There was a time when the sun and the moon were the best of friends. Together they shone their bright light illuminating the nine planets that roamed the solar system. One of the planets that were inherently grateful for their light was the third planet from the sun, earth. That was because this spherical rock that roamed restlessly in space supported life, and this life could not be sustained without the light that shone from these two heavenly bodies. The sun and the moon divided the duty of illuminating the earth equally between them. The sun shone for twelve hours and the moon shone for the remaining twelve.
There were times when the sun and the moon could be seen together in the sky and it was a beautiful spectacle. The inhabitants of the third planet marveled at this wonder and told tales of this spectacular scene to their children and their children after that. The animals craned their necks to bask in the warmth provided by these two astronomical entities, the birds spread their wings and soared high in joy and the plants grew ever taller trying to reach the light that gave them life. For centuries all was well and the universe was a happy place.
But unfortunately it is one of the unwritten rules of the universe that all good things must come to an end. And so it did. It is often said that two entities of unequal caliber can never be friends. Sooner or later arrogance, ego and jealously raise their ugly head, and muddies the pure waters of friendship. The sun is many times bigger and many times brighter than the moon. In fact the moon does not even generate its own light, but reflects the light given by the sun. It is the sun that is at the center of the solar system with the planets making their orbital circles around it. Even the name of this cosmic system has been derived from the sun, hence the term solar system. Nothing in this universe could withstand the fiery blaze of the sun, while the inhabitants of the third rock were already contemplating if they could one day journey to the moon. It was inevitable therefore that the evil forces of arrogance would one day penetrate the thoughts of the sun causing it to act in a manner unbecoming of its stature.
As the sun watched the nine planets orbiting around the path laid down by its gravitational pull, it basked in the glow of its own importance. It realized that if it were not for its existence then none of these heavenly bodies would be present. They owed their survival to the light and the power of the sun. The sun cast its gaze on the tiny planet that lay beyond Mercury and Venus. It was the only planet that had successfully managed to generate life. It was alive and vibrant with the chatter of humans, the roar of ferocious animals, the songs of graceful birds and the buzz of colorful reptiles. This was a world that was lush and bountiful with exotic plants and majestic trees; enchanting rivers that emptied into vast oceans and towering mountains whose peaks penetrated the clouds. And much of this life had been made possible because of the warmth that was bestowed upon it by the brightest star in the sky.
Yet the prayers of the humans were divided equally between the sun and its close friend, the moon. Why was this so? After all, what role did the moon play? It merely deflected the light given to it by the sun and this was a gift that the sun itself had given to the moon. The sun still remembered the day, when long before life existed on earth and the moon was just a barren rock. A rock that was dark and lifeless with no soul and no purpose. The moon came to the sun, questioning its place in the universe, questioning the purpose for its existence and demanding to know why the unseen gods had chosen to play such a cruel trick on it. The sun had felt sorry for the plight of the moon. The planets had their place in the universe, although what it was, the gods had not let it be known yet. The comets traveled the different worlds shooting at lightning speeds between different ends of the galaxy. Even the asteroids had the power to change the face of a planet. It had been foretold that a great asteroid would one day crash into the young planet known as earth changing it forever.
Everything in this universe had a purpose, except for the moon. It spent its time revolving around the new planet, earth, which at the time was dull and lifeless. The sun decided to help out its young friend. It was tired of casting its light on the galaxy all the time anyway. There was only so much it could do. It decided to impart half its power to the moon. It told the moon that henceforth it would shine brightly on it and whatever light it gave, the moon could deflect to the earth. The moon was pleased. It regarded the sun as a true friend and was happy that it had proven to be a friend in need. The moon now had a purpose and what’s more, it had a light of its own.
