Give that infinite wisdom the benefit of the doubt; surrender the individual petty wisdom to the infinite wisdom. Let it be a surrender that comes from trust.

gurudev (2)

Accepting the Lord means accepting the infinite wisdom that He represents. When we say that the whole universe is a manifestation of the Lord, it means that the whole universe is a manifestation of the knowledge, of the omniscience, of his infinite wisdom. Letting go of our limited perceptions or limited conclusions and accepting that wisdom is accepting the Lord. This is प्रसाद बुद्धि prasada buddhi: performing an action and accepting the reward as it comes; recognizing that the outcome of our actions is determined by ईश्वर Isvara; accepting the infinite wisdom, and letting go of any resistance to it. When the results are not favorable to us, we are apt to resist or reject them. Therefore, recognizing that the outcome of every action is in accordance with that order and accepting that it must be fair is प्रसाद बुद्धि ‘prasadwbuddhi’. A large part of the worship of the Lord lies in adhering to the universal order when performing the action and in accepting the outcome of the action gracefully.

The different situations that we face are not without reason; every moment that we encounter is the outcome of an action. We do not control the outcome of an action; it is the result of  प्रारब्ध prarabdha or destiny. What is destiny? It is the result of whatever we have done in the past, and it presents itself before us in the form of the various situations that we encounter in the present.

What should be our attitude towards things that we cannot control? The result of our actions, whether in the present or in the past, is one of the things that we do not control. For instance, why should a given thing happen to us? There must be some reason for that. We do not know what the reason might be. Yet we grant that there must be some reason, some fairness involved, or that there must be some benefit in it for us. Again, this is called मत्पर: mat-parah, having trust that the Lord is always our well-wisher. The Lord declares, सुहृदं सर्वभूतानां  suhṛidaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ [Bhagavad Gita, 5-29], “I am the well wisher of all living beings.” Therefore, we need to accept the Lord as our well wisher. This will require us to let go of our resistance and give up many of our complaints and the blaming which is, again, a habit. It is the ego that is responsible for the complaining, blaming, and resisting because we always want to control everything. We want the whole world to be favorable to us. If anybody or an g is not favorable to us, we react with intolerance, impatience, anger, or frustration. our anger and frustration only show our discomfort with the realities of life Therefore, accepting ईश्वर lsvara  in our lives means accepting the realities of life gracefully. It means accepting that which is determined by the omniscient Lord, who is all knowledge, power; and fairness. Thus, letting go of our resistance, letting go of our complaints, letting go of our tendency to blame, letting go of intolerance, and letting go of frustration is a great process of growth.

Pujya Swami Dayanandaji says, “I make it impossible for the world to upset me or do anything to me. You can’t tighten a screw if there is no spiral thread on the screw. Blaming, complaining, intolerance, impatience, and non-acceptance are the ’threads’ on our ’screws’. The world, the order or Event, has an uncanny knack of tightening our screws or pushing our buttons. ईश्वर lsvara pushes these buttons so that we may learn something from our experiences. Every. experience of frustration or disappointment can teach us something. It shows how there is a tendency on our part to resist, to not accept or to reject the reality. It challenges us to develop comfort with the realities of life. Karma-yoga is not an ordinary thing; it brings about a complete transformation. According to Pujya Swamiji, Isvara is the greatest therapist; we should accept him as a therapist and allow him to work. In what way is he a great therapist? He ‘ pushes our buttons, often very gently. If we accept him, or accept the very order, have trust in him, and give him the benefit of the doubt, we can give “up our resistance, intolerance, and impatience. The ego is nothing but the product of ignorance and all these tendencies are nothing but the manifestations of that ignorance.

अनन्येनैव योगेन Ananyenaiva Yogena. Yoga means joining Ananya is when there is no anya, other Ananya-yoga is joining with the Lord and with nothing else. मम ध्यायन्त उपासते  Mam dhya‘yanta upasate, those who worship me. Life becomes a form of worship if we live it with a worshipful attitude By following a value, We are not obliging anybody. In fact, we are obliging ourselves; and we look upon that as an opportunity to use our-free will. We are human beings gifted with free will. We are also gifted with the faculty of deliberation. This distinguishes us from other living beings; they perform impulsive actions, Whereas, we have the faculty of choice so that we can perform deliberate actions. That is grace.

