Mangaluru, Feb 01, 2018: On account of the total lunar eclipse on January 31, Wednesday, the buzzing Car Street, leading to the temple at Kukke Subrahmanya, wears a deserted look. The devotees were allowed to have the Lord’s Darshan only between 6.30 am and 9 am. All the business establishments remained closed later.
Rationalists eat under moonlight counter to myths :
City’s Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations has termed the religious and cultural practices followed during a lunar eclipse as "myths". To debunk them, rationalists organised a moon-viewing session on Jan 31, Wednesday, and consumed food under the eclipsed moon at the Mangaluru City Corporation swimming pool premises in the evening. Their move followed inactivity at temples during the eclipse. In addition to scrapping rituals and services, temples were also shut for devotees for some time.
An official of the Shri Durga Parameshwari Temple, Kateel, said the reason for not keeping the temples open was that prasadam had to be distributed to devotees if they visited the temples. "However, the lunar eclipse is an inauspicious occasion, and has to be spent by meditating, praying and fasting. That’s why we shut the doors of temples for devotees," he said.
"The effect of the first lunar eclipse of the year will be seen in the entire month of ’Magh’. On this day, the moon will appear in three colours; such a moon was seen three decades ago. On the day of ’Chandra Grahan,’ it is considered inauspicious to see God, therefore, the doors of the temple are closed on this day. The lunar eclipse will also start the ’Sutak’ time. The Sutak begins at 7am and ends at 8.45pm. This eclipse will be auspicious for some people, but inauspicious for others. On this day, the moon will look bigger than on ordinary days, and a blood moon will appear in the sky," he said.
However, Narendra Nayak, president, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, termed this a myth. He said astrologers were a confused lot.
"The appearance of the moon in three colours is a myth. Astrologers are confused between spreading their superstitions and trying to use the terminology of modern science. A blue moon is an additional full moon that appears in a sub-division of a year: either the third or fourth full moon in a season, or the second full moon in a calendar month."
The rationalists believe the phrase has nothing to do with the actual colour of the moon, although a literal blue moon (the moon appearing with a tinge of blue) may occur in certain atmospheric conditions, like during volcanic eruptions or fires leaving particles in the atmosphere of just the right size, to preferentially scatter red light.
"If the gods are so powerful, why should they be scared about an ordinary eclipse? If they are scared, what is their power? Not only temples, all places of worship, including churches and mosques, should be closed forever so that there will be less conflict," Nayak added.
Meanwhile, Muslims too offered a special eclipse namaaz and a khutba after the Maghrib Namaaz. The Holy Quran directs the community to indulge in prayer during solar and lunar eclipses.