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guru maneyo granth

asked 2013-09-15 18:01:44 -0500

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When we are reminded to trust the guru as our guide.. I touch my parents feet or other elderly "s feet as a respect thing .. Does that mean I am not taking the guru as a my guide .. Some say don't bow your head against another person.. I don't believe in his because its a respect .. It's not like I am surrendering my mind ...

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answered 2013-09-16 23:32:39 -0500

Lo K. B. gravatar image

updated 2013-09-16 23:34:31 -0500

Sat Nam,

Touching an elder's feet is a cultural sign of respect that has existed in India (and other parts of Asia!) for millenniums. Centuries have sort of stripped the original meaning from it and now it's just a custom that a lot of families adhere to, and, in my opinion, not really a religious thing. Guru is your guide no matter what. He lives in your heart, and the connection you nurture is the sacred one you cherish. I'd say it's not the action that "gives up your mind" but the intention behind it. The problem arises when one makes a commitment (Amrit, for example), and the dynamic changes. I personally know that in my family (I am Punjabi), some relatives do not allow anyone to touch their feet, for that reason. You touching someone's feet before taking that commitment could be one thing, but it could be much bigger and more noticeable afterwards. I know that you should not care about what people think, but you have to be able to deal with the judgment or criticism that comes with doing something you've probably always done. And, it also depends on the people involved. Be aware that there are some people who find that action pleasing because it shows a sign of submission or renegotiation of one's will, which is NOT something for you to do, ever.

Don't worry about it too much. The flipside is that there are PLENTY of acceptable ways of showing respect, such as putting your hands together in prayer pose and saying Sat Sri Akal, etc. Respect should not be a ritual, as weird as it sounds. Do what feels right to you, and if you worry about what people might think, you can show respect in other ways, or explain to them why you choose to do or not to do that anymore. If it is truly respect, they will understand.

P/S: Let me make it clear. You never BOW before anyone as you bow with your intention before Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.

May God and Guru guide you, and may you be happy and respectful wherever you go.

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Asked: 2013-09-15 18:01:44 -0500

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Last updated: Sep 16 '13