upon a time, long long ago, Surya, the sun God, was married to a beautiful princess
called Samjna (also prounced as Sangya). In course of a year, she presented Him
The twins were christened Yama, and Varni or Yamuna, and they
grew up together.
However, Samjna, after some time, were unable to bear the
brilliance of her husband, decided to go back to earth. However, she left her
shadow, Chaya, her exact replica, behind, so that to Surya, it would appear that
she is still there.
In course of time, Chhaya turned out to be a cruel
stepmother and was very unkind to the twins. She soon gave birth to her own children,
and at that time convinced Surya to drive out Samjna’s twins, Yama and Varni from
the heaven. Varni fell to earth and became the river Yamuna, and Yama went to
the underworld (hell) and became the King of Death!
Years passed. Varni
married a handsome prince and was content and happy in her life. But she missed
her brother and yearned to see him. Yama, too, missed his sister and decided one
day to visit her.
Overjoyed by news of her brother's visit, Varni prepared
a great feast in his honor. It was two days into Deepavali, so her home was already
decorated with pretty lamps. She lovingly prepared a feast, including all the
sweets and delicacies that her brother loved. Her husband, the handsome prince,
was very happy seeing Varni so dedicatedly preparing a welcome for her brother.
Yama, too, was delighted by his sister's loving welcome, and brother and
sister spent a pleasant evening in each other's company, after their long period
When it was time for Yama to return to his kingdom in
hell, he turned to his sister and said, "Dear Varni, you have welcomed me
so lovingly. But I did not bring you a gift. Ask, therefore, for something and
it will be yours."
"Your visit is gift enough," replied
Varni lovingly. "I have no need of anything else."
was persistent. "You must let me give you a gift," he insisted.
"Okay," agreed Varni, taking a moment to think. "I ask that
all brothers should remember their sisters on this day and visit them if they
can, and that, on this day, all sisters should pray for the happiness of their
"So be it!" proclaimed Yama, the King of Death,
adding, "And I grant all brothers who give their sisters a loving gift on
this day a long and healthy life!"
And this is how the custom of Bhai-duj,
or bhai-phonta, came into practice. Bhai duj is celebrated widely across India,
when sisters give a tika or phonta, (a mark or bindiya with the help of the finger
dipped in sandal or curd) on the forehead of their brothers.
all brothers visit their sisters on this day, exchange good feelings, and give
them loving gifts. Sisters too, pray for their brohers lng life nd good health,
and general well-being.
So, to all you brothers out there: Be sure to
remember your sisters on this day and give them loving gifts-be they ever so small.
And, to all sisters: You, too, must think of your brothers and pray for their
well-being on this special day.
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