Temples will not open during a lunar eclipse and Hindus are also not encouraged to leave their houses. – EPA pic, January 13, 2018.
THE Malaysia Hindu Sangam yesterday again cautioned Hindu temples against remaining open or performing rites during the lunar eclipse on Thaipusam on January 31, saying it clashed with Hindu beliefs.
MHS president R.S. Mohan Shan said Hindu communities all over the world had held on to the belief that lunar eclipses were inauspicious since time immemorial.
“Usually, temples will not open during the eclipse and Hindus are also not encouraged to leave their houses for fear of the negative vibrations created during the phenomenon.
“Apart from that, pregnant women should also stay indoors and people should not hurt animals or cut trees or branches, and must abstain from food and drink, as its impact may last for generations,” he said.
Mohan Shan was commenting on the announcement yesterday by Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam chairman R. Nadarajah that religious ceremonies at the Sri Subramaniam Temple in Batu Caves on Thaipusam would proceed even during the eclipse.
Mohan Shan said the lunar eclipse was expected to occur from 7.48pm to 11.11pm on January 31
“Devotees are advised to fulfil their vows or carry out other religious rites before 7.30pm or perform the rites after 11.30pm,” he said, adding that MHS would not stop any Hindu devotee from going to Batu Caves during the eclipse.
Mohan Shan said the Balathandayuthapani Temple in Georgetown, Penang, Sri Subramaniya Swami Devasthanam Temple in Sungai Petani, Kedah, (two other important Thaipusam locations) and even the temples in Singapore and India would also close during the lunar eclipse.
“We have disseminated complete information on the eclipse and it is up to individuals to heed the advice or otherwise,” he said.
Nadarajah, at a media conference yesterday, said the Hindu community need not feel uneasy about fulfilling vows or prayers during the eclipse on Thaipusam as special “remedy” prayers would be held on the night of January 31 after the occurrence of the lunar eclipse
“Most Hindus will not leave their houses, and temples are normally closed during an eclipse, but due to the large number of devotees fulfilling their vows on Thaipusam, we have decided to hold the special remedy prayers.
“This parigara pooja will be held at 11.30pm. The temple management obtained the advice of Hindu religious experts before making the decision and it was told that the religious ceremonies could go on as usual,” he said.
He also said that the gold and silver chariot would begin its procession at 10pm on January 29 from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Tun H.S. Lee in Kuala Lumpur and arrive at Batu Caves at 2pm the next day.
“The chariot will make the return journey on February 1, starting from Batu Caves in the afternoon and will reach the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at midnight the same day.”
Nadarajah advised devotees and visitors to use public transport, such as trains, to prevent traffic congestion in the temple area.
“Security would be stepped up with additional police personnel,” he said.
Thaipusam is a celebration of Hindus all over the world during the month of Thai, which is the 10th month in the Tamil calendar.
It is to honour Lord Murugan, who received the holy spear from his mother Goddess Parvati to eradicate the evil Soorapadman and restore prosperity and peace to the people. – Bernama, January 13, 2018.