What is Grahan

A Grahan is believed to be harmful and some people assert that it gives insidious effects. Why is it considered as an inauspicious time? Is a Grahan really harmful? What are the remedies for it? Read this article to know more about the eclipses in 2014 and their effects.

An eclipse is an event when a celestial object is covered by the shadow of another object or one object covers another fully or partially. Basically, this term is used for an astronomical event. According to astronomy, when Sun, Moon and Earth are aligned; and either Moon or Earth comes between the rest of the two, eclipse (Graha) occurs. There are two types of eclipses (Grahan): Solar Eclipse (Surya Grahan) & Lunar Eclipse (Chandra Grahan).

Indian Mythology About Grahan

According to the Indian mythology, eclipses or Grahan are considered to be negative, as they put bad effects on the people who come under the sight of it. It is believed that chanting some Mantra during the time of grahana may even give you some positive effects.

The Legend Of Grahan

According to the beliefs of Hindus, gods and demons once united to take out the elixir of immortality from the ocean of milk. Somehow, gods managed to protect the elixir from demons. The churned elixir from the milk ocean was served to the gods, but a demon pretended to be a god to acquire the elixir of life. As he was sitting between Sun and Moon, they got to know the truth and Lord Vishnu immediately cut off his head from his body. Unfortunately, demon had tasted a drop of the elixir already and he became immortal. From that time, this demon is considered to inflict revenge, whenever the Sun and Moon come near. Ever since, the head of the demon is called Rahu and the tail is known as Ketu.

Grahan Sutak /Inauspicious Time

While witnessing Grahan, you might be concerned with Sutak too. The time of Sutak or Sutak Kaal is considered to be the inauspicious time during Grahan (eclipse). Generally, it is said that no auspicious work should be done during this time. The time of Sutak starts from 12 hours after the beginning of eclipse. The Sutak ends when we take shower after the Moksha (salvation) of Grahan.

Dos & Don’t during Eclipse / Grahana

  • It is advisable to avoid performing any important work or deal.
  • After Grahan, many Hindus perform ritual bath. Take meal only after the ritual bath. Taking a holy dip in rivers or lakes is highly auspicious.
  •  Many Hindus observe fasting on the day of Surya or Chandra Grahan.
  • Avoid outside food during Grahan and as well as the whole day.
  • Perform ritual bath, Puja, Japam, havan and all other rituals only after Grahan Moksh Kaal (the time when grahan/eclipse is released).
  • Avoid eating during the time of Grahana.
  • Avoid eating the food which is cooked before Grahan. Take the food which is cooked after Grahan. People can eat the food that is prevented from ‘Soothak (Ashouch). To prevent food from Soothak, just spill some til seeds or keep grass blades (Durva grass) or Tulsi leaves on the food before grahan.
  • During Surya Grahan, reciting Surya Stotras such as Aditya Hridayam; Maha Mritunjaya Mantram, Shiva Panchakshari and Vishnu Stotras is highly auspicious

Pregnant women are most delicate people to look after at the time of Surya or Chandra Grahan. Pregnant women should take some precautions to avoid bad effects of surya Grahana or Chandra Grahana.

  • The first and foremost precaution that every pregnant woman has to take is to avoid seeing or looking at the Grahana. Even though, it is visible to naked eye, pregnant women should avoid watching grahana.
  • Stay at home and do not go out side during the grahan.
  • There is a strong belief in some Hindus that wearing or tightening saree clips, hair clips or any other pins or clips will be inauspicious. Avoid wearing or tightening clips.
  • Avoid cutting vegetables or fruits or any other material.
  • In some regions, pregnant women avoid sleeping during the Grahan.
  • For normal and safe delivery, pregnant women recite Santana Gopala data Mantram and Surya Stotras like Aditya Hridayam and other Surya Mantras, Maha Mritunjaya Stotram.
  • Santana Gopala Stotra (a mantra to chant during grahan by pregnant women) keeps up the health of the pregnant woman as well as the child (Garbhastha Shishu).

The Santana Gopala Mantra:

Om Devaki Sudha Govinda
Vasudeva Jagath Pathe
Dehimey Thanayam
Krishna Thwamaham
Saranam Kadhahaa
Deva Deva Jagannatha
Gothra Vridhi Karap Prabho
Dehimey Thanayam Sheegram
Ayushmandham Yashashreenam

Ayurveda indicates that pregnant women should sit or lie down on a mat containing Darbha grass or Kusha Grass during Grahan. It is also advised to keep some Kusha Grass with the pregnant woman. This is advised more during Surya Grahan or Lunar Eclipse.