As the centuries passed the sun and the moon watched in wonder as strange developments began taking place on earth. The dark and poisonous clouds that had shrouded the planet’s atmosphere in darkness cleared and the first rays of the sun penetrated to the surface below. Small plants began taking root for the first time, eventually growing into monstrous trees. Tiny bacteria and micro organisms were created. The first living entities came out of the waters and set foot on land. They began growing rapidly and eventually mushroomed into a thousand creatures. With the passage of time the terrifying reptiles known as the dinosaurs began their long rule over the planet. Then as prophesied, one day a deadly asteroid crashed into earth and wiped out these monster reptiles. The earth went through several ice ages and with it came the rise and subsequent fall of new varieties of species. Giant elephants known as mammoths, gigantic killer sharks and dangerous crocodiles all had their fair share of time ruling over the land and the seas of this remarkable planet.
Then one day a tiny ape like creature with no distinguishing physical attributes to speak of climbed down from the trees. At first glance it looked like the morning breakfast of those powerful lions and lethal cheetahs that ruled the continental plains. It looked weak and timid and the sun could already tell that this was a species whose time on this planet was doomed. The gods appeared to have created this tiny ape as a mistake and extinction seemed the only answer to its miserable existence. This was a world which was ruled by the speed of the cheetah, the strength of the lion, the venom of the cobra and the talons of the eagle. There was no place for an insignificant primate that neither walked nor crawled, but seemed to be in a permanent hunch and whose life was spent cowering in fear in the shadows.
But as the sun and the moon watched, the tiny ape surprised them. Its hands did not grow stronger and its feet did not grow faster nor did it develop new venom. However, its brain grew smarter. And with this smart brain, it outwitted the powerful lion, the poisonous cobra, the speedy cheetah and the cunning eagle. It grew to rule over the waters and the land, the rivers and the plains, the mountains and the desert. It learned to talk and began developing communities and civilizations. Never before in the history of the universe had an entity been created that had the potential to challenge the gods themselves.
Then came the time when the ape like creatures, who now called themselves humans, began looking up at the sky and started seeking answers to questions regarding their existence. They decided that it was the light of the two heavenly objects that shone brightly in the sky that were responsible for them being there. They began looking upon the sun and the moon as their gods and started praying to them. And the first pangs of jealousy and arrogance rose in the heart of the sun.
After all, it was its heat that had turned a non-descript rock floating in space into the vibrant planet that was the envy of the galaxy. It was its light that was being reflected by the moon during those other twelve hours. The planets and the comets and the asteroids were following an orbit that was made possible by its gravitational pull. If the sun ceased to exist, then the galaxy would cease to exist as well. The light would be extinguished from the solar system. A steady wrath built up inside the sun for those puny humans who had dare defile its aura by turning the moon into a god. The moon had been nothing when it had come begging to the sun devoid of purpose and lacking in confidence. And it was the sun that had shown benevolence and compassion by sharing its light with the moon. And today those creatures, who till a few centuries ago were cowering in the trees too afraid to come down in a land dominated by lions and cheetahs, dared to place the moon on the same pedestal as the sun. How dare they?
The sun decided that a message had to be sent throughout the galaxy as to who the leader of the heavenly bodies truly was. So on one fine day, the sun stopped sending its light to the moon. The moon was shocked. It knew that the people of the rock that it revolved around were counting on its glow and for it to abruptly cease one day would cause shock waves on the planet. Initially the moon thought that maybe a mistake had been made or maybe there was something wrong with the sun. So it decided to pay the sun a visit.
As the moon approached, the sun turned its face away. The moon was shocked. What had it done to deserve this fate? After all, had they not been good friends? The sun had helped the moon when it had been nothing more than a dark satellite revolving around a dead planet. And to express its gratefulness the moon had shown nothing but the deepest regard and greatest respect for the shining star that made the solar system go around. It could not understand what it had done to earn the wrath of the heavenly body that it worshipped even more than the gods. It went back sad and desolate unable to fathom this sudden change of events.
That night the people of the planet prayed long and hard to the moon, begging for it to shine its bright light on the earth again. But the moon was helpless. There was nothing it could do. It relied on the sun for its light and the sun was refusing to share its glow with the moon. The moon felt lost and searched hard for an answer. It was reminded once again of those dark days when it had just been a desolate satellite that the galaxy had no use for. It prayed hard to the gods begging them for an answer. But the gods work in their own mysterious ways and declined to answer the moon.
