return, the brother promises to protect his sister and to
always be there for her. Rakhsha means protection or
security and bandhan means a bond or relation. Thus,
Rakhsha Bandhan symbolizes the bond of security and
protection between brothers and sisters.
the Rakhi is tied, a sacred mantra is chanted which says:
baddho balee raajaa daanavendro mahaabalah
ami rakshey maa
chala maa chala.
is a sacred protection mantra and it grants security and
protection to the wearer.
the South Raksha Bandan is celebrated by the Brahmins who
put on a new sacred thread on this day.
Culture � the world is one family
Rakhi, the brothers and sisters do not have to be blood
relatives. That is the beauty of Indian culture. Our
tradition tells us that the world is our brother and sister.
On this day of Rakhsha Bandhan, a girl can tie a rakhi on
the wrist of any boy or man to whom she feels a close bond.
Then, from that day forth, they will call each other
�sister� and �brother.�
In this way, relationships are strengthened,
solidified and purified. The tradition of Rakhsha Bandhan
symbolizes and underscores the way Indians live together as
brother and sister � relationships filled with love,
devotion and affection, but free from lust, attraction or
Bond of Rakhi
the tradition of Rakhi has created a beautiful, sacred way
for women and girls to be protected during times of
political and social turmoil. Even as men injure and
dishonor women, no one would injure his own sister. The bond
of Rakhi is held so sacred that no man would dare leave his
rakhi sister unprotected, let alone actually injure her
himself. For example, the ancient Muslim ruler of India,
Humayun, was obligated to protect the Hindu princess
Karmavati, even in spite of all political and social
sanctions against Karmavati and her family. Why? Because the
princess had sent Humayun a rakhi.
holiday, like all Indian festivals, has a divine, sacred
beginning. During the time of the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna
threw a celestial weapon at
Shishupala in order to punish him for his numerous
sins. However, as Lord Krishna hurled the weapon at
Shishupala, the Lord cut his own finger. Draupadi
immediately tore off a piece from her sari and wrapped it
around Lord Krishna�s finger, stopping the bleeding. Lord
Krishna asked her what she wanted in return for this favor.
�Nothing, Oh Lord,� she replied. �Just your holy
presence in my life, at all times.� So, from that moment
forth, Lord Krishna promised Draupadi that He would always
be with her and that she needed only to call upon Him.
Later, as the Kauravas tried to dishonor Draupadi by
removing her sari in a public hall, she called to Lord
Krishna who immediately came to her rescue.
story above about Bhagwan Krishna and Draupadi shows us more
than simply the bond between a brother and sister or the
promise of security. This teaches us a valuable lesson about
our own relationship with God. Draupadi gave to Lord Krishna
one small strand from her sari. In return, Lord Krishna gave
Draupadi an endless, infinite sari, one which could never be
removed. When we come forward toward the Lord, even one
small step, He comes toward us by miles. When we offer one
small strand of our lives at His holy feet, the rewards are
Millennium, New Tradition
this holy day of Raksha Bandhan there is so much to learn,
so many vows to make. First, there are the ancient,
traditional meanings, whereby girls and women remember their
brothers � far and near � with love and affection. In
exchange, all men and boys promise to protect their sisters
� both against physical harm, and also against dishonor to
their name or to their family. These are as crucial today as
they were in the past.
perhaps even more importantly,
we must realize that the only way the current world
will survive is united as one family. Thus, now, we must
also take the deeper, underlying meaning of Rakhi. We must
vow to make the world our brothers and sisters � not only
in theory, but also in practice.
Let us use rakhi as a symbol of our universal
brotherhood. May our girls and women lead the way toward
this universal family as they tie rakhi bracelets on the
wrists of not only their closest male friends, but also on
the wrists of enemies. Let us use this holiday to reach out
to those around us, embracing them as brother and sister.
in this world in which relations between boys and girls are
becoming more and more promiscuous, let us use rakhi to
re-purify our relations. As girls and women tie rakhi
bracelets on the wrists of boys and men who are their
friends, may all of their minds become purified of any
lustful feelings by this new, sanctified relationship of
�sister� and �brother.�
true Rakhsha Bandhan
and most importantly, may we all exchange vows of love,
affection and protection not only with our human brothers
and sisters. But, let us also offer at least a small thread
to the Lord. For He is our true brother, our true Sister,
our true Protector. It
is to Him that we want to be eternally tied. The divine
rakhi that you offer to the Lord will never become untied,
never become faded and will never break.