Superstitions in India

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India they say is a land of superstitions. But if you know the reason why they came into existence you will excuse their creators.

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Abstract

India they say is a land of superstitions. But if you know the reason why they came into existence you will excuse their creators. Superstitions has some reason. Without reason nothing ever happens. Does every superstition have a reason behind them? Yes. In case you have found a good reason for a popular superstition write to my email id….. ekdhilip@yahoo.com and I will surely add you name and let the world know.

Do you know the best story that speak volumes on Superstition?

The smart Guru and the disturbing Cat.

Once upon a time it does not matter where in India there lived a Guru (teacher) who taught astronomy and mathematics. He had a pet cat in his house. The cat liked him a lot. So when the Guru conducted his classes on his favorite topics, the cat was right there. The tiny cat caused a big disturbance at it walked in between him and his distracted students. This happened almost everyday. The Guru was more annoyed when he discovered that many of his students found the cat more interesting than what was being taught.

The Guru therefore decided to tie up the cat to a pole before delivering his speech. He thought that this simple idea would solve everyone’s problem. So every day the Guru tied the cat to a bamboo pole before beginning his lecture.

After some years the aged Guru passed way. His best disciple Anantharaman took over as the new Guru. He wanted to continue in the footsteps of his Guru. On the 1st day he remembered to tie the cat to the pole and then started addressing his students. After a few years the cat died. Anantharam was upset that from next day onwards he may not be able to do what his Guru did. So he went around searching for another cat and thank God he found one. Thus he ensured that the ritual of tyinga cat toa bamboo pole continued.

In the 6th generation the then Guru wrote an elaborate treatise on the spiritual significance of tying a cat to a bamboo post before beginning to teach. He even said that the cat has many divine qualities that helped keep the ghosts and evil spirits away from the students. By the 10th generation other learning centres adopted the idea.

Superstitions will remain part of Man forever.

Do you think that only ancient people lived in superstitions. If you think so we have bad news for you. In modern times, more people indulge in superstitions than in ancient times. That is obvious because the number of superstitions increase with time. While old superstitions hardly die new ones are manufactured.

To prove the point, let me pick on one of the most popular games of our times in this part of the world. In India the most important game is Cricket. Let us check out how many of the cricketers are superstitious. For example,

Sachin Tendulkarthe legendary batsman, always wears his left pad first.

K Srikkanthused to look up at the Sun, always wear the left pad first and always walked to the right of his partner while going to bat.

Sourav Gangulyuse to carry the photo of his Guru in his pocket while batting.

Mohammad Azharruddinuse to wear a tabeez around his neck and turn his head twice in a circular motion before taking strike.

Mohinder Amarnathused to wear a red handkerchief while fielding.

Sanath Jayasuriya(a Sri Lankan player) searches for something in his pocket while batting.

So you thought that only Indians are superstitious? Well. That is a superstition!

Bjorn Borgalways reverted to the traditional green pinstripe shirt for Wimbledon, no matter what other design he may have worn at the time. Unlike the other athletes on this list, this Swedish tennis legend had superstitions that related to only one specific event—Wimbledon. Borg would always prepare for the annual tournament by growing a beard and wearing the same Fila shirt. These Borg believed helped him net an amazing 5 straight Wimbledon titles from 1976 through 1980. You may wonder why in that case he did not win the 6th time. That is because McEnroe had a more powerful superstition to help him win Borg! (Just a joke).

Michael Jordanhad ahidden superstition
. While leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships during his legendary career, the five-time MVP wore hisUniversity of North Carolina shortsunder his uniform in every game. In order to cover his lucky pair, Jordan began wearing longer shorts, which inspired a trend in the NBA those days.

Now comes the worst of all.

Kevin Rhomberghad the compulsion to touch someone if they touched him. This was perhaps the most notorious superstition amongst sports people. When more people came to know of his “touching superstition”, life became hell for Kevin Rhomberg. Players would touch Rhomberg and run off sending him into a panic situation. For he believed that if was not able to touch them that brought him bad luck. In fact, an umpire once had to halt a game between New York and Cleveland, because Yankees players did not stop touching Rhomberg despite several warnings.

