Friday, January 23, 2009
Is there any truth in Traditions and Superstitions? How are these affect our faith?
Many superstitions result from lack of knowledge of causality, others from unenlightened fears. Many superstitions could be based on accidental luck or misfortune. Most are found in our society as old traditions which transferred from one generation to another.
Other people do not rely on this belief as a great deal but they do sometimes as a sort of imitation. We know that there is no understandable scientific justification of this belief, but some people still believe in it and they try hard to arrange their life according to it. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. Some believes if wearing a particular dress or ornament brought good luck on a certain occasion, then there is a tendency to repeat that dress or ornament. Subsequently if the dress or the ornament continues to bring "luck" it is our faith or belief that works in making it "lucky." Hence we have a series of superstitions, such as, if a cat crosses our path, it is bad omen. It is good luck to find a four-leaf clover; and breaking of a mirror brings seven years of bad luck.
Likewise, belief in the power of the "evil eye" is not a superstition. Evil eye is the destructive power of thought. Our thoughts coalesce with elementals and become an entity.
"Greatly mistaken, or as grossly unjust is he who affirms that...strange beliefs are limited to paganism, or that they are the direct result of the heathen religions alone. Adopted by the archaic priestly, hierarchies, the policy of subjecting the ignorant masses, by working on their untutored imaginations and credulous fears. Unstemmed it ran in a straight course, through Paganism, Judaism, and Christianism alike, catching up in its current all the garbage of human dead letter interpretations...."(The Theosophist, December 1881)
Traditions lay down the code of conduct for individuals, societies, families, etc. It is these traditions which prepare a person for the higher spiritual life. However, we need to distinguish between true and false traditions. Many traditions are universal, no mythological story, no traditional event in the folk-lore of a people has ever been, at any time, pure fiction, but that every one of such narratives has an actual, historical lining to it.
Some superstitions originated as religious practices that continued to be observed by people who no longer adhere to the religion that gave birth to the practice. Often the practices lost their original meaning in this process. In other cases, the practices are adapted to the current religion of the practicer. As an example, during the Christianizing of Europe, pagan symbols to ward off evil were replaced with the Christian Cross.
Some Churches considers superstition to be sinful in the sense that it denotes a lack of trust in the divine providence of God and, as such, is a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments.Though lots of people find it hard to go against the traditions that have been long established in their community, they often do things because they have been well established in society, despite the fact that they are convinced that logical reasoning proves them wrong or even harmful.It is enough that we create some doubt in the recipient's mind, because this doubt will lead him to further questioning and eventual conviction of the truth. When such a person arrives at the truth in a particular aspect, realizing that contrary tradition in that particular aspect is baseless, he will acknowledge that other traditional beliefs and practices have no basis.