Meditating upon the Lord can also mean meditating Upon this grace. We are enjoying his grace all the time, As Pujya Swamiji says, we are enjoying his grace every moment. Our hearts are throbbing ’lub’ and ’dub’ all the time. Between the ’lub’ and the ’dub’, there is a small rest or gap. This throbbing need not happen. It can stop anytime, but it goes on by his grace. Every doctor knows that there are millions of things that can go wrong with the body; yet the fact that it is functioning more or less well is due to the grace we enjoy.

What we have is by his grace, and what we do not have is also by his grace. “Swamiji, how can you say that? How can it be by his grace that I’ did not get what I wished for? ” Well, who knows whether you would have been better off if you had been granted all the things you wanted? We do not know. It is a matter of faith. If you say that you would have been better off having something, you could say just as well that you are better off without it. Therefore, give that infinite wisdom the benefit of the doubt; surrender the individual petty wisdom to the infinite wisdom. Surrender gracefully, not out of helplessness. Let it be a surrender that comes from trust. In this manner, life becomes a process of worship.

Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati

Excerpts from Satsanga with Swami Viditatmandanda, Vol:2

Link to Swamiji’s Discourses

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What is Maha Mrityunjaya mantra?

mahamrutunjay-mantra-raksh-tripathi

The Mahamrityujaya mantra is a Vedic mantra (Rigveda, 7.59.12) meant for healing. It is a prayer to Lord Shiva. Mrityunjaya means victory over death. Lord Shiva is said to be Mrityunjaya, the conqueror of death, and therefore, the Mrityunjaya mantra is meant for victory over death. This prayer is often chanted to restore the health of someone who is suffering from physical pain or illness. You can also chant this mantra for a dying person to be granted a peaceful death. It is the bhavana that you entertain in your mind for his or her release from this life. The words of the prayer are:

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्‌ ।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्मृत्योर्मुक्षीय माऽमृतात्‌ ।

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe, Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan, Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat

We worship the fragrant, three-eyed Lord Shiva who nourishes us. May He liberate us from the bondage of death like the urvaruka fruit (which separates effortlessly from the vine). May He not let us turn away from immortality!

Tryambakam, the three-eyed Lord, yajämahe, we worship. Sugandhim, the fragrant one, pushtivardhanam, one who provides nourishment. We worship the three-eyed Lord Shiva, who is fragrant and who nourishes us.

Amba means eye and trayambakam is the Lord with three eyes. Trayambakam is thus another name of Lord Shiva. The third eye of Lord Shiva represents knowledge. It is said that when Lord Shiva opened his third eye, fire emerged from it and burned ignorance, and the passion that is born of ignorance. It is held that with his third eye, he sees what others do not see. What we understand and appreciate is only the perceptible world of names and tangible forms. However, we do not recognize the presence of the one Self that informs everything. Just as the same gold manifests as all ornaments, this Self is the substratum or basis of every name and form that exists. To see that Self, we require the eye of knowledge in our own mind. It is this knowledge that the third eye of Siva represents.

The significance of the third eye of knowledge is that it destroys all the sorrow, pain or unhappiness that is born of ignorance. As we study in Vedanta, all forms of unhappiness result from an ignorance of the true nature of the Self, or an ignorance of the true nature of Reality. They could also be the result of having a wrong perception of the Self. Only knowledge can remove this wrong perception and give us the right perception. Lord Siva embodies this knowledge.

Two adjectives are used to describe Lord Shiva, sugandhim and pushtivardhanam. Sugandhim means one who is fragrant. Pushtivardhanam means one who gives nourishment. Lord Shiva is said to be fragrant with goodness and virtues. He embodies all the virtues and goodness. Pushtivardhanam is the one who always showers his grace upon the devotees and provides nourishment at both the physical level and the spiritual level.

The first line, om tryambakaà yajämahe sugandhià pushtivardhanam, says that we worship this Lord Shiva, who destroys ignorance and bestows grace. The second line is a prayer: Urvarukamiva Bandhanan, Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat, O Lord release us from the bondage of death.

The word death can be understood in different ways. One way is see it as being physical death. Death can also be understood as being nothing but ignorance. We can chant this prayer to the Lord for release from our suffering at the level of the body, our suffering at the level of the mind, or the suffering that arises from ignorance. Please release us from the bondage of death, of suffering, and of ignorance, and give us liberation or release.

