Monday, March 07, 2016

The Demon Haunted World

A couple announced to a group of people present at their house that they were expecting their first child. Everyone was happy but one man in the group said 'I checked your horoscope with my astrologer and he told me there is NO chance until next year'.

There are three categories of people here:

1. The astrologer - who thinks every person's destiny is written and he has the power to predict it. I wonder how can anyone predict sperm count, suitable conditions of the womb and free time that the couple was going to find to make babies! How can the faraway planets play a role in anything?

2. The man - There are millions of people like the man in this scene who are satisfying their curiosities by showing their horoscope and also of the people they know (without consulting them). These people should keep their curiosities to themselves and not spread ignorance.

If everything that we do is already written then what is the point in living this life? Unfortunately astrology is more famous in India than astronomy. Everything that people do is checked with an astrologer - including the name of the newborn.

3. The couple - They are the type who write their own destiny, still they were stressed during all the months of pregnancy thinking 'what if the astrologer was right'. Well, they have healthy kids now and they produced them without checking with any astrologer. If someone tells you that according to horoscope you are not going to get promoted this year don't trust it, also don't blame your failures on some far away planets going retrograde.

Few years back a lady on a road asked me to give her money when I denied she said 'My goddess will curse you, bad things will happen to you'. I found it ironical, if there was a goddess cursing or blessing someone then why would this lady herself was begging on the road? I left the scene but from a distance I could see many people giving her money. Reason? Simple - Fear of unknown.

Every single person is scared of the unknown be it the future, entering a dark room or the reason of our existence. Out of our fears demons are born they are nothing but superstitions. Don't get me wrong I myself have had many superstitions, I read horoscopes at one point of time. But as we read, gain more knowledge, ponder over things and reach our higher selves we need to spread the word of wisdom.

It reminds me of a movie 'Little Boy', someone tells the little boy in the movie that he has the power to move things. Then this boy tries to move mountains, land, ocean and everything. One fine day there is an earthquake at the same time when he is trying to move land - the game of probability! And then everyone starts calling him a miracle, that is how superstitions are spread.

People in India still believe in black magic, this has nothing to do with how much educated they are.

The Demon Haunted World is a book by famous astronomer Carl Sagan. He talks about several superstitions around the world. It helped me get rid of some of my superstitions like 'buri nazar'  (A look or stare believed to cause injury or misfortune to others).

I highly recommend it to every person from all categories - The astrologer, The man and The couple.

*This post is dedicated to Narendra Dabholkar who struggled all his life to free Indians from superstitions like black magic, he was murdered in 2010.