What should be done and what should be avoided while paying obeisance ?

Every act should be performed as paying obeisance (as spiritual practice), so that an impression of humility is imprinted on the mind of the individual. Aspects to be done and to be avoided while paying obeisance are given ahead.


1. Why should we close our eyes while paying obeisance ?

Joining hands with the head bowed means salutation to God or divinity in the individual. The eyes should be closed while paying obeisance to God or any respected individual, to get the darshan of God within us.


2. Why should we not pay obeisance with footwear on ?

सोपानत्कश्चाशनासनशयनाभिवादननमस्कारन् वर्जयत् । – Gautamsmruti 9

Meaning : While sitting, partaking of meals, sleeping, wishing and paying obeisance to Gurus and other senior individuals, one should not wear footwear.

  • When an individual wears footwear, the Raja-Tama component in him increases.
  • When an individual pays obeisance with such high Raja-Tama component in him, the spiritual centers in his Kundalini do not get activated.
  • His ability to absorb sattvikta (Purity) too gets reduced due to increase in his Raja-Tama component. Consequently, he does not benefit from the act of obeisance.
  • Paying obeisance to a Deity with footwear on may also invite the wrath of the Deity.


3. Why should we not pay obeisance with one hand ?

Paying obeisance with one hand symbolises a state of ego and increases the possibility of being troubled by negative energies.

जन्मप्रभृक्तिज़्वित्सुकृतांमुपार्जितम् ।
तत्सर्वं निष्फलं याति ताभिवादनात् ।। – Vyaghrapadsmruti 367

Meaning : Merits of a lifetime of an individual who pays obeisance with one hand, are rendered fruitless.

Paying obeisance with both the hands denotes providing assistance of Shiva and Shakti to every act. Paying obeisance with one hand denotes doership. That is why, paying obeisance with one hand is not permitted by Hindu Dharma, since Hindu Dharma is based on tenets of humility. Also, since paying obeisance with one hand is based on doership, it does not help obtain any merits.

Paying obeisance with one hand denotes a state of ego. When obeisance is paid by touching the ground in a state of ego, the dispersed waves emanating from Patal (Hell region) get activated and are transferred into the hand. When the fingers are touched to the region of the Anahat-chakra, these waves spread all over the body through the Anahat-chakra. Consequently, distress such as heaviness, restlessness or trembling of the body is experienced.


4. Why is it advisable not to hold any
object in the hands while paying obeisance ?

  • While paying obeisance when any object is held in the hands, usually the fingers and their tips are flexed and not straight. As a result, the sattvik (Sattva-predominant) waves which are received, are unable to enter the fingers or tips of the fingers due to the flexed position.
  • The sattvik waves emanating from the front of the seeker, strike the object held in his hands and are return. Also, at times, instead of the individual absorbing them, the object may absorb the sattvik waves.
  • If the object held in the hands is Raja or Tama-predominant, and if it is touched to the forehead or chest when paying obeisance, then the Raja-Tama waves from it enter the body of the one who is paying obeisance.


5. While paying obeisance, why are men not supposed
to cover their head, whereas women are advised to cover their head ?

न सोपानद्वेष्टितशिरा अवहितपाणिर्वाभिवादयीत । – Apastambha Dharmasutra 1/4/14/19

Meaning : We should not pay obeisance with footwear on, or with the head covered, or holding any object in the hand. (However, women should cover their head with their pallu (Free end of a sari) and only then pay obeisance.)

While paying obeisance, the Kundalini gets activated at the site where the hands are touched. This leads to absorption of sattvikta in more proportion in the body. Sometimes, due to the activation of the Kundalini, sattvikta starts entering the body through the head. However, at times negative energies try to take advantage of this situation and mix black energy in the sattvic waves. The potential of activation of Kundalini is higher in men when compared with women. Hence, they are not affected much by this negative energy. Contrary to this, since women are more sensitive they are influenced and get affected by negative energies to a greater extent and can experience distress. Hence, women are advised to cover their head with the pallu. This creates a barrier of cloth between the head and the waves, which prevents the distressing waves from penetrating the body of the woman. However, correct posture of obeisance gives maximum sattvikta to an individual and hence, women too get required benefits.

Reference : Sanatan’s booklet ‘The correct methods of paying Obeisance’

Leave a Comment