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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.

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  1. very informative... thanks for teaching..

  2. Thank you so much. Very informative and I will tell this to my 2 kids who are inquisitive of Surya Grahan.

  3. does that seem rational at all

  4. Wonderful and simple description of the Religion's interpretation of a natural phenomena, that occurs like clockwork in nature, rain of shine.
    I wonder if a Scientific explanation was available to the 'Ancients', would they have continued to have this story, or modified?
    Just like the Christians who believed the world was the Center of the Universe until it was proved wrong by Science, can there not be a Central Body for the Hindus that does correct/ rectify what Science proves differently?

  5. Thank you very much for this useful piece of information which I will definately pass on to my kid....

  6. These stories in the Puranas are usually exaggerated greatly. Proving that the story is false or true does not reduce it's value one bit. They are just symbolic. These puranas tell us what to do during Grahanam, which may have a very profound reason behind it which no one can not disprove. But following them certainly does no harm and one _should_ do it as a Hindu.

    @Bala : Does science claim to know everything ? Naw! Not even close to it. It's plain foolishness to think so. Science just captures the apparent truth which can comfortably explain what we observe. How can you be sure that your observation is all that exists ? Your view of the world is through the five senses. That itself shows that it's no where near complete.

    We need no science to correct anything. Hinduism is complete. We have the grandest possible philosophy enshrined in our Vedanta. Puranas are useful during religious childhood and once you outgrow them, you take higher and higher material from Hinduism. So, is childhood foolishness ? Is childhood unnecessary ? Is it a mistake ?

  7. There are several such stories in the Puranas. Thanks for this informative post.

  8. MANAN


  9. One ought be careful of the word Myth, a word derived from Sanskrit "Mithya" which means that which is not true.

    The esoteric meanings are kept as secret to prevent it's misuse. The yogis and saadhakas understand the true meaning of meeting of Surya and Chandra Naadis, which is also a place where Amrta is absorbed, and the effect of eclipse on it. They'll also understand (rather experience) the meaning of bathing and fasting. These are not describable in words for a mere intellectual understanding, but are meant to be experienced.

    Regards to all

  10. Highly thought provoking and meaningful comment. Thanks

  11. bogus...this story is another joke

  12. please inform about remedies. And also inform which rasi people which birth star people do praayachithram (remedies).

  13. its amazing.......really liked it

  14. Nice. Lot of people dont understand that these stories are that way so that they can be passed on between generations without loss of information. Science is statistics with a theory around it. If a statistic is missed, the theory remains incomplete and when discovered later on, theory turns on its head. So assuming there will be a mordern scientific explanation for every truth is the biggest myth. Science is still catching up, just like classical physical is so different from the mordern metaphysical physics of today. Scientists are kids while ancient knowledge is far above it.

  15. What's up with these comments. .... I am going to tell my kids ... wonderful and simple ....

    Just like any other religious mythology this is an old made up story. Please wake up, this is 21st century, telescope was invented at least a few centuries before that.

  16. please note that the major religions of the time were also the power bodies who decided what information was going to be disseminated to the common man. so its easy to say christians said that rome was the center of the world or hindus said something else. Every religion (man made delusion because no ancient scripture refers to any religion by name and instead is referred to as Sanatana dharma/eternal path of righteousness) has gone through ups and downs of loss of powes and other religions came about in response to the power corruption and mongering and fanaticism that time). The reader anonymous also says correctly that esoteric meanings were kept as subtle secrets since the average man's mind was prone to delusion and lack of clarity. Only those with great discrimination and awareness understood the Truth and the meanings behind the Truth. The real truth to understand is that we are microcosmic representations of the larger macrocosm of the universe in gross physical form. This should be a starting point of thought to apply all other philosophies to it to derive understanding of such beautiful stories as above.

  17. i write in response to news articles on indians and their religious observations for solar eclipses
    Indian astrologers and indians of india and elswhere always associate violence and turmoil with Solar eclipse because the first time
    ever an eclipse was recorded was in the Mahabharata War . Lord Krishna to stop the bloodshed and violence for the first day holds
    up a disc covers the sun .By so doing it seemed like nightfall so all the warriors and soldiers went back home . Part of the rule was to
    stop the fight at nightfall . Mahabharata war was fought for many many months and all were relatives of Lord Krishna
    This war caused the the greatest doom all over india and eleswhere
    .Today we know about atoms and solar flares we know about the poisnous gases that the surrounds the sun .
    Assume all these atoms and gases are trapped in a zone i.e between sun and moon and suddenly after 30 mins the trapped gases
    a, atoms and solar flares chain react .The by product of such a activity has to be harmful to the space the enviroment as RADITION
    and the removal of oxygen from the atmosphere. This chain reaction could cause the imbalances in nature ,i.e high Tides ,tidal waves
    , typhoons, cyclones,,a dent in the gravational forces, etc, etc, so if this was evil centuries ago to day they can be proven thru
    chemistry or Physics equations even Einsteins equations .

