‘Rakshabandhan‘ is a prominent festival of India, especially for brothers and sisters. This festival has a tremendous social and cultural significance. Though there are various legends associated with ‘Rakhi’ and ‘Rakshabandha’
Indra and Indrani
The most popular tale associated with ‘Rakshabandhan’ is of Indra and Indrani. In the Vedic period, on a ‘Shravan Poornima’ day (full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan), the deities and the demons fought a battle against each other. Unfortunately, in the war, the demons were in a stronger position at that time. The king of the deities, Lord Indra, hence became very much worried about the result of the battle.
“Indra’s wife Indrani could not see him worried and prayed to the almighty. She prepared a lucky charm with her religious power and tied it around Indra’s right wrist which was meant to safeguard Indra from the attack. The talisman kept her belief and on that particular day, deities won the battle and Lord Indra escaped unhurt. This thread was the first ‘Rakhi’ tied by a wife to her husband and regarded as the first tale associated with Rakshanabdhan,”
Yama and Yamuna
Yamuna was the sister of Lord Yama, the God of death. On every ‘Shravan Purnima’, Yamuna used to tie a sacred thread (Rakhi) to Lord Yama. Since then, it has become a tradition for sisters to tie Rakhi to their brothers on this day. In return, the brothers bestow blessings on their sisters and promise to protect them from all problems and difficulties that they may ever face.
“The mythological legends say that Raja Bali was such a great devotee of Lord Vishnu that Lord Indra felt insecure.
Indra worshipped Vishnu and asked him to help save his throne. Vishnu accepted Indra’s prayer and overthrew Bali. Later, Vishnu gave Bali the boon of immortality and also promised to take care of his kingdom. To keep his promise, Vishnu left his residence, ‘Vaikunthdham’, and went to safeguard Bali’s kingdom.”
When Goddess Laxmi, wife of Lord Vishnu came to know about this she went to Raja Bali, as a poor Brahmin lady, and requested him for shelter. She regarded Bali as her brother and tied a Rakhi on to his wrist, on the ‘Shravan Poornima’ day.
“When Bali wished to give her some present, she told him her true identity and the reason for her arrival. She also asked Bali to send Lord Vishnu back to Vaikunthdham. Raja Bali immediately requested Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi to return,”
King Porus and Alexander’s wife
One global tale associated with Rakshabandhan is of King Porus and Alexander’s wife. History says it that when Alexander came to India, he was resisted by the brave King Porus. The bravery of Porus led Alexander’s wife to doubt safety of her husband. Soon, she sent Porus a rakhi and became his sister. This is the reason why Porus never harmed Alexander.