Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan – The Sacred bond between Brother and Sister

Raksha Bandhan Date:
15th August 2019
Muhurat to tie Rakhi on Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan Thread Ceremony Time - 06:23 AM to 05:59 PM

Duration - 11 Hours 36 Mins

Aparahna Time Raksha Bandhan Muhurat - 01:59 PM to 04:31 PM

Duration - 02 Hours 32 Mins

Purnima Tithi Begins - 03:45 PM on Aug 14, 2019

Purnima Tithi Ends - 05:59 PM on Aug 15, 2019

Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Shravan. Raksha Bandhan is celebrated across India and draws its significance from the sacred thread known as Rakhi. The thread is believed to protect the one who wears it.

It is advised the best time to tie a rakhi on Raksha Bandhan is during Aparahna which is late afternoon according to Hindu calendar.

Origin of Raksha Bandhan

The ritual of wearing a sacred thread on the day of Shravan Purnima is known as Upakarma. The origin of tying a Rakhi can be accredited to the ancient legend of Goddess Indrani when she ties the sacred thread to Lord Indra which resulted in his victory over demons.

The custom of tying the Rakhi has been followed since ancient times and is mentioned in several religious texts.

The Shiva Puja performed during the Shravan month is a rendition to Lord Shiva who protects his devotees at all times and bestows health and fortune.
Significance of Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan is a festival that exhibits the beautiful relationship shared between brothers and sisters. The term Raksha Bandhan means ‘knot of protection’ which signifies the lifelong promise made by every brother to his sister on this special occasion.

The day also has a social significance as it underlines the notion of living on peace and harmony with each other. It encourages amicability and love between people and communities of all castes, creed and religion.

Legends of Raksha Bandhan

There are various legends associated with Raksha Bandhan, mentioned below are some of the legends.

Indra and the Demons

As mentioned in the Bhavishya Purana, there was a battle between the Gods and the Demons. After an intense twelve year battle the Gods lost to the Demons and the kingdom of Indra was taken over by the Demons. Lord Indra consulted Brihaspati, who is the Guru of Gods and Indra was suggested to do Raksha Vidhan.

On the day of Shravan Purnima the ritual of Raksha Vidhan was performed and a Raksha Potli was created. After the Puja, Indra’s wife Shuchi tied the Raksha Potli on the wrist of Lord Indra. It is believed due to the power of the Raksha Potli Indra was able to defeat the Demons and get his lost kingdom back. Since then on Shravan Purnima, the ritual of Raksha Bandhan is performed.

Draupadi and Lord Krishna

This legend comes from the epic Mahabharata. As per the story, when Lord Krishna was killing Shishupal, he hurt his finger and for the blood to stop from flowing Draupadi tore a piece of her clothing (Saree) and tied it to his bleeding finger. The tying of that piece of cloth signified a bond of protection and from then on Lord Krishna decided to protect Draupadi. Lord Krishna thereafter came to the rescue of Draupadi in King Dhritarashtra’s court when she was being disrobed.

Lord Yama and Goddess Yamuna

The God of Death, Yama, visited his sister Goddess Yamuna after 12 long years on the request of Ganga. Upon seeing her brother after such long years, Yamuna was overjoyed and prepared a lavish feast for her brother. Yama was moved by this gesture and asked Yamuna what she wanted in return. Yamuna wished for her brother to visit her regularly. Yama was moved by his sister’s love for him and agreed to visit her again and hence made her immortal.

Abhimanyu and Kunti

Another legend from the epic Mahabharata is that of Kunti and Abhimanyu. Kunti ties a sacred thread around the wrist of Abhimanyu, who is the son of Arjuna and Subhadra, before the battle of Mahabharata as a symbol of protection.

Rituals of Raksha Bandhan

A typical Raksha Bandhan ceremony involves rituals like performing Aarti for the brother along with prayers for his long life, applying a Tilak on his forehead, and tying the Rakhi. After the Rakhi ceremony, the brother is treated with sweets and traditional delicacies. The brother shows his appreciation and affection by presenting his sister with gifts.

Raksha Bandhan Puja Thali

Listed below are the items that are needed to prepare for the Rakhi ceremony.

Thali – Silver Thali with the symbols of Om and Swastika in the center of the thali.

Rice – Akshat or unbroken white rice applied on the forehead after the Tilak.

Roli – Roli is used to apply Tilak on the forehead which begins the rituals of Raksha Bandhan.

Nariyal – Nariyal or coconut which is unbroken is offered by the sister to her brother during Puja.

Kalash – A small kalash filled with water is used to make the paste using Roli for the Tilak and drawing of Swastika on the thali.

Raksha Potli – A raksha potli is usually tied on the wrist, though it is no longer popular. The potli is filled with rice, gold and white mustard.

Rakhi – Keeping even numbers of Rakhi’s in the Puja thali are considered auspicious.

Sweets – Any sweet can be placed on the Puja thali. Sweets are offered to brothers after the Tilak ceremony and tying of the sacred thread.

Diya – A Diya is lit and ritually rotated around the brother’s face along with prayers and well-wishes.

Raksha Bandhan in the modern context

In the modern world, the festival of Raksha Bandhan is observed as a ritual which bonds brothers and sisters together. Tying of a Rakhi represents the innate ties of a relationship between brothers and sisters. The occasion transcends the greatness of the relationship and much like the eternal nature of the bond, reinforces its sublimity.

When a sister ties the sacred thread around the wrist of her brother it portrays her love towards her brother that lasts for a lifetime. In return, as a gesture of love and gratitude, her brother promises to protect, help and keep his sister safe from all sorts of trouble. The festival does not limit itself to blood relations but extends to families who are not related by blood. Also girls tie rakhi to someone whom they respect and consider their brother as well.

These days the festival is celebrated across all demographics irrespective of caste and religion.

Raksha Bandhan -- Celebrations around the Country

Festivals similar to Raksha Bandhan are celebrated across the country such as Avani Avittam in Tamil Nadu, Jandhyala Purnima in Andhra Pradesh, Narali Purnima in Maharashtra and Hayagriva Jayanti.

In the state of West Bengal and Odisha, Raksha Bandhan is called as Jhulan Purnima. Prayers are offered to Radha and Krishna and sisters also tie a rakhi on their brother’s wrists.

Narali Purnima (Coconut festival) in Maharashtra is celebrated along with Raksha Bandhan. Fishermen pray to Lord Varuna, the God of Sea, to get his blessings for an abundant fishing season and offer coconut to calm the sea down after the monsoons.

Salono is observed in the state of Haryana on the day of Rakhi. Temple priests tie amulets on people’s wrist to protect them against evil eye.