The spiritual aspect of the question is this: The whole universe, known and unknown, has come out of a point in the microcosm which may be called the Creation Point. Simultaneously with this emanation two processes come into play evolution and production. The differences between the two processes are rather significant and must be clearly understood.
The process of production is dependent on the process of evolution in sequence of causation, but not in the sequence of time. Evolution depends on the Creation Point for cause, but production is dependent on evolution. Evolution connotes spiritual progress and production signifies material growth and change, organic and inorganic.
It is a scientifically acknowledged fact that the stellar regions, planets and stars, do exert an influence on the life and activity of this planet the earth. And since this earth of ours has the highest evolved organic life, the human happens to be the nearest to the spiritual plane; the phenomenon of eclipse does indirectly affect the world spiritually.
The Rishis of old knew all too well the astronomical basis and the spiritual influence of such a heavenly occurrence. Looking at the average mentality of the masses of their time, the Rishis could do no better than issue cut-and-dried instructions as to prayers, penance and austerities, investing the whole affair with a religious importance rather than give a rational and spiritual elucidation.
In course of time the religious "do's and don'ts" of the wise Rishis were very cleverly woven round by self-seeking priests, with a picturesque and awe-inspiring legend of the gods, demons, nectar, the moon in travail and its subsequent Moksha (freedom) for purposes all too patent to thinking minds. Such legendary superstitions persist and flourish with ignorance and illiteracy; but now people are outgrowing such childish beliefs.
There is, however, no denying the fact that a few prayers and ordeals undergone with keen concentration, concurrently with the eclipse of the sun or moon, do result in great spiritual benefit to the individual concerned.
TREASURES, pp. 191-192, ed. Jane B. Haynes
1980 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust