You know how when you show up at Gujarati gatherings and there are introductions and greetings, there is always that one person or more that bend down and say “Jai shree Krishna” or something similar and touches the elder’s feet? Right away you notice a grin on the older folk’s face. What a “sanskari” (cultured) person they are.
There is religious and spiritual significance of doing this and they are completely valid if you are doing it from that perspective.
Here are five reasons why Gujaratis bow and touch someone’s feet:
Sign of respect
This shows that you acknowledge the experience, wisdom and knowledge the elders have acquired through out their life. This also shows them your openness to learn from them and implement it in your own life.
This gesture is not limited to just elders, “Pranam” as this gesture is known, is meant for all those who are positive, pious and pure souls. This means all teachers, gurus or those who you are willing to learn from.
This is an acknowledgment of both parties involved that in this moment we are both pure and this positive exchange will leave both of us feeling one. This is similar to a gesture of a firm hand shake or namaste. However many believe this is a position of one being superior to the other, in actuality it is a gesture of oneness.
Shows your “Sanskar”(Values)
By bowing and touching your elder’s feet you are showing that you have been taught to acknowledge your elder’s experience and wisdom and you respect that.
Score Brownie points
If you are trying to impress a family member, by all means bow and touch their feet, even if you don’t say anything. Especially if this elder belongs to your in-laws’ family. This is a silly reason but it is one that many use without really knowing or understanding the true significance of it!