Chandras, Somas and Koshas
The Riksharaja or Rikhspati et all is a very important concept and appears in very crucial places in both our Epics.
This question was asked earlier but as the answer developed, several other serendipitous and related queries came along and thus, the answer was expanded to include them all.
In Puranas, there is Chandra the representative of Moon and there is Soma who is totally different God. Now there are several Chandras and several Somas. I would not go into great detail here.
Suffice to say, there is Chandra the son of Brahma and husband of twenty seven daughters of Daksha and was redeemed by Siva from curse by Daksha who therefore takes the title Chandramouli et all for this deed. Let us call him Saivite Chandra. Not that he is so, just to differentiate them going forward.
Then there is Chandra, son of Diti who changed sides to that of Suras and is called Chandradeva. Let us call him Manthana Chandra. Samudra Manthana is the story he stars in. Though there was a Chandra born in Manthana also as one of 14 ratnas as per one of the 14 Ratna lists! We will tackle that separately. Let us call him Ratna Chandra. (That was serendipity #4).
Then there was one of the Devasura sangrams (caused by Chandra taking away wife of Brihaspati), where all but three gods were killed and thus Atri took over and shone as Sun and Moon, Atri Chandra.
Then Brahma along with Trinity was born as son of Anusuya (and Atri). Brahma was born as Soma also called Chandra. Let’s call him Atreya Chandra. That is why later confused Puranic editors conflated Soma and Chandra as same God and person.
Because of Parasurama aggression, lot of Ksatriyan dynasties fell by the wayside and were revived by Brahmins, Vaisyas and Sudras. Atri and his descendants were very crucial in this restoration of dynasties with Suryavanshi Mithila dynasty reanimating from Nimi, son of Dattatreya and ChandraVanshi Puru dynasty revived by Soma, son of Atri. Thus for reviving the Chandravansha, Soma is confused with Chandra and thus called Chandra as well.
Later Rceyu another Atri was son-in-law of Puru king and his sons were selected as Kings by Puru King in preference to his own. So, Puru dynasty was double barreled Atreya!
This Soma Atreya is different from Soma the plant and other Somas. Later Puranic writers confused this Soma Chandra for original Chandra and thus haphazardly use the term Chandra and Soma for moon.
Then there is Mahabharata Chandra (aka noted earliest in Mahabharata), who is son of Dharma and one of the Vasus. Mahabharata is one of oldest and most critically edited texts and thus would indicate the oldest belief in origin of Chandra.
So Vasu Chandra caused more confusion among the Puranic writers. Vasu chandra is also called haphazardly as Vasu Soma.
The confusion of him being called Soma resulted in an interesting story of his son Varchas, also called Somavarchas.
The later interpolated Mahabharata states that Somavarchas was born as Abhimanyu but critical edition thankfully removed this interpolation.
The issue of Somavarchas would have become severe because Puranas especially older ones like Vayu Purana identify Somavarchas as the King who will revive Surya vansha in the next Kritayuga with help of Kalkin, the Dashavatara. Son of MOON as head of SUN dynasty!!
Some of the interlopers did notice that problem and replaced Somavarchas with Muchukunda as the Solar Numero Uno for the next Krita cycle.
Well they created Muchukanda as the alternate reviver of Solar dynasty in next Krita Yuga. Well this is India and we cannot have just one plan!
Muchukunda is an interesting character. He was a great warrior, second brother, and probably would have been one of candidates to replace the Indra du jour but his anger was an issue which would prevent him reaching his full potential. Muchukanda was called to help devas out and he killed many asuras. He had also sanchit enough karmas through his austerities so that he could be a good replacement for Indra, a thought not welcome to many Devas.
For most Rishis and candidates for Indrahood, it is not the anger but lust that brings about their downfall. They are mostly tested by Apsaras and either found wanting or overcome temptations to become the next Indra.
Muchukunda had just defeated the Asuras and was asked to request a boon. Any boon. The entire triolki could swing one way or another depends on what he asks. He could ask for Indrahood and that was not welcome by Devas.
So, Sarasvati sat on his tongue and manipulated the request and Muchukanda asked that he be allowed to sleep for long time.
That was granted. See the parallel in another brave, ascetic, intelligent, very powerful second brother, Mr. Kumbhakarna having same dramatic plot.
