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Rakhi Puja

Puja is the ceremony where we interact with the almighty, sing in his praise, thank him for the blessings he has bestowed upon us and pray for the fulfillment of our dreams and wishes. Different people belonging to different regions and religions follow different modes of praying God.

Especially in India, which is a land of diversities, the prayers too are specific for specific occasions. The country celebrates festivals of almost every culture existing in the world. For the festival of Raksha Bandhan, there is a particular pattern of evoking eternal blessings.
Raksha Bandhan is a festival that commemorates the deep bonding of brother-sister relationship. Puja or worshiping God is an integral part of any celebration of a festival in India. Rakhi puja tradition is as old as the story of the story of Goddess Lakshmi and King Bali. During Shravana Purnima, Goddess Lakshmi tied a sacred thread on the wrist of King Bali and Raja Bali sacrificed all for her protection.

Since then, it is a tradition of girls tying Rakhi on the wrist of their brothers. The traditional Rakhis may have been replaced by the trendy Rakhi Bracelets and cartoon Rakhis but the spirit of the festival is still the same. Any Raksha Bandhan ritual without Rakhi Puja is incomplete.

On the auspicious eve of Shravana Purnima, the day to celebrate Raksha Bandhan starts with performing of puja after an early bath by all the family members. Womenfolk of the household prepare puja thali for arti. The Puja Thali decoration constitute an important part of the Rakhi puja. In a copper or steel thali or plate, the holy sign of swastika is drawn with roli. The items required for the Rakhi thali are, roli and rice mixture, flowers, Rakhi, diya and Rakhi sweets.

With this holy puja thali, girls perform arti of their brothers. Then after anointing their forehead with the wet mixture of roli and rice, they complete the Rakhi tying ceremony. While tying the Rakhi the girls chant the following mantra:
“Yena Badhdho Bali Raja
Daanavendro mahabalah
Tena twam anubadhnaami
Raksha maa chala maa chala.”

In this mantra, the girl utters her prayers to the divine Rakhi “ Aye Rakhi, I am tying you on my brother's hand like Goddess Laxmi tied on the hand of King Bali. I pray to thee, that thou protect him from all kinds of danger”. Other than this mantra, the girls too shower their blessings through various Sanskrit Shlokas like:
“ Aum bhoor bhuva suvah
tat savitur vare Nyam
bhargo devasya dheemahi
dhiyo yo nah prachodayaat”
( Gayatri Mantra)

She prays for her brother's sound health, happiness and prosperity. On the other hand, the brother takes the unspoken vow of protecting her sister's esteem and pride in all respects of life.

Rakhi Puja holds great importance for the Hindu community across the world. Rakhi Puja cements the bond between brother and sister and help them get the ethereal blessings.

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