Navgraha is the nine heavenly bodies and deities that influence human life on earth, according to Hinduism and Hindu astrology. Chandra, also known as Soma, is the Hindu god of the moon and is associated with night, plants, and vegetation. The second day of the week Monday is dedicated to this god and is known as Somwar in Hindi.
1. Chandra Dev: Birth
One must offer white or silver-colored articles and wear white to please the celestial god. Chandra is depicted only with a face and has two hands holding white lotuses, but no Body. The lunar deity is never depicted with a full-body, symbolizing his waxing and waning. There are multiple stories behind the birth of Chandra Dev. In the first version, Chandra was born in the ocean of milk and nearly blinded the devas with his bright glowing body. The devas unanimously decided to give Chandra the status of a planet and sent him to the cosmos.
2. Another Version of Lord Chandra’s Birth with mother Anasuya
The second version goes as follows. Lord Brahma began creating the universe, as he created the seven rishis. He instructed them to aid him in his creation by engaging in procreation, the seven rishis were Vashishtha, Marichi, Pulastya, Pulaha, Atri, Angiras, and Kratu. Atri was married to Anasuya and had no children. Anasuya was a very virtuous woman.
So the trinity Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva wanted to test Anasuya. They transformed themselves into three sages and appeared before Atri and Anasuya, asking them to serve food. They were welcomed into the house, and the trinity said that they follow some principles and only if the food is served to adhere to those principles, they would accept it.
The trinity said that they wanted to see Anasuya naked and then she could serve them food. Atri was shocked to hear this Anasuya immediately agreed and transformed the trinity into infants and began feeding them naked. Sage Narada learns about this and informs the Tri-Devis Parvati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. The Devis come to meet Anasuya and request her to release their consorts from infancy and give them back their divine trinity form. Anasuya agrees to this request, and the trinity now appears as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. All the gods pleased with Anasuya’s virtuousness offered them a boon to which the couple asks for a son who will be remembered forever by mother earth and who will prove useful to humans and other forms of life. Thus were born the three sons Chandra, Dhurvasa, and Dattatreya.
3. Lord Chandra’s Marriage to 27 Daughters of Daksha
Chandra was married to the 27 daughters of Daksha, the son of Lord Brahma, those 27 daughters, are the 27 lunar asterisms or stars. When Daksha gave away his 27 daughters in marriage to Chandra, he asked for a promise from Chandra that he would never look down upon any of his daughters and would treat them all equally with love and care. Chandra too promised Daksha that he will love and care for all his wives equally, but amongst all his 27 wives, Chandra was most fond of his fourth wife Rohini and spent most of his time with her.
4. The Curse of Daksha on Chandra Dev
The other 26 wives were unhappy with this. They went to their father and complained about this by listening to the complaints of Chandra Dev from his daughters. Daksha got angry in his anger, Daksha cursed, his son-in-law that all his powers will decline with each passing day and he would lose his beauty while suffering from a disease named Kshyayrog, Chandra begged Daksha, to take the curse back, but it was too late.
5. Lord Shiva wore the Moon on his Head
The dying deity prayed to lord shiva who blessed the moon god with a boon which, in a way balanced the effects of the curse. This established the waxing and waning of the moon, according to which the moon increases in brightness for 15 days in Shukla Paksha and decreases in brightness for 15 days in Krishna paksha, Chandra was disappointed at the thought of waxing and waning. His crescent shape would just be a constant reminder of the curse and his reduced strength.
Shiva consoled him by saying that the crescent indicates that he would still retain some of his powers. Shiva also proposed to wear the crescent moon on his hair to show his devotees that they are dear to him even in their lowest moments. Thus, Shiva came to be known as Chandrasekhara, meaning the one with Chandra mounted on his head.
6. Chandra Dev’s Child
Due to this curse of Daksha, the moon does not have children from his 27 wives. However, before his marriage, Chandra fathered the planet, Budh or Mercury, with Tara, the wife of Brihaspati, who is the guru of the devas. As per this story, once Chandra decided to perform the greatest of Yagyas Rajasuya Yagya. Chandra requested the guru of the devas Brihaspati to preside as the main priest to perform the Yagya. Due to some other reason, Brihaspati could not go and asked his wife Tara to preside over the Yagya.
Instead, as the Yagya was progressing, Chandra began to attain a more beautiful form. His divine beauty kept increasing to such an extent that all the Apsaras, including the Deva guru’s wife, Tara, began to fall for Chandra’s beauty. Tara returned home pregnant and everybody questioned whose child was in her womb. Tara revealed that the child in her womb is of Chandra, the Moon-god. Listening to this sentence, Brihaspati was infuriated and cursed the child that he will become an androgynous being. Therefore, mercury or Budh is neither considered a male nor a female.