Why do we touch feet?
Hinduism Rituals & Practices

Why do we touch feet?

Indians prostrate to their parents, elders, teachers and noble souls by touching their feet. The elder in turn blesses us by placing his or her hand on or over our heads. Prostration is done daily, when we meet elders and particularly on important occasions like the beginning of a new task, birthdays, festivals etc, In certain traditional circle, prostration is accompanied by abbivaadana which serves to introduce one self, announce one’s family and social stature. Man stands on his feet. Touching the feet in prostration is a sign of respect for the age, maturity, nobility and divinity that our elders personify. It symbolizes our recognition of their selfless love for us and the sacrifices that they have done for our welfare.
It is a way of humbly acknowledging the greatness of another. This tradition reflects the strong family ties, which has been one of Indian’s enduring strengths. The good wishes (sankalpa) and blessing (aashirvaada) of elders are highly valued in India We prostrate to seek them. Good thoughts create positive vibrations.Good wishes springing from a heart full of love, divinity and nobility have a tremendous strength. When we prostrate with humility and respect, we invoke the good wishes and blessings of elders, which flow in the form of positive energy to envelop us. This is why the posture assumed whether it is in the standing or prone position, enables the entire body to receive the energy thus received.

The different forms of showing respect are :

* Pratuthana – rising to welcome a person.
* Namaskaara – paying homage in the form of namaste .
* Upasangrahan – touching the feet of elders or teachers.
* Shaastaanga – prostrating fully with the feet, knees, stomach, chest, forehead and arms touching the ground in front of elders.
* Pratyabivaadana – returning a greeting.

Rules are prescribed in our scriptures as to who should prostrate to whom. Wealth, family name, age, moral strength and spiritual knowledge in ascending order of importance qualified men to receive respect. This is why a king though the ruler of the land, would prostrate before a spiritual master. Epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata have many stories highlighting this aspect.

This tradition thus creates an environment of mutual love and respect among people ensuring harmony in the family and society.


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  • The fact is most likes thos Indian has to observed and to be followed. Nature is our God. Culture with respect is our attitude.

  • no better way to honor those whom we respect and receive their divine blessings…

  • I have personally experienced an electric current transmitting from the feet of the pure in heart through my hands which touched the feet, into my whole body energizing me powerfully. Both the giver and receiver has to be pure to feel it. For those who don’t believe, just because you have not been to France , does not mean it doesn’t exist.

  • I do not support this because it is essentially establishing a fixed hierarchical society. I prefer to believe in a democratic society, where the lower ranked has the opportunity to work at becoming a higher ranked person. Indian culture is supporting and encouraging feudalism. Feudalism is not healthy. Instead, we should bow to each other like the Japanese. Both parties (be it elders or juniors) need to show respect to each other. There is still some hierarchy in the bow, but not a permanent one dictated by age only.

    • age only ?
      if your elder brother wife is younger , then what happen

  • Hello greeting of the day,
    Thank you so much for taking so much effort to enrich us with with our own cultural values and knowledge.
    I would like to request you if you can also gives us knowledge and value of our old life style. For eg.
    Why use to keep long hairs ?
    Why do we wore Janeu ?
    How would we know if our chakras are awaken after doing yoga ?
    From where we can find out all this questions answer?
    Thank you.

  • Every time After my prayers I would touch my husband’s feet, this I do willingly n it feels good .

  • By submitting your respect to the deserved (even a worse enemy who might wish ill)) you have neutralised their bad effects(past present future) of their thoughts by your attitude and only the deserved good effect will prevail.These are non physical spiritual effects..we forget to take notice of by our egoistic thoughts.

  • can someone answer me please
    if you touch your elder brother feet but if his wife is younger than you , his wife should touch your feet ? or you should touch her feet
    touching feet is related with age ?

    • It is not the age but rather the relationship that is respected when you touch someone’s feet. Remember, not every elder deserves respect and age has nothing to do with it. My personal opinion is that we should not follow rituals without properly understanding them and touching feet is not a compulsion or mandatory. Hinduism gives the choice to follow what you feel is right.

      • for example i am 26 years old and my eder brother is 30 years old and his wife 23 years old. I graduated university and i am teacher so on. she is housewife. In this condition who should touch whose feet ?

        • A woman is considered a form of Goddess Lakshmi and as such, she should not be touching your feet as you are the brother-in-law. She would, if she wants to, touch the feet of your parents and other elders in the family out of respect. Then again, every other household is different and follows different rules. It depends what your family wants to follow.

          • you mean there is many different rules , in some family age is superior and in some family relationship is superior

  • Very glad to read Sanskriti which highlights our tradition , Dharma etc in detail. Even the things we considered silly becomes meaningful when we read these articles. Best wishes