Certain inauspicious time before Surya Grahan and Chandra Grahan is known as Sutak. According to Hindu beliefs, the Earth atmosphere is contaminated during Sutak and extra precautions should be taken to avoid any harmful side effects due to contamination.
During Solar Eclipse Sutak is observed for 4 Prahars and during Lunar Eclipse Sutak is observed for 3 Prahars before Eclipse. There are total 8 Prahars from Sunrise to Sunrise. Hence Sutak is observed for 12 hours before Solar Eclipse and for 9 hours before Lunar Eclipse.
All type of food items either solid or liquid are prohibited during Sutak and Eclipse. Hence one should not eat during twelve hours before Solar Eclipse and during nine hours before Lunar Eclipse till Eclipse is over. However for children, sick and old people food limitation is restricted to only single Prahar or 3 hours.
Sutak is observed only when Eclipse is visible at the place under discussion.
Pregnant women are strictly advised not to venture out during Eclipse. It is believed that due to contamination and malefic effects of Rahu and Ketu, the baby might become handicapped or disabled and probability of miscarriage is increased. Pregnant women are also advised not to cut or stitch any cloth or to do any other similar activities as these activities have similar effects on the baby.
Oil massage, drinking water, Mal-Mutra Visarjan, combing hair, brushing teeth and involving in sexual activities are prohibited during Eclipse.
It is advised to discard any cooked food and only freshly cooked food should be consumed after Eclipse. The food items like wheat, rice, other cereals and pickles which cannot be discarded should be protected by adding Kusha grass or Tulasi leaves. Once eclipse is over one should take bath and should make offerings or charity to Brahmins. Making offerings after Eclipse is considered highly beneficial.
तमोमय महाभीम सोमसूर्यविमर्दन।
हेमताराप्रदानेन मम शान्तिप्रदो भव॥१॥
Tamomaya Mahabhima Somasuryavimardana।
Hematarapradanena Mama Shantiprado Bhava॥1॥
श्लोक अर्थ - अन्धकाररूप महाभीम चन्द्र-सूर्य का मर्दन करने वाले राहु! सुवर्णतारा दान से मुझे शान्ति प्रदान करें।
विधुन्तुद नमस्तुभ्यं सिंहिकानन्दनाच्युत।
दानेनानेन नागस्य रक्ष मां वेधजाद्भयात्॥२॥
Vidhuntuda Namastubhyam Simhikanandanachyuta।
Danenanena Nagasya Raksha Mam Vedhajadbhayat॥2॥
श्लोक अर्थ - सिंहिकानन्दन (पुत्र), अच्युत! हे विधुन्तुद, नाग के इस दान से ग्रहणजनित भय से मेरी रक्षा करो।