Some devout Hindus fast (Fasting or Upvaas) on Grahan day but pregnant women should avoid fasting and should follow the usual routine prescribed by the doctor.

The most important thing that pregnant women should do is to avoid getting tensed with the fear of grahan. Eclipse is a natural phenomenon. If you are so concerned remain indoors.

Grass Blades & Tulsi

Grass blades (Durva or Garika or Darbha) are kept on stored water and food during the time Grahan. It is not a blind ritual. Its proven scientifically that Grass blades purify the water more than Tulsi (Ocimum) leaves can during Grahanam. Grass blades have immense purifying power. This is the main reason why grass blades are kept on stored water and food like pickles.

Tulsi (ocimum Basilicum) is treated as the abode of Vishnu- Lakshmi(husband and wife) and as Rahu and Ketu were decapitated by Lord Vishnu, placing Tulsi on eateables protects food from the malefic effects of the radiation caused during the eclipse.

Surya Grahan /Solar Eclipse

When the Moon passes between Sun and Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun, then it is considered to be a Solar Eclipse or Surya Grahan.

Surya Grahan in 2014

There are two solar eclipses (Surya Grahan) occurring in the year 2014. One is on 29th April, 2014 and the other one is on 23rd October, 2014.

Surya Grahan On April 29, 2014

The annular (full) solar eclipse (Surya Grahan) occurring on April 29. It is falling on the new Moon’s night and will be visible in Australia, South of Indian Ocean and West of Pacific Ocean.

Surya Grahan On October 23, 2014

The partial solar eclipse occurring on October 23. It is falling on the new Moon’s night and will be visible in North America, Mexico and eastern remote area of Russia.

Chandra Grahan /Lunar Eclipse

When Earth’s shadow falls on Moon or Earth comes between Moon and Sun, a lunar eclipse occurs. This can occur only on a full Moon night, when Moon, Earth and Sun are aligned exactly or closely. According to the different mythologies, the Moon is being swallowed by a demon during lunar eclipse.

Chandra Grahan in 2014

There are two lunar eclipses occurring in the year 2014. One is on April 15, 2014 and the other one is on October 8, 2014.

Chandra Grahan On April 15, 2014

The lunar eclipse (Chandra Grahan) occurring on April 15. It is falling on the full Moon night and will be visible in North & South America, Antarctica, West Africa & West Europe, Asia and Australia. Ending lunar eclipse will be visible in Russia and the east of Australia.

Chandra Grahan On October 8, 2014

The lunar eclipse (Chandra Grahan) occurring on October 8. It is falling on the full Moon night and will be visible in northeast & the mid areas of India, North America, Pacific Area, Eastern Asia and Australia. Ending lunar eclipse will be visible in all over India except West.

For Malaysia, this Total Lunar eclipse starts (with moonrise) – 19:03:20 and it ends at 20:34:20. Total Lunar eclipse duration: 01 hour 31 mins. However the first contact with the Penumbra is at 16:15:33 and last contact with the Penumbra is at 21:33:42.

  • All type of food items, either solid or liquid are prohibited during eclipse.
  • Pregnant women are strictly advised not to go out during grahanam, it is believed that due to contamination and malefic effects of Rahu & Ketu, its not good for the baby.
  • Pregnant women are also advised not to cut or stitch or to do any other similar activities.
  • Oil massage, drinking, combing hair, brushing teeth and involving in sexual are prohibited.
  • Avoid sleeping during eclipse.
  • After grahanam it is advised to discard any cooked food and only freshly cooked shld be consumed.
  • The food items like wheat,rice,other cereals and pickles which cannot be discarded shld be protected by adding kusha (tarpai) grass or tulasi leaves.
  • Once eclipse is over, one shld take bath and shld make offerings to poors or needies. Making offering after eclipse is considered highly beneficial.
  • Best to chant Tryambagam manthra.

Tryambakam Mantra

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat

Meaning

  1. Om, We Worship the Three-Eyed One (Lord Shiva),
  2. Who is Fragrant (Spiritual Essence) and Who Nourishes all beings.
  3. May He severe our Bondage of Samsara (Worldly Life), like a Cucumber (severed from the bondage of its Creeper), …
  4. and thus Liberate us from the Fear of Death, by making us realize that we are never separated from our Immortal Nature.