Origin of Rakhi
Rakhi festival is celebrated in the Shravana month or the month of monsoon. This month is considered to be a very pious month and the full month or poornima of this month is a very holy day. This rakhi poornima is celebrated in different ways throughout the country.For the brothers and sisters, it is the day commemorating the eternal tie of love, Brahmins on this day take the pledge of Brahmanik rites and for farmers it is the beginning of the new season.There are many epics related to the celebrations of rakhi. The festival is described in the epics and dates back to the mythological Pouranik times.
The legend in the Bhavishya Puran
This legend describes a war between the Gods and the Demons. The demon King Brutra was advancing and the Gods lead by lord Indra, were on the defeating end. The king of Gods, Indra approached Guru Brihaspati to seek a solution. Brihaspati asked Indra to tie a sacred thread on his wrist, powered by the sacred mantras on the Shravan Purnima. Lord Indra's Queen Sachi also called Indrani, empowered the thread and tied it on to his hand on the rakhi poornima day. The power of the sacred thread called Raksha helped the Gods to victory.
The legend of King Bali and Goddess Laxmi
Another legend associated to this day is of King Bali and Goddess Laxmi. Demon King Bali was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu had promised to guard his kingdom leaving his own abode in Vaikunth. Goddess Laxmi wished to be with her lord back in her abode. She went to Bali disguised as a Brahmin woman to seek refuge till her husband came back.
During the Shravan Purnima celebrations, Laxmiji 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 rakhi 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
It is said that the Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Lord Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yamuna. Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama and gave him 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.
Raksha Bandhan In the Epics
Raksha Bandhan festival is mentioned in Mahabharata when Lord Krishna advised Yudhishthir to perform the ceremony to protect himself and the army from the dangers of the war. It is said that Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas tied rakhi to her grandson Abhimanyu and Draupadi to lord Krishna.