Once in childhood, my younger cousin brother and I were playing football. My brother was autistic whereas I had a reputation of being strong and played well. We wanted to be in one of the teams and so I asked the children playing nearby if we could join. “You can join us but your brother can’t play”, a boy said. I remember countering, “He can play and he will play, you dare not tell us who can play and who cannot.”

We both played that day and I think of this incident every year on Raksha Bandhan, tomorrow is the same day!

We have all grown up listening to the story behind the festival of Raksha Bandhan that signifies the bond of protection and love between brothers and sisters. But I am sure that you must have only heard of one mythological story behind the festival of Raksha Bandhan. However, there are many legends about how the tradition came into being. Here are some of them:

The Vishnu wife’s 

After losing to Lord Vishnu three times, the Demon King Bali confined him to his palace. Lord Vishnu’s wife Lakshmi wanted her husband to return to Viakuntha and in order to set him free, went to Bali and tied a thread around his wrist, and asked for her husband’s freedom as a token for good faith for their new bond. Bali sent Lord Vishnu with her and accepted her as a sister.

The Mahabharata version

As Mahabharata goes, Draupadi had once seen lord Krishna bleed and rushed to help him. She stopped the blood by tying a piece of cloth around is the arm. Being touched by the gesture and indebted to her, Krishna promised to protect her always.

The Yama and Yamuna’s story 

Another well-known legend is that of Yama (God of Death) and his sister Yamuna. When Yama did not visit Yamuna for 12 years, Yamuna went to Ganga for help. Ganga reminded Yama to visit his sister. He received a warm welcome with a delightful feast from Yamuna upon visiting her and was so happy that he granted her a wish for eternal life.

While these origin stories may highlight the men protecting their sisters and granting them wishes, it also speaks of the compassion the women have. Goddess Lakshmi did it to protect her husband, Draupadi did it to help Krishna and Yamuna did it because she loved her brother and missed him.

 

 

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