Indians have always regarded knowledge as sacred and divine. Thus Knowledge must be given respect at all times. The society today has divided knowledge into sacred and secular. But in ancient India every subject – academic or spiritual – was considered divine and taught by a guru in a gurukula (gurukul).Since our feet are considered to be the dirtiest part of our body a great effort is made to avoid steeping over someone, food, utensils or sacred books. Anything which helps us live our life is a deity according to the Hindu Tradition and culture.Deities are supposed to be respected and followed. Man is regarded as the most beautiful, living breathing temple of the Lord! Touching books or another human with your feet is considered the same as disrespecting the Lord within him or her. An immediate apology should be offered with reverence and humility. Even when elders touch a younger person inadvertently with their feet, they immediately apologize.It is thus customary to refrain from touching books,papers,money or people with your feet
The custom of not stepping on educational tools is basically a reminder of the importance and significance of Knowledge in the Indian culture. This wisdom is fostered in every Indian creating a deep reverence for books and education in his mind. This is also the reason why we worship books, vehicles and instruments once a year on Saraswathi Pooja, dussehra or Ayudha Pooja day, dedicated to the Goddess of Learning. In fact, each day before starting our studies, Indians often pray:
Varade kaama roopini
Sidhirbhavatu me sadaa
O Goddess Saraswati, the giver of Boons and fulfill-er of wishes, I prostrate to You before starting my studies. May you always fulfill me?
Indians consider knowledge, very sacred and divine and are thus very conscious when touching books or anything that contains knowledge. For Hindus, Goddess Saraswathi is the Goddess of learning and they pray to her for academic as well as spiritual knowledge. Indians also believe that she bestows clarity of thought and nobility of ideas on them. They thus pray to her to gain knowledge, dispassion, devotion and prosperity.
On Saraswathi puja day, all books are kept in the prayer room,to evoke Knowledge in the form of Saraswathi, Goddess Saraswathi presides over and protects every form of art. So, on this day, consecrated to Saraswathi, the musical instruments in the house are cleansed, placed on an altar and devotedly worshiped, since they are the abode of Goddess Saraswathi. Ayudha Puja is also celebrated on the same day. Ayudha Puja is dedicated to worshiping whatever implements, one uses in his livelihood. If one can make a conscious effort to see the divine in the tools and objects, he uses everyday, he might be able to see his work as an offering to God. It will also help him maintain constant remembrance of the divine. This is an expression of gratitude to God to remind him of his duties. Another prayer to Saraswathi, to be blessed with brilliance, knowledge and talent is:
Yaa daevee sthooyathae nithyam vibhudhair vaeda paaragaih
Saa mae vasathu jihvaagrae brahmaroopaa saraswathi
May Saraswathi, the Goddess of knowledge, who is ever praised by the wise, who have mastered the scriptures, who is the embodiment of the Vedas ( or the consort of Lord Brahma ), live on the tip of my tongue.
Why are We Forbidden from touching Books or Papers with our Feet ?
Indians are forbidden from touching Books with their feet because books provide them with knowledge. If by accident, a book or a paper gets touched by your feet, it is a mark of disrespect and touching it in manner of praying is like apologizing to the book as well as the deity. One of the most fundamental features of Hinduism, is personification. Hinduism personifies virtually every aspect of life. The wind is not just air blowing from high pressure to low pressure. It is a god, Vayudeva. The sun is not just a great nuclear reaction in space. It is the sun god, Suryadeva. Similarly, the rain is a god, the moon is a god, all the planets are gods and every other aspect of reality is subject to personification. Therefore, all things of learning: papers, books, musical instruments, pens, typewriters and even computers can be seen as an aspects of the Goddess of learning, Saraswati Devi.
Why are We Forbidden from touching Money with our Feet ?
In the 21st century, money has become everything. The sole purpose of our survival has now become money. We can’t eat,drink or even bathe properly if we don’t have money.This is the reason why touching money with feet is considered disrespectful. Same can be said for gold, since the only viable currency in the ancient and medieval times was gold and gold coins.
Why are We Forbidden from touching People with our Feet ?
Not just touching, Indians are not allowed to even point their feet towards any person.The reason for this is very simple. Our feet are very unclean. The dirt on our feet makes it bad to touch anyone with our feet. The reason why Indians are prohibited from even pointing their feet to any person is that it gives a very bad impression to the person. It shows that you do not have any respect for that person. According to the Indian tradition and culture, It is bad manners to do it.