Raksha means ‘protection’ This Raksha’ is considered two-fold. The sister ties a colored thread (raakhi) on the brother’s wrist to remind him that he is to protect her during times of adversity, and it is believed that the sister protects her brother by virtue of the fact that she prays that her brother is always saved from harm’s way always, and in every way. Indrani tied it on Lord Indra’s wrist to protect him while He warred with the Demons.
Raksha Bandhan day transcends faiths. It has universal appeal.
A Rajput princess tied a ‘raakhi’ to Humayun, the Moghul emperor. The enemy of the Rajputs was the Sultanate of Gujarat (Muslim). Yet Humayun hurried to the rescue of the Rajput princess.
You should tie it on your Loved Deity’s or/and Guru’s wrist to seek protection. Krishna may not only be considered a ‘brother’ but you may have various types of relationships with Him. He can be your ‘Guru’ your ‘friend’, your child, even your Lover or Husband.
‘Mere to Giridha Gopal, doosro na koyee’
Jaakey sar Mor-Mukut mero pati soyee’
Which means that I only recognize ‘My Krishna, He who adorns Himself with a peacock-feather on His crown, as my husband’
I have read that wives tied an amulet on their husband when the latter marched to battle.
On Give and Take on Raksha Bandhan Day.
On this day, every sister ties a raakhi’(Thread) on her brother’s wrist to remind him about the special love, and bond that they enjoy. The brother gives the sister a gift in cash or kind.
The other day I was reading about how they have come up with silver and golden raakhis, in exorbitant prices!
Let me tell you a story:
Once Satyabhaama, one of Krishna’s wives felt that she was loved the most, by Krishna.
Satyabhaama enquired of Naaradji how she could ensure, that she attain Krishna as her husband, in her next life also.
Naaradji said that you achieve that, in the next life, which you give away, in this life in charity (Daan).
So Satyabhaama gave Krishna away to Naarad.
Naaradji decided to take Krishna away with him.
All the queens panicked as they saw Krishna being led by Naarad.
Naaradji promised to release Krishna if any of the wives, could give Naaradji, something equivalent to Krishna’s weight!
All the wives brought out their prized possessions, and placed them on the scale; but Krishna turned out to be heavier!
Then Rukmani plucked a basil (Tulsi) leaf and placed it on the scale (with all her love)
And Lo and Behold! Krishna was out-weighed!
This story of Satyabhama, Rukmini and the Tulsi is about the festival of Tulsi Vivaha (The marriage of Tulsi) which comes after Diwali and begins the wedding season in India , Tulsi is a holy plant and a consort of Krishna. Every Kartik Dwadashi, which comes in November after Diwali, Tulsi is married to Krishna and the winter wedding season of India begins after that. The river Gandaki, coming from Nepal, is also called Vrinda or Tulsi, because she is considered the resting place of Vishnu. At this point let me quote from the Geeta where Krishna says in the 25th verse of the 9th Chapter:
Patram pushpam phalam toyam, yo me bhaktyaa prayachhati,
Tadaham bhaktyu pahritam ashnaami prayataat manah
I accept (that offering happily) of a leaf, a flower, a fruit, a little water, (which is given to me) with devotion and a pure mind! (heart)
As a result of the above story, a tulsi leaf is placed on any gift, as the final seal of giving. It is placed on a daughter’s hand during the ‘Kanyadaan’ – giving away of the daughter during a Hindu marriage ceremony.
Stories connected with Raksha Bandhan
Lord Krishna advised Yudhishtra, the eldest of the Pandavas to observe the Raksha Bandhan Ritual to ward off untoward incidents.
Indrani was also known as Sachi.
The story is, that Indra lost many wars with demons and was in difficulty.
Indrani or Shachi then went to Lord Vishnu and tied the rakhi and
asked to help her husband Indra which Lord Vishnu did.
Krishna narrates the following incident to Yudhishtra. (It appears in the Mahabharata):
Sachi ties the holy thread of protection on Indra’s wrist. It is done on Shraavan Poornima. Guru Brihaspati asks her to.
(Even though Raksha Bandhan is a festival of brothers and sisters, a wife could tie it on her husband so that he may protect her or so that he may be protected. It obviously does not imply anything else. Raksha Bandhan became a more precise brother and sister festival in later years)
Alexander the Great’s wife tied a raakhi to Porus and the latter spared Alexander’s life.
Lord Vishnu acquired Land from King Bali after the latter had promised Lord Vishnu as much land as ‘three strides’. Lord Vishnu increased His stature and took over Earth, Heavens and Neterlands.
The above act performed was so that the Devtas would win from the Daitya King, Bali. But King Bali was a good Daitya and Lord Vishnu stayed on with Bali.
Laxmi made Bali her brother and extracted the boon to return Lord Vishnu to her, which Bali did.
Yami (river Yamuna) tied the rakhi on the wrist of Yama the god of death, to protect all those who are her (River Yamuna’s) devotees.
Yama promised that he will give painless death to the devotees of Yamuna.
and thereby, please Krishna.
A note from Surabhi Sagar
I have gone through many interpretations of the Yamunashtaka and besides my gurudev as also two others who I have great faith in have all given the following
interpretation which includes both your stories.
Yamuna is the fourth patrani (wife) of Sri Krishan.
In the 3rd verse the last line “nitambh tat sundarim namatah Krishnaturya
priyam .” The word turya as I understand means 4th. In other places
Yamunaji is compared to “Padmaja” referring to Laxmiji. Yamunamaharini is the daughter of Surya and hence Yam’s younger sister as Yam is believed to be Surya’s son.
The belief is that if brothers and sisters bathe in the Yamuna on Rakshabandhan day they will be freed from the fear and pain of death as Yamuna then prays to her brother to grant this boon and Yam being Yamuna’s brother becomes their maama (Maternal uncle).
I appreciate the excellent work you are doing and would love to keep in touch.
Just thought I should share this with you.