In Vedanta, the moon holds a special significance as a symbol of the unchanging self. The idea is beautifully expressed in the words of Avadhoota Dattatreya, one of the finest Rishis or Sages of Vedic era, who compares the phases of the moon to the changes in the human body while highlighting the unchanging nature of the self.
According to Dattatreya, the moon appears to wax and wane during the bright and dark fortnights, but in reality, the lunar globe remains the same. Similarly, a man goes through various stages of life, from infancy to old age, but his real self remains unchanged. It is only the body that undergoes change, not the self.
This analogy between the moon and the self is central to the Vedanta philosophy, which holds that the true nature of the self is identical with the ultimate reality of the universe, known as Brahman. The self is considered a reflection of the light of awareness of the real self, just as the moon reflects the light of the sun.
The moon also has a special place in Hindu mythology, where it is associated with various deities such as Shiva, Parvati, and Krishna. In Vedantic astronomy, the phases of the moon are used to calculate the lunar calendar, which is followed for various festivals and rituals.
In conclusion, the moon’s phases in Vedanta hold a deep philosophical significance, as it serves as a metaphor for the unchanging nature of the self. The analogy of the moon and the self highlights the impermanence of the body and the eternal nature of the self, which is identical with the ultimate reality of the universe.