Touch with the feet...

In India one is taught from a very young age never to touch papers, books, or people with one’s feet. If the feet accidentally touch papers, books, musical instruments, or any other educational equipment, children are told to reverentially touch, with their hands, what the feet touched and then to touch their eyes as a mark of apology.

The custom of not stepping on educational tools is a frequent reminder of the high position accorded to knowledge in Indian culture. 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 Saraswathi Pooja or Ayudha Pooja day, dedicated to the Goddess of Learning. In fact, each day before starting our studies, we pray:
Saraswati namasthubhyam
Varade kaama roopini
Vidyaarambham karishyaami
Sidhirbhavatu me sadaa

O Goddess Saraswati, the giver of
Boons and fulfiller of wishes,
I prostrate to You before
starting my studies.
May you always fulfill me?

To touch another with the feet is considered an act of disrespect. Why is this so?

Man is regarded as the most beautiful, living breathing temple of the Lord! Touching another with the feet is considered the same as disrespecting the Lord within him or her. An immediate apology should be offered with reverence and humility. Even when elders touch a younger person inadvertently with their feet, they immediately apologize.


  1. Thank you for your amazing blog :)

    I was always told that after touching something with my feet I should touch it with my hand, and then to touch my forehead. Not eyes as you wrote. Do you have any idea why there is a difference? Is it a matter of a region?


    1. This something could be anything. If that something is MEANT to be touched with the foot (football, your shoes or socks, the floor, a footrest, pedals in a car or on a bike) you wouldn't pranam to it, would you? That something could be a "neutral" object (table leg, chair leg, bed, etc.) too.


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