|The sun and the moon pointed this
out to Mohini who immediately slashed off the demonís head. Since the nectar
had by then already reached up to the neck, he did not die. Thus the head came
to be known as Rahu and the body as Ketu. To avenge this betrayal, Rahu and
Ketu periodically eclipse the sun and the moon.
Astronomically speaking, when the sun, the moon and the earth
are all in line, with the moon or the earth at the centre, a solar or lunar
eclipse takes place respectively.
At the time of the eclipse, people bathe in the sacred rivers.
They do charitable acts. They give cows, money and gold. The day after the
eclipse they feed the poor, the Brahmins and the Sadhus. After the eclipse they
clean their houses, vessels, etc., and take a bath before they start cooking.
One should not take food during the eclipse. When the eclipse
begins the food should by then have been digested. One should take food only
after seeing the sun or the moon free from the eclipse. When the clear sun or
the moon is not seen before sunset or sunrise, in the case of the solar and
lunar eclipse respectively, food can be taken only after the sun or the moon is
seen the next day.
Pregnant women should not see the sun or the moon during the
time of the eclipse. If they do the child born may have some kind of defect. He
may be born deaf, dumb or blind. Householders are forbidden from sexual
intercourse on the day of the eclipse, for the same reason.
At this time one should take great care in avoiding bleeding,
scorpion stings, etc. These have disastrous results. Even an earthworm has a
poisonous effect when it bites one during an eclipse.
Those who do Japa at the time of the eclipse derive great
benefits. The effect of Japa and Sankirtan during the eclipse contributes
towards relieving the suffering of humanity and also of the planets. These
people receive the blessings of the gods. They attain perfection quickly. Those
who wish to tap the subtle force locked in the Mantra that will cure scorpion
stings should stand in water and repeat the appropriate Mantra.
The little intellect cannot understand many things in this
universe. Hence, have faith in the words of sages.
Ignorance has eclipsed Self-knowledge. However, this eclipse
will disappear. You will shine in your own glory. This is the spiritual
significance of the eclipse.