TAMIL NEW YEAR - Virothi Aandu

The month of Chitthirai has arrived and with it the Tamil New Year’s Day; April 14th – an occasion for celebration for Tamilians all over the world. Greetings of “Puthandu Vazthukal”, (Happy New Year), are exchanged with fervour on this day, which is supposedly the day when Lord Brahma (The Creator of the world, according to Hindu mythology) started creation.

Almanac for the year 2001-02The day starts with viewing the 'kanni' (the auspicious sight) at dawn, in the expectation that beginning the New Year by looking at auspicious or favourable things will bring good fortune throughout the year. The auspicious things include, gold and silver jewellery, betel leaves, nuts, fruits and vegetables, flowers, raw rice and coconuts. This is followed by the ritual bath and a visit to the temple to pray for a prosperous and happy New Year. After which, the Panchangam (almanac) is read. The ladies adorn the entrances of their houses with ‘Kolam’ (design made with rice flour) and deck the doorway with mango leaves. A grand Car Festival is held at Tiruvadamarudur near Kumbakonam every year on April 14th. Also during the month of Chitthirai the marriage of Goddess Meenakshi to Lord Sundareswarar is celebrated as ‘Chitthirai festival’.

The highlight of the festival is the 'Maanga Pachadi' (a dish made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem flowers), which is at the same time sweet, sour and bitter. This signifies all the different aspects of our life.

April 14th also happens to be the Bengali New Year Day, Naba Barsha, which begins with the ‘Prabhat Pheries’ (an early morning procession) with songs and dances welcoming the New Year. In Kerala ‘Vishu’ is celebrated by Malayalees commemorating the beginning of the astronomical New Year in the Malayalam Calendar.

Courtesy: http://www.chennaibest.com/discoverchennai/citylifestyle/feature14.asp

Hindu Cyclic System of Years

The Tamils also considered an average life cycle of a human-being as 60 years, and reckoned a "Cyclic System of Years" based on same provided with different names for each year falling within this cycle. The Year Cycle repeats itself in every 60 years. The names of the sixty years of this cycle are as follows.

(1) Pirapava Aandu
(2) Vipava Aandu
(3) Sukla Aandu
(4) Piramothuutha Aandu
(5) Pirasotpaththi Aandu
(6) Aangeerasa Aandu
(7) Srimuha Aandu
(8) Pava Aandu
(9) Yuva Aandu
(10) Thaathu Aandu
(11) Eeswara Aandu
(12) Vehuthaaniya Aandu
(13) Piramaathi Aandu
(14) Vikrama Aandu
(15) Visha Aandu
(16) Chitirabaanu Aandu
(17) Subaanu Aandu
(18) Thaarana Andu
(19) Paarththipa Aandu
(20) Viya Aandu
(21) Sarvasiththu Aandu
(22) Sarvathaari Aandu
(23) Virothi Aandu
(24) Vikruthi Aandu
(25) Kara Aandu
(26) Nanthana Aandu
(27) Vijaya Aandu
(28) Jaya Aandu
(29) Manmatha Aandu
(30) Thunmuki Aandu
(31) Hovilambi Aandu
(32) Vilambi Aandu
(33) Vikaari Aandu
(34) Saarvari Aandu
(35) Pilava Aandu
(36) Subakiruthu Aandu
(37) Sobakiruthu Aandu
(38) Kurothi Aandu
(39) Visuvaasuva Aandu
(40) Paraapava Aandu
(41) Pilavanga Aandu
(42) Keelaka Aandu
(43) Soumiya Aandu
(44) Saathaarana Aandu
(45) Virothikiruthu Aandu
(46) Parithaapi Aandu
(47) Piramaatheesa Aandu
(48) Aanantha Aandu
(49) Raatchasa Aandu
(50) Nala Aandu
(51) Pingala Aandu
(52) Kaalayukthi Aandu
(53) Siththaarththi Aandu
(54) Rouththri Aandu
(55) Thunmathi Aandu
(56) Thunththupi Aandu
(57) Ruthrothkaari Aandu
(58) Rakthaatchi Aandu
(59) Kurothana Aandu
(60) Atsaya Aandu

According to the above Cyclic System of Years, the Tamil New Year the "Thaarana Aandu" dawns on the first day of the Chiththirai Thingal, which is the 13th of April 2004.

