Beliefs

Disclaimer – This is not to prove my religion is better over the others. It is a general post on people’s beliefs/superstitions. Each religion has its specific superstition. I do not call myself a fanatic or an atheist. I have seen many a hypocrite in my own religion and others.

Are these beliefs or are they superstitions? What is the difference and when does one draw the line? When people want to find reason and logic, there are no explanations given by those who believe in these things. They are brushed aside with a “we have been following these for a long time and when it is for the good, why do you need logic and reasoning”

Born in a Christian family, studied in a convent school – I was never exposed to superstitious beliefs. But as I grew up, I was surprised when my mother looks for the “Rahukaalam” timings when starting anything good. Though our religion does not support this, maybe she was influenced by living in Chennai (then Madras). Apart from this she also had quite a bit among her Don’t Do list. When I ask her, you claim to be a true Christian, then why do you believe in these “timings” and stuff. She has no answer to my questions.

Growing up I had friends from all religions and came to know more and more about such stuff. But somehow I just cannot accept such things without a logical explanation. What good will happen if we follow it or what bad will happen if we don’t follow it?

Here are some of those

Do not eat during an eclipse.

I have never heard of this in school among my friends. Maybe it’s because you needed a lot of energy while in school or maybe I failed to notice my friends lunch boxes..but I don’t remember any of them fasting or having food before a certain time. Everyone had to eat only during the lunch break. (My MIL is very orthodox and calls my husband to warn him about eating on such days. He says ok to her and goes about his business. He had to follow these, had no choice when he was staying with his mother before marriage).

Do not cut nails or give money on a Friday.
Reason given—You will not get the money back. (That might be true. Money loaned to someone never comes back that easily. But that is true for money given on any day right??? 🙂 . But nails do grow back even if cut on Fridays.

Do not stitch or cut nails after 6pm
—In the days before Electricity, you could get hurt by the nail pieces or needles lying around. But why associate it with God and religion?

Don’t buy new things (like appliances etc) on a Saturday.
—How will these things know they have been bought on such and such days??? Most of our appliances have been bought on the weekends, because that is the time we get for shopping

Do not have head bath when someone at home is leaving for a journey!! This I find so ridiculous. I have an oily head and feel so horrible without a head bath every day.
Reason given—Something bad will happen to the person embarking on the journey. God forbid if that person has to hug you to say goodbye and smell your stinky head. Yess the whole jouney would be bad for him 🙂

Do not put salt into their hand/food when someone asks for it. Just leave the bowl at their side.
Reason given—If you do, the relationship would not last! Seriously!!!! I wish I could empty the whole salt box into some people’s food if I had the chance. Good riddance!

No hair cuts on Fridays. Do not touch anyone after a haircut.
—Explanation not given. Maybe someone became bald after a hair cut on Friday. Poor thing..he/she could never have said TGIF after that :-). Logically after a haircut, one would have bits and pieces of hair all over and it might fall on others. Yes it makes sense. But what does that have to do with God? So what happens when you stand next to a person who is combing their hair or someone who has drastic hair fall?

Should not touch the curd vessel after you have touched other veggies or dal items. (People dip their hand in a bowl of water and then touch the curd bowl/spoon). I noticed this only in Hyderabad.
Reason given—The curd would get spoilt as its uncooked food and the rest are cooked food. Agreed, curd is something that is carried forward for a few days, so it should not get spoilt. Well, unless you are the type who helps yourself with the dal and curries with your hand-scooping them out with your lovely fingers and then scoop the curd also out of its vessel! Civilized people use spoons and ladles to serve food. Don’t they?

If you hurt yourself when you step out of your house or if you stumble, you have to wait and drink a glass of water before you leave.
Reason given—Something bad will happen to you. Really, so if your toe is bleeding due to the stumble, you just sit back and drink water, the toe will heal itself. If people are so worried that bad things will happen, why don’t they lock themselves in a room and vow to never step out of the house?

If you see a single male brahmin (Oththai Brahmanan in tamil) you have to wait and drink a glass of water before you leave. That is irrespective of whether he is a bachelor, married or widowed. Similar for a widow of any caste.
—And this will be done by the same ladies who would otherwise call the “Oththai brahmanan” oh you are like my own son, you are like my own brother etc etc. What hypocrisy!!! A widow who has lost her husband needs to be given strength and love and made to feel strong instead of being shunned by society.

