Chandra is the god of the Moon. He is a lunar deity. He is also called Soma. Chandra is one of the Navagrahas. He presides over Monday. He is also a fertility god. He is the son of Rishi Atri. Other names for Chandra are Rajanipati, Indu and Kshuparaka.
- Father: Atri
- Mother: Ansuya
- Brothers: Durvasa, Dattatreya
- Wives: Krttika, Rohini, Mrigashirsha, Ardra, Punarvasu, Purbabhadrapada, Pushya, Aslesha, Magha, Svati, Chitra, Purvaphalguni, Hasta, Radha, Vishakha, Anuradha, Jyeshta, Mula, Purbashadha, Uttarashara, Sravana, Uttaraphalguni, Satabhisha, Uttarabhadrapada, Revati, Ashwini, Bharani
- Sons: Budha, Varchas, others
- Daughters: Bhadra, others
Ansuya’s fame and glory had spread all over the world. The devas were afraid that she might snatch their celestial treasures from them. They told the Trideva about this. The Trideva explained the greatness of Ansuya to them. But they agreed to ruin her chastity.
The Trideva took the form of beggars and came to Atri and Ansuya’s hut to beg for alms. At that time, Atri had gone to offer his daily ablutions at the river. She welcomed them and washed their feet. Ansuya was waiting for Atri took come back so they could give food to the three beggars.
But the beggars said that they couldn’t wait for the return of Atri. They demanded that the food be served right now. But they made an unusual request that she serve the food to them disrobed. Ansuya was really confident that the spiritual strength of her husband would save her, so she did so. When she entered the room, the three beggars had turned into babies.
When Atri Rishi came in, he saw Ansuya with three babies. Ansuya offered the three babies at Atri’s feet. Atri realized that they were none other than the Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The Trideva assumed their real forms and Atri greeted them with folded hands. The Trideva requested Ansuya to ask for a boon. She asked that Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva actually become their children. They granted the boon and vanished. After some time, three sons were born to Atri and Ansuya: Dattatreya, Chandra, and Durvasa. Dattatreya was Vishnu, Chandra was Brahma, and Durvasa was Shiva.
After some time, Durvasa said, “I wish to leave and go on a pilgrimage. Then I want to do severe penance.” Chandra then said, “I am going to become part of the Navagrahas. I will reside on the Moon and be the god of the Moon. Thus, you will be able to see me every night. Don’t worry, Dattatreya will remain here and combine himself with the qualities of all three of us.”
After taking the permission of their parents, Durvasa left for a long pilgrimage and Chandra left for the Moon. Dattatreya remained with Ansuya and Atri in their hermitage.
Chandra once performed the Rajasuya yagna. After performing this great yagna, he started becoming arrogant. He decided to abduct Tara, the wife of Brihaspati (preceptor of the devas). After abducting her, Chandra forced Tara to marry him. Brihaspati was enraged and decided to attack Chandra. Shukracharya, the preceptor of the Asuras, sided with Chandra. This was because Shukracharya was an enemy of Brihaspati. When their preceptor joined Chandra, all the Asuras followed. All the devas and Shiva came to help Brihaspati. A fearsome war ensued between the two sides.
Seeing the war, Brahma came to the location and told the two sides to stop fighting. He ordered Chandra to return Tara to Brihaspati. Chandra had to give up Tara. Brihaspati soon realized that Tara was pregnant. Soon, the child was born and both Chandra and Brihaspati were captivated by his beauty. Both Chandra and Brihaspati claimed the boy as their child. Tara refused to give an answer as to whose son it is. The son became mad and threatened that he would curse Tara if she doesn’t reveal who his father is. Tara finally said that he was Chandra’s son. Chandra was delighted and the child was named Budha.
Chandra and Ganesha
One day, a devotee of Shiva came to Ganesha with sweets. Ganesha loved sweets. He stayed with the devotee the entire day. At night, he set off to go back to Kailash. He had all the remaining sweets in his hand. He was riding on his mouse Mushaka. Mushaka was unable to bear the weight of Ganesha and stumbled. Ganesha fell of Mushaka and the sweets scattered. Ganesha was embarrassed.
Chandra had seen this happen. This was the time during which the moon was full throughout the month. There was no waxing and waning period. He started laughing. Ganesha glared angrily at the Moon. He shouted, “Chandra! You laughed at me when I fell. You think you are so handsome. I curse you that you will not come out during the night ever again!”
Chandra was shocked. He immediately cried out, “Lord Ganesha! Please forgive me! I was too proud of myself.” Ganesha realized that Chandra’s pride had been broken. But he knew he couldn’t take back the curse. He said, “I can’t take the curse but I can reduce it. You will slowly decrease in size for about 15 days at the end, of which there will be no moon. After that, for another 15 days, the moon will increase in size till the full moon day, during which the moon will be the largest. This cycle will keep repeating.” “Thank you!” Chandra replied gratefully.
Ganesha then said, “You laughed at me on Chaturti. Because of this, whoever sees you on this day will have some problems.
Chandra soon married 27 of Daksha‘s daughters. Chandra loved all of his wives, but he especially loved Rohini. When the other 26 wives realized this, they became agitated and went to Daksha. They told him about how Chandra favored Rohini. Daksha also didn’t like this. He went to Chandra and said, “Oh Chandra, how can you love one more than the rest. Please don’t do this.” But Chandra did not listen to Daksha. He was deeply in love with Rohini, so he ignored the rest. After requesting a couple more times, Daksha became distressed. He cursed Chandra,” You haven’t listened to me multiple times. Thus, I curse that a wasting disease will fall upon you!”
When the devas and the rishis heard about this, they became agitated. They went up to Brahma and informed him about the situation. Brahma said, “Chandra has done many wicked things. He kidnapped Brihaspati’s wife and at one point, allied himself with the Asuras. But if Chandra wants to be cured, then he must go to the auspicious place of Prabhasa and please Shiva.”
On hearing the words of Brahma, the devas came to the place where Chandra and Daksha were present. They consoled Daksha and took Chandra to Prabhasa. For the next six months, Chandra performed penance using the Mrutyunjaya mantra to please Lord Shiva.
Finally, Shiva presented himself in front of Chandra. “Please make it so that my body doesn’t decay.” Shiva granted him the boon and then vanished. All of the devas and rishis rejoiced.
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