Lakshmi Puja on Diwali is done during Amavasya due to the religious significance of the day. It is scientific fact that Surya Grahan (Solar Eclipse) occurs only during Amavasya i.e. on the new moon day. Hence it is not unusual that often Surya Grahan falls on Diwali Puja day. However Surya Grahan is restricted to limited geographical area on the earth.
In many years Surya Grahan is not visible in India during Diwali but it is visible in other countries e.g. United States, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and Canada. All these countries have significant population of Indian diaspora who perform Diwali Puja but hardly get any information on Grahan during Diwali Puja. In India also whenever Surya Grahan occurs on Diwali there is utter confusion on the timings of Diwali Puja.
Hence the team of Drik Panchang have looked into religious texts and tried to throw some light on the topic of Diwali Puja during Solar Eclipse.
Majority of Pundits and astrologers in India agree that none of the rituals which are prescribed during Surya Grahan should be followed if Grahan is not visible at the area of residence. For example, if Surya Grahan is visible only in the United States of America then none of the rituals should be followed in India and vice-versa. The authorities are Nirnay Sindhu and Dharma Sindhu. According to these books, if Surya Grahan is during night time and Chandra Grahan is during day time then there is no need of taking purification bath and doing any charity activities. Dharma Sindhu clearly mentions that Punya Kala during Grahan ends as soon as it becomes invisible through eyes even though it is visible in some other parts of the country.
Even after clearly mentioned in these religious books, who are widely accepted authorities in deciding festivals and rituals, many astrologers, probably due to their ignorance, suggest following Grahan rituals and avoid doing Lakshmi Puja even if Grahan is not visible at the place of dwelling.
Many articles published in popular newspapers and blogs mention that Puja is prohibited during Grahan. However, as per Nirnay Sindhu and Dharma Sindhu, Deva Puja, chanting of Mantra and performing Homa are must rituals during Grahan. It is believed that the benefits of Puja and Homa during Grahan multiply manifolds.
Many religious books on Hinduism suggest taking bath before beginning of Grahan, performing Puja and Homa during Grahan, taking bath and doing charity after Grahan. The activities which are prohibited during Grahan are sleeping, urinating, Mal-Tyag (easing oneself), copulation, Ubatana (massaging) and having food. None of the religious books say that Lakshmi Puja or any other Puja is prohibited during Grahan.
Further the most auspicious time to perform Lakshmi Puja falls after sunset during Pradosh. Hence it is not even possible to perform Lakshmi Puja during Grahan as the Surya Deva is already set.
Sutak is the time window of four Prahar before Surya Grahan which is prohibited time for all sorts of activities which are related to sensual gratification. As per Vedic astrology, there are total eight Prahar from sunrise to sunrise and four Prahar approximately equals to 12 hours. It should be noted that Sutak is considered before Grahan starts and it lasts as soon as Grahan ends. Further, Sutak time window for children, aged and diseased people is considered for three Muhurat(s) only which approximately equal to 2 hours and 24 minutes.
Even if we consider that Lakshmi Puja is prohibited during Grahan including Sutak period, Sutak is not applicable for Lakshmi Puja during Pradosh due to its timings. There are only two possibilities or scenarios which we have to consider while considering Sutak window during Surya Grahan on Diwali. The first possibility is that the Surya Grahan occurs on the day of Lakshmi Puja itself. If this is the case then Sutak can prevail up to the sunset and after it one can take purification bath and perform Lakshmi Puja. The second possibility is that the Surya Grahan would fall on the next day of Lakshmi Puja. As Lakshmi Puja is done after sunset during Pradosh, in most cases it can be performed before Sutak begins as for most places there would be approximately twelve hours gap between Pradosh and the beginning time to Surya Grahan on the next day after sunrise.
After going through above information one can understand that Surya Grahan on the day of Diwali is not a big issue. There is unnecessary hype and misinformation about it. We hope that after reading this article you can perform Lakshmi Puja on Diwali confidently even if Puja day coincides with Surya Grahan in your city or country.