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

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

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 gurukul.

The custom of not stepping on educational tools is a frequent reminder of the high position accorded to knowledge in the 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.

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 tuouch a younger person inadvertently with thier feet, they immediately apologize.

To touch another person with feet is considered an act of misdemeanor because : man is regarded as the most beautiful, living, breathing temple of the lord! Therefor touching another person with 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 hs kept indian culture alive across centuries.

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