How do we want to be released? There is a very beautiful example here of the urvaruka, a sweet cucumber-like fruit. This fruit grows on a creeper and when it is ripe, separates from the creeper effortlessly. We pray that we may be released from pain, suffering, and ignorance as effortlessly as the ripe urvaruka fruit separates from the creeper. The reference is also to the ripe urvaruka, which is fragrant, tender, and sweet, unlike the unripe fruit, which is hard and sometimes bitter or sour. Therefore, we also pray to the Lord to make our mind like the ripe and delicious urvaruka fruit; ready for the knowledge that will release us from the bondage of death. Freedom from the bondage of death is understood as immortality, which is our nature.

The prayer asks the Lord to separate us from death, but not immortality. May we abide in immortality that is our nature! This is a prayer, which heals our mind from sorrow. It also heals the body from its pain and suffering. Students of Vedanta can chant it to be healed from the bondage of ignorance, so that we gain the knowledge to abide in our own true nature. This mantra is also chanted for the welfare of others. When the prayer is chanted with the right intonation, it gives peace and becomes more effective.

Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati

Excerpts from: Satsanga with Swami Viditatmananda, Vol: 2

Link to Swamiji’s Discourses Videos

What is a prayer? What is the value and place of prayers in a Hindu’s life?

paryer

Though gifted with many faculties, we are still limited in many ways. The three-fold powers -to know, to desire/ create, and to act, are given to us to live, to learn and to grow in our lives. Because they are limited, we often find ourselves inadequate and in need of a help. When we need help, the proper thing is to seek help. As Pujya Swamiji says, ”Seeking help is living intelligently.”

A prayer is an act of seeking help from the Lord. We have the faith that he listens to, and answers our prayers. It is tut that the act of prayer is based on the faith that there is a God who is all-knowing and knows how to give what}, needed. That he is all-powerful and therefore has the capacity to fulfill desires. Prayer is invoking the benevolence, kindness and compassion of the Lord.

Prayer comes from the recognition that we need grace in our life. Effort alone is not sufficient to successfully accomplish our various endeavors. There are many factors, known unknown, and out of our control, which influence the outcome. The universe functions around an order and that order alone manifests as various laws. As humans we have limited knowledge of some of the laws. We do not know all the variables-hidden and unknown. Even if they are known variables, we cannot change them. This being the case there are many uncertainties in our lives. In order that the outcome of our action is what we desire, and that our endeavors are successful, it is necessary that all the other variables favor us. Prayer is invoking the grace or favor of the Lord for our undertakings to be successful. This is one aspect of prayer.

We usually pray seeking a favor from the Lord for wealth/ prosperity or other basic needs. Until we discover that they are not the ultimate ‘ goals in life, we will value them, and associate success with their attainment.

Prayer also can be performed for spiritual resources, because negative tendencies such as anger, jealousy, temptations frustration etc., become obstacles to spiritual progress. When we cannot overcome these obstacles, we become helpless in the face of our own tendencies and we need help.

This is nicely symbolized in the Ramayana.

Lord Rama, Sita and Laksmana were living in the Dandaka forest. As the story goes, when Site was attracted to a golden deer, Rama went after it, leaving Sita under Laksmana’s protection. It turned out that the deer was a demon and so Rama killed it. While dying, the deer called out to Laksmana for help, in Rama’s voice. Sita commanded Laksmana to go to help Rama, and was kidnapped by the ten-headed demon Ravana when left alone. She was separated from Rama, the Self, and Laksmana, the sense of discrimination, by Ravana, the ten objects of our senses-five objects of perception and five objects of action. Sita, the mind was tempted by the fascination of sensory pleasures in the form of golden deer, and was kidnapped by Ravana, who symbolizes attachment and aversion. She was taken to Lanka, and kept. captive-surrounded by female demons symbolizing negative tendencies of the mind. She sought Lord’s help by chanting Lord Rama’s name, and was rescued by the Lord she prayed to.

We can, also pray to the Lord to help save us from our negative tendencies so we can gain freedom, which is our true nature. Hence, prayer can also be performed for spiritual progress and freedom from bondage.

