Superstition- It is supposedly a blindly accepted belief or notion. This belief in ‘supernatural’ which is nothing but the occurrence of an event caused by another through astrology, religion, omens etc defy natural science!
Personally, I am not much of a believer in superstitions. However, we are forced to follow certain custom based instructions at home such as do not cut the nails after sunset, do not leave the slippers toppled over, do not step on the lemons on road, consider twitching of eyes as a bad omen, so on and so forth. As I mentioned, I follow these customs not out of belief but out of respect for my mother and her beliefs.
Despite of this, there is one particular superstition which fascinates me and makes me question the truth behind these beliefs. It is none other than the Evil Eye. The evil eye is supposedly a malevolent look that many cultures believe to cause injury or misfortune for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike.
I am not sure about other superstitions, but I tend towards believing in this particular superstition- Evil Eye. When one of our distant relatives comes to our home, we all hurry to put ‘kaala teeka’ to ward off her evil look. This ritual is because whenever she visits our home, my mom would invariably fall sick and my irked mother used to quip ‘whatever I have in my life which she doesn’t’. Mother elaborates further ‘The intensity of an evil eye is so much that it can even melt a rock’.
At times when I am back from an event or function and fall sick for no particular reason, my mom decides that it is because someone must have cast an evil eye on me. This is followed by the customary puja to remove the evil eye. A few strips of the broom stick are put on fire and circled in front of my face while chanting a mantra to remove the evil eye. What is even more interesting is that after the puja, we actually feel better. I am not trying to exaggerate here and I know it can be reasoned as a psychological effect. It is just that, considering the number of times it has happened, I am unable to overlook this phenomenon.
At a recent occasion, someone said to me ‘You are so hale and healthy, you do not have any/many serious health issues like me’. All I could reply to that was nod and smile. No need to mention this was followed by several medical visits on my part.
What I am trying to comprehend is why does this happen? Is it really true that if someone looks at you and your happiness and overcomes with jealousy wondering ‘I do not have that’ and boom! You are cursed and have high chances of suffering in one way or the other. Is it really possible for one human being to have so much power to inflict trauma on someone else either as revenge or for simple jealousy, using witchcraft and voodoo as well for that matter. Although I keep searching for an unequivocal answer for these questions, I know the answer for one question; ‘Is it necessary to go to such lengths to hurt somebody? Even if they had hurt you before’. I figure no, I’d rather spend my precious moments in improving my life than waste it on ruining somebody else’s. In the end we are all going to die and we all go through pain, heartbreaks, loss of a loved one and more in one life, it is not worth that I spend my time in harboring hatred for years and seeking revenge against whoever it is.
Interestingly though, Indian subcontinent is not the only place where we have superstitions. These are present around the world in the most bizarre ways possible. One superstition held in Germany is that if someone has difficulty dying, one may ease the process by lifting up three tiles on the roof. In South Korea, it is believed that if you leave a fan running overnight you will die, either of hypothermia or asphyxiation. This misconception is so prevalent that fans are often sold with timers that turn the fan off after a set period of time, allowing you to sleep easy and, you know, not die!
Are superstitions just made up things? Or is there any logic to them? The reasoning with which our ancestors declared these do’s and don’ts may not have been understood by the subsequent generations, but obviously they have been religiously carried forward.
Whatever the case maybe, if the description of evil eye is considered to be the negative thoughts and actions directed towards us, then I believe the only way to defend yourself is by making yourself stronger. Let the world grudge upon you and try their best to be the worst. You know it says nothing about you and a lot about themselves.
Here’s an excerpt from a Mother Theresa quote, which exemplifies all I want to say..
“If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
- Madhushree Lakshman
(About the Author - Madhushree is not just another young Bangalorean who passes-by without notice. Change is a way of life she believes, driven by her will to solve the problems around her. Co-founder of 'Volunteer For a Cause (VFC)' a registered non-profit, she knows from experience what it takes to tackle a real world problem and is on the path towards solving it)