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Story of Mohini Avatar of Vishnu Rahu and Ketu - Story of Rahu and Shiva

There are two different stories associated with the origin of Rahu and Ketu one is associated with Mohini avatar of Vishnu. There is also a story of birth of Rahu associated with Shiva.

Devas and Asuras performed Samudra Manthan (churning of ocean) to get Amrit, the nectar of immortality. But when Amrita was received from the ocean both Devas and Asuras fought over it. When there was no end to the fight, Vishnu appeared in the enchanting female form of Mohini.

Both Devas and Asuras were smitten by the beauty of Mohini and agreed to her idea of distributing the Amrita. Vishnu did not want Asuras to consume Amrita as this will make them immortal and then they will create havoc in the universe.

So Mohini first poured Amrita into the mouth of Devas. One Asura got suspicious about the whole event and went and sat among the Devas. When Mohini poured Amrita into the mouth of the Asura, Surya (Sun God) and Chandra (Moon God) who were sitting nearby recognized the intruder and alerted Mohini.

Mohini then took the form of Vishnu and cut the neck of Asura with Sudarshana Chakra. As per some accounts, the sudarshana chakra appeared on the hand Mohini and she did not appear as Vishnu. The head of the demon became Rahu and the body became Ketu.

To avenge, Rahu promised that he will eclipse sun and moon periodically and this results in eclipse.

Ketu became a directionless comet in the sky.

Story of Rahu and Shiva

Story of Rahu and Shiva

As per Skanda Purana, Rahu is sent by demon chief Jalandhara to Shiva with the message that Shiva cannot appease Goddess Parvati as his dwelling place is a cremation ground. Therefore, Goddess Parvati should be sent to Jalandhara.

When Rahu uttered the message, Shiva opened his third eye and produced might being. The mighty being threw Rahu into the sky. This happened at a place known as Barbara and therefore Rahu is also known as Barbarodhuta (Skanda Purana II.4.17, 18-32)

As per Mahabharata Adi Parva, chapter 65 verse 31 and Padma Purana, Rahu is son of Simhika and Sage Kashyapa. Simhika was the daughter of Daksha Prajapati. His father is also known as Vipracitti.