Major Hindu temples across India will shut their doors for a day July 22 to ward off the negative energy said to be generated by the total solar eclipse, which, priests and spiritual gurus say, weaken the natural "positive aura" of idols in shrines.
While the Venkateswara temple in Tirumala will close its gates at 9 p.m. July 21 to 8 a.m. July 22, the Lakshmi-Narayan temple in the capital, also known as the Birla Temple, will remain closed during the period of the eclipse .
"The temple usually opens at 4.30 a.m. But on Wednesday, it will open at 7.30 a.m. During the eclipse, we will keep tulsi leaves, holy water from the Ganges, kusha (grass) and rudraksha inside the sanctum as a shield. After the eclipse, we will sprinkle water from the Ganges to purify the temple before getting on with the morning rituals. The scriptures day it is inauspicious to invoke the deities during eclipse because the shadow on the sun depletes psychological strength," Ravindra Nagar, the head priest of the Birla Temple, told IANS.
All Birla temples across the country will remain shut during the eclipse.
A statement by the Tirumala Turupati Devasthanam, which manages the famous temple at Tirupati, said 'ekantham' or service to the lord, performed in the morning, will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
The famous Sri Kanakdurga temple at Indrakeeladri hill in Vijaywada, Brahmarambika Mallikarjuna Swamyvari Devasthanam at Srisailam, Sitaramachandra Swamy temple at Bhadrachalam and Satyanarayana Swamy temple at Annavaram in Andhra Pradesh and almost all temples in Kerala will remain closed.
"However, the dhyanalinga shrines remain open. As all temples in India are energy centres, the extreme pull exerted by the combined energies of the sun, moon and the planets during solar eclipse makes it a good time for devotees to visit Dhayanlinga temples and make use of the energy. Dhyanalinga temples are usually meditation space," spiritual guru Jaggi Vasudev, head of the spiritual organisation, Isha Foundation, told IANS from Coimbatore.
As the core of the Dhyanalinga deity, usually Lord Shiva, is solidified mercury, eclipse activates the energy centre and makes it more easily avilable to people, he explained.
In most temples across south India which will remain shut druing the eclipse, the idols and sanctums will be covered by organic material like "grass, leaves of the neem or vila trees or raw silk shroud to prevent the natural aura from being destroyed", the seer from Coimbatore said.
Usually, deities in temples which have been consecrated by mantras and rituals have an external energy field around the form which combined pull of the sun and moon during the can weaken during the eclipse.