Interesting information on the art of Prostrating


Prostration is a positive gesture, which indicates respect and value towards parents, teachers, elders and dignified souls. In turn the elders also give their blessings by placing their hands on or over our head (Ashirwad). The practice of prostrating in temples is a sign of offering respect to the supreme powers. Prostration can be done on daily basis, when we meet elders during festivals, special occasions, before beginning a new task and while introducing oneself to elders among the families. There are scriptures that signify the rules of prostration; the importance of prostrating an individual is given based on their age, moral strength and spiritual knowledge in ascending order. The Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata have many stories based on the prostration part.

Rising to welcome a person – Pratuthana

Paying respect in the form of namaste – Namaskaara

Touching the feet of elders or teachers – Upasangrahan

Prostrating fully with the feet, knees, stomach, chest, forehead and arms touching the ground in front of the elder – Shaashtaanga

Returning a greeting – Pratyabivaadana

An individual standing on his or her feet and bending down to touch the elder’s feet is not only a sign of well-regarded gesture but also symbolizes their eternally well wishing thoughts for us and their sacrifices for our well being. This is one way of acknowledging the enormity of another and also reflects on strong family ties and culture, which has been an everlasting strength to our country’s rich culture and heritage.

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