Muchukunda slept and woke to kill Kalayavana for Krishna and fell asleep again. He will wake to help Kalkin the avatara also like he helped Krishna but not by helming the Solar dynasty in next Krita Yuga.
So there are many Somas and Chandras. And the composite Chandra is associated with Loka closest to us. The Moon. Yes, there are differences between Grahas and Lokas. We have discussed that in another set of articles.
The Chandra is a Graha and is also considered a Loka. Surya is the chief of Grahas and is called Grahapati but it is Chandra which is Lokapati to give you an idea.
Moon is closest to us and even in the infancy of our astronomy, we believed that though Earth rotated around the Sun, which is one of real and greatest astronomical discoveries of modern humanity. We believed Moon was Lord of the stars. We can call this one literally as StarLord (Not from Guardian of Galaxy).
Surya was not a habitable planet while Moon was technically habitable. Thus Surya is not a Loka but Moon can be counted as a Loka. That was understood by ancient Indians. But in the list of 14 main Lokas, Moon is not listed as it is not really habitable.
Why that is so is a mystery of our ancient sciences. Almost all other allied and contemporary myth movements viewed Moon as habitable place but not Indian Puranic belief system.
So before we continue, let me re-introduce an already discussed concept of our ancient religion. The various writers who have left us the shastras, granthas and other texts including variations of Mahabharata worshiped a Religion of Mathematics or Rather Numbers.
So, we have Number 18 dominate Mahabharata;
We also have variants in sections of Mahabharata based on 16 and 12. Number 7 is another which makes appearance.
The concept of Swarga and the tryatransha is the number 33.
READ: Thirty Three Years or Gods?
For complete list knock yourself out at Facebook
The Rudras, daughters of Daksha and Pracehtas make 11 and there are similar numbered groups including the number of people in cricket team are the 11ers. The Marutas and Agnis belong to 49 where all groups are 49 including number of Children of Daksha are 49! Closely allied to 11 and 49 group is the 60 group and its higher 180 number. And we have the 14 group, Lokas, Apsara groups, Adityas plus Urukrama originally, number of Ratnas of the Manthana, et all are all 14s.
READ (Rudras; )
This is an amazing polychotomy or polytomy. In our Puranas, many same groups appear in 2s, 3s, 7s, 9, 8s, 11, et all. How did they arise? What were they?
From around 800 BC, we have shastrasrtas (Read Below), where the scholars use these numerical groups to participate in debates and showcase poetry and allied skills.
Most likely, because Indosphere is large and encapsulates varied beliefs and groups, these numerical groups were originally different religions or belief systems which were assimilated in one huge Veda-ism or Purana-ism so as to say. Like any similarly inclined political party with different leadership, we can call it Janta Dal (United), Janta Dal (disunited), Janta Dal (trying to unite), Janta Dal (7 rupaya kilo) et all, instead of prominence given to a Sect leader or Prophet, the ancient seers used Numbers to represent these sects which eventually merged into a common religion.
Furthermore, original debates on religious merits were maintained in tradition with just poetry skills as the real motivation. The acceptance of all religious beliefs was an understood point by the time.
That would also indicate that religious discussions were frank and blood free, a tradition continues to later times where Adviata and Dvaita and Vishisthadvaitas and Shaivyas continued that tradition.
- And how do we know this. Number 16 also means Indra and Agni!! (not only Indra and Agni, Indra and Agni as Protector of Earth, this may be the BHupa cult.)
- 16 also means Kala or art. The Artistic Bhupa religion is Number 16.
- Seven means Kshamadhar. (Koorma alone or the entire description of universe where earth is borne by 8 elephants floating on back of Turtle in an ocean bound by Ahirbudhanya the great serpent.)
- Not only one, each number may represent numerous beliefs.
- Number 14 means Indra alone. While 33 means Suras. The thirty three god pantheon Trāyastriṃśa.
- 12 means Arka and Yuga!
- Number 60 most likely corresponds closely to the Babylonian pantheon!
- Number 18 is the symbolic of Smrti. The Puranas and Epics. The religion of Puranas.
Thus the numerical terms had more than mere number in the representation of our ancient thought and beliefs.
by Pranshu B. Saxena