Lord Chandra Dev (Moon lord)
One of the most popular gods loved by one and all, old and young, male and female, benevolent or malevolent, is Lord Chandra (Moon lord). Also known as the Som Dev, the handsome, bright lord is also known by many other names, such as Rajanipati, Kshupakara, and Indu. In fact, Som Dev has an important part in music too. In Carnatic music, one of the ragas known as the Melakarta raga has the first chakra named after this God, Indu.
There are many tales associated with this fair Lord, who is known for both good and bad reasons in history. One of the fascinating stories associated with him is that of his affair with Tara, wife of the king of planet Jupiter, Brihaspati dev. He lured Tara, and the result of their tumultuous affair was the birth of the Lord of buddhi or knowledge, Budh dev. However, the boy was not at all pleased with his father due to the way he was conceived and the aftermath of the incident. Brihaspati, enraged by this deceit by Lord Chandra, declared a war against him and was supported by Lord Indra, the leaders of the devtas. On the other hand, Guru Shukracharya, the guru to asuras, saw this as an opportunity to weaken the devtas and joined hands with Lord Chandra. Both sides were equally balanced, and this led to the prolongation of the war to such an extent that the three chief Gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh (popularly known as Lord Shiv) were also worried about the possible results. In the end, Brahma Dev intervened, and both sides were asked to back off. Birhaspati went back to his abode with his wife, and Lord Chandra was asked to behave and banished to another part of the universe and Brahmins were forbidden from taking any more somaras as that is what led to all the events in the first place.
This is just one of the stories associated with him. It is said that Som Dev was partial to the nectar that is popularly known as “soma,” a pleasurable drink made out of the sap and other extracts of plants and flowers. Soma was also preferred by many other Gods, including Indra Dev, Kama Dev, and Rahu Dev. It is also the reason why Chandra dev is considered one of the Gods of plants and other types of vegetation. Monday in India is also named after this god as Somwar.
The Moon God is especially popular in India because people here believe more in the moon sign than the Sun sign. Many fortune, future, birth strengths and defects depend on the way the moon is aligned in the month of birth of a person. Many people also believe in celebrating their birthdays according to the lunar movements instead of the English calendar, and traditionally bound ceremonies such as marriages, naming ceremonies, and other rituals are performed according to the lunar and not English or solar zodiac calendar. Moon in astrology can be considered a benefice of the highest ranking and can also be malefic when it is covered or known as the Dark moon. A planet, Chandra is depicted by the hare too in various Vedic stories because this planet jumps from one place to the next, the fastest amongst all grahas. It takes just about 27 days for the moon to visit all the signs whereas other planets take more than 1 year to do the same.
Other tales associated with Lord Chandra
There are various reasons why the moon is said to be eclipsed at times and why it has marks on it. Born a handsome God with two arms and fair complexion, this Lord’s preferred mode of transportation is a chariot that is drawn by 10 white horses or by an antelope. Each night, the chariot is drawn so that the moon can spread its light over all of us. In one such jaunt of his, Lord Chandra saw that Lord Ganesha had fallen off his vahan, the mouse, after eating too much and having a really full belly. Looking at this Lord Chandra couldn’t control his mirth and started laughing loudly on Lord Ganesha, who had burst his stomach due to the fall. Enraged, the elephant God broke off a part of his tusk and threw it at the Moon Lord and cursed him so that he had spots. It is also forbidden to see the Moon Lord on the night of Ganesh Chaturthi for the same reason.
Lord Chandra, after his catastrophic affair with Tara, made the decision to marry the 27 daughters of Daksha, also known as the nakshatras. King Daksha agreed to let Chandra Dev marry all his daughters only on one condition –that he showed an equal preference to all of them. However, Lord Chandra failed to keep his promise and was particularly fond of the Rohini house, due to which Daksha was forced to curse him to have fluctuating brightness. That is why we see the waxing and waning of the moon on different nights.
Importance of Chandra Dev
The Moon Lord has a bond with dew which forms during the night, which turns into life-giving water that is required by plants to survive. Thus, lord Chandra is one of the Gods associated with fertility. In another positive role, Chandra is known as the “karaka” or positive influence on many aspects such as motherhood, general prosperity and contentment, eyesight, memory, and beauty. As a graham, when in full benefice power, the moon is said to act as a blood purifier and also helps with the curing of several mental illnesses, and it is known that he is very fond of and respects Lord Shiva, and that is why one can see a Moon’s Crescent adorning Shiva’s head at all times.
Worshipping Lord Chandra on Mondays is the most beneficial way to be blessed with emotional intelligence, memory, imagination, fertility, and beauty. The mantra to be chanted while praying to him, 108 times, is:
“Om Shraam Shreem Shraum Sah: Chandray Namah”