Buri Nazar (The Evil Eye) Explained

Have you ever experienced a pattern where good fortune in one area of life is accompanied with misfortune in another? For example, did you fracture your leg soon after you bought a shiny new car? Did you get into a major fight with your spouse right after you got a promotion? Did your child fall sick right after you took a trip to Switzerland and shared the photos on Facebook?

Could the reason for these be the evil eye? Could a misfortune, injury or ill health be caused due to the jealously or envy of others? Evil eye is a common superstition in India. Many of you must have grown up witnessing your parents or grand parents light up a small fire and burn salt and mustard seeds to cast off the evil eye. Is evil eye real? How do we explain it?


The most logical explanation for evil eye is chance. Good things and bad things happen to everyone all the time. Humans have a unique skill of finding patterns where none exist. We find faces in clouds, we find shapes in constellations, we let octopus predict game outcomes. When bad things happen, we over think and form patterns which most likely don’t exist.


Have you heard of the No Free Lunches theorem? In the context of the universe, the theorem refers to the fact that the universe as a whole is a closed system. In economics, it means, to get one thing that we want, we have to give up another thing. I think that the theorem also applies to our lives. You can’t excel in all dimension of life like career, happiness, relationships, health, fame and finances. If you focus on career and money, your family or health is likely to struggle.

If you are doing well in your career and are making a lot of money, chances are that you are doing it at the cost of not paying enough attention to your family and your own health. You are likely to be stressed. Stress is the reason for a lot of health issues. We all carry seeds of some or the other illness within us at any given time. These illnesses are more likely to express when we are stressed or unhappy because stress weakens body’s immune system. Since your stress is likely to be passed on from you to your family members, they could face similar risks as well. When you are stressed or are preoccupied with work related thoughts, you are less likely to pay attention to your surroundings. This increases the chances of accidents. Thus, what may seem like evil eye may actually just be the outcome of your priorities and choices.

Neighbors Envy

The phenomenon of evil eye is largely explained by chance and priorities. However, there might actually be some merit to the idea of other’s envy bringing us harm. How?

It is a fact that most people are unlikely to be genuinely happy for us when we succeed. Look deep within yourself and you may find instances where you did not really feel happy on seeing someone around you get promoted, make a lot of money or date an awesome partner — more so if your own laurels were lacking in comparison. This is natural human behavior.

In today’s world of instant connections and social media, it is easy for people around you to know about the happenings in your life. When you share the photos from your recent trip to Mauritius, you are sharing more than just the photos. You are sharing information with your friends that you have the time, money and company to enjoy exotic vacations. If you are really lucky, some of your friends might be genuinely happy for you. Some may not care. Most will feel at least a tinge of jealousy or envy.

It is possible that driven by their envy, people act behind your back to cause you harm. E.g. They may badmouth you in front of your boss. They may withhold information that could benefit your. Some of the misfortunes that are related to career or finances could possibly be linked to these kind of malevolent acts of your peers.

Often, the evil eye is linked with misfortunes like injury or ill-health for you or your family members. How could the jealously of your peers cause this? Jealous people are likely to behave around you in ways that causes you stress. Such people could consciously or subconsciously be a source of negative energy for you. Thus, it is possible that their behavior ends up affecting your and your family’s health as well.

Warding off the Evil Eye

Whats the way out of this? If rituals like burning salt and mustard help you, by all means, please do them. Rituals that we form association with since childhood could help us stay positive.

What we absolutely can’t do is that we can’t shut ourselves out completely from the world scared by the jealously of others. If this was the solution, imagine how celebrities would go about living their lives. If we are doing well, in fact, even if we are not doing that well, there will always be people who would be jealous of us. Instead of feeling scared, we should feel humble. We should be mindful that we do not seem like a show off, even unintentionally. This will ensure that good things in our life pinch less to others.

If we have good fortune, we should definitely share it with others. However, we should share only with people in real need. When you give something to someone who badly needs it, he or she will genuinely appreciate it. If you give something to someone who could have done without it, they are not likely to be thankful and instead think that you are a show off and get even more jealous.

It will help to be more selective in making friends. It is much better to have a few deep connections rather than lot of superficial connections. Look at your friend circle — if you were bed-ridden, who amongst them will be willing to take a week off from their work to tend to you? If you had a sudden financial emergency and needed a huge fund, who would be willing to give it to you? Who would you be willing to do the same for? If you think that there are a lot of people who will be there for you when you really need, you are either delusional or really really lucky.

Introspect and decide what really matters to you in life. You can’t have everything. If family and health matter to you, look for ways to optimize the time you have and spend more of it with family and on your health. Leave the rest to fate and accept whatever comes your way.