Lunar Eclipse 2018: On January 31, in what would be a rare sight, the world will witness a blue moon, a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse at the same time. The incident will also be seen in India in the evening. This is the first time since 1982 when the world is witnessing such a phenomenon. During this event, the moon will appear 14 per cent larger than it usually is and will be 30 per cent brighter too. The lunar eclipse, which is also referred to as Chandra Grahan, holds religious significance for many Indians who follow rituals as per the Hindu calendar. On August 7, India and few other countries will experience some of the effects of this lunar eclipse. If you are wondering what time it begins in India, the partial eclipse is expected to begin at 10.55 PM tonight and is expected to end after forty-seven minutes past midnight. You can catch the maximum eclipse at 11.51 PM, according to a statement of the astronomy organisation SPACE India. In fact, a report in the Indian Express states that the Nehru Planetarium in New Delhi will remain open for those who are keen to see the eclipse and the partial phases which can be viewed at the Teen Murti lawns.
So, what is the ”logic” behind certain practices associated with the lunar eclipse among Hindus? The Hindus believe that the cycles of the moon have an impact on the human body. Renowned spiritual leader Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev has shared his insights on his blog regarding this.
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“The cycles of the moon have an impact on the human system, physically, psychologically and energy wise. During lunar eclipses, what would happen in 28 days over a full lunar cycle happens subtly over a course of two to three hours…in terms of energy, the earth’s energy mistakes this eclipse as a full cycle of the moon. Certain things happen in the planet where anything that has moved away from its natural condition will deteriorate very fast. That is why there is a change in the way cooked food is before and after the eclipse. What was nourishing food turns into poison, it is better to keep the stomach empty at this time,” Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev has written on his blog.
Temples also remain closed during the lunar eclipse and reopen only after conducting purification-related rituals.
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The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha recommends the following Do’s and Dont’s during a lunar eclipse:
1. Do not eat 9 hours before the lunar eclipse begins. One can drink water.
2. No meals should be offered to God during the pre-eclipse period.
3. Observe fast during the lunar eclipse – do not even take water.
4. During the lunar eclipse, prayer is the best activity to undertake.
5. Take a bath in cold water with one’s clothes on immediately after the lunar eclipse.
6. After bath, it is recommended that you offer a donation with love and compassion.
After the eclipse, it is recommended by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha to not touch anything, any person or any personal item without having a bath with clothes on first. Different beliefs, superstitions, and practices in connection with the lunar eclipse are plenty across the country. However, it remains to be seen whether educated Indians will be convinced or interested in subscribing to any of it.