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Raksha bandhan- a festival that is celebrated by Indian with pomp and show like rest of the other festivals. Here this one symbolically refers to the bond of love among siblings and cousins.
Celebrating this festival amazes me how a thread binds us where a brother promises to protect his sister till he breathes his last breath. Today, as the world is going global and in pursuit of modernisation this festival has also become a money minting business opportunity for the sellers of fancy Rakhis and sweets and once again the time to indulge in shopping spree for sisters.
Indian festival of selflessly tying the knot of amity, brotherhood and long life, is a symbol of seeking eternal peace . Not for the 'self'. But for the brother on whose wrist the thread is tied. 'Raksha' is the Hindi word for protection. 'Bandhan' means bond. Hence, the bond of protection. The protection is from all the evils and perils. And this protection is not limited to the physical but also to the spiritual one.
The origin and the legends:
The festival nurtures a rich heritage of legendary traditions, some rooted back to the ages of the great epics. In the Hindu tradition the Rakshaa has indeed assumed all aspects of protection of the forces of positivty from the forces of evil.
According to the Mahabharata, Yudhishthira, asked Sri Krishna, how best he could guard himself against impending evils and catastrophes in the coming year. Krishna suggested him to observe the Rakshaa Ceremony. He also narrated an old incident to show how potent the Rakshaa is. It went like this.
Once, Indra, was confronted by the demon king - the Daitya-raaja - in a long-drawn battle. At one stage, the Daitya-raaja got better of Indra and drove him into wilderness. Indra, humbled and crest-fallen, sought the advice of Brihaspati, the Guru of Gods. The Guru told him to bide his time, prepare himself and then take on the mighty demon. He also indicated that the auspicious moment for sallying forth was the Shraavana Poornima. On that day, Shachee Devi, the wife of Indra, accompanied by Brihaspati tied Raakhi around Indra's right-wrist. Indra then advanced against the Daitya-raaja, vanquished him and reestablished his sovereignty.
This is how Raksha Bandhan came into being in the ages of old Hindu mythology and has transcended into the modern ages acquiring more of new and modified customs with itself.
Let's hope the sanctity of the festival always remains and not be reduced to one more occasion for being superficial.