The story behind moon’s waxing and waning

Moon’s waxing and waning and Somnath jyotirlinga

We all know that moon waxes and wanes cyclically. There is a mythological story behind this.

Moon or Chandra was the son of Athvi and Ansuya. He was married to 27 daughters of Daksha (Ashwinit to Revati). Out of his 27 wives, he loved Rohini the most. Soon, other sisters did not like this and they decided to complain to their father, Daksha.

Moon or Chandra

Moon or Chandra

Daksha requested and warned his Moon to devote himself equally to all twenty-seven wives. But Chandra was in no mood to listen.

Daksha thereupon cursed Chandra that he would gradually fade away. Chandra didn’t know what to do. He went and sought advice from Brahma. The moon then sent the deities to lord Brahma to seek his help. At first, lord Brahma became very angry with Moon, but later on he cooled down and told the deities, that Moon can get liberated from the curse, if he chants ‘Mahamrityunjaya mantra’. Chandra went to Prabhasa tirtha and made a linga on the banks of the river Sarasvati. He prayed to Lord Shiva for six months. This shivlinga is said to be the Somnath jyotirlinga.

Somnath jyotirlinga temple

Somnath jyotirlinga temple

At the end of the penance, Shiva appeared before Chandra and offered to grant him a boon. Chandra explained what the problem was.

Well, said Shiva, Daksha’s curse cannot be entirely ignored. But a middle path can be taken. During krishna paksha you will wane. And during shuklapaksha (the bright part of the lunar fortnight) you will wax. That should satisfy everybody.

Chandra has been also guilty of abducting Brishaspati’s wife, Tara and having a son , Buddha (planet mercury with him). This situation escalated into a war like situation, where Shukra was fighting from Moon’s side and other gods from Brihaspati. Lord Vishnu, mediated and solved this dangerous situation.