The Internet continues to reveal the world in the 21st century is not what a lot of us think it is. Take the London primary school in a Hindi neighborhood, which yesterday banned its students from watching the solar eclipse outside for “religious and cultural reasons,” arranging to shield them from its evil energy by making them watch it on TV inside. British media drew unflattering attention to the ban, with The Telegraph noting:
Hindu scriptures say that an eclipse makes believers impure. And fundamentalists believe that they need to bathe immediately after an eclipse and chant the name of God to overcome the forces of darkness.
However parents said children were disappointed by the decision, arguing that religious superstition had been allowed to overshadow science.
It’s a big deal in India, where astrologers are given regular slots during TV news programs. Yesterday morning, TV News Desk warned its readers that eclipses make you sick and to cleanse themselves when it’s over:
Under normal circumstances, our bodies pass negative energies to Earth however, at the time of an eclipse, the negative energies from our body rise upward through the chakras and auras to negatively influence karmic patterns descending from the higher chakras. Hence, the astrologers hold opinion that the countries where the eclipse will be visible will see more cases of mental depression, suicidal tendencies, insomnia in its people…
[Those with ] ascendant in Pisces, Gemini, Leo, Virgo, Scorpio, Sagittarius or Aquarius might lose money, health and will experience mental disturbance and lack of sleep. For up to two weeks after the eclipse, Librans may lose health and sleep…
It is recommended that one should practice healing method to cleanse the negative karmic energy of our body and aura…
[O]ne should not eat, sleep or have sexual intercourse during the time of eclipse as the ‘tamasic’ forces are active in the body during this time which results in bad health, nightmares and conceiving unhealthy babies.
They ran a separate warning from astrologer Komel Chadha that eclipses cause tsunamis:
When last such solar eclipse happened as that of today, we saw Tsunami! Yes, this is true! Similar to the solar eclipse that the world will witness today, we saw one on March 11, 2011 when the Earthquake-Tsunami happened in the Pacific Ocean which hit Fukushima.
…This solar eclipse is near the same position where Uranus was at that time, and it is possible that we could again see the occurrence of critical events or circumstances related to the oceans.
The more respectable national English-language daily, The Hindu, warned that eclipses contaminate food, citing actual bizarre research by a traditional science center at India’s SASTRA University:
Darbha (Desmotachya bipinnata) is a tropical grass considered a sacred material in Vedic scriptures and is said to purify the offerings during such rituals. At the time of eclipse, people place that grass in food items that could ferment and once the eclipse ends the grass is removed…
During eclipse, the wavelength and intensity of light radiations available on the earth’s surface is altered. Especially, the blue and ultraviolet radiations, which are known for their natural disinfecting property, are not available in sufficient quantities during eclipse.
This leads to uncontrolled growth of micro-organisms in food products during eclipse and the food products are not suitable for consumption… Further, the scientists say that darbha could be used as a natural food preservative…
The study addresses the problem of reduced “disinfecting solar radiation” during eclipses, and the need for an alternative disinfectant at such times. It didn’t explain what you’re supposed to do at night and for food kept indoors out of the sun.
AstroSage Magazine’s do’s and don’ts for pregnant women during a solar eclipse advise not sleeping, taking a bath before and after the eclipse, and “stay home and not be in the open.”
All of this makes it incredibly refreshing to read about one organization that’s teaching pregnant women not to fear solar eclipses. The Atheist Centre in Andhra Pradesh has a science education facility open to the public to encourage scientific and critical thinking to help the environment, health and disaster preparedness. The center also investigates claims of the paranormal and “godmen,” India’s traditional version of America’s Christian televangelist, and builds awareness of the harm witchcraft and sorcery beliefs cause to women and children. And that is awesome.