When I was playing outside my house. Suddenly my mom grabbed and brought me inside the house. She then locked all the doors, closed all windows and curtains and told me to go under bed. I didn’t know what happened at the time as when I asked her, She just replied “Keep silent under the bed, wait until I tell you further.” But then, I found out that outside was getting darker and darker, it’s still morning, but how can it happen? My mind wandered what’s wrong, and then on TV (at the time only government-ruled TV station was aired) reported lively about total solar eclipse in Indonesia and almost all parts of Indonesia could see it.
But, nobody could see it directly. On TV, I saw many ways to see total solar eclipse besides periscopes. Many people saw it from a large bowl of water (but it’s not suggested), or through burnt micro film. Villagers also beat mortars or anything during the eclipse. Yes, so many ways…it’s believed that seeing total solar eclipse can burn your retina and the risk is….your blindness. What I remembered then during elementary school times, I read a reading passage in my Bahasa Indonesia book which told about a girl who became blind after incidentally look at the solar eclipse on her way home. It was trully sad story and the description about her process into blindness made me scare.
Among Indonesians (especially Javanese and Balinese) there’re many myths and legends about solar eclipse as well as lunar eclipse. One of them is telling about Kala Rahu giant who wants to steal Tirta Amertha (eternal spring water) from Gods. He’s very cruel and kills everyone so that’s why he’s not allowed to receive eternal water drops from the heaven. He stole some drops by disguising into God. However, Batara Surya (Sun God) and Batara Chandra (Moon God) knew it and reported to Batara Guru.
When Batara Kala drank the eternal water, and it was still in his throat, Batara Wishnu’s chakra had cut his. His body fell into earth and became a mortar, while his head roamed around for seeking Batara Surya and Chandra. He wanted to get even with them, and he wanted to eat them eternally. Batara Wishnu then told earth people to play or beat the mortar or anything in order to protect Batara Surya and Chandra, as well as got rid the giant’s head. Since then, when solar eclipse happened, people especially villagers will beat mortars to get rid Batara Kala. It’s old myth, but still believed by some people, particularly in villages.
I never see solar eclipse directly, but I can enjoy it through television and friends’ stories. Recent solar eclipse maybe brought some effects, maybe yesterday’s rain or what. I don’t know, but I believe in God’s hands to arrange and manage all His creations as He is The Almighty and Eternal. Be thankful for all His Grace and Wonderful one.
Tangerang, 21 March 2015
Photo courtesy : This