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Chandramouishvara – About Shiva as Chandramouli

Chandramouishvara is one among the numerous names of Shiva. In the Chandramouli manifestation, Shiva adorns Chandra, the moon god, on his head. The story of Chandra taking refuge on the head of Shiva is associated with Rohini, daughter of Daksha Prajapati, and a curse. Shiva is worshipped by the name Chandramouishvara in many temples in South India.

Legend has it that Daksha Prajapati, the master of civilization, married twenty seven of his daughters – the Nakshatras or birth stars – to Chandra – the moon god. But Chandra was attracted to Rohini Nakshatra and ignored the other daughters.

The disappointed daughters complained to Daksha about Chandra’s favoritism for Rohini. This behavior of the moon god angered Daskha. He cursed Chandra that his body of which he is so proud will fade away.

Soon the body of Chandra started fading away and this caused upheaval on earth. Several plants and herbs need the moonlight to survive. Chandra then approached Lord Vishnu who directed him to Lord Shiva who is the supreme physician and the keeper of the sacred herb Soma.

Left with only one part (Kala), Chandra approached Shiva. Lord Shiva helped Chandra in regaining his lost luster and glory with the herb Soma. But Daksha cursed him again and he took the help of Lord Shiva and this continued for a long period. Finally, Shiva asked Chandra to take refuge in his lock of hair on his head where he will find enough soma to rejuvenate him periodically.

Since Shiva gave refuge to Chandra, he came to be known as Chandramouishvara. The form of Chandramouli is one of the benign forms of Shiva.

In the Mahabharata, Shiva is also known as Chandramoulivibhushana – one who wears Chandra as his ornament.