Published on February 7th, 2016 | by Madhudvisa dasa
Solar Eclipse Australia May 10, 2013 and Rahu
Welcome to Australia. This is Kowanyama, it is a remote place, not even a place really, in Northern Queensland and here today on the tenth of May 2013 we are going to have the privilege of experiencing an annular solar eclipse. Now you will not see this in many other places because this particular eclipse is visible mostly across the ocean and in fairly inaccessible areas. So this may be one of the only videos that you can experience this May 10th. 2013 annular solar eclipse.
The pictures that you are about to see of this annular solar eclipse from Australia we are taking with a Cannon DSLR camera hooked up with a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope complete with a home-made sun filter on the front so that we won’t destroy the camera and the telescope.
Today we are going to see a solar eclipse. Now we understand that the solar eclipses are caused by the moon coming in front of the sun. It is a very wider accepted explanation of the cause of a solar eclipse. And it’s a very reasonable explanation because the moon and the sun are in the same position in the sky at this particular moment and we see something come in front of the sun, a big black circle, and we know that the moon is a quarter of a million miles away and we know that the sun is 93 million miles away, and we know the moon is very small and the sun is very big. So we assume of course, naturally, that by some fluke of the creation of the universe, the moon happens to be just the right size to cover the sun. It’s all very reasonable.
Anyhow today what we are going to see is an annular solar eclipse which means that the moon is going to come in front of the sun but it will not be big enough to cover the sun as we see in a total solar eclipse. So we are going to see the moon come into the sun and cover it and then it will gradualy come out the other side.
Now you may ask, “What is a Hare Krishna devotee doing interested in a solar eclipse. Well I have become curious because we in the West, we know it very clearly, we are very convinced that we understand what is happening when we look in the sky and see this solar eclipse however when we read the Vedic scriptures we find a very different explanation of what’s happening during the time of a solar eclipse and for me that is perplexing because the Vedic scriptures are timeless. They’ve existed for thousand and thousands, actually hundreds of thousands and millions of years and they contain scientific knowledge and what’s more in the field of astrology and astronomy, they contain models of the universe which are actual calculation models which enable the saints and sages of the past ages to very expertly calculate in minute detail all of the movements of the heavenly bodies. So in India great sages and sadhus have been able to calculate the exact moment of the solar and lunar eclipses down to a tiny fraction of a second even five thousand years ago, even ten thousand years ago, even twenty thousand years ago. Now in contrast our modern astronomers have only been able to do these things in the past fifty or hundred years. So we’re looking at a culture that has a vast history of successful astronomical calculations. We are looking at the culture that invented mathematics, they invented trigonometry, they invented the decimal numbering system, they invented zero, they invented sin, cos, tan. These things are all invented in India. We say invented, but they are not really invented, they are knowledge, they are Veda. They are information that is given to us in the Vedas.
So new we have a storehouse of knowledge which undoubtedly and unquestionably contains huge amounts of valid scientific knowledge but in the middle of all this we have a description of the cause of the solar and lunar eclipses which is so dramatically different from what we accept as happening that it makes one wonder.
Now, according to the Vedic understanding, what causes the solar and lunar eclipses is a dark planet by the name of Rahu and that planet has the ability to occult or to cover the sun and the moon. Now according to this Vedic model it is completely different from our Western model. The earth is here, in the Vedic model, then the nearest planet is Rahu, then beyond Rahu there is the Sun, and beyond the sun there is the Moon. So we have like this: Earth, Rahu, Sun, Moon. So it is not actually possible, according to the Vedas, for the Moon to come in front of the Sun, because the Moon is beyond the Sun. I’m just telling you the model.
Now, according to the Vedic understanding, what happens at the time of a solar eclipse is that this planet, Rahu, comes in front of the Sun, and behind the Sun there is the Moon. So we think actually it’s the Moon coming in front of the Sun whereas in reality it’s Rahu, which we don’t even know exists, coming in front of the Sun which causes the solar eclipse.
In this universe there are always two different types of living entities. There are the godly or saintly people, they are called the demigods, and there are the demonic, sinful people, they are called asuras or demons. So there was a time thousands and thousands of years ago when both the demigods and the demons cooperated together with one object. They wanted to produce nectar by churning the ocean. Now we can understand if we are doing some chemical experiment in the laboratory we take some test-tubes and we mix different chemicals together and that produces some reaction. Now the demigods wanted to do this on a grand scale. They wanted to use the ocean as their test-tube and they wanted to put various ingredients into the ocean and mix it and churn it. And then they required a churning rod, something to stir up the ocean because once all the ingredients had been placed into the ocean they needed to agitate the ocean. They took a great mountain and they took that mountain into the ocean and they had no way of churning, moving the mountain around, so they took the advice of Lord Visnu who suggested that Vasuki, a great serpent could be used as the churning rod. The demons on the head and the demigods on the tail took this huge serpent, wrapped it around the mountain and used that by pulling in different directions the mountain started to churn the ocean but unfortunately because there was no firm rest for the mountain it started to dig into the bottom of the ocean and became stuck there.
