Important: some dos and donts for lunar eclipse (To my students I will send you more detailed personalized ritual details)
Dos and Don’ts for Lunar Eclipse: Following the Ancient Rituals and Purifying the Self
During a lunar or solar eclipse, certain regions of the world are affected, and to honor this event, we must follow the prescribed rituals as laid out in the scriptures. Our esteemed gurus advocate for embracing the sanctity of the occasion and abiding by the following practices:
The Shikshãpatri, a revered text, commands us to stop all activities at the time of the eclipse and chant the name of God in a purified state. After the eclipse, householders must bathe with their clothes on and then donate according to their means.
The Purãnas tells the story of how the eclipse came into existence, narrating how during the churning of the ocean by the gods and demons, the nectar of immortality was produced, and a demon named Rãhu, disguising himself as a god, drank it. Thus, when God beheaded Rãhu, he became a planet, and during certain times of the year, he holds the sun and moon by his mouth (Grahan), causing solar and lunar eclipses.
The rules to follow before, during, and after an eclipse are as follows:
Before the eclipse, one must not eat for 12 hours before the solar eclipse begins and for 9 hours before the lunar eclipse begins. During this period, one must not offer meals to God, but one can perform arti, pray, and sing devotional songs. If the solar eclipse occurs before sunrise, one may see the eclipse only after the sun has risen, and in this case, one must not eat after sunset the previous night.
During the eclipse, one must sit in one place, chant the name of God, and sing devotional songs. One must also observe a waterless fast while the eclipse is in progress.
After the eclipse, one must bathe immediately with clothes on and preferably with cold water. The Satsangijivan recommends offering donations according to one’s income, as this expresses one’s joy at the release of the Sun and/or Moon god from Rãhu’s grasp. Sadhus rejoice by performing puja.
To remain pure during the eclipse, one must get rid of extra cooked food, and not touch anything such as clothes, food, personal items, etc. After the eclipse, one must not touch anyone, and if one has touched anything by mistake, it must be purified by washing or by sprinkling water over it.
It is crucial to take a bath after an eclipse as darkness during the eclipse symbolizes impurity. Once the eclipse is over, light returns to the earth, and to rejoice, one must cleanse the impurity that darkness brought, worship God, and offer donations to express happiness.
We must also remember that we are all engulfed by an eclipse in the form of mãy, and purifying ourselves on this occasion will enable us to transcend this illusory world and reach the ultimate goal of yoga. Let us embrace the sacredness of the lunar eclipse and follow these ancient rituals to purify ourselves and connect with the divine.