Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Superstitious beliefs

Superstitions are deep rooted and irrational beliefs which have no profanity. Superstitions are the legacy of every civilizations and are inherited by the following generations. It was once believed that superstition could be rooted out with the spread of education. But these have continued to linger with the generations.

Origin and history of Superstitions: Superstitions originated perhaps, when man was at the mercy of the natural elements. He respected and worshiped the forces of nature like the sun, the moon, water etc. He worshiped fire because of its destructive ability. When man started falling prey to diseases he started appeasing the gods with offerings, penances and sacrifices to ward off evil spirits.

All civilizations have their respective superstitions. But some like beliefs in ghosts, sorcery, witchcraft and spirits are universal. The western civilizations although very progressive have their own superstitions. The number 13 is unlucky in the west because the Last Super Lord Jesus dined with his twelve disciples and later was crucified. Salt was spilled on the table on which they dined and therefore even now, spilling of salt is considered ominous.

New England in America was infamous for its witches. All women who were suspected of practicing witchcraft, were held to the stake and burnt alive. Later it was realized that such executions were carried out at the behest of some people who had some selfish motives.
Superstitions are deep rooted and irrational beliefs which have no profanity. Superstitions are the legacy of every civilizations and are inherited by the following generations. It was once believed that superstition could be rooted out with the spread of education. But these have continued to linger with the generations.

Some of the Indian Superstitions and beliefs are :
·         A lot of augurs concern on birds and animals. The luckiest augur is to view an elephant while one gets on a journey, as the elephant is a symbol of Hindu god 'Ganesha', the lord of good fortune and the destroyer of troubles.
·         The sound of a crow near the surroundings or on somebody's home forecasts the arriving of guests.
·         During a journey, the vision of a peacock is said to be beneficial but listening its high-pitched call signals looting by the persons along the path.
·         A dog wailing nearby a sick person's region forecasts his death or poor fate.
·         Viewing a cat or the face of a cow early in the dawn imparts misfortune.
·         A sparrow is boosted to construct a nest in a fresh house for fortunate fate.
·         A golden or off-white matter fallen on the doorstep by a cow signals the gain of precious things such as gold or silver.
·         Departing for a tour or a journey is a really crucial occasion and cares have to be adopted depending on the grandness of the travel. The astrologist is referred to decide an lucky time to start.
·         There are a lot of beliefs related with beginning a travel. Sneezing or words of dissuasion suchlike "stop, do not go", or "Why are you going? or "You shouldn't go" used by chance by somebody at this important time are ominous things and a person should begin once again if this befalls.
·         It is believed lucky to witness cow chip, grains, paddy, cotton wool, hay or a fresh married prior to beginning a journey.
·         Every day living is also regulated by do's and don’ts for differently for different days in a week. For instance, Monday isn't a lucky day for trimming and shaving or Tuesday for rinsing hair or Saturday for purchasing oil and beauty products.
·         Whenever there is itchiness in the palm of the right hand, it signifies luck and coming of money and the inverse holds for the left hand. This refers simply to the clean (right) and dirty (left) portions of the body.
·         Ironically, flipping of the right eye lid is believed to be unfortunate and the blinking of the left eyelid is considered to be prosperous.
·         Many individuals are likewise very superstitious about the start of their dawns. It is considered that the entire daytime is impacted by the morning. Viewing a bride, the memorial of a god, or a Brahmin is believed to be prosperous, while seeing widow woman, infertile women and unfortunate people is believed to be ominous.

