who was losing against the demon king Bali in a fierce long-drawn battle between the gods and the demons. Lord Indra’s wife, Sachi, was given a sacred bracelet made of cotton threads by Lord Vishnu. Sachi tied this thread on Lord Indra’s wrist for luck and protection against evil. The war soon came to an end, with the Gods emerging victorious.

Other mythical stories tell how Goddess Laksmi freed her husband, Lord Vishnu, from the demon King Bali, by tying a rakhi on Bali and making him her brother. As the rakhi gift, Lakshmi requested Bali for her husband to be freed.

There are many more mentions of rakhi in mythology that include Lord Ganesha creating his daughter, Santoshi maa, from his divine flames on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, when his two other sons were upset and complained because they had no sisters. Another famous story is Yama, the dead god, and Yamuna, his mortal twin sister. Yama honored Yamuna’s desire to never part from her brother by turning her into an immortal so that the Yamuna could always meet Yama.

There have been historical references to rakhi in Indian history. Like when Emperor Humayun came to Karnavati’s help and protection against Bahadur Shah, when the Queen of Chittor sent a rakhi to the courts of Emperor Humayun requesting aid.

Since the Vedic ages, and as some even argue about its history being originated even years before, Rakhi has been of huge cultural and religious importance.

Raksha Bandhan is the day of love, warding off evils, protection, and devotion. It symbolizes love between brothers and sisters, or between a mother and her sons, or a husband and wife. Rakhis bring out the spiritual significance of tying a bond of love, respect, and protection.

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