Lord Krishna describes four kinds of devotees in the Gita, “Some remember and approach me when they are in distress, some approach me whenever they are in material need, others approach me seeking knowledge and then there are those who have gained the knowledge and discovered oneness with me” (Gita 7.16)

चतुर्विधा भजन्ते मां जना: सुकृतिनोऽर्जुन |
आर्तो जिज्ञासुरर्थार्थी ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभ
||

chatur-vidhā bhajante mā janā sukitino rjuna
ārto jijñāsur arthārthī jñānī cha bharatarhabha

Prayers are in four progressive stages. To begin with, a person prays when he is in difficulty. He then slowly realizes that there is a Lord who does help, so he prays when in need of material things. He may then further grow to recognize that the need for knowledge is more real, and prays for knowledge that culminates in the realization of oneness with the Lord.

Lord Krishna says in the Gita, “In whichever way the devotees approach me, in that way I bless them” (4:11).

That we invoke from blessing we receive depends on what we invoke from the Lord. Fulfillment of desire is what we seek through prayer. This is the usual understanding of prayer. There is faitth and trust that the Lord is all-knowing, all-powerful and benevolent. There is a recognition of limitation, helplessness, and. need on the part of the devotee. This recognition, and faith in the Lord establish a beautiful relationship between Lord and devotee. This is how prayer enables one to invoke the devotee from oneself and the grace of the Lord. It is also how prayer becomes a deliberate action. As every action has an appropriate reaction, each prayer yields its own result.

Prayer is karma, an action. It is three-fold: kayika कायिक, vacika वाचिक, and manasa मनसा, and is based upon the means that we employ Kayikam karma is a ritualistic: act in which the limbs are employed, vacikam karma is oral prayer such as recitation, chanting, and singing. Speech, vak, is also used in kayikam karma, and the mind is used in both kayikam and vacikam karma. Then we have third type of karma, which is purely metal, mansam karma.

Invoke the Lord ‘s grace through prayer

One needs to invoke the grace that makes a difference between success and failure: That grace needs to be there all the way. One breathes in, hoping that one will breathe out, and one breathes out hoping that one will breathe in. There is a time when one breathes one for last time! That possibility is always there Therefore, when somebody asks me where grace is, I answer that the grace is between two heartbeats, between ‘lub’ and ‘dub’. This is how it goes: lub, grace, dub, grace, lub, grace, dub, grace and so on.

One needs to recognize intimately, the limitation of oneself in terms of one’s knowledge, skill, resources, strength and capacities. Whichever way one looks at oneself, the limitation is strikingly obvious. One can say, “I am limited,” and droop or one can still walk erect, with a prayerful attitude, doing as much as one can.

Excerpts from:-

Hindu Dhrama: Basics & Beyond, Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati
Prayer Guide, Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Picture Courtsey: Chinmaya Mission, In Indian Culture Why Do We?

 

Who is a Hindu? What is Hinduism? How can one become a Hindu?

gurudev (2)

Hindu is not a Vedic word, and it is said that the word was perhaps coined by the Persians. They could not pronounce the word Sindhu so they called the people living in the Indus Valley, Hindus. We therefore do not find the word Hindu in the ancient scriptures, though in the recent works we do find the word being explained as him apasabdam dyati khandayati iti hinduh हिं अप्शब्दम् द्यति खण्डयति इति हिन्दुः, one who condemns falsehood, also meaning one who is committed to the truth is a Hindu. Hinam dasyati iti hinduh हीनं दुष्यति इति हिन्दुः, one who condemns anything that is low, base or wild can also be called a Hindu. Further, the Vedic culture is primarily based on worshipping the gods. Narayanadi-devatd bhaktah नारायण-आदि देवता भक्त, one who is the worshipper of gods such as Narayana can be called a Hindu. Thus different explanations are given for the word Hindu.

Hence we may say that one who follows the eternal fundamental values of life, one in whose life the worship of gods, is very important, one who lives a responsible life, one who is committed to a righteous way of life, one for whom the spiritual growth is very important in life and hence one for whom matter subserves the spirit, can be called a Hindu.

A Hindu is also the one who has faith, and trust in the Vedas. What we call Hinduism can properly be called vaidika-dharma. Hindus follow the teaching of the Vedas and many other texts that are derived from the Vedas. The Vedas are the fundamental texts, then there are the smritis, the puranas and also a whole body of literature based on the Vedas. The followers of the teaching of these texts can be called Hindus. Thus, Hinduism is a religious way of life based on the vision of life provided by the Vedas.

