Essence of Rakshabandhan
Raksha Bandhan is a festival that felicitates the subliminal bond of unconditional love between a brother and a sister. Also known as Rakhi Purnima, this festival falls on the Full Moon day, known as Poornima, in the month of Shravan as per Hindu Lunar Calendar.
The literal meaning of Raksha Bandhan is the bond of protection. On this pious occasion brothers and sisters promise eternal love for each other. Sisters tie a sacred thread on the wrist of their brothers and pray for their long life. In return, the brothers take a vow to protect their sisters from every untoward happening and obstacle and also give their sisters a gift.
The legend of Rakhi
As per the accounts from the epic Mahabharata, Lord Krishna, once in the company of the Pandavas, was flying kites, when he cut his finger on the thread. Draupadi, to stop the bleeding, immediately tore a piece of her attire and tied it around the finger. Lord Krishna was touched by this gesture of love and promised lifelong protection to Draupadi. It is believed that when the Kauravas were trying to shame Draupadi by stripping her in public, it is this small piece of cloth that Krishna increased in number and size to keep covering her while she was being stripped.
Another interesting legend associated with Raksha Bandhan is the bond of love between the brother and sister, Lord Yama, the God of Death, and Yamuna, the river. As per mythology, Yamuna once tied a thread on the wrist of Lord Yama, to symbolise the eternal love that they shared as siblings. Lord Yama was touched by this gesture and while granting her protection and immortality, also promised that he would bless every brother who protected his sister with a long life.
It is also believed that Lord Ganesha had created Goddess Santoshi out of divine flames as his sons Shubh and Labh had insisted that they wanted a sister. Raksha Bandhan is celebrated to rejoice this divine relationship between Shubh, Labh and Goddess Santoshi.