A21. Discriminating Against the Left Hand Since Ages

Thoughts are like seeds that sprout into words and deeds.

Thoughts are powerful. Thoughts are more powerful than many of us can estimate! Yet, very few of us acknowledge the power of thoughts and that’s probably because very few of us know and understand the power of thoughts. Once a thought reaches our subconscious mind, it controls us in some way with/without our awareness. While some thoughts influence us in a good way, some can cause us grievous harm. Thus, we should be cautious of the thoughts we expose ourselves to.

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The thoughts of discrimination have been controlling us in numerous ways with and without our awareness. The word discrimination may make you think of discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, age, caste, nationality, and/or wealth. We all have come across people who discriminate against others on the grounds of sex, race, age, caste, nationality, and/or wealth. Instead, many of us have discriminated against people on the grounds of their sex, race, age, caste, nationality, and/or wealth.

But do you know that we discriminate against ourselves as well? The Hindu tradition favors the right hand and discriminates against the left hand. The Hindu tradition discourages taking/giving anything to anyone with the left hand and considers the right hand lucky. When a Hindu offers something to the God he/she believes in, he/she is instructed to do so with his/her right hand. When one collects Prasad (a devotional offering made to a god, typically consisting of food that is later shared among devotees), he/she is instructed to do so with his/her right hand. When an Indian bride enters the house of her husband for the first time after marriage, she’s specifically instructed to step into the house with her right leg followed by her left leg.

When, as a school going kid, I would pay my tuition fees to my tutor, my tutor would ask me to pay her with my right hand instead of the left hand. Many shopkeepers in India ask their customers to pay them with the right hand. Usually, when a Hindu buys/rents a house, he/she collects the key to such house with his/her right hand. Even when such Hindu enters such house for the first time, he/she would step in with his/her right leg followed by his/her left leg. He/she is also very likely to unlock the main door of such house for the first time with his/her right hand. Even when a Hindu sells his/her house, he/she collects the price for such house with his/her right hand.

When my cousin was learning to write, she used to write with her left hand and her mother would instruct her to write with her right hand instead. You probably would know many mothers who discourage their kids from eating with both hands but many mothers who happen to be Hindus discourage their kids from eating with the left hand. In the Hindu culture, the left hand is considered impure!

Chris Paley, on page number 91 of his book Unthink, says that shoppers seem to have a preference for products displayed on the right. It’s very obvious why shoppers in India prefer products displayed on the right! So, the next time you want a Hindu to pick something, place that something on the right.

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I’ve mentioned only the Hindu religion in this blog post because it’s the only religion that I know the most about as I was born and brought up in a Hindu family.

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