Rituals as part of therapeutic systems in India

Mustafa Nadeem Kirmani & Zainab
Department of Psychology
Aligarh Muslim University

Rituals have been practised in all the ancient civilizations -- Chinese, Egyptian, Indian and Mesopotamian -- with the belief that diseases are caused by different supernatural factors. People in India have faith in a number of rituals such as exorcism, avoiding the evil spirit and resort to the use of charms, evil eye etc., as a part of the therapeutic system. Faith in these rituals have been determined by their cultural and religious background, education and awareness of the system. Some people consider rituals as the way of supportive therapy, whereas others do not have that faith. There is a controversy among the practitioners regarding the efficacy of different rituals which are part of the therapeutic system. There is a need to know the effectiveness of different rituals practised in India, which the present paper examines.

This paper was presented at the
National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002