Since our childhood, we have seen the moon growing smaller and disappearing, and then growing to its full size gradually thereafter. This loop continues through its waxing and waning phases. But do you think this has been the story all the time? No, that’s not true. Yes, the moon has been in its full and glowing stage all the time before this story happened.
Due to his silvery beauty, Chandra deva i.e. the Moon was very proud of his looks. He thought there were very few people in the whole galaxy to give him serious competition in looking handsome. His pride was quite visible in the night when he glowed in the midst of the sky, full of vanity. Lord Ganesha, the son of the great Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati, was earnestly worshipped by his followers. He was a big fan of sweets. Sweets were his most favorite food and when offered by a devotee, he would never refuse them. Once, a great devotee of Lord Ganesha offered him a pile of sweets. Lord Ganesha went running to the devotee’s place and forgot about returning. He kept on eating those sweets till it was late at night. He thought it was nearly time for him to return. So he got up with his belly full of sweets. He could barely walk steadily due to overeating. But that did not stop him from gathering all the left out sweets.
So Ganesha, balancing the sweets in his two hands and his tottering feet on the road, was walking very slowly towards his house. It was nighttime and though the moon light was bright, Ganesha did not notice a stone on the road and stumbled upon it. He fell and the sweets he was carrying scattered around the road and his dress got torn. Ashamed, he started picking up the sweets. He looked around him, hoping against hopes that nobody saw him in this situation. Suddenly, he heard a non-stop laughter. He looked behind and saw Chandra deva roaring with laughter seeing his misery.
Chandra deva was proud of his own beauty that he found Ganesha quite amusing and funny with his pot belly and elephant head. On top of that, his great fall made Chandra laugh out loud. Lord Ganesha felt solemnly abashed at the situation. He thought, ‘Chandra Deva is not even helping me, on top of that he is laughing at me! He is too proud of his beauty; I need to break his pride!’ Enraged he roared, ‘Chandra deva, you are laughing at me, because you think you are beautiful! I curse you that you would disappear from the sky henceforth.’ This stopped Chandra’s laughter. He was cold and numb with fear and came running to Ganesha with the urge of freeing him from the curse. Ganesha realized that Chandra was repenting for whatever he did. He lessened his curse saying that it is just one day that you will not be seen in the sky; you will gradually reduce to that phase of yours. After that one day of disappearance, you will again be seen in the sky for another 15 days. On the 15th day you will glow full and all will praise your beauty. This is how the waxing and waning phase of moon started.