Candra (Soma)

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Candra was born to Atri by Anasuya. (See Pururavas).

2) Candra led married life with the wife of his guru.
Tara, the very beautiful wife of Brhaspati, preceptor of the Devas happened to reach Candra’s home during her perambulation one day. Candra and Tara fell in love with each other at first sight and lived in conjugal happiness. And thus days passed by. Brhaspati, being informed of the fact on enquiry, deputed his disciples to bring Tara back, but to no purpose. Brhaspati sent his disciples again and again to Tara, but all to no purpose. Then Brhaspati himself went to the house of Candra and invited Tara, this time also to no purpose.
Enraged at this the Deva guru spoke to Candra as follows:
“The Brahmin-killer, gold-thief, drunkard, he who marries another’s wife and he who associates himself with the above three types are responsible for the most terrible five sins, and you, therefore, are not fit enough to reside in Devaloka. Unless you return my wife to me I will curse you.”
None of the threats of Brhaspati could shake Candra. He told the Devaguru that Tara who had gone to his house on her own accord would also leave him when she was satiated with him. These words of Candra made Brhaspati all the more angry. He returned home and waited sometime more for Tara’s return. But, he got disappointed, and getting impatient he started again for Candra’s house. But, this time the gatekeepers did not let him in.

Terribly angry at the cruel rebuff Brhaspati sought help of Indra. Indra sent word to Candra asking him to send Tara back home or be prepared for war. Even then Candra refused to yield, and Indra started for war against Candra. But, there was somehow some difference among the devas about all this, and the news reached the asuras. At once Sukra, preceptor of the asuras and an old enemy of Brhaspati met Candra and assured him all support in case war broke out between Indra and Candra. He also strongly advised Candra not to return Tara to Brhaspati.
And, ultimately fierce war began between Indra and Candra. All activities in the world were thrown into confusion and chaos. At this Brahma on his hamsa ( swan) came to the scene and admonished Candra and Sukra. They could not but obey Brahma and so were forced to stop fighting. Moreover, Candra returned Tara to Brhaspati.

The quarrel and fighting thus ended for the time being, but another problem cropped up. At the time Candra returned Tara to Brhaspati she was carrying, and Brhaspati was not aware of the fact. And at last Tara delivered an exceptionally beautiful male child. The naming ceremony of the child was duly performed, Brhaspati himself acting as its father. When the news reached Candra he sent a messenger to Brhaspati claiming the child was his. Brhaspati too claimed its fatherhood. This controversy developed almost to the brink of a second devasura war. At this stage Brahma went to Brhaspati’s house and questioned Tara as to who really was her child’s father, and she named Candra. Upon this Brahma asked Brhaspati to release the child to Candra and Brhaspati did so.
(Devi Bhagavata, Prathama Skandha).

3) Wives of Candra. Candra took twentyseven daughters of Daksa as his wives. (Devi Bhagavata, Saptama Skandha). These twentyseven wives are the twentyseven stars. Candra circumambulates Mahameru along with these, his twentyseven wives (Stars) . (Maha-bharata Vana Parva, Chapter 163, Verse 33).
The names of the twentyseven wives are given hereunder:
Asvini, Bharani, Krttika, Rohini, Mrgasiras, Ardra, Punarvasu, Pusya, Aslesa, Janakam, Phalguni, Uttaraphalguni, Hasta, Citra, Svati, Visakha, Anuradha, Jyestha, Mula, Purvasadha, Uttarasadha, Srona, Sravistha, Pracetas, Purvaprosthapada, Uttaraprosthapada, Revati.

Solar eclipse according to the Puranas.
The Devas and the asuras jointly churned Ksirabdhi wherefrom emerged Dhanvantari with the Amrtakumbha (pot of nectar). ( See Amrtam).
But an asura mayavi (magician) called Saimhikeya absconded to Patala with the Amrtakumbha which nobody noticed as everybody was busy with dividing other divine objects. Only after the mayavi’s disappearance was it noticed that the Amrta Kumbha was missing. At once Mahavisnu assumed the figure of a beautiful woman, got back the Kumbha and gave it to the devas.
The devas began drinking the amrtam when, at the instance of some other devas, Saimhikeya (Rahu), the mayavi, assuming the form of an old Brahmin reached svarga, got a share of the amrta and began to drink it. Surya and Candra ( Sun and Moon) who were on guard at the gates divined the secret of the old Brahmin and informed Vvisnu about it. He cut the throat of the pseudo-Brahmin with his Sudarsana Cakra. But, half of the nectar he had drunk stayed above the throat and the other half below it. Therefore, though the head and the trunk were severed they remained alive. These two parts, in course of time, evolved as #Rahu and #Ketu.

