Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | 4:33:00 AM
The Shravana or the monsoon month carries all hues and shades of nature and emotions. Religiously speaking Shravan is a pious month and full moon of this all-important month is considered to be a very holy day. It is celebrated in different ways for different reasons almost throughout the country.
For the siblings it is the eternal tie of love, for Brahmins the day to take the pledge of Brahmanik rites and for those who depend sea and monsoon, it is the beginning of the new season.
Indian festivals are based on the weather changes and their significance in the lives of people but they do have a story to support the celebrations. The rich Indian Mythology provides a religious reason to celebrate the day in a specific way. Many epics are related to the day and the origin of Raksha Bandhan. The festival finds a mention in most of the epics and its origin can be traced back to the mythological Pouranik times.
The legend in the Bhavishya Puran
The legend refers to a war between the Gods and the Demons. The demon King Brutra was advancing and the Gods lead by lord Indra, were on verge of defeat. The king of Gods, Indra approached Guru Brihaspati to find a solution to the situation. Brihaspati asked Indra to tie a sacred thread on his wrist, powered by the sacred mantras on the Shravan Purnima. Lord Indra's Queen Sachi also called Indrani, empowered the thread and tied it on to his hand on the decided day. The power of the sacred thread called Raksha helped the Gods to victory.
The tradition of thread tying still continues. It is a gesture of goodwill.
The legend of King Bali and Goddess Laxmi
According to another legend Demon King Bali was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu had taken up the task to guard his kingdom leaving his own abode in Vaikunth. Goddess Laxmi wished to be with her lord back in her abode. She went to Bali disguised as a Brahmin woman to seek refuge till her husband came back.
During the Shravan Purnima celebrations, Laxmiji tied the sacred thread to the King. Upon being asked she revealed who she was and why she was there. The king was touched by her goodwill for his family and her purpose and requested the Lord to accompany her. He sacrificed all he had for the Lord and his devoted wife.
Thus the festival is also called Baleva that is Bali Raja's devotion to the Lord.It is said that since then it has been a tradition to invite sisters in Shravan Purnima for the thread tying ceremony or the Raksha Bandhan
Yama and the Yamuna
It is said that the Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Lord Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yamuna. Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama and bestowed immortality. Yama was so moved by the serenity of the occasion that he declared thar whoever gets a rakhi tied from his sister and promised her protection will become immortal.
In the Epics
Raksha Bandhan finds a mention in Mahabharata when Lord Krishna advised Yudhishthir to perform the ceremony to protect himself and the army from the dangers of the war. It is said that Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas tied rakhi to her grandson Abhimanyu and Draupadi to lord Krishna.