Some days back we had gone for a Puja to a friend's house.After the the Puja I just overheard two ladies talking. One of them was the hostess. The other lady asked her why had she organised the Puja on a week day. She said that if the Puja had been held on the week end it would have attracted more guests.The lady of the house,without even a blink in her eyes said the day is not auspicious. Moreover, the Puja had been kept to ward away the the effect of Shani from her son's horoscope. This conversation set me thinking. It was only the result of superstitions,which are deeply ingrained in our mind.
What is Superstition? What is the basis of superstitions? They are beliefs, notions and happenings which cannot be explained scientifically or no reasoning can be given. Such beliefs are generally baseless and irrational,which cannot be reasoned. It has been observed that these are mainly related to good/bad luck. In some cases it is connected with religion. For example, there is a belief that we should keep a door open on Diwali so that Goddess Lakshmi can enter the house otherwise the Goddess will not visit the house.This religious faith has no basis,but people believe it. A black cat is considered unlucky .If a black cat crosses your way , it is a bad omen and the work for which you are going will not be accomplished. Friday,the 13th is considered ominous because it is a belief that Jesus was crucified on Friday ,the 13th . So much so that people avoid the number 13 for their house. In some high rise buildings there is no 13th floor. After the 12th floor comes the 14th floor.
There are innumerable superstitions which neither have any base nor any explanation. We may call ourselves advanced but in our heart of hearts we cling to some superstition. I know one gentleman who signs important documents ,sitting in the same chair, using the same pen and facing the same direction. Can you beat it? Maximum number of superstitions are connected with examinations,going for interviews,marriage and child birth. When the children are going to write an exam, it is auspicious if they eat curd. When a lady is pregnant, she is prohibited from seeing solar or lunar eclipse.It is a belief that if she does so, the child will be deformed. Another superstition is that if a woman , during pregnancy ,eats sweets the child will be a boy and if she likes spicy food , a girl child will be born.
The days of a week are all similar, but some days are considered to be inauspicious. On Tuesdays people do not have haircut. Even some barber shops are closed. On Thursdays we don't wash clothes,don't have hair bath and don't shave. There is no reason. Can anyone explain. There is also a belief that some time of every day is inauspicious,which is termed Rahu Kalam. During this period no important work can be undertaken and we are not supposed to leave the house if we have to go for a journey. Many superstitions are related to the theory of reincarnation, spirits,luck, good or bad events etc. In fact any subject for which no rationale can be given becomes a superstition.
I have compiled some superstitious beliefs. Can anybody throw some light on the origin of superstitions and the intensity of their hold on the people.
1.A cat, especially a black cat, crossing the road.
2. Not walking under a ladder.
3.Twitching of the eyes.
4. Breaking of a mirror.
5.If a crow is on the wall
6. Spilling of salt.
7.A broom placed upright.
8.Many superstitions about falling of lizards.
9.The ringing of bells in a place of worship.
10. Itching of the hands/feet.
I have mentioned only a few but there are several more superstitions . In fact every important event from birth to death is associated with beliefs which neither have any scientific base nor religious background. They have been followed by our ancestors and are observed down the line. Without giving explanations these go on from generation to generation. I have also got several obsessions and compulsions. In fact I have posted this at an auspicious hour!!