Eclipses are caused when Chandra, Surya and Pruthvi are aligned on a Purnima or an Amavasya. There can be a maximum of 7 eclipses during a year.
- A Lunar eclipse is possible when the distance between Chandra and Rahu/ Ketu is less than 18.5 arc degrees and it is certain when the distance is less than 15 arc degrees on a full moon day.
- A Solar eclipse is possible when the distance between Rahu/ Ketu and the Surya is less than 12 arc degrees and is certain if the distance is less than 9 arc degrees.
All eclipses continue to indirectly influence global affairs for weeks/ years. In case of a solar eclipse the results last for as many years as many hours. And for a Lunar eclipse, the direct results last for as many weeks as many hours the eclipse was visible. For the people, the land and the seas witnessing the eclipse, direct effects will last for weeks/ years depending on the type of the eclipse and the duration for which it was visible at that particular place. People living here should ideally do some pujas to manage the eclipse energies. If the eclipse is not visible at the place where you live then it will not have any direct effects on you and no pujas or remedial measures are necessary. Obviously the indirect effects affect the population of the entire Earth.
A ‘total’ eclipse is where the entire disc of the Sun or the Moon is completely obscured. ‘Partial’ is when the shadow partially obscures their disc. And there is a ‘penumbral lunar’ eclipse, where the penumbral portion of the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon’s disc. Areas witnessing totality will obviously face stronger effects than the areas where partial eclipse is visible. And the ‘penumbral lunar eclipse’ has nil astrological significance.
Eclipses release pending karma in a burst and this energy is often overwhelming. There are only two ways of addressing this karma burst, ie Daana and Mantra (index page). You can do any of the following, depending on what sort of mantra you practice, or what sort of deity (Kuldevata/Ishtadevata) you adore. Remember that all mantra jaap should be ideally mental, ie do not move your tongue while you recite them. As always use your common sense and do only that much which is advisable and as per your level to absorb the energy.
The a period before the actual eclipse is called the ‘Sutak’. This is generally 12+ hours in duration and we ideally should not eat or drink anything during this period. But in modern times this is not possible, we all have our daily work to do, so you can eat minimal food or fasting type of food so that you do not get tired as you go about your day.
Before the eclipse becomes visible in your town, you should get ready. Have a bath or at least freshen up and wear clean clothes and sit on your Asan. As the eclipse starts you should do at least one of the following.
1. If you wear the Yajnopavit sutra then the Jaap of the Gayatri mantra is yours by Anushthan /right / Sanskar. And you should make use of the energies of the eclipse and the power of your this mantra.
2. Any mantra you wish to make siddh, eg Soham, Gayatri mantra, Mahamrutyunjai mantra, mantra of the grahas, mantra of your Kuldevata/ Ishtadevata etc. Just be sure that the mantra you choose is a proper Vedic mantra, ie should have a proper reference from the Ved. Do not get caught in fancy mantras propagated by ‘new age gurus’. Recite the mantra 1, 3, 27, 54, 108 times or in multiples of 108 as possible.
3. Recite stotras of the Bhagwans – Vishnu, Shankar, Ganapati, Skandh, etc or the Devis – Laxmi, Parvati, Sarasvati etc or any Sukta, Kavach or any stotra of your adored deity. Again these should be recited 1, 3, 27, 54, 108 times or multiples of 108 as possible. If you do not have learnt the stotra by rote then you can read it from a book. Again, worship only those deities who are mentioned in our Shastra Granths (Ved/ Itihas/ Puran).
4. Read any book, eg the Bhagwat Gita or the Upanishads or the Devi Mahatmya etc during the eclipse. Or any book written by an Atmajnyani Mahapurush / Jivan Mukt Guru, in your favourite language is also a good option.
5. Dhyan with the Ajapa mantra ‘Soham’ is the easiest and the most natural practice (post here).
6. If you have a Guru available then ask him in advance for any personalised practice for you during this time and then do it as per his directions.
After the eclipse gets over, get up from your Asan, have a bath, wear fresh clothes etc. Do a basic puja in your household puja ghar/ altar. In case of a solar eclipse, offer Arghya to the Sun. Go to a nearby temple and offer Daan to the deity there. If you live near a river or the sea then you can also offer the daana into the waters.
In case you at work and unable to do all this as above, then at least avoid eating/ drinking anything during the actual eclipse time as much as possible. During the eclipse try to mentally visualise your adored deity, recite your mantra in your mind etc. ‘Soham’ is the easiest, it is as easy as breathing.
And if you are travelling or driving then pay attention to your safety first. You can listen to audios of stotras, Bhagwat Gita, Devi Mahatmya, Upanishads etc as the safest option. Or recite Soham with your breath as the easiest practice. Only do that much as you are easily and safely able to do.
This was the bare minimum that you should do during an eclipse in order to harness its energies.