Wednesday, November 15, 2006
INDIA AND SUPERSTITION
There are bound to be setbacks and obstacles in every country and every community. Superstition is one such hurdle
Abundant in India, it can be one of the foremost reasons for the 'backwardness' and for several other crimes against humanity.
Let me present some recent examples.
Few months past, the brackish water of a Mumbai beach suddenly turned "sweet". One particular "expert" proclaimed that the water had been turned sweet as a result of divine intervention. This happened in the wee hours of the night, and by early next morning droves of people were seen flocking to the beach, carrying pots, bottles, containers, and anything in which they could carry the blessed water home. Some even claimed that after drinking the holy water, their aches and pains had vanished. That their years old incurable condition had been magically cured by the Gods. Repeated warnings by the Government and some Lab authorities that the 'miracle' was most likely due to the factory chemicals being dumped into the river, and that consumption could be fatal, fell on deaf ears. If anyone did fall ill, Im sure they wouldn't want to make an issue out of it as they did of the "holy water" bcoz that would just make them look stupid, isn't it? Oh, by the way, the water reverted to its salty state by late that afternoon. The cause was unknown, but the superstition could have taken many lives
Another recent event happened in North India, where a woman who had slept in a room locked from the inside, was transformed into ashes the next morning. The lock was still intact. Of course, again rumors spread abound that this Devi (Goddess) had achieved self immolation by the virtue of tapas (meditation). Soon, there were thousands thronging to pay a visit to this holy shrine, the house of the woman. Not much later, the police arrested the woman who ad supposedly evaporated into thin air, and she confessed that she had tricked everyone for the sake of publicity and also in the hope that people would leave monetary assistance at her house (which is exactly what the public did - they tossed loose change through the window of her house. If tens of thousands of people throw change, that makes for quite a neat sum). Again, a case of superstition making asses out of the people.
Then of course, is the infamous Jayamala case, where the actress confesses to have visited the Lord Aiyyappa (if Im not wrong) temple and gained entry somehow to the main altar, where she took his blessings by touching the feet of the idol. This led to instant outrage. The reason? Lord Aiyyappa is a brahmachari (one who abstains from the pleasures of the flesh and remains unmarried for life), and the entry of a woman in his presence might distract him from the vows of celibacy. This created quite a hungama in the South. My point is, God treats all human beings as one. Then who are priests and other people to dictate terms who should enter a temple or not? Even if you do consider the Lord's celibacy issue, I think God is strong enough to resist such temptations. It is US who yield to such petty issues and make a mountain out of a molehill. Women are also not allowed in temples during their monthly periods, coz that is considered being unclean.
Unclean????????? Since when did physical cleanliness become a criteria for prayer and devotion? I can be the cleanest person in the world, smartly turned out. But if I have malice in my heart, then I am the one who needs be turned away from places of worship, and not a man or woman who is physically unclean or shabby.
God is everywhere, and everyone belongs to God, and vice versa. Why would we follow rules, rituals, superstitions set and stated by people who lived millions of years ago? Dont cut nails at night. It brings bad luck Dont cross over someone. It will stunt their growth A black cat crossing ur path, moving under a ladder, all bring bad luck. HOW ? Try asking those who tell you these, and they have no concrete explanation. Simply, because they dont know. I have come to a conclusion - I dont believe in Superstitions. They bring bad luck.
From the time the British ruled us, people have exploited us on the basis of our superstitions, and will continue to do so, unless we wizen up, and move ahead in life.
Superstition is the enemy of progress, prosperity and above all, a normal life...