Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan


The modern era observes Raksha bandhan as a symbol of unmatched bond of love and care between brothers and sisters. The sister ties the Raksha Bandhan to her brother, who in turn as a gesture of love gives her gifts. However, tying of a Rakhi is not confined to a brother and sister, it could also be tied by a Guru to the Disciple, priest to the King or even by a wife to her husband. It is celebrated on the full moon day during the Hindu month Shravan of the lunar calendar, hence it is also called Rakhi Purnima or Shravan Purnima in some parts of India. Indians all over the world await for celebrating this sacred and auspicious festival every year.

Mythological Significance

Raksha Bandhan has its origins in a rite known as “Upakarma” (beginning). Upakarma is a vedic ritual practiced once in every year by the Brahmin Caste of Hindu religion. During the Shravan month they change their Upanayana (the sacred thread) through vedic rituals by making offerings to the Sages and rishis who composed the vedic hymns. The ritual is primarily for boys, making their rebirth into the world of Vedas and their tradition. Even today all the three upper-social classes of the Hindu community performs this ritual all over India. Whereas in the Narada Purana it is mentioned that during the Shravan Purnima, one has to observe the vrat (fasting) and perform the rite of Tarpana (libation) unto the Devas and Pitrus (departed ancestors) through chanting of the Mantras.

Apparently the Raksha Bandhan which we celebrate upon today has emerged from the Bhavishya Purana. In the adhyay 137 of Uttara parva, Lord ShreeKrishna narrates a story to Yudhisthira about the power of Raksha Sutra.

"During a conflict between King Mahabali and Dev Indra, Mahabali got defeated and he approached his Guru Shukracharya for the cause. Shukracharya said, Winning and losing is due to the wheel of time. For almost an year you should be in good terms with Indra as Indrani Sachi (wife of Indradev )has tied the Raksha-Sutra on Indra’s Wrist, due to which he is invincible."

Lord ShreeKrishna says, this is the influence of the Raksha-sutra rite that bestows happiness, prosperity, victory and good health.

How to perform the Raksha-bandhan rituals:

  1. One should wake up early in the morning and purify oneself by bathing, advised to wear a new attire if possible. Then follow the tarpan, offering the water to Surya Dev and pay homage to Pirtus.
  2. Either in a courtyard or a clean and tidy space, sprinkle some Ganga jal (holy water) and place a pedestal.
  3. Take a new cotton or silk cloth of any vibrant colour (red,orange,yellow) and fill the cloth with akshata(unbroken rice), white mustard seeds, black mustard seeds, durva grass, sandalwood powder and any form or piece of gold or silver.
  4. Make the cloth into a small bundle and tie a string or rakhi to it and place it on a copper plate.
  5. You can take a seat on the pedestal and perform the pooja.
  6. Light up a diya (as agnisakshi), agarbatti, dhoop etc and keep the copper plate against it.
  7. Whoever wish to tie the Raksha-Bandhan to their beloved has to perform the pooja by chanting one’s Ishta Devata or Kuldevata’s Mantras.
  8. After the pooja, take the consecrated small bundle or Rakhi and tie it to your beloveds right hand by praying;

“I secure on you the Raksha-sutra, which will protect you from all the bad evils without failure.”

  1. Afterwards, the person who wear the Raksha will satisfy the performer of the pooja by gifting him/her something special.

This Raksha-bandhan ritual was performed even during the Vedic periods by the Sages and the Kings and it is believed that a person who does the ritual in the described manner will remain happy, healthy and prosperous throughout that full year.

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