I came across this topic posted on a parenting forum, where people were debating if the Indian tradition of touching feet is a good thing or not. While general opinion gravitated towards the former, there were a couple of people who emphasised, that it is more important that respect stems from the heart, and not merely in an action done out of habit.
Now I come from a very unorthodox family, which, has hardly practised traditional things (for eg., belief in stars, thread functions, fasting, etc.) I hardly remember my parents asking us to touch the feet of strangers. We would simply be asked to say Hello or wave Goodbye!
Now, however, much older, and a little wiser, I feel that Life moves at such a fast pace. The brief moment when I do touch an elderly person’s feet to seek blessings, now that really gives me solace… an odd sense of comfort. A tiny spark of hope that their wishes would probably come true?!
Also, if one knew the actual method of seeking blessings, it is truly meaningful. The younger person stands before the older, very softly whispers his own name, gothram, etc. and only then prostrates, and then the older person utters blessings for a long life, prosperity, children, etc. Also, by bowing to the person in front, one is actually bowing to God and the Godliness in them.
So, I do believe, it is a beautiful thing to do. That is, if the person is front of you is truly respectable. Like for example, I enjoy taking blessings from my relatives (the few good ones 😉 ) Luckily, sonny boy is fascinated by the act of prostrating before elders, and does it willingly, whether he understands or not.
This link from Yahoo Answers made a very interesting read.
A very close friend of mine used to place her palm on her head, instead of prostrating, and I thought this was equally lovely.
Because, it is very simply, the act of a person, who, behaves with both humility and respect.
I think, this tradition as a concept, is both scientific and humane, and altogether beautiful.
What do you think?