Candra (‘one who delights or shines’) The deity who presides over the moon is called ‘Soma,’ ‘Indu’ or ‘Candra’. The entire ninth maṇḍala of the Rgveda is devoted to his praise. He is the presiding deity of the soma creeper, the juice of which is often used in sacrifices as oblation and also partaken by the participants. Sometimes identified with the Supreme God, he is said to cure the mortals of their diseases and lead them to immortal blissful worlds. He rules over the mind and activates our speech. Hence he is sometimes called ‘Vācaspati’ or the ‘Lord of speech’.
The Purusasukta of the Rgveda declares that Candra was born out of the mind of the Supreme Being. In the mythological literature, his birth is described variously as the embodi¬ment of the brilliant light that emerged from the eyes of the sage Atri, as the son of Dharma-prajāpati or as rising out of the ocean of milk when it was being churned. Siva wore him as his diadem. The 27 constellations of stars like Rohiṇī are described as his wives. His waxing and waning are due to a curse he got from his father-in-law, Dakṣa. His eclipse is due to his being swallowed by the demon Rāhu. He has special power over the vegetation on this earth. He is full of amṛta or nectar. That is why the gods drink him. He is replenished by the offerings in the sacrifices. He is the originator of the Candravariiśa or the Lunar dynasty of which Śrī Kṛṣṇa was the last member. Works on Hindu Astrology consider him as one of the Navagrahas or nine planets, with a beneficial influence. Iconographically, he is represented with a face and two hands holding lotuses, sitting in a chariot of two or three wheels and drawn by ten horses. In the works on Yoga and tantras, Candra is described as the ‘moon of mystery,’ full of nectar, existing just below the middle of the sahasrāra. By contem¬plating on him the yogi becomes fit to be adored by the world. Connection between the phases of the moon and the condition of mental patients has long been recognized by the Hindu works on health and sickness.