“There is a straightforward meaning, in fact two of them, of Raksha Bandhan. <‘raksha’ stands for protection, and ‘bandhan’ is a tie> One is, the tying up for the sake of gaining protection, and the other is tying in order to give protection. It is not mandatory that only a sister will tie the thread to the brother; a disciple ties it to the guru, and the guru in turn to the disciple. This tie is symbolic of giving and gaining protection.
In order to give or gain protection a mutual relationship must exist. Only when such a relationship exists do we understand what protection is to be given and what protection is to be had. The tie is really that of love. Here the difference between attachment (moha) and love (pyaar) is to be understood. In attachment we draw the other towards ourselves, we expect to gain something; in love we sacrifice ourselves for the other. Since Raksha Bandhan thread is symbolic of sacrifice offered in love, therefore invariably this thread of love becomes a means of awakening the power of the Supreme Self within us, and that in turn leads to a Divine love.
There are instances when the Hindu princesses sent this thread to Mohammedans and then, because they had accepted it, had to come to their rescue. There is also the instance of Draupadi, mentioned in the Mahabharata.
The question also is protection from whom? Yes, there are obstacles in the outer world, but the real obstacles lie within us. Therefore, one is to pray to the Lord for his strength and protection from our own vices of anger, greed, malice etc. The guru-disciple relation, the festivity of Guru Purnima are clearer manifestations of these central ideas that are imbued in the celebration of Raksha Bandhan <statement tentative>! “