Krishna and Draupadi
According to the epic Mahabharata Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas had once torn a strip off her sari and tied it around Krishna’s wrist to stanch the bleeding from a battlefield wound. Krishna was touched by her action and declared her to be his sister, even though they were unrelated. Krishna repaid the debt of love during the “Cheer-Haran” (literally “clothing-removing”) of Draupadi, which occurred in the assembly of King Dhritarashtra when Yudhisthira lost her to the Kauravas in gambling.
Indra and Indrani
According to this legend, a battle was being fought between the Devas and the Demons during the Hindu month of Shravana on a full moon day. It is said that the demons were in a dominating position and this troubled Lord Indra. His wife Indrani, unable to see his husband saddened over losing the battle, prayed to God and prepared a sacred thread which she tied on the right wrist of her husband. As a result, not only did Lord Indra end up winning the battle but also escaped from it unhurt.
King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi
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. 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. Lakshmi tied Rakhi to the King. Upon being asked, she revealed who she was and why she was there. The king was touched and requested the Lord to accompany her.
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 escape Yama’s torture.
Alexander the Great and King Porous
According to one historical occurrence, when Alexander the Great invaded India , Roxana, his wife sent a sacred thread (Rakhi) to Porous, asking him not to harm her husband in battle. Porous gave full respect to the Rakhi. On the battlefield, when Porus was about to deliver a final blow to Alexander, he saw the rakhi on his own wrist and restrained himself from attacking Alexander.
Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun
A historical event around Rakhi is that of Rani Karnavati of Chittor and Mughal King Humayun. Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of Chittor, realised that she could not defend against the invasion by Bahadur Shah, sent a Rakhi to King Humayun. Touched, Humayun immediately set off with his troops to defend Chittor. He arrived too late, and Karnavati carried out “Jauhar” killing herself to avoid dishonor When he reached Chittor, Humayun evicted Bahadur Shah from fort and restored the kingdom .
Rabindranath Tagore & Rakhi
The history behind this festival dates back to the year 1905 when the British empire decided to divide Bengal, a state of British India on the basis of caste and religion. That time Rabindranath Tagore arranged a ceremony to celebrate Raksha Bandhan to strengthen the bond of love and togetherness between the Hindus and the Muslims of Bengal and together fight against the British empire. He used the platform of Raksha Bandhan to spread the feeling of brotherhood.