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Raksha Bandhan in Mythology: From Krishna and Draupadi to King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi

Last updated :
July 3, 2024
/

minutes read

Raksha Bandhan is a festival that celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters, deeply rooted in Indian mythology. The festival is marked by the tying of a sacred thread, or rakhi, which symbolizes protection and love. Here are some of the most significant mythological stories that illustrate the origins and importance of Raksha Bandhan.

A sister tying a rakhi on her brother’s wrist celebrating Raksha Bandhan
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1. Krishna and Draupadi

One of the most well-known stories linked to Raksha Bandhan is from the epic Mahabharata. During a battle, Lord Krishna injured his finger, causing it to bleed. Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, immediately tore a piece of her saree and tied it around Krishna's finger to stop the bleeding. Touched by her gesture, Krishna vowed to protect her in times of need. This bond of protection is celebrated through Raksha Bandhan, symbolizing a brother's vow to safeguard his sister.

2. King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi

Another significant legend involves King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi. According to the Bhagavata Purana, Lord Vishnu defeated the demon king Bali and granted him a boon. Bali requested Vishnu to stay with him in his palace, to which Vishnu agreed. However, Vishnu's wife, Goddess Lakshmi, wanted her husband to return to Vaikuntha. She tied a rakhi on Bali's wrist, revealing her true identity and requesting him to release Vishnu. Touched by her plea, Bali agreed, and since then, Raksha Bandhan has been celebrated as a festival of protection and devotion.

3. Indra Dev and Sachi

The story of Indra Dev and his wife Sachi is one of the oldest legends tied to Raksha Bandhan. During a fierce battle between the gods (Devas) and the demons (Asuras), Sachi sought help from Lord Vishnu. Vishnu gave her a sacred thread, which she tied around Indra's wrist after performing a ritual. Empowered by this protection, Indra was able to defeat the demons and reclaim his kingdom. This tale underscores the protective power of the rakhi and the divine blessings it brings.

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4. Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun

In medieval India, the story of Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun is a historical testament to the bond of Raksha Bandhan. When Rani Karnavati of Mewar faced an invasion by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, she sent a rakhi to Mughal Emperor Humayun, seeking his protection. Humayun, despite being in the midst of a military campaign, abandoned his plans and rushed to her aid. Although he couldn't reach in time to save her, he later restored her kingdom to her son, showcasing the powerful bond symbolized by the rakhi.

5. Yama and Yamuna

Yama, the god of death, visiting his sister Yamuna, with Yamuna tying a rakhi on Yama’s wrist and an aura of divine protection surrounding them

According to another legend, the god of death, Yama, visited his sister, Yamuna, on Raksha Bandhan. Overwhelmed by her love and hospitality, Yama offered her a special gift in return. He declared that any brother who receives a Rakhi from his sister and promises to protect her shall be blessed with immortality. This story emphasizes the sacredness of the bond between siblings and the belief that the Rakhi thread has the power to protect and bring longevity.

Conclusion

A sister performing aarti for her brother,capturing the cultural festivity of Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan is a festival rich with historical and mythological significance. From ancient legends of divine intervention to historical acts of solidarity, the festival embodies the values of protection, love, and unity. This Raksha Bandhan, as you tie the sacred thread, remember the rich heritage and the timeless stories that make this festival so special.

FAQ

What are some popular legends associated with Raksha Bandhan?

Popular legends include the stories of Krishna and Draupadi, King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi, Indra Dev and Sachi, Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun, and Yama and Yamuna.

How do these legends influence the celebration of Raksha Bandhan?

These legends highlight the themes of protection, loyalty, and unity, which are central to the celebration of Raksha Bandhan. They add a deeper cultural and historical context to the festival.

Why is Raksha Bandhan celebrated on the full moon of Shravan?

Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan (Shravan Purnima) because this date is considered auspicious and is linked to various legends and traditions that emphasize protection and brotherhood.

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