Silly Hindu superstitions

Friday, July 17, 2009
Being born in a Hindu family, i know about most of the superstitions that are practiced by Indian Hindus. Most Hindus believe that there are ancient meaning for these superstitions,but no one seem to remember any such explanation for them.
If anyone reading this text can explain any of the superstitions,you are welcome.

- It is bad to ask "where are you going" to anyone going out of home.Indians dare to ask their relatives or family members this question because it brings bad luck to the person going out.Moreover it is considered that harm will come to the one who is being asked that dreaded question.

- It is bad when a cat crosses your path or road.If that happens, people mostly return to their homes or pray to god and proceed on their path.

- It is also considered bad to see a widow face to face while going out.And, the worse part is that widows are unwelcome at any functions like marriages.

- It is bad to drop a cut finger nail inside the house,even in the dustbin. It is believed that nails brings economic damnation to the house.

- Mirrors should not be shown to children,because it makes children to become dumb, that is infants seeing mirror at very young age will fail to speak.

- Taking photos reduces ones lifetime.So,indians avoid taking photographs of their infants.

- Menstrating women are forbidden from entering temples,or even to pray at home,since menstruation is a sin.

- The month named "Aadi",that is the first month of windy season is forbidden to perform any functions like house warming,marriage or starting anything.

- Dreams in the early morning are expected to come true.So if anything bad happens in a dream, people will meet with certain religious men and perform poojas to prevent the dream from coming true.

-When a coconut is broken in the temple, it should part in to two regular and equal halves and not break at tangent in to the eyes of the coconut. A decayed or rotten coconut foreshadows serious mishap to the devotee .

- After sneezing, people exclaim 'Shiva', 'Rama ' or 'Krishna'or whatever god they pray to.

- It is not good to give money to anyone after sunset.If anyone does that,all their money will go away from them.So,when the newspaper/current/mobile bill collector knocks after 6:00 PM,it is a waste of their time.And,it is strictly forbidden to lend needles or oil after 6:00PM.

- When faced with dilemma, instead of considering merits and demerits, villagers put colored flowers in a temple and see which colour falls first due to wind.The colour of the flower which falls first determines their action.

- Nothing should be started on a Tuesday.Wednesday is the best day for important ventures and is as 'good as gold'.

- When the first tooth of a child falls out the fallen tooth is carefully placed in a lump of cow dung, and thrown over roof in the belief that such action will hasten the re-growth of the child 's teeth. (this one is a sort of related to tooth fairies i suppose,but practiced by parents instead of children)

- It is a bad sign to place hands behind the head when trying to relax,since it can cause the death of parents.

- The sound of door hitting the wall should never be made by children,since it causes fights to happen between the parents.

- A lizard falling on head can cause death.

- The cawing of a crow in one's house foretells the coming of guests.

- If a lizard makes a sound when you make a statement, it shows that what you said is true.And if a bell rings or even if a mobile phone rings,its also considered that what is told is truth,or it will come true.

- If anyone kills a snake,he has to goto a snake nest found in most temples and place eggs and milk to prevent the snake from taking revenge.

The fact about this list is that these superstitions are still believed throughout India,in villages as well as cities.


Girish Mallya said...

I am an agnostic and don't really believe in God, leave alone following any superstition. But I've come to believe that our ancestors who lived long, long ago in ancient India were very wise and scientifically sound.

When I was in high school, I studied Sanskrit and the Sanskrit teacher was a very learned man. He always had interesting anecdotes to narrate. Once, he mentioned about the practice of not sweeping the floor after sunset since doing so was believed to bring misery(or something like that).
Then he told us the actual reason behind the practice - there was no electricity in ancient times and after dusk, houses lacked proper illumination. If anyone dropped something small but very valuable(like a diamond stud or gold ring), and if someone else then swept the floor unwittingly, the valuable would be swept along and thrown away with the trash. Hence the elders introduced the practice of not sweeping after dusk.

Now, the question is - why did they give a false reason for the practice? I feel it is because no one would have followed it if they were told the actual reason. Human nature - people might have said, "Oh, I'll be careful when I sweep." or "The possibility of that happening is low."...

So, I feel there is a logical reason behind most superstitious practices, not all.

Girish Mallya said...

There is one more practice I just remembered. I had not heard of this when I was in India.

After coming to the US, I had to live with roommates and cook our own food and all. Two of my roommates have this superstition that knives and scissors shouldn't be given to someone directly in the hand (because it would lead to fights or something, I don't remember what it was exactly). Whenever they asked me for a pair of scissors or a knife, I had to place it on a table or something and they would then pick it up from there.

I never thought much about it anytime, but recently I realized what the true reason behind it could be. It was another incident that happened to me which led to the realization.

Once when I was at work, my supervisor asked me to pass the paper knife to her. I just picked it up and held it out in front of her(the blade end of the knife was out towards her, but I wasn't really aware of it that time). She carefully took the knife in her hand and then told me we should always give it with the handle end of the knife towards the other person. I then realized how right she was and how carelessly I had held out the sharp end, which could have led to injuries if she were in a hurry and taken it from me carelessly.

I then connected this incident to the practice followed by my roommates. It was simple - knives, objects. Yes, just holding out the handle end towards the other person might prevent injuries to him/her. But our elders seemed to have been wiser than that - if the other person takes the object hurriedly, there is still a chance of injury, but this time to the one holding it.

So, I reasoned that in order to eliminate injuries to both, our wise ancestors made it a practice of placing the sharp object down and getting the other person to pick it up.