However some claim this New Year is of a Hindu System (astronamically), and the Tamil New year actually falls on the 14th of January with the dawn of the Tamil month of Thai.

Courtesy : http://forumhub.mayyam.com/hub/viewlite.php?t=1767

Seasonal Significance of the Tamil New Year

The Tamils have divided an Aandu in to six seasons based on the climatic conditions in Tamil Nadu. They are namely the,

Ilavenil Kaalam : mild sunny period : Chiththirai, Vahasi - Thingal
: mid April to mid June
Muthuvenil Kaalam : intense sunny period : Aani, Aadi - Thingal
: mid June to mid August
Kaar Kaalam : cloudy rainy Period : Aavani, Purataasi - Thingal
: mid August to mid October
Kuthir Kaalam - cold period : Iyppassi, Kaarthihai - Thingal
: mid October to mid December
Munpani Kaalam - early misty period (evening dew): Maarkali, Thai - Thingal
: mid December to mid February
Pinpani Kaalam - late misty period (morning dew): Maasi, Panguni - Thingal
: mid February to mid April

The beginning of the Ilavenil Kaalam of the Tamils coincides with the beginning of the Sun moving into the Meda Veedu or Rasi, which falls in mid April, and is the time of commencement of the Tamil month of Chitthirai.

The dawn of the month of Chiththirai is the dawn of the Ilavenil Kaalam, a period of mild sun with much light and less humid wind known to be very soothing and refreshing and was known as "Thentral Kaatru" to Tamils.

This might be the very reason the Tamil Saiva Saint of Tamil Nadu namely the Thirunaavukkarsu Nayanaar of the late sixth and early seventh century, equated the pleasure of being at the feet of God Siva - is as good as the "blowing Thentral Kaatru during the extended Ilavenil Kaalam", showing the great delight the Tamils had during the Ilavenil Kaalam.

"Maasil veenaiyum maalai mathiyamum
veesu thentralum veengu Ilavenilum
moosu vandari poikaiyum pontrathe
Eesan enthai inai adi nilale"

Hence it is clear the Tamils selected the dawn of the Tamil New Year with the beginning of the "Ilavenil Kaalam", being also the time the Sun just enters the "Meda Veedu" and the beginning of the "Meenkal Suttru" (Natchaththira cycle) commencing with "Acchuvini". The dawn of the New Year was referred to as the "Puthiya Aandu Pirappu" or "Varudha Pirappu", and the starting month of the New Year was called as the "Chiththirai Thingal" or Matham.

Courtesy : http://forumhub.mayyam.com/hub/viewlite.php?t=1767

Significance of the Tamil New Year - Hindu Astronomical

The Earth travels in an eliptical path around the Sun through 360 degrees (Paakai in Tamil), and the time period for one such complete travel around the Sun (Suriyan in Tamil) is called an Year (Aandu in Tamil).

The circumferance of the eliptical path traced by the Earth (Ulaham in Tamil) having the Sun as the central point - are divided into twelve arcs, and the angular segments traced by each arc measuring 30 degress is called a House (Veedu in Tamil or Rasi in Sanskrit). Thus the earth passes through twelve Houses in an year.

In actual fact, it is the Earth which enters each Houses at any given time. But for us who live on the Earth it appears as if the Sun is moving (relative Motion), and we very loosely say that the "Sun travels through the twelve Houses".

