The Legend Behind Raksha Bandhan: Mythological Stories

The Legend Behind Raksha Bandhan: Mythological Stories

The Legend Behind Raksha Bandhan: Mythological Stories

Raksha Bandhan, or Rakhi, is a time-honored festival that celebrates the profound bond of love and protection between brothers and sisters. This celebration, rooted in ancient traditions, is enriched by numerous mythological stories that have been passed down through generations. These legends not only add a mystical charm to the festival but also highlight the values of love, duty, and protection that Raksha Bandhan epitomizes. Join us as we delve into the fascinating mythological tales that have shaped this beautiful festival.

The Tale of Lord Krishna and Draupadi

One of the most popular legends associated with Raksha Bandhan involves Lord Krishna and Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas in the epic Mahabharata. The story goes that:

The Incident

During the battle between Krishna and King Shishupala, Krishna injured his finger. Draupadi, who was present, immediately tore a piece of her saree and tied it around Krishna's bleeding finger to stop the bleeding.

The Bond

Moved by her gesture, Krishna vowed to protect Draupadi in times of need. This promise manifested during the infamous incident of the disrobing of Draupadi in the Kaurava court. When Dushasana attempted to disrobe her, Krishna miraculously extended her saree, ensuring she was not dishonored. This act of protection is seen as the essence of the Rakhi bond.

The Story of Yama and Yamuna

Another ancient legend that highlights the bond between siblings is the story of Yama, the god of death, and his sister Yamuna, a revered river goddess.

The Invitation

Yamuna invited her brother Yama to visit her, but Yama, being busy with his duties, delayed his visit. Finally, when Yama decided to visit her, Yamuna welcomed him with a grand feast and tied a Rakhi around his wrist.

The Blessing

Yama was so pleased with his sister's love and hospitality that he granted her a boon of immortality. He declared that any brother who receives a Rakhi from his sister and promises to protect her would also be blessed with long life and prosperity. This story underscores the protective and affectionate nature of the sibling relationship.

The Legend of Indra and Indrani

The legend involving Indra, the king of gods, and his wife Indrani, showcases the protective power of the Rakhi.

The Battle

During a war between the gods and demons, Indra was facing a tough battle against the demon king Bali. Indrani, worried about her husband's safety, prepared a sacred thread and tied it around Indra's wrist, praying for his victory and protection.

The Victory

With the divine protection of the Rakhi, Indra went on to win the battle against Bali. This legend highlights the power of Rakhi as a talisman of protection and victory.

The Historical Account of Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun

Moving beyond mythology, a historical event also emphasizes the significance of Raksha Bandhan. This story involves Rani Karnavati of Mewar and the Mughal Emperor Humayun.

The Threat

When Rani Karnavati, the widow of Rana Sanga, faced an imminent threat from Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, she sent a Rakhi to Humayun, seeking his protection.

The Response

Although Humayun was initially engaged in another military campaign, he abandoned it upon receiving the Rakhi and rushed to help Karnavati. Although he arrived too late to prevent the fall of Chittor, the gesture highlighted the powerful bond of protection invoked by Rakhi.

The Divine Bond of Lakshmi and King Bali

Another story from the Bhagavata Purana involves the goddess Lakshmi and the demon king Bali.

The Dilemma

Bali, a devout worshipper of Lord Vishnu, had secured a boon that allowed him to visit Vishnu in his abode. To keep his promise to Bali, Vishnu left his home, causing distress to his wife, Lakshmi.

The Solution

Lakshmi visited Bali disguised as a Brahmin woman and tied a Rakhi around his wrist, revealing her true identity afterward. Touched by her gesture, Bali requested Vishnu to return home with Lakshmi. This legend emphasizes the power of Rakhi to forge bonds of love and harmony.

The Universal Message of Raksha Bandhan

Beyond Biological Bonds

Raksha Bandhan is not limited to the bond between biological siblings. It has evolved to include cousins, friends, and even neighbors, symbolizing the universal values of love, protection, and mutual respect.

Cultural Variations

The festival is celebrated with different names and rituals across India and in various parts of the world. For instance:

  • Janai Purnima in Nepal: Where Brahmins change their sacred threads, and sisters tie Rakhis to their brothers.
  • Narali Purnima in Maharashtra: Where fishermen offer coconuts to the sea, praying for their safety.
  • Jhulan Purnima in West Bengal: Dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha, with sisters tying Rakhis to their brothers.

Celebrating Raksha Bandhan Today

Modern Rituals

The essence of Raksha Bandhan remains the same, but the ways of celebrating have evolved. Today, it often includes:

  • Rakhi Thali Preparation: Sisters prepare a decorated thali with Rakhi, roli (vermilion), rice, sweets, and a diya (lamp).
  • Rakhi Tying Ceremony: Sisters tie the Rakhi around their brothers' wrists, applying tilak on their foreheads and performing aarti.
  • Gift Exchange: Brothers give gifts to their sisters as a token of love and promise of protection.

Virtual Celebrations

With families often living apart, virtual Rakhi celebrations have become popular. Sisters send Rakhis via mail, and the ritual is performed over video calls, ensuring the bond remains strong despite the distance.

Eco-Friendly Rakhis

With increasing environmental awareness, eco-friendly Rakhis made from sustainable materials like seeds, recycled paper, and organic cotton are gaining popularity. These Rakhis not only symbolize love and protection but also care for the environment.


Raksha Bandhan, with its rich tapestry of mythological stories and historical legends, is a festival that beautifully encapsulates the essence of love, protection, and duty between siblings. Whether celebrated through traditional rituals or modern adaptations, the festival continues to hold a special place in the hearts of people.

This Raksha Bandhan, as you tie the sacred thread or receive one, remember the timeless stories that add depth to this beautiful tradition. Celebrate the festival with joy, love, and a renewed promise of protection and care.

For all your Raksha Bandhan needs, from exquisite Rakhis to thoughtful gifts, visit India Bazaar. Embrace the festival with joy and create memories that will last a lifetime.