So there was a need for some pivot, something which the demigods and demons could use to balance the mountain on in the bottom of the ocean so they could continue their churning successfully. So they prayed to Lord Visnu and Lord Visnu most mercifully appeared as an incarnation. That incarnation is called the Kurma avatar. Lord Visnu in the form of Kurma is an enormous tortoise with a huge back and huge shell. So He sat in the bottom of the ocean and took the mountain on His back and He was feeling some itching sensation so when the demigods and the demons resumed their churning of the ocean the point of the mountain was nicely scratching the back of Kurma, the tortoise incarnation of Lord Visnu. So just see how wonderful the Lord is. The demigods and the demons were frustrated in their attempts at churning the ocean and the Lord very mercifully appears as a tortoise incarnation to successfully churn the ocean.
It’s becoming quite eerily dim now that the sun has been eaten up so much in this eclipse. It’s 8:32 now and we are going to see the maximum at 8:47, so that’s a few minutes, and we shall see what happens. During an annular solar eclipse it is not possible for the Sun to be completely covered so we will see that there will be a border around, well we’ll say the Moon, but we think it might be Rahu and we’ll see. So it won’t become completely dark. Most of the Sun will be covered but there will be a ring remaining outside the Sun.
So back to the story about the churning of the ocean. The purpose of the churning of the ocean was to produce nectar and the demigods and demons were successful and produced the nectar which was able to give immortality. So after the churning was finished the demons and demigods all sat down together to distribute the nectar. So this became a little bit of a problem because the demons are very bad and it would not be good for them to have the nectar because they would do all sorts of terrible things. So Krishna appeared as a beautiful woman, Mohini Murti, He did that because demons, they’re attracted very much by the beauty of a woman. So when the demons see a beautiful woman they become completely overwhelmed and they’ll do anything that that woman tells them to do.
Wow![looking at the eclipse] Now we see it’s coming close, we see the ring around the Moon. Now it’s not dark, it’s not dark like a full eclipse. We can still see everything quite clearly. But you can see that so much of the sun’s light has been blocked out.
Anyhow, Mohini Murti and the demigods. So the demons are very attracted by beautiful women so naturally Lord Visnu decided to appear as a beautiful woman so He could bewilder them because Lord Visnu’s plan was that He didn’t want actually the demons to take the nectar, He only wanted the demigods, the Godly, saintly persons to take the nectar and to become immortal. So Lord Visnu in the form of this beautiful woman, Mohini Murti, had all of the demigods sit in a line on one side and all the demons sit in a line on the other. Then Mohini Murti went to the demons and smiled very beautifully at them and spoke to them very sweetly and said: “Well, of course I am going to give you all of the nectar, but first I must go over there to the demigods just out of formality I will give them a little bit.” So most of the demons were completely bewildered by this trick of Mohini Murti but there was one demon there, his name was Rahu, and he could understand what was happening. He knew what Lord Visnu was trying to do. He knew that in the guise of placating the demigods actually Lord Visnu was going to give them all the nectar and there would be nothing left for the demons. So this Rahu was very intelligent…
O my God, look at that [looking at the eclipse]. O look at that! The Sun is now completely covered by the Moon, we have simply a ring outside. This is amazing. So the Moon or Rahu, whatever it is, it’s too far away from the Earth so now it’s not able to completely cover the Sun. Isn’t that beautiful. And now the totality is finished and we see the Moon is coming out the other side, or Rahu, whatever you think.
Still we can’t really tell if it’s the Moon or Rahu because we just know that some black circular thing has come in front of the Sun and it could be Rahu and it could be the Moon. We really don’t know for sure at this point in time.
Anyway we should continue our discussion on Mohini Murti and her trick. Mohini Murti was trying to trick the demons into thinking that she was only going to give the demigods one, two drops of the nectar, and she would keep everything for them but there was one demon by the name of Rahu who understood this trick of Mohini Murti and this Rahu decided to sit in the line of the demigods. Of course he could not, he had to disguise himself. So he dressed himself up as a demigod and sat in the line with the demigods and he actually sat next to the Sun and the Moon in that line, between the Sun and the Moon. Because every planet has a demigod, so the Sun has a demigod, the Moon has a demigod. So Rahu sat between the Sun and the Moon and Mohini Murti was going along the line and distributing nectar to all of the demigods and she came to Rahu and he took the cup of nectar and some drops of the nectar went into his mouth but then Mohini Murti realized: “O, this is not a demigod. This is Rahu, this is a demon who sat in the line to trick us.” So immediately Mohini Murti took the Sudarsana Chakra, the weapon of Visnu, and chopped the head of Rahu off completely but what had happened is the nectar was not able to go down into Rahu’s body but the nectar was in his head, mouth, so the head of Rahu became eternal. The body was finished because the head was chopped off but the head, because of the nectar in the head, became eternal. So that Rahu’s head became the planet Rahu and because he was sitting between the Sun and the Moon at that time when the nectar was being distributed Rahu is inimical to the Sun and the Moon so whenever Rahu gets an opportunity he tries to attack the Sun and the Moon. So this time, when there is no Moon, is an opportunity which Rahu takes to attack the Sun. So what we are seeing now is actually an attack by a demon on the Sun, who is a demigod, so this is a very inauspicious moment.
