On the day of Marriage of Shiva with Parvati, Shiva comes to the palace of Parvata Raja in a fierce form, smeared with ashes on His body, and snake around His neck. He was followed by a marriage procession consisting of thousands of dhootaganas and aghoris.
On seeing this form of Shiva, and His procession, Parvati’s mother Mena and Her relatives are shocked.
In order to be complementary to Lord Shiva, as His Sahadharmini, Parvati assumes an equally fierce form of Chandraghanta. In this form, She approaches Shiva and requests Him to assume a more pleasant form, as this is the occasion of Their marriage. Shiva then assumes a charming form.
This form of Devi is depicted as wearing a crescent Moon on the forehead. Thus She is known as Chandra Ghanta, Chandra meaning a Moon and Ghanta, a Bell. She has multiple hands holding weapons and other objects, and is shown as seated on a lion.
The Beautiful Symbolism
Shiva is also depicted with a crescent moon on His head. This symbolism of moon on Shiva and Devi, has a beautiful meaning, from the perspective of regeneration.
In this aspect of regeneration, the symbolism of the moon on Devi’s head is very pertinent. The phases of the moon have a very close relation with the growth of plants, food grains, animals, bees and human beings.
What is this close relation with specific regard to regeneration for the human beings with regard to the moon? If we look at the reproductive cycle of women, the 28 day fertility cycle with 2 halves of 14 days is exactly the same as one monthly cycle of the moon with 14 days of waxing and waning.
Phases of Moon – Krishna paksha (waxing) & Shukla paksha (waning)
28 day cycle of women
Another interesting aspect in the case of the moon is that, once the New Moon phase is reached, there is no moon visible from the earth.
Then what does the following waxing phase start from?
The thin crescent on Devi’s head represents the remnants of the moon after the New Moon, from which the moon starts to grow in phases. This remnant is also called the 16th phase of the moon, the stage between the New Moon and the 1st day of the waxing moon.
Devi, the divinity for regeneration, as Chandraghanta, is depicted as holding this remnant in safeguard in Her head for reviving the moon after the New Moon.
Ancient texts clearly show that the civilization was well aware of the concept of the phases of the moon and how it is only a play of light and shadow of the earth, sun and the moon itself. Given this level of knowledge, this story of Devi and Shiva keeping the 16th phase of the moon for revival, emphasizes yet another point of symbolism – the point that every cycle of Creation too is based on the remnants of the previous cycle.
This act of safeguarding, perhaps is expressing that this remnant matter too needs to be safeguarded until the start of the next cycle.
The Chandraghanta image of Shiva brings forth this cyclical, regenerative principle, month after month and shows us how, all of us are so intrinsically linked with the moon, in particular for regeneration.
More on this concept of the moon in our book and film, Understanding Shiva.
Chandra, Mind and Ghanta, Bell
Chandra, the Moon also represents the mind, which is a source of different thoughts arising every moment. Ghanta means a bell from which only one kind of sound arises. When the mind which is scattered in all directions is made steady and consolidated at one point, then the Divine Energy dawns in us, leading to great strength, symbolized by the lion.
The fickle nature of the mind is then transformed into a pleasant one, and the same mind then becomes an instrument for Mukti, liberation.
This theory of Big Bang and the universe emanating from the Cosmic Egg has been beautifully, graphically, scientifically explained in the Rig Veda and the associated ancient texts of India as the concept of Hiranyagarbha or the golden womb or egg, which when breaks open with a bang, spews out the Universe. The resonance of this Big Bang is OM, which is also known by the term Nada Brahaman. The Bell also represents the highly evolved state of metallurgy or Bharthiyo, in ancient India.
Incidentally, this concept of Om has been shown as the overall bell shape in the Bharath Gyan logo.
This concept of OM, which has been exemplified by the ancients, as the resonance of the bell and is known in Indian texts as Omkara, in discussed in detail in our book and film, Creation – Srishti Vignana.
Bharath Gyan Short Film – Om, The Echo of Big Bang: https://goo.gl/pnd6nf
This is the spiritual and cosmic significance behind the form of Devi Chandraghanta, who is worshiped on the third night of Navaratri.
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