Eclipse - Vedic Astrology

Radhika Kothuri 

Eclipse – Vedic Astrology

An Eclipse is an astronomical event involving the Sun and Moon, in which either one of the celestial bodies covers another celestial body partially or wholly. An Eclipse is a celestial phenomenon and has great significance in both Science and Astrology, because of how the planetary movements impact the nature and the lives of natives respectively.

There are two specific kinds of eclipses: the Lunar and Solar eclipse.

Lunar eclipse (Chandra Grahan):

This is a celestial phenomenon when the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth get aligned in a straight line.  The Moon revolves around and positions itself behind the Earth. This in turn causes the Sun’s rays to get blocked by the Earth casting a shadow on the Moon.  A Lunar eclipse occurs only on a full moon night.  Eclipses come in pairs and coincide with new Moon and full moons.

Eclipses have great importance in Astrology as it affects one’s astrological conditions.

 There are three types of Lunar eclipses:

  1.   Partial Lunar Eclipse: In this type of eclipse, the Moon is partially covered by the Earth, hence, giving its name: Partial Lunar Eclipse.
  2.   Penumbral Lunar Eclipse: This is when Moon in its path moves through Earth’s Penumbra, in turn, this dims the surface of the Moon and creates a part image due to the blocked rays from the Sun. 

(In astrology, this eclipse is not taken into account.)

  1.   Total Lunar Eclipse: This happens when the Earth fully covers the Moon.  A Total Lunar Eclipse forms when the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun are positioned in a straight line. 

Solar Eclipse (Surya grahanam):

This is a celestial phenomenon when the Moon gets posited between Sun and Earth and creates a shadow on the Earth by preventing Sun rays falling on it. A solar eclipse occurs on Amavasya tithi. 

There are three types of Solar Eclipse, which are:

  1.   Partial Solar Eclipse: The Moon only covers some portion of the Sun, 
  2.   Annular Solar Eclipse: This happens when the size of the Moon is smaller than the Sun, which causes the moon not to fully cover the width of the Sun.  In an Annular Solar eclipse, when the outer part of the Sun is not completely covered by the Moon a  disc/ring is formed around the edge of Sun.
  3.   Total Solar Eclipse: When the Moon completely covers the Sun  

Eclipse – Vedic Astrology

The Sun and Moon are two significant Navagrahas(nine planets) in Astrology.  They provide life and sustainability to nature.  When the nodes Rahu and Ketu, which are known as shadow planets, overpower the Sun and Moon, it forms an eclipse.  It is mentioned that these eclipses give malefic results, hence Astrologers suggest to avoid carrying out any auspicious activities during this time. Various astrological remedies are carried out and mantras are chanted to nullify the negative effects produced during an eclipse.

The inauspicious time period before and after Solar and Lunar eclipses is known as the “Sutakam” period.  During a Solar eclipse, the Sutakam period starts 12 hours before the eclipse.  Similarly, during a Lunar Eclipse the Sutakam period starts 9 hours before the eclipse.  It is believed that any new task or project initiated in this duration gives negative results.  Several activities are prohibited to be carried out, as it is believed that the atmosphere of the Earth is contaminated.  Importantly, if the eclipse is visible at the place where one happens to be, its effects will be greater.

Those with the Nakshatra(birthstar) as of the eclipse formation, moreso, if it is total lunar or total solar eclipse, will feel the eclipse impact more.  Hence, following the do’s and don’ts during eclipse will be helpful. 

Some activities that are advised to not be done during eclipse period are:

  • To not consume any type of food item during the eclipse.  Scientifically, during this eclipse period, the rays emitted are unhealthy which may cause indigestion hence it is advised not to consume food.
  • Avoid starting any new projects and financial transactions.
  • Avoid using sharp objects
  • Pregnant Women are advised not to go out or directly see the eclipse, as it may affect their unborn child or chances of miscarriage is more. 

Activities that are advised to be done during eclipse period are:

  • Place Dharbha grass(Kusa) on the food items like pickles etc., so that they can be used again.
  • Take head baths during starting of the eclipse, peak of eclipse and again after the eclipse.
  • Do mantra japa, especially those with the same nakshatra as of eclipse nakshatra

The story of Rahu and Ketu in puranas:

The story of Rahu and Ketu mentioned in the Puranas is associated with Samudra Manthan.  After churning the ocean, Amrita was extracted. Maha Vishnu took the form of Mohini, a beautiful woman, and beguiled the Asuras into giving her the nectar for distribution.  She arranges both the Suras and Asuras into separate lines and begins to pour the Amrita to the Suras.  Only one of the Asura Svarabhanu realizes the ruse of Mohini, and switches lines, so that he too would receive Amrita.  The Sun and Moon notice that Svarabhanu is not Sura and by the time they warn Mohini, she has already tipped the amrita into his mouth.  Realizing this mistake, Vishnu beheads Svarabhanu with his Sudarshana chakra before the Asura swallows the nectar.  Svarabhanu’s head had already touched the Amrita, the nectar of immortality, so it lived on as a body with a head known as Rahu, and his body without the head is known as Ketu. 

In astrology, Rahu is the north lunar node, and Ketu is the south lunar node.  When the sun and moon cross paths with Rahu or Ketu they will darken the luminescence of these astral bodies. When the moon crosses the ecliptic path of the sun on a new moon, a lunar eclipse occurs.  On the other hand, a solar eclipse occurs under the same circumstance but on a full moon day. 

As per the scriptures, a solar or lunar eclipse is not favorable for beginning any task or auspicious activities.  But if the tasks relate to any spiritual activity, then an Eclipse is an auspicious period.  The period of an eclipse can and should be used for spiritual practice. This is an apt period to meditate and do mantra japa.  Mantra japa done during this Eclipse period has a manifold effect.  

 During a solar eclipse, there is a disruption in the sun’s rays, which are vital to the Earth and to all living things. This interruption (prana) is not favorable. The rays emitted are bad. When two celestial bodies are at the same point during an eclipse, their strong energies will show their impact on living beings. Both physical and mental health may be impacted. For example, during a solar eclipse, it is noticed that those with heart problems may have increased high blood pressure, and during a Lunar eclipse, mental illnesses and disorders tend to grow worse.

Astrologically, Eclipses tend to have a strong negative result on the geographical regions in which they occur.  Bad incidents may occur based on the nakshatra, rasi the eclipse occurs, like an increase in tension, aggressive trends in the world, risky and sudden decisions taken by officials, natural disasters, an increase in a pandemic, and many more. 

Eclipses are spiritual periods that favor activity related to meditation and inner development. Both eclipses are good times to have a quiet day, meditate, rest and be more reflective.  Avoid exciting activities.


.... Sarve Jana Sukhinobhavantu ....