By Swami Nirmalananda
Not everything that is fun is also beneficial, surely you’ve learned that by now. Just because something is unusual or interesting doesn’t mean you should get involved. This is also true of eclipses. The footprint of an eclipse is that of darkness overtaking light. Don’t expose yourself to it!
This means stay indoors. This is a time to do Consciousness practices, especially mantra, chanting and meditation. Don’t eat. Don’t sleep. Some say you shouldn’t even drink water during an eclipse. Just as if a police helicopter were circling your neighborhood, it’s time to protect yourself.
The ancient sages warned that the sun emits abnormal radiations during an eclipse. Even if you look at it merely metaphorically, if you are in the path of the eclipse, you are plunged into darkness during the usual time of light. Darkness propagates fear and unconsciousness, the loss of Self and being entwined in Maayaa. While an eclipse doesn’t last long, the imprint that it makes in your mind lingers, leading to harmful or painful results later.
In addition to the event in the sky, www.dictionary.com defines “eclipse” as “a reduction or loss of splendor, status, reputation.” Examples include, “Scandal caused the eclipse of his career,” and “a soprano whose singing eclipsed that of her rivals.” You don’t want to be eclipsed. We are closing Downingtown Yoga & Meditation Center during the eclipse and sending our staff home early enough that they can avoid even the earliest edge of the sun’s darkening.
At the Ashram, we will be doing Consciousness practices throughout the whole time period. Chanting, mantra, meditation – a lovely immersion at a critical time. We will be doing the mantra of our lineage, as well as the Gayatri mantra and the MahaMrtyunjaya Mantra (easily available online). I invite you to join in. After the eclipse, you should bathe and change your clothes. Emerge back into the world slowly, as everyone else has been affected by the dark.
The traditional guidelines are:
- Do not eat or drink, not even water;
- Do not sleep;
- Do not work;
- Stay inside and protect yourself from the darkening of the sun’s rays;
- Chant mantras and meditate;
- When it is over, bathe and change clothes.
These are wonderful yogic ways to take care of yourself!
OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah