Charansparsh is a tradition of Hindus followed from time immemorial to show respect and sought blessings from the elders. The word charan means feet and sparsh is to touch. Together it can be derived to touch one’s feet.
In the Atharva-Veda, elders are held in high esteem and they are believed to bless them who greets them by touching their feet. Elders are found respectable as they are hugely experienced and wise. They contribute in the growth of the society. By touching their feet, one gains their blessings in form of knowledge and wisdom. Charansparsh also makes one learn to become humble and courteous.
In the Mahabharata, the Pandavas became victorious as they had sought the blessings of Pitamah and all elderly persons before the battle began.
In the Manusmriti, 2/228, the debt of the parents are never payable. One is unable to pay for the sacrifice parents to give birth and up bring a child. That’s why a father is compared with the Prajapati and mother is known as the Earth. To serve them is described as the ultimate atonement.
In the Manusmriti, 2/232, it is described that whoever serves their parents throughout their lives, they earn peace and success in their lives.
In the Manusmriti, 2/121, it is said that whoever respectfully greets elders and teachers Charan Sparsh is blessed with strength, knowledge, honour and long life.
The procedure for charan sparsh is explained in the Manusmriti:
Before learning the Vedas, and after the learning is complete, the student must regularly greet and touch the feet of teachers. This is Brahmanjah – an ideal offering to them. Drawing close to the teacher one must touch the right foot with the right hand and the left. foot with the left hand.
It is also directed that one should never greet with a single hand only:
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.
Charan sparsh also have scientific influences on a human body. As human body releases and receives vibrations from the persons he is surrounded with, touching feet encourages the energy flow between them. The energy exchange blesses one with vigor, self-confidence and contentment.
In the Mahabharata, Vanparv, there is a narration.
Once the Yaksh asked Yudhistra, “How can a person become great and powerful?”
Yudhistra responded, “By devotedly touching the feet of the mother and father, teachers and elders and by serving them until they are content to give blessings that make a person great and powerful.”
Think it over…
When Ram refused to return to Ayodhya until he completes his exile, Bharat brought his padukas (sandals). He gave them the reverence he had for his brother. Whenever he required guidance, he consulted them and always found the solutions. When padukas could be so effective, how benevolent would be the feet of God?