Sunday, 10 May 2009

Story of Rahu - Hindu Version

Rahu (Hindu) Rahu, also known as Abhra-pisacha, the 'demon of the sky,' was a great prince of the Daityas, a race of gigantic demons who warred against the gods. His father was Viprachitta who was king of the Daityas and his mother was Sinhika who was a flesh-eating fiend who could seize the shadow of the object she wanted to devour and so drag her prey into her jaws.

Rahu had four arms, and sometimes the lower part of his body ended in a dragon's tail. He is best known for his attempt to interrupt the regular gods and has the reputation of a cunning and mischievous demon. By churning the ocean, the gods had produced Amrita, the elixir of immortality.

One day they were waiting in line for the beverage to be passed out. Rahu, wearing a disguise, insinuated himself among the gods and hid between Soma, the moon, and Surya, the sun. By the time these two gods discovered the fraud and called out to Vishnu, Rahu had already sipped the divine liquid. Vishnu turned towards the demon in rage, and with his discus cut Rahu's body in half. But the Amrita had already had time to take effect, and both parts of Rahu lived on.

Rahu never forgave the sun and moon for informing Vishnu of him, and his bodiless head has been pursuing his enemies ever since, occasionally swallowing them. Lacking a body, he can't retain them, and they reappear for a short time. He is thus the source of eclipses.

Rahu is sometimes shown riding an owl or reclining on a divan. His name means 'to abandon' or 'void,' hence blackness or having no body, links him to the astronomers' 'umbra.'

He is associated with a star in the northern sky, in the constellation of Draco, which is sometimes referred to as the Crooked Serpent.

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