The twelve Houses are named as,

(1) Meda Veedu or Rasi
(2) Idapa Veedu or Rasi
(3) Mithuna Veedu or Rasi
(4) Kataka Veedu or Rasi
(5) Singa Veedu or Rasi
(6) Kanni Veedu or Rasi
(7) Thula Veedu or Rasi
(8) Virutchika Veedu or Rasi
(9) Thanu Veedu or Rasi
(10) Makara Veedu or Rasi
(11) Kumba Veedu or Rasi
(12) Meena Veedu or Rasi

The Sun (that appears to be moving) in to Meda Veedu or Rasi, is taken as the starting point of it's next complete cycle throught the twelve Veeduhal.

The period of travel of the Sun in each Veedu or Rasi is known as a "Thingal"- a Month (also known as Matham in Tamil and Masa in Sanskrit). Hence for the Sun to travel through the twelve Veedus or Rasis to complete one cycle, it takes twelve Thingals which is known as an "Aandu" - a Year (also known as Varudam in Tamil and Varusha in Sanskrit).

The time the Sun enters the "Meda Veedu" or Rasi was traditionally taken as the starting point of the New Year by the Tamils.

Also the "positioning" (Niyathi) of the twenty seven "Meengal" (Natchaththirams) in these twelve Veeduhal too has been traditionally counted from "Acchuvini" the first Meen in the Meda Veedu, and ends up in "Revathi" as the last Meen in the Meena Veedu.

The fact that the Meda Veedu commences with the first of the twenty seven Meenkal namely the Acchuvini in "position" (Niyathi), too confirms that from the early days Tamils reckoned the starting point of a year cycle with the Meda Veedu.

The one who calculates the astronomical settings and movements of the Earth, Sun, and other Planets in respect of the 12 Veedus or Rasis is known as the "Sothidar" (Saaththriyaar - in Jaffna). But in ancient times in Tamil Nadu they were known as the "Kaalak Kanithar"

Courtesy : http://forumhub.mayyam.com/hub/viewlite.php?t=1767

How to do or observe Pradosham or Pradosha Vrata?

Pradosha Vrata is observed on the 13th day of a fortnight and there are two Pradosham in a Hindu month. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are worshipped in the evening during twilight on this day. In some regions, the day is dedicated to Nataraja form of Shiva. The fasting on this day is observed for success, peace and fulfillment of desires. It is said that mere darshan of any of the one form of Shiva removes ignorance.

The importance of Pradosha Vrata and how to observe it is narrated in the Skanda Purana.

There are two methods of fasting on the day. Some people observe a 24-hour fast which includes not sleeping during night. Another method is fasting from sunrise till sunset and after Shiva puja in the evening the fast is broken.

Pradosham is the twilight period just before sunset and after sunset. Pujas and prayers are performed during this period. Many people during this period spend the time in a Shiva temple or listening to the glory of Shiva.

In the evening, an hour before sunset the devotee takes bath and prayers are offered to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvathi, Ganesha, Kartik and Nandi. After the initial prayers, Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Kalasha (sacred pot). The Kalasha filled with water is covered with garbha grass and a lotus is drawn on the pot.

Another form of worship is the puja of Shivling. The shivling is bathed with water and Bilva leaves are offered. Some people use a painting or picture of Shiva for worship. It is said that offering Bilva leaves on Pradosham is highly auspicious.

After this people listen to the Pradosha Vrata Katha or story or read chapters from Shiva Purana. Then the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is recited 108 times.

After this the water used in the puja ceremony is given as ‘Prasad’ along with sacred ash. The ash is applied on the forehead.

It is said that just lighting a single lamp during Pradosham period is enough to please Lord Shiva and the act is highly rewarding. Majority of Shiva devotees have a darshan of Shiva during Pradosham in a nearby temple.

Importance about Pradosham - Shiva Pradosham

Pradhosha Vrata, or Pradhosham, is an important fasting day dedicated to Lord Shiva. Pradosha occurs twice in a month – on the 13th day (Trayodashi) – during the waxing moon fortnight and the other during the waning moon fortnight. The puja and worship is done in the evening. The Pradosha period can be loosely indicated as 1.5 hours before sunset and 1 hour after sunset.

