Superstitions in India

The blind belief in omens, augury, magic, magic formulas, useless rituals and superstitions have given rise to a mushroom growth of babas, swamis, tantriks, priests and godmen. There are numerous divine babas – Balti baba, Bhoot baba, Satellite baba, Computer baba, to name a few. Then there are godmen like Surya Swami, Chandra Swami, Mangal Swami, etc. Even in this age of rapid advancement of science and technology, modern man is afraid like his primitive forefather living in the cave and connects his misfortunes with mysterious and unknown forces and seeks help of the tantriks and godmen to avoid them. Such a state of mind gives rise to various types of superstitions, blind faiths, rituals, practices etc which are not only absurd and ridiculous but sometimes quite horrible. Animal and occasionally human sacrifices to appease the unknown black forces reflect man’s intellectual bankruptcy, primitiveness and ignorance. It shows how people are still obsessed with superstitions. They wear stones, rings, armlets, believe in talismanic charms and pay through their nose to the soothsayers, crystal gazers, astrologers, tantriks, babas and godmen.

People still believe in omens and auguries. They are afraid of number 13, crossing of their path by a cat, or spilling of the salt. The eclipse of the sun and moon, the sight of a comet or shooting star, cries of owls, ravens, weeping of cats, howling of dogs, and jackals or braying of the donkey at certain hours still send a chill down their spine and they resort to all sorts of foolish practices to ward off the imagined harm and evil. All superstitions have their origin in human psychology of fear of ill luck, insecurity and the dread of inexplicable forces in nature. When some phenomena cannot be understood or explained, people start dreading them and assign them divine, supernatural and mysterious origins. Tantriks, preists, godmen and babas and other vested interests also help in spreading superstition to make fast buck out of gullible and credulous public. Some times ago the rumour and superstition that the idols of Hindu gods and goddesses were drinking offered milk caused quite a flutter and thousands and thousands of people were made fool and a laughing stock.

Superstitions find a fertile soil and breeding ground in human ignorance and lack of scientific knowledge. The less a community is educated and enlightened, the more it tends to be superstitious, backward and gullible. In such communities the astrologers, priests, magicians, babas, godmen and charlatans have a very good business.

Much fraud is being perpetrated in the name of astrology, palmistry, occult science, rituals and so called religious faiths. These weaken the faculty of human reasoning and make men more gullible, credulous, helpless and miserable. Superstitions are great curse. Superstitious fear, ignorance and lack of scientific temper have done immense damage to our progress and development. Superstitions are vile as they deprive us of self confidence, self control and rationality by weakening our will power and spirit.

Man is still afraid, awed and haunted by the fear of the unknown and inexplicable and wants to ward off the imagined trouble and suffering through the observation of the rituals, offering to ghosts, appeasement of the spirits of the dead and the worship of the stars and plants. There are lucky and unlucky numbers, days, animals and birds. A worn out horseshoe fixed the right way up the door of the house is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity. English people still think number 13 as inauspicious and ominous and refuse to occupy room no. 13 in hotels. Belief in charms, supernatural powers, ghosts, goblins, witches, evil spirits, spiritual healing etc have their deep roots in our superstitions.

Fortune telling has become a big business. Newspapers, magazines and periodicals have regular columns on weekly fortune of the readers. No newspaper or magazine can afford to miss it such is its popularity. Superstitions are thriving on a large scale under the auspices of various cults, religious sects, godmen, priests and so called babas swamis and prophets of gods. They prevail in every society, nation and community. Sometimes they are absurd, foolish and ridiculous to the limit of primitive ignorance. All superstitions have common origins. This is the age of reason and science and yet many old superstitions continue. Consequently, astrologers, soothsayers, godmen and priests are in great demand. We are actually the maker or spoilers of our destiny. The heaven or the hell lies within ourselves and yet we blame the stars and the constellations for our misfortune. And the vicious circle continues endlessly.

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