Rakhi is a popular festival of India, celebrating the bond between brothers and sisters. The festival has a tremendous social and cultural significance. It is the celebration of the love amongst siblings. There are various legends associated with the origin of this festival. In fact, the festival has a rich background and has several stories related to its existence. Some of the popular ones have been given in the lines below.
Indra and Indrani:
In the Vedic period, on a 'Shravan Poornima' day (Full Moon Day of the Hindu month of Shravan), the deities and the demons were fighting a battle against each other. Unfortunately, the demons were in a stronger position then the deities. The king of the deities, Lord Indra, was very much worried about the result of the battle. His wife Indrani (also known as Shashikala) could not see him worried and prayed to the almighty. She prepared a talisman with her religious power and tied it around Indra's right wrist, to safeguard Indra from the attack made by the demons. The talisman kept her belief and on that particular day, deities won the battle and Lord Indra escaped unhurt.
Yama and Yamuna:
Yamuna was the sister of Lord Yama, the God of death. On every "Shravan Purnima", Yamuna used to tie a sacred thread (Rakhi) to Lord Yama. Since then, it has become a tradition for sisters to tie Rakhi to their brothers on this day. In return, the brothers bestow blessings on their sisters and promise to protect them all the problems and difficulties that they might ever face.
King Bali and Goddess Laxmi:
According to the mythology, Raja Bali was such a great devotee of Lord Vishnu that Lord Indra felt insecure. Indra worshipped Vishnu and asked the Lord to help him save his throne. Vishnu accepted Indra's prayer and overthrew Bali. Later, Vishnu gave Bali the boon of immortality and also promised to take care of his kingdom. To keep his promise, Vishnu left his residence, 'Vaikunthdham', and went to safeguard Bali's kingdom
Soon, Goddess Laxmi, wife of Lord Vishnu, went to Raja Bali, as a poor Brahmin lady, and requested him for shelter. She regarded Bali as her brother and tied a Rakhi on to his wrist, on the 'Shravan Poornima' day. When Bali wished to give her some present, she told him her true identity and the reason for her arrival. She also asked Bali to send Lord Vishnu back to Vaikunthdham. Raja Bali immediately requested Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi to return.
King Porus and Alexander's Wife:
The ancient history of India tells us that when Alexander the great came to India, to make it a part of his kingdom, he was resisted by the brave King Porus. The bravery of Porus led the Alexander's wife to doubt the safety of her husband. Soon, she sent Porus a rakhi and became his sister. This is the reason why Porus never harmed Alexander.
Maharani Karnawati and Emperor Humayun:
In the Medieval Indian history, the tale of Maharani Karnawati and Mughal Emperor Humayun relates to the tradition of Rakhi. Maharani Karnawati was the queen of the Rajput Kingdom, Chittor, in Rajasthan. When Chittor was threatened by Bahadur Shah of Mewar, the Maharani sent a Rakhi to Humayun, the Mughal Emperor of Delhi, and called him for help. Humayun was aware of the significance of Rakhi in the Hindu community, so he immediately accepted her request to protect her.