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Saturday June 4 2005 10:40 IST

By Karmayogi

Westerners coming to India for any organised work among the general public are trained in Indian customs, taught an Indian language, and sometimes asked to put on Indian dress. One important instruction to such volunteers is NOT to give or receive by the left hand. To honour the local custom is to honour the local culture. To an Indian, to do anything sacred by the left hand is inconceivable. It is a sacrilege. Is there anything inherently spiritual in this custom? Is it a social custom? Parents do not allow children to use the left hand. The ones who are born left-handed are disciplined into using their right hand. Mostly parents succeed, not always.

All over the world Man was always right-handed, barring exceptions. How did that happen. Left-handedness is increasing in the newer generations. In certain parts of the West, the percentage is fast approaching 50%. A couple of centuries ago the westerner had long hair as we had a tuft, kudumi. He called it pony tail. Now cropped head is the prevalent fashion all over the world. Is right-handedness one such fashion? If you are not left-handed but more often than usual tend to use the left hand, observe yourself in action. If the action is one of significance, see when the impulse to use the left hand arises and note the result. Suppose you give a cheque to the bank and find yourself doing it by the left hand, contrary to your custom, you will find the cheque bouncing. It may not be an absolute rule without exception, but in over 75% of the cases, it will be so. In fact, it is an absolute rule if you define your observation. You find the cheque handed in by the left hand readily cashed and you laugh at the rule, but if you follow its movements, that cash given to a clerk will be reported lost. The rule is absolute.

Hatha yoga is a perfect science. Their knowledge is comprehensive about the parts of the body. Maybe they have something to say on this. As man does not move away from his childhood innocence from God by age, left-handedness too is not ultimately negative. The percentage of left-handedness increases in the educated population anywhere in the world, as a symptom of rebellion at the depths of the body against the establishment the society is. It is a healthy negativism. Any tool can become positive or negative. A negative TOOL must be carefully handled to yield positive results. Should that be done, the great negative will become a great positive, yielding far wider results. Each hand has its character. But the key lies in the Mind that uses it. When the MIND is determined to be positive, left-handedness is an asset. By virtue of being left-handed, a determined Mind will rise far above in society and life. In spirit, its achievement will be consummate.

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