MEANING OF RAKSHA BANDHAN
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the full moon in the month of Sravana of the lunar calendar. The word “Raksha” means “to protect”, and the word”Bandhan “ means”promise “. Thus the name “Raksha Bandhan ” means a “Promise to Protect”. Siblings share a special place in our hearts, and the bond we share is beyond compare. This festival aims to celebrate the selfless love and unique bond between brothers and sisters, sometimes sour while sometimes sweet. This is a trendy festival which is celebrated every year in our country. Although the love between brothers and sisters doesn’t depend upon a day, due to the historical and religious significance of Raksha Bandhan, this festival has become one of the important festivals.
It is a time of pampering for the sister. Sister ties a Rakhi on this day, i.e. a colorful bracelet made of silk thread, on the wrist of their brothers, and puts Tilak on their forehead while praying to protect them against evil influences. Sisters pray that almighty give their brothers a long life and ask God to bless them with His blessings. Brother gives their sisters some gifts as a token of appreciation, love, and promises to care for and help them throughout their life.
Nowadays, school girls celebrate Raksha Bandhan by tying Rakhis to the Prime Minister, President, Chief Ministers of the state, the soldiers standing on the border of the states, etc.
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated with a feeling of welfare and affection for the siblings and glorifies their bond of affection, love, peace, and protection.
INITIATION OF RAKSHA BANDHAN IN SATYUGA
King Bali was a very generous king and was also an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Once, he organized a Yagya. During this time, Lord Vishnu appeared in Vamana Avatar to test him and asked King Bali to present him with three property steps in charity. Even after the Guru’s refusal, he agreed to give three steps of the land. Vamana Dev measured the whole earth and sky in two feet only, and by this time, King Bali understood that God was testing him. In the third step, he placed the Lord’s foot on his head and pleaded to God that I had lost everything, Lord, accept my request and stay with me in Hades. The Lord accepted the request of the devotee and left Vaikuntha to stay in Hades.
At the behest of Narad Ji, Goddess Lakshmi tied a Rakhi to King Bali. Bali said that he has nothing to give her, then Goddess Lakshmi said that you have a real God, you should free him to stay with me in Vaikuntha. On the other hand, Goddess Lakshmi got upset. Bali, keeping the significance of Rakshasutra, agreed to Goddess Lakshmi to let her take Lord Vishnu back to Vaikuntha. From this day onwards, Rakhi is celebrated every year.
DRAUPADI TIED RAKHI TO KRISHNA
The pastime of Krishna and Draupadi in Mahabharata also signifies the importance of the Rakhi event. It is commonly believed that Draupadi and Krishna originated the Rakhi event.
In one of the incidents, Shishupala was being punished for his sinful activities by Lord Krishna by Sudershan Chakra, and while hurling the Sudershan Chakra, Lord transcendently hurt himself. When Draupadi saw the blood drops dripping through his fingers, she immediately rushed to protect the Lord. She tore a piece from her sari to wrap Lord’s finger with it to stop the bleeding of his hand. Being merciful and touched with her pure devotion and love, Krishna asked Draupadi to ask for a favor, being a loving and caretaking sister, requested his holy presence in her life. Since the incident, Krishna has always been with Draupadi like a shadow protecting and loving her in every situation. Draupadi had the utmost faith in Krishna that she could pray with her complete devotion and unconditional love to Krishna, and Krishna also had a deep affection for his sister, Draupadi. The incident narrates the true and serene bond between a brother and sister.
HOW WE CAN CELEBRATE RAKSHA BANDHAN WITH LORD KRISHNA
If we want absolute protection and want to be bound by that protection, we will get that when we establish our relationship with Lord Shri Krishna. Just as the relation of brother and sister is already there, we should also re-establish our relationship with God, which we have forgotten. Just as the relation of brother and sister does not end, in the same way, our relationship with God does not break. We try to restore it through the path of devotion.
As Krishna has said in Bhagavad Gita 18.66
“sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ”.
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”
We should have faith that Krishna will protect us in all circumstances. That is why we should accept Krishna as the protector of all living beings and take refuge in him with reverence and love. In this way, we have to increase the love of God. On Raksha Bandhan, we have to remind ourselves what our duty is – it is necessary to take care of the family, but the scriptures say that the most basic duty is to attain God, to love him. One has to achieve the ultimate goal of life while fulfilling all the duties.
This Raksha Bandhan festival is reminding us –
1) Know your forgotten relationship with God
2) Try to restore the relationship with God – do devotion
3) Get God’s love while performing all your duties.
Happy Raksha Bandhan
Sri Sri Rukmani Dwarkadhish Ki Jai.
Shobha Radhika Devi Dasi
(ISKCON Dwarka New-Delhi)