Why do Hindus worship Moon?

NY moon

Picture shows Full Moon over New York City.

Ancient Indian beliefs and Latest Science News about Moon

Hindus are very keen observers of nature. Ancient Sanskrit and Tamil literature is full of similes about moon.  They know the effect of moon on the sea water. The poets seem to have more attracted to the moon than the sun.


1. Ancient Tamils worshipped the crescent moon on the third day (Kuruntokai verse 170). Tamil epic Silappadikaram has a prayer for sun and moon. The moon on the eighth day is compared to forehead of the heroine. The lunar eclipse is employed in similes similar to Sanskrit literature. The spots on the moon resemble a Hare in Tamil and Sanskrit literature. They have seen the rising waves on full moon days (Natrinai 375).


2.Brahmins don’t go to Veda class on Full Moon, New Moon days. The next day Prathamai, previous day chathurdasi and Ashtami days are also a holiday for them.

3.Buddhists observe ‘’uposad’’ (Upavasa=fasting) days on  Full moon, New Moon and following eighth day ‘Ashtami’ like Brahmins (Maha Vamsam 1-47).


4.There is a belief among Hindus that the fourth day ( Chathurthy after New moon ) crescent moon should not be seen. But one particular Fourth Day/Chathurthy after new moon is celebrated on a very big scale throughout the country as GANESH CHATHURTHY day.

The Chathurthy/ fourth day after full moon is observed as Sankata hara chathurthy. Sankata hara means destroying difficulties. This means Lord Ganesh is in charge of giving or eliminating difficulties. On Sankata hara Chathurthy day, Hindus break their day long fast after seeing the crescent moon in the evening. Sankata Hara Chathurthy falls on the fourth day after every Full Moon day.


Ancient Tamil Hindus worshiped crescent moon; modern Hindus worship it on Sankata Hara Chathurthy  day every month

5.Soma rasam

In the Vedas, Garuda is generally associated with god Savitar on whose command he brought soma from the moon (Rg Veda III.43.7, VII.26.6 etc.; also pracina sarita kosa pp182-183).The oft repeated story that Garuda stole the nectar from the gods with a view to seek the release of his mother Vinata from the slavehood of Kadru, as met in the epics and Puranas seems to be an amplification of this legend.

Modern science says that sun light is very important for plants. All plants need sun light for photosynthesis. But for some reason Hindus linked plant growth with moon light. Science has not acknowledged it yet. Soma rasam means two things: Juice of Soma plant and Moon Light. This is important for plant growth according to Hindu scriptures. Adi Sankara’s ‘Viveka  Chudamani’ also says that moon supports the plants on earth. How? We don’t know yet.


Tamil Weddings on Full Moon Days with Rohini Star

6.Moon’s association with a particular star Rohini (aldebaran) is the basis of a mythological story. This says moon favoured one star among his 27 wives. In Hindu scriptures Moon is masculine and stars are feminine. Ancient Tamils celebrated their weddings on full moon day when it is with Rohini star (sakatam in Tamil- Akam verses 86 and 136). Hindu calendar (panchang) says it is good to sow the seeds on Rohini star day. Science may one day prove the connection between Rohini day and plants growth.

7.Moon’s effect on body and mind is known to ancient people. We got the English word lunatic from moon for Luna. This is in Yajur Veda as well. Purusha sukta mantram links eye with sun and mind with moon. (Chandra ma manaso Jataka, chakshor suryo ajayatha).

8. All the major Hindu festivals are held on Full Moon days. One of the reasons may be that there was no electric lights in those days and so it was convenient to hold them on Full Moon days with natural light during the night.

stars and moon

9. Indian horoscopes pay much importance to moon. The beliefs about moon are common from southernmost tip to the northern most part of India with minor variations. The common belief of Hindus about moon is one more nail in the coffin of Aryan Dravidian absurdity. Western ‘’scholars’’ may try to escape by saying that they are derived from a common source. We know their double standards .


10.Belief about lunar eclipse is also same throughout the country. Snake headed planet Rahu devours the moon and releases it is the story in Tamil and Sanskrit. Though they knew it was the shadow of earth that causes the eclipse, they created the story for laymen.


11. Tamils used the word ‘Nilam’ for earth and ‘Nilavu’ for moon meaning that moon came from earth. Origin of moon is shrouded in mystery. One of the theories is that it may have thrown out from Pacific area when a comet or asteroid approached earth. If it is true Tamils naming becomes more meaningful. It may not be a coincidence. You can fit moon into Pacific Ocean.

12. Crescent moon is important for Hindus. All major Hindu Gods and Goddesses have crescent moon on their heads.

Every month we read some science news items about moon which prove ancient’ beliefs are right.


Moon and Latest Science Reports from News papers

Bad Moon Rising (Metro News paper, London, July 26, 2013)

People often complain a full moon disrupts their sleep—and it could be true. Despite modern comforts, lunar cycles still alter our brain activity. Swiss researchers found hormones which regulate our sleep drop during a full moon, giving us 20 minutes less in the land of nod.

(My comment: So Hindus belief about moon has some science basis. We are not allowed to sleep on terrace under full moon.)


Labour coincided with big full moon ( Metro News Paper, July 23, 2013)

A bright big moon shone over London the night before Princess Kate went into labour and it was in full glory as she cradles the newest royal in her arms last night. As many mid wives will attest, the full moon does seem to get nature working overtime. Many mothers- to- be will have seen posters showing the lunar calendar at their birthing centres. The suggestion is that the moon’s gravitational pull affects the amniotic fluid in the same way it affects the water in the sea.

Mervie Jokinen, of the Royal College of Mid Wives, said: It’s always sort of been an old wives’ tale saying that the full moon brings women into labour. But midwives usually do say, I am on call, it is full moon. I will be busy tonight’’. But there is not enough scientific evidence to show it is proven’. May be, it was just a case of Baby Mean Time.


(My comment: If it can affect the amniotic fluid in a woman’s body and sea water, it can have some effect on pants as well. On Full Moon days millions of Crabs migrate in Pacific islands. Millions of corals release their eggs as well.)


Moon effect (Metro News paper, London, Aug. 3, 2005)

Never mind flesh munching werewolves, what full moons really bring out are bugs on beaches. So do new moons for that matter. The level of bacteria in water varies with the lunar cycle and highest during a full and new moon, a study of California beaches found. Spring tides which occur during full or new moon, are twice as likely to contain unacceptable levels of bacteria. It is hoped the findings will help bathers chose the safest times to swim.


( My comment: Moon’s position  causes lot of changes in nature. Ancient beliefs about moon effect must be studied more in depth.)

Metro News paper items are from science magazines. It summarises the news items so that lay men can easily understand them.


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Please read earlier posts by London swaminathan  1.‘’ Why Do Brahmins Deserve an Entry in to Guinness Book of Records?’’ 2. ‘’Why Do Hindus worship Bells?’’ 3.‘’Why do Hindus worship Shoes?’’ 4. ‘’Why do Hindus practise Homeopathy’’? 5. Why do Hindus worship God of Death Every day? 6.HEAD TOWARDS NORTH IS WRONG  + 600 articles in English and Tamil.

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