A red thread known as Mauli or Kalava or Charadu is tied on wrist by Hindus before the beginning of a religious ceremony. The thread is tied on the right hand by males and on the left hand by females. The thread is tied to invoke the blessings of the Hindu deities especially of the particular deity to whom the puja is dedicated.
There is also a popular belief that the sanctified red thread with blessing of the deity protects a person from diseases, enemies and other dangers.
By tying ‘Mauli/Kalava’ it is said that blessings of Trideva – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and Tridevis – Saraswati, Lakshmi and Durga are received. From the blessings of Brahma we get fame, from the blessings of Vishnu we get defending power from evil and by the blessings of Shiva we get the power to destroy our own bad and negative qualities. By the blessings of Saraswati we get knowledge, by the blessings of Lakshmi we get wealth and from Durga we get power.
In ancient times it is said that God Vaman tied ‘Raksha Sootra’ (defending thread) in the form of ‘Mauli’, for the immortality of great chertiest demon king Bali. Since then custom of tying ‘Mauli’ is continued. It is also said in ‘Shastras’ that :
Yen baddho bali raja danvedro mahabalah|
Ten tvamanubadhnaami rakshe maachala maachala||
The literal meaning of mauli is ‘above all’. Here the reference is to the head that stands high. With the moon perched on top of Shiva’s head he is referred to as Chandramauli.
The thread can also be called a raksha or rakhi, and is put on the brother by the sister to show the sister’s familial love. The knots in the thread are said to hold the love of the sister when she tied the knot. Thus, the brother wears the rakhi as a sign of his sister’s love and wishes for protection. In other arrangements, the knots tied in the rakhi as the red strings are given to guests or tied around their wrists before a special ceremony or reception is also considered to hold the goodwill of those who offer it.