What is the purpose of conveying respect through Charan Sparsh?
The word charan means feet and sparsh denotes to touch. Together they mean to touch one's feet. It has been a Hindu tradition since Satyug, Tretayug and Dwaparyug to touch the feet of one's father and mother, teachers and elders. The custom has continued in Kalyug.
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 vigour, enthusiasm and concern for others. It rids one of tension. It is motivating.
It is believed that in the Mahabharata, the Pandavas were victorious over the Kauravas as they had sought the blessings of Pitamah, the elders and teachers before the battle began.
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 years. It is also explained that the father is like Prajapati and the mother 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. Whoever fails to serve them eventually ends a failure.
In the Manusmriti, 2/232, it is said that those householders who serve their parents regularly attain the three worlds. They achieve success everywhere. These people are blessed through glory and honour and find great contentment.