Why do we bow down to our parents and elders?

Hindus bow down to their parents, elders, teachers and noble souls by touching their feet. The elder, in turn, blesses us by placing his or her hand on or over our heads.

Bowing down is done daily, when we meet elders and particularly on important occasions like the beginning of a new task, birthdays, festivals, etc.

In the certain traditional circle, bowing down is accompanied by ‘abbivaadana’ which serves to introduce one self, announce one’s family and social stature.

A man stands on his feet. Touching the feet in bowing down is a sign of respect for the age, maturity, nobility, and divinity that our elders personify. It symbolizes our recognition of their selfless love for us and the sacrifices that they have done for our welfare. It is a way of humbly acknowledging the greatness of another.

This tradition reflects the strong family ties, which has been one of Indian’s enduring strengths. The good wishes (sankalpa) and blessing (aashirvaada) of elders are highly valued among Hindus. Good thoughts create positive vibrations. Good wishes springing from a heart full of love, divinity and nobility have a tremendous strength.

When we bow down with humility and respect, we invoke the good wishes and blessings of elders, which flow in the form of positive energy to envelop us. This is why the posture assumed whether it is in the standing or prone position, enables the entire body to receive the energy thus received.