How Hinduism Views Solar & Lunar Eclipses

Solar Eclipse Versus Lunar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse: occurs 2-5x a year when the moon fully or partially blocks the Sun, as it passes between the Sun and the Earth.

Lunar Eclipse: occurs 0-3x a year when the moon passes directly behind the Earth into its shadow.

The Story

Once Upon a Time...the gods and demons united to churn the ocean (“samudra manthan”) in search of the magical elixir (“amrit”), which would restore their lost powers and grant them immortality, once consumed.

 Once it was extracted from the depths of the ocean, Mohini, one of the avatars of Vishnu, began distributing it to each of the gods.

However, one of the demons, Svarbhanu, disguised himself as a god, and snuck into the line to quench his “thirst” for greed. Surya (the sun) and Chandra (the moon), who were also waiting in line, suddenly noticed Svarbhanu’s trickery and quickly informed Mohini.

But it was too late.

Svarbhanu had already taken a sip and had been granted immortality.

In a single swift motion, Mohini beheaded Svarbhanu with her dicus (“chakra”). Since Svarbhanu was technically immortal now, he couldn’t die, but became disjointed. The head became known as Rahu, and the body was called Ketu.

Rahu was enraged and blamed Surya and Chandra for the severe punishment, since they were the ones to call him out. Rahu vowed revenge and has been chasing the Sun and the Moon across the sky ever since, in an attempt to swallow them. But because Rahu is a head without a body, the Sun and Moon simply pass through, time and time again.

What Vedic Astrology Says

Together, Rahu and Ketu are referred to as the shadow planets.

Eclipses are generally considered bad omens, since the “disappearance” of the sun and moon are seen as a potential disruption in the cosmic order.

Rahu and Ketu’s duty is to keep a record of the “karmic journey,” and guide you through your past karma and evolve you towards your true purpose.

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Modi Toys is a children's brand of toys and books inspired by ancient Hindu culture. We exist to spread joy and to spark curiosity in the next generation through our innovative soft plush toys, illustrated children's books and free learning resources. Our weekly Theology Thursday series covers a wide range of topics rooted in Hinduism to help us better understand the origins of traditions, the symbolic meaning of rituals, and the stories behind Hindu holidays and festivals. The more we can understand "the why" behind this 4,000 year ancient religion, and make sense of it in this modern age, the greater we can appreciate and preserve our rich Hindu culture. While we take great care in thoroughly researching the information presented, we may occasionally get some things wrong. We encourage a healthy and open dialogue so we can learn together. Please leave a comment below or email us directly at to address any concerns. 


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