Malaysian Eclipse and Temple

I have received more than a dozen queries from my readers in Malaysia regarding temples being open or closed during eclipse (Grahan). It seems lunar eclipse will fall on January 31 and Batu Caves Lord Subramanya temple committee in Malaysia plans to open the temple despite warning form religious pundits. A large section of Malaysian Hindus are upset and another section has remained confused.

“Eclipse is a natural phenomenon. Festival is an occasion to celebrate.” – This is the reply I sent to each one. However, some of them sought further clarification as they are still in a dilemma.

“How did the scriptures of Hindu Dharma look at eclipse?” one question.

Rig Veda book V verse 40 mentions about eclipse. Probably this would be the earliest reference to an eclipse in world.

Narada Purana talks about Eclipse. As I said many times, Puranas are exaggerated stories, though you can trace history from them. In Puranic stories for kids, it is said that the eclipses happens because the body-less head of Rahu who tried to eat up the Sun and the Moon due to an enmity to them. We know that Rahu and Ketu are the pseudo-planetary lunar nodes and such things do not exist. It’s just a poetic imagination.

India’s great scientists (we called them sages) like Aryabhata have scientifically explained solar and lunar eclipses. “Chhadayati shashi suryam shashinam mahatI cha bhuch chaya” (The moon covers the sun and the great shadow of the earth covers moon) says Aryabhatiyam, Golapadah (Chapter 4, Shlokha 37). He says that the Moon and planets simply shine by…

(Excerpts from my book: MANTRAS and RITUALS: THE LOGIC OF HINDU SCIENCE. For further reading: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B093Z2M52M ) You may visit Amazon site of your respective country and search “B093Z2M52M”

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Udaylal Pai
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