We know that demon do not swallow the sun during eclipse but, there is no dearth of excitement and curiosity around this natural occurrence. The spectacular cosmic opera that unfolds before us during total solar eclipse still enthrals us and the fact that we now know more about the cosmos mechanic does not make it any less exciting. From holiday companies selling solar eclipse packages to eclipse chasers to drift through the clouds in cosy comfort of an airplane to get an up close and personal view of this cosmic drama, to cottage industry of safe solar goggles sellers all make brisk business over a short span capitalising on curiosity of people, kept alive since the beginning of time. If modern man still finds it captivating and is compelled to experience this wondrous cosmic drama, pause, and think about the hunter gatherer societies….what they made of this sudden disappearance of sun, black night engulfing the earth in middle of a day. It is quite natural that in their simplistic way they assumed someone has eaten the sun!!
To modern man it’s the Moon coming between the sun and earth but to the ancient man across most civilisations it was a call of doom and gloom. Every civilisation from India to Mesopotamia to China to Egypt viewed this temporary disruption of natural rhythm as an ominous sign…some sinister events to unfold in future.
As far as eclipse myth goes there’s a common theme that runs across all myths – that of a demon devouring the Sun. In some cultures the demon takes the form of a giant turtle as it is in Vietnam, while in Romania it takes the form of werewolf , or a dragon in Asia, a jaguar in Latin America, a serpent in Egypt so on and so forth. Not having the scientific knowledge and tools, ancient man was unable to understand that eclipse is very much part and parcel of the natural rhythm of the cosmos. They sought to explain, in their own way, this disruption of natural order, spun stories of doom and gloom, which expressed their fear and insecurities but most importantly their limited understanding of the physical world.
Benaras Bhima Bodhisatva Brahmadatta Creation creation myth curses and boons Darika Dharnendra Dhola Diskit Draupadi Frog king Ganesha Gangamma Gond Hanuman Indra Jatak Jujaka brahmin Krishna Kshetrapal temple Mahabharata Mahadeo Mahakali Mandyavishya snake Maru Meghmali Monastery monitor lizard Narada Padmavati Parvati Pelagadu Rama Ramayana Rukmini selfless king Shiva Sita Tallapaka Shrine Tirthankara Tirupati Vishwamitra water