So now you understand the story of how Rahu, the planet, this black planet which has a tendency to attack the Sun and the Moon, has come into existence.
It may surprise you to know that in India they are actually very expert in calculating things like the occurrences of the solar and lunar eclipses and they have been very expert in this science for thousands and thousands of years. And this science, their understanding of the universe is based on conceptions which are vastly different from those that we accept in modern astronomy. So even if we believe that everything about modern astronomy is correct at least we have to accept that the model of the universe which is given by the great sages in the ancient Vedic scriptures is actually a valid predictive model because using the model of the universe which is there in the Vedas the great sages and sadhus have been able to predict the things like solar and lunar eclipses long, long before anyone in the Western world even existed, certainly long before science and technology existed in the Western world the sadhus in India were able to calculate these occurrences, astrological phenomena, with incredible accuracy. So it is probably worth considering that there may be some validity in the Vedic model of the universe and really that is my interest here. My interest is to come to some understanding of the Vedic model and it’s apparent inconsistencies with the Western model and I’ve come to accept now that what we have in astronomy in the Western world is nothing more than a predictive model. We have created a model of the universe and it predicts quite accurately many of the phenomena that we see occurring in the sky. So to the degree to which a model accurately predicts things then we get faith in that model but it is possible that the universal situation may be different form our model.
There are two ways of acquiring knowledge, one is the ascending process and one is the descending process. So the ascending process of acquiring knowledge means trying to discover that knowledge yourself. This is basically the scientific process. That is the process of observation and experiment. So the scientists observe something, they make a theory, they make an experiment, they prove their theory and in this way by their own power, by their own strength, they come up with some knowledge. That is OK of course but every person is imperfect. We all share four defects. Four fatal flaws which make every piece of knowledge which we discover through the ascending process imperfect.
We have imperfect senses. It means when I look at something in the sky with my eyes I am not seeing what’s in the sky. My eyes are imperfect. There are so many things in the sky I can’t see because the instrument which I am using is incapable of detecting them. So because my instrument which which I am acquiring knowledge is imperfect then the knowledge which I am going to generate from that observation will by definition be imperfect.
So we have imperfect senses. We have the tendency to cheat. Everybody has their own pet theory, even scientists, they’re trying to establish something. They want to establish their particular idea, their particular theory. So the tendency is to accept evidence that supports their theory and to reject or hide evidence that goes against their theory. This is ingrained within every person. The tendency to cheat. So these two things: we have the tendency to cheat and we have imperfect senses.
Also every person makes mistakes, there is no exception to this rule. So we make mistakes. So somebody who makes mistakes can not produce perfect knowledge. So we have imperfect senses, we have a tendency to cheat and we make mistakes. And we are illusioned.
Every person is illusioned. It means he accepts something to be a fact which is not a fact and science is such a perfect example of this illusion. In science there are so many “fundamental principles” which are not true. Now we take biology or anthropology, the fundamental principle they more-or-less assume is “life comes from chemicals”. That by some random combination of chemicals the living force has come into existence. But this is completely false. Actually the living force and chemicals are two completely separate things. So this is an example of being illusioned. So someone who is illusioned like that can never have perfect knowledge.
So every scientist is full of these four defects. They are all illusioned, they have imperfect senses, they cheat and they make mistakes. So with all these flaws they can not produce any perfect knowledge. So the ascending process of knowledge is useless because any knowledge which is produced through the ascending process is by nature flawed, imperfect. So what does that leave us with? That leaves us with the descending process of knowledge. The descending process means accepting knowledge from an authority. If you can find somebody who knows a particular science you can learn that science from him and if he has perfect knowledge then he can transmit perfect knowledge to you. This process is called sruti or hearing. If I am fortunate enough to have a perfect authority, a perfect person whom I can hear from then that person can give me perfect knowledge. So the Vedas is perfect knowledge. Veda means avaroha-pantha, It means the Vedic knowledge was not produced by human brains. The Vedic knowledge is not a product of human manufacturing. It is knowledge that has descended from a higher source. Knowledge which has come into the material world from the spiritual world.
Every scientist has these four flaws. Every scientist makes mistakes, every scientist is illusioned, every scientist cheats and every scientist has imperfect senses. So every pieces of scientific knowledge is completely flawed because it is produced by scientists who all have these flaws. So what is the alternative if we can not trust the knowledge which has been produced by observations through our senses? It means we have to find knowledge from a perfect authority. That is the only way we can get perfect knowledge. So fortunately for us the Vedic knowledge is there and that contains all knowledge. Veda means knowledge so anything which is knowledge, we can find that in the Vedas. So there is astrological knowledge in the Vedas, there is medical knowledge, there is scientific knowledge of all varieties, there is even social knowledge like the art of warfare and there is Vimana-sastra, if you want to build spaceships, the information is there in the Vedas. Every knowledge is there.
So in the Vedas also we find a description of our universe and our solar system and how the things are working and we find many contradictions between the Vedic description and the current Western understanding of the universe so from that we have to conclude that there may be many flaws in the understanding of today’s astronomers.