A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Dhanteras and Chan-Chu

Today is Dhanteras (a day when Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped for prosperity). The relevance of this day and its mythical allusions can be read in my last years article on the same topic (http://utkarshspeak.blogspot.com/2010/11/dhanteras.html).

But today we will not be repeating the same.
On this day of worshipping wealth, I would like to talk about a symbol that many of us use without knowing the meaning or the implication of the same. Many of us have seen the Chinese three-legged toad, which is a common Feng-shui symbol for money or generation of wealth. Do we know more on this? Here’s what you might want to know about it.
The three-legged money toad is known as Chan-Chu in Chinese. It is one of the most popular symbols of wealth and prosperity and found most commonly in households, offices and more so near cash boxes. It is often depicted as a toad, with read bulging eyes and flared nostrils, sitting atop a heap of coins and a single coin in its mouth. The followers of Feng-shui believe that the symbol helps in creating and protection of wealth, besides driving away evil and bringing prosperity.
According to the Chinese myths, the King Money Frog, a mythical king, if seen outsides ones homes on a full moon night, brings good news to the house and this good news could convert into some monetary benefit and thus the association with wealth again. Besides bringing luck and prosperity through wealth, the money frog could also ward away bad-luck which could have been an impediment in wealth creation, again leading to monetary prosperity.
Is there any myth involved in the belief of this? It is important to know that frogs and toads (seen as similar) have been seen as signs of fertility and in many cases as harbingers of rain. In any agrarian society, rains ensure prosperity, which is again associated with wealth.
One of the myths which though is an astronomical myths is associated with the symbol. According to this myth, Ch’ang O, who was the sister of the water spirit married ShenI, who had just got the pill of immortality. However, to use the pill it had to undergo some rituals and so ShenI left for the same. In the absence of her husband, one night Ch’ang O found the pill of immortality and ate it and soon started feeling light and could fly. When ShenI returned and didn’t find the pill he asked his wife about it. Fear struck Ch’ang O and she flew out of the window. ShenI chased her with a bow and arrow, but the stong winds stopped ShenI from chasing Ch’ang O who was flying higher and higher. Ch’ang O soon reached a place as white and snow and a luminous cold place and started feeling sick and started vomiting and in that she vomited the upper covering of the pill of immortality, which was soon converted into a rabbit as white as could be! But this made Ch’ang O immortal and made this cold place, the moon, as her abode. The God of Immortality then spoke to ShenI and rewarded him for his hard work by giving him the Palace of Sun and transformed to be sent to the sun. But as the sun does, he travels round the universe and once in a year goes to his wife who was sad and lonely. It is said that ShenI then built a palace for her and from then onwards, on the fifteenth day of every moon, he went to visit her and on this day, the moon shone in its full brilliance! Later when they reached the heavens they were honored and later depictions have shown both as god and goddess, with ShenI holding the moon and Ch’ang O holding the moon. I guess you are still looking for the toad, right? Well the Chinese mythology adds a sequel to this myth by saying that Ch’ang O was later changed into a toad, the outline of which is still visible on the surface of the moon!
Though the above myth is associated with immortality, the same in the earlier times was a sign of achievement and the end of all woes. Achievement of immortality was in a sense the achievement of the greatest of all wealth, akin to godliness, something that only the gods had. The association of immortality of earlier times with prosperity in modern times is not all that unfound, and the association of prosperity with wealth is definitely not unfound by any standards.
So, on this day of Dhanteras, when tradition dictates one to buy gold and silver, the prices of which is trying to kiss Ch’ang O (i.e. the moon), it might be a good idea to buy the Chinese three-legged toad instead! It might just help you to create enough wealth for you to buy the gold or silver next year!   
On this day, here’s wishing all of you – Happy creation and retention of wealth!

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