Every country has her own superstitions, although it is the fashion now-a-days to laugh all popular superstitions. So long as men do not know everything, and so long as there is a mystery around us, superstitions will exist. Superstition means belief in something that is not based on reason and evidence. A new person believes in them and spreads them from place to place till they become part and parcel of human knowledge. Of course. a backward nation or race has more superstitions. India is more famous in the world for her superstitions than the people of western countries. The people of the eastern countries of the world are more superstitions than the people of the European countries.
Indian life is associated with superstitions-Some examples
In India every activity of life is associated with some sort of superstition. It is supposed to be a bad if somebody sneezes behind or calls back a man who is leaving his home for a journey. He must stop for a while to let the ill-luck pass. It is again ominous if he sees an empty vessel or a broom right in front of the house The story of Ram Chandra, coming across a snake no the left hand side and a jackal on the right hand side while he was coming back to his hut in the jungle is widely know. He at once guessed that some misfortune had befallen Sita. The sight of a dead body or a cow feeling her calf or a full pitcher is considered as auspicious while one is on a journey Stories of ghosts and evil spirits are very common in all the countries of the world and especially in India. After death, a person changes into a ghost. Sometimes, a ghost molests the other members of the family, Generally, a ‘pipal’ tree is supposed to be the haunt of ghosts. The fear of ghosts is so great that some people worship them in their homes without giving them any shape and form The ghosts are offered sweets, cakes, clothes and many such other articles to please them and bribe them against doing any kind of harm to the people.
Illiteracy and superstitions-Some examples
Generally, the illiterate and ignorant people believe in superstitions. In villages, the people believe that small-pox, cholera and some fevers are all caused by the displeasure of he ghosts and she ghosts. The small-pox. whenever it spreads in the form of epidemic is supposed to be the result of the anger of the Goddess), Shitladevi. Numerous beliefs of this type are prevalent in villages. (Sometimes, such miracles take place in the cure of such diseases that one is surprised at and com pelled to believe in those superstitions) Indians have a blind belief in Sadhus though the cases of cheating by the Sadhus are generally heard. The ashes given by the Sadhus to their devotees are considered as something extraordinary holy. The tradition of observing Terahvi’ in Indian families is another superstition. Hindus believe that souls of the dead persons exist in some form or the other for about eleven days in the family. The family becomes free form the impurity of death on the twelfth day. On this day. Brahmins are fed and given charities to give peace to departed soul. These acts of giving charities to the Brahmins and feeding them are repeated every year in the month of Kawar’. This observance is called ‘Shradh’. People have a great faith in palmistry astrology and horoscope. There may be some experts in them here and there but generally, we come across, cheats, who exploit innocent persons and be fool them.j
Superstitions differ from place to place-Superstitions differ from place to place and caste to caste. (In South India, the sight of a black cat, crossing the way in front of one is considered be very inauspicious. In Punjab, the sight of a Brahman right in the morning is supposed to bring on misfortune for the whole day But a Brahman is not looked upon as inauspicious elsewhere. The sight of a cobber. oilman or washer men bring ill-luck to one in U.P. but not in Punjab. It should not be surprising that some of English superstitions are very similar to certain superstitions prevalent in India. But in England and India, the following of a dog at night without any apparent cause is supposed to indicate the presence of a spirit near-by. As in Indian villages, people believe in witches, so do the people of England and Wales who live in remote villages.
The only panacea for all the social ills like superstitions is education. To make the backward and superstitions minded Indians enlightened, education should be spread widely. Education cultivates reasoning and thinking in a human being and as soon as a person comes under the shelter of reason, he or she becomes free from blind beliefs. Indians by nature are fatalists and do not apply their energy to work for the betterment of their lot. This is the greatest superstition which has undermined and is still undermining the real prosperity of India. People should be properly educated and should be inspired to be hard working and honest.