The Shiva Purana states that one undertakes fasting on Pradhosha will be blessed with wealth, children, happiness and honor. The fasting and worship is specially undertaken by women who long to have children. It is said that those praying to Shiva during the auspicious time of Pradhosha will be freed from sins.

There are numerous legends associated with the Pradhosha Vratam. It is believed that Lord Shiva drank the Halahala poison that was churned up from the Ocean of Milk (Samudra Manthan) during Pradosham.

Another myth indicates that Lord Shiva and Parvati, the divine couple, are in a propitious mood during the evening twilight on the Trayodashi day and hence are easily pleased and grants whatever that a sincere devotee asks.

Offering Bael or Bilva leaves during the period to Lord Shiva is considered auspicious.

There are Shiva devotees that observe fast on both Pradosha days in a month. Some only fast during the waning phase of moon.

Staunch devotees opt for water only fasting and will only eat the ‘prasad’ offered in the evening. Such devotees only eat cooked from next day morning.

Another method of fasting is by eating fruits and such devotees eat cooked food on the day after the evening prayers. The strictness of the Pradosha fasting is usually decided by the devotee.

Some devotees do not fast but worship Shiva during the period or visit temples.

Since Monday is dedicated to Shiva, the Pradosha falling on Monday is referred as Soma- Pradosha and is considered highly auspicious. Pradosha falling on Saturday during the waning phase of moon is also auspicious.

Pradosham – Pradosh in shiva Temples

Pradosham, also referred as Pradosha Vrata, is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Shiva in a traditional Hindu month and it falls on the 12th day a lunar fortnight. There are two Pradoshams – one during the waxing phase of moon and another during the waning phase of moon. Important pujas and rituals on the day dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati is observed during the twilight period. In January 2009 Pradosha are on January 8 and January 23.

Fasting from sunrise to sunset is the main ritual on the day for Shiva devotees. Some people only observe fasting on anyone of the Pradoshams in a month. Staunch Shiva devotees observe fast on the both the Pradosh days in a month.

The prayers and rituals for Pradosham begin around 1.5 hours before sunset and end one hour after sunset.

Special pujas are performed in Shiva temples during the period. It is said that Lord Shiva and Parvati are in a happy mood during Pradosham period and are easily pleased.

Thai Amavasai – Amavasai in the Tamil Month Thai

Thai Amavasya or Thai Amavasi is the no moon day in the Tamil Month of Thai (January – February). Thai Amavasai is dedicated to dead forefathers and parents and to other relatives who have died. Special prayers, rituals and offerings are made to the dead ancestors on the day. In 2009, the date of Thai Amavasai is January 25. It must be note that the Amavasi begins on January 25 and overlaps into January 26.

Hindus on the day take a holy dip (bath) in the various Thirthas (sacred water bodies). Shradh and Tarpan are offered to the dead forefathers. There is a popular belief that on Thai Amavasya day the souls of the dead visit to bless their relations on the earth. The rituals and other pujas are performed on riverbanks or on seashores.

The day is of great importance at the Rameshwaram Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple. Rituals, pujas and prayers associated with Thai Amavasi are also observed at several places in Tamil Nadu including Kannyakumari, Dhanushkodi, Muhuntharayarchatram, Sethukarai and Devipattinam.

Thousands of people take dip at Rameshwaram and visit the Agnitheertha Kadarkarai (sea coast) in the morning to offer pujas to the dead ancestors. Special prayers also offered to the Navagrahas at Devipattinam near Rameshwaram.

In Rameshwaram, a special procession carrying the idols of Lord Shiva, Lord Ram and Sita from the Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple reaches Agnitheertha on the day and special prayers and pujas are done.

