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Raksha Bandhan: Rakhi Festival of Brothers And Sisters on 18th August, 2016 Thursday

Guru Gyan

Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi Purnima falling on 18th August (Thursday) 2016 is an Indian annual festival celebrated across the country wherein sisters tie Rakhis on their brother’s wrists. It arrives during the Full Moon day, Shravan Poornima, of the Shravan month (July-August. All the festivals India are more or less based the significance of relationships. In Raksha Bandhan, sisters wish longer life and successes for their brothers who in turn offer gifts and pledge to protect them. Every festival like Raksha Bandhan, Diwali, Holi etc. highlight the unity and harmony among family members. Raksha Bandhan creates a harmonious bond between brothers and their sisters. It is generally observed that brothers and sisters grow fighting with each other but when it is Raksha Bandhan, their fighting spirit turns into love and affection. The word 'Raksha' means ‘protection’ and 'Bandhan' means ‘a bond’ or ‘relation’.




Celebrated With Secular Spirit

The reason why we celebrate Rakhi festival or Raksha Bandhan at a larger level is the secular spirit that lies at its core. It is celebrated by a lot of communities across the country irrespective their castes, color or religions. Hindu, Muslims, Sikh, Jains and others mark the festival with harmonious spirits. Followers of Jainism especially Jain priests offer sacred threads (termed as Rakhi) to devotees as a sign of divinity. It transcends all the frontiers of caste and religion underlining the emotional union between a brother and a sister. Apart from India where it is mainly celebrated, Raksha Bandhan is also celebrated in Mauritius, Nepal, and Pakistan, and by the NRIs living in the US, the UK and Australia.




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Guru Gyan

Why Do We Celebrate Rakhi?

Vedic legends associated with this festival: There are many ancient or Purnaic legends associated with this festival. A number of Vedic scriptures such as Puranas, Bhagvat Purana (Srimad Bhagvatam), Mahabharata and the like enlighten you with the stories related to the bond between brothers and sisters. Puranas mention an ancient story about a ghastly war between the thunder god Indra and the demonic king Bali who administered his leadership across the earth. Lord Vishnu offered a divine thread to Indra’s wife Sachi who tied it on Indra’s wrist. This made him win Amaravati, the place taken over by Bali. However, this story reveals the deeper power of a holy thread which was beyond the relationship between brothers and sisters.



In the Bhagvat Purana, it is mentioned that King Bali unable to defeat Lord Vishnu surrendered unto His lotus feet and requested Him to reside at his place. Goddess Lakshmi was upset seeing the Lord accepting a request from a demonic mind (Bali) as She did not like King Bali for he was a demon. She tied a holy thread on Bali’s wrist and wished that he protect Her as a brother. King Bali gladly accepted Her as his sister and asked Her to wish anything that pleased Her. She without a second thought asked for the Lord and requested His presence in Her abode. King Bali without fail fulfilled Her wish.


Guru Gyan

In the epic Mahabharata, Lord Krishna while fighting and killing Shishupal got a cut on His finger. Draupadi immediately ripped a piece of her sari and covered the cut by tying it around the finger. Pleased with her action full of devotion, the Lord promised to reciprocate. When she was left at stake by her husbands, the Pandavas in a gamble against the Kauravas who decide to strip her naked, she prayed to Lord Krishna for help. The Lord protected her chastity by supply cloth to her sari that never ended while being taken off her body. This is how the Lord became her brother.



Raksha Bandhan Rituals: How to Celebrate

Women buy Rakhis from market or some of them design and create personalized Rakhis at home for their brothers. Rakhis vary in terms of designs; some are simple, some are heavily decorated while others are spiritual such as Rudraksha Rakhis. On Raksha Bandhan, the family members prepare for the rituals early in the morning and brothers and sisters dress up nicely.

For sisters:
  • Lord Ganesha and the family deity should be worshiped early in the morning.
  • Prepare a plate with Rakhis, kumkum powder, rice grains, diya, aromatic incense sticks and sweets
  • Light up an oil lamp (diya).
  • Apply tilaks on the forehead of your brothers with kum kum and grains of rice.
  • Tie your Rakhi on the wrist of your brother.
  • Worship your brother by moving the plate in a circular motion and wish for your brother’s longer life.
  • Offer a piece of sweets to him.

For brothers:
  • After your sister ties Rakhi and finishes the ritual, offer her your blessings with gifts, cash and promise her all the protection and support even after her marriage.



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