India is the world’s largest democracy, where people have the fundamental right to follow their own religious beliefs; with Hinduism being followed by the majority of Indian citizens as a religion. Sometimes, some of the religious beliefs turn out to be a ‘myth’. It is evident that Hinduism has many traditional myths related to both solar and lunar eclipses. In Hinduism an eclipse is known as a “Grahan”, which is considered as bad or negative. As the next partial solar eclipse is approaching on Saturday, August 11, let us take a look on seven such myths related to the solar eclipse that we Indians definitely need to know.
Myth: You shouldn’t go outdoors during an eclipse
Truth: During the ancient Hindu civilization it was widely believed that one shouldn’t go outdoors during the time of an eclipse. At that time, only very few people had proper knowledge about the outer space and celestial activities and fear was used as a means of getting things done by others. The same use of fear is still relevant today, but today more people are educated and most of them tend to ignore such myths. Not going outdoors during a solar eclipse was true at that time because the sun used to be the only source of light, but today we have got electricity and many appliances to give us light. So if someone still believes that going out during an eclipse is harmful, they are just superstitious.
Myth: Pregnant women shouldn’t come under the eclipse shadow
Truth: This is a widely followed myth and there are many beliefs related to this myth. Some people say that if a pregnant woman is subjected to the eclipse’s shadow, she’ll give birth to an unhealthy or challenged baby. Others say that if a woman comes under the eclipse’s shadow, she should then need to apply red soil on her body to reduce the harmful effects of the eclipse. It is true that the sun rays falling on the earth during an eclipse do have some harmful effects, but a pregnant woman should follow her doctor’s advice to stay healthy and not the schedule of an eclipse. Many kids are born during the time of an eclipse and they are healthy and absolutely fine.
Myth: Food cooked during an eclipse is impure and harmful
Truth: This is an absolute myth and is related to light. In ancient times, it was believed that food should always be prepared in light so that it can be cooked neatly and cleanly. Also, the food was supposed to be eaten in light, in order to avoid anything dirty/harmful being eaten with the food. In today’s scenario it’s perfectly fine to eat and cook during an eclipse, as we all have got enough light sources inside our home and kitchen.
Myth: You should be praying to God during an eclipse
Truth: If the duration of the eclipse is all day long, should we leave all our work and just dedicate the whole day praying to God? In ancient times, there was no light source available other than the Sun, so people had nothing to do but to pray for passing their time. In today’s busy lifestyle it is impractical for someone to keep praying the whole day during an eclipse.
Myth: You should not read or write during an eclipse
Truth: Again, this ancient myth is related to light. It’s true that if you read or write in dim light, it may affect your eyesight; but in today’s world, we all have lights and electricity available in our homes. If you got an exam, go study or the eclipse won’t take the blame for your failure.
Myth: You shouldn’t sleep during an eclipse
Truth: In ancient times, sleeping during the day time wasn’t considered as a good habit, and a solar eclipse will always be seen during daytime. Also some people believed that instead of going to sleep one should pray to God for his safety during an eclipse as they believed that it’s the power of their prayers which made the eclipse to end. In present day, if you have studied science and know about celestial activities, you know that an eclipse starts on its own and also ends on its own.
Myth: Demons Rahu & Ketu Take revenge upon the Sun & the Moon
Truth: The mythological stories in Hinduism tell about an incident when Lord Vishnu had beheaded a demon disguised as a ‘Deva’ (God) on a tip given by the Gods of Sun & Moon. As the beheaded demon had already tasted the ‘Amrita’ (Divine nectar) he didn’t die and his head and body became two different demonic entities namely ‘Rahu’ and ‘Ketu’. It is believed that ‘Rahu’ and ‘Ketu’ both take revenge from the Sun and the Moon by swallowing them, but if you have studies science, you must be knowing that an eclipse is simply the result of a celestial body’s shadow falling on another celestial body, thus making it partially invisible.
(Source: Youtube/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
So these were the seven myths about Solar Eclipse that all the Indians definitely need to know about. Following your religion is a great thing to do, but if you are being superstitious in the name of religious beliefs, then sadly you are disrespecting your own religion.