Importance of Right Hand!

by Devang Vibhakar on August 20, 2013

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Having born in India, I have come across various set of rules for which I have never got satisfactory answers. For instance, Hindus believe right hand to be a pious one in comparison to left hand! For example, generally we eat by hands, and we use our right hand to so. But if we see someone eating with left hand, it seems weird! This thought of right-left hand has been rooted so deep down us from our childhood that we become judgmental on right-left hand manners even without our notice!

What is so special about right hand, and so improper about left hand? One theory is that we use left hand for toilet purpose and hence it is considered as impious! This helps in terms of hygienic criteria to some extent(P.S.: Indians use water for toilet purpose and not the toilet-paper). But if somebody cleans hands properly after toilet, then this reason of hygienic exists no more.

We need to use our right hand for religious process too. Using of left hand is not acceptable there. If you’re giving money to someone, people prefer that you give it with your right hand. Some people feel uncomfortable if you land your left hand to give money!

This theory of pious and impious in terms of use of right and left hand is out of my understanding.

What’s your take on this?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 komal September 6, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Really nice articles.very nice thoughts.

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2 Jigar Patel November 29, 2013 at 11:42 pm

This is one of the other million things in our culture where nobody explains us ‘why’ yet everyone expects us to ‘do’ it.

Couple of years back, we had an opportunity to interact with a very respected Hindu priest (he said he was a ‘mahant’) from India who was on a trip in the US. During his ‘satsang’ he mentioned that “as per our culture we should respect and touch feet of our elders at every opportunity we get and more importantly we should follow/do what they expect of us”.

On this, i simply asked him, if we are suppose to blindly trust, touch feet, and follow every elderly person? What is that elderly person is a sexual predator? What if he genuinely isn’t a person to be trusted? I asked him if it is okay to simply rate & respect the person based on his/her ‘age’ and not ‘character’?

To be honest, as a hindu boy, i have heard this sentence that ‘do what your elders say’ but nobody told me ‘why’ and ‘what if..’ This time i was talking to a ‘man of God’, a priest, a respected priest with a long beard, saffron clothes, tilak and people here in the US, who had sponsored him treated him like a God. I was ought to get an answer. Instead, what i got was a perplexed face and an awkward look. He almost uttered in his mind that how dare i ask a question to him like this. I’m supposed to be simply listen and follow.

I am not a religious person and don’t support the idea of touching anyone’s feet just because he is elderly or is wearing sadhu clothes. But again, like many things i do without knowing why, i do respect people who represent my religion and so i did respect him and bought dozens of different fruits/dry fruits that he liked to eat.

I am a bit mad about how in our culture sometimes it is bad to call an elephant an elephant. Sometimes in our culture when you ask ‘why’ people just start thinking of you as ‘westernized’ and disrespectful. What they should know is that people who ask why are simply trying to believe in something but they are looking for a reason to.

Sorry that my comment is now bigger than the article itself.

Thanks,
Jigar Patel

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