Basant Panchami 2009 – Vasant Panjami

Vasanth Panchami, or Basant Panjami, is a popular festival in North India which heralds the arrival of the spring season. ‘Basant’ or ‘Vasant’ means spring and ‘Panchami’ is the fifth day after Amavasi in Magh month when it is celebrated Saraswathi Pooja is performed in North and Eastern parts of India on the day. Yellow color, which symbolizes prosperity and love, is given importance on the day. In 2009, the date of Basant Panchami is January 31.

Vasant Panchami festival is celebrated mainly in North India. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says that ‘Vasant’ is one of his forms. Basant Panjami is purely a festival of nature and there is no major scriptural story associated with it as is the case of most Hindu festivals.

Vasant Panchami is essentially welcoming the blossoming nature after the harsh winter.

Great prominence is given to yellow color on Basant Panchami as it signifies the ripening of fruits and crops. The mustard fields in North India blooms during this season giving a yellow coat to nature.

To welcome the pristine nature after a harsh winter, deities in temples and houses are decorated with yellow colored clothes. Similarly, yellow colored food, sweets and fruits are distributed to friends, neighbors and relatives. Yellow sweet rice is cooked and distributed on the day.

Goddess Saraswathi is worshipped by students and teachers on the day in northern and eastern parts of India.

On the day, prayers are offered to Goddess Saraswathi (Goddess of Knowledge), Lord Surya (Sun God), Mother Ganga (Ganges) and Bhu Devi (Mother Earth). The worship of elements in nature is acknowledging the various forms of nature, which sustains human beings, plants and animals.

Similarly, people pay homage to the ancestors on the day and Pitru Tarpan is also performed by some communities.

Vasanth Panchami is also an important bathing day during the Magh Mela

Kite flying is a major activity during the period in many parts of the region.

Mantras Chanted during Surya Grahan- Solar Eclipses

Some of the important mantras that are chanted during the Surya Grahan include:

Gayatri Mantra

Ashtakshara Mantra dedicated to Shri Krishna. Ashtakshara mantra is ‘Shri Krishna ha sharnam mama.’ Astakshari Mantra is also taken as ‘Om Namoh Narayan Na Yah.’

Mahamrityunjay Mantra is also chanted during eclipse.

Other mantras chanted are Surya Kavach Strotra and Aditya Hridaya Strotram

It is important that one chants mantra or remember god in any form at this time to keep calm and the aura clean.

Surygrahan or Solar Eclipse in Hinduism

There are numerous recording of Surya Grahan, or Solar Eclipse, in Hindu scriptures. The most famous being the Suryagrahan during the famous Mahabharata war. Usually, Hindus do not perform any work during Surya Grahan and they purify themselves by taking a bath and chant mantras. A complete fast is undertaken by many Hindus during the period. In Hindu religion, taking a holy dip at sacred rivers and tirths on the Surya Grahan day is considered highly auspicious.

The next Surya Grahan is on January 26, 2009 from from 10:26 hrs to 16:30 hrs (Indian Standard Time).

Ancient sages and texts like Brahman Siddhanta restrict viewing the eclipse – one should look at an eclipse through a cloth or a reflection of it. A pregnant woman should never look directly at an eclipse.

What is an eclipse of the Sun? What causes eclipses and why?

If the Moon's inner or umbral shadow sweeps across Earth's surface, then a total eclipse of the Sun is seen. The track of the Moon's umbral shadow across Earth is called the Path of Totality. It is typically 10,000 miles long but only about 100 miles wide. It covers less than 1% of Earth's entire surface area. In order to see the Sun become completely eclipsed by the Moon, you must be somewhere inside the narrow path of totality.

The path of a total eclipse can cross any part of Earth. Even the North and South Poles get a total eclipse sooner or later. Just one total eclipse occurs each year or two. Since each total eclipse is only visible from a very narrow track, it is rare to see one from any single location. You'd have to wait an average of 375 years to see two total eclipses from one place. Of course, the interval between seeing two eclipses from one particular place can be shorter or longer. For instance, the last total eclipse visible from Princeton, NJ was in 1478 and the next is in 2079. That's an interval of 601 years. However, the following total eclipse from Princeton is in 2144, after a period of only 65 years.

