Untold Mythological Tales about Raksha Bandhan
1. Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun:
The tale of Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun is one of the most significant evidence in history. During the medieval era, Rakhi meant a spiritual binding and protection of sisters, it was considered as the foremost task of a brother. When Rani Karnawati, the widowed queen of Chittor realized that she could in no way defend the invasion of the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, she sent a rakhi to Emperor Humayun. The Emperor was so touched by the gesture that he started off with his troops in no time. Humayun then returned the kingdom to Karnavati’s son, Vikramjit.
The mythological story of Lord Krishna and Draupadi (the wife of the five Pandavas) is one of the most popular rakhi stories. The importance of the festival reflects in Mahabharata epic depicting the evergreen story of Lord Krishna and Draupadi. It is generally believed that the original ritual of Rakhi began with Draupadi and Krishna during the epic war. Once, on a Sankranti day, Krishna cut his finger while handling sugarcane. Draupadi came forward and tore off a part of her sari and bandaged his finger. In return for her kind deed, Krishna promised to protect her all throughout her life. That was how Draupadi was saved from embarrassment on the day she was disrobed in full public view in king Dritarashtra’s court. Thus, it is a reflection of the pure bond between a brother and sister. The thread of Rakhi and the story of Krishna and Draupadi tells us about the element of faith and emotional security amongst the siblings.
The story of Yama, the Lord of Death and Yamuna, the river that flows in India is one of the fascinating stories of Raksha Bandhan. Their story stands for the pure brother-sister love and sacrifice where Yamuna tied a rakhi to Yama, the lord of death and granted her immortality. When she tied a Rakhi to Yama’s wrist, he was so moved by the gesture that he declared that whosoever or any brother who gets a Rakhi tied on his wrist from his sister will become immortal and should promise to protect their sisters lifelong.
Although this tale does not originate from the Hindu scriptures, the birth of Goddess Santoshi Maa has been related to the festival of Raksha Bandhan. It is believed that on the auspicious day of Rakhi, Lord Ganesha‘s sister Manasa visits him to tie him the rakhi. On seeing this, Ganesha’s sons- Shubha and Labha become curious and insist for a sister. Finally, Ganesha gave in to their demands and creates goddess Santoshi (literally the Mother Goddess of Satisfaction) from the divine flames that are said to have emerged from his consorts- Riddhi and Siddhi.
5. Alexander the Great and King Porus (Puru):
The oldest legend associated to the festival of rakhi goes back to 300 B.C. at the time when Alexander invaded India. It is said that the great conqueror, King Alexander of Macedonia, in his first attempt was shaken by the ferocity of the Indian king Puru. But, Alexander’s wife Roxana sent Porus, a sacred thread and asked him not to harm her husband on the battlefield. King Puru accepted her as his sister and when the opportunity came during the war, he confronts Alexander and refuses to kill him. Ultimately, Porus was defeated by Alexander.
6. Goddess Laxmi and King Bali:
The tale of Goddess Laxmi and King Bali is a legend that is mentioned in various Hindu scriptures. In this story, Lord Vishnu, as part of a promise, has been protecting his devotee and the demon King Bali, disguising himself as his doorman. Vishnu had taken the responsibility of protecting Bali’s Kingdom leaving his home in Vaikundam because of his immense devotion. So, Goddess Lakshmi – the wife of lord Vishnu became upset since she wanted Lord Vishnu to always be with her. On Shravana purnima, she met Bali and tied a Rakhi on King Bali’s wrist. Then, Goddess Lakshmi revealed who she was and why she was there. The king was touched by her and Lord Vishnu’s good will and affection towards him and his family, and he requested Lord Vishnu to accompany her to Vaikundam. Due to this, this festival is also named Baleva as Bali Raja’s devotion to Lord Vishnu. It is believed that since that day it has become a tradition to invite sisters on Shravana purnima to tie the sacred thread of Rakhi or Raksha bandhan.