On 26th this month, a friend’s friend, who is a Sardarni married to a Hindu, called me up and said, “We have been living in Dubai for the last 2 years and returned home now. We like Hindu rituals and decided to begin this year’s poojas with Satyanarayan pooja on Guru Poornima this time. We had organized a dinner with the pooja. We had hired a pundit for the purpose and had planned the pooja at 3 PM. We had already bought the stuff required. But, the pundit backed out at the last moment. He said that he could not perform the pooja due to the eclipse and told us to either postpone the event or hire another pundit. Several other pundits also refused to help us out. Thus, my friend told me to contact you since you write about spirituality on your website. We have bought several perishable stuff for the pooja. If postponed, we will incur several losses. Tell us what to do.”
I told them that I would check with my aunt, who is our spiritual guide. My aunt suggested, “You will not find any priest because the eclipse’s sutaka will begin from 2.30 PM. They would have been hired by people for performing the pooja in the morning, itself. Instead of lamenting your loss, find some senior citizens near your home and ask how the pooja is to be done.”
After one hour, I got her call again. She said, “We did not find anyone knowledgeable about this pooja. What shall I do?”
When contacted my aunt said, “You go with the couple and get a book with the entire method of the pooja. Help them with the preliminaries of the pooja today itself and encourage them to perform the pooja themselves in the morning.”
I went and helped them out in the evening and returned to their home in the morning to perform the pooja. I read the book for them so that they performed the pooja without any hindrances. As my aunt told them, they also tied up some amount of money and placed it aside to add for the pooja on the next poornima to be done properly with the pundit. All guests were invited to have Prasad only.
There was no time to make the usual Prasad. They were instructed to make the following instead:
Roast semolina in ghee and add sugar of the same amount. Place it in a bowl and mix pieces of ripe banana with it. Mix jaggery in boiled milk and place it separately. These 2 will be the Prasad and fruits and dry fruits are also placed as naivedyam.
My friend was also instructed to place the photo of her Sikh Guru a little below the photo of Lord Satyanarayana and offer flowers. She was also told to offer black gram (soaked overnight and prepared in the morning) as the Sardars do on Guru Poornima. The devotees were given prasads before 1 PM. All were happy since the Prasad itself was filling.
I have shared the above incident for the benefit of people, who are unaware of Hindu religious rules during an eclipse.