The festival of Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan, (the bond of protection) or Rakhi, is a festival primarily observed in India. This festival celebrates brotherhood and love. It is celebrated on the full moon in the month of Sharavana as per the lunar calendar.It is also called Rakhi Purnima in certain parts of India, like the south.
It is believed that when a lady ties a rakhi around the hand of a man it becomes obligatory for him to honour his religious duty and protect her. It grew in popularity after Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of Chittor, sent a rakhi to the Mughal emperor Humayun when she required his help. Draupadi and Krishna were also tied with this small thread of affection.
Traditional stories state that rakhis are blessed with sacred verses and are encompassed by them.
Krishna and Draupadi
This incident is from the epic Mahabharat. This concerns Krishna and Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas. She had once torn a strip of silk off her sari and tied it around Krishna’s. Thus she stopped the bleeding from a battlefield wound. Krishna was touched by her action and declared her to be his sister, even though they were unrelated.
Yama and the Yamuna
According to a legend, Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Lord Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yamuna, (the river in northern India). Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama and bestowed immortality. Yama was so moved by the serenity of the occasion that he declared that whoever gets a rakhi tied from his sister and promised her protection, will become immortal.
Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun
A popular narrative that is centered around Rakhi is that of Rani Karnavati of Chittor and Mughal Emperor Humayun, which dates to 1535 CE. When Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of the king of Chittor, realised that she could not defend against the invasion by the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, she sent a Rakhi to Emperor Humayun. Touched, the Emperor immediately set off with his troops to defend Chittor. Humayun arrived too late, and Bahadur Shah managed to sack the Rani’s fortress. Karnavati, along with a reported 13,000 other women in the fortress, carried out Jauhar on March 8, 1535, killing themselves to avoid dishonor while the men threw the gates open and rode out on a suicidal charge against Bahadur Shah’s troops.