As I discuss in this answer, the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata describes how Agni the fire god once needed to consume the Khandava forest in order to get over a malady, but Indra kept using rainstorms to extinguish the flames, because of his friendship with the Naga king Takshaka who lived there. So Agni consulted with Brahma, who told him the famous sages Nara and Narayana had reincarnated on the earth as Arjuna and Krishna. So he approached Arjuna and Krishna, who happened to be near the Khandava forest at the time, and asked them for help. They were happy to oblige, but they requested weapons that would be commensurate to the task of fighting Indra.

So Agni summoned Varuna to give them celestial weapons. Varuna gave Krishna the Sudarshana Chakra of Vishnu, and he gave Arjuna the famous Gandiva bow. But he also gave Arjuna one more thing, a celestial chariot that had belonged to Chandra the moon god:

Varuna ... gave a car furnished with celestial weapons and whose banner bore a large ape. Yoked unto that car were steeds white as silver of the fleecy clouds, and born in the region of the Gandharvas, and decked with golden harness, and resembling in fleetness the wind or the mind. And it was equipped with implement of war, and was incapable of being vanquished by the celestials or the Asuras. Its splendour was great and the sounds of its wheels was tremendous. It delighted the heart of every creature that looked at it. It had been made by Viswakarman, the architect of the universe and one of the lords of creation, after severe ascetic meditation. Its splendour, like that of the sun, was so great that no one could gaze at it. It was the very car from which the lord Soma [Chandra] had vanquished the Danavas [Asuras]. Resplendent with beauty, it looked like an evening cloud reflecting the effulgence of the setting sun.

My question is, when did Chandra use this chariot to defeat the Asuras (demons)? The only war between the gods and the Asuras I'm aware of where Chandra played a prominent role is the famous Tarakamaya war, but Chandra was on the Asura side during that war. As I discuss in this question, the Tarakamaya war was started when Chandra kidnapped Tara, the wife of Brihaspati guru of the gods, so the gods fought Chandra on behalf of their guru, while the Asuras took Chandra's side.

So what is the story of Chandra's victory against the Asuras where he rode the chariot later given to Arjuna?

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    You know, while Soma is Chandra, another meaning of Soma is the Lord of Parvati.
    – Surya
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 14:55
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    Soma is Chandra only. It is interesting that Rudra fought against the devas in the TarakAmaya war and launched the Brahma Sirsa astra against them. Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 16:52
  • Here surya is right in vedas soma is also termed as rudra or lord of uma (sa+uma) which means the one who is with uma or uma pati. And Mahabharata also describes the glorious chariot of lord shiva during the destruction of tripurasur. Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 21:07

1 Answer 1


Srimad Bhagavatam, 8th canto, 10th Chapter, 31st verse starts with this: Rahuna Ca Tatha Somah. Notice the use of Soma, as in the text you quoted. (I know speculation is discouraged, but nevertheless..) And this is an excerpt from the battle of the devas and asuras, after Samudra Mathana, in which the devas were victorious. So this can be a possible situation where Soma won against the asuras in general, and his prime enemy, Rahu, in particular, who is the son of Simhika, the daughter of Kayadhu and granddaughter of Danu, which makes him a Danava.

  • Is my answer missing something?
    – Surya
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 13:08
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    Thanks for your answer, but I don't think it's right. That Srimad Bhagavatam chapter doesn't describe a battle where Chandra killed a bunch of Danavas, and I think that is what the Mahabharata chapter is referring to. All that happens in that chapter is that the gods are losing to the Asuras when Vishnu comes and defeats the Asuras. I don't think the chapter would mention the chariot being used by Chandra unless he actually used the chariot to do something important. Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 17:03
  • The race is called Danava because it came from Danu, it does not necessarily apply to each member of the race. Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 20:48

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