Celebration of Rakshabandhan
Things to Know about Rakshabandhan
Shravan (pronounced shraavan) is the most holy month in the Hindu year. The full moon of Shravan or Shravan Purnima is the day of Raksha Bandhan, also known as Balev. Hindus all over the world celebrate this festival with great joy. We shall discuss the reason for this later. Raksha means protection. Bandhan means to be tied, to be bound. To understand the true significance of Raksha Bandhan, we must first know how it came about. Bali Raja, the demon king, greatly pleased Vaman Bhagwan by offering his head to step on.
Vaman Bhagwan then gave him a boon that Bhagwan Narayan will stay at his doorstep all through the year. However, when Shri Narayan failed to return to Vaikunth, Lakshmiji arrived at Bali doorstep. She then adopted Bali as her brother, by tying a raksha on his wrist. This pleased Bali, who allowed her to ask for a boon. She requested that he allow Shri Narayan to return to Vaikunth. Bali agreed. It was then decided that after Narayan stay of four months during Chaturmas, Shivji and Brahmaji would stay at Bali doorstep, each for four months. From this episode about Bali Raja, this day is also known as Baleva. Thus, Bali Raja great gift to Bhagwan is glorified in the shastras. So, in all puja rituals, pandits chant a shlok which praises Bali Raja while tying a nada chhadi (sacred thread) Yena baddho Baliraja, danavendro mahabala, Tena tvamabhi badhnami rakshe ma chala ma chala. I tie on you (the devotee) the raksha which was tied on Bali. Therefore O Raksha! Do not ever fail to protect this bhakta. Do not ever fail. The most important principle to understand and put in our life isjust as Bali Raja offered supreme bhakti by surrendering his own self and his kingdom to Bhagwan, we should mentally surrender our life to Bhagwan. This means to believe that whatever we do in life, it is to please Bhagwan and our Guru.We should not do anything which does not please them. Only then will they guard us and protect us from maya.Practical Rituals of Raksha Bandhan.On this day a sister will tie a raksha (rakhi in Hindi) on the right wrist of her brother(s). Before that, she will perform the following rituals of pujan, to show her love for her dear brother
Apply chandlo on his forehead, with kumkum, then with rice grains.
Place a flower garland around his neck, a garland which she will have made herself (girls who are old enough to use a needle and thread).
Place a whole sweet, usually penda, in his mouth.
Tie the rakhadi on the right wrist. In some communities, this is tied after the first or second step. In return, the brother then presents a gift to her.