Do not sleep with your head facing the South.
—Again no explanation. I guess its something to do with death. What about we “South Indians” then. I guess we are all zombies…walking the walk and talking the talk. Wow! I am a Zombie!

“Casting of the Eye”. That I would say is again “fear” of something bad happening to family members.
Reason—If you feel someone has “cast their eye” on you, do the “roundings” with red Chillies, mustard and rock salt while hurling abuses at the “eye caster”. How does “doing the rounds” with Red Chillies, rock salt and mustard and then burning it, ward off the Evil eye??? Is it supposed to gouge out the eye of the”eye caster”??? I am guilty of doing this, but want to seriously stop it.

I get it when parents want to add a “black teekha” on a small child’s face. I just don’t get it when they apply a whole box of kajal to the kids eyes, 2 spots on either side of the forehead, one large black bindi on the forehead, one on the cheek, one on the upper arm, one on the stomach, one each under the feet!!! They literally make the baby look so ugly–all in the name of Warding off the evil eye!
Reason given—again to ward off the evil eye. So its better for people to think “what an ugly baby, rather than think ohhhhhh what a cute baby. So what happens to all the babies of other nationalities. The American, European, Chinese, Australian, Japanese babies are all soooo cute. C’mon people start buying the “Kajal” right now.

Not able to pray, go to the temple, even sit on sofa’s or the bed when girls have their periods. Unable to touch family members, utensils etc and to be treated like an untouchable.
Reason given—Girls are “untouchable” during those days. God does not like menstruating women. Yeh, like he came and told each one of us, right? Right.
We never had such restrictions as we could even go to Church even on those days. I guess by the time Christianity came into being, people were becoming progressive. I have heard such horrid tales from friends on how they were treated by their own mother/grand mother during those days.
The logical explanation was that in the times when women did not have proper sanitary care, they would use only pieces of cloth. So it made sense for them to sit on the floor for ease of cleaning, being away from men and other family members. It also made sense that they were not allowed to do any work, because those 3-4 days really squeezes you of all your energy. But in this time and age to still follow these blindly out of fear of “saami kutham” (Blasphemy) is totally ridiculous. As far as I know no God or Holy Book mentions that women should not be allowed in temples or should not pray in front of deities during that time. If that was the case, God would not have created women with menstruation. Oh Eve, why did you have to eat the Apple? If you had not done that, God would given this and child birth equally to mankind. I would like to believe He would have. I do wish mothers of this generation not discriminate between a girl/boy child, give them equal opportunities and bring them up to respect each other and not burden girls with such practices.

When people say “They will get what they deserve. Their time will come. There is somebody above watching and will get me out of my misery and make them understand

—I would only want to say – even God helps only those who help themselves. If something   bothers you or someone is ill treating you or somebody does something bad to you – you have to take things into your own hands and get yourself out of the situation. You have to decide what is good for you and take that chance. It might be good, it might be bad. But its your life, its your own. You are the one who is living it. Every one knows that they should not hurt others, every one knows they should treat the spouse,family members with respect and love. Everyone knows,most read Holy books, know right from wrong and Good from Evil and that God will punish wrong doers. But still they do it and then end up fasting, going to Temple,Churches and Mosques. What for I ask? Just Live and Let Live.

When people do follow such things is it out of fear that something would happen to them or that God would punish them if they did not follow them? It is this fear that makes people who do not believe in such things also follow them. The Hindi film “Oh My God” portrayed this very well—all this happens not because of the “true Love” towards God, but due to fear of punishment and “what will happen” if we don’t follow it. It is the same fear that prevents people from shunning such practices even though they know it is not right.

Fear of the unknown can be difficult to tackle. Why else would scientists sending a rocket up into space, go do a puja or seek divine help? I just don’t get it. Why would the rich and famous donate crores of their “Colourful” money to temples/churches/mosques and other places – do all the illegal, unlawful things and go donate it to God. Yeh, He is going to take it straight to heaven and convert it from the horrible black crow into the white swan. How sweet! 🙂

Have a good weekend people 🙂

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