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Why do we not touch papers, books and people with the feet ?

To Indians, knowledge is sacred and divine. So it must be given respect at all times. Nowadays we separate subjects as sacred and secular. But in ancient India every subject – academic or spiritual – was considered divine and taught by the guru in the gurukula.

The custom of not stepping on educational tools is a frequent reminder of the high position accorded to knowledge in Indian culture. From an early age, this wisdom fosters in us a deep reverence for books and education. This is also the reason why we worship books, vehicles and instruments once a year on Saraswathi Pooja or Ayudha Pooja day, dedicated to the Goddess of Learning. In fact, each day before starting our studies, we pray:

 

Saraswati namasthubhyam

Varade kaama roopini

Vidyaarambham karishyaami

Sidhirbhavatu me sadaa

O Goddess Saraswati, the giver of

Boons and fulfiller of wishes,

I prostrate to You before

starting my studies.

May you always fulfill me?