Today (May 14th, 2018) the Moon transits Bharani Nakshatra which is ruled by Lord Yama. Monday is ruled by the Moon whose deity is Lord Shiva. Bharani Nakshatra is known to cause accidents, traffic jams and sudden outbursts of energy. With Mars and Ketu getting closer together, it is extremely important to be careful as they have the potential to cause serious damage through accidents.

A great remedy is to listen or meditate on the Chandrasekhara Ashtakam. Lord Shiva is hailed as Chandrasekhar (Chandra – moon, Sekhar – crown) – The one who adorns his crown with the moon.

Chandrasekhar Ashtakam was written by Rishi Markandeya. One legend relates the story of how Lord Shiva protected Markandeya from the clutches of death, personified as Lord Yama.

Mrikandu rishi and his wife Marudmati worshipped Shiva and sought from him the boon of begetting a son. As a result, he was given the choice of either a righteous son, but with a short life on earth or 100 long-lived, foolish sons. Mrikandu rishi chose the former and was blessed with Markandeya, an exemplary son, destined to die at the age of 16.

Markandeya grew up to be a great devotee of Shiva and on the day of his destined death, he continued his worship of Shiva in his aniconic form of Shivalingam. The messengers of Yama, the god of death were unable to take away his life because of his great devotion and continual worship of Shiva. Yama then came in person to take away Markandeya’s life and sprung his noose around the young sage’s neck. By accident or fate the noose mistakenly landed around the Shivalingam, and out of it, Shiva emerged in all his fury attacking Yama for his act of aggression. After defeating Yama in a battle to the point of death, Shiva then revived him, under the condition that the devout youth would live forever. For this act, Shiva was thereafter also known as Kalantaka (“Ender of Death”).

The word Kalantaka means “He who ends Death”. The name is derived from two Sanskrit words- kala (काल) which means “Death or Time” and antaka (अन्तक) which means “He who ends”. His other names are-

  • Kalakala (कालकाल) – he who is the death of Death.
  • Kalasamhara (कालसंहार) – slayer of Death.
  • Kalari (कालारि) – foe of Death.
  • Kalahara (कालहार) – one who destroys Death.
  • Kalahari (कालहारी) – one who takes away Death.
  • Markandeyanugraha (मार्कण्डेयानुग्रह) – bestowing grace upon Markandeya.
  • Mrityunjaya (मृत्युञ्जय) – he who won over Death.

Sage Markandeya sang the Chandrasekhar Ashtakam in praise of Lord Shiva. Every single word in the song is absolutely profound and beautiful.