Why Does Lord Shiva Wear a Crescent Moon?

The mighty Lord Shiva, he is always shown wearing a crescent moon on his head I have always wondered why…

Twenty-seven of Daksha’s daughters were married to the moon-god Chandra. One of these wives was named Rohini, Chandra loved Rohini more than he loved the other wives. The other wives felt neglected and they complained to their father. Daksha repeatedly warned his son-in-law to devote himself equally to all twenty-seven wives, but Chandra did not listen.

Daksha cursed Chandra that he would gradually fade away. Chandra didn’t know what to do. He went and seek advice from Brahma and Brahma told him that the only help was to pray to Shiva. Chandra went to Prabhasa Tirtha, (holy place) and made a Linga on the banks of the river Saraswati. He prayed to Shiva for six months.

At the end of the tapasya, (meditation), Shiva appeared before Chandra and offered to grant him a boon. Chandra explained what had happened. Shiva told Daksha’s that his curse cannot be entirely removed, there would have to be a compromise. Shiva told Chandra during ‘Krishna Paksha’, you will ‘wane’ and during ‘Shukla Paksha’ you will ‘wax’. This should satisfy everybody. Almighty, Lord Shiva wore the moon crescent on his head, making him grow for 15 days and get smaller for 15 days periodically. (Krishna Paksha is a term used in the Hindu lunar calendar to refer to the second fortnight of the lunar month, in which the moon is ‘waning or fading’. The first fortnight of the ‘waxing or brightening’ moon is known as Shukla Paksha).

Chandra was delighted. The Linga to which Chandra prayed is Somantha, is the one of the jyotirlingas.

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