History Of Rakhi FestivalThe festival of rakhi is popularly known as Raksha Bandhan across the country which is celebrated irrespective of caste and creed. The festival of rakhi falls in the lunar month of Shravana or in the month of August which is usually celebrated along with Avani Avittom another auspicious day for the people of South India. People of different states celebrate this festival in different names like Rakhi Poornima, Nariyal Poornima and Kajari Poornima. The word "Rakshabandhan" can be described as "Raksha" means protection and "Bandhan" means bond. Rakhi signifies the strong bond of love between a sister and brother which is supposed to be the best of noble emotions. Most of the Indian festivals are nothing but the essence of true relationships. On this day of rakhi the siblings pray for each other's well being and health. The name 'Raksha Bandhan' means protection of the noble bond between a brother and a sister.
Sisters Tie a Specail Silk Thread or a Holy Thread-On this special day sisters tie a special silk thread or a holy thread around the right wrist of their brothers and pray for their welfare and long life and the brothers in turn promise to take care of the sisters. This thread, which pulsates with sisterly love and sublime sentiments, is rightly called the Rakhi'.The rakhis are usually made of silk or gold or silver thread and designed very beautifully sometimes even studded with semi precious stones.Rakhis are also sometimes made with sacred rice and grass and it is tied following some traditional customs. However the word Rakshabandhan can be marked in general as a festival of making relationships stronger with a bond of affinity and love not only between brothers and sisters but also between friends and family members. But whereas in today's culture with more of nuclear family system the people really don't know how to celebrate or rather the significance of the festival. This way of bonding between people will definitely give a different outlook or recognition from others. The festival of rakhi also enhances a person's spiritual significance during which a brother promises to God that he is going to live a life of holiness in thoughts, words and actions.
Rakhi is a Bond of Protection- The rakhi is just not a silk a thread but it symbolizes that he must be out of the sins which generally a human commits in the way of materialism and thereby spiritually protecting himself. Thus by doing so his soul is purified to its original form and attain the status of peace and silence. It is believed that the whole process starts on the day of Shiva Rathri during which God is believed to incarnate on earth to destroy the evil. The brother defends the honour of his sister with his life and the sister shows respect in the form of worship. Thus Rakhi is a bond of protection. Nobel laureate Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore played a major role in promoting the festival of rakhi and thereby the feelings of harmony and dedication among all the members of the society and to guard everyone and live in peace. This festival is more like pledge taking for following factors like moral, cultural and spiritual values so that by practicing these values we will live in a more peaceful environment and in harmonious coexistence.
Raksha Bandhan is also Referred by other names like Vish Tarak
Raksha Bandhan is also referred by other names like Vish Tarak - the destroyer of venom, Punya Pradayak - the bestower of boons, and Pap Nashak - the destroyer of sins. This festival which is more between a sister and a brother now goes beyond it between other members of the family and even friends and neighbors for it takes the pledge of life-time practice of moral, cultural and spiritual values.Along with the tying of the sacred thread the sisters also apply tilak on the forehead of their brothers and do arati to the brothers and assures them a long life. The brother in turn returns some gifts to the sisters. Even before the sisters could tie the sacred thread on the brother's wrist the sisters tie the rakhi on the tulasi plant and then one on the peepal tree praying for the protection of the nature which is known as Vriksha Raksha Bandhan. Even now in many Hindu temples we can witness the site of the priests tying a sacred thread around the wrist of the devotees for this is generally said to protect from evil.
The Concept Behind Tying of the Kankana Bandhana- It is believed and said that even Yagnopaveetam which is a sacred thread worn across the chest and acts as a Raksha to the person who is wearing it and if he maintains its sanctity. The concept behind tying of the Kankana Bandhana at the time of wedding in a bride's and a groom's wrist also means the same or has the same significance which is for protection. It is not a must that rakhi has to be tied only between brothers and sisters for it can also be tied by a wife to the husband or by a disciple to the Guru. Also it doesn't mean that it should be tied only between blood relations but also a girl can adopt a boy as her brother and tie the rakhi for the main significance of raksha bandhan is to strengthen the bond of love, but also crosses the boundaries of the family. In modern days, rakhi is tied even between neighbors and friends which paves way for a harmonious social life and thereby making a person think beyond his or her family members as a single family which is known in Sanskrit as Vasudhaiva kutumbakam.
Modern day's Friendship Band is Something Similar to Rakhi
- The modern day's friendship band is something similar to rakhi or the extended custom of Raksha Bandhan. When a girl develops a strong love on a boy and if she finds it to difficult to say no to this relationship she simply sends and a Rakhi to that concerned boy and turns the relationship into a sisterly one and thereby not hurting others' feelings. Thus raksha bandhan signifies the unmatched bond of love, care and respect and when seen in a broader angle this festival signifies the essential thought of the universal brotherhood and sisterhood. The message conveyed through this festival is that the socio- spiritual significance underscoring the need for nurturing of positive qualities, purity in thought, word and deed.There is a note of mention about the tying of sacred thread in a scripture which states that 'Papa Todak, Punya Pradayak Parva' or the day that bestows boons and ends all sins. This day of emotional exchange between the loved ones is celebrated in different parts of the world in different ways. In some parts of the country the people follow the custom of drawing figures on the walls of their home and worship them with offerings of vermilion and kheer.
The Story of Baleva- Apart from figures they also make the imprints of the palm on both the sides of the entrance and then stick rakhi on the wall as a part of raki custom. Whereas in Brahmin community this is also the day of sacred thread changing ceremony where they discared the old thread and after performance of various pujas and rituals the new thread is worn. All said and done it is emotions which play a major role on this day denoting the everlasting bond between brothers and sisters that reinforces ties between them even across continents, and it is the one which has the most importance on this auspicious day.There are various legends and myths associated with the practicing of tying rakhi on the day of raksha bandhan. The story of Baleva and his devotion to the Lord also relates to raksha bandhan. Just as the great King Bali who offered all that he had including his life and his kingdom, devotees should endeavor to emulate him. That is the true spirit of Baleva.
There are Lot of Reerences about the Sacred Thread
There are lot of reerences about the sacred thread tying which has played a major role in the political ties among kingdoms and princely states. The Indian History talks about the exchange of rakhis and gifts between the Rajput and Maratha queens to the Mughal Kings in spite of their differences which palliated Rakhi-sisters by offering help and protection at critical moments and honored the fraternal bond.
Lot of matrimonial alliances are also made in history by the exchange of rakhis.History says that the wife of Alexander the Great has approached the great Hindu King Porus and tied a rakhi on his hand before the battle between her husband Alexander and Porus and because of this the latter had to refrain himself from striking Alexander the great.