April 20th


Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
पादाभ्यां न स्पृशेदग्निं गुरुं ब्राह्मणमेव च
नैव गां न कुमारीं च न वृद्धं न शिशुं तथा

- चाणक्य नीति

Transliteration:
paadaabhyaaM na spRushedagniM guruM braahmaNameva cha
naiva gaaM na kumaarIM cha na vRuddhaM na shishuM tathaa
- chaaNakya nIti

Meaning of the subhAShita:
Do not ever touch with (your) feet - fire, a teacher (guru), a brahmin (learned person), a cow, an unmarried girl, the elderly and a child too.

Commentary:
Reverence to others, is a part and parcel of the culture. It is depicted and practiced in many symbolic forms. Showing feet to others or touching others with one's feet have never been accepted as a symbol of respect or good mannerism. And the purpose of the feet were to make one mobile, not for disrespecting others. Especially for the elite few, it is even frowned upon.

Fire (agni) is the purest, noblest and grandest emblem of the supreme power. Agni is also one of the deities. There are other elements too. Why agni? Because, one can pollute air, water, sound, environment (which too are forms of God). But has anyone every heard of fire pollution! Fire by itself, is uncontaminated. Fire is a purifier too. Hence, reverence to the manifestation of the Supreme power in it's purest form, is upheld.

Guru is not just the teacher in the school. Mother and father are the primary gurus for a child. Anyone else who he meets along the way and learns a lesson or two from, would also be considered a guru. Reverence to all these teachers commands respect.

A brahmin is a symbol of learning. Whether he is one's guru or not, reverence is given to the knowledge in him.

A cow is considered as a mother of all world (गावो लोकस्य मातरः -gaavo lokasya maataraH). It is the most pious animal and hence a symbol of piety. Reverence to the cow is hence validated.

Women are worshiped and honored always. Even Gods are displeased when they are disrespected. An unmarried young girl is even more revered as she is a symbol of purity. Negligence towards her is unacceptable.

The elderly are the back bones of the society. Without them, their guidance and experience, the youngsters would be nowhere. They would have to start all over, from re-inventing fire, at every generation :). Their age and experience is always revered.

A child is as innocent as can be! A child under 5 yrs of age is even considered as closest to the Supreme power as can be. They know no malice and have no hatred. Their egos are undeveloped. That divinity in them is revered.

When once reverence is accepted towards these elite beings, how can they be disrespected by touching them with feet? Feet are the lowest of one's organs, do not offer them to the revered.

Keep your feet to yourself and keep thy manners! Be courteous and respectful of others.

pada vigrahaH:
पादाभ्यां न स्पृशेत् अग्निं गुरुं ब्राह्मणम् एव च
paadaabhyaaM na spRushet agniM guruM braahmaNam eva cha

न एव गां न कुमारीं च न वृद्धं न शिशुं तथा
na eva gaaM na kumaarIM cha na vRuddhaM na shishuM tathaa

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