Now I will try to guess the reason on superstitions of India. I may be wrong. You may be right. It is anyone’s game now. After all there is nothing serious about superstitions.

Superstition No.1

In South India (India) many people believe that the sound of anklets and smell of flowers is a sign that spirits (Ghosts) are walking around. Why?

Have you ever wondered of all things why are the Indian (especially south Indian) ghosts making only the sound of anklets and spreading the fragrance of jasmine flowers. Well here is the answer.

For thousands of years women from India loved to wear anklets that made an enchanting sound with every move they made. These may have been recommended by the men so that they knew where the women went. Those days they did not have the GPS tracking system.

In case women had to go out in the night to meet another man the sound of anklets were heard by others. When people started talking about the sound they heard, those who wanted to keep it a a secret used to save themselves by saying that it was the work of Ghosts.

In case women wanted to go out for attending to nature’s call because those days the bedrooms had no attached restrooms the story of the ghosts kept the men away so that they were safe.

Women who wanted to frighten the men around so that they may do what they wanted in total secrecy found the ghost story highly effective. The frightened men did not even get up from their bed to see who was walking. Fear is the key. Once you are afraid you see and feel all sorts of experiences.

Sometimes women spread this story of Ghosts that made the sound of anklets so that if men asked them “did you go out”? and the answer was “No. It must have been the ghost”. Sometimes the man who was visited by the woman at night, also said the same thing, “No lady came here. It must have been a ghost”.

Otherwise of all things why should ghosts be only a lady with jingling anklets and fragrant flowers?

Superstition No.2

Do not sit on the threshold of the house. It brings you bad luck.

The threshold is the junction of the inside and the outside of a home those days. Today it is the gate on the wall. Those days the junction of everything was considered as bad luck.

Logically speaking all junctions are bad. For example, those with eye problem have trouble adjusting their vision at dawn and dusk which is why there are more road accidents at these times. When a political party ends their rule and a new one takes over there is so much tension. On the border of 2 nations there is always fear and violence. People argue in games whether the ball or shuttle fell inside or outside the line.

Lord Narasimha (the 4th Avtar of Lord Mahavishnu) is believed to have killed the demon Narakasura on the threshold at twilight hour. The demon had a boon that made him invincible out side of a house or inside of a house. He had several similar boons like he was invincible in daytime and night time. So the Lord killed him during the twilight time which neither night nor day.

When you sit on the threshold you stop others from moving in and out and they may stamp you etc. An angry person may kick you because you are standing in the way.

Moreover if you sit on the threshold the inmates cannot lock the house and the house is exposed to thieves. To lock the house they had to tell the obstructing person to move out of the threshold. Also you may keep your hand near the hinges and the fingers may get crushed between the doors if the wind blows and closes the door.

So why not avoid sitting on the threshold? For people who did not listen to good advice a superstition is necessary.

Superstition No.3

An eclipse happen when a snake called Rahu swallows up the Sun or the Moon.

Did you know that the ancient Astrologers and Astronomers of India had perfect knowledge of the eclipses long time before the western scientists began to understand our solar system and eclipses . The sages (you may call them scientists if you want to) knew all about the 2 shadows in the sky (actually the North Node and the South Node), called Rahu and Ketu and they knew where they lurk in the space between the Moon and the Earth and the Earth and the Sun without actually using Trigonometry or Calculus..

The eclipses are directly involved with Rahu and Ketu. They are 180 degrees opposite to each other in the sky. When Sun and the Moon come on to the same axis that Rahu and Ketu occupy in the horoscope you have an eclipse.

