SB 5.20.12

[The inhabitants of Salmalidvipa worship the demigod of the moon in the following words.] By his own rays, the moon-god has divided the month into two fortnights, known as sukla and krsna, for the distribution of food grains to the pitas and the demigods. The demigod of the moon is he who divides time, and he is the king of all the residents of the universe. We therefore pray that he may remain our king and guide, and we offer him our respectful obeisances.

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    It does't say anything about source of moonlight at all. It just tells us about moon dividing months in two parts by its rays . Where the matter of moon has it own light occurs in that. Jul 19, 2017 at 16:37

2 Answers 2


You misinterpreted the verse. Verse says with Moon light, Soma distributes food to manes and Gods. It also says Moon God divides the month into two fortnights. It doesn't say Moon is self illuminating. SB 5.20.12 says

स्वगोभि: पित्रुदेवेभ्यो विभजन् कृष्णशुक्लयो: |
प्रजानां सर्वासां रजान्ध: सोमो न आस्तवीति ||

svagobhi: pitrudevebhyo vibhajan kṛṣṇaśuklayo: |
prajānāṃ sarvāsāṃ rajāndha: somo na āstavīti ||

"May the Moon-god who, dividing (the month into) dark and bright fortnights, by his rays distributes food to the manes, gods (respectively in the dark and bright fortnight) and to all created beings, be our ruler.

Translators of verse is Dr. GV Tagare and J. L. Shastri and commentators say their translation and commentary is close to oldest and reputed commentary of Sridhara Swami. Commentators give annotations to the verse as follows:

(i) VR. emphasises that but for the division into dark and bright fortnights by the Moon-god, there would have been no food offerings to the manes and gods'. May the Moon god bring happiness (amrtam = sükham) to us.

(ii) VJ : May the inner controller of the Moon-god whose rays are full of nectar, distribute Soma to manes and gods and food to us all in both dark and bright fortnights. May he bring happiness (somam = sukham) to us'.

(iii) BP. attributes the division in dark and bright fortnight' to the Moon-god. By his rays he distribute: food to the manes (in the dark fortnight) and to the gods (in the bright fortnight). May that Moon god be our king and bring us happiness

So, in no way this verse says Moon is self illuminating.

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    On the contrary to what you claim, the quotes of the Acharyas provided by you says otherwise. Sun rays emanate from the Personified deity of the Sun, similarly here the Acharyas have commented that the moon rays is emanating from the presiding deity of the Moon planet. So the translation that Moon has its own rays is correct.
    – Krsna Dasa
    Apr 20, 2022 at 16:02
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    @KrsnaDasa Where exactly Acharya i provided said that?
    – The Destroyer
    Apr 20, 2022 at 16:33
  • VJ (Vijayadhvaja): May the inner controller of the Moon-god whose rays are full of nectar, BP:-By his rays he distribute: food to the manes (in the dark fortnight) and to the gods (in the bright fortnight).
    – Krsna Dasa
    Apr 21, 2022 at 23:29
  • Hindi Translation of the verse according to Sridhara Swami tika and his tika's translation :-- वे कहते हैं कि जो कृष्ण पक्षों में अपनी किरणों से विभाग करके पितरों, देवों तथा समस्त प्रजाओं को अन्न प्रदान करते हैं वे चन्द्र देव हमारे राजा हों ॥१२॥ भावार्थ दीपिका स्वगोभिः स्वरश्मिभिः । अन्धोऽन्नम् । सोमो नो राजा आस्तु आभिमुख्येन भवतु । ह्रस्वपाठे त्वविवक्षया संध्यभावः।।१२।। भाव प्रकाशिका स्वगोभिः अर्थात् अपने किरणों से । अन्धः अर्थात् अन्न प्रदान करने वाले चन्द्रदेव हमारे राजा हों ह्रस्वपाठ होने पर विवक्षा नहीं होने से सन्धि का अभाव है ।।१२॥
    – Krsna Dasa
    Apr 22, 2022 at 0:05
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    @KrsnaDasa it doesn't talk about source of rays of moon instead talk about only rays of moon, like if electricity in our house can make fans and TVs work it doesn't mean we produce it our house. We get it from Power station ..many other scriptures clearly say Sun is source of kiranas of moon.
    – The Destroyer
    Apr 22, 2022 at 5:29

They pray: ‘Soma bestows by his rays food on Pitris during the dark fortnight and on the Devas in the bright fortnight. May that Soma, the Raja, be propitious to us his subjects! - Bhagavad 5.20.12

This translation is done by Swami Tapasyananda and is based on Sridhara's interpretation. The translation provided in the question is the translation done by Srila Prabhupada, the founder Acharya of ISKCON, following the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition.

The original verse and word-by-word translation are as follows (taken from Prabhupada's translation)

sva-gobhiḥ pitṛ-devebhyo
vibhajan kṛṣṇa-śuklayoḥ
prajānāṁ sarvāsāṁ rājā-
ndhaḥ somo na āstv iti

Here in this context, the important word is "sva-gobhiḥ", which Prabhupada translated as "by expansion of his own illuminating rays". "Sva" means own.

Thus one can see two great Acharyas of Vaishnava lineages have said "Moon rays" or "Moon's own rays".


  1. Srimad Bhagavata translated by Swami Tapasyananda

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