For many years, Hindus have been carrying their historic traditions. Westernization is welcomed in our lives but not with the elimination of our culture and traditions. There are many such rituals and traditions in Hindu culture, among them, one of the famous is touching the feet of elders which is also known as ‘Charan Sparsh’.
In Indian culture, it is customary to bend down and touch the feet of elders as a greeting and a mark of respect. It is said that by doing this we acquire knowledge, fame, intelligence, wisdom, and strength. We always bow down to our parents, grandparents, teachers, and mainly to those people who are elderly than us or any pious human or revered human beings as a gesture of showing respect and wisdom. In return, the elder person then blesses the person who is touching their feet.
“The Atharva Veda says that when you touch the feet of the elders you accept the knowledge and agree to carry forward their teachings to the next generation.”
Touching feet is a sort of yogic posture which stretches our spine and acts as a sort of exercise in disguise. In today’s modern time, we should not shy away from touching the feet of an elder as it is very essential. As a parent one must encourage children to follow the same tradition.
So, why do we touch our elder’s feet? What is the significance behind it? What is the correct way of touching feet? What does it signify? What is the scientific reason behind touching the feet of our elders? Let us look into the answers to these questions.
Here is the scientific reason for touching the feet of elders -
There is a very interesting scientific reason behind this analysis, so let us know what it is!
• The body is the storehouse of energy- Negative and positive. The left side of the body represents negative energy and the right side of the body represents positive energy.
• When we bend down and touch the feet of our elders it indicates that we are surrendering our ego which leads to compassion. This gives rise to karma within them.
• As we touch their feet this energy is passed on to us, thus also creating an instant liking between two minds and hearts. The nerves from the brain spread out through the body and when we touch another person it forms a circuit thereby transmitting energy from one person to another. We become the receiver and another person becomes the giver of the energy.
• Also, when our fingertips touch the other person’s feet, a circle is formed and the energies of two bodies are linked. This increases cosmic energy by making a quick connection. A lot of positive vibes or energy is released during this process.
• When the person accepts our respect which came from our reduced ego, it is called ‘shraddha’, their hearts emit positive thoughts and energy which is called ‘karuna’, which reaches us through their hands and toes.
• Many Psychologists said that irrespective of how educated we are, how competent we are if we keep surrendering ego in front of others, it helps to keep our ego under control, and if our ego is under control humility gets build up in ourselves and humility is one of the important personality traits of successful people. This is the psychological reason behind touching the feet of our elders.
The right way of touching the feet of elders-
To touch the feet of an elder or a respectable person we must -
• Bend our upper body in front of them without bending our knees.
• Stretch our arms in a forward direction to touch the feet of a person.
• Make sure that the arms are straight to our bodies
• We need to touch the left toe of the person with our right hand and the right toe of the person with our left hand.
• The elder person will place his/her right hand on our head to give us blessings( also called ‘aashirwad’)
This is a very unique practice that we find in India and is not replicated in any other culture. There is a difference between showing respect within India and in western society. In western society, respect is mostly shown for competence, but in India respect is definitely shown for an elderly person or any respected person.
Here were some scientific reasons and the right way for touching the feet of elders. Also if you want to know the scientific reason for wearing a bindi then do read the article on the same.
Respect Your Elders! Follow your Traditions!
- Moulshree Sarwate