Significance of Touching Someone’s Feet in Hinduism

Pluralism, respect and patience are incorporated in Hinduism since its birth. With culture and traditions being so close to Hinduism, read why it is considered respectful to touch your elder's feet

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Elder's feet
In Hinduism, younger person touches the feet of an elder person out of respect and love. Wikimedia
  • Tradition and culture is vital to the Hindu religion
  • The scriptures and teachings of the religion educate us about respect and dignity
  • One of the many traditions is touching feet of elders out of respect and get blessings

June 22, 2017: Hindus have been carrying their historic traditions since many years. Westernization has been welcomed in our lives but not with the elimination of our own culture and heritage. There are many traditions that are exclusive to Hindu tradition, one of the very famous is the touching feet of elders to earn their blessings.

ALSO READ: What Significance Rudraksha holds in Hinduism?

But what is the significance of touching the feet of elders:

Tradition of “Touching feet of elders” has been continuing since so many generations and is still taught to the children today? 

Firstly, touching feet of elders is a form of pranam (greeting). Namaste is another popular form of greeting somebody. Foot touching, however, is a form for the young to greet the elder.

Secondly, the saying “everytime you bow you receive a blessing” is a part of Hindu philosophy. Certainly, the elders bless the younger one when the latter bends to touch their feet. “Sada Khush Raho” (Stay content forever) or more traditionally “Ayushman Bhava” (May you live long) is a common response to the traditional act.

Therefore, while it may seem odd to the other cultures when they witness this act, it is eternal to the Hindu culture. Of course, like any other ritual, touching elder’s feet should not be imposed upon the young person, rather, should come from within.

The Right Way of Touching Feet Of Elders

To understand this, we must first know the right way of touching one’s feet. Bend the upper half of your body, ideally without bending your knees, and stretch both your arms – with your head between them – to touch the feet of the elder. Obvious that it is, the fingertips of your left hand should touch the right foot of the elder and your right hand should be on their left foot. The elder person should now touch the top of your head with their right hand.

The Scientific explanation of touching feet Of Elders:

The nerves that start from our brain spread across all your body. These nerves or wires end in the fingertips of your hand and feet. When you join the fingertips of your hand to those of their opposite feet, a circuit is immediately formed and the energies of two bodies are connected. Your fingers and palms become the ‘receptor’ of energy and the feet of other person become the ‘giver’ of energy.

Usually, the person of whose feet you are touching is either old or pious. When they accept your respect which came from your reduced ego (and is called your shraddha) their hearts emit positive thoughts and energy (which is called their karuna) which reaches you through their hands and toes.

In essence, the completed circuit enables flow of energy and increases cosmic energy, switching on a quick connect between two minds and hearts. To an extent, the same is achieved through handshakes and hugs. Ever wondered why you suddenly feel better after a firm handshake or an affectionate hug? Now you know. You should feel the same after touching feet of a good soul, provided you do it the right way.

Some schools of thought say older people absorb sin from younger people, which I’m yet to believe and accept, so my explanation of science behind touching feet in India ends here.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393