“You are so superstitious grandma” I yelled and banged the door of my room. It was just one more of those numerous occasions when my grandma stopped me from going out just because an owl had hooted. It wasn’t my mistake that the tree near our stay was a home for numerous owls whose favorite pastime was to hoot every time someone was to leave the house.

“Why do you follow such meaningless notions” I asked. “It was taught to us by our ancestors and everything need not be explained by your science.” replied grandmother.

The above dialogue formed the very basis of my article. Superstitions originated, perhaps when man was at the mercy of natural elements. He held them at awe and worshipped and revered them for their destructive ability. Soon as he started falling prey to maladies, he took to prayers, penances and sacrifices for appeasing the gods.

Superstitions are deep rooted, unreasonable and most of the times, irrational beliefs, which have no profundity at all. Still superstitions are the legacy of every civilization and are inherited by the following generations. Though it was once believed that education and awareness can take away the problem from its roots, but these still continue to linger with us through generations.

All civilizations have their respective superstitions. While some believe in ghosts and sorcery others resort to numerology and spirits. The number 13 is considered very unlucky by the western world because of legends of Christ linked with it. Many a time it is just the psychology that affects us. When one is increasingly made to believe that a particular thing is not right, the mental science of the person tend to make them believe so.

Most of the superstitions are baseless and some may arise even as a consequence of ulterior motives of populace. For instance, the western world was infamous for its witches. All those who were suspected of witchcraft were tied and burnt alive. It was later realized that the executions were carried out on the behest of some people with subterranean reasons.

The eastern world has its own share of superstitions. Hooting of owls and howling of dogs augurs impending death. Also the sites of a priest or sneezing before commencing for a journey are considered very ominous.

Experiments are definitely on to find out; man has a soul that leaves him after his death. The existence of ghosts and their mystic powers are still to be proved. One cannot however reject superstitions that have a scientific backing to then. For instance application of sandalwood on the forehead may be a superstitious activity but sandalwood also keeps the forehead cool and soothes the brain.

In today’s scientific world it is necessary that we do not blindly follow all the superstitions that are handed over to us by our ancestors. We are modern both in terms of outlook and age and we must have a judicious approach and look for more logical reasons behind every superstition before accepting it. Only then will we be able to give up the beliefs that have no rationality in today’s life. It is only this way that we can lead a life befitting the citizens of the modern era.

Ritu Naiya

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