Why Indian people eat with hands!? 為什麼印度人用手吃飯!?

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

Scientific and Hygienic facts about eating with hands! First of all, eating with hands is not a sign of backwardness but actually the most refined, scientific & spiritual phenomenon which has stood the test of time. 首先,用手進食不是落後的象徵,實際上經時間考驗它是最雅緻、科學並且具精神的事項。

Why Indian people eat with hands!?

Although we broadly use the phrase “Eating with hands”, it is actually the fingers which play the most important role in this process. According to Ayurveda, each finger has special spiritual significance, and represents the elements of nature. It comes under the topic called “Mudras”, and deserves a separate discussion altogether, but let’s take only the main points from it. 雖然我們總說「用手吃飯」,實際上手指在整個流程占了最重要的角色與任務。根據生命科學阿育吠陀(Ayurveda),每根手指具有特殊的精神意義,也代表著自然的元素。它源於主題「手印(Mudras)」之下,並且值得完全單獨討論,但我們姑且只取它的主要觀點吧。

As per the logic of mudra, it is said that the Universe is made of 5 elements namely Fire, Air, Space, Earth, Water. i.e Agni, Varun, Akash, Prithvi, Jal. 如手印之理,據說宇宙由火、大氣、空間、土地與水組成,即Agni、Varun、Akash、Prithvi、Jal。

Thumb finger connects to Agni (fire). Index finger connects to Varun (air). Middle finger connects to Akash (space). Ring finger connects to Prithvi (earth) Little finger connects to Jal (water) 拇指連結到Agni。 食指連結到Varun。 中指連結到Akash。 無名指連結到Prithvi。 小指連結到Jal。

Now, one might wonder what role do these elements play in the process of eating. It is said that while eating with hands, since all the five fingers come in contact with each other and with the food, the amalgamation of all the 5 elements, forming a connection with the cosmos & thereby energizing the food with cosmic energy. 說到這,人們可能好奇這些元素在進食過程中起到什麼作用。據說在用手吃東西時,由於全部五根手指都會接觸食物並且彼此連結,五種元素的聚合會形成與宇宙的連結從而用宇宙能量激活食物。

Apart from energizing, eating with hands would involve the sense of feel & touch which provides an wholesome experience, adding to the already existing sense of sight, aroma & taste 除了能量之外,用手進食會涉及觸覺與感覺,提供正向有益的體驗,增進現有的視覺、嗅覺和味覺。

Indian curry & rice at Mayur Indian kitchen Taiwan
Indian food eating with right hand

Talking about hygiene, contrary to the popular misconception, eating with hands is actually more hygienic & less riskier than eating with spoon or fork. Suppose an unhealthy person uses a spoon to feed himself in a restaurant, and the spoons are not washed properly due to irresponsible staff, then the next person using that contaminated spoon might get affected. This way, one has to surrender his health into the hands of cleaning staff. i.e Despite being clean & precautions, one has to depend on the cleaning staff because if they are negligent, then he will fall sick for no fault of his. Whereas if one uses his own hands, all he needs to do is just wash his hands before eating, and he need not depend on anybody else. 談到衛生,與流行的誤解相反,用手吃飯實際上比用湯匙或叉子吃飯更加衛生、風險更小。假設一個不健康的人用湯匙在餐廳進食,由於工作人員未盡責、湯匙沒有好好清洗,那麼下個使用該污染湯匙的人可能會受到影響。如此這般,人們必須將自己的健康交給清潔人員。即使經過清潔且預防,一個人必須依賴清潔人員,因為如果他們疏忽,那麼他會因為非己的過錯而生病。如果一個人用自己的雙手,他只需要在吃飯之前洗手,並且他不需要依賴任何其他人。

Most of the Indian traditional foods which have been produced & developed over the centuries were designed with Vedic, Scientific & Logical methods which made them suitable for eating with hands, so as to derive the maximum benefits. If we want to eat them with spoon & fork just to impress an American colleague, then we would actually be losing out on all the above mentioned benefits & experience. 幾個世紀以來研發和製作的大多數印度傳統食品都採用了古印度、科學和邏輯方法設計,使其適合用手進食,從而獲得最大的益處。如果我們只是為了給一位美國同事留下深刻印象而想用湯匙和叉子吃它們,那其實我們會失去上述的所有好處和體驗。

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