Category Archives: Hindu Festivals

Raksha Bandhan – Sravana Poornima – 18 August 2016

Rakhi is hindu festival also called Raksha Bandhan, Rakhi Purnima, Sravana Poorninma , Jandhyala poorninma, Rakhri or Bond of Protection. rakhi-poornimaRaksha (protect) Bandhan (bonding) – On this day Sisters

  • Apply Tilak (apply kumkum) on brother’s forehead.
  • Light a lamp and give aarti (camphor fire in plate) rotated around the brother’s face, along with the mangala haarathi singing, prayer, well wishes for good health, prosperity and happiness.
  • Tie a Rakhi (sacred thread or designer bracelet) on her brother’s wrist.
  • Pray for his brother’s well-being, Brothers take lifelong vow to protect his sister.
  • Exchange sweets. The sister feeds the brother sweets, with her hands and also offer dry fruits and other seasonal delicacies.
  • A Rakhi may be a simple thread, woven and colorful, may be a fancy wrist watch, bracelet or jewelry. Brother(s) shop for gifts for the sister, which can be simple pen as token of love and may be expensive one like a plane.

Significance

  • All our cultures and traditions give high respect to women.
  • Follow Sanatana dhrama and live with morals, ethics and legality.
  • Marry suitable girl/boy and treat all fellow humans as brothers and sisters which binds in noble relationship.
  • Love and marriage happens eventually and not ultimate goal of one’s life as is depicted in current news, media, literature and movies.
  • Lead life with morals, ethics and legality and not lustful.
  • Rakhi is being celebrated in schools, colleges and work places as reminder of noble brother – sister (Bhai-Bahan) relationship. In true sense this enhances the moral values and social bonding.

FACTs

  • The festival falls on the full moon day (Shravan Poornima) of the Shravan month (which falls in august) every year
  • This is secular festival which celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters.
  • An occasion to celebrate brother-sister like family ties between cousins or distant family members, brings together men and women across religions, diverse ethnic groups and ritually emphasizes harmony and love.
  • Celebrate any brother-sister relationship between men and women who are relatives or biologically unrelated.
  • Jains also observe Sravana Poornima religious festival as Jain priests give threads to devotees.
  • Women tie rakhis around the wrists of the heads of state, political party or social leaders.
  • Ceremonies are also held to tie Rakhi around the wrists of soldiers.
  • Siblings day observed in the United States is similar to Rakhi. The festival centres on the mutual bond of protection whereby siblings pray for each other’s wellbeing.
  • Rajput queens has the custom of sending rakhi threads to neighbouring rulers as a token of brotherhood.
  • When Alexander the Great invaded India in 326 BCE, his wife Roxana sent a sacred thread to Porus (Kaikeya kingdom), asking him not to harm her husband in battle. Porus, gave full respect to the rakhi, restrained from attacking Alexander personally.
  • Rani Karnavati of Chittor sent Rakhi to Mughal Emperor Humayun to protect her against the invasion by Bahadur Shah

Jandhyala poorninma (Sacred thread/Jandhyam change ceremony)

  • This day is special to brahmins and others who got Upanayanam done previously.
  • After sacred bath during regular Gayatri japam one wears new sacred thread and removes old thread / Jandhyam on this day.
  • Gayatri japam is done with new thread symbolises new vastra dharanam and empowering shakti.
  • If anyone is performing Japam irregularly, on this day that can be regularised and routine can be streamlined.
  • Pindi vantalu (Special sweets) are made and celebrated with family and friends.

Rakhi and its colour significance

  • Yellow was used by Laxmi and Yamuna for their brothers Bali and Yama so this color is used for brothers on Rakhi day
  • White signifies friendship.
  • Red signifies Love and loyalty: Indrani used red for her husband Indra.

Legendary notes

King Bali and Goddess Laxmi

Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana, after Vishnu won the three worlds from the demon King Bali, he was asked by Bali that Vishnu live in his palace, a request Vishnu granted. Vishnu’s wife, Goddess Lakshmi did not like the palace or his new found friendship with Bali, and preferred that her husband and she return to Vaikuntha. So she went to Bali, tied a Rakhi and made him a brother to her. Bali asked her what gift she desired. Lakshmi asked that Vishnu be freed from the request that he live in Bali’s palace. Bali consented, as well accepted her as his sister.

Birth of Santoshi Maa (Goddess of Satisfaction)

Lord Ganesha has two wives Riddhi, Siddhi and two sons, Shubh and Laabh. On Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh’s sisters Okha, Tripura Sundari visited and tied a Rakhi on Ganesh’s wrist. The two boys have no sister to celebrate and asked their father for a sister. Ganesh created a daughter named Santoshi Maa by divine flames that emerged from Ganesh’s wives who tied rakhi to her borther’s and celebrated Raksha Bandhan.

Mahabharat: Krishna and Draupadi

Krishna considered Draupadi his sister. Draupadi nursed Krishna when he cut his finger while beheading Shishupal by tearing off a piece of her sari and bandaged his cut. Krishna promised that he would repay each her service at right time. When Draupadi is being undressed before Duryodhana and other kings she prayed Krishna for help. Krishna came to the rescue and gave her unlimited cloth. This is the origin of the Raksha Bandhan festival.

Bhai Dhuj: Yama and the Yamuna

Yama, the god of Death had not visited his sister Yamuna for 12 years. Yamuna, was sad and consulted Ganga. Gang reminded Yama of his sister, upon which Yama visits her. Yamuna was overjoyed to see her brother, and prepared a bounty of food for Yama. The god Yama was delighted, and asked Yamuna what she wanted for gift. She wished that he, her brother should return and see her again soon. Yama was moved by his sister’s love, agreed and to be able to see her again, made river Yamuna immortal. This legend is the basis for a Raksha Bandhan-like Bhai Duj festival, which also celebrates brother-sister love, but near Diwali.

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