Shiva, the god of destruction, meditation, arts and yoga, is always seen ornamented with a crescent moon on his head. This gave him the epithet “Chandra Sekhara” meaning “One who wears moon as his crown”. This designation owes its origin to an amazing story.
As per the legend, twenty seven daughters of Daksha, one of the sons of Lord Brahma, were married to the moon-god ‘Chandra’. These 27 wives of Chandra are 27 constellations which are on the moon’s orbit. But Chandra loved one of his wives, named Rohini, more than his other wives. This caused envy and bitterness among the other wives, and they complained to their father. Daksha also did not like the fact that Chandra is favouring one wife more than others. He warned Chandra to treat all his wives as equal… but in vain.
The enraged Daksha cursed Chandra that he would gradually fade away. After the curse, the moon started losing one luminance part (kala) out of his 16 parts. The frightened and mortified Chandra disappeared from the sky and went hiding in the sea. The absence of moonlight caused glaring suffering in the world. The heavenly beings advised Moon to find shelter in Shiva. Now left with only one kala, Moon took refuge in lord Shiva. The benevolent Shiva wore the crescent moon on his head, making him grow for 15 days in one half, and decline in size for 15 days in the other half. From then on, Shiva is always spotted with a half-moon ornamenting his head. In the locks of Shiva’s hair, the Moon is getting rejuvenated and waxes again.