The monsoon month Shravana, which reflects different moods and passions of nature, has a lot of religious importance. Full moon day of Shravana is considered to be very sacred and people across the country celebrate it in a variety of ways, and they have different reasons behind them.
Brahmins consider this day as very sacred for taking religious oaths. For brothers and sisters, it is an everlasting bond of love and for those who make a living depending on monsoon and sea, it is a new season’s beginning.
People in India have to tell an interesting story behind every festival, although these festivals are dependent on the changes in weather and their consequence in the people’s lives. Origin of Raksha Bandhan and its celebration have a mention in many Indian epics. Indian Mythology, known for its richness, narrates a spiritual cause behind the celebration. Following are some of the legends from the ancient scriptures.
The Legend in Bhavishya Puran:
This interesting legend talks about a war between Gods led by lord Indra and Demons led by King Brutra in which the demons were moving ahead and the gods were facing defeat. Lord Indra sought Guru Brihaspati’s help for a solution. Brihaspati suggested Indra that on Shravana Purnima day he should tie a sacred thread on his wrist. The sacred thread, also called Raksha, should be empowered by holy mantras. Under the guidance of Brihaspati, Indrani (Indra’s Queen) tied the thread on Indra’s wrist on the holy day and subsequently Gods became victorious in the war. To remember that great act, the custom of tying sacred thread continues with time.
The Legend of Goddess Lakshmi and King Mahabali:
Mahabali, the demon king, had immense devotion to Lord Vishnu. As a result, Lord Vishnu took the responsibility of protecting Mahabali’s kingdom, leaving his own place Vaikunth. Goddess Lakshmi was upset on this because she felt lonely in the absence of her husband. She approached Bali under the disguise of a Brahmin woman and sought shelter in his palace.
On the day of Shravana Purnima she tied Rakhi on Bali’s wrist and revealed her real nature and the purpose of her mission. Mahabali was moved by the concern and affection of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu towards his family and he requested Lord Vishnu to go with her and stay in Vaikunth. He sacrificed all his possession to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.
Because of King Bali’s devotion to Lord Vishnu, this festival is also called as Baleva. It is believed that from then onwards it becomes a custom to invite sisters on the day of Shravana Purnima to tie the sacred thread of Raksha Bandhan.
The Legend of Lord Yama and the Yamuna:
It is believed that the festival of Raksha Bandhan was related to Lord Yama, the Lord of Death, and his beloved sister Yamuna. As per legend, Yamuna tied Rakhi on his brother’s wrist and conferred immortality upon him. Highly inspired by this act of sanctity, Lord Yama declared that anybody could attain immortality if he got a sacred Rakhi tied by his sister and assured her complete protection at all circumstances.
The Legend in Mahabharata:
We can find a mention of Raksha Bandhan in the popular epic Mahabharata. It is said that Yudhishthir was advised by Lord Krishna to perform the sacred ritual as a measure to protect his army and himself from all sorts of hazards of the war. It was also mentioned that Kunti, the mother of Pandavas tied Rakhi to Abhimanyu, who was her grandson. Draupadi tied Rakhi to Lord Krishna, who protected her on a suitable occasion.