Hindu Concept of the Beginning and End of Universe

Hindu religion is the only one of the world’s great faiths dedicated to the idea that the cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite number of deaths and rebirths.

It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, no doubt, by accident, to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the earth or the sun and about half of the time since the big bang. And there are much longer time scales still.

There is the deep and the appealing notion that the universe is but the dream of the god who after a 100 Brahma years… dissolves himself into a dreamless sleep… and the universe dissolves with him… until after another Brahma century… he starts… recomposes himself and begins again the dream… the great cosmic lotus dream.

Meanwhile… elsewhere… there are an infinite number of other universes… each with its own god… dreaming the cosmic dream.

These great ideas are tempered by another perhaps still greater it is said that men may not be the dreams of the gods but rather that the gods are the dreams of men.

In India, there are many gods and each god has many manifestations. These Chola bronzes cast in the eleventh century include several different incarnations of the god Shiva. Seen here at his wedding.

The most elegant and sublime of these bronzes is a representation of the creation of the Universe at the beginning of each cosmic cycle – a motif known as the cosmic dance of Shiva. The god has four hands. In the upper right hand is the drum whose sound is the sound of creation. And in the upper left hand is a tongue of flame… a reminder that the universe now newly created… will billion of years from now will be utterly destroyed. Creation. Destruction.

These profound and lovely ideas are central to ancient Hindu beliefs as exemplified in this Chola temple at …. They are kind of reminiscent of modern astronomical ideas. Without doubt the universe has been expanding since the big bang but it is by no means clear that it will continue to expand for ever. If there is less than a certain amount of matter in the universe, then the mutual gravitation of the receiving galaxies will be insufficient to stop the expansion and the Universe will run away forever. But if there is more matter than we can see…hidden away in black holes… say or in hot but invisible gas between galaxies, then the universe holds together, and partakes in every Indian succession of cycles… expansion followed by contraction… cosmos upon cosmos…Universes without end. If we live in such an oscillating universe, then the Big Bang is not the creation of the cosmos but merely the end of the previous cycle the destruction of the last incarnation of the cosmos.

Neither of these modern cosmologies may be altogether to our liking. In one cosmology, the universe is created somehow from nothing 15 to 20 billion years ago and expands forever. The galaxy is mutually receding until the last one disappears over our cosmic horizon. Then the galactic astronomers are out of business… the stars cool and die…matter itself decays…and the Universe becomes a thin cold haze of elementary particles.

In the other, the oscillating universe, the cosmos has no beginning and no end… and we are in the midst of an infinite cycle of cosmic deaths and rebirths. With no information trickling through the cusps of the oscillation…nothing of the galaxies, stars, planets, life forms, civilizations evolved in the previous incarnation of the universe trickles through the cusp filters past the Big Bang to be known in our universe.

The death of the universe in either cosmology may seem little depressing. But we may take some solace in the time scales involved. These events will take tens of billions of years or more. Human beings or our descendants whoever they might be can do a great deal of good in the tens of billions of years before the cosmos dies.

Surya Grahan and Solar Eclipse – What should Pregnant Women do during Suryagrahan in Hindu Religion?

There is lot of fear among many Hindus regarding Surya Grahan (Solar Eclipse) and Pregnancy. Most people want to know about precautions to be taken during Surya Grahanam. The only precaution that you should take is that you should never look at the Sun directly during the Grahan. As a clear cut solution, ancient seers in Hinduism recommend pregnant women remain indoors during Grahan. The mantra chanted during the period is the Santana Gopala Mantra.

Astrological View Point

Now for those of you believe in astrology, there is a ‘punya kala’ when the Surya Grahan is visible. And people observe fasting during this period. If the Grahan is not visible in the particular region, there is no ‘punya kala’ and there are no restrictions.

