Happy Raksha Bandhan!

Raksha Bandhan: A yearly Hindu tradition

By Trived Soni

I am the only son in my family. I grew up with two sisters. Together we were the three musketeers, going through thick and thin. Most of the time we would enjoy each others company. Occasionally, we prefer keeping to ourselves, as we have different interests or even due to small arguments. As we grow older, we find our own individual paths and are busy chasing our personal dreams. We get separated and although sometimes I am not with them physically, I always know that my sisters have my back, and I have theirs. Likewise, for them.

In a typical Hindu family, once every year, brothers and sisters will be brought together to celebrate this festival. The sister would tie a knot around the brother’s wrist while wishing good health, happiness and goodwill. In return, the brother would promise to take good care and look out for them in any circumstance. After which, the sister would feed a sweet to her brother and he would give her a small monetary gift of appreciation. Growing up, I saw it nothing more than a tradition to follow annually and was naïve to the significance of Raksha Bandhan.

However, as time goes by and one begins to mature, curiosity and questions arise as to why things are done in such a way. Raksha Bandan in its name simply means the ‘bond of protection. It is celebrated on the full moon in the month of Sravana (Shravan Purnima). On this auspicious day, the whole family would get together to celebrate the sacred relation of a brother and a sister. Today, this tradition has gone beyond the siblings’ relationship, and is undertaken between neighbours, close friends, leaders and even army soldiers. This is to promote the feeling of unity and a commitment to all members of society to protect each other and encourage a harmonious social life.

The knot tied is referred to as a ‘Rakhi’ which significance can be derived from many ancient stories. The most common comes from the well-known Sanskrit epic from India, Mahabaratha. According to the epic, one morning, when Lord Krishna was flying a kite, he cut his finger by accident. Draupadi, who was nearby, saw him bleeding profusely and ran to him. She then tore a piece from her sari and tied it around his finger. Lord Krishna was so touched that in return he promised to protect her from all evil, forever. And he did protect her all along, especially during her ‘cheerharan’ by the Kauravas.

The festival of Raksha Bandhan is well thought of and is the only ceremony that celebrates the essence of the brother-sister relationship. In this day and age, everyone is busy with their personal affairs, studies and work and tend to brush of these small occasions or even a chance to spend some time together as a family. With the knowledge I have shared above, I hope brothers and sisters can make time to appreciate this strong life-long bond between them when tying the knot on this special day.

On behalf of the Geeta Ashram Youth, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Raksha Bandhan!

References :
1. http://www.raksha-bandhan.com/meaning-significance-of-raksha-bandhan.html
2. http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/raksha-bandhan-2017-know-the-importance-history-and-significance-of-raksha-bandhan-festival-in-india-4782720/
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/holydays/raksha.shtml
4. https://www.amritapuri.org/3539/rakshabandan.aum
5. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/events/when-is-raksha-bandhan-2017-significance-and-importance-of-the-day/articleshow/59898862.cms
6. Trived’s deep thoughts