Admin said...

There used to be some logical reason long time ago,but those reasons are not valid now.

Girish Mallya said...

@Admin...True, some reasons may not be valid. But no real rational person would generalize and debunk everything. You have to take them on a case-by-case basis and research/contemplate instead of just blindly saying, "bah!". That is what I feel we, as modern people, should do.
e.g., I don't believe in God's existence yet; why should I blindly go and bow in front of a stone idol? But that doesn't mean I say God doesn't exist. Doing that would also be a blind act. So, I am trying to do my research, want to read the scriptures and see what I can find in them. Was God a creation by man in order to aid psychology or is there something more than that?
Anyways, it is up to an individual to believe in something or not to, as long as the belief doesn't affect/harm another person and the belief is not forced upon others.

Ajay said...

@Admin. I dont see any of these as particularly Hindu superstitions. Black cat crossing is considered a omen in many cultures outside of India. Like Girish said... there are good practical reasons for traditional things (I am not talking religious things... but traditional things)

Like Einstein said... Miracles and Superstitions cannot be true since they defy the basic laws of nature. Hinduism is a set of principles for a good fruitful life and investigation into nature..

Girish Mallya said...

Quoting the third line in your post - "...but no one seem to remember any such explanation for them...". You are partly right there. It's not that no one remembers; it's just that no one knows. How can you "remember" something you never knew in the first place?

That's one bad thing about our culture - traditions and rituals have been passed down through generations without sufficient explanations. That is the reason there is hardly anyone who knows the "why" about practices. That is also the reason some practices get distorted through generations by people motivated by selfish gains and we can never tell whether they are genuine or not. If we all knew why we do whatever we do, we would never follow absurd practices like sacrifices and crap. But sadly, we are used to following blindly, because we inherited it from our parents. If some curious and rational person wants to know the "why" and he/she earnestly asks questions, he/she is rebuked as an "atheist", by his/her own parents. This is because they don't know the answers themselves.

suraj said...

what a fuckingly exaggerated post. couldn't even read it whole. such a crap. please write some wise and discursuive essays on the bad things in Hinduism. Not these silly one liners.

Gurbinder said...

Great command of english Suraj, Thousands of years of the evolution of the English language and thats your example of civilised grammar. The indian culture per se is fraught with superstition from which quite often the damning notion of black magic is born. This type of thinking and practice is abused as a form social programming. It also serves as a form of control where people are subject to perform or not perform certain acts due to the pressure from elders and so called holy men due to the hierarchical nature of hinduism. It keeps the ignorant ignorant and the uneducated uneducated. Everything Sikhism was born to move away from.

hari said...

In this modern world we always find faults.We never try to see good.We donot actually know reasons behind them.For ex: Tulsi plant is planted infront of hindu house and it is worshipped.Recently there was a spread of H1N1 virs and it was proved that Tulsi doesnt allow this virus.
And second one is ,they used to perform yagnas for rains.The material in the form of smome when touches clouds,it starts raining.This was also proved.
Nowadays we are thinking that we are developing.but my dear frndz we are destroying our lives...
Never blame anything with half knowledge.
Half knowledge is very dangerous.
Nowadays since we dont know sanskrit,we are commenting by listening others words..Never do thiz

hari said...

Even Guru Nanak was devotee of Lord Shiva.....

Dusean said...

Hari please provide "real" source to your claims. Guru Nanak ji was never devotee of Lord Shiva. Infact he declined the most scared ritual of "Jinuha"

Logical Humanitarian said...

Differerent Gurus in India gave rise to different sets of beliefs. Superstitions suck. There is too much in Hinduism & I believe it's all in Indian religions. West advanced in science & logic. Indians advanced in superstitions. Our ancestors who excelled in maths & astronomy might not have been so superstitious.

Logical Humanitarian said...

Indian religions have concepts of caste. Politicians give reservations to those people who are more in number. Some religions encourage people to keep dangerous weapons. Some religions encourage people to keep beards for life time. Some religions prohibit cutting nails , hairs or even shaving on certain days of weeks. Superstitions Superstitions Superstitions..... Britishers came and abolished sati, dowry & similar practices. Even people of one region in India hate people belonging other regions. Some of the Indian languages have quite abusive words for people belonging to some other region.

Unknown said...

If you kill all the Brahmins in india ... superstitions will go away. Brahmins are the idiots who for their temple income create superstitions to fool common uneducated indian.

And great people of india have so much plenty time and money that they believe in such stories, simple logic is what they are greedy they follow these things thinking that they will get more money ... but end up paying more to temple pandits.

very recent example - giving milk to idols in temples.

Also throwing milk on shiv ling (that is penis)

sreejith hari said...

Hinduism is the mother of all religions including islam and christianity. Some followers of hinduism do have superstitious beliefs.It has nothing to do with the basic hindu ideology and principles. Only a few hindu's know about the vedas ,upanishads,darsanas etc which are the core religious text books.Most of them know only the stories in ramayan and mahabharat which are not the pure religious texts. It is only meant for expressing ideas to common uneducated people the form of stories.Now a days believers of other faith are more superstitious. Nobody talks about it for the fear of hurting religious sentiments.In recent times hindus are the targets for convertion. So certain group of people are knowingly spreading the message that hinduism is a religion of superstitions----trying to ease their task

Pranu said...

It was interesting to read about all the superstitions that i have grown up hearing.. I have a question tho, there is some kind of superstition that asks you to bury a nail or something iron metal in the ground..what is this for?

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