India, a melting pot of cultures, is a country where traditions breathe comfortably next to global technology. There are times when we, the young generation, question age-old practices which is obviously important to prevent a slow degradation of our society into anarchy. For us, these beliefs appear unsubstantiated and false, because with the passage of time, the reasoning part behind the origin of these cultural beliefs and superstitions got eroded. However, in reality, there are many such beliefs in Indian culture that are logical and have scientific reasons behind them.
Here is an attempt to bring forward the science involved in these traditions and rituals.
Using lemon and green chilies to avert buri nazar
The vitamin rich qualities of lemon and chilly made our ancestors, propagate their usage to encourage its intake, which slowly turned into nimbu totka.
A girl shouldn’t do certain things while she is menstruating
Those five days, when there were no sanitary pads and commercial painkillers, were very stressful for women with cramps and pain in body. So, women did not work during those days because of discomfort and slowly this became a ritual and degraded to the form of a superstition.
Throwing coins in to a river for good luck
The time when rivers were the only source of drinking water and coins were made up of copper unlike the steel coins of today, throwing coins in the river was one way our fore-fathers ensured the intake of sufficient copper as a part of water since it is a useful metal for the human body.
Eating curd and sugar before heading out
Consumption of Curd has a very cooling effect on stomach that enables human body to fight the tropical climate of India. Sugar is added to provide instant glucose. The combination is hence indispensable for Indians and so its consumption slowly linked itself to good luck.
Don’t sleep with your head facing the north
When we sleep with head towards north, our body’s magnetic field become completely asymmetrical to the Earth’s giant Magnetic field that can cause problems related to blood pressure and our heart needs to work harder to overcome this asymmetry of Magnetic fields.
Don’t step out during an eclipse
Observing the Sun during a solar eclipse can cause retinal burns or eclipse blindness, based on which the superstition about Rahu’s head blocking the Sun is woven.
Indian women wear toe rings in second toe after marriage
A particular nerve from the second toe connects the uterus and passes to heart. Silver, being a good conductor of electricity, absorbs polar energies from the earth and passes it to the body, which helps uterus to strengthen and regularize menstrual cycle.
Bathe after attending a funeral ceremony
The time when there was no vaccination against hepatitis and other deadly and contagious diseases, our ancestors came up with some rituals to be followed after the funeral to prevent infection form the dead body. The ritual later got linked with the concept of departed’s soul.
Ring bell before entering the inner sanctum of temple
The sound of bell is so sharp and enduring that it clears our mind and helps us to keep our full concentration on devotional purpose. The sound produced creates a unity in the Left and Right parts of our brains and lasts for minimum of 7 seconds in echo mode.
Applying henna on the wedding ceremony
Mehendi (henna), being a medicinal herb, prevents the stress, cools the body and keeps the nerves from becoming tense. Since the wedding ceremony creates an excitement mixed with nervous anticipation for the bride and groom, mehendi is applied on the hands and feet which house nerve endings in the body.
No meat on particular days
A human being needs only a little amount of meat to fulfill the requirements of our body such as iron, vitamin B12 and other vital nutrients whereas excess of it can cause diseases like piles, kidney stones, colon cancer etc. So, Hinduism has placed some restrictions by assigning days to particular deities.
Swallow Tulsi leaves, never chew
Though the tulsi leaf is healthy, it contains little amount of arsenic whose direct chewing can cause the teeth to become yellow or results in the degradation of enamel.
I am sure most of you would now be thinking for the reason behind the practices followed in your families, which may have some logical reason, not just to protect from evil spirits. So if you have any sort of knowledge underlying such traditional rituals, please do share with us.