As the people prayed to the moon, the wrath of the sun grew even more. The stupidity of this race and their ignorance in all matters scientific enraged the sun. Did they not know who the true guardian of the universe was? The sun stopped shining for its share of the twelve hours as well and darkness reigned over the earth. The other planets caught in this battle of egos between an arrogant sun, a helpless moon and an ignorant earth pleaded for mercy. Why should they suffer they asked, when they had done no wrong. But the sun had no answer. It was too caught up in its own pride and refused to see reason.
It finally dawned on Mercury, the planet closest to the sun that this was a battle of egos and the sun was just establishing its claim as the guardian of the galaxy. It called a meeting of the other planets and the moon, where it explained to the unfortunate satellite that it had to bow before the sun and surrender its claim over the light that was being beamed on earth. The moon was stunned. It had done no wrong. It had never made any claim. It had simply asked the sun for help and the sun out of its own benevolence had helped it. It never asked for the status that was now being bestowed upon it by the unfortunate humans. For centuries, the sun and the moon had co-existed in peace. The sun had given light for twelve hours and the moon had given light for twelve. This problem had only started with the appearance of the humans on earth and their insistence on turning a purely scientific phenomenon into religion. The humans did not know who the real gods were, but rather they turned the sun and the moon into gods. How could the moon set right a wrong that it had never committed in the first place?
The planets realized that the moon had a point and decided to pacify the sun themselves. They went to the sun and had a long meeting with the heavenly body that ran the entire planetary system. They endowed the sun with lavish praise and bestowed it with epitaphs that were once reserved only for the gods. The sun was finally mollified. It agreed to once again shine its light throughout the entire solar system. The planets were happy and went back to their orbits.
But the moon was not happy. It realized that by depending too much on the sun it had allowed itself to be bullied. The sun could now do what it pleased and the moon would always be at the receiving end. The people of earth were only increasing the intensity that they showed in their religions. They were creating their own gods and their own idols. They had no knowledge of the real truth that governed this universe. There was no telling what prayer of theirs would enrage the sun again and cause further misery for the moon. Action needed to be taken and the sun needed to be put in place, decided the moon.
As the sun began shining once again, the moon took up a position exactly between the sun and earth. The light of the sun could not get past the moon and the earth was once again shrouded in darkness. The people of earth once again begged for mercy and began praying fervently. The sun was shocked. What game was the moon playing now? It shone even harder and unleashed its full fury and extreme heat on the moon. But the moon held firm. There was no organic life on the moon. Without the rays of the sun it was just a dead satellite anyway. It had nothing to lose. It bore the full brunt of the sun’s rays, but it refused to allow the light to get through to earth. The other planets watched this showdown with great trepidation. First it was the sun that had issues with the moon and now it was the other way around. They wondered when peace would return to the galaxy again.
Exhausted, the sun finally relented. It decided that it could not burn at this fury any longer. It asked the moon what it wanted. The moon replied that it once again wanted its fair share of light which it could impart to the life forms on earth. The sun could shine over earth for longer hours if it wanted. But for at least a few hours each day, it would be the moon that would be responsible for light on the third planet. And during that time the sun would simply withdraw and not interfere with the work of the moon. Grudgingly the sun accepted the terms of the deal. And both parties retreated to their respective corners.
Of course, the matter has not been settled yet. The dispute is still ongoing. That is why there are days when the sun shines longer and there are days when it is the moon that is in the ascendancy. There are days when the sun gets enraged by the moon and this causes heat flashes on earth. There are times when the moon is made furious by the actions of the sun causing tidal waves and tsunamis in the seas and oceans of the world. There are times when we can only see part of the light emanating from the moon on days when the sun has not distributed its full quota and there are days when the moon manages to blackmail the sun into giving its fair share and we see a full moon. Then there are eclipses on a regular basis when the bickering of the sun and the moon reaches extreme levels. This is when the galaxy holds its breath praying for the dispute to reach an amicable end.