Advance apologies if this post hurts anybody’s belief system.
I have never been able to understand the reasons to invent religion and always considered the human belief cycle to be like this:
- Pagan Beliefs
- Evolution of concept of God
- Invention of Religion
I myself jump between my belief system in god and spirituality, jumping step number 3 altogether as I think the concept of religion today exist only to make god men rich and powerful while serving no real benefit to the followers of the faith.
Before coming to the real topic of the post, let me talk about traditions that are clear fallout of following one or another religion. All our festivals are derivatives of point no 1, 2, and 3 and we as a family enjoy celebrating festivals more as family and social functions and less due dictates’ of religious reasons. Now coming from religious beliefs itself come some of the beautiful traditions that we follow e.g. things like mundan (tonsuring of hair), annaprashan ( first solid food to the baby), wedding ceremonies etc. are all part of the some religious traditions and connect us to our roots and I absolutely respect them.
My logical mind starts wondering when we start falling from the pinnacle of spirituality to the abyss of superstition in the name of following the middle ground of religion and tradition. Let me give some examples. I absolutely respect the concept of putting a Tilak on forehead after a Pooja or on any auspicious occasion, but putting a black mark or tikka on a baby with the belief that she will be saved from evil eye? Give me a break. I fail to understand how a black thread in her neck or mark on her cheek will save the baby from bad omen.
Not cutting the nails of baby on Thursday? Reminds me the dilemma of the poor code jockey in US who was wondering to cut or not cut nails on Wednesday night in US as it was already Thursday in India.
The worst was discovered during our visit to doctor when the second one was about to be born. Some of the expecting mothers in the hospitals wanted a c-section at a particular time as that was the auspicious time as per the stars. (I not making this up and some of these ladies and there hubbies were highly educated professionals)
My challenge and irritation with all this superstition increases when I hear people say that they are doing this just to please the elders in the family. How convenient to blame the elders in the family, but what about those who are living in nuclear family in metropolis that allows you anonymity with nobody interested in knowing which part of India you migrated from.
Even if I agree to the excuse that some of the superstition is being followed just to maintain the peace in the family, I wonder what belief system the child will grow with. I personally believe that all of us who were born in 70s and 80s are the last generation in middle class that had seen the worst of India while growing up and we are at a point where either we will fall back to the dark ages like one of our neighbors or we will jump to the next level of growth and prosperity like another of our neighbors. This brings a great responsibility on the shoulders of us the parents to raise kids who not only excel in academics and social responsibilities but who are raised devoid of shackles of superstitions if they have to grow up to be citizens of not just this country but world.
Post Script: I got idea of this post when a friend told me after reading my post on Nazar Battu or evil eye on my blog Desi Traveler that she does not posts pictures of her kids as she is scared that they will get Nazar or evil eye. So jokingly I created a Pic Badge Nazar battu to attach to the pictures. You can see the same by clicking the link. Oh yes you can use it if you want to, if you believe that posting pictures of kids on the net will make them susceptible to evil eye What’s the catch? You will have to like my blog on Facebook!
Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess (11 yrs in Feb 13) and Pinkette (4 yrs next month). He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and an investor in startups with unique concepts. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.