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Prostrating Before Parents and Elders - Integral Part Of Indian Tradition

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Prostrating before Parents and Elders is deep rooted in Indian culture. Those who are not aware much about the Indian culture get very puzzled when they see children touching feet of their parents or elderly people. Touching elders' feet is the first lesson in manners and etiquette that all Indian children are taught. As per this Indian tradition when elders feet are being touched, they are suppose to extend their hand of blessing by touching the head of the young ones. The Aashirvada (blessings) of elders are highly valued in India and which we seek during prostration. We invoke the good wishes and blessings of elders which flow in the form of positive energy to envelop us, when we prostrate with humility and respect. That’s why the posture assumed whether it is in the standing or prone position, enables the entire body to receive the energy thus received. To touch the feet in prostration is a sign of respect for maturity, nobility, age and divinity that our elders personify. It reflects the strong family ties, which has been one of India’s enduring strengths as well as our social security.

Not only touching elder’s feet is a symbol of respect but also another aspect is that whenever we touch the feet of our elders we withdraw their positive energies flowing through their toes. This positive energy scientifically blesses us by giving positive attitude, positive feelings and encouragement when the withdrawn energy is polished over the forehead or face.

Touching the feet is an integral part of the Indian culture and tradition and not adhering to it by natives is considered as disrespectful. It is a way of humbly acknowledging the greatness of another and creates an environment of mutual love and respect among people ensuring harmony in the family and society.

13 comments:

Shankar said...

wow...very nice one again......I still wonder were you get these info's...

sanjukta dey said...

Hi Meghana,
After reading the blog I am so proud of you. It is because of people like you that Indian culture is so rich. And it is our duty to pass on this culture to the next generation. I'm sure Anay will be very proud of his Mom.

rahul said...

beautiful post!!

Meghana said...

Thanks all for your kind words.

Just write these blogs on what I have been seeing from childhood in my family and society.Just trying to word that raw information and pass on to the world so that in this fast life we just don't end up forgetting our Indian culture.Now its our humble duty to pass this to our next generation.

Psych Babbler said...

I have an issue with this tradition (and a zillion others). The problem with us is we never question these things and take them as godsent. Who said that in order to receive blessings we have to actually prostrate in front of people? I mean, if someone wanted to bless us, they could do so verbally. And why do we blindly believe that all our elders are "great"? Just my soap box...

Meghana said...

Hello,

Elders are great its not true,they are just respectable and more experienced.Sometimes some of there deeds make them great but not always.
Definitely, we can receive blessings without prostrate,but by this gesture we just show our love and respect for them.We make them feel happy and important,and this you would agree a happy heart showers blessings which god reciprocates!And as human's its our humble duty to make more & more people happy, & by this gesture if we could make our elders happy and wanted..then why not ?

beegirl said...

i love the thought about the flow of positive energy......very well written article!!

Parv Kaushik said...

hey meghana u struck a chord with me... an year ago i was at a Muslim wedding... i just noticed how muslim kids touched the feet of the elders and the relatives as they met them... it was hearting to see how a traditionally "hindu" custom was no longer part of just "hinduism" but had formed a part of indian ethos and culture spanning religions!

lovely post!

Sumita said...

A very nice blog Meghana! I've heard that when you touch the portion of the feet between the thumb the next toe...that's the best point of energy transfer. all out traditions have a hidden logic to them...and the logic here is that if you really want the sankaras, experience and positive energy of those who are more learned and experienced to be tranferred to you, you need to put your ego on a side and be ready to accept that they hold a higher stature in life.

Ooglers Googlers said...

Very nice thoughts Meghana. I blog on the most unexpected things of life and indeed being close to our culture and expressing the thoughts and our homage to the traditions that we have been born and brought up with is something worth cherishing for the rest of life.

Love your thoughts. Keep them coming.

Meghana said...

Yes Parv! definitely this is not a part of Hinduism only,its a part of Indian tradition.Earlier I thought to post this under the label Hinduism but then a gave a second thought and posted this under the label Indian traditions.Because I have also seen many of my friends from various religions prostrating their elders feet.

Yes Sumita ur right a person has to put his ego aside .That's always true when one wants to gain something from anyone ie.knowledge ,sanskara then one has to put his or her ego aside.

Ravi Matah said...

A very well written blog. I wonder where on earth do you get these ideas. Touching the feet of elders is a centuries old tradition in our families and is likely to continue. To prove your point - 'Once Lord Shiva and Ma Parvathi wanted to decide as to which of their two sons, Shri Ganesh and Shri kartik should be paid respects first, before any pooja is conducted in any household. So Lord Shiva ordered both of them to encircle the earth three times and come back. Whoever came back first will be prayed first in every household before pooja. Shri Kartik could fly and he thought that he would win this contest hands down. Off he went to encircle the earth thrice. Shri Ganesh thought for a moment and decided that his parents were far more respectful than mother earth. So he encircled his parents thrice and touched their feet in respect.'
And it is Ganesh poojan which is mandatory before any pooja is done.
Well done Meghna.

Meghana said...

Thanks Sir.I just pick these ideas from what I have been seeing through my childhood days.Also thanks for sharing this interesting story of Lord Shiva.