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"My son, one day you too can gobble the sun" - PacMan Sr | by Pandiyan
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"My son, one day you too can gobble the sun" - PacMan Sr

This reminded me of the interesting Indian story about the eclipse.

 

Rahu, a demon, tried to cheat the gods by drinking the nectar of immortality. Sun and Moon saw him and ratted on him. Lord Vishnu was enraged and cut off Rahu's head. But having quaffed the nectar he would not die. So whenever vengeful thoughts came to him he would go gobble up the sun or the moon.There you have it.

 

Interestingly, for the Chinese it is a dragon which swallows the sun. And rightfully he needs to endure the commotion people make during an eclipse to scare him off. For the Vikings, it was a wolf which did the deed. For some native americans it was a bear. The most interesting explanation comes from Tahiti. Eclipse is when sun and the moon make love. Quite refreshing.

 

Incidentally it was the Chinese who have the earliest record of an eclipse. 2134 BC. 1300 years preceding the earliest Biblical reference and 1600 years before the first prediction of an eclipse by the Greek astronomer, Thales.

 

Being able to predict eclipse comes in handy if you are an explorer venturing into areas of story-telling shaman and dart throwers. There is an unverified story about Columbus using it with some tribals to get supplies. Well read authors have used it as a great plot device to rescue heros. Mark twain did it in his 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court' to rescue Mr Morgan and comic writer Herge used it to save Tintin and Captain Haddock from the Incas.

 

But have you noticed there are no Egyptian myths about eclipse. The pharaoh is a direct descendent of the sun and one must have a death-wish to talk about him getting swallowed.

 

And here is a better shot of an eclipse.

 

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Taken on April 3, 2012