Raksha Bandhan is widely celebrated every year on Shravan Poornima (full moon day of Savan month in Hindu Calendar). This festival is a mark of unity not only between siblings but for the whole society. Celebrated in various foreign lands, there are many unknown historical facts associated with this festival.
Strangely, some vivid interpretations can also be seen in the present. One such is an NGO Hriday that celebrates Raksha Bandhan in a unique way. They promote men to tie rakhis on women seeking protection from the ‘misuse’ of section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.
1. Lord Krishna and Draupadi
A beautiful episode of brother-sister love is highlighted in Mahabharat. When Lord Krishna killed King Shishupal with his Sudarshan Chakra, his index finger got hurt. Seeing his bleeding finger, Draupadi tore a strip of her saree and tied around his injured finger to stop the bleeding. Lord Krishna valued her concern and affection. He felt bound Draupadi’s sisterly love & compassion. He pledged to repay the debt of gratitude in future.
After many years, Pandavas lost their wife Draupadi in the game of dice to Kauravas. It was at the time of Draupadi’s cheerharan that Lord Krishna protected her dignity providing extra unending saree in return of her torn saree strip.
2. King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi
The demon king Mahabali (Grandson of King Prehalad) was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu. He was a great donator, but after completion of 100 Yags, he aspired to overtake Swarga’s throne. Lord Indra headed towards Lord Vishnu seeking his help. Lord Vishnu then took the Vaman Avatar (Brahmin) and asked Mahabali to grant him 3 feet land. In return Mahabali asked Lord Vishnu to remain in front of his eyes all the time leaving his dwelling place Vaikund Dhaam. Hearing this, Goddess Lakshmi got tensed and went to Mahabali as a Brahmin woman and took refuge in his castle. She tied rakhi on King Bali’s wrist on the full moon day. Later Goddess Lakshmi revealed who she was actually and why she had come. The king was moved her and Lord Vishnu’s good will and affection for him & his family. Bali requested Lord Vishnu to accompany his wife to Vaikund Dhaam.
3. Rani Karnawati and Emperor Humayun
The story of Rajputana Rani Karnavati and Mughal Emperor Humayun is the most popular evidence in the history when Rajputs were fighting against Muslim invasion. Rani Karnawati was the widowed queen of the King of Chittor. She realised that she was unable to protect her Kingdom from the invasion of the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah. She then sent a Rakhi thread to Mughal Emperor Humayun. The Emperor was overwhelmed the gesture and started off towards Chittor with his troops without wasting time. Though Rani had performed Johar the time Humayun reached Chittor, he fought against Bahadur Shah and took over the kingdom to give it to Rani’s son.
4. Alexander the Great and King Puru
One of the oldest references dates back to 300 B.C. when Alexander invaded India. The King of Macedonia realized the fury of Indian King Puru in his first attempt of defense. Realizing the upcoming danger, Alexander’s wife (who was aware of the festival of Rakhi) approached King Puru. Puru, who accepted her as his Rakhi sister, promised her not to kill Alexander.
5. Rabindranath Tagore and Rakhi
Not many people are aware of this fact when famous poet and freedom fighter Rabindranath Tagore used Rakhi as a social device to strengthen the bond between Hindus and Muslims during the freedom struggle.