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|Mantra||Om Chandramasē Namaha|
|Mount||chariot pulled by an antelope
by ten white horses
In Hinduism, Chandra (Sanskrit: चन्द्र, IAST: Candra, lit. "shining")[a] is a lunar god and a Graha. Chandra is also identified with the Vedic lunar deity Soma. The Soma name refers particularly to the juice of sap in the plants and thus makes the Moon the lord of plants and vegetation.
Chandra is described as young, beautiful, fair; two-armed and having in his hands a club and a lotus. He rides his chariot across the sky every night, pulled by ten white horses or an antelope. He is connected with dew, and as such, is one of the gods of fertility. He is also called Rajanipati and Kshupakara, and Indu. As Soma, he presides over Monday.
Chandra is known for having a series of disastrous love affairs. His first lover, Tara, was the wife of Brihaspati, the planet Jupiter. From their union, Tara became pregnant gives birth to Budha. Because of how he was conceived, Budha hated his father. For the sin of abducting another god's consort, Brahma banished Chandra to the outer atmosphere. This story illustrates allegorically the prohibition of intoxicants for Brahmins. After that, Chandra, set out to marry the twenty-seven daughters of Daksha. Daksha allowed this on the condition that the Moon did not favor any daughter over the others. Chandra failed to do this, and Daksha placed a curse on him that took away his luster, which accounts for the Moon's waxing and waning.
Dark spot on the Moon
One popular story to account for the dark spot on the Moon is that Ganesha, once filled with food, fell from his mouse and broke his stomach. Chandra laughed at this, for which Ganesha injured him by breaking off and throwing away one of his tusks; and cursed him so that it would be forbidden to behold Chandra on Ganesh Chaturthi.
Chandra is also the word in Sanskrit, Hindi and other Indian languages for the Moon. It is also a common Indian name, both male and female and exists as a name in many South East Asian languages that originate from Sanskrit.
The god, the drink and the plant probably referred to the same entity, or at least the differentiation was ambiguous. In this aspect, Soma is similar to the Greek ambrosia; it is what the gods drink, and what made them deities. Soma is still coined as name for an entheogenic brew still in ceremonial use.
Indu, one of the other names for Chandra, is also the name of the first chakra of Melakarta ragas in Carnatic music. The names of chakras are based on the numbers associated with each name. In this case, there is one, the Moon and hence the first chakra is Indu.
In popular culture
Chandra plays an important role in one of the first novel-length mystery stories in English, The Moonstone.
- In other languages: Kannada ಚಂದ್ರ, Telugu చంద్రుడు, Tamil சந்திரன்.
- Graha Sutras By Ernst Wilhelm , Published by Kala Occult Publishers ISBN 0-9709636-4-5 p.51
- Graha Sutras by Ernst Wilhelm, published by Kala Occult Publishers. ISBN 0-9709636-4-5. p. 5.0
- Mythology of the Hindus By Charles Coleman p.131
- Mythology of the Hindus By Charles Coleman p.132
- South Indian Music Book III, by Prof. P Sambamoorthy, Published 1973, The Indian Music Publishing House
- Ragas in Carnatic music by Dr. S. Bhagyalekshmy, Pub. 1990, CBH Publications
- Media related to Chandra at Wikimedia Commons