Indian Superstitious Beliefs

Though the Indian society is fast progressing, there are many people who are still superstitious and have a strong faith in the local beliefs. While some of them are quite hilarious, few others are really interesting, as many aspects of life are linked to them. Few beliefs even find their way into the Indian religious texts and scriptures. Superstitions are deemed as pertinent in India because these, generally, hint at future occurrences and can be either good or bad. There are endless beliefs and superstitions governing every aspect of life from birth to death.

A child should not be born with Chitrai as the birth star, because, Chitra guptan, the faithful servant of Yama was born in this star, 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, slipping while starting from home is inauspicious, sweeping the floor after 6pm takes away ‘lakshmi’ (money), and most of all the wall lizard boasts the most superstitions. Every movement of this reptile holds some significance, indeed, a science called the Gowli Shastra enumerates these. The colour, spots, stripes, chirping or twittering of the lizard and where it falls on a person’s body are said to indicate future happenings. The list of superstitious beliefs harboured by Indians is seemingly endless. These beliefs also vary across different regions and religions. Some of the beliefs and rational explanations are penned down below

1)      Cutting hair or nails after 6pm is not good for our home & family

Eons and eons ago, people used lamp filled with kerosene to get sparse brightness in the night. If nail or hair was cut after 6pm, there were chances for it to mix with the vegetables that were cut on the floor thereby poisoning the dish. Those minute hair or nail particles on the floor would not be visible in the night. Hence people said “Do not cut your hair or nails after 6pm”. I guess we have more than enough brightness at this point in time but still this statement lingers in my ears.

2)      People would mistake us if we wear black shirt on auspicious days like marriage, diwali etc

There are many who go haywire when they see colour black. “Do not wear black shirt for marriages” – While the groom can wear a black blazer, why shouldn’t I wear a black shirt? Black trousers are allowed for marriages and only shirts are not allowed. People tend to contradict in many ways. Colours are there to be enjoyed, relished and cherished. Colours add beauty to life. Might be black is universally accepted to denote sadness but it is to be used appropriately. The day when Tsunami turned up can be termed as “Black day”. Appropriateness and rational behind the usage of superstitions is missing.

3)      Do not go out or do something during Rahu-Kalam

Rahu-Kalam is a certain amount of time every day that is considered inauspicious for any new venture according to Indian astrology. There was an instance where a 54yr old asked the doctor to reschedule his cataract operation by 30mins when 6 other patients were waiting outside. Doctor got pissed off. Can important decisions be delayed and valuable contracts given away, just because ‘rahu-kaalam’ came in at that time? Can emergency situations be left as such for the sake of Rahu-kaalam? Rahu-kalam has been given for the whole year in the calendar. How can that be possible? Rahu Kaalam is calculated based on the position of the planets. How would people predict it so accurately for straight 3 or 4 years time? Wouldn’t the positions of planets change and hence wouldn’t the timings differ? I really don’t believe in this. India would not have got freedom if Gandhiji followed this, Taj would have been blown up if the NSG would have seen these, Few orphans at least would have been left alone had Mother Teresa followed this. There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.

4)      The “Evil Eye” is one of the most widely believed superstitions in India – to ward off the effects, most Indian Shops and houses use this mask over their doorways/entrances. Why didn’t we know that we had evil in ourselves, in our relations, in our attitude to others etc. Removing the evil mask in us would put away the evil automatically. Also, people use pumpkins with a face painted on it. They then pray to god and drop the pumpkin on the road outside their house such that it shatters into small pieces and makes the road unclean. The small small pieces of pumpkin make the road slippery and till now many accidents have been reported because of that.

5)      A sneeze just before starting something is inauspicious

Sneezing before leaving home makes a person go back home, drink water and sit for 1 hour. Sneezing in a family function makes others regard you as an evil. A sneeze just before starting something says something bad is going to happen. Sneezing is something that is natural. If sneezing while starting something is inauspicious, then ‘loo urgency’ while starting should also be inauspicious. Sneezing is natural and it is being linked to hell a lot of things.

6)      Donating your eyes would lead to disfigurement in your rebirth

There are instances where people’s kidneys are removed but people do not say that this would cause disfigurement in their rebirth.  There are also instances of heart transplantation. According to the above logic, the person who donated his/her heart cannot experience rebirth as the major factor, heart, is missing. I have already written about this. Refer this post

Superstitions have become deep-rooted in our society much to the agony of logical thinking rationalists. For rationalists, such beliefs are an indication of a weak mind. Think before you act. If it is perfectly valuable and logically acceptable, go with it.

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