To avert the danger of witnessing any awful thing in the morning, a lot of individuals see the palms of their hands just after they wake up in the morning.
  • There are likewise a lot of superstitious beliefs associated with death. The most crucial between them is that food is not prepared in a household where death of somebody has happened. At this time, all the family members of such family are believed to be impure and so they are not allowed to go in the kitchen. Neighbors and other persons are asked to make and send eating items for them. This superstition probably is the outcome of the reality that when a death happens in a household, then the relatives of the died do not have the desire and nor the time to make food. This belief likewise reinforces the sense of community during the times of difficulties.
  • It is also believed that eating such a unit of fruit or vegetable which contains 2 units of the fruit or vegetable joint together is harmful
  • Dirty period : In a few regions of India, an adult female is believed to be unclean during the postpartum time interval and during the days of the menstruation. They are averted from entering any ceremonial occasion and even not permitted to go in to the kitchen as the food she will touch will become impure. Although a few observations supports this thing, e.g. if a women is menstruating and she touches the pot or box of pickles then it gets spoiled
  • Whenever an individual hiccups, it's believed that somebody is discussing or thinking about him or missing him. If this really happens, then I am astonished on thinking about famous personalities and celebrities around the world. May god save them!!! :)
  • The falling down of a lizard on a person is considered extremely bad and harmful unlucky for the person on which it falls. And further ill predictions are made based on the part of the body on which the lizard falls.
  • Tying lemon along with chillies on anything saves it from threats and evil eyes of bad people.
  •  A black cat crossing your path brings bad luck; sighting a eunuch en route to an important assignment assures success; a sneeze just before starting something is inauspicious; dogs whining at night signal bad news coming in soon… The list of superstitious beliefs harbored by Indians is seemingly endless. These beliefs also vary across different regions and religions. For rationalists, such beliefs are an indication of a weak mind.
  • A pregnant woman should not wander out alone at night or enter an empty house because evil spirits might infest her. The husband of a pregnant woman should not build a house as that might rouse the wrath of the earth spirit. He must not bathe in the sea for the seashore is thick with ghosts. All these rules were imposed on people, as ways to protect the prospective mother and father against any dangers.

  • Does it matter if the black cat goes from right to left or left to right?
    Daily life is governed by do's and don'ts for each day of the week. Thus Monday is not an auspicious day for shaving or Tuesday for washing one's hair or Saturday for buying oil.

In today's scientific world, it is necessary that we do not blindly follow all the superstitions that were handed over to us by our ancestors. We are modern, both in our outlook and the age we are in. Therefore we should have a judicious look for some logical reason behind every superstition before accepting it. We would then be able to give up those superstitions which have no rationality and applications in today's life. It is only in this way that we can lead or normal lives. Experiments are on to find out that man has the soul which leaves the man when he dies. People are said to have confirmed ghosts and premonitions at several places. But it remains to be proved that ghosts do exists and posses the power they are supposed to exhibit. Dogs are very sensitive to changes around them, they become sexless before the onset of a natural calamity and wait to inform their masters of the impending doom. So, one can not just simply reject this superstition. In south India people bath early in the morning and apply sandalwood on their forehead. People have now realized that sandalwood keeps the forehead cool and soothes the brain and hence the practice has been there since time immemorial.

There are some things in this world which are unexplained, even science doesn't have enough capabilities to find the answers for them, so we must not completely deny any belief by saying that it is a non-sense stuff. Science has already proved the existence of paranormal forces like evil spirits, ghosts by using proper devices and experiments. So, there is no doubt in accepting this fact. And if all the superstitious beliefs are false then the activities of exorcism and other ghost hunting activities would not have been effective. However we should use our own senses and logical abilities before merely following any superstition. Though we should believe and practice superstitions but excess of anything is harmful. Most of the time we adopt any superstitious belief by seeing its prosperous effects on a person who adopted it. We don't search for the logical reason in this, we just blindly follow that superstition.

BLACK MAGIC diminishing population of OWLS in indiaOwls are trapped and traded illegally in India because they are of great importance in many superstitious beliefs. Thus, these cute birds are used in black magic and sorcery. Referred to as ‘tantriks’, the black magic practitioners use owls and their various body parts in rituals and sacred ceremonies.

Demoralizing Effects:Superstitions have a demoralizing effect on our life. It ends our self confidence. We can not think in a reasonable way. All our thinking and working power gets paralyzed under the influence of unknown fears. We consult priests, pandits, astrologers and others for making our life 'lucky'. We often use other 'mantras' and spells to ward off evil forces. We are disturbed because of the unknown. We may not do all this unknowingly. The unknown fear hangs over us and we can not get rid of it easily.

No doubt, superstitions are an undesirable part of our life. Ignorant people have faith in something unseen. Even educated people are doing the same thing. We have got all this from our evolution from dark ages. The only cure for unnecessary superstitions is education and awareness. We should develop our reasoning power. We must have a scientific mind; we should try to analyze the things in logical way. Only then we may be free from unnecessary superstitions of mind.

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