Mauli or Raksha Sutra tied around the wrist, is observed in many sacred rituals in Hindu religion. No religious ceremony is declared complete without tying mauli around the wrist. When a devotee prepares for performing religious rites and rituals which include Puja, Yagya and Hawan, the priest starts the ceremony after tying the thread on the wrist of the devotee. Vedic scriptures ascertain that Mauli or Raksha Sutra symbolises the Hindu Triad, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh; and the three Goddesses, Laxmi, Durga and Sarawati. Brahma is known for granting eminence, reputation and glory. Vishnu, for empowering with strength, vigor and vitality. Mahesh for annihilating all types of vices and imperfections. Laxmi for bestowing wealth and opulence. Durga for rendering power, vivacity and forcefulness. Saraswati for conferring intellect, wisdom and mental power. Tying Mauli represents our servitude to God. By doing so, we are tying ourselves into the service of God and asking him for his blessings. It is a symbolic way to express our devotion towards the Supreme Power. Being a Raksha Sutra or a band, it protects us from negative energy and safeguards us from evil powers. Its tying is not only a customary ritual but it has the potential to control the three humors of the body, Vaat (Wind), Pitt(Bile) and Cough(Phlegm)s, when they are in a disordered states.
Krishna and Draupadi
Another incident is from the epic Mahabharat and concerns Krishna and Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas. She had once torn a strip of silk off her sari and tied it around Krishna’s wrist to staunch the bleeding from a battlefield wound. Krishna was touched by her action and declared her to be his sister, even though they were unrelated. He promised to repay the debt and then spent the next 25 years doing just that. Draupadi, in spite of being married to great warriors and being a daughter of a powerful monarch, trusted and depended wholly on Krishna. Krishna repaid the debt of love during the “Cheer-Haran” of Draupadi, which occurred in the assembly of King Dhritarashtra when Yudhisthira lost her to the Kauravas in gambling. At that time, Krishna indefinitely extended her saree through divine intervention, so it could not be removed, to save her honor. This is how he honored his rakhi-vow towards Draupadi.
King Bali and Goddess Laxmi
According to a legend the Demon King Bali was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu had taken up the task to guard his kingdom leaving his own abode in Vaikunth. Goddess Lakshmi wished to be with her lord back in her abode. She went to Bali disguised as a woman to seek refuge till her husband came back.
During the Shravan Purnima celebrations, Lakshmi tied the sacred thread to the King. Upon being asked, she revealed who she was and why she was there. The king was touched by her goodwill for his family and her purpose and requested the Lord to accompany her. He sacrificed all he had for the Lord and his devoted wife.
Thus the festival is also called Baleva that is Bali Raja’s devotion to the Lord. It is said that since then it has been a tradition to invite sisters in Shravan Purnima for the thread tying ceremony or the Raksha Bandhan.
Yama and the Yamuna
According to another legend, Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Lord Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yamuna, (the river in northern India). Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama and bestowed immortality. Yama was so moved by the serenity of the occasion that he declared that whoever gets a rakhi tied from his sister and promised her protection, will become immortal.
Rakhi Puja Thali
Rakhi puja thali is prepared for the most important ceremony of the day. Rakhi puja thali includes kumkum powder, rice grains, Rakhi (sacred thread) and a small Raksha Bandhan, a sister visits her brother’s home and performs ‘pujan’ by applying kumkum and rice grains on his forehead and tie a Rakhi. In return, the brother gives her a things are used while tying Rakhi.
Tying Rakhi is an important tradition of Raksha Bandhan. The ritual begins with the sister putting a tilak on her brother’s forehead. Then she ties Rakhi on his wrist. Tying Rakhi is followed by exchanging of gifts. Rakhi is a thread of love and it signifies the deep bonding between brothers and sisters.
Rakhis range from a coloured cotton string to exquisitely decorated balls of various sizes and materials such as fluffy cotton, ‘zari’ paper, tinsel, beads.