Have you ever heard of Evil Eye? In colonial America, it was called Stink Eye. In Hebrew, it is called Ayin Hara. In Spanish, it is called Mal de Ojo. Hundreds of cultures around the world believe in the evil eye. The evil eye is a very powerful negative force. What is it? It is the power to do harm with just one look.
The red thread is used for protection from the evil eye. A piece of woolen thread wrapped around the wrist is a powerful talisman.
In Indian temples, bracelets made of the red thread were tied on the wrist of unmarried girls on the right hand. In Russia, threads were tied to the wrists of the newborn during diseases and injuries. According to sorcerers, it absorbed the negative energy of the disease.
Interestingly, it was also put on to get rid of warts and pimples. The same practice was also common in the Indian tribes and the Nenets. There is also a very romantic reason, which originated in the ancient oriental legend of interconnected souls. The essence of the red string of fate has remained the same.
In Judaism, a talisman protects against the evil eye, envy and destructive thoughts. In China and Japan, the red thread has a romantic and mythological connotation related to the concept of twin souls. The legend says that an invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, no matter the time, place or circumstances. The yarn can stretch or contract, but never break.
In the Tao-te Ching, the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote that the thread is what has always symbolized the union of love. The thread is a symbol that we find everywhere in Chinese mythology in the ancient legend of Yuè Lǎo, the god of marriage and the Red String of Fate.
The Japanese tied the red string of fate to the little finger of the left hand of the newborn. The thread, however, has the great importance in Greek and Latin classical mythology. In India, the red thread sometimes has shades of yellow. It gets several names and is used in different ways. They are called Kalava, Charandu or Mauli and are attached to the priests and the older members of the family before a religious ceremony.
The men and the single women carry it in the right hand, while the married women carry it on the left. The tradition dictates that it has to be used until it falls. It is believed that the tied thread invokes the blessing of the deity. It distances the evil spirits and the negative energy.
Sometimes Rakhi can have a meaning of more complete brotherhood. It sometimes extends its use to other members of the family or to honor warriors.
In many parts of the world, many people maintain a strong resistance to tying a knot around their loved ones at certain critical times, in particular during births, marriages, and death.
According to a remedy for the fever employed by the Turkmen, the magician grabbed a camel's hair and twisted it to make a thick and strong thread, while pronouncing a spell. He would make seven knots in the thread. This thread is then carried as a bracelet on the patient's wrist. Each day he unties one knot and when on, the seventh day the last one is untied, the whole thread is rolled into a ball and thrown into the river. The fever cured with it.
At other times the threads were used by Sorceresses to attract their beloved by tying three strings of different colors. It is one of the oldest forms of magic that is known and since antiquity, man has used the threads to tie his fortune or unleash his misfortune.
According to a legendary tale, when Alexander of Greece invaded India in 326 BC, Roxana, his wife, sent a sacred thread to Poros, a Rajput king of Punjab, asking him not to harm his husband in battle. According to hearsay, Porus gave full respect to the rakhi. On the battlefield, when Porus was about to give Alexander a final blow, he saw the rakhi on his wrist and was restrained from attacking Alexander.
Chittor's queen Karmavati had sent a Rakhi to Humayun to protect herself from Bahadur Shah. Humayun then went on a military expedition to Bengal and tried to protect her, but it was too late. Chittorgarh had already fallen and the Queen had already been exposed to the Rajput custom of Jauhar.
Rabindranath Tagore took the occasion of Raksha Bandhan to give a call to bind a Rakhi among all Hindus and Muslims to maintain peace and harmony between them. He spread the nationalist spirit among people of different ethnic groups.