On 21st June 2020, we will witness the first solar eclipse of the year. It will lead to a ring of fire which would be visible in some parts for few minutes. The Sun is covered by the Moon and only a small ring is visible around the Moon.
The solar eclipse will begin at 10.20 am and will end at 1.49 pm on 21st June 2020. The eclipse will be at its peak at 12.02 pm. The duration of the eclipse will be 3 hours 28 minutes and 36 seconds.
Sutak is an inauspicious time before an eclipse. According to Hindu beliefs, during sutak, the Earth’s atmosphere is contaminated. Certain precautions must be taken during this time to avoid the harmful effects of this contamination.
Usually, during a Surya Grahan (solar eclipse), sutak is observed 12 hours prior to the eclipse.
Sutak for this solar eclipse will begin at 9.52 pm on 20th June 2020 and end at 1.49 pm on 21st June 2020.
Precautions during Sutak and Grahan
- Consuming food and liquids during the sutak period is prohibited. However, exceptions should be made for children, sick and old people.
- Pregnant women are advised not to go outside during the grahan and the sutak period. During the malefic effects of Rahu and Ketu may lead the unborn child to have birth defects and may even lead to miscarriage. Pregnant women must also not use scissors or stitch during this time or induldge in similar activities as they have a similar effect as venturing out.
- One should avoid getting oil massages, drinking water, excreting & urinating, combing hair, brushing teeth and indulging in sexual relations during the eclipse and sutak period.
- Chanting of mantras is considered auspicious during the Grahan. Their effect is much stronger when chanted at this time. One can chant or listen to “Om Namah Shivay” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmDdsG5VE7A&t=1s) or listen to “Surya Mantra.”
Rituals after the Grahan
- It is advised to discard cooked food which was prepared before the grahan. Only freshly cooked food should be consumed.
- Food items like wheat, rice, pickles, etc., which cannot be discarded should be preserved by adding tulsi leaves to them.
- Once eclipse is over, one should take a bath and donate something to Brahmins. Making offerings after an Eclipse is considered very auspicious.
- Donate wheat and gur (jaggery) after the Grahan.