Hinduism is very broad-minded and inclusive. It does not matter, which tradition, place and time you hail from. As long as you follow the fundamental principles of the Vedas, have the right perceptions in life, follow the right values, you are a Hindu, and are qualified to attain moksa मोक्ष, which is the end Hinduism aspires to attain. Hence, we can say that one born a Hindu. There are no rituals or ceremony need through to become one. Hindus, in fact, do not see a need to preach conversion.

As best as I know there is no formal process of conversion. Hindus never converted others, but anyone wanting to practice Hinduism was included in the fold. Therefore Hinduism spread far and wide beyond the borders of India to China, Java, Sumatra and other places. It is by willing acceptance, and not conversion that one becomes a Hindu.

Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati

Excerpts from: Hindu Dharma, Basic & Beyond

Link to Swamiji’s Discourses Videos

Our Natural Love for Limitlessness!

gurudev (2)

Whenever I feel helpless, I feel inadequate because I cannot change what I do not want. I cannot get rid of what I do not want, and I cannot get what I want. Whenever I feel dependent, unsuccessful, or rejected, then I feel inadequate. Therefore, if I look at any moment when I am unhappy or sorrowful, I find that the cause of the sorrow is this sense of incompleteness or inadequacy centered upon myself. That I am inadequate, incomplete, limited, dependent, helpless all these are different names for the same thing-is the only cause of sorrow. Nothing else whatsoever is needed to make me unhappy.

It is this sense of inadequacy that is the cause of sorrow, and inadequacy is not the true nature of myself. If I were inadequate or incomplete by nature, then I would have no problem with inadequacy or incompleteness. Nothing has a problem with its true nature. Fire has no problem being hot; it is comfortable being hot. Ice is comfortable being cold. Night is comfortable being dark. Day is comfortable being bright. Everything is comfortable when it is with its own nature. The discomfort arises only when there is deviation or separation from the true nature.

If I am uncomfortable with the sense of inadequacy or incompleteness, that itself shows that incompleteness or inadequacy cannot be my nature. If it were my nature, I would be comfortable with it. There is never a complaint about that which conform with its true nature. There is complaint only when something is different from its nature.

Once a physician came where we were studying, and all the students lined up to see him. The doctor asked one fellow, “What is your problem? The fellow responded, “I feel hungry.” The doctor replied, “That is good. That is not a problem. There is no medication for that.” To be hungry is natural. In fact, nobody should complain to a doctor about being hungry. I would complain if I did not feel hungry, if I did not have a good appetite. Then this fellow said, I sleep. Again the doctor replied, “That is also not a problem. There is no medication for that, either. If you do not sleep, then we can do something for you.” The idea is that there cannot be a complaint or discomfort with what is my nature. Discomfort is there only when I am in some way separated or deviated from or denied my nature. And this is the problem with the human being, who is always suffering from an inner discomfort.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says

न हि कश्िचत्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत् (3.5)

na hi kaschitkshanamapi jaatu tishthatyakarmakrita |

a person is not able to sit quietly or inactively, even for a moment. Why is it so? Helplessly, he is made to do something because of the discomfort existing in his mind. We are born with this discomfort. Children are lucky because they have not yet grown to feel this discomfort. All living beings other than human beings are also lucky, if you want to call them lucky, because they have not evolved sufficiently to become aware of this discomfort. Not that animals are free or happy, but the point is that they are spared this thing that creates sorrow, this discomfort centered on the self. Apparently to be unhappy with my own self, to be dissatisfied with myself, requires a great amount of sensitivity and evolution, and other creatures are not evolved to the extent that they become sensitive about their own selves.

On the one hand, sensitivity is the name of the game. On the other hand, sensitivity is what makes me unhappy. If I do not know much about music, for example, then you can sing however you want, everything is fine. The more I know, however, then the more I become sensitive and tuned in to every little deviation in pitch or rhythm. Similarly, if you do not know Sanskrit grammar, or any grammar for that matter, then it is all fine, there is no problem. But once you know, then you start noticing grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, and so on.

