How religions have responded to total solar eclipses over the centuries – Science News (Trending Perfect)


Throughout history, solar eclipses have had a profound impact on followers of different religions around the world. They were viewed as messages from God or spiritual forces, arousing feelings ranging from awe to wonder.

before Total solar eclipse Which will follow a long path over North America on Monday, here's a look at how many of the world's major religions have responded to such an eclipse over the centuries and into modern times.

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the energy of positive and negative actions is believed to multiply during major astronomical events such as solar eclipses.

According to the late Lama Zopa Rinpoche of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Traditions, lunar and solar eclipses are auspicious days for spiritual practice. He said that the merit – which represents the positive karmic results of good intentions and actions – resulting from a lunar eclipse is multiplied by 700,000 and on a solar eclipse by 100 million. Some of the spiritual activities recommended on these days include chanting mantras and sutras.

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Some Christians believe that the eclipse heralds the coming of the “end times” that will precede Christ's return to Earth as predicted at various points in the Bible. One such passage is found in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles: “The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.”

There has also been a persistent belief among some Christians that the eclipse occurred during the crucifixion because three of the four Gospels of the Bible mention a three-hour period of darkness when Jesus died.

Luke 23:44 says: “It was about noon, and darkness fell over the whole land until three o’clock in the afternoon, because the sun had ceased to shine.”

It has been observed that a three-hour period of darkness does not indicate a solar eclipse, which produces only a few minutes of darkness.

But a recent commentary on — a site supported by several prominent evangelical pastors — said the darkness described in the three Gospels “represents a profound spiritual transformation.”

“The temporary occultation of the sun, combined with Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, provides a powerful metaphor for the fleeting nature of despair and the eternal promise of salvation and rebirth,” the caption reads.

The origin of eclipses in Hinduism is explained in ancient mythology known as the Puranas. In one myth, the devas and asuras, symbolizing good and evil respectively, stirred the ocean to receive the nectar of eternal life. As an asura, Svarbhanu, posing as a deva to receive nectar, alerted the Sun God (Surya) and Moon God (Chandra) Mohini, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who then used the disc to behead Svarbhanu.

But since the asura had already consumed a portion of the nectar, his immortal but separate head and body lived on under the names of Rahu and Ketu. Legend has it that Rahu sometimes swallows the sun and moon due to the gods' role in his misery, causing a solar and lunar eclipse.

Hindus generally consider a solar or lunar eclipse to be a bad omen. Some fast before that, and many do not eat during the eclipse period. Devout Hindus take a ritual bath to purify themselves during the first and last phases of the eclipse. Some also offer prayers to ancestors. Most temples are closed for the duration of the eclipse. Devotees gather to pray along pilgrimage sites near sacred rivers during the onset of the eclipse. The event is considered an appropriate time for prayer, meditation and chanting of mantras – all of which are believed to ward off evil.

In Islam, a solar eclipse is a time to turn to God and pray. The Eclipse prayer is based on accounts of the sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad.

Qaiser Aslam, a Muslim chaplain at the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University, said that one narrative quoted the Prophet as saying: “The sun and the moon are two signs of God, and they will not be eclipsed by the death of anyone.” … Whenever you see this eclipse, pray and supplicate.”

Aslam said, the story says that “after the death of the son of the Prophet Muhammad Ibrahim, his companions tried to console him by saying that the sun was eclipsed due to the greatness of the loss.” “The Prophet corrected them by reminding them that the sun and moon are signs of God and not adding any myth about the cause of the eclipse.”

On April 8, Aslam will lead the “Eclipse” prayer on the campus. He added that it is customary for there to be a short sermon after prayer to explain the lessons and lessons learned from them and dispel any myths surrounding them.

“It is a beautiful and meaningful prayer that emphasizes our relationship with God’s creation, and making sure to offer our devotion to God, rather than incidental events in God’s creation,” Aslam said.

Mahmoud Al-Hawari, official of the Islamic Research Academy at Al-Azhar in Cairo, said that praying the eclipse prayer in congregation in the mosque is better, but it is permissible for Muslims to pray it alone in another place.

Al-Hawari said: “Wisdom is for a person to turn to God, asking for the removal of this affliction. People must know that the events of the entire universe are in the hands of God.”

The Talmud—the body of writings compiled more than 1,500 years ago that constitutes Jewish religious law—offers specific blessings for many natural phenomena, but not for eclipses. Instead, he portrays the eclipse as a “bad omen for the world.”

On — a website that serves an Orthodox Jewish audience — Chicago-based Rabbi Menachem Posner sought to present the Talmud passage in a modern context, given the consensus that eclipses are natural events that could be predicted centuries in advance.

“Eclipses should be opportunities for increased prayer and contemplation, rather than eliciting joyful blessings,” Posner wrote. “It's a sign that we really can and should do better.”

Writing in early March for the Orthodox Jewish education organization Aish, Rabbi Mordechai Becher noted that Judaism has long-standing interrelationships with astronomy. He said there are three craters on the moon named after medieval rabbis with expertise in astronomy.

As for the eclipse, Becher — a teacher at Yeshiva University — pointed out that God made it possible for a profound reason.

“He created a system that would regularly remind us that our choices can create darkness, even in times when there should be light,” he wrote. “Our free will choices can create a barrier between us and the Divine Light, but they can also allow the Divine Light to be seen here.”

Associated Press religion coverage receives support through the AP cooperation With The Conversation US, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., the AP is solely responsible for this content.

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