Draupadi aka Panchali (daughter of Panchal’s king) had been one of the most blessed sisters till date for the virtue of being Lord Krishna’s cherished adoptive sister. She was also affectionately referred to as ‘Krishnae’ by Krishna since she was of the same complexion as he was. The great epic text Mahabhrata describes how Krishna ran to help her when she was being disrobed before her husbands – the mighty Pandavas, her in-laws and the entire Kingdom of Hastinapur by her vile and scheming brother-in-laws (the Kauravas) after her husbands lost her to the Kauravas in the famous game of dice. Krishna even played a key role in restoring her dignity and lost wealth of the Pandavas.
Lord Vishnu and Goddess Parvati
Sati (Lord Shiva’s first wife Sati), was reborn as Parvati to King Himavan and Menavati. She grew up with the hope of marrying Shiva one day. But to Parvati’s utter shock, when Shiva refused to accept her as his consort, she took to severe austerities in order to purify her senses, activate her chakras so that she could become eligible to marry the Lord. To help her reach her goal, Lord Vishnu asked her to tie a rakhi on his wrist, so that as her brother he could remove all obstacles coming her way. Legend has it that for Shiva and Parvati’s celestial marriage, Lord Vishnu performed all the ceremonies that are supposed to be done by the bride’s brother.
Yama and Yamuna
According to the Rigveda, Yami or Yamuna (the river) is the twin-sister of Yamaraj, the Hindu mythological God of Death. They were born to Saranyu and Vivasvant. It is said that the tradition of celebrating Raksha Bandhan was started by Yami and Yamaraj. Old Hindu texts reveal that Yamuna tied a rakhi to Yama and thus made him an immortal. Yama, moved by his sister’s affectionate gesture declared that whoever gets a rakhi tied from his sister will be blessed to live a long life.
Balarama, Subhadra and Krishna
Subhadra was born as Krishna and Balarama’s affectionate sister. Krishna played the lead part in orchestrating her marriage to Arjuna, since the alliance meant that Krishna could easily lend a helping hand to Arjuna and the Pandavas so that they could emerge victorious in the battle of Kurukshetra. Subhadra begot a legendary warrior son with Arjuna who was named as Abhimanyu. The picture on the left shows the three siblings in the sanctum sanctorum of Jagannath puri’s temple in Orissa.
Devaki and Kansa
Historically, Kansa is known as Lord Krishna’s maternal uncle. During his lifetime, Kansa indulged in all sorts of heinous and unholy acts which also included beating up and enslaving his sister Devaki and her husband Vasudev when it was prophesied that the child born to the couple would bring him death. Although Kansa tried all tricks in the book to change his fate but ultimately, like they say, good prevailed over evil!
Surpanakha and Ravana
Surpanakha and Ravana are known to almost everyone who has grown up hearing the tales from the holy epic Ramayana. The siblings took birth in the household of sage Vishrava and a demon woman named Kaikasi. It is said that Surpanakha lost her heart at first sight to Lord Rama when he was on an exile with his consort Sita and brother Laxman. But when he politely refused her marriage proposal, then like the adage goes, Surpanakha had to pay through her nose, quite literally! In clear terms, Laxman cut off her nose which made her leave for her home wailing in pain. When she reported this incident to her brother Ravana - the King of Lanka, he bitterly vowed to take revenge by abducting Sita.