Rationalists Ate to Debunk Myths while Watching Lunar Eclipse
The Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations has termed the religious and cultural practices followed during a lunar eclipse as “myths”. To debunk them, they had their own way of watching the lunar eclipse-they ate and shared food among the crowd under the moonlight to bust eclipse myths.
Mangaluru: The Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations has termed the religious and cultural practices followed during a lunar eclipse as “myths”. To debunk them, rationalists in the city organised a moon-viewing session on Wednesday and consumed food under the eclipsed moon at the Mangaluru City Corporation swimming pool premises in the evening. Rationalists eat under the moonlight to bust eclipse myths.
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 from the Shri Durga Parameshwari Temple, Kateel, had told media that 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.
According to rationalist Prof Narendra Nayak, 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 7:00 am and ends at 8:45 pm. 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. But this a myth. Astrologers were a confused lot.”
“The astrologers are confused about spreading their superstitions and also trying to use the terminology of modern science. 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. 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.” added Nayak.
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. 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.
Prof Nayak has been organising such events whenever there is an eclipse. DYFI district secretary Santhosh Bajal said this is an attempt to put an end to blind practices and spread scientific temper in young minds. Meanwhile, Illusionist Munna presented illusions and the children at the event at the Swimming Pool area kept requesting for more action from him.