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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Gaura vs Rāhu

Gaurapurnima 2007 coincides with an eclipse, so from 6 p.m deity service and prasāda is to be stopped. So, since breaking fast is exactly at 6 p.m., one either has to fast until the next morning or have the prasāda 'contaminated' by Rāhu. As a compromise I decide to break fast at 5.30 p.m., still a bit around dusk, and just before the onset of the eclipse. I cook a 'feast' for Rādhācaran and Kṛṣṇamayī and do abhiṣeka with them as well. Then, fearing contamination by Rāhu, I was supposed to do a vigil from 6 p.m to 3 a.m. as well. Well, you know there are limits for a 51-year old 29-year sādhaka. Just look at it: 1-2 February - vigil (plane flight), 2-5 February jetlag, 14 February Ekādaśī, 16 February Śiva Rātri (24 hour vigil and fast. Scrapped the former deliberately, the latter accidentally). 27 February Ekādaśī, 3/4 March Gaura Pūrṇimā + eclipse - Full fast till dusk (observed, without eating 1 kg of potatoes at noon, like most of my fellow rāgānugaites), eclipse vigil (scrapped deliberately, slept from 6.30 p.m to 3.30 a.m. instead). Coming up: 5/6 March vigil in airport and plane, 6-11 March jetlag, 14 March Ekadashi, etc..

I did stay indoors during the eclipse, though. What about the story of Sārvabhauma eating prasāda brought by Mahāprabhu before mangal ārati and His morning bath? What about the Puranik verse that says that considering prasādā to be contaminated brings one to eternal hell? What about the fact that we Vaiṣṇavas are surrendered to Lokanāth (Viṣṇu), the Lord of all planets, including Rāhu? Nirañjan Bābu told me that during the eclipse we just 'chant and afterwards take a bath'.

(For the record, I do support and follow all Vaiṣṇava vratas)


  1. I love that kind of common-sense Vaishnava practicality. Chant and take bath, bas.

  2. In vilaskunja Madhava said: A view of the full lunar eclipse on the day Gaura-purnima in the month of Phalguna at 4:15 AM at Radha-kunda.

    Adavaita said: I decide to break fast at 5.30 p.m., still a bit around dusk, and just before the onset of the eclipse.

    Being at the south of the equator we did not see the eclipse, it was not an issue here really, I did not read about it in the paper, the Indian guy before me in the queue to the prasadam did not know about it when I mentioned that the lunar eclipse will be visible in India today as when the day Lord Chaitanya appeared . You and Madhava are both in India, if lunar eclipse happened there at 4:15 AM, morning , why would the 6:00 PM, evening deity worship and prasad distribution be affected when the eclipse (4:15 AM Indian time) was already way finished ? Confused

  3. I didnt even KNOW there was an eclipse until Krishnamayi told me on the same day. According to Madhava (either on his website or on his printed panjika) contamination sets on 12 hours before the eclipse, which was in India at 6 p.m. on the 3rd.

  4. I find it hard to comprehend how Rahu can have any contaminating effect on prasad, much less on Gaur Purnima.