When the throat was cut some blood as well as some amrta dropped on two places on the ground, and they became the red #onion and the white onion respectively. Some vaidika brahmins used to consider the red onion objectionable for consumption as it was evolved from blood, while the white onion was considered usable as it was evolved from amrtam.

Rahu and Ketu still maintain their hatred for Surya and Candra who had betrayed the asura, who, disguised as brahmin tried to drink the amrta. Eclipse is the phenomenon of Rahu and Ketu swallowing Surya and Candra as and when opportunity presents itself for it. But, since the throat is severed from the body, Surya and Candra thus swallowed get out through the throat. That is the reason why Surya and Candra become visible after the eclipse in over.
(Kampa Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda and Bhagavata Astama Skandha).

5) Cmdra became a calf.
Once emperor Prthu transformed Bhumidevi into a cow and milked from her all things and provisions. On that occasion it was Brahma, who acted as Calf. And, following Prthu when the Rsis milked the cow Candra served as Calf.
(For details see Prthu) .

6) Waxing and waning of Candra, the puranic story regardding it. Of the twentyseven daughters of Daksa whom Candra had married he loved Rohini much more than the other twentysix wives, and so kept her always with him. This annoyed the twentysix wives, who complained about it to Daksa. Daksa’s advice to Gandra to treat all the wives on an equal footing had no effect on him. So, the twentysix neglected wives again complained to Daksa as follows:
“We shall stay in the asrama and serve you. #Soma (Candra) does not associate with us, he will not accept your advice.”

Though Daksa warned Candra a second time, that too had no effect on him. So the twentysix wives, for the third time, complained to #Daksa. Daksa got angry at this and cursed that Candra should suffer from tuberculosis. Thus Candra was afflicted by consumption. Though Candra performed many a yajna to get cured of the fell disease, they did not produce the desired effect. Candra remaining a tubercular patient, the growth of medicinal plants stopped with the result that all living things contracted consumption. When people began becoming thinner, the devas asked Candra for an explanation, and he told them all the details. They then sought the help of Daksa, who gave Candra redemption from the curse by ordaining that if he dived in the Sarasvati tirtha in the western sea he would be free from consumption for half of every month. Thenceforth C indra made it a practice to dive in the Sarasvati tirtha and that is the reason why Candra is exempted from Ksayaroga for fifteen days.
(Maha-bharata Salya Parva, Chapter 35).

7) Candra, King of stars and of medicines.
During the reign of emperor Prthu, he changed Bhumidevi into a cow. Later the Rsis also changed bhumidevi into a cow and milked her. It was Candra who served as calf then. Pleased at this Brahman crowned Candra as king of the stars and medicines.
(Harivamsa, Chapter 4, Verse 2).

8 ) Other information about Candra

(1) Candra is 11,000 sq. yojanas in area, 33,000 yojanas in circumference and a volume of 5,900 cubic yojanas (#Moon).
(Maha-bharata Bhisma Parva, Chapter 12).

(2) Candra presented two attendants called Mani and Sumati to Subrahmanya (Salya Parva, Chapter 45; Verse 32).

(3) Candra once made a discourse on the superior qualities of brahmins to Sambarasura. (Anusasana Parva, Chapter 36, Verse 13, Southern Text).

(4) All welfare and prosperity accrue to him, who on full-moon day at moon-rise tenders offerings to Candra of bread in copper vessels with honey poured into it.
(Anusasana Parva, Chapter 36, Verse, 13, Southern Text).

(5) Candra is one of the asta-vasus. Candra had four sons, Varcas, Sisira, Prana and Ramana by his wife named Manohara.
(Adi Parva, Chapter 66, Verse 18).

(6) Abhimanyu was Candra’s son, Varcas, reborn as the son of Arjuna. (See #Abhimanyu).

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