On In History & Religion

Ever Wondered Why Do We Touch The Feet Of Our Elders?

"Munna, don't forget to touch your uncle's feet," said mother."Why do you always ask me to do this, mother?" asked curious Munna. Looking at the inquiring kid, Munna's mother then told him how India is a country of traditions, and we are widely known for our gestures of giving respect to elders. This must have happened to most of us that we are asked to take blessing from our elders by bowing in front of them and touching their feet. This immemorial tradition to touch the feet of one's father and mother, teachers and elders is something we have always been doing. They, in return, bless us by placing their hand on or over our head.But have we ever wondered why is this a tradition? What is the reason behind it? If not, then let's check it out! 

People argue that there could be other ways of giving respect to elders.

As per the Indian traditions, touching the feet of our elders is an old practice which is counted as a mark of respect. But there are many people who oppose this tradition and argue that one can find other ways to convey respect to the elders.

But there are specific reasons behind this tradition. 

Munna's questions and arguments are valid because like us, even he doesn't know that there are some specific reasons behind this tradition.

#1 Feet are like a base for a building.

According to The Speaking Tree, except for birds and some rare cases of mammals, humans are blessed with the pleasure to be able to stand erect and walk. Feet in a human body are like the base of a building as the entire weight of the person is borne by the feet.

#2 While touching feet we ask for one's wisdom and pay respect to their experiences.

When we bend, we lose the ego and convey respect to the age of our elders, to their wisdom, to the achievements they have received and the experiences that they have gained. In return, they give us the blessing for our betterment.

#3 According to Atharvaveda...

As per the Atharvaveda, Vedic scriptures of Hinduism, when we touch the feet of elders, we actually take their permission to take their knowledge and lessons to the next generation.

Do you know the perfect way to touch the feet of elders?

If taken from the ancient aspect, the best way to touch our elder's feet is to bend down in front of them, our back hunched and arms should be stretched forward. The hands must touch their feet and should be crossed in a way that right-hand touches the right foot and the left-hand touches the left foot. Some also believe that the left hand should touch the right foot and the right hand should touch the left foot.

#4 A circuit of positive energy is built between the seeker and the blesser.

When we touch the feet of our elders, a highly positive energy flows from their feet and is transferred to the seeker in the form of goodwill and blessings. Again, when the person stretches his hand to bless the seeker, another circuit of goodwill and blessings is formed. 

#5 It also increases blood circulation.

Charan Sparsh is a form of yoga as well. By bending when one touches the feet of their elders, it removes the pain of the knees and also stretches the waist and back. It is also said that bending for taking the blessing increases the blood circulation.

Just don't bow to people because they are old.

Only the people who are noble in their attitude and the elders who seek our well-being should be bowed. This is the reason, that generally we seek blessings from our grandparents, teachers, parents, elder brothers and noble people as they would naturally bless their heart genuinely. Munna, now I hope you are clear about the concept of touching feet of elders.