IMPORTANCE OF CHARAN SPARSH:
“Charan” means “feet” denotes “sparsh” means “to touch”. Together they mean “to touch one’s feet”. It has been a tradition since Satyug, Tretayug and Dwaparyug to touch the feet of one’s father and mother, teachers and elders. The elder in turn blesses us by placing his or her hand on or over our heads. Prostration is done daily, while meeting with elders and particularly on important occasions like the beginning of a new task, birthdays, festivals etc.
In the Atharva Veda, great importance has been given to the way a person greets others when meeting. Through “charan sparsh” an individual exhibits the respect one holds for the elderly, the wise, and those with ideals and outstanding contribution to society. It is a way of accepting their superiority. This promotes humility in an individual and also makes the other person feel important. Thereby a person learns to be humble, courteous and respectful. The physical effort involved provides useful exercise and promotes vigor, enthusiasm and concern for others, rids tension and is motivating.
In Mahabharat, Pandavas were victorious over the Kauravas as they had sought the blessings of Pitaamah, the elders and teachers before the battle began.
In the Mahabharat, Vanparv, there is a narration.
Once the Yaksh asked Yudhishthir, “How can a person become great and powerful?”. Yudhishthir responded, “By devotedly touching the feet of the mother and father, teachers and elders and by serving then until they are content to give blessings that make a person great and powerful.”
WHY SHOULD WE PROSTATE BEFORE OUR PARENTS?
In life one of the most difficult things is to repay the debt owed to parents. In the Manusmriti, 2/228, it is said that the problems faced by parents during childbirth and upbringing cannot be repaid even in a hundred of years. It is also explained that the father is like Prajaapati and the mother is like Earth. Serving them has been described as penance. One who serves parents in real earnest can be said to have respect for all religions in the world.
In the Manusmriti, 2/232, it is said further stated that those householders who serve their parents regularly attain the three worlds. They achieve success everywhere. These people are blessed through glory and honor and find great contentment.
It is said that whoever respectfully greets elders and teachers is blessed with strength, knowledge honor and long life- Manusmriti, 2/121
PROCEDURE OF DOING CHARAN SPARSH
The procedure for “charan sparsh” is explained in the Manusmriti:
ब्रह्मराम्भेवसाने व पादौ ग्राह्यौ गुरौः सदा संहत्य हस्तावध्येयं स हि ब्रम्हान्जलिः स्मृतः व्यत्यस्त पाणिना कार्यमुप संग्रहण गुरोः सव्येन सव्यः स्प्रष्टव्यो दक्षिणेन व दक्षिण
“Before beginning to learn the Vedas, and after the learning is complete, the student must regularly greet and touch the feet of teachers. This is Brahmanjali—an ideal offering to them. Drawing close to the teacher one must touch the right foot with the right hand and left foot with the left hand.
One should never greet with single hand only:
जन्मप्रभृति यत्किंचित सुकृतं समुपार्जितम तत्सर्वं निष्फलं याति एकाहस्नाभिवादनात
“One should never greet with one hand only. This way all virtues earned over a lifetime are wasted. It is important that greetings must be conveyed with both hands and with humility and devotion”.
SCIENTIFIC BENEFIT OF DOING CHARAN SPARSH:
There is a scientific basis to “charan sparsh”. Since the human body is releasing vibrations and also receiving them from people who come close, touching the feet encourages flow of energy. And when elders touch the head of the person in blessing, energy is again exchanged between them. This exchange of energy gives one vigor, self-confidence and contentment. One experiences an inner glow. The blessings received after “charan sparsh” are like invisible armour. They motivate and give strength.