Rationality, a term that basically means the art of thinking in a rational manner that is irrespective of illogical thinking and involves mere practical as well as theoretical; in general logical aspects of interpreting the concept behind the happening or an action that is to be judged or acted upon. Unlike superstitions, Rationality doesn’t heed to the merely scripted philosophies by saints or philosophers in the ancient eras; generally doesn’t accept the thoughts that are just written and in contrast demanding a strong practical proof and evidence of the context given. Superstitions don’t refer to blindfolded beliefs but the belief in fate, supernatural powers, soul and Lord; but sometimes it is misinterpreted leading to false practices. Rationality is relative and so are the Superstitions. Surely they can co-exist and co-existing indicates that Rationality and Superstitions being one and the same thing.
When it comes to rational thinking; each and every human has his/hers own way of interpreting what is rational. For a thief, stealing without violence is good but on the other hand, a layman would find stealing itself a bad practice. Both the subjects thought rationally but ended into different results. Humans aren’t that intellectual to have an ideal rational view of thinking. Let us take the example of the existence of God. Believing in God without any practical proof is Irrational and can be regarded Superstitious. But, since the dawn of the universe and the mankind all living organisms are striving for only one thing. Every organism be it a tiny ant or a seventy year old man; everyone seeks happiness. Each and every being pursuits happiness, knowingly or unknowingly. Maybe people name it in form of entertainment, love, care, hope or any other name. But unfortunately every experiment of man fails when it comes to absoluteness. All the happiness man gets is fickle.
“Everything in the Universe is Relative, even this sentence.” – Albert Einstein
The above reference suggests the existence of absoluteness. And that absolute happiness pursuit ends when the living organism looks inside, into his own soul. The God is nothing but a supreme soul who has achieved absolute happiness and is away from the materialistic fickle worldly affairs. This seems logical, isn’t it? The Superstitious belief in God is Rational because no scientific or practical logic can answer to the question of Absoluteness. Praying God is praising him and bowing down considering him as an ideal for oneself. So, whatever that is scripted in the holy books must have some concrete meaning hidden behind them because they have the answer to the question ‘Rational Nerds’ couldn’t answer since ages.
Then what about the popular and widely followed superstitions in India like ‘One should not cut nails at night’, ‘one should have a bath and should not touch other person after have touched the dead body’, ‘having dinner before sunset (in Jainism)’, ‘following vegetarianism’, ‘Cleaning home brings money’, ‘not stepping out during eclipse’, ‘eating curd and sugar before going out is considered good luck’ and many more are blindly followed. Moreover praying the God by offering milk, ghee, flowers, and expensive perfumes is illogical. Why would God need them? Instead the eatables should be given to the poor. Also women who are in menstrual cycle aren’t allowed to enter the kitchen or go to temples, mosques, churches like religious places. This takes the basic right of a woman in the society. Superstitions that prevail in the society like ‘Killing the girl child’, ‘Child marriages’, ‘Sati system’ etc beliefs are responsible of downtrodden society and ceasing the development of the country. Are these superstitions rational? No, they are irrational and sick for the nation’s development and should be eradicated as soon as possible.
Half Knowledge is dangerous. In no religious text it is mentioned to kill girl child or sati system or stopping the women to enter religious places. Yes, there is a mention for women to wear decent clothes and covering of the head when entering in the temple. But this isn’t taking any rights. Logically thinking, one cannot stop the thoughts of a person. Surely, they can be and should be changed if they are bad and characterless thoughts. But, that change depends on person to person and depends how good the person reacts to the teaching. So; just to make sure that no one in the temple has some bad thoughts that are aroused due to attractions of opposite gender; women are requested to wear decent clothes. Yes, also men should wear decent clothes, but in those days when the holy books and texts were being written most of the men used to wear dhoti and jubbahs, which was already decent. Moreover, violence (killing the girl child and other mal-practices) is opposed strongly in the religious texts like Bhagwad Gita, Tatvarthsutra etc. Cutting nails at night was told as a bad practice because in olden days there was no electricity and so there was a chance of injury. The reason of not eating at night time is possibly because scientific fact that for a healthy body, one should take dinner prior to four hours of sleeping. (In Harvard’s University, students take dinner at 6pm) Moreover, Vegetarian diet gives too much of better mental stability and a good mental health than the non-vegetarians. (Virat Kohli strictly follows vegetarian diet). All in all, all the superstitions that may in first instance seem blind to us but surely they have a rational reason hidden. But yes, some rational and logical thinking is always required. If it is becoming a reason of grave problems, then it should be stopped. And most importantly, if one is following something, one should always have the root knowledge of the references and the reason behind them because half knowledge is always dangerous. So Superstitions and Rationality surely do exist together.
Superstitions and Rationality is one and the same thing if the belief is in the right direction. One needs to be rational to follow or have faith in the right Superstition and also to be sometimes superstitious to do the rational things. Because, as we humans aren’t ideal, we don’t have to absolute power to decide the rational thing and so we heed to what the Lord has told us in his preaching that are in front of our eyes in the form of holy books. We are the children, and a child doesn’t ask his mother why milk is good for him. It has faith in his mother and so we have in God and his path. But, as the theory of relativity; to stop the ill practices which in turn are also opposing the right thing preached by God (example non-violence) and to bring a change in the society one has to break the stereotypes and superstitions and be rational. I used to question a lot about the existence of Lord and the functioning of the universe and its origin, but on reading and diving deep into the philosophies related to it, I found a different kind of peace from within that is like a kindling fire in my soul, always bright.