According to Hindu mythology, Solar and Lunar eclipse are associated with “Samudra Manthan”. When the ocean was churned, there was “Amrit” produced, this amrit was stolen by Asuras (the demons). To obtain the amrit, Lord Vishnu took incarnation in form of a beautiful damsel “Mohini” and tried to please and distract the demons. On receiving the amrit, Mohini came to devas to distribute it to them. “Rahu”, one of the demons sat to obtain some portion of the amrit. Surya (Sun) and the Chandra (Moon) realized that Rahu was a demon –“Asura” and not one of the devas. Knowing this Mohini severed the head of Rahu, who is still supposed to be alive.

Thus, Rahu is believed to take revenge from “Surya” and “Chandra” in the form of Solar and Lunar eclipse.

This is the reason why according to Hindu Mythology, the radiations of Eclipse are supposed to be a bad-omen as they are reflections of Rahu.

What to do during eclipse/grahan?

In Hinduism the rays of eclipse are considered to be harmful and thus

        People usually don’t undertake any work on that day.

        Temples remain closed.

        Many people observe a complete fast on that day, even 12 hrs. before the eclipse.

        Taking bath is customary during eclipse as a purification act, which also includes taking bath in holy rivers.

        Pregnant women are advised not to move in the sun, or to be exposed to Sun rays under any circumstances.

        Many people chant mantras throughout the day.

        One should also refrain from sleeping, during eclipse.

        Water if consumed is advised to be purified with Tulsi or Basil leaves.

        People also believe in charitable acts during eclipse like donating money, gold etc.

Mantras Chanted:

According to Hindu mythology, chanting mantras has a religious significance during eclipse as it is supposed to banish the bad effects of Grahan. Following mantras are popularly chanted:

        Gayatri mantra: “Aum Bhur Bhuvah Swah, Tat Savitur Varenyam    Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi, Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat”
        Ashtakshara Mantra:” Shri Krishna ha sharnam mama’
        “Om Namoh Narayan Na Yah.”
        Mahamrityunjay Mantra :”Om Tryamlakam Yajamahe       Sugandhim Pusti - vardhanam |       Urva - rukamiva Bandhanan         Mrtyor - muksheeya Ma – amritat”
        “Surya Kavach Strotra”
        “Aditya Hridaya Strotram”

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