    Hindus do not eat food that is exposed because of the Radiation ,food ,water and anything in the open during a eclipse will be contaminated
    . The oxygen in the atmosphere is carbonised throughout the eclipse
    .Pregrant women and babies cannot cope with radition the way others do .Some strange scienceby itself but this causes deform
    and babies have cells get affected . Again radation is not a unknown subject ,neither the ions ofthe human body ,Does this sloar eclipse
    radation affect the ions on our skin , or do we breathe it in and it creates a reaction in the blood
    We have to look for answers and we have to take precautions ,it may come from soothsayers, strologers, scientist , the lay man has
    always been hungry for knowledge of the unknown

  18. It is certainly an useful bit of information to all those who pass through this blog. I highly regard bagvad gita and also about the yugas.This is what i had read.
    '365 human years make one year of the devas and the pitrs, the gods and the manes.
    Four are the ages in the land of bharata--the krita,the treta,the dwapara and the kali. the krita yuga lasts 4,800 divine years,the treta 3,600, the dwapara 2,400 and the kali 1,200; and then, another krita yuga begins.
    The krita or satya yuga is the age of purity; it is sinless.Dharma,righteousness, is perfect and walks on four feet in the krita. But in the treta yuga, adharma, evil, enters the world and the very fabric of time begins to decay. Finally, the kali yuga, the fourth age,is almost entirely corrupt,with adharma barely surviving, hobbling on one foot.
    A chaturyuga,a cycle of four ages, is 12,000 divine years, or 365*12,000 human long years long. seventy-one chaturyugas make a manvantara;14 manvantaras,a kalpa.A kalpa of 1000 chaturyugas,12million divine years,is one day of bramha,the Creator.
    8,000 Brahma years make one brahma yuga,1,000 Brahma yugas make a savana,and brahma's life is 3,003 savanas long.One day of mahavishnu is the lifetime of brahma.

  19. this story is not a joke its just a metaphor. Rahu as per indian mythology is a mythical character that is characterized as a demon with a human head and snake body. It is grouped along with the planets when it comes to getting categorized. This grouping is not arbitrary. Rahu is not a celestial object but is a celestial nodal point.

    Let me explain this. The moon's orbit around the earth is in a plane that is slightly tilted against the plane of the earth's orbit around the sun. Hence most of the time the moon is slightly away from the line connecting the sun and the earth. That is why every full moon or new moon doesnt form an eclipse. However when the moon happens to be at one of the two nodal points where its orbit cuts the earth-sun plane, and it happens to be a new or full moon, it will come directly in the line connecting the earth and sun and we have an eclipse. Whether this turns out to be a Lunar or Solar eclipse depends on whether the moon is behind or in front of the earth at that time.

    Rahu is nothing but one of these two nodal points (Ketu in fact is the other nodal point). One point is when moon is moving from the northern celestial sphere to the southern celestial sphere and the other point is when moon is moving in the opposite direction. Notably mythological Ketu is Rahu's converse image with snake head and human body and rahu is vice versa. Whenever you have an eclipse Indian almanacs show moon and rahu/ketu in the same position which is nothing but moon being at one of the nodal points without which an eclipse cannot happen. Now you know the story behind Rahu gobbling up the sun. This story after all was meant as a way to explain a complex astronomical phenomenon in a simple manner to the general public. Unfortunately people with half baked scientific temparaments take it literally and ridicule it without realizing they are only showing off their ignorance.

  20. really informative and consolidates our reverence and faith in Hinduism.

    vikrant singh

  21. The above myth story was great & many more things we learn from this, but I have 1 complain to all of you that in every myth u write this is good for Hindu, that is wrong is for Hindu, why only for Hindu??? my thought if these story was happened then that time there is no Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, etc. otherwise all these are silly drama which was made by some great priest to make the people fool.

  22. this is very informative story. i believe in these such type of stories because these stories are frm puranas and bhagvadgita.

  23. very nice article. moreover our forefathers were not stupid to say these things.

    the problem with us (21st century ppl) is that we try to see everything within the tunnel of science which is so small. And then we crib that things which don't appear within the tunnel doesn't exists.

    I love Hinduism.

  24. We really like this religious myth of hinduism


  25. Notably mythological Ketu is Rahu's converse image with snake head and human body . logo design

  26. Surya Nadi and chandra nadis are in the body of human, Surya nadi is right part and chandra in left of human body.

  27. Its not myth and its not real, realaity is expalined as stories, since if they tell all the formulas and numbers, no body is going to remember. In hinduism, vedas says God cannot be consideres with some set of characters he is nirgon.. doesnt mean no gone, but you cannot define him, but still we have temples and god have human shape and figure. Veda also emphasise on yentra thantra and mantra pooja... which we do every day with out knowing what it is. People should be open and doesnot go what every body says.. people need proper gyan and teacher to guide..

  28. People also should pray gods rather than planets... vedas tell to pray god and not planets...planets cannot protect or harm you.. its does it work and cannot bias on your prayers.
    Pray gods might reduce your ill effect or you are prepared to face it with good deeds and do ur karma.. for which you have been borns as human....


  30. I love the story as well as N Balasubramanian's explanation. The story appeals to my senses and the explanation to my brain! I think, for many educated believers logical explanations of religious stories/myths is the key in affirming their faith in God, irrespective of the religion. To those who have blind faith, I say, "good for you".

  31. this is a good to knw info


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