Bad Omens/ Superstitions

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India

1. Why people say that Bili Ka Rasta katna is a bad omen?

This bad omen came into existence long time back in India when plague was very common. The disease used to spread by infected rats. Wherever there were rates, there were cats. Whenever someone travelled and if he found a cat on the way that would mean that the area would have rats and that worked as a warning for traveler to take precautions otherwise he could get plague. Rat is also a sign of poor hygiene in the area where cats are in abundance. 
2. Whenever anyone sneezes we must stop for some time.
Sneezing librates viral and bacterial particles which can travel a distance of 3-6 ft. They settle down within few seconds. To avoid getting infections, it is said that we must not go near a sneezing person for few seconds.

3. One should donate Sarson ka tel on every Saturday.
One should not consume oil in excess and whatever is left is donated on Saturday so that one does not eat extra oil on Sunday. Saturday oil massage is also indicated as it helps in healing the body.

4. Take a bath after visiting or touching a dead body –
After death the infected body may putrefy and release germs. If the person has died of an infection, the body may remain infected till it is burnt off. In a hospital setting we always recommend before and after touching a patient, one should wash hands with antiseptics. Washing hands before and after touching a dead body is hygienic and prevents many infections.

5. One should not marry in chaturmas.
In Chaturmas, falling in Dakshinayana; the four months are a phase of negativity of the mind with more unfulfilled desires. Also during this period, the digestive fire is weak; therefore, a person cannot enjoy heavy meals often offered during marriage functions. Worms which come out on the ground can infect green leafy vegetables; therefore, eating salad in this time may be harmful.

6. One should not eat curd in the night
Not only curd but every fermented food should not be taken after sunset as if is mixed with unfermented food, there will be a mismatch of digestion and a person may end up with acidity or gas.

7. On Purnima, there are more chances of one becoming lunatic
The word Lunatic came from the word Lunar which means Lunar Cycle. In body our air and water component behaves alongside the high and low tides in an ocean. On the day of Purnima, there are high tides in the ocean. As is the microcosm so is the microcosm is an Ayurveda saying. On Purnima day, blood pressure may rise and the person’s mental behavior may show fluctuations.

8. When leaving home, it is auspicious to see a bride, Brahmin or religious idol but not a widow
This superstition may have been true in the era when widows were to wear white sarees and had a lot of social restrictions. Most widows used to be in depression. It is said for positive mental health if you see somebody cheerful you will become cheerful and if you see somebody depressed you may also get depressed.

9. Nails should not be cut in the night
In the night there are chances that you may cut nails wrongly and cause injury.

10. One should not sweep the house in the evening or the night
Ten percent of the society has Asthma which gets precipitated with dust. In the evening it is likely that more people are at home than in the daytime. Therefore there are more chances of asthma getting precipitated in someone if one sweeps the house in the evening when more people are present. Another reason is that in the evening, especially, in areas with poor light, there is likelihood that the dust may contaminate food. You may also throw some precious thing due to poor light while sweeping.

11. Why no hair cutting on Tuesday and/or Thursday?
In Hindu mythology, to maintain some discipline on every day one is supposed to restrain from doing one or other thing. For example, not having sexual relation with the partner on Tuesday, not cutting hairs on Tuesday and/or Thursday, not eating cereals once in a weak on the day of observing fast and not eating rice on Ekadashi. Restrains help in maintaining spiritual discipline.