The ancient masters knew that the eclipses were harmful to the eye sight and in general to the human body and digestion. They did not want the people to come out. So they decided to frighten the common man by telling them the story of a snake. Snakes are always scary. Once the people believed in the story it was less likely that they would want to see the dreadful snake swallowing the Sun or the Moon in the sky. They thought the snake must be big and really powerful to swallow the Sun or the Moon. Even a small snake can hurt a Man. Think of snake that is capable of swallowing the Sun!

Today people get the news of the harmful effects of eclipses through TV and Media. Those days a story was necessary. Fear was the only key those days.

Moreover the astronomical facts were difficult to be understood by the commoners. That is why even though the wise men of India knew the truth they did not inform (or found it difficult to inform) the common man.

The hare and tortoise can never speak. Yet we have the story of the hare and tortoise conducting a race but we know the moral is worth more than whether a hare and tortoise can do such things. A lie told for a good purpose is better than a truth told for a bad purpose.

Superstition No.4

3 people together should not go out on a journey to a distant land.

Today many people living in India especially Tamilnadu always believe that if 3 people go on a long trip they are bound to get into road accidents or something as grave as that. Have you ever thought where from came the 3 in this superstition?

The 3 people actually refers to a grandfather, father and son. The idea was these 3 people should not together go on a long distance journey. If all the 3 go out on a long distance journey and if they die on the way that will naturally bring maximum sorrow to the family. That particular lineage is likley to be destroyed or the loss will be unbearable. If the son did not go out with the other 2, then at least he is there to continue the lineage or he may have taken care of the remaining family members. If the father did not go on the trip he still retains the chance of begetting another son. The prime objective of marriage is continuation of the lineage.

The 3 people may also be a Father, Mother and Son and if they meet with an accident and die while on a long distance journey the children left behind will be in great trouble or the entire family is destroyed.

Moreover 3 people are usually known to quarrel. 2 people are okay because they need each other. The 3rd person may cause an argument. One of the 3 people can dare to kill the 3rd person for gain and the remaining 2 may share the profits of the crime. If the journey was through a forest as in those days, 2 is enough to complete the journey. The 3rd person is usually dispensable in most relationship. If only 2 people travel and if one man kills the other, the survivor will feel lonely and will be afraid to walk alone in the forest or a strange land. Group-ism, mutiny, coup and all such uprisings happen with 3 or more people and rarely with 2 people.

In a triangle relationship of love and hate, the 3rd person (if they are all traveling) may be the problem or the victim. In such relationship the chances for criminal activity is higher. They say 3 is a crowd but 2 is company.

Today in India, when 3 people begin on a journey those who believe in this superstition without knowing why put a stone inside the vehicle and say that the 4th person is the stone . Such an act is the real superstition because it defeats the logic behind the creation of this superstition.

Superstition No.5

Sneezing is inauspicious.

A sneeze is like a machine gun that fires millions of bacterias in the air from the nostrils. This was known by the ancient masters of India.

So they said that sneezing is inauspicious. If a person believed that statement then he or she will silence the sneeze by using a cloth. That way the infection will not spread from one person to another. Nobody wants others to tell them that they are doing something inauspicious.

If the bacterias spread then more people will fall sick and that is truly inauspicious. So why not believe it is inauspicious and cover it up? Not the superstition but the nose.

Superstition No.6

When someone is eating, a person should not leave the house.

How did this superstition evolve. Has it got some meaning?

One reason may because the person leaving the house may actually be stealing something because others are busy having their food. The person is taking his chance to leave the house as others are eating. Just to ensure nothing of that sort is happening the person leaving is asked to wait by quoting the superstition. Despite this request if the person is leaving may be something is really wrong.

2nd reason may be that the person(s) eating need to talk to the person who is leaving.

3rd reason is that the person leaving may perhaps be angry with the rest of the people. We may easily infer that the person leaving has not been invited to share the lunch. So there is something wrong.

Another reason may be simply “what’s the hurry, wait” and they express it as “do you know a person should not leave the house when the inmates are having their lunch or breakfast or dinner”?

5th reason may be that the person leaving may have put some poison in the food that is being consumed. That may be perhaps why he is not having the food along with the inmates.

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