The Custom of Touching the Feet of Others


Do we give a part of our Karma to the person whose feet we touch? Should we only touch the feet of our Guru?

—M, India


Dear M,

We are taught that only a liberated master has the ability to take on others’ karma. I don’t think you need to worry about giving your karma to others. If this were so, you would be giving it to your teachers in school, your parents, and anyone else whose feet you touch.

On the contrary, if you touch someone’s feet there is an exchange of respect. As a Westerner, I found it took some time to get used to it, but having someone touch my feet now reminds me to do my best to be worthy of that respect, and to offer that respect to God.

Much joy to you,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi