During a trip to Southern India one man was chanting prayers with his (plastic) shoes on, because he was travelling.

Some local brahmin strongly reprimanded him for his misconduct and disrespect during a prayer. He said the pilgrim has no idea what the prayer is, and is totally ignorant etc.

This was all happening on an empty street early in the morning, not in the temple, so the answers here does not answer my question.

The pilgrim was a westerner. Probably he was chanting "Hare Krishna" on beads. I didn't hear much, but he was relaxed before and then became unsettled, took off his shoes and carried them in hand. So in what way does shoes affect a person while he is praying?

  • Was he praying to God standing on a street?
    – Mr_Green
    Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 6:47
  • @Mr_Green it was either an empty street or a dirt road. I no longer remember, because that was many years ago. Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 14:31
  • I cannot speak specifically for Hinduism, but in many faiths people remove shoes in holy places. Personally, I believe footwear blocks the flow of energy between a person & Mother Earth. Sometimes this is good—like on a dirty street where there may be broken glass, pollution, & accumulated layers of negative energies—but more often it is good. Particularly I feel better when barefoot on grass, dirt, and even gravel. It seems concrete, like shoes, blocks the flow of energy. So, bad energy often builds up there. Commented May 3, 2018 at 12:27
  • Moreover, the human foot is very well evolved to support our spine. Almost every kind of shoe is bad for our hips and back [objectively true]. The energy I mentioned above, I would call it chi. Western Science doesn't have a word for it because it is ignored. I don't know what it is called in Hinduism. Shakti? Prana? It subtly different from kundalini. Commented May 3, 2018 at 12:32

2 Answers 2


This attitude can be noticed among the conservatives, who I doubt possess the slightest spirituality in their minds. One does not have to free his foot of footwear to free ones mind. One just needs to comprehend and appreciate the deep spirituality inherent in the Hindu philosophy. One doesn't even need to offer formal prayers to God by chanting hymns and uttering mantras. You can be a perfect Hindu by simply following and observing the principles of Gita in your life. Concentrate on good work without thinking about the consequences, do good deeds to others; what else do you need to achieve salvation?

Swami Vivekananda was far greater a religious scholar than this modern-day priest mentioned in the question, who I think loves to humiliate a westerner for such petty and insignificant matters as shoe removal than attempting to imbibe the true essence of Hinduism himself. Swami Vivekananda would never have asked a westerner to remove his/her shoes outside a temple.


The idea of prayer in Hinduism is that Humans become one with nature by freeing up with mind and body. By leaving out any form of footwear, the whole human body becomes a good conductor. This allows the body to conduct magnetic flow without hindrance.

  • Would this also be relevant on the second floor? When taking a shower, my understanding is exactly the opposite, i.e. I wear plastic shoes in a cast iron tub for my energy NOT TO BE CONDUCTED away. At least this is what one aikido practitioner recommended me.
    – MKaama
    Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 13:03
  • 1
    I believe it is the same even in outer space. Not sure if you know this. But Hindus believe that one should not sleep by keeping their head in North direction, as it can easily affect the person's magnetic flow in their body.
    – SoundStage
    Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 14:10
  • 2
    I can accept the becoming one with nature, but conducting magnetic flow sounds odd. Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 14:23
  • I have not understood about why temples have been constructed with a pyramid shape. But at the top of each tower of these temple pyramid, there is usually a copper or 5-metal structures(pardon me that I do not know its name in English), both at the entrance towers as well as inner sanctuary ones. Within each sanctuary is where the idols of Gods are placed. During the time of construction of each temple, it is mandatory to place plates of copper and numerous metals below the idols.
    – SoundStage
    Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 16:59
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    And you very well know it is to increase the amount of magnetic flow. And this is the same that applies to people visiting temple. You are in an area where there is high concentration of magnetic field, which indirectly benefits your health, which is why elders say that if you go to temple frequently you will be hale and healthy.
    – SoundStage
    Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 17:00

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