There is no restriction in moving around if there is no Surya Grahan in your region.

Ayurvedic View Point

Some traditions in Hindu religion ask pregnant women to sit or lie down on a mat containing Darbha grass or Kusha Grass. It is also advised to keep some Kusha Grass with the pregnant woman.

Fasting during Grahan

Now there are several Hindu communities that fast (Upvaas) during Surya Grahan. A pregnant woman should take the advice of her doctor before fasting. If you are so particular about fasting, you can fast just during the Surya Grahan period and avoid a complete fast.

Mantra During Surya Grahan

The mantra that is chanted during Surya Grahan by pregnant women is the Santana Gopala Mantra.

What to do during Surya Grahan? Solar Eclipse?

There are numerous recording of Surya Grahan, or Solar Eclipse, in Hindu scriptures. The most famous being the Suryagrahan during the famous Mahabharata war. Usually, Hindus do not perform any work during Surya Grahan and they purify themselves by taking a bath and chant mantras. A complete fast is undertaken by many Hindus during the period. In Hindu religion, taking a holy dip at sacred rivers and tirths on the Surya Grahan day is considered highly auspicious.

The next Surya Grahan is on January 26, 2009 from from 10:26 hrs to 16:30 hrs (Indian Standard Time).

Ancient sages and texts like Brahman Siddhanta restrict viewing the eclipse – one should look at an eclipse through a cloth or a reflection of it. A pregnant woman should never look directly at an eclipse.

Mantras Chanted during Surya Grahan

Some of the important mantras that are chanted during the Surya Grahan include:

Gayatri Mantra

Ashtakshara Mantra dedicated to Shri Krishna. Ashtakshara mantra is ‘Shri Krishna ha sharnam mama.’ Astakshari Mantra is also taken as ‘Om Namoh Narayan Na Yah.’

Mahamrityunjay Mantra is also chanted during eclipse.

Other mantras chanted are Surya Kavach Strotra and Aditya Hridaya Strotram

It is important that one chants mantra or remember god in any form at this time to keep calm and the aura clean.

Hindu Temples Remain Closed

All Hindu Temples remain closed during Surya Grahan. Temples open only after proper rituals are performed to get rid of the ill effects of the Surya Grahan. However, some Lord Shiva temples remain open during Surya Grahan as Lord Shiva is considered as ‘Layakara,’ who Himself is an embodiment of darkness.

Fasting During Surya Grahan

Adult Hindus stop eating 12 hours before a solar eclipse. Children, old people and those who are ill stop eating 3 hours before the beginning of a solar eclipse. If the solar eclipse ends after sunset, then people fast during night and consume food only next day morning.

One should not take food at the time of Grahan because it is said that at this time the most harmful rays from the sun can be seen and absorbed.

Pregnant Woman and Surya Grahan

Normally at the time of Surya Grahan, pregnant women are supposed to not come out of the house, with no sunlight entering either by doors or windows. This is to avoid harmful rays. You can find more detail regarding Surya Grahan and Pregnancy in this article.

Story of Surya Grahan and Chandra Grahanam in Hindu Religion

Surya Grahan, solar eclipse, is widely mentioned in the Holy Scriptures of Hinduism. There is also an interesting myth regarding the occurrence of Surya Grahan. It happened during the Samdura Manthan (churning of ocean) episode in the Puranas. Rahu (Demon) and Mohini, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, are the main characters in the incident.

The Amrit (elixir) that was obtained from churning the ocean was cunningly stolen by Ausras (Demons). Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini, a beautiful damsel, to win back the Amrit. She achieved her mission by enamoring the Asuras, they fell for her beauty and handed over the Amrit to her.

Mohini returned to the Devas and started distributing it. Devas sat in a line and mohini gave a portion to each one of them. Rahu, an Asura, who found out that they were tricked took the form a Deva and sat in the line between Chandra (Moon God) and Surya (Sun God).

