Essay on Superstitions in India



I am not superstitious", anybody who is asked "Are you superstitious?" will retort sharply. But he will surely be lying. The louder the denial, the more is his superstition confirmed. If you try to' make him understand", that he is superstitious, then he will be even more annoyed, if you try to convince him that the sentiment of 'superstition' is universal and that no one including himself is immune to this most common, all prevailing epidemic' and even if he says, 'alright—it may be so' remember that the admission will be superficial. A person convince against this will, is of the same opinion still.

It is no necessary to go through or quote from this voluminous 'works' psychology and mythology, or any logics to prove the truth of the statement made above. Just go to a temple, see for yourself queues of great lengths, heads of queues meeting their tails, coiling like snakes, the people standing there generally, calmly, patiently (sometimes they even grow violent) present a spectacle of great victory, great variety in dress, fashion(s) and fads, and styles… a definite proof of the fact that India is a country of 'Unity and diversity'.

There is a great variety of worshippers are men and women of all ages; a large number of men are dressed in the most modern, up-to-date, best tailored suits and women in posh sarees, salwar-suits in what not...all waiting to have a 'darshan' of the deity and also to have his 'prasad'.

In offices, high ranking officers, superintendents, clerks, peons can be seen with long drawn sandal paste, 'tilaks' on their foreheads; or some sort of red or white or black threads tied round their left or right wrists, sometimes the threads tied round their wrists are multicoloured. Some even have the so-called 'tavizes' or 'gandas' hanging round their necks like the mini albatrosses; some even have magic rings on their fingers to ward off the evil eyes of the ominous influence of evil spirits.

What do this all go to show? Only meaningless superstitions and the people wearing these charms befool themselves and became laughing stock. To add insult to injury, the one kind of superstitious people making fun each other's superstitious beliefs, and proving that their superstition, superstition in which they believe is right and theirs wrong.

However 'modernly' dressed a person be, however advanced his id be, if a cat were to cross his path, he would either try to be quick enough to pass on before the cat does so or he would do his best to reverse cat's direction of motion, along a straight line or he himself wound round, or he would stand there and then for a while, and if anybody were to see him performing these monkey tricks, he would try to co' some suitable excuse for doing so.

And if, unfortunately, the cat happens to be black one, the God bless both, him and the cat, the cats are lovely creatures but somehow or other Indians seems to be scared of them.

Even a cat might reflect on experiencing a 'man-crossing', "how ill - omen these humans are! Whenever I come across one, I do not get a piece meat or else I have to go without milk the ‘rest’ of the day." The things does not end there, these 'cat-cross" scared human will not kill a cat for fear that a golden cat will have to be given in charity order to escape for the punishment of being sent to hell for killing the cat.

Superstitions are universal; they are not confined to any particular people or place. A sneeze will be more vulnerable than a bullet fired from a double barreled gun, a horse shoe nail lying on the road; facing you lucky, while it is ominous if it is found facing away from you.

When one is going to embark upon a journey, the sight of an empty pitcher or empty bucket or the sight of an old man is very bad. When one is going to set out on a journey and on stepping out if he come across a funeral being carried to the burning or to (be burial ground on his left, it is going and if on the right, it is very bad.

A black spot on the cheek of a fair lady is considered a protection against an evil eye, while an 'unfair' (not-white) child is a protection against itself and against any evil eye. If a lizard chirps, the journey are going to be undertaken, must be abandoned. The sight of a meteor, howl of a jackal, the wailing of a dog are more dangerous than a bank murderous robbers.

A cricket's voice strike more terror in the heart of a superstitious person than the hiss of a snake or even more dangerous than the kiss of a snake. An earthen pot, its bottom painted black and the bottom the picture of a very furious goddess, is hung on a private building under construction, to ward off the evil eye.

To certain people particular dates or days are ominous, and to others certain numbers 13, 3 for instance, are mortal. The sight of a one-eyed —art or a Brahman is bad. The sight of a sweeper with a broom in his hand is a good omen in the early morning. The power of superstition is great. It must not however be forgotten that superstition is a disease of the mind, of the brain.

Superstition gives birth to, gives rise to, various fears and anxieties that are unfounded. It hinders the execution of many healthy and good programmers. Superstitions retard the pace of civilization. About a thousand years back the Europeans, and today the Indians, rather the Asians in particular, are grossly superstitious, that is - India is backward in civilization. Even educated persons fall a prey to superstitions.

The most horrible feature of superstition is the barbarous cruelty it propagates in certain cases. It promotes the passion of cruelty, anger and frenzy, the idea hinted at here is the sacrifices in the name of propitiation of goods. Sometimes ignorance plays havoc with the sentiments of the people, culminating in mob fury that is capable of doing more harm than all the rests of the elements put together.

Historically the most infamous superstitions based execution is the burning alive of Joan of Arc. In Spain, in India and England, thousands of people were burnt at the stake or otherwise killed, all at the bidding of the genii of superstition.

Superstition encourages fatalism by creating more faith in chance than in work. Giant feel dwarfed before men, and blinded by superstition, the knights feel dastardly cowards.

Superstition is born of ignorance and no argument can be advanced in its defence and favour. Even the people who otherwise seem quite right with their brains, and even though they are highly educated bow to superstition.

But gradually as the light of knowledge grows brighter, born of darkness, as the superstitions are, they cannot stand the light. Ignorance superstition must flee the blazing flame of knowledge, although it might take a long time to go, as deep are its roots.