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Chandra, the retainer of our mind, loses his heart

Chandra, the retainer of our mind, loses his heart

The exhilarating Chandra (चंद्र) or Somadeva (moon God) is the ruler of people's minds. There are various mantras for people to chant and invoke the blessings of Lord Chandra for mental peace and prosperity. He is also one of the sacred Navagraha (नवग्रह). Contrasting this position of Lord Chandra, there is an intriguing/gripping story where Chandra, the regulator of our mind, loses his heart to Devi Tara, the wife of Lord Brihaspati (बृहस्पति-Jupiter).

Jupiter (Brahaspati) was the chief priest of Gods. Jupiter, or Guru, was rational and practical. He had a beautiful wife called Tara, a passionate woman desirous of intense love. Once, it so happened that Brihaspati (Jupiter) had to go to Chandra's house to perform some rituals. The wife has a significant position in ancient traditions, symbolising the importance of women and the grihastha ashram(गृहस्थ आश्रम). None of these rituals was complete without the wife. So Tara accompanied Brihaspati for the yagna (यज्ञ) to be accomplished. The attractive and passionate Chandra met captivating and lovelorn Tara. Both Tara and Chandra were attracted to each other and fell in love.

As love sees no bounds, Tara moves to stay with Chandra. However, it was awkward because Tara was the wife of the Guru of Gods and even Chandra's Guru.

This act of Tara and Chandra (moon) caused huge embarrassment to Brahaspati (Jupiter), who requested that Chandra to send Tara back. Brihaspati appealed to the rationale of Dharma (धर्म) since Tara was a married woman; secondly, she was the wife of his Guru. Chandra had an equally strong appeal to make. He felt that Jupiter was doing Adharma (अधर्म) by keeping Tara with him as there was no love between them. Unity without true intimacy and mutual feeling is not Dharma and is not considered a virtuous partnership. The relationship also needs to be under the tenets of Dharma. This aspect of the story conveys the beauty of the Hindu religion, that it is ever-evolving, where each individual is free to find their truth and be guided by their own belief. There are no rigid dictums that guide our lives.

Lord Indra (इंद्र) was bound to interfere between the two parties apprehending that Brihaspati might refuse to continue with his duty as the Guru of Devas and Indra. Indra was highly dependent on Brihaspati for the rituals to maintain his position. Tension was mounting up on both sides. It was the clash of ego and love: both equally strong and aptly taken refuge under Dharma. So apprehending a war, Indra felt it right to interfere.

Indra compelled Tara to come back to Brihaspati, leading the way for the superiority of the Dharma of a wife to the Dharma of a lover. However, Tara was carrying a child at that time. Brihaspati enquired who the father was, to which Tara refused to reply. Some stories say that it was Lord Brahma in whom Tara confided, whereas others say that when Brahaspati asked, and Tara declined to speak, the unborn child spoke from Tara's womb and told her that a child he has a right to know who his father was. To this Devi, Tara replies that it is Lord Chandra who is the father of the child. Full of rage, Brahaspati cursed the unborn child to be born in the neuter gender. Another story says that on hearing that his child was born, Lord Chandra happily took away the child, Buddha (बुध- Mercury), and was put under the care of his favourite wife, Rohini.

Born out of the union of Chandra (mind) and Tara (youth and beauty), Buddha is youthful and represents intellect and the mind, differentiating good and evil. While Chandra is an innocent calm mind, Buddha is a discerning mind.

Scriptural stories encompass a lush, expansive understanding of the divine both Saguna (सगुण) and Nirguna (निर्गुण) form. Whatever has form, either God, humans or animals, expresses shades of emotions, and whatever is formless, divine consciousness, or disembodied self is beyond emotions and feelings. This story genre is commonly found in ancient scriptures and probably offers a guiding tone for the people. The embodied form of God displays an array of emotions for human beings to identify and are intelligently embedded in stories that offer debates and discourses.