When Mohini approached Rahu, Chandra and Surya realized that Rahu was not one among them and soon identified him as an Asura. Mohini soon severed the head of Rahu which flew into the sky. Rahu’s, depicted in the form of a Snake head occasionally, continued to live and decided to avenge Surya and Chandra.

Thus periodically Rahu engages in a war with Surya and Chandra. The Chandra Grahan (Lunar eclipse) and Surya Grahan (Solar eclipse) takes place when Rahu gobbles up Moon and Sun respectively. Surya and Chandra then fights to free themselves.

Surya Grahana timinig- Solar Eclipse Timing India

There is an annular Solar Eclipse (Suryagrahan) on January 26, 2009. Here are the timings of the eclipse around the world. It will only be visible in parts of India, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Madagascar, South China, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Burma and Bangladesh.


Bangalore – From 14:33 to 15:57
Maximum Eclipse will be at 15:17 (local time)

Kolkata – From 15:01 to 15:58
Maximum Eclipse will be at 15:30 (local time)

Chennai – From 14:29 to 16:05
Maximum Eclipse will be at 15:19 (local time)


Adelaide - From 19:01 to 19:58
Maximum Eclipse will be at 19:00 (local time)

Sydney - From 19:42 to setting sun
Maximum Eclipse will be at 19:59 (local time)


Jakarta - From 15:20 to 17:50
Maximum Eclipse will be at 16:41 (local time)


Kuala Lumpur – From 16:32 to 18:59
Maximum Eclipse will be at 17:51 (local time)


From 16:30 to 18:58
Maximum Eclipse will be at 17:49 (local time)

Hong Kong

From 17:08 to sunset
Maximum Eclipse will be at 18:03 (local time)

Sri Lanka

From 14:03 to 16:12
Maximum Eclipse will be at 15:12 (local time)

South Africa

Johannesburg – From 07:06 to 09:46
Maximum Eclipse will be at 08:19 (local time)


Bangkok – From 15:53 to 17:59
Maximum Eclipse will be at 17:00 (local time)


From 15:33 to 16:29
Maximum Eclipse will be at 16:02

Surya Grahan - Solar Eclipse in India

A partial solar eclipse, Surya Grahan, will be visible in southeast India on January 26, 2009. According to NASA, the solar eclipse on January 26 is an Annular Eclipse. A partial eclipse will be seen in southern third of Africa, Madagascar, Australia, Southeast India, Southeast Asia and Indonesia. In India it will be visible from 14:02 hrs to 16:31 hrs (Indian Standard Time) on January 26, 2009. As per traditional Hindu calendar, January 26 is an Amavasi Day.

In India, Partial Solar Eclipse will be visible in Kerala, parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, parts of Jharkhand, West Bengal and northeastern states. At Chennai, the Surya Grahan will begin at 14:28 hrs. The greatest phase will be at 15:19 hrs and it will end at 16:05 hrs.

  • The dark red line and circle indicates the path of Annular Solar Eclipse.
  • The light blue and grid area of partial eclipse which includes India.

(image from NASA)

All Hindu temples remain closed during Surya Grahan and will reopen only after the Grahan after conducting special pujas and rituals. On the day, Hindus also take holy dip in River Ganga and Brahma Sarovar in Kurukshetra.

Usually, religious Hindus do not perform any work during Surya Grahan and they purify themselves by taking a bath and chants the Ashtakshara Mantra dedicated to Shri Krishna. Ashtakshara mantra is ‘Shri Krishna ha sharnam mama.’

Most astrologers are of the view that this Surya Grahan will only bring bad

There is also a Total Solar Eclipse on July 22, 2009.

Caution: During Surya Grahan, there are also some elements in society who take undue advantage of innocent Hindus in the name of astrology. Ancient Hindu saints only talk about the physical harm Surya Grahanam can create on human beings. Put the thinking cap and keep out unwanted elements who try to take undue advantage during such occasions. The only aim of such people is money.