Indian science of eclipses is different that rest of the world. We believe that an eclipse is caused when Rahu and Ketu, the two invisible planets, swallow either the sun or the moon depending upon the time of the year. An eclipse in Sanskrit is called grahanam.
Life on the day of the eclipse is very different than other days. Hindus bathe in the Ganges or the sea as soon as the eclipse begins. They will stand up in the water and chant Krishna Mahamantra till the eclipse lasts. (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi-lila 13.124. purport.) This is mandatory even if News services warn you against it since the tides will be high.
Ayurvedic Kaviraj has warned the pregnant women to take precautionary measures, and stay within the darkened walls of the house. They should not sew, cut paper, or even make garlands. Do not take rest or fall asleep while the eclipse is on, since you are more vulnerable to be attacked by demons or bhuta at that time. You do not believe in ghosts, you say? Well, that is not going to make them go away.
Pundit Jograjji enlightens us on the effects of a lunar eclipse, ‘This year’s eclipse is Neptunian in nature. The moon is connected to our emotions and during eclipses or full moon nights, it does take a toll on our emotions more than anything else. A person with a weak moon is normally seen to be extra sensitive or emotionally vulnerable, or if the moon is afflicted one may not get along with the mother as moon also signifies our relation with mother.”
Giving alms in the form of wheat flour, rice sugar and milk would be beneficial. Find out ways to ward off this negativity from our experts along with preventive measure such as the right mantra you may chant during this given time.
Reading of scriptures, or scientific material, or even holy books is strictly forbidden during an eclipse. Since you are under the influence of an eclipse, your mind will be twisted and will not be able to draw correct shastric conclusions. This is clearly documented in the Visnu Purana about how the Grihastha should work in this world “(text 44) At the time of thundering in the sky, or on the eighth day of the waxing or waning moon, in an unclean condition, and during an eclipse, a learned person does not study scriptures”.
Women are advised not to hang the washed clothes to dry on the line since they will get contaminated by the rays of the eclipse. Priests will close all temple gates, and no Aartis will be performed till the eclipse is over. All food should be covered. Water should not be stored. The food stored during the eclipse should not be consumed by self, but can be offered as prasadam.
Nobody should eat or even drink water during the eclipse. If you do need to eat then one does it before the eclipse comes into penumbra or leaves it until after the umbra and penumbra have completely passed – a maximum of but four or so hours. This is supported in Surya Siddhanta of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada, Chapter 4 texts 16 and 17.
It is strictly advised that you take shelter in a holy place to keep yourself free from ill effects of Rahu. And for God’s sake- do not look at the eclipse. Do that only if you wish to be hit by blindness.
In this connection, the darkness occurring before the full moon, the lunar eclipse, can be explained as being another planet, known as Rähu. According to Vedic astronomy, the Rähu planet, which is not visible, is accepted. Sometimes the Rähu planet is visible in the presence of full moonlight. It then appears that this Rähu planet exists somewhere near the orbit of the moon. The failure of modern moon excursionists may be due to the Rähu planet. In other words, those who are supposed to be going to the moon may actually be going to this invisible planet Rähu.
(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. SB 4:29:69. purport.)
If you had planned a wedding, and an eclipse falls on that day? Well, now you will have to postpone it by six months. B.V Raman asserts in his book on Muhurtha Astrology, that the damaging effects of an eclipse are long lasting. He says, “Usually any negative effects are seen within three months, we can take note of recent events in the world; earthquakes, earth changes, extremes in temperature and even violence, as under Rahu’s (as well as Uranus, Neptune – who are sometimes equated with Rahu and Ketu) demoniac influence.”
Keep in tune with your local news service as they will guide you where you can get ‘Eclipse Shanti’ for yourself. They will also inform you of the temples that will remain closed due to the eclipse on Feb 20, 2008.
You will read lots of news like this one:
Sri Meenakshi Temple Society
Lunar Eclipse – From 2/20/2008 – 7:35 PM to 2/21/2008 – 1.14 AM Grahana Santi for those born in – Ashlesha, Magha, Poorva Phalguni, Moolam, Aswini. Temple will be open but no Service from 7:35 PM – 8:30 PM during Eclipse on Wednesday, February 20, 2008.
Group Satyanarayana Puja Scheduled on Wednesday, February 20,2008 at 7 PM has been moved to Thursday, February 21,2008 at 7 PM due to Eclipse.