What would happen when someday you randomly look at the sky and witness a blood-red coloured moon? It would scare you out of your wits to see a bloody moon in the sky. But this is what usually happens during a Chandra Grahan(Lunar Eclipse).
Chandra Grahan is an astronomical phenomenon that occurs when the Earth comes in between the Sun and the Moon and casts a shadow over the surface of the moon. During this time, the colour of the Moon appears red because all the other colours of the spectrum are absorbed and only the red colour is reflected on the surface of the moon. This is the very reason due to which the sunrise and sunset appear to have a reddish tinge.
The Chandra Grahan(Moon Eclipse) can only occur on a full-moon night. Just like the Surya Grahan, there are three types of Chandra Grahan depending upon the shadow of the Earth that falls on the surface of the moon:
1.Partial Chandra Grahan
This is the Grahan where the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon do not follow an alignment and therefore, it looks like the Earth just rubbed off a part of the Moon as it takes on a partial appearance.
2.Total Chandra Grahan
When the Earth completely engulfs the moon by casting an umbral shadow on it, then we might say that a total chandra grahan has occurred. It may be difficult to find it against the night sky as the moon gets covered in a ghostly darkness during this grahan.
3.Penumbral Chandra Grahan
This type is the least noticed eclipse where the Earth’s penumbral shadow covers the surface of the moon and casts an ultra-fine shadow that is quite hard to even observe in the night sky.
Chandra Grahan is a spectacular phenomenon that has a special importance in the field of Vedic astrology as well. You all must be aware of the planets Rahu and Ketu and the story of their origin.
When the demon Swarbhanu successfully tricked the Devas and drank the ‘amrit’ gained after the Samudra Manthan, he had to face the wrath of Lord Vishnu. He was decapitated into two parts that formed the head and torso of the demon and he was divided into Rahu and Ketu. It is said the informants - Sun and the Moon - are eclipsed by Rahu and Ketu in order to punish them for their deeds.
Unlike the Surya Grahan, the Chandra Grahan is much more mild and can be easily seen with a naked eye from anywhere in the world on a full-moon night. Also, it occurs for a longer duration of time as compared to the Surya Grahan and therefore, it is not a very rare event.
But all the more, one needs to take special care during the Sutak period that starts from 9 hours prior to the Chandra Grahan and finishes after one has a bath after the completion of the Grahan. The Sutak is considered to be an inauspicious time and therefore, there are some precautions that must be taken during this time.
1. According to popular belief, the people who are most affected by the Grahan are the expecting mothers. It is said that they must never go outdoors during the Grahan. Also, they are advised to not use any sharp objects like knives and scissors because that may directly impact the growth of the unborn baby.
2. People believe that the Grahan deeply affects cooked food and water kept in the house. It is said that the stagnant water gets polluted during the Chandra Grahan and is therefore, no longer fit to use. It is advised to discard this water and the cooked meals after the Grahan.
3. It is said that a person must not eat anything during this time and also not go to the washroom for their ablutions. Also, one should not brush their teeth or comb their hair.
4. It is considered inauspicious to begin a new task during this time as it may not reach a successful completion.
5. It is said that one must take out some alms for donation once the Grahan gets over. After a bath, a person is advised to give this to a needy Brahmin.
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