Chandra, lit or shining as it means in Sanskrit, is the name of Moon God in Indian mythology. Chandamama as he is fondly referred to, occupies a dear place in our hearts. From little kids who are fed by moon light to lovers that look longingly at this shining light in the calmness of night, Chandra is associated with solace and tranquility. Being the most prominent fixture in the sky at night, he is also worshipped by most ancient civilizations across the world. Some civilizations consider moon as male while some others as female. Each have several folklore and mythology that is related to moon and its unique quality of waning and waxing, etc.
As depicted in our scriptures, he is said to be white skinned, holding lotuses in each of this hand, generally depicted only as a torso only, riding a chariot drawn by two deer. (that are symbolic of mind’s inability to stay still) He is believed to have risen from the churning of the celestial ocean and played the role of resuscitating devas who had succumbed to fumes of Adisesha’s venom. He is married to 27 daughters of Dhaksha. He fathered Mercury with Jupiter’s wife, Tara leading to the curse of only having one of his wives, Rohini(the one always seen close to him in the sky) and losing the others. It is also believed that his ridicule at Lord Ganesha led to his defacing caused by the impact of the tusk hurled at, striking him. Scriptures elaborate on how his partiality to one of his wife caused the curse for him to lose all his luster and how Lord Shiva protected him (leading to the waxing and waning) by wearing him on his head. One finds many interesting stories about Chandra in our scriptures and folklore.
In vedic astrology, Chandra who controls one’s mind, is also a significator of mother. The sign in which moon is placed in one’s horoscope becomes one’s Janma Rashi and plays a very important role in the emotional approach of a person. Ruling Cancer, he also rules over the tides of the sea and shows the feminine, motherly and caring nature in an individual. His gems are befittingly moonstone and pearl in silver ornamental casings. Adorned in white robes, he guards the northwest direction. Worshiping Chandra on Mondays; special Pooja to Lord Shiva is said to provide relief from sorrows and mental affliction with the offerings of rice, milk, ghee, etc
Chandra is the fastest of the Navagrahas and transits houses every 2 ½ days in astrology and forms some important yogas like the Sunafa yoga, Anafa yoga, durudara yoga, etc.
In yogic world, Chandra rules the seventh chakra, known as the sahasrara chakra, which is the combination of all the chakras below it. The power to integrate with each other and establishes a strong connection between us and the cosmic energy is enabled by the opening of this chakra. A realm beyond consciousness is attained by activation of this chakra.
Kailasnaathar temple and Somnath temple in TamilNadu and Gurjarat respectively are some well-known ones where Chandra gets a special privilege as the adornment of Lord Shiva. He also occupies a place in navagrahas at temples. Interestingly, Chandra is the only planet facing Surya as he reflects the radiance and is easily identified.
Days also known as Tithi change in Indian lunar calendar with every 12 degree difference between the Sun and the Moon. When Surya and Chandra occupy the same Sign, it is Amavashya or New Moon day or the 1st day of the dark fortnight, and when they are exactly opposite signs to one another or 180 degrees apart, it is Purnima, Full moon day or the first day of the bright fortnight.
Chandra Gayathri chanted to harness tranquility, composure of mind, adding beauty and success to one’s life is
Om Padmatwajaya Vidhmahe
Hema Roopaya Dheemahe
Thanno Chandra Prachodayath.
While the body’s health is important, it is vital to maintain one’s mental well-being and strength; to bring beauty and prosperity to one’s life. Let Chandra guide us to this tranquility, since material wealth loses its glamor when the mind is unstable.