Rene’s inquisitive mind delves with facts, history and science about everything. In this episode Rene learns about the history and science behind the celebration of Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan.
By Somashis Gupta
“Papa – Rene Series”
Starring: Triparni Das as Rene and Chayanchit Das as Papa
The feeling of filling is quite fulfilling, of the filet, in the finest fish fry, from ‘fishfish’ at the Fern road residence of my friend, who arrived on Friday from Finland. So while returning home, I stopped by at the restaurant to pick up a few for Rene and her mother.
Rene greeted me with a hug as I reached home and asked “Papa how was your rendezvous?”
“Quite fascinating darling,” I answered as I gave her the packet of fish fries “look what I got for you.”
Rene’s eyes glittered with joy, expressing her happiness. Her mother too seemed satisfied with the succulent fries. And as the duo cherished the food, I went in to my study to read a book. But that process was soon interrupted as Rene walked in and asked “Papa why is Raksha Bandhan celebrated?”
“I anticipated a question on fish fries from you” I actually did “but you come up with Rakhi?” I was rather surprised, “tell me what brought this question in your mind?” I asked.
“Papa actually me and my friends were discussing this today” she replied “and we came up with 4 different versions of Rakhi”
“And they are?” I asked.
“Some of us felt that it started because Draupadi tied a cloth to stop the bleeding of Krishna’s injured finger, someone said Goddess Lakshmi tied Rakhi on King Bali’s wrist to end a war” she continued after a bite “again some of us stated that Rajputana Queen Rani Karnawati sent a Rakhi to Emperor Humayun, but then again someone said it is celebrated because Alaxender’s wife had sent a Rakhi to King Puru to save Alexander from death.”
“Hmm, I understand your confusion” I said “so what did you say?”
“I felt that there is more to it” she said “as, I remember reading about the Vedic society where this festival was celebrated.”
“Well you see the four different versions you heard, were from different time periods.” I continued “So these may have occurred sometime, however this ritual was practiced in ancient Vedic period, which is much earlier than these occurrences.”
“Hmm, that is why I am confused about the beginning of this festival.”
“Yes I understand” I consoled her “But before I explain how it began, let us first understand the word Raksha Bandhan”
“Hmm as you always do,” she laughed “is this a combination of 2 words as well?”
“Actually no. What is your understanding of the words, I mean literarily.” I asked.
“I think it can be called as a band for protection?” She checked.
“Yes” I confirmed “but again, ‘protection’ in Sanskrit, is samasrayah, adhivaka etc and ‘bind’ is called pasayati or kil, and the Sanskrit for band is mandalika.”
“Ao-Ho Papa, you confuse me.” She complained “so why is it called Rakhi then?”
“You see the words ‘Raksha Bandhan’ is from Indo-Greek origin.”
“Papa I am all confused, if it was practiced during Vedic times, where Sanskrit was the language spoken, than why are the names Indo-Greek.”
“That is what makes it more interesting” I explained “the practice may have been renamed over a period of time, but the rituals remains ancient, which has its own scientific reasons.”
“As I expected” Rene giggled “so what is the science Papa?”
“You see Rakhi is celebrated during the month of Srabon, it is a season when rain is at its peak. This is also a time when all fluids upon the earth are in a mode of attraction due to the lunar changes.”
“Like the tides?” Rene asked
“Yes, and this also includes our blood, so, chances of suffering from high blood pressure is possible.” I explained “hence it may be the reason a band was tied in the wrist to control the blood pressure.”
“I see, very logical, something like acupressure”
“And was the tradition of sisters tying the Rakhi to brothers introduced later in time?” She enquired.
“Yes it is possible” I continued “Now what are the colors of Rakhi?”
“It is red, orange and yellow.”
“Right you are. In chromotherapy or color therapy, these colors are associated with energy, digestion, pancreas, liquid flowing in body etc. So it is a possibility that the ancient rishis used these colors in the threads as a mode of treatment.” I clarified.
“Oh! It is indeed interesting”
“Did you know Raksha Bandhan was used as a weapon in Bengal?” I asked her.
“Weapon?” asked a surprised Rene.
“Yes, during the first partition of Bengal.”
“You mean 1905?”
“Yes, Tagore urged Hindus and Muslims to tie the Rakhi to showcase harmony and brotherhood among Hindus and Muslims.” I informed
“That is why Rabindranath Tagore was such a great man.”
“Indeed, though that did not stop the partition and later another one in 1947, but it clearly showed the people of Bengal never wanted this partition.”
“I see Papa,” Rene was quiet for a while after she said this. I knew from her looks that she had more questions, I was waiting and after a while she asked “Papa, why do people fight in the name of religion?”
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A devoted foodie with keen interest in wild life, music, cinema and travel Somashis has evolved over time . Being an enthusiastic reader he has recently started making occasional contribution to write-ups.