Touching the feet of elders is an age-old tradition in the Hindu culture. Here, you come to know why Hindus touch the feet of their elders. In fact, there are spiritual as well as scientific reasons for touching the feet of elders. So, let’s get to know why Hindus touch the feet of their elders.
Touching the feet of elders is a form of respect before something or another person. Usually, Hindus touch the feet of grandparents, parents, elders, teachers, spiritual masters, or something that is deeply respected such as a deity.
The gesture of touching the feet of elders is practiced by almost all Hindu families, both in India and abroad.
The gesture of touching the feet is a mark of respect towards the elders. Hindus believe that touching the feet of elders is indicative of the respect towards the age, experience, wisdom, and achievements of the person whose feet are being touched. Moreover, the older person blesses the person touching their feet.
So, the primary motive of touching the feet of elders is to bow down and show respect to the elder. In fact, the Hindus teach their children to touch the feet of elders from the very beginning of their childhood which they are supposed to follow till adulthood.
Besides touching the feet of elders, Hindus also follow the custom of Pranama which is a respectful salutation, or reverential bowing before another. There are six types of Pranama in Hindu culture such as Ashtanga, Shastanga, Panchanga, Dandavat, Namaskar, and Abhinandana.
Significance of Touching The Feet of Elders
The custom of touching the feet of elders is an age-old Hindu tradition that came into existence during the Vedic period.
It is called as “Charan Sparsh.”
Here, Charan means ‘feet’ and Sparsh mean ‘touch.’ It is also known as “Pada Sparshan” or touching the feet.
The underlying principle of this entire act is as follows. The elders have obviously lived longer than you and have thus gathered a lot of wisdom and experience. They are in a higher spiritual plane than the younger ones who touch their feet.
So, if you touch their feet, your life will be hugely benefitted. You get blessed with knowledge, intellect, strength, and fame.
Whose Feet Should be Touched?
Hindus touch the feet of their elder brothers or sisters, parents, grandparents, teachers, spiritual masters, as well as other senior citizens.
It is considered customary to touch the feet of elders and respectable people as they have acquired a lot of knowledge, experience, and other virtues.
You get the blessings of such people when you show respect and touch their feet. The maturity that they have gained through their experiences in life offers them with good insights into the truths and realities of life. So, you get immensely benefitted by seeking their blessings when you touch the feet of elders.
It should be noted that you should seek blessings for your well beings from the elderly people who are noble in their attitude and conduct. Such persons generally look forward to the welfare of those who touch their feet.
Moreover, such persons entertain respect from the young ones and help them to lead a righteous path in life. You get blessed with strength, knowledge, intellect, and fame. So, you should touch the feet of your grandparents, parents, elder brothers and sisters, teachers, and spiritual gurus or masters.
The scientific explanation behind touching the feet of elders
The act of “Charan Sparsh” or “Pada Sparshan” comes with scientific reasoning. There are nerves all across the human body. It starts with our brain and spread all over the body. These nerves end at our fingertips and toes.
When you touch the feet of an older person, the fingertips of your hand are joined to the feet of the opposite person. It forms a closed circuit between the two persons and the energies of your bodies are interconnected with each other.
Your fingers and hands become the receptor of that energy, and the feet of the elder person becomes the giver of that energy. When you touch the feet of an older person, their heart is filled with positive energy which they give out to you through their hands and feet.
So, a closed circuit is established between who seek the blessings and those who bless them. It results in a flow of positive energy from the feet of the elder person to the younger one. There is a transfer of goodwill and healing energy from the elder person to the younger person.
When the elder stretches his hands and touches the head of the younger person with a gesture of blessing, it establishes a closed circuit between the two wherein positive energy and blessings are transferred from the elder to the younger one.
The Right Way of Touching The Feet
Here, we enumerate the right way of touching the feet of an elder or respectable person. First of all, you need to bend your upper body in front of the elderly person and stretch out your arms forward. The arms should be parallel to each other.
Now, your right hand should touch their left leg, and your left hand should touch their right leg. The elderly person should bless you by touching the top of your head with their right hand. Their spiritual energy or wisdom passes on to you. Their positive energy is channelized into your body.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Touching The Feet Of Elders?
As per the Hindu tradition, there are three ways by which you can touch the feet of elders. The basic one requires you to bend forward and touch the feet.
You can even sit on your knees and touch the feet of the elder person. Lastly, you can lie down on your stomach and touch the ground with your forehead. It is known as Shastanga Pranama.
So, while touching the feet, your back and waist are stretched. When you bend your knees, the joints in your body are stretched. This exercise relieves you of your joint pain. When you do Shastanga Pranama, your entire body gets stretched, and it cures you of your body pain.
On what occasions do you touch the feet?
Here, we list out the occasions in your daily life when you should touch the feet of elders:
- During festive occasions
- On birthdays and weddings
- Before an exam
- Before going on an important meeting
- When starting something new
- Before going on a long journey
- When you go to their house
- When an elder person comes to your house
A Word of Caution
An elderly person does not become worthy of your respect just because he/she is older than you. For example, imagine politicians, criminals, and wrongdoers. Are they worthy of your respect? Such persons only transfer negative energies to you which may lead to your downfall.
So, you should use your instinct and judge the person before touching the feet.
If the person is worthy of your respect, then never hesitate to touch their feet. You will get positive energy and blessings when you touch the feet of your grandparents, parents, teachers, and spiritual masters.
We hope that you are now aware of why Hindus touch the feet of their elders. We hope you liked this post, and don’t forget to share it across social media channels. Thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and suggestions.