From the Hindu mythology and history we come across several legends that bear the proof that Rakhi played a significant role in maintaining peace and fraternity.
Legends of Lord Krishna and Draupadi
The epic of 'Mahabharat' describes how Rakhi played a significant role in developing a sacred relationship between Lord Krishna and Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas. Mythology says, when Krishna faced injury in battle, Draupadi tied a strip of cloth around Krishna's wrist to stop bleeding from his wound. She tore that piece of cloth from her outfit. This incident touched Krishna so much that he declared her as his sisters and vowed to protect her from all possible danger in future. He kept his promise by saving Draupadi's honour during the infamous “clothing-removing” episode.
Legend of Yudhishtir
According to another legend of 'Mahabharat', Lord Krishna suggested Yudhishtir to organize a Rakhi ceremony to escape negative influence during the battle.
Legend of Kunti
Pandavas' mother Kunti tied a Rakhi to her grandson Abhimanyu to protect him from negative aspects of life.
Legends of Indra and Indrani
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Indra's wife Indrani tied a red coloured sacred thread to her husband's wrist when Indra was fighting against the demons in the Heaven. The purpose of this thread was to avoid negative consequence in the battle field. As a positive effect of this thread, Indra won the battle without facing any injury. As the colour of the thread was red, so tying red thread during Rakhi festival became popular among the lovers.
Legends of Yama and Yamuna
According to Hindu religion, Lord Yama is the Lord of death and Yamuna which is the name of a river in Northern India is Yama's sister. Mythology says that Yamuna tied the thread of Rakhi to Yama and prayed for his immortality. Impressed by his sister's love towards him, Yama stated that whenever anyone's sister will tie Rakhi to her brother's wrist and pray for his protection, then that person will receive the blessings of being immortal.
Myth of Goddess Laxmi and King Bali
When Lord Vishnu was busy to protect his kingdom, Goddess Laxmi was alone in Vaikunth, their residence in the Heaven. At that time she went to King Bali in disguise to seek shelter until her husband comes back. King Bali was the grandson of Prahalada and an ardent follower of Lord Vishnu. On the holy day of Shravan Purnima, Laxmi tied a yellow coloured sacred thread to King Bali. Later she revealed her identity and told about her purpose for coming there. Feeling grateful towards the Goddess, the King sacrificed all his belongings for Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. In this way tying yellow Rakhi among brothers and sisters has become a tradition.
Myth Associated with Alexander the Great and King Puru
According to history, Alexander the Great intruded on India in 326 BCE and fought against King Puru. Alexander's wife Roshanak sent a sacred thread to King Puru and requested him not to cause any harm to Alexander during the battle. Puru kept his promise by not assaulting Alexander in the battle.
Legend of Humayun
History says, when the Sultan of Gujarat invaded the kingdom of Chittor in the 16th century, Chittor's Queen Karnavati asked Mughal emperor Humayun for a help and sent him a Rakhi.
Poet Rabindranath Tagore's Association with Rakhi Festival
Nobel Laureate poet Tagore organized Rakhi ceremony to empower the bond between the Hindus and the Muslims during the year of 1905 when the British Empire was planning for a Bengal partition. This initiative of Tagore became successful and Rakhi ceremony helped a lot at that time to spread the spirit of fraternity across India.
Therefore, we can conclude that the Rakhi festival intends to avoid negativity in life and preserve the spirit of brotherhood. Both aspects are equally important in an era when we are going through problems like terrorism and religious conflicts across the world.
The auspicious ceremony of Rakhi festival is associated with a number of legends. To know more about Rakhi legends, take a look at this article.