परस्परं भावयन्तः। (Let us take care of each other)
Raksha Bandhan – Raksha Bandhan festival is celebrated in India on the full moon day of the Hindu calendar in the month of Shravana which typically falls in the August month of Gregorian calendar. The festival symbolizes the eternal love of brother-sister relationship. On this day, a sister ties a rakhi around the wrist of her brother in order to pray for his prosperity, health and well-being. The brother in return offers a gifts and promises to protect his sister from any harm. Some of our unique Indian temples are seen worshipping idols of God and Goddess who are brother and sister indirectly strengthening the bond of Raksha Bandhan. Lets explore these temples alonwith some stories related to this festival.
Legend Stories related to Raksha Bandhan – The origin of Raksha Bandhan bond can be traced to Mahabharata. Once when Lord Krishna suffered a nick to his finger after wielding the all-powerful Sudarshan Chakra, it is said that his own sister Subhadra began searching for a piece of cotton cloth to bandage him. But Draupadi quickly tore off a section of her expensive brocaded saree pallu and quickly sealed the bleeding. This deed remained etched in Krishna’s mind. Further to strengthen this bond Lord Krishna saved Draupadi from humiliation during the episode of “Vastraharan” or “Cheerharan”. Moreover Krishna guided and protected his own cousin Arjuna – the husband of draupadi by becoming his charioteer in the war of Kurukshetra.
Emperor humayun and Rani Karnavati – Rani karmavati had sent a rakhi to Humayun after her husband Rana sanga’s death asking for his help and Humayun had accepted the relationship and came to help her but was late and could not save her. as she had performed Jauhar with other Rajput women.
Jagannath Puri Temple – Jagannath temple is situated on Nilgiri hills in Puri district of state Odisha in India. The original temple was built by King Indradyumna in early Kali Yuga. The present temple was rebuilt from the 10th century onwards by King Anantvarman Chodaganga Deva. One of the pilgrimage centres “Char Dham” of Hindus, Jagannath Puri Temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and their small sister Subhadra.
At the Jagannath temple, Subhadra, the sister, is depicted in the center and Lord Krishna and Balram (Lord Balabhadra) are shown on the left and right side of Subhadra. The inner sanctum of the temple contains statues of these three Gods carved from sacred logs of neem known as daru sitting on the bejewelled platform or ratnabedi, along with statues of Sudrashan Chakra, Sridevi and Vishwadhatri. The idols are replaced every 12 or 19 yrs by an exact replica. Every year on raksha bandhan, Goddess Subhadra ties rakhi of love and trust on both the hands of her two brothers. Puri resident Jagannath Patra and his family prepare special rakhis for this occasion before 10-12 days using a special cloth provided by the temple authorities.
Jagannath temple has 11-meter-tall, 16 sided monolith pillar known as Aruna Stambha, which was brought to Puri from the Sun Temple in the 18th century. The temple complex consists of four sections – a pillared hall of dance, hall of offerings, shrine and a traditional porch. It is open from 5:00 am to midnight. Unlike in many other temples, devotees can go around and behind the idols.
Gundicha Temple – Gundicha Temple which is named after Queen Gundicha (wife of king Indradyumna) is the garden house of Lord Jagannath. It is situated in temple town of Puri in Odisha,India. It is built using light grey sandstone exemplifying Kalinga style architecture. It lies at a distance of about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from the Puri temple at one end of Bada Danda (Grand Avenue) which is the pathway of the Chariot festival / Rath Festival. The striking feature of this temple is that it is vacant without any idol to worship for the whole year except for seven complete days (total 9 days including the start and concluding day of Ratha Yatra) during the annual Rath yatra festival. During the festival the idol of Lord Jagannath along with Subhadra and lord Balabhadra are placed in huge chariots and brought out to the street with thousands of people pulling the sacred chariot. The main chariot is around 45 feet high. These chariots are constructed new every year and has wood-carved horses and charioteers. The idols stay in the Gundicha temple for a week and then return back to the main temple.
Yam – Yamuna Temple – Also known as Yamuna- Dharamraj temple, it is one of the oldest temples located on the banks of river yamuna in Mathura. Temple is situated a few meters away from the Vishram Ghat, near Dwarkadhish Temple. In the silver guilded temple, one can worship deities of Yum and Yamuna in black stone, standing with their hands raised in benevolent blessing for the pure souls. The deities were installed by Vajranabha, grandson of Lord Krishna, around 4900 years ago. Dedicated to the brother-sister couplet of Yum and Yamuna, the temple speaks of a history infused in love. It is said that on the day of Bhaiduj, Yamuna had invited her brother over dinner. After the meal, as per the Hindu tradition, Yum asked Yamuna to ask him for anything. Since Yamuna had no material desires, she asked fora wish – “On this day of Bhai Duj, all those sisters who along with their brothers, will devotedly bathe in my waters and visit our temple together should be freed from all your reprimands and punishments and be granted liberation”. Her wish was happily granted by Yam.
Temple of Shubh Labh and Santoshi mata – Ujjain city is well known as ‘Capital of temples” as it has temples of unbelievable and exceptional glory found only here. Recently a temple is being built dedicated to Shubh (lord of prosperity) and Labh (lord of Profit) and their sister Santoshi mata. The temple is in Jeevankhedi village behind Aastha garden. According to legends Lord Ganesha had two sons named Shubh and Labh and once upon a time they were sad on the day of raksha bandhan as they saw lord Ganesha celebrating festival of Raksha Bandhan with his sister Goddess Manasa. They longed and wished for a lovely sister who could tie them rakhis. In order to fulfil their wish, Lord Ganesha created Santoshi mata (Goddess of satisfaction) and requested her to become sister of his sons. Since then Maa santoshi became sister of Shubh and Labh.
Hope you all found this stuff interesting and it added to your world of knowledge. Happy Raksha Bandhan !!!!!
येन बद्धो बली राजा दानवेन्द्रो महाबलः।
तेन त्वाम् अभिबध्नामि रक्षे मा चल मा चल॥
(I am tying a Raksha to you, similar to the one tied to Bali the powerful king of demons.Oh Rakshaa, be firm, do not waver.)