The human being is the most evolved and sensitive creature because a human is sensitive about his own self. I am a self-conscious being, meaning that I am sensitive about myself, and sensitive about the fact that I am incomplete or inadequate. Along with that awareness comes the non-acceptance of myself because of inadequacy or incompleteness. I am not comfortable with myself, I am not happy with myself because I am incomplete, inadequate. This conclusion or opinion about myself that I am inadequate or incomplete arises on account of my failure to separate the self from the non-self. What I am uncomfortable about is really not the self; what I am uncomfortable about are the notions arising from the combination, or lumping together, of self and non-self.

At some point, there must be some awareness that I am limitless because there is a natural love for limitlessness. There must be some awareness that I am free because there is a natural love for freedom. Somewhere I should know that happiness is my nature because there is a natural love for happiness.

So also, in the state of deep sleep we do experience freedom and unconditional happiness. We are not aware at that time that we are experiencing it, but the experience is there nevertheless. And that experience of happiness or freedom becomes the frame of reference with which I constantly keep on judging and evaluating myself. Finding myself always inadequate with regard to that reference point 18 the reason why I am constantly seeking to be free from unhappiness and constantly seeking to be happy.

Sukha~prapti, attainment of happiness, and duhkha-nivrtti, avoidance of unhappiness, is natural for all living beings. Avoiding death and seeking immortality is natural. Avoiding ignorance and seeking knowledge is natural. Avoiding unhappiness or sorrow and seeking happiness is natural. And thus, life consists of a constant search for happiness, knowledge, freedom, immortality, thinking that all of these things are somewhere else, in a location other than myself.

This is a very sad situation. It is like an animal, such as a deer, running toward water in the distance when it is thirsty. In fact, it is only mirage water, but thinking that it is real, the deer runs toward it. As it runs toward the mirage, the water seems to recede farther and farther, and the poor deer can never reach it. Ultimately, it collapses along the way.

Similarly, the poor human being is running toward happiness, freedom, immortality, wisdom, knowledge, and never seems to find it. That is the situation – I am searching, not knowing that what I am searching for is, in fact, my own nature. You can also call it the nature of brahman, the absolute, or the nature of imam, the Lord.

Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati

Excerpts from: Drg Drasya Viveka

Sawmiji’s Talks & Discourses

Why do we not touch papers, books and people with the feet?

saraswati

In Indian homes, we are taught from a very young age never to touch papers, books and people with our feet. If the feet accidentally touch papers, books, musical instruments or any other educational equipment, children are told to reverentially touch what was stamped with their hands and then touch their eyes as a mark of apology. Why?

To Indians, knowledge is sacred and divine. So it must be given respect at all times. Nowadays we separate subjects as sacred and secular. But in ancient India every subject -academic or spiritual was considered divine and taught by the Guru in the gurukula.

The custom of not stepping on educational tools is a frequent reminder of the high position accorded to knowledge in Indian culture. Thus knowledge, a knowledgeable person, learning materials, the source of knowledge and the deity of knowledge, all are considered worshipful. From an early age, this wisdom fosters in us a deep reverence for books and education. This is also the reason why we worship books, vehicles and instruments once a year on Saraswati Puja or Ayudha Pooja day, dedicated to the Goddess of Learning. So, each day before starting our studies, we pray:

सरस्वति नमस्तुभ्यं वरदे कामरूपिणी !
विद्यारंभं करिष्यामि सिधिर्भवतु मे सदा !!

sarasvati mamas-tubhyam varade kaania roopini,
Vidyaarambham karishyaami sidhir-bhiavatu me sadaa.

O Goddess Sarasvati, the giver ofboons and fulfiller of wishes,
I prostrate to You before starting my studies, May You always fulfill me.

Children are also strongly. discouraged from touching people with their feet. Even if this happens accidentally, we touch the person and bring the fingers to our eyes as a mark of apology. Even when elders touch a younger person inadvertently with their feet, they immediately apologize. To touch another with the feet is considered an act of misdemeanor. Why is this so?

Man is regarded as the most beautiful, living, breathing temple of the Lord! Therefore touching another with the feet is akin to disrespecting the divinity Within him or her. This calls for an immediate apology, which is offered with reverence and humility.

Thus, many of our customs are designed to be simple but powerful reminders or pointers of profound philosophical truths. This is one of the factors that has kept Indian culture alive across centuries ‘ ‘

Swami Vimalananda, Radhika Krishnakumar, Chinmaya Mission

Excerpts from: In Indian Culture Why Do We?