Chandra – the Waxing and Waning Moon God

24 May 2024
4 mins read
Chandra - the Waxing and Waning Moon God

Chandra was watching Rohini dress in front of the mirror. Her skin glowed in his shimmering light. Her large, black eyes always held wonder in them. She smiled at his reflection in the mirror. Every time she saw him, it was as if she was seeing him for the first time; love and affection overflowed from every pore of her body. And he was happily smitten in the abundant outpouring of their love. 

But, an old conversation with his father-in-law, Daksha, always nagged him. He had promised the father of his 27 wives that he would love all of them equally and not have any favourites. He hadn’t realised what a fool he had been to make promises he couldn’t keep. He couldn’t have imagined that controlling his feelings would’ve been as enormously difficult as it turned out to be.

Rohini easily outshone the other wives. She dressed elegantly, she was the most graceful of them all, and she was an amazing cook dishing out one delicacy after another for her husband. Most importantly, Chandra felt the happiest and most loved when he was with Rohini. 

He did not feel what he felt for his fourth wife for his other 26 wives. And so, he failed to keep the promise made to his father-in-law. He couldn’t love all his wives equally. 

Even today, he had promised he would spend time with Revati, the most jealous of his 27 wives. But he just couldn’t take his eyes off his beautiful, graceful, sensuous Rohini. Time passed very fast when he was with her. Revati, for the umpteenth time, waited in vain for her husband to come to her boudoir. 

This time her anger at being stood up took on a horrible form. Her jealousy of Rohini felt uncontrollable, and she was driven to do something about the unfair situation. She gathered together her 25 sisters and co-wives of Chandra and held a meeting. All of them were as angry and annoyed by their husband’s partiality towards Rohini as Revati. But she was the most determined to do something about it. 

Under Revati’s leadership, they approached their father, the powerful Lord Daksha for help. Daksha was furious at his son-in-law for the unequal treatment meted out to his dear daughters. He called him for a serious discussion. 

 “You dare to break your promise to me, Chandra,” bellowed Daksha.

Chandra shrank back in fear at the sight of his angry father-in-law. He tried to pacify him. “Dear father, I have not been unfair. Each of my wives has a special luxurious mansion, all built around and equidistant from my large house. They all have the same number of servants, the same set of clothes and garments, and the same kind of furniture. What more can I do to prove myself to you?”

“What about the time you spend with each of them?”

Chandra couldn’t meet Daksha’s eyes. He couldn’t hide the fact that he loved Rohini most of all. He cared for the others well enough to give them a good life but if he had to choose one among the 27, it would be Rohini and no one else. He said this to his father-in-law and ended his speech with, “I love them all but yes, Rohini does come on top of the list. I know I have broken my promise to you. However I realised later that love is a feeling that cannot be shared equally, and I have no qualms in accepting this weakness of mine. Tell me what I can do to make everyone feel better.”

Daksha’s anger did not abate at the sight of Chandra’s helpless, fear-filled but determined face. It only made him angrier. Unthinkingly, he cursed his son-in-law, “May your brilliance fade with each passing day!”

Chandra was devastated, and more so, his wives; all 27 of them, especially Revati. She was stunned at her father’s words. This was not what she had wanted. She loved Chandra and only wanted him to love her back with the same intensity. All the 27 star-daughters of Daksha fell at his feet and pleaded on behalf of their husband. 

“Take back your curse, Father. We want Chandra back as he was. He doesn’t deserve this,” begged Revati, her eyes filled with tears. “What if he disappears completely one day?”

“You should have thought well before coming to me for help. You know about my short temper.” Daksha was sad too and resented his impulsive behaviour. But he couldn’t do anything about it because a released curse cannot be revoked, at least he didn’t have the power to do so.

Chandra went into depression. He didn’t know what to do and looked beseechingly at his father-in-law. 

“Lord Shiva might help you. Go, seek his help.”

With no one to turn to, Chandra went to Prabhasa Tirtha for his meditation. He created a linga and anointed the idol with mantras and sat down in front of it to pray to Lord Shiva. Happy with his devotion, Shiva appeared before Chandra. “What do you seek, Oh Moon God?”

“I beg you to revoke Daksha’s curse on me.”

“That I cannot do. The curse itself is a part of your karma that cannot be done away with completely. But, I have a solution for you, one that not only solves your problem but also teaches a great lesson to humankind.”

“Tell me, Oh Lord! What would you have me do?”

“I will alter your curse in such a way that your energy and size will wane slowly every day until you disappear completely at the end of one fortnight. For the next fortnight, your energy and size will wax slowly until you reappear in your full form.”

Chandra looked doubtfully at the Lord of Kailash. Shiva looked back with a meaningful smile.

The Moon God said, “Don’t think I am ungrateful, my Lord. I know you have saved me from death. Yet, losing my sheen, the prime aspect of my personality, makes me sad.”

“You cannot evade the inevitable, Chandra. Just remember that your lesson is the basis of an important life lesson for humankind.”

“And what is that?”

“When they see you return diligently and unwavering till eternity, they will understand the importance of not giving up. When they see how beautiful you are even when you are not in your full form, sometimes just a sliver, they will learn to appreciate the beauty of this cosmos. You will be the symbol of love and beauty. Poets will sing your praises. Separated lovers will be reminded of each other when they see you. And from today onwards, a crescent will adorn my head forever, and I will get a new name, Chandrasekhara!”

Chandra’s face broke into a big smile and his light shone brightly. He prostrated before Lord Shiva. “Hail Lord Chandrasekhara! I am indebted to you forever!”


Chandrasekhara – the one with the moon on his forehead, one of the many epithets of Lord Shiva

Author’s Note: This story explains the relationship between the moon and the 27 stars or nakshatras in Indian Astrology. 

Photo by Marcus Dall Col on Unsplash


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