The ancient tradition of eating with hands is derived from mudra (postures) practices and are widespread in many aspects within Hinduism. As we know that hands postures are used during mediation and Yoga. Even in many classical forms of dance, hand postures are important.
* As per Vedic knowledge, our hands and feet consist of the five elements - Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Practice of eating with hands is also mentioned in Ayurveda. As per Ayurvedic texts, each finger is an extension of one of the five elements:
Each finger transforms food in digestive form before it passes to human digestion system. Improved digestion enhances the pleasure of eating as taste, texture and smell is felt better while having food with hands.
- Thumb: Fire
- Index finger: Air
- Middle finger: Heaven/ Ether
- Ring finger: Earth
- Little finger: Water
* The skin sends the senses to the brain about the temperature, texture of the food and this acts like a catalyst in the action of generating the necessary salivary juices.
* Eating with the hands, one can verify the temperature of the food before and it can prevent one from burning of the mouth.
* Some people believe that hands behave as energetic cleanser when the food passes via hand to mouth. Similar kind of tradition is followed in other religion also when people eat food after placing their palms above the food.
The logic behind it that food contains various external energies positives, negatives, pains, emotions, thoughts etc when it passes from various people like vegetable/ spice seller, cook, waiter etc. It is believed hands help cleaning all external energies so that it could not impact the human soul.
A similar pattern is found in many people coming from abroad that they feel suffocation and negative feelings when they eat through knife and fork. On the other hand, if they eat with their hands, they experience heavenly and divine feeling.
Science Behind Eating With Hands
We have some bacteria, known as normal flora, found on our skin. These bacteria are not harmful to human instead they protect us from many harmful bacteria from outside environment.
It is required to establish normal flora in various parts of our body like in mouth, throat, intestine, gut etc for the betterment of health.
Eating with spoon for long time can change the arrangement of normal flora. With this, the pattern of normal flora can be changed in the gut. It results reduced synchronous immunity to environmental bacterial germs.
Lets take an example, in India, when some people come from abroad after spending several years of staying there mostly suffer from acute gastroenteritis whereas the local people don't, because their normal flora and gut flora are in sync.
Karaagre Vasate Lakssmih Karamadhye Sarasvati |
Karamuule Tu Govindah Prabhaate Karadarshanam ||
i.e. At the Top of the Palm Dwell Devi Lakshmi and at the Middle of the Hand Dwell Devi Saraswati, At the Base of the Hand Dwell Sri Govinda; Therefore one should Look at one's Hands in the Early Morning and contemplate on Them. Hence, This shloka suggests that the divinity lies inside our hands.
Many things within Hindu culture seem weird and unusual but once we go deep into it, we find that a surprising and vast amount of knowledge is hidden in Vedic culture.