Sunday, August 14, 2011

Our festivals-Rakshya Bandhan !!

We just celebrated the festival of Rakhsya Bandhan. Do you know how it originated? If no, there is no need to worry. There is a chapter in "Bal-Mukund Festivals on India" book about Rakshya Bandhan. Here we are presenting to you an extract of it, but there is lot more to know about the festival for which you can flip through your own copy of the book. 
The Bhavishya Puran refers to a war between the celestial gods and the demons. The demon King Brutra was advancing and the gods led by Indra were on verge of defeat. Indra approached Brihaspati, the Guru of the celestial gods to find a solution to the situation. Brihaspati asked Indra to tie a sacred thread on his wrist while chanting sacred mantras on Shravan Purnima. Indra tied it on to his hand on the decided day. The power of the sacred thread called “Raksha” helped the celestial gods to victory. The tradition of tying the sacred thread has continued since then.
According to another story, the demon King Bali was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Shree Vishnu was enchanted by his devotion and had taken up the task to guard his kingdom leaving his own abode in Vaikunth. Goddess Lakshmi desired Her Lord to be back in His abode. She went to Bali disguised as the wife of a priest, to seek refuge until Her husband came back. During the Shravan Poornima celebrations, Lakshmi tied the sacred thread to the King. Upon being asked what she wanted, She revealed who She was and why She was there. Having tied the sacred thread on her, the king felt obliged to help her, and requested the Lord to accompany Her. He sacrificed all he had for the Lord and his devoted wife.
Thus, the festival is also called Baleva that is Bali Raja's devotion to the Lord. Since then, it has been a tradition for brothers to invite sisters on Shravan Purnima for the thread tying ceremony, and offer them protection.
Another story relates to Yamraj and Yamuna. It is said that the Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Lord Yamraj, the god of death and his sister Yamuna. Yamuna tied a rakhi to Yamraj. Yamraj was so moved by the serenity of the occasion that he declared that whoever gets a rakhi tied from his sister and promises her protection would become immortal.
Raksha Bandhan is also mentioned in Mahabharat. Lord Krishna advised Yudhishthir to perform the ceremony to protect himself and the army from the dangers of the war. It is said that Draupadi tied a rakhi to Lord Krishna. He felt bound by her sisterly love, and promised her protection.

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