Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Touching Feet of elders" - Tradition or Taboo

Hi Readers,

Its general practice in Hinduism to show respect to elders by touching their feet. Touching feet also has several twist to it. In ancient Odia culture, one would do a Pranam by bending knees and placing his/her head on ground in same way as we do while praying to god. People would also follow Shastang Pranam by lying down and folding hands in Namaskar. In Rajasthani Culture, they would perform "Dhok" by sitting down and with two hands massaging legs by pressing gently and moving up and down in leg till knee. In general touching feet is followed all over India with little modification based on regions and culture.

The question is why do we touch feet? Why not some other part of body to show respect? Well, I got many interesting reads on this matter. I am trying to compile some of them below.

An act of touching the feet of our elders give's strength, intellect, knowledge and fame. There is scientific reason to back and support this conclusion.

According to modern science, a human body contains negative and positive currents of electricity. The left side of the human body carries negative current and the right side of the body has positive current. Have you observed any patient of paralysis? Right from his toe to the scalp, the body divides it self into two vertical halves and one half with his organs becomes a prey to such disease. One half of the body is invalid and the other half is active and conscious. One eye, one hand, one leg, one foot become inert; dead like with no movement, no sense, no feeling. Absolutely useless and totally immobile. This proves that each half has distinct currents – either negative or positive. Two halves together complete a circuit built of positive and negative.

At the time of bowing to our Guru, teacher, seniors and elders, we stand in front of them, facing them. The vertical body parts in that case are in the opposite direction. The left side of the Guru shall be in front of the right side of the disciple. In other words negative in front of positive. Keeping in view of this fact, our Rishis in ancient times have suggested the salute of touching feet by crossing the hands, i.e. right hand touches right foot and left hand touches left foot of our elders. Thus the positive current in both flows in an uniformed circuit and in simulate way negative flows jointly in a circuit. Thus both the currents form a well-unified circuit.

If you touch the feet of someone who harbors ill feelings towards you, they will be forced to give you a blessing. So in effect any mistake that you did to them knowingly or unknowingly will be forgiven by god. You will not be affected by their ill-will in any way too.

However, in modern day practice, we are slowly drifting from our original value. Now, saying Hello, Hi is slowly replacing Namaskar and Pranam. We are coping western cultures without any logic. we are neglecting our age-old practices considering it as a TABOO. We need to re-think about the logic behind the whole process.

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