“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. No one is not a superstitious.
It is no necessary to go through or quote from this voluminous ‘works’ on 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 is India is a country of ‘Unity and diversity’”. There is a great variety of worshippers. There 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 multi coloured. 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 does 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 of each other’s superstitious beliefs, and proving that their superstition, the superstition in which they believe is right and theirs wrong.
However ‘modernly’ dressed a person be, however advanced his ideas 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 the car’s direction of motion, along a straight line or he himself wound turn 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 coin 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 – omened these humans are Whenever I come across one. I do not get a piece of meat or else I have to go without milk the rest of the day and the ‘rest of the day.’ The things does not end there, these ‘cat-cross” scared humans will not kill a cat for fear that a golden cat will have to be given in charity in 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 is lucky, while it is ominous if it is found facing away from you. When you are going to embark upon a journey, the sight of an empty pitcher or of 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 the burial ground on his left, it is good; 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 that is going to be undertaken, must be abandoned. The sight of a meteor, the howl of a jackal, the wailing of a dog is more dangerous than a bank of murderous robbers. A cricket’s voice strikes more terror in the heart of 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 on the bottom the picture of a very furious goddess, is hung from a new 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 man 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 programmes. 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 why 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 gods. Sometimes ignorance play havoc with the sentiments of the people culmina ting in mob fury that is capable of doing more harm than all the rests of the elements put together.
Historical, 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 me 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, bom of darkness, as the superstitions are, they cannot stand the light. Ignorance and superstition must flee the blazing flame of knowledge, although it might take a long time to go, as deep are its roots.