(In Indian cosmology the major planets are regarded as deities or gods. This view, at times, extends to the common parlance of today, e.g. ‘rain god’, ‘sun god’, etc. The Buddha was not disposed to comment on these views, and so he contented himself with merely expressing the message of the Dhamma through the medium of these views.)
Thus have I heard:
On one occasion the Blessed One was living near Savatthi, at Jetavana at Anathpindika’s monastery. At that time Candima, the moon deity, was seized by Rahu, lord of Asuras. Thereupon calling to mind the Blessed One, Candima, the moon deity, recited this stanza:
i. ‘O Buddha, the Hero, thou art wholly free from all evil. My adoration to thee. I have fallen into distress. Be thou my refuge’.
Thereupon the Blessed One addressed a stanza to Rahu, Lord of Asuras, on behalf of Candima, thus:
ii. ‘O Rahu, Candima has gone for refuge to the Tathagata, the Consummate One. Release Candima. The Buddhas radiate compassion on the world (of beings).’
Thereupon Rahu, Lord of Asuras, released Candima, the deity, and immediately came to the presence of Vepacitta, Lord of Asuras, and stood beside him trembling with fear and with hair standing on end. Then Vepacitta addressed Rahu in this stanza.
iii. ‘Rahu. Why did you suddenly release Candima? Why have you come trembling, and why are you standing here terrified?’
iv. ‘I have been spoken to by the Buddha in a stanza (requesting me to release Candima). If I had not released Candima my head would have split into seven pieces. While yet I live, I should have had no happiness